ARUTPERUNJOTHI RAMALINGA ADIGALAR
year of birth : 1823 | place of birth : Marudar, Tamil Nadu, India
parents : Ramiah Pillai, Chinnamaiar
siblings : Sabhapati, Parasuraman, Sundarammal and Unnamali
nationality : Indian | occupation : Poet.. Writer.. Publisher.. Commentator
website : www.vallalar.org
“ My Lord, today you have shown yourself to be with me
and myself to be within you and thus removed my
suffering and done me good. ”
“ When I see men feeding on the coarse and vicious food
of meat, it is ever-recurring grief to me. ”
“ No sooner the Light was perceived,
happiness prevailed on me. ”
ArutperunJothi Ramalinga Adigalar, popularly known as VALLALAR, the Great Munificent, may be regarded as the foremost of the saints and ages of the nineteenth century, considering the heights, widths, depths and intimacies of his integral realisation of the Divine in all the "inmost, inner, outer and the outermost parts of his being"
Arutprakasa Vallalar Chidambaram Ramalingam (5 October 1823 – disappeared on 30 January 1874 (Presumed not dead)), whose pre-monastic name was Ramalingam, is commonly known in India and across the world as Vallalar. He was one of the most famous Tamil Saints and also one of the greatest Tamil poets of the 19th century and belongs to a line of Tamil saints known as "gnana siddhars" (gnana means higher wisdom). The Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Sathiya Sangam was spread and passed on by him not only in theory but mainly in practice by his own way of living which was itself inspiration for his followers. Through the notion of Suddha Sanmarga Sangam, the saint endeavoured to eliminate the caste system. According to Suddha Sanmarga, the prime aspects of human life should be love connected with charity and divine practice leading to achievement of pure knowledge.
He made an indelible mark in the religious history of India when he came out openly against its caste system and the negative impact it had on society. In an attempt to redress the situation he established the 'Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Satya Sangam' in 1865, which means 'Society for pure truth in universal self-hood'. He had also by this time shifted to a place called Karunguzhi from Chennai. His next step in establishing a practical approach to religion was the setting up of a free eating house called The Sathya Dharma Salai in a place called Vadalur in 1867, where all could eat without any distinctions whatsoever. Ramalinga Vallalar abhorred non-Vegetarianism.
In 1865 he established a center for feeding the poor people. On the inaugural day he lit the fire of the stone stove, with a declaration that the fire be ever alive and the needy shall be fed forever. Around 1870 he established the Sathya Gnana Sabai, hall of True Wisdom Forum and ensuring it was entirely secular. This place is not a temple as no offerings of fruits or flowers could be made and no blessings were given. It was open to people of all castes except those who ate meat, who were only allowed to worship from the outside. The oil lamp lit by him is kept perpetually burning. He said that our soul is blinded by seven veils. There are seven cotton fabric screens, representing the seven factors that prevent a soul from realizing its true nature.
The entire complex is bound by a chain with 21,600 links, said to represent 21,600 inhalations by a normal human being. He said intelligence we possess is Maya intelligence which is not true and final intelligence. Path of final intelligence is "Jeeva Karunyam". He advocated a casteless society. Vallalar was opposed to superstitions and rituals. He forbade killing animals for the sake of food. He advocated feeding the poor as the highest form of worship. He condemned inequality based on birth.
Adigal on January 30, 1874, entered the room and locked himself and told his followers not to open it. He said that even if they did open it they would find nothing (United with Nature & ruling the actions of 'all of the alls' - as told in his poem called 'Gnana Sariyai'). His seclusion spurred many rumors, and the Government finally forced the doors open in May. The room was empty, with no clues.