Sri Ramalinga Vallalar - Revolutionary Saint and Social Reformer

Sri Ramalingam Vallalar was a multifaceted personality who changed the face of Tamilnadu. Sri Ramalingam lost his father when he was just six months old. Hence he was brought up by his brother. Even at the young age, the self knowledge of Sri Ramlingam was quite revealing and he started composing verses from the young age of eight onwards. 

Starts Self Study at home and gets Lord Muruga’s Darshan: He was not interested in going to school for studies. When compelled by his brother he took a number of books, pooja materials and a mirror in his room. After a few days Ramalingam set a mirror on the wall and placed in front of it a lamp having a naked flame from a wick burning with oil. He practiced concentration of his mind by looking at the reflection of the flame and tried to feel the glow of the lamp within himself. He was deeply immersed in praying to Lord Muruga with the door closed all the time. After many days, to his boundless joy, he had the vision of Lord Muruga in the mirror at the age of nine years which became a turning point in his life. 

As a mark of respect, his disciples named Sri Ramalingam as ‘Thiruvarut Prakasa Vallalar’. Thereafter the name Vallalar became very famous and he was respectfully called as Vallalar. He started ‘Samarasa Suddha Sanmrga Sathyadharmasala’ on 23rd May, 1867. The name emphasizes the importance of Dharmic values. The main service is to provide food to the people and thousands of people were being fed everyday even today. It is memorable to note that the fire lighted in the kitchen from that day till date for more than hundred and forty years, has never been put off. 

He established ‘Sangam’ instead of ‘Mutt’. Since he wanted householders and family members including women to join in large numbers with the freedom to act and eradicate the irregularities degenerating the society with meaningless rituals and exploitation of the gullible poor people in different walks of life. He also started a centre to show the path of Gnanamarga at Vadalur near Chidambaram. This Centre is in octagonal shape with a twelve pillared mandapam and another four pillared mandapam inside. In the four pillared mandapam Ramalingam lighted the lamp (Jothi) on 25.1.1872 and Jothi continues to burn till date. In front of the Jothi there are seven screens in different colours indicating the different stages to be crossed over by human beings to get real enlightenment. On 30th January 1874, he entered his room and asked his followers to lock the door. He never came out in his physical body. It was, therefore, held by his followers that he had himself merged into and became one with the Lord of Supreme Light at the age of fifty years. When they opened the door after many months, they found none inside the room. 

Ramalinga Vallalar was a bold social reformer. He established four centers which continue to spread his message of compassion to mankind. In the school which he started, he arranged to teach the three languages Tamil, Samskrit and English, the first to introduce three languages in Tamil Nadu.

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