Trailanga Swami:

 

Swami Trailanga, who was reputed to be nearly three hundred years old when he died, is so renown in India on such a widespread basis, that few Hindus would deny the possibility of truth in any story related to his astounding miracles. If Jesus returned to earth and walked the streets of New York, displaying his divine powers, it would cause the same awe among the people that Trailanga created decades ago as he passed through the crowded lanes of Benares. He was one of the siddhas (perfected beings) that have cemented India against the erosions of time.

 

On many occasions the Swami was seen to drink, with no ill effect, the most deadly poisons. Thousands of people, many still alive today, observed Trailanga floating on the Ganges for days on end, sitting ON TOP of the water or remaining hidden for long periods under the waves. A common sight at Manikarnika Ghat was the Swami's motionless body on the blistering stone slabs, wholly exposed to the merciless Indian sun.

 

Whether the great master was above water or under it, and whether or not his body challenged the fierce solar rays, Trailanga sought to teach men that human life need not depend on oxygen or on certain conditions and precautions.


The yogi was great not only spiritually, but physically. His weight exceeded three hundred pounds: a pound for each year of his life. As he ate very seldom, his mystery increased. A master, however, easily ignores all usual rules of health when he desires to do so for some special reason, often a subtle one known only to himself. See also Nirodha.


Great saints that have Awakened from the cosmic mayic dream and realized this world as an idea in the Divine Mind, can do as they wish with the body, knowing it to be only a manipulatable form of condensed or frozen energy. Though physical scientists now understand that matter is nothing but congealed energy, illumined masters have passed victoriously from theory to practice in the field of matter control.

 

Trailanga always remained completely nude (see: Digambara). The harassed police of Benares came to regard him as a baffling problem child. The natural Swami, like the early Adam in the garden of Eden, was unconscious of his nakedness. The police were quite conscious of it, however, and unceremoniously committed him to jail. General embarrassment ensued; the enormous body of Trailanga was soon seen, in its usual entirety, on the prison roof. His cell, still securely locked, offered no clue to his mode of escape.


The discouraged officers of the law once more performed their duty. This time a guard was posted before the Swami's cell. Might again retired before Right: the great master was soon observed in his nonchalant stroll over the roof.


The Goddess of Justice wears a blindfold; in the case of Trailanga the outwitted police decided to follow her example.


The great yogi preserved a habitual silence. In spite of his round face and huge, barrel-like stomach, Trailanga ate only occasionally. After weeks without food, he would break his fast with potfuls of clabbered milk offered to him by devotees. A skeptic once determined to expose Trailanga as a charlatan. A large bucket of calcium-lime mixture, used in whitewashing walls, was placed before the swami.


"Master," the materialist said, in mock reverence, "I have brought you some clabbered milk. Please drink it."

 

Trailanga unhesitatingly drank, to the last drop, the quarts of burning lime. In a few minutes the evildoer fell to the ground in agony. "Help, swami, help!" he cried. "I am on fire! Forgive my wicked test!"


The great yogi broke his habitual silence. "Scoffer," he said, "you did not realize when you offered me poison that my life is one with your own. Except for my knowledge that God is present in my stomach, as in every atom of creation, the lime would have killed me. Now that you know the divine meaning of boomerang never again play tricks on anyone."


The sinner, healed by Trailanga's words, slunk feebly away.


The reversal of pain was not a result of the master's will but of the operation of the law of justice that upholds creation's farthest swinging orb. The functioning of the divine law is instantaneous for men of God-realization like Trailanga; they have banished forever all thwarting crosscurrents of ego. See also Enlightenment and Karma, their role in the Awakening experience.

 

In an exploration of how any downstream outflow the Swami may have had on more modern times, it is said Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was greatly impacted by Trailanga. There are at least four references to the Swami in The Gospel of Ramakrishna. The longest, in Swami Nikhilananda's introduction, describes Ramakrishna's VISION of the Siva in Benares; "with ash-covered body and tawny matted hair, serenely approaching each funeral pyre and breathing into the ears of the corpses the mantra of liberation."

 

When Ramakrishna paid his visit to Trailanga Swami he later declared him to be a real Paramahamsa, a "veritable image of Siva." Ramakrishna also described the Swami as having taken a vow of silence, but also quotes him regarding the mind, so apparently he was not always silent (possibly writing responses).


On one KNOWN occasion in Benares, Trailanga forsook his usual silence in order to pay public honor to Lahiri Mahasaya. One of Trailanga's disciples objected.
"Sir", he said, "why do you, a Swami and a renunciant, show such respect to a householder?".


Trailanga replied, "My son, Lahiri Mahasaya is like a divine kitten, remaining wherever the Cosmic Mother has placed him. While dutifully playing the part of a worldly man, he has received that perfect Self-realization which I have sought by renouncing everything - even my loincloth!".

 

Said to have been associated with the mysterious Gyanganj (Jnanaganj) hermitage somewhere in Tibet -- a secret place of great masters said to be hidden in a valley high in the mountains of the Himalayas or possibly on on the flatlands to the north of Kailash-Mansarovar.


Another highly venerated monk almost always associated with Gyanganj is the mysterious Indian sage Mahavatar Babaji, who, like Trailanga Swami, is reputed to have had an extremely long life span...although in Babaji's case, rumored to still be alive after 1800 years. Equally of interest is the Digambara monk that contributed to Sri Ramakrishna's full Awakening, Totapuri. Totapuri, like Trailanga Swami, is said to have lived 300 years as well. Gyanganj, the home of immortals, is also known in history and Buddhist lore as Shambhala and sometimes Shangri-La.

 

As for living or staying alive a very long time it does not always happen in remote areas of the Himalayas. For those who may be so interested, there is reported in western cultures, especially so as related to the desert southwest and Mesoamerica cultures, a being known as a Death Defier that is said to have an incredibly long life span. The following explains:

 

"It has long come down to us from out of the ripples of shamanistic lore that the quasi or semi organaform-being called the Death Defier was a human from long ago who, on becoming a shaman-sorcerer, used his powers to try and escape death. He managed to alter his form so he would more closely resemble inorganic beings. However, in the process, he was trapped by the lure of power from those same inorganic beings. Eons later he managed to escape. Existing on a thin threshold between the not-fully human and the inorganic he couldn't eat, yet still needed energy.

 

To evade his former captors and sustain his form, he needed to constantly search for energy. In the year 1725 AD the Death Defier, addicted to living and needing energy, down on power, in his last dying moments, cornered a then minor shaman from a long line of minor shamans by the name of Sebastian. In a noticable weakened state he was able to extort energy from him --- but only through a deal. To stay alive each generation of shaman-sorcerers in Sebastian's lineage would GIVE the Death Defier some of THEIR energy in exchange for knowledge --- knowledge and secrets gained or learned by the Death Defier over thousands and thousands of years. Thus the Death Defier "earned" the name tenant and by doing so, a new lineage was born. The secret is, in making the deal, the crafty Sebastian and those that followed, have given the the life-addicted Defier only enough energy to survive."

 

Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.