Trailanga Swami

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Telanga Swami, Ganapati Saraswati
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
1529 or 1607
Place of Birth: 
Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
Ancestor Gurus: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Chebolu Balasubrahmanyam (Sri PrakasanandaNatha)


Telang Swami was from Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh and belonged to the Dashanami sect. He became known as Telang Swami during his settlement in Varanasi as he was originally from the Telangana region, now in Andhra Pradesh. His biographers and his disciples differ on his birth date and the period of his longevity. According to one disciple biographer, he was born in 1529, while according to another biographer it was 1607. His pre-monastic name was Shivarama and was born in Holia at Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh. His parents were Narashingha Rao and Vidyavati Devi, who were devotees of god Shiva. After the death of his parents, at the age of forty, Shivaram renounced the world and lived the life of a recluse in a cottage near a cremation ground. After practicing sadhana (spiritual practice) for twenty years, he met his preceptor Bhagirathananda Saraswati in 1679 from Punjab. Bhagirathananda initiated Shivaram into sannyasa (monastic vows) and named him Ganapati Saraswati in 1685. Ganapati reportedly led a life of severe austerities and went on a pilgrimage, reaching Prayag in 1733, and finally settling in Varanasi in 1737.
Varanasi in 1922, where the Swami spent considerable part of his life

In Varanasi, till his death in 1887, he lived at different places including Asi Ghat, the Vedavyas Asharama at Hanuman Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat. The Swami was often found roaming the streets or the ghats, naked and "carefree as a child". He was reportedly seen swimming or floating on Ganges for hours. The Swami talked very little and at times not at all. A large number of people became attracted to him upon hearing of his yogic powers to ameliorate their sufferings. During his stay in Varanasi, several prominent contemporary Bengali saints met and described him, including Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Mahendranath Gupta, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Abhedananda., Swami Bhaskarananda, Swami Vishuddhananda Saraswati, Lahiri Mahasaya and Mahatma Vijaykrishna Goswami. After seeing Telang Swami, Ramakrishna said, "I saw that the universal Lord Himself was using his body as a vehicle for manifestation. He was in an exalted state of knowledge. There was no body-consciousness in him. Sand there became so hot in the sun that no one could set foot on it. But he lay comfortably on it." Ramakrishna also stated that Tralinga Swami was a real paramahansa.

The Swami had taken the vow of ayachaka ( non seeking)—remaining satisfied with whatever he received. In the later stage of his life, as his fame spread, pilgrims visited him in multitudes. During his last days, he took up ajagaravritti (living like a python) in which he sat still without any movement, and devotees poured water (abhisheka) on him from early morning till noon, looking upon him as a living incarnation of Shiva. He died on Monday evening, December 26, 1887. His body was given salilasamadhi in the Ganges river, according to the funeral customs of the monks of the Dashanami sect, in the presence of a multitude of mourning devotees standing on the ghats.


Telang Swami describes bondage as "attachment to the world" and liberation as "renunciation of the world and absorption in God."

He says that after attaining the state of desirelessness, "this world is transformed into heaven" and one can be liberated from samsara (the Hindu belief that life is a cycle of birth and death) through "spiritual knowledge".

He remarks that attachment to the "evanescent" world is "our chronic disease" and the medicine is "detachment".

The Swami describes man's senses as his enemy and his controlled senses as his friend. His description of a poor person is one who is "very greedy" and regards one who always remains content as rich.

The Swami says that the greatest place of pilgrimage is "Our own pure mind" and instructs to follow the "Vedantic truth from the Guru." He describes a Sadhu as the one who is free from attachment and delusion.


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