I first heard of Yogaswami from my family. He was the guru for many of my family members and many were the stories of their encounters with this white haired and long bearded master. In fact some members of my family were even named by him. They all spoke lovingly of him, revering him as a source of wisdom, love and guidance in their lives. Yogaswami is also the guru to my guru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.
Visiting his place of residence was high on my list during my visit to Jaffna. I headed out with an auto rickshaw one afternoon to Columbuthurai and very soon we pulled up in front of a walled compound. Entering through the gates onto a sandy front yard I saw two concrete room structures. The one on the right I was told was where Yogaswami lived for most of his life. It was previously a thatched hut and now rebuilt into a concrete structure. Here he lived for years, meeting with countless devotees of all religions that sought his guidance.
The concrete structure on the left was another room that was built to house Yogaswami after he had a hip injury in the final years of his life. It was in this room that he attained Maha Samadhi, a yogi’s final conscious exist from his body. I made my way first into the room that was his residence. One was side there was a shrine to him where a lamp was kept lit. The rest of the room was empty except for a large painting of Yogaswami meditating.
What an extremely powerful place. I sat to meditate enjoying the absolute stillness that seem to pervade the room. “Summa Iru!” was one of Yogaswami’s great sayings. It’s in the Tamil language and the word “summa” has no equivalent in any European language and ‘iru’ is the verb ‘to be’. That said the phrase can loosely be translated to “just be”.
Despite the brutal civil war that lasted 26-years this place has been well maintained by a group of loving devotees. Many of them like the people in this region are in dire need of aid.
For those of you who are not familiar with Yogaswami and would like to read more about him, here are some articles that have been written by some of his direct disciples.
Yoga Swami the Image-Breaker by Sam Wickramasinghe
Yoga Swami: The Sage of Lanka by Santhaswami (Viscount Lord Soulbury)
View Larger Map. Yogaswami’s former residence highlighted in the map above.
Today I thought I’d share some images that I photographed of smiling and laughing children during my many travels to India. These pictures remind me of my favorite quote from my guru, Gurudeva Subramuniyaswami: “Life is meant to be lived joyously.” Whether you are going through a challenging time...Read More
It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of my photography posts. As many of you know I am passionate about photography. During a recent trip to South India in December last year I drove past a small village in Tamil Nadu, South India, where it looked like the main industry here was making…Read More
I recently posted about giving a keynote at the 2017 World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea. Once that event concluded, I spent a couple extra days exploring this wonderful city. I’m particularly drawn to historical sites and spent most of my time exploring a few of the main palaces wi...Read More
Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu Festival of Lights and it celebrates the victory of light over darkness. It is a day of Hindu solidarity. Hindus all over the world celebrate this festival and it is a joyous time for families. Families and friends get together, gifts are exchanged, new clothes ar...Read More