Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mother Umadeviar: Channel to Sri Seshadri Swamigal

Several of my last posts have been about the great Mahan, Sri Seshadri Swamigal. In relation to the great saint, the following is information about the luminary Uma Deviar (born May 22, 1942) who was believed to be a preeminent channel of the great Mahan. She was known to devotees of Sri Seshadri Swamigal but otherwise lived the quiet exemplar life of a married woman with meticulous attention to her duties to God and family. 

I was fortunate to have met Uma Deviar briefly in her home towards the end of her life, where she met me with kindness and courtesy and responded to a worrying spiritual difficulty I was experiencing in words that would be repeated almost exactly, sometime later, by my own guruji, Sri Nannagaru

Through her tapas and sadhana, Uma Deviar previously acted as a channel to various saints until she moved to Tiruvannamalai and her life became inextricably mixed with the great Sri Seshadri Swamigal. Of her connection with him; Mother Umadevi said that Swamigal would appear in front of her in response to questions asked, and thereafter she would convey the answers to those seeking his guidance. To read more about the life of Uma Deviar, go to this link here

Uma Deviar

I found the below narrative written by B.R. Kumar in which he talks of his experiences with Mother Umadevi, beautiful and inspirational and it reminds one that sometimes even in an ordinary guise in an ordinary home, lives a most extraordinary person. 

Mother Umadevi 

“The turning point in my personal and official life was in 1961 when I had the first darshan of Saint Uma Deviar at Thenmathadi Street, Tiruvannamalai. It was evening time, when we reached Tiruvannamalai from Pondicherry. We were at the residence of Sri S.R. Veeraraghavan, well-known Advocate-Scholar of Tiruvannamalai. Sri Veeraraghavan told us that we would be meeting a very rare personality in a few minutes time and he took us to the residence of Sri. R. Muthukumaraswamy, another Advocate of Tiruvannamalai and a prominent personality known for his erudition and benevolence. 

We were introduced to Saint Uma Deviar and we were talking to her. I was wonderstruck at her appearance, for she was bedecked with a huge Kumkuma Pottu on her face which was fully smeared with Vibhuti. I came to know that she was the wife of Sri Muthukumaraswamy. But I was wondering at her saintly appearance. She took each of us separately to an adjoining room and talked to us about our past, present and future lives. She gave vibhuti and blessed me saying that Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal was always with me for guidance and security. I was dazed at her words, for this was the first time in my life that I had met such a personality. 

We came away to Pondicherry the same night, but the memories of my meeting Saint Uma Deviar was haunting me and I wanted to make another trip to Tiruvannamalai immediately and meet the Saint once again. Yes, I did it immediately on my own and reached Tiruvannamalai within a couple of days. I waited on the verandah of the residence of Saint Uma Deviar. A servant woman came from inside and asked me whether I was from Pondicherry and if my name was Kumar. I said ‘Yes’ and I was wonderstruck. The servant maid said that the Saint was doing Puja and she would meet me very soon. After some time the Saint came out and took me inside and was speaking to me for quite a long time. She was seated in a chair and I was on the floor. Sri Muthukumaraswamy was also present by our side. After some time, with great reluctance, I took leave of her and came away to Pondicherry. 

Who is Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal and how does he speaks through Saint Uma Deviar? were questions that I was asking myself several times, but I could not find any answer, within my limited knowledge and experience in spiritual matters But I used to pray to both the Saint Uma Deviar and Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal, by continuously chanting the mantra, “Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal Tiruvaadikke”, which brought me immense benefits in both my personal and official life. 

In the meanwhile, I found in Sri A.D.M. Panneerselvam, a great poet and a devout follower of Mahan, answers to all my questions about the Saint and the Mahan. Sri Panneerselvam became my very close friend in the days to come and our bond of friendship grew from strength to strength. Even after 28 years, I find Sri Paneerselvam humility and friendship unfathomable. I do not know what good I have done for him but to speak to him once on the telephone brings me all memories of my previous Tiruvannamalai visits. 

Saint Uma Deviar used to politely tell all those who met her, to go around the Hill of Arunachala whenever they are in Tiruvannamalai. I used to think that it was only for others and not for me! One day, when I met her in the mid-afternoon, she told me that I should immediately go round the Hill and then return to Pondicherry. I was terrified and did not know what do to. She told me emphatically, “Yes! Go round and come back!”. With great reluctance I started, with a friend of mine from Pondicherry. It was quite hot to start with, but when I landed on the path to go round the weather cooled down and it was all pleasant. I completed the circle in about three hours and raced back to report to the Saint. She blessed me and me that I must undertake such going round frequently. 

Later in the company of Sri A.D.M. Paneerselvam, I have gone around the Hill at different times of the day and night. While going around the Hill during the nights, I have been guided by white glimmering lights to show the path and have seen red lights glowing from the Hill. I have been guided by the pleasant aroma of flowers, vibhuti and medicinal plants. Once a playful calf was leading all around the Hill and finally disappeared. Once a male saint with a dog and a stick in his hand was going in front of us and guiding us throughout our round of the Hill. And many more such incidents made me feel that the Mount Arunachala was a Hill full of throbbing life and that it took care of all those who went round at any time. 

Saint Uma Deviar became part and parcel of my personal life and our entire family bowed and followed whatever she said. Once on her visit to Pondicherry, I had arrange only for a limited number of laddus for distribution to those who came to meet her. But to our surprise, the distribution of laddus became endless and there even remained a surplus quantity! That was a very great miracle performed by Saint Uma Deviar. 

She visited us while I was at Tiruchirapalli in the year 1991 and went on a lecture tour of educational institutions. I took her to the Samadhi of Saint Thayagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru and there she rendered a beautiful composition in Telegu. Saint Uma Deviar could also play on the Veena very well. 

During my train journey from New Delhi, Saint Uma Deviar provided me a security guard and escort of an unknown person, when the train was attacked by an unruly mob. The security guard came with me till I reached my home at Pondicherry. And then he disappeared. During my unplanned long distance travels, Saint Uma Deviar used to send unknown messengers from the Railway Department, to arrange for my reserved accommodation. 

Once Saint Uma Deviar, accompanied me in an unknown form (I could not see it at all!) and set things right, with the higher officials at New Delhi. That was a great relief for me, for I was struggling with a peculiar problem for several years. She secured admission for my son in the Central School, so that I could easily move all over India on transfer. She gave me special numbers for chanting, so that I could solve problems instantly. 

Saint Uma Deviar had prepared and served coffee to me, with her own hands! Once she had served me lunch at her house. At the time, she told me that she had gone without food for over 48 days. Yet she was very cheerful and healthy. There was not a small trace of tiredness or weakness in her appearance. Always she had talked to me with a very bright and broad smile on her face. She used to be extremely cheerful and pleasant whenever she met with devotees. I have been fortunate enough to move with her very closely and I felt sad when she shed her mortal coil. She has not gone anywhere. She lives with all of us. Such is her power of penance. She had sat on the hot rocks of the Mountain of Arunachala at her young age for observing silence and penance. For years, she had not taken food at all. She had lived on a spoonful of milk and a small bit of banana fruit. For preparing the Golden Kavacha for the Goddess Unnamulai Amman of the Big Temple at Arunachala, she removed all the golden bangles that she was wearing on her hands and gave them to Sri Muthukumaraswamy to be taken to Chennai instantly for ordering ornaments for the Goddess. 

I had met her at odd times at her residence at Tiruvannamalai, both at Thenmathadhi Street and Gopal Pillayar Koil Street and she never once frowned upon me. She had always received me with great grace and benevolence and talked to me in a very sweet manner. Once she was on a very long penance of silence, but she welcomed me inside her house and talked to me personally for several minutes. 

Once when one becomes the staunch devotee of Saint Uma Deviar, well-known as “Amma” she takes care of the entire life of the devotee, along with their family. What is required on our part is only devotion, pure devotion.” 

[By B.R. Kumar]

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