About Sadguru Omkar

Sadguru Omkar
Sadguru Omkar
04-Dec-1889 - 4-Mar-1978

        Osho Says "India is not just a geography or history. It is not just a nation,a country,a mere piece of land.It is something more:it's a metaphor,poetry,something invisible but very tangible. It is vibrating with certain energy fields that no other country can claim. For almost ten thousand years,thousands of people have reached to the ultimate explosion of consciousness. Their vibration is still alive,their impact is in the very air;you just need a certain perceptiveness,a certain capacity to receive the invisible that surrounds this strange land. It is strange because it has renounced everything for a single search,the search for truth." True to the statement... this country has been home to countless great men & women who have sacrificed everything,including the last thing what one can let go...one's ego! to find answers to those fundamental questions what one has about oneself & the world around us. It's amazing that almost every place in India has a great person associated with it,sometimes multiple! No other country can boast of such an asset.

        One such great soul was Sadguru Omkar who lived in lower Nandi Hills near Bangalore in the last century. From being one of the first communist's India saw,to a freedom fighter and then a Spiritual Ascetic,Sadguru traversed a long road in his life. He is one of India's hardly known (almost on the point of being unknown) mystic whose ideas are not just revolutionary but filled with deep insight & wisdom. It's unfortunate that the world has almost forgotten this great soul who never built a big ashram or fan following nor did miracles to attract masses. He was among those sages that India saw,who lived the way they preached. It's indeed remarkable for a revolutionary person in recent times to have led a life the way old sages did, living amidst forests in a small temple beside a stream, almost unknowingly with bare material needs.

       Sadguru Omkar was born in 4th Dec 1889 in Erukkur in Tanjore district (near Kumbakonam) as Neelakhanta Brahmachari in an orthodox brahmin family. Since his high school days he was interested in revolutionary ideas & activities. After coming in contact with an editor of a revolutionary journal, he left his home & took part in freedom movement. During this period his group published the Communist Manifesto for the first time in India. He was associated with Aurobindo Ghosh's group & was involved in the Robert W.D.E Ashe murder case, for which he was arrested in 1911. He was the prime accused in that case & was sentenced to prison.  Sadguru escaped in 1914 but got rearrested shortly with an increased sentence. He was released in 1919. But after getting into an altercation with police he was rearrested in 1922 & sentenced to 10 yrs in prison. During his second prison term he underwent a spiritual transformation.After his release in 1930, he quit politics & decided to devote his efforts towards self realization.

       After travelling for some time during his spiritual sojourn where he served as a priest of the princely family of Hoshangabad  he came to lower Nandi Hills and settled there for the rest of his life. He renovated a dilapidated Shiva temple & made that his ashram. From this place he carried on his spiritual activities,helping poor people around & teaching seekers. I got to know from one of the persons who had met Sadguru and was with him for some time, that Sadguru never used to save(keep) money. The moment he got some from his shishyas and admirers, he used to distribute it among the poor people & their kids in the surrounding areas. During this period, prominent persons like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Mahadev Desai, Justice Nittoor Srinivas Rao, Sitaram Goel etc.,met him and discussed various matters. Dr J C Kumarappa, Gandhi's associate was responsible for initiating the visits of Patel, Gandhi & Mahadev Desai. Dr Kumarappa met the Swamiji and was deeply impressed with is personality & wisdom. He wrote "You shall be missing something great, if you do not meet Sadguru Omkar", in his brief report to Sardar Patel and Mahadev Desai.
        Not much is known about his personal life, his parents, relatives & guru etc.,whatever info we have about him is what Shri Gautam Dharmapal gathered during his long association with him. To know more about Sadguru's life one can read the nice forward by Shri Dharmapal in the book "Confessions, Upadesh & Talks" by Sadguru Omkar. Other than that, this link gives a fair idea of Sadguru's pre monastic personality and the details of the case he was sentenced for: http://madrasmusings.com/Vol%2019%20No%208/The_Ashe_murder_case.html. Another article purportedly written by Sadguru about his close friend Alfred Tampoe ( also the judge who sentenced Sadguru in Ashe murder case! ) mentions that he had coauthored a book on the underground revolutionary movement in South India: http://madrasmusings.com/Vol%2023%20No%204/when-a-judge-became-the-prisoners-friend.html . I understand from Shri Nagarajan Sreenivasan Iyer, who is the great grand nephew of Sadguru,  that he was born into a brahmin family of  5 - 6 siblings to ShivaramaKrisha Iyer & mother Subbulakshmi . He had a younger brother, late Shri Sooryanarayana Sastrigal & three, four sister's. One of them is late Shri Gowri Ammal (grand mother of Shri Nagarajan S Iyer) and another is Shri Vembu Patti her elder sister. No information is available about the other sister's. Sadguru's father was quite well to do and well versed in Vedas & shastras. Sadguru left the house when he was around 11 years of age & got involved in revolutionary activities soon after. His family couldn't maintain touch with him due to the play of circumstances. Shri Gowri Ammal met him after 40 years during the 70's in his ashram. A little mention of Sadguru's pre monastic life is made in the Tamil film Kappalottiya Thamizan. It's indeed a miracle for such a transformation to happen in a person,which can be best described in Sadguru's own words: "I have changed from wishing everything needs to be set right to affirming everything is all right!". Sadguru Omkar died of heart attack on Mar 4, 1978 at the ripe age of 89 after already suffering from a paralysis stroke earlier. Sadguru mastered Atma Vidya & devoted his life to spread it.

Noted Kannada journalist, author & historian Dr Babu Krishnamurthy's articles in VijayaVaani news paper provide a detailed account of Sadguru's life.  Dr Babu Krishnamurthy's engrossing style of writing makes an interesting read. The two articles are a must read if one is interested in knowing more about Sadguru. Links to the articles:  https://s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/erelegos3dec17/News/VVAANINEW/BEN/2018/03/01/ArticleImages/177DA79.jpg &  https://s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/erelegos3dec17/News/VVAANINEW/BEN/2018/03/08/ArticleImages/1A5007F.jpg

          When I visited his ashram,I found that not many locals remember him & his legacy discontinued. It appears the world has forgotten him long back. Even his contributions to the freedom struggle is hardly remembered by the country except for few historians well versed with that case. They too are not aware of what happened to him later,other than the fact that he took to spiritualism. As he(Sadgururu) said, with respect to various ages which came,went & left their fragrance behind:He came,made the world around him beautiful & left gracefully without any trace! It's unfortunate that hardly any information exists about him in web or literary world other than the wonderful book "Confessions, Upadesh & Talks" published by Akshaya Prakashan. Even a web search leads to reviews of his book and other unrelated sites. Seeing all this,I felt  that something needs to be done to keep his memory alive & ensure that such wonderful wisdom is not lost forever, hence this site.

Picture courtesy:Akshaya Prakashan.