The Walking Shiva of Varanasi by Dr.V.V.B. Rama Rao

Nowhere else in the world is renunciation held in such high esteem as in India. It is but natural. We owe our allegiance to our ancestors who were not Kings or barons but renouncing sages. This is our heritage. They can be likened to the ‘gentle dew that falls unheard and unseen at night, and brings into blossom the fairest of roses.’

The sage, seer, yogi or mahatma has to be approached with a degree of reverence, not with a meddling intellect. His miracles belong to the realm of ‘adbhut’ the wondrous and fabulous, extraordinary events and acts. They strike people with wonder, which automatically produces a joyous suspension of disbelief.

One such sage called Trailingaswami’s life and preaching have been portrayed pictoriously in the book ‘The walking Shiva of Varanasi’ written by Dr.V.V.B. Rama Rao. He says in the first chapter, ‘It is well nigh impossible to call Trailingaswami either a saint, a siddha, a yogi, a saadhaka, a baba, a paramahamsa, an avadhoota or an avatar for he is all and not merely one among these many, Swami Kritarthananda called him, ‘The Living Shiva of Varanasi”.

Trilingaswami was born to Nrusimhadhar and Vidyavati in 1607. He was named as Siva Rama and perhaps also as Trailingadhar, because he was born in Trilinga Desa (It is a region between three great Shrines of Paramashiva. Srisailam, Drakshaaraamam and Kaleswaram) The astrologers predicted that he would grow to be a great person. He lived as a God Incarnate for the longest period of 280 years, next only to the Methuselah of the Bible who was supposed to have lived beyond nine hundred.

In due course of time he rose to be Trailinga Swami, Ganapatiswami, Ramananda Saraswathi and Mouni Baba, performing various miracles all through. He brought back to life many people, he saved a sinking ship, he helped many suffering souls, fulfilled many desires, but all the time he longed to be alone. He moved from place to place but lived in Varanasi alone for one and a half centuries.

The swami was moving stark naked like any other avadhootaswami, who rise above all dualities, blessed with an infinite tolerance and equanimity, ‘samabhaavana’. Once a Maharastrian woman was casting a look of disapproval at his nudity, day after day. She also told him to his face that going about nude would not take anyone nearer to God. During that time she was praying to Lord Viswanath to cure her husband of ulcer. But one night the Lord told her in her dream that only the naked Swami could cure her sick husband. The woman repented and apologised to the swami. He gave her bhasma and she took the dust of the swami’s feet. When she applied the bhasma to her husband’s chest, he was cured in no time.

On another occasion the Raja of Ujjain came to pay a visit to the Raja of Benares. When he was sailing in a boat he saw a man shining gloriously on the water. He heard that he was Mouni Baba and that he would walk on water, would be under water for any length of time and would also appear or disappear at will at any place. The Raja wished to talk to him and the Swami, as if knowing his mind, got into the boat.

In the course of conversation, the Swami threw the sword of the king into water. It had a precious stone on its hilt and it was gifted by a British. The king was torn between anger and grief. He was ready to punish the Swami. The swami put his hand in the water and picked up two identical swords. The king could not identify his own. ‘When one cannot even recognize what was one’s own, why should one bother about that trifle?' This admonition done by Swami brought a sea change in the king.

The Swami’s preaching was in the form of dictation to his trusted disciple Shri Umacharan Mukhopadhyay.

'As the sun is the doer, kartha, for the earth, for jeevi, the highest and the most important, the master is aatma. Owing to the sun’s rays alone, all living beings are able to carry on their activities. In fact the sun does nothing. In the same way, aatma in the human body, like the sun, shines as the karta. By its shining, by its radiance, the senses go on performing their functions.'

This is just a glimpse into his teachings. He has dealt with topics like Aatma bodha, Chitta - Shuddi, Dharma, Upaasana. Tanmayatwam etc in a lucid style.

Reviewed by: Smt. Madduri Rajyasri

Name of the book - The walking shiva of Varanasi
Written by - Dr.V.V.B.Rama Rao
Published by - Richa Prakashan
Website -
price - INR 150.00 USD 4.00
For copies - D-36 south extension part-one
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