Mystic India: Trailinga Swami
This afternoon Sri Kumar wanted to see the groups from the different countries, especially to give a welcome to those who came here for the first time. Having two passports 🙂 , I joined the German group (the Swiss is virtually too small to really be a “group” here…
Four members of the German group had just come from a visit to Benares / Varanasi and told about their experiences. As Sri Kumar had suggested them, they had been at the place where Trailinga Swami lived. He mentioned that the Swami was a master of the Ashram of Agastya, in the Nilagiris – and I remembered having a picture of him, in a collection of the pictures of the Guru Pooja altar. I showed Sri Kumar the photo of this extraordinary yogi and he confirmed that it is he whom he was talking about.
Trailinga Swami was known all over India for his extraordinary yogic powers. He had brought a huge lingam out of the waters of Ganges, which the four members had seen in Benares. At other occasions Sri Kumar had told the sotry of how the swami had been locked in prison because of running around nude – only for the prison personnel to seem him a short while later sitting on the top of the prison – naked. Again into prison, and again he was sitting there on the top as natural as nature made him. He was a very voluminous person who reportedly lived several hundred years, and he left his body in 1887. You can read in Wikipedia other extraordinary things about this Swami about whom well-known persons like Ramakrishna, Lahiri Mahasaya / Yogananda wrote; here is an extract:
“On many occasions, he was seen to drink deadly poisons with no ill effect. In one instance, a skeptic wanted to expose him as a fraud. The monk was accustomed to breaking his long fasts with buckets of clabbered milk, so the skeptic brought him a bucket of calcium-lime mixture used for whitewashing walls instead. The monk drank the entire bucket with no ill effect—instead, the skeptic fell to the ground writhing. The monk broke his usual silence to explain the law of karma, or cause and effect.
According to another story, he often walked around without any clothes, much like the naga (or “sky-clad”) sadhus. The Varanasi police were scandalized by his behaviour, and had him locked in a jail cell. He was soon seen on the prison roof, in all his ‘sky-clad’ glory. The police put him back into his locked cell, only to see him appear again on the jail roof. They soon gave up, and let him again walk the streets of Varanasi.
Thousands of people reportedly saw him levitating in a sitting position on the surface of the river Ganges for days at a time. He would also apparently disappear under the waves for long periods, and reappear unharmed. Swami Sivananda attributed some of his miracles to the siddhi or yogic power Bhutajaya— or conquest over the five elements, “Fire will not burn such a Yogi. Water will not drown him.“