Brahmasree Sree Neelakanda Gurupadar
Born on the 23rd of December 1900 in one of the richest families in Uliyazhthura village near Thiruvananthapuram. As a child Gurupadar used to chant ‘Rama’ manthram and recite Adhyatma Ramayana on a regular basis. After having meditated and practiced penance at Madavooppara Cave Temple and Subramanya temple at Veli Mala, Gurupadar moved into the present Chenkottukonam Ashram in 1920 and established a hermitage. His Holiness gave away the entire land but for 14 cents (about 6000 sq ft) to the needy and continued his silent penetrating penance for the next 45 years without moving out of the Ashram. Through the continuous recitation of Ramayana and upasana (worship) of Lord Rama, His Holiness attained the state of ‘Atmarama‘ or oneness with the cosmic self quite akin to Sree Ramadasa, Hanuman.
Gurupadar was the embodiment of divine light and wisdom. Though uneducated in the ordinary sense of the term, Gurupadar used to correct wrong recitation of the Vedas and the Upanishads.
Gurupadar attained ashtaiswarya Sidhis that included knowing everything beforehand, disappearing from the view of others, assuming the form of any living being and being present at distant places, etc. The actual list of abilities are anima, mahima, garima, laghima, prapti, prakamya, Isatva, vasitvam. Quite a few real life examples are quoted in the book “Paadapooja”, written by Swami Sathyananda Saraswathy as His tribute to Gurupadar.
Gurupadar maintained a very simple and humble life style. When people started addressing Him as Gurudevan, smilingly commented that Devan is very low in the hierarchy, I will remain as a padar, meaning of that sentence not understood by many till date.
Gurupadar had the divine power of knowing everything beforehand, disappearing from the eyes of others while being present among them, assuming the form of any living being and being present at distant places. Though nothing remained beyond his reach and power, he led a simple and ordinary life clad in a short single piece of dhoti. Gurupadar welcomed everyone without distinction of community, class, creed or religion and proclaimed the world as one family – “Vasudhaiva kutumkam”. This hermitage came to be known as Swamiyarmadom. He instituted unique and luminous institutions to instill reverence and piety in the hearts of common people.
Gurupadar founded Sree Rama Dasa Madom on July 4, 1962, installed the idols of Srirama, Sita and Anjanyea in the Ashram shrine and introduced regular worship. On May 26, 1965, the holy day of Utharayana Shuklapaksha, Ekadashi, Gurupadar willfully gave up His body and attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi, after anointing Swamy Sathyananda Saraswathy, his favorite disciple as the next Madhathipathy.