Grihastashrama and Anugraha of guru

Maalapurastham Tripurarimitram, Kaumodakee Nandaka Chakrapanim Bhaktha priyam Shankaralingrupam, Sri Ranganatham Sharanam prapadye "Sri Ranganatha, Dweller of Malapura, Friend of Shiva, Weilder of Kaumodaki, Nandaka, Sharnga, Sudarshana, Lover of your devotees, Verily my Guru Shankaralinga, I bow to thee."

After his return to Nulenur, Rangappa purchased a house, brought his wife over, and settled there with family. He sold his old lands which yielded nothing and bought thirty acres of land. He visited his cousins and relatives who did not need him. But, one Subbanna of Lokadalalu greeted him heartily and forced him to accept two hundred rupees. He started agriculture and trade. He was a pioneer in agriculture as he was the first person in Chitradurga to grow groundnuts. He arranged weddings of his siblings.

Rangappa became a mentor and guide to all the villagers. His childhood friends Dummi Nanjundappa & Rangapura Mallappa joined him again. He used to go to Davangere along with Nanjundappa and meet Thumbigere Chidambarappa. They discussed Adhyathma when they met. Rangappa became famous as a capable Shanubhog. He used to go to Holalkere and take part in reading Kumaravyasa Bharatha. He conducted Geeta Saptahas. Sri Y. Subba Rao attended them and became a close associate of Rangappa. He later became a famous author, assumed sanyasa and is now known of Sri Sri Sachidananda Saraswathi of Holenarasipur. Rangappa hosted many traveling Brahmins and learnt music, Ayurveda, mantra and other arts from them. If his guest were a Vedantist, he would entertain him for a week or so and discuss widely the theory and practise of Adhyathma. He was appointed as Police patil (Magistrate) of Nulenur. Amidst all these activities, Rangappa used to go to Malenahalli at 3-30 am, everyday, and practice Bhakthiyoga (Hatayoga).

Rangappa knew the futility of Hatayoga in achieving Mukthi. Hence he indulged in Dhyana of Sri Lakshmi Ranganatha in his heart (Anahata Chakra). He would return to Nulenur before sunrise. Nobody knew about it. After sometime, one day, Lord Sri Ranganatha presented himself to Rangappa between the eyebrows. Who can describe the supreme beauty of Ranganatha, father of Manmatha!!! His eyes were like lotus leaves in the lotus face. He wore Vyjayanthimala. Srivatsa, a mole, was to be seen on his chest. He wore pitambara (yellow robe), and held kaumodaki (the mace), Nandaka (the sword), Sudarshana chakra and Sarnga bow in his four hands. Bewitching Smile adorned his face of surpassing beauty. Rangappa's mind submerged in Ranganatha and he sat in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, heedless of time.

The temple priest came to the temple for worshipping the Lord. When he tried to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum, a black cobra appeared on the statue of Lord. Scared, he waited outside the temple for the Shanubhog to come out. At about 2'o clock in the afternoon he heard a melodious song from the temple.

'O' Ranga, who causes maya, protect me. Sages like Narada and Gods like Chaturmukha Brahma praised you, and were uplifted by you. You protected Dhruva, you are fond of Samagana, Oh lord you protect those who serve you with love (Prema Bhakthi). Oh Lord! You reside at Malenahalli. Oh, ocean of kindness, save your Bhaktas'.

The priest praised Rangappa and called him talking and walking Ranganatha, the Lord. Rangappa asked the priest to keep mum about the incident. Thereafter, Rangappa used to see Lord Ranganatha, all the 24 hrs of a day. Simultaneously, Rangappa was continuing Atma vichara.

During this period it is said that most venerable Kulandai Anandar of Madurai came to Nulenur and had a long discussion with Rangappa. (Kulaindai Anandar practiced yoga for 1000 years near Manasa Sarovar and entered samadhi while alive. Resurrecting himself, he again practiced yoga for another 1000 years at Katmandu and entered a living Samadhi. After two resurrections he practiced yoga for 1000 years in Madurai on the banks of river Vaigai.)

In 1914 Y. G. Kulkarni and Kohalli master came to Nulenur from Anandavana Agadi. They taught Ramaswamy, son of Rangappa, a shloka about Chidambara.

Kripasamudram Sumukham Trinetram Jatadharam Parvativamabhagam
Sadashivam Rudramananta roopam Chidambaresham Hridibhavayami
(I meditate upon Chidambara, who is an ocean of kindness. He has a beautiful face, has Jata, adorns three eyes, has his consort Parvathi in the left half of his body; he is Rudra, his forms are countless)
Rangappa recited the prayer simultaneously with his son, with great fervor. The guest exclaimed "who can know Chidambara's ichha (divine desire). This is His place. One has to wait and see." One day, Lord Sri Ranganatha told Rangappa "you have not asked me for any thing at all. Now I am granting you anything you ask for." Rangappa said "I aspire to achieve Jivanmukthi”. The lord said "You worship Sri Hanuman for 48 days and he will send you the Guru, who will guide you to Liberation."

In 1919 Sri Narayana Bhagavan of Anandavana Agadi came for seva. He engaged Rangappa in Atmavichara and said "An Uttamadhikari can realize Brahman by the Grace of Guru. Ranganna, you are an uttamadhikari." Rangappa requested him to bless him. But he said “I am not destined to be your Guru. He will come to you and bless you”. Rangappa made small pellets of sandalwood paste; wrote a picture of Anjaneya with them on the wall and reciting Hanumad Bhujana Stotra (written by Adi Shankaracharya) encircled the picture once with the tail. He went on the same way for 48 days and on the 49th day, his Guru came to Nulenur. He was Sri Shankara Bhagawan, one of the main desciples of Sri Sheshachala Maharaj of Anandavana Agadi. Sri Shankara Bhagawan and Rangappa conversed about Guru for a day and night. Next morning Shankara Bhagavan asked Rangappa to go around village chanting Chidambara's name and beg. Rangappa willingly went, begged and put the proceeds at the feet of his Guru. There upon Sri Shankara Bhagavan gave upadesha of Rama manthra to Rangappa. Sri Shankara Bhagavan also initiated Rangappa in Upasana of Devi.

Next year, Shankara Bhagavan came to a village about 30 kms away from Nulenur, where he fell ill. Rangappa went there and served his Guru. During that period some devotees of Devi invited Bhagawan to attend the worship and grace the seat of Guru (Guru mandala). Devi was worshipped with first five 'M's and the bhaktas asked Rangappa to take prasadam and give it to others. Rangappa refused. They objected to it, saying “You teach Advaitha but fail to practise it". Rangappa said "we practise Bhavadwaitha not kriyadwaitha". Hearing this, Shankara Bhagavan said 'Sheshachala sent Maya to test Ranganna. But can she pollute him!."

After some years Shankara Bhagavan invited Ranganna to Thippapura where Laksha Brahmana Santarpane was going on. There, the Guru taught his Shishya, Rangappa, for six months. He found that Ranganna had aleady achieved His goal. He asked Rangappa to return to his native place. Rangappa got ready and prostrated before the Guru reverently. Bhagavan adorned his head with a saffron cloth and said "Ranganna everything is ready in you. But it will take sometime for you to become Guru. This pot (meaning hi body) will not be present at that time. So, when you see me in another form you will see Dattatreya in the middle of Surya Mandala. He will say "my work is over", on seeing you. Remember, he is me”.

Returning to Nulenur, Rangappa gave away equal share of his self earned property to his brother Sheshagiri. Also he gave him the house in which he lived. He kept apart a land for their mother. He constructed a small house for himself and shifted to the new house. Mother Subbamma who lived with her younger son for a few days came over to Rangappa’s home. In 1927, Anaji Yallappa came to Nulenur. He was warmly greeted by Rangappa. He said "Ranganna you are a very eligible sadhaka among us and I came to see you. Also I want to eat chakkuli prepared by Parvathi."

One day, Parvathamma asked her uncle Yallappa "Uncle take your bath”. Yallappa said “who requires a bath?” Later, during lumch, he mixed the dishes served and took one small morsel to his mouth. It fell down. Parvathamma said “Uncle the morsel has fallen down' Yallappa responded "Hmm, which is up and which is down?”. Then, Parvathamma fed him herself; prepared a bed for him and said "uncle please sleep". Yallappa responded "who is awake and who is asleep." Ranganna told his wife “I learnt my first lessons of Atmavidya from him, along with Thumbigere Chidambara. Thus, he is like Drona to us. Now, He is in ajagaraavasthe”. One day Yallappa returned to his place where his son also lived. After a few days, the sad news of his death reached Nulenur. The same year, Subbamma, mother of Rangappa, left this world for Vaikunta, her abode. She was a great lady. Gods whom she invoked would come and give darshan to her. She never thought ill of anybody. Rangappa always obeyed her. He never undertook any work without her permission. May the noble mother’s memory keep us on the right path!!!

After some time, the news of Mahasamadhi of Sri Shankara Bhagavan reached Nulenur. Rangappa told the members of the household "Appa became one with Sheshachala's holy feet." He lit two lamps and observed a Saptaha (Seven days of worship). Once, His Holiness Sri Sri Valukeshwara Bharathi Swamiji of Kudali Sringeri Jagadguru Peetha camped at Holalkere. While delivering Ashirvachana (Blessing), he asked the gathering “what does 'Is' mean?” and waited for an answer. Nobody offered an answer. Rangappa stoodup and said '”I am like an atom before the Jagadguru Peetha. Still I am offering my humble answer to the question. That, which is visible to the physical eye is not, but that which is not visible to the eye, and that which causes the physical eye to see 'Is’”. His Holiness, the Jagadguru Mahasamsthana, was overjoyed. 'Ranganna' said his holiness, “your answer is most apt. you have the blessings of Sri Sharada Sri Chandramoleeshwara. The world will be highly benefited by your knowledge”.

Uddhava Chidghana a desciple of Samartha Brahmachaitanya Maharaj came to Nulenur, tested Rangappa severely and said “Ranganna your interpretation of Bharatha and your incomparable patience make you a great person. You are blessed by Sharada. You are Vanivarada Rangaraja. I am transferring all my tapas to you." Even when Shankarabhagavan was gracing Nulenur, Rangappa was practicing Swaroopanusandhana (ie., identifying one's self with Brahma). After Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi, his practicing of it was nirantara, and he became one with Atman. Though He seemed to be a person, He had become vishwatma. He had neither Vidhi nor Nishidha (Broadly, Do’s & Dont’s in the religious context). He immersed Himself in Brahma. He easily crossed the ocean of birth and death. He realized that he was the omnipotent, omniscient Parabrahma. How can one present His Achievement?!!!

In April 1931, Rangappa decided to celebrate the Jayanthi of Sri Sheshachala Maharaj, his Paramaguru. Many shishyas arrived at Nulenur for this celebration. A day prior to the Jayanthi, Parvathamma breathed her last. Ranganna went near the body and said "If you go now, all the devotees who have come for the Jayanthi will be inconvenienced. So come back." Parvathamma got up and said "why did you call me back, when I was going”. The next day, after the celebrations of the Jayanthi, she put her head on the lap of Ranganna and became one with the lotus feet of her husband. Shankaralinga used to say, "She was my Shakthi." Some months later, he went to Bharamasagara to participate in the upanayana ceremony of Sathyanna, son of his brother in-law Anaji Ramanna. There, he delivered a lecture on Bhakthi in the Anjaneya temple.

"Bhagavantha's nature is that of pure love (Prema). He creates, sustains, annihilates, suppresses and blesses with the sheer power of Prema. In the world, Prema is seen as friendship, respect, kindness, moha, Kama and hatred. They are all forms of Prema. A man cannot attain God by mere intellect (Buddhi). But, Satsanga makes the God-attainment easy. Love towards God is Bhakthi, which is of nine kinds - Shravana, Keertana, Smarana, Padasevana, Archana, Vandana, dasya, Sakhya and Atmanivedana. Thumburu, Narada, Gajaraja, Dhruva, Prahlada, Ambarisha, Anjaneya, Vibhishana, Shabari, Akrura, Uddhava, Vidura, Arjuna, Gopis attained God by Bhakthi. Bhakthi can be compared to division in Mathematics. The world is the dividend, Bhaktha is the divisor, and happiness and sorrow are quotients. The remainder that cannot be reduced anu further is God. If one reposes full faith in him, he will appear in the form of Guru and bless you. By His anugraha our ego is annihilated. Sat-Chit ananda, nithya, paripurna parabrahma appeared in this world by the name of Sheshachala of Anandavana, Agadi." Saying this Rangappa started to sing
Seshachala, Sheshachala, Seshachala... Paahimaam, paahimaam, Bhaktavatsala.

His Bhakti was over brimming and the whole sabha began singing Bhajan and experienced Ananda as never experienced before.