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MOUNI BABA OF UJJAIN - ENCOURAGED ASTROLOGY AND ASTROLOGERS
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TRAILANGA SWAMI - II

After staying in Prayag for some years, he went to Kashi and stayed there for hundred and fifty years. He stayed at the outskirts of Kashi, near Lolark kund. When people got to know that the saint had come from Telangana region, they started calling him Tailanga Swami (this is another view with respect to his name). Swami was at a stage now when he was above body consciousness. He would wear no clothes and roam around naked.

A woman passing through the ghat where he was sitting stark naked got very upset with him. She scolded him and shouted at him for staying naked. She told him it was impossible for the ladies to move around in that area because he was not following the decorum required. Swami listened to all she had to say and said nothing. When the lady went home, she saw a terrible dream where Lord Shiva reprimanded her himself, telling her that she had insulted not his gana, but himself. The woman understood that the only person whom she had shouted at (Swami), he was a true saint. She went to him in the morning, folded her hands, then did Sashtang pranam (to pay respect by lying down at the feet) and asked for forgiveness. Swami was too kind to her - ‘Mother, do not worry. You are my mother and it is the right of the mother to scold. You go to the temple to ask for the health and well being of your husband, now he would be well. Some of his karma is left, You take this bhasma (soot), give him some to eat and make a paste of the rest to put on his stomach, he would get well soon’. In a few days, the woman’s husband recovered.

People were in awe of this yogi who had amazing super natural powers. He could heal people. He could bring the dead to life. He could walk on water and sit on water.

In 1810, Raja of Ujjain paid a visit to Kashi. He along with Kashi Naresh, was on a boat going towards Manikarnika ghat when he saw the shining figure of Swami sitting on water. On inquiry, he was told about the extra ordinary powers of the saint. The King was very impressed and as if sensing his wish to see him, Swami appeared on the boat. The King was glad and showed his extra ordinary bejewelled sword to him. The saint did not even think for a moment and threw the sword in water. When the King got in a fit of rage and grief, Swami put his hand in water and extracted two similar swords from the water. He asked the King to recognise his sword, which he obviously could not do. Swami told him sternly that he was troubled for the sword when he could not even recognise which one was his sword. That was his way to show him the futility of the physical attractions of the world.

Sometimes he brought a great change in the thinking of a person when he so desired. A retired Judge of Calcutta High Court was an atheist, he did not believe in the existence of saints or Gods. He paid a visit to Vishweshwar mandir but was too stubborn to join his hands to pray. He stayed in Kashi for some days and hearing about the Swami, he went to the temple to see him. He was so much attracted to the aura of Swami ji, he kept staring at him but did not go further. Then it was like someone telling him to go and touch Swami ji’s feet, then some invisible force pushed him so that he fell on the feet of Swami ji. This became a moment which changed the whole life of the judge. He had such a change of heart and he too became a devotee of the mahatma.

Respected Shri K. N. Rao Sir says it is better to be an honest agnostic that being an dishonest theist. Agnostic is the one who questions everything, when such a person has a divine experience, then when he will believe, that will be for keeps.

Swami was considered the incarnation of Lord Shiva and people treated him so. He would sit in a pit and people would hold pots of water over his head, the pots permeated with numerous holes so water will go over him gently; this was the abhishek done for him by his devotees; this kind of Rudrabhishek is generally done for worshipping Lord Shiva. Such strong was the faith of the people.

He could read the thoughts of the people like a book and knew who had come to him with what purpose. Once two Bengali men came to meet him from Calcutta. They both bowed to him and stood quietly. Baba gestured to them that they should leave. One of the man who was sensible, moved towards the door but the other one stayed back. When the sewak (helper) tried to show him the door, he got furious and grumbled - “We have come from so far away for his darshan (meeting) and updesh (preaching). Why are we being pushed away? What kind of behaviour is this etc.” Swami was under a vow of silence. He gestured to this Bengali man to wait awhile. He pointed some shlokas written on the wall to Mangaldas Thakur and he wrote the same. When the writing was complete Mangal Das was gestured to read it - “You have left shoes worth eighteen rupees outside. If the shoes would be stolen you would have a tough time returning home. Your focus and thought is on the shoes and you say you have come to see me. Your shoes are still outside, wear them and go back!” Another man nudged the Bengali man to ask if that is what he really was thinking. The man said - “Yes, I bought a new pair of shoes yesterday only and was thinking about them. I bought them for eighteen rupees. My shraddha (deep feeling of respect) for Swami ji had not awakened, now I shall not leave him ever.”

Trailanga Swami had the capacity to digest any form of poison. There goes a story that he had gone to meet a great saint and Guru of Aghoris ‘Keenaram’ where he sat on the seat of Keenaram antagonising his disciples; though when Keenaram came, he indicated his men to stay silent and the two saints chatted for a long time. The disciples of Keenaram served Swami five pots of intoxicant which he drank. While going back, Keenaram instructed his disciples to escort Swami expecting Swami to be inebriated but escorts were so amazed when Swami just disappeared and later appeared at Panchgangaghat.

Swami had a huge body but he had no regular eating habits. At times he would eat voraciously; one time Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa offered him 25 pounds of rice pudding ‘kheer’ which he ate in one sitting. It was said that he would never refuse an offering made with love.

At times, he would fast for days together which is actually surprising when we think of his 300 pounds body. When he fasted, he opened it after weeks, with clabbered milk which devotees offered to him. But there were jealous people too who wanted to expose him to be a charlatan. One such nasty man gave him a mix of water and lime (used for white-washing walls) to drink instead of clabbered milk, which Swami drank right away but it had no effect on him and he threw it out through his anus through a spiritual technique called ‘sang prachar kriya’. In a movie made on Trailanga Swami, it is shown differently; Swami segregates water and lime which come out as separate fountains from both his ears. Well, the miscreant went home, suffered extreme stomach ache at night, realised his mistake and came crying to the Swami in the morning. Swami touched his forehead and mercifully cured him of all his pain.

To refrain from being an extrovert, Swami would often take a vow of silence. People who did not know him called him Mauni Baba.

In 1868, when Ramkrishna Paramhamsa was on his trip to Kashi, he visited Lord Vishwanath and then right after he visited Swami. Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa introduced the Swami to his nephew as “The Walking Vishwanath”. Swami was under a vow of silence and the two great ones just sat and gazed at each other for more than an hour. Swami gave him a snuff box as a gesture of welcome. Saints have their ways. “Attaining true knowledge, you become silent. Trailanga Swami is like that.” was what Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa told Mahendra Gupta [Ref. Sri Sri Ramkrishna Kathamrita]

Swami Dayanand Saraswati came to Benares in 1869. As the founder of Arya Samaj, he was strictly againt idol worship. Swami wrote two lines on a piece of paper and sent to him. No one knows what he wrote but Dayananad Saraswati went back next morning.

There were many religious and spiritual people that Trailagna Swami met. One of his well known friends was Lahiri Mahashaya.

In Autobiograpy of a Yogi, Yogananda in conversation with Srimati Kashi Moni (wife and later disciple of Lahiri Mahashaya) wrote: “Lahiri Mahashaya had a famous friend, Trailanga Swami, who was reputed to be over three hundred years old. The two yogis often sat together in meditation. Trailanga’s renoun is so widespread that few Hindus would deny the possibility of truth in any story of his astounding miracles. [Pg 284, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda] At one time when Trailanga Swami broke his silence to pay public honour to Lahiri Mahashaya in Benares, one of his disciples objected. “Sir,” he said, why do you, a swami and a renunciant, show such respect to a householder?” “My son”, Trailanga replied, “Lahiri Mahashaya is like a divine kitten, remaining wherever the Cosmic Mother has placed him. While dutifully playing the part of a worldly man, he has received that perfect Self-realization which I have sought by renouncing everything, even my loincloth!” [Pg 288, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda]


Trailanga Swami did not care whether it was hot or cold, he roamed around without any clothes in the lanes of Benares. Despite of being a heavy man of 300 pounds, he could run fast, he could walk on water - sometimes against the current. He would just go under water and stay there for many hours. Sometimes he would just sit on water which amazed people. He lying on the scorching hot slabs on Manikarnika Ghat was a usual site.

People knew that he was a great saint, they came to him to be relieved of their troubles and never questioned whatever he did. It was the police who would object to him roaming naked in the streets. The police would follow him but he would keep teasing them. He would run in front of them with his heavy frame and rotund belly, remaining at a one hand distance from them. Then he would move towards a lane which would lead them to the Ganges where he would run on water or go beneath water for many hours at a stretch.

The police arrested him one day on the pretext that he was not wearing any clothes and that was against the decorum of society. He was brought in front of the magistrate who asked him to wear a dhoti; on not being taken seriously, magistrate ordered the officers to handcuff him and put him in prison. The police moved towards him but he simply disappeared and none could find him.

Another time when strict police officials were appointed in Benares, he was again imprisoned for the same crime of not wearing any clothes. His huge body was thrust in a small cell of the prison. When the policeman came out, he saw Swami on the roof, he went back inside and saw Swami in the prison also. He was so confused but it was a simple task for Swami to appear and disappear at his own will.

In another account, we get to know that just like in Middle Ages, there were stout wooden “cages” at the intersection of streets where the police would put criminals to be abused and pelted at. Putting Swami in those cages was a task in itself and no sooner that the police had done that, he would be seen sitting on the roof and the chase would begin again. After some time, another magistrate came in Benares. He made sure that Swami should be put in jail; his efforts succeeded and Swami was locked in jail. In the morning, officers were shocked to see Swami’s cell flooded and Swami moving around in the corridors of the prison. On asking him what happened, he smiled and told them that he wanted to urinate in the night and the door was locked, so he used the cell itself. Swami would keep the police wondering how exactly he operated. No lock and key would keep him inside.

He drove the police crazy with his tactics. He was like a problem child for them. Yoganand ji told his highly advanced disciple Oliver Black that there were some more of naughty feats by Swami [as told to Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)] which were not added in “Autobiography of a Yogi”: Having decided that I would not be shocked at the account, Mr. Black then told me that often Trailanga Swami would stand in the Ganges and make his genitals as large as a fire hose and spray the pilgrims (and police) with the same force as a fire hose. But it was not urine, it was marvelous perfume! He would also go into a Shiva temple and either urinate on the linga or urinate in his hand and then pour it over the linga. Of course, the priests and worshippers went wild, but it would be discovered that it was heavenly perfume, and not urine at all. For him there was no difference between Gangajal (water of Ganges) and urine; all being the creation of Supreme power.

He worshipped Maa Kaali in the form of Mangala Devi, the young Kali. He was with his disciple Umacharan when Maa Kali came to life, came out of the idol, talked to Swami and then went back again in the idol. Such was his grace and connect with Maa Kali.

He was trikaalagna i.e. the one who knows the past, present and the future. To his disciple Umacharan, he described his past life and the house of the past life. Swami told him to go and check that house. Swami had described the house and the shlokas written by Umacharan in past life on the walls of the house, which Umacharan found exactly as described.

He decided to take samadhi in 1887 - it was Pausa maas, Shukla paksh ekadashi. He sat in a wooden box in ‘padmasan’ (lotus posture) and as he had already instructed his disciples, the lids were closed and locked. Loaded in a boat at Panchganga Ghat, they took it out in a procession from Assighat to Varunaghat. Before sunset, box was slid in the waters of river Ganges. So many of his devotees were left crying on the banks.

Now, there is Trailangaswami Mutt at Panchganga ghat in Benares with many pictures of him and the saints he met. It has a large Shivlingam in the center of the temple, about five feet high and twenty inches diameter. It is believed that similar length is under the floor. Mutt and the temple are two hundred feet above the ghat.

There is a story which states that Trailanga Swami pulled out the massive boulder from the bottom of the Ganga, carried it under his arm-pit, placed it in the center of the temple, got it carved as linga, did ‘prathista’ and worshipped it as Shivlinga. He himself was a big man, but it would have needed 20 people to get the stone up through the steep steps, how he managed it is beyond our comprehension. Furthermore, there is also the idol of Maa Kali that he worshipped.

The ‘Mutt’ is a living remembrance of the saint who spread his fragrance, his cheer in the lanes of Benares.

Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa answers the questions of his disciple Mahendranath Gupta about his worship in Sri Sri Ramkrishna Kathamrita: “Those who believe in God with form, even after attaining the knowledge of Brahman, live with love for God in order to teach mankind. It is like pouring water from a full pitcher into others.” “All the spiritual practices they have performed to realize God, they tell others about to help them. People dig wells for water with great effort, using spades and baskets. Some of them throw the spades and other tools into the well itself after it is dug, thinking, What use are they now? But some put the tools on the edge of the well so they may be of benefit to others. “There are some who eat mangoes and then secretly wipe their mouths. There are others who eat and also share the mangoes with others. They work for the benefit of mankind “ 

 There are so many stories about him, I have just described a few here. His life is a divine inspiration for the sadhus (saints) and sadhaks (seekers) of the whole world. It was miraculous that only those who really wanted to see him devoutly, got his darshan. It is humbling that I could pen down a bit here as my obeisance to him.

[References: 1) The Walking Shiva of Varanasi by V.V.B. Rao; 2) Bharat ke Mahaan Yogi by Vishwanath Mukherjee; 3) Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda; 4) Patanjali Yoga Sutra]

Ram Navami 2 April 2020

Trefwoorden: KN Rao, Trailanga Swami, Journal of Astrology, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Varanasi, Kashi, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Paramhamsa Yogananda, Lahari Mahasaya, Kali Ma, Manikarnika ghat, Swami Dayanand Saraswati

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