Pilgrimage to Murugodu

In the month of Phalguna, 1934, Shankaralinga left Nulenur on a pilgrimage to Murugod, the birthplace of Chidambara. Before leaving, he handed over the charge of village accountant to his son Ramaswamy. The pilgrimage party consisted of twenty-two persons. There were two carts to carry utensils and womenfolk. After offering worship at Maruthi, Kukkadamma and Chandeshwara temples, Shankaralinga said "We have two rupees with us. No pilgrim shall carry even single paise with him. We shall beg alms on our way and arrange for food. Those who are afraid of hardships may stay back.

They used to traverse six miles in the morning and six miles in the evening. The party went to Chennagiri in its journey. Shankarappa (Shankaralinga's brother) was working there. One day Shankarappa took Shankaralinga to the house of the forest ranger. There, Shankaralinga engaged himself in a conversation in English. The ranger was wonderstruck. He was a gold medallist in English in the degree course. He gave all the money he had as Seva. Shankaraling took only four rupees and returned the rest. The ranger asked Shankarappa, “Is your brother a master's degree holder in English?" Shankarappa replied "No, he attended a village school for two years only." At that time there was no schools and somebody in village would teach reading and writing to boys on sand.

From there they went to Basavapatna and Kotehal. There, they conducted an Akhanda Bhajana Saptaha. They went to Malebennur and they worshipped at Komaranahalli. The party walked for six miles in the morning (10kms). They would engage themselves in Bhajana Bhiksha in the places found in their way. They would cook the food and eat, at a convenient place on their way. In the afternoon, they would travel for another six miles. They would stay in a convenient place (a temple or a choultry) at night and commence the journey in the morning. The party crossed Tungabhadra and camped in a garden. More than twenty persons went to Harihar. Shankaraling ordered to prepare food for fifty persons. When the food was ready they worshiped Annapurneshwari. There were hardly eight people. At that time a party of about 25 people came to the garden and requested for prasada (food). They were satisfied with the dinner and took the blessings of Swamiji and went away. At Ranebennur, one Moropant became close to Shankaralinga and told him: "why do you beg in the streets. There are many rich merchants here at whose homes many are suffering from diseases. If you cure them, it will rain gold"

Shankaralinga accompanied the Bhajan party. In the middle of the main road he began singing a song and dancing. “Oh! Sri Rama, Rama, Rama. Oh! Consort of Sita, Dweller of Saketapura, all the gunas dwell in you.” The whole street began singing and dancing around him and some merchants emptied their till at his feet. At Kadaramandalagi, there is a famous Hanuman temple. When Shankaraling was in the temple, there was a hue and cry in the school behind. A white cobra had entered the school. Shankaralinga went there, saluted the cobra and said Gurumaharaj, the children and teachers are afraid of seeing you in this form please go away". The cobra obliged.

He also cured a young man, son of the Shanubhog of Asundi who had been slow poisoned by some miscreants. At Motebennur, two Pilgrims met him, fell at his feet and said "we are from Murugod. Chidambara had promised to come back to Murugod this year. He has come in your form. We were proceeding to Rameshwar but now as we have seen Rameshwar, there is no necessity to proceed. We will return to Murugod and will be waiting for you." The party went to Byadagi where Sri Bhagavan cured a lady who was afflicted by Brahma Rakshasa. They proceeded to Anandavana Agadi, where they were greeted by Gurubhaktas. The Bhajana Bhiksha at Agadi was an unprecedented affair.

Sri ShankarraLinga Bhagavan and his party went to Hubli and rested at Krishnendra yogi's Mutt. Sri Bhagavan was amidst Akhanda Thurya. He gave boons to innumerable people. Thousands attended his discourses. After a discourse, one morning a very rich man approached Bhagavan and said "Swamiji, my son is unable drink even a drop of water since three days, let alone eating anything. He may die anytime now. Please come to my home and bless him so that he may attain punyalokas (Lokas attained by virtues). Bhagawan said "Do not utter anything bad. Good days are ahead of your son. We shall come to your home." So saying Bhagavan went to his house, blessed his son and said "give a spoon of boiled water when he asks. Give him ganji (porridge) next week. Apply Bhasma and kumkum on his forehead." (The parents wrote a letter to Nulenur after two months and informed that his son was quite healthy). The next day Sri Bhagavan went to Siddaruda Mutt. Sri Gurunatharudha (successor to Siddaruda) was sitting in the mutt. He observed silence always. Seeing Bhagavan he saluted at the same time as Bhagavan saluted him. Sri Sharanappa, who was the manager of the mutt, hugged Bhagavan and said "this is really a great and auspicious day. Why did you stay elsewhere? This is your own place. You cannot hide the Atmajyothi."

He arranged for cooking food. And, after Naivedya, the pilgrim party took the prasada there. One, Sri Thammanna Naik took Bhagavan to his home, worshipped the feet of Guru and made a single request "Bless me Guruji, let me always experience Gurubhakti." From Hubli, the party's journey continued and they reached Gurlahosur, where Rajaram had built a temple for Chidambareshwara. From Gurlahosur they reached Kengeri where Chidambara had built Chidambareshwara and Marthandeshwara Temples. At Kengeri, Shanakar Dixit, who was a descendent of Chidambara Dixit, welcomed Shankaralinga and treated him as the head of the family. Shankaralinga gave pravachana in an adjoining hall.By the time Shankaraling reached Kengeri, there were 80 people with him. On 16-5-34 an Akhanda Bhajana Saptaha was started with the Bhajan

Many disciples of Bhagavan joined him at Kengeri. From kengeri, Shankaralinga visited Subbapura, Tenekolla and other places where Chidambara had performed miracles. On 17-5-34, Shankaralinga was invited to Murugod by Bapu Dixit, who was a descendent of Chidambara Dixit. He welcomed Him at the front door, washed His feet and sprinkled the thirtha upon his head. He took Shankaralinga inside and performed pada pooja with Rudrabhisheka and sang

There was a Bhoori-Bhojana. Shankaralinga returned to Kengeri. When he fixed a date for return, the local Bhaktas removed the wheels of the cart. After much persuasion they permitted him to return, but again they blocked the road, crying and saying "we cannot live without you." He assured them that he would return to Murugod after some time. From Murugod, they went to Badli where Mahamahopadhyaya Dixit, a descendent of Chidambara Dixit lived. He welcomed Shankaralinga, took him to his home, made him sit on a seat used by Chidambara and recited an Abhanga of Rajaram. In it, Rajaram had stated that Chidambara would come to Badli on a certain date. It was the same date on which Shankaralinga visited Badli.

Shankaralinga took bath in Malapahari River. Mahamahopadhyaya Dixit performed padapuja and as per Bhagavan's instructions, a santarpane was performed. Bhakri and nuchhu were the two dishes very dear to Chidambara and they were served on that day. He went to Savadatti, worshipped Sri Renukamba and returned to Nulenur. He performed yathra samaradhana. He reported his visit to Murugod to Sri Dattaraja yogindra who said " You have accoured immense Shakti due to this." In August 1934, Sri Dattaraja Yogindra came to Nulenur and said "Ranganna, I have decided to give all the treasure I have received from my Guru Sahajananda. It is a treasure starting from Sri Narasimha Saraswati of Ganagapur, comprising the tapas of Madhava Saraswati, Janardhana Swamy, Ekanatha, Shankarananda, Sahajananda and myself." Shankaraling expressed a doubt about his eligibility to receive it. Yogindra reassured him that he was the fittest person to receive it.

Yogindra made Shankaralinga sit on the seat of Sahajananda and performed padapuja. He took some mantrakshate and poured some water onto his palm, and gave the Taponidhi to Shankaralinga. He said "The entire Universal Shakthi is at your command. We have given it to you as per the instructions of my Guru. “May your tribe increase. May your disciples be blessed! Let the whole world be benefited by this”. On the same day he showed a place at the outskirts of Nulenur and said "I think this will be the place of Datta." In Gurupantha the disciples call their Guru by the name of Appa (father). Guru's Guru (Parama guru) is called as Ajja (grand father). Appa (Shankaralinga) used to say "this is Kaliyuga. You cannot get an eligible shishya. Even if you find one, he can hardly get a Guru. It is indeed difficult to follow all the instructions of Guru in toto. So call me Appa. As a father excuses his child, I will excuse you if, perchance, you stray from the right path."

From Nulenur, Ajja went to Koragal where the samadhi of Sahajananda was completed. He went to Molakalmuru, where he was afflicted by sheer cold. At Nulenur, plague spread for the first time. About 600 villagers were attacked by it. Appa arranged for Nandadeepa (Non stop lighting of lamps) at the temples and a Bhajan party at night, all around the village. At his own home, everyone was attacked by the plague. Appa draped his elder son with a cloth given by Ajja and said "Appa, welfare of this body is your's"

Hearing the news, his shishyas came to Nulenur. Appa said "those who believe in Guru's power may step inside. Those who are not afraid of the goings on inside, may come in." Only three persons from Bharamasagara stayed there. The members of the family would get four or five plague boils, Appa would touch them and they would disappear. During this period about twelve Shaktis would manifest on Appa's daughter. Appa would name the Shakti and dress & adorn her according to the Dhayana shloka. After the puja, the Shakti would enter Appa. On the twelveth day, Rajarajeshwari manifested. On that day Srinivasa Rao came from Lokikere, prepared the required dishes and worshipped her. Appa said "Jagadamba is satisfied today”. From that day, Appa was called "Sarvashaktyamba sahita Sri Shankaralinga Bhagawan".