Vallalar

Vallalar (Ramalinga Adigalar) gave beautiful expression of his devotion through songs. He composed many verses of poems and the foremost among them was ‘Thiruvarutpa’. A saint of universal vision, sought to remove such differences and viewed God as a single, supreme and universal power. He conjured up a vision where everyone lived in peace and harmony, based on virtues like compassion and love. He called it ‘the divine union of all souls’ (Athma Neya Orumaippadu). He believed it is the Jyothi, the Vast Grace of Light, that causes the revelation of truth. The power of Jyothi is highlighted in all religions. Another important aspect of Vallalar’s philosophy is Jeeva Karunya Ozhukkam, which means having a compassionate outlook towards all lives.
கடவுள் மிகவும் எளிமையானவர். பக்தியே முக்திக்கு வழி. மனதால் பகவானை துதி செய்வது சுலபம். மனதுக்குள்ளேயே பகவானை வழிபடுவது இன்னும் விசேஷமானது. பூஜை செய்வதற்கான பொருட்களை தேடிக் கொண்டிருக்க வேண்டியதில்லை; மானச பூஜையே போதும். வள்ளலார் அகல் ஜோதியையே கடவுளாக வழிபட்டார். ஜோதி தான் அவனது வடிவம். குக்கிராமத்தில், ஓட்டு வீட்டில் வள்ளலார் தவம் செய்து முக்தி பெற்றார்.

Saraswati, Dayananda

Saraswati, Dayananda, 1824-83, Indian religious reformer, founder of the Arya Samaj movement. He condemned idol worship, untouchability, child marriage, and the low status of women. In 1875 he founded the Arya Samaj [society of nobles] in Bombay to spread the doctrines of the newly reinterpreted Vedas, which are the source of knowledge, Science and Religions etc.

Thyagaraja

Tyagaraja Swami was a great musician-saint of South India. He was the father of South Indian music. He was a devotee of Lord Rama. Most of his devotional songs are in praise of Lord Rama. They are highly inspiring and soul elevating.
Tyagaraja Swami is said to have composed twenty-four thousand Kirtans or songs in praise of Lord Rama. Most of his songs are in Telugu and a few are in Sanskrit. Only about five hundred of his songs are sung by the songsters of the present day. When devotional songs are sung with piety and devotion, they at once elevate the soul to magnanimous spiritual heights and melt the mind in the Lord and lead to communion and Bhava Samadhi. Tyagaraja never cared for wealth or position in society. He was humble. He courted poverty.

Sridhara Venkatesa Aiyaval - Sadasiva Brahmendra

Sadasiva Brahmendra was a famous Gnana Siddhar in 18th century. Sridhara Venkatesa Aiyaval was his friend and a yogi as well. With Brahmins waiting for the rituals at his house, he saw a Sutra person starving to death. Just to save his life out of mercy, he offered food to that person, even before the rituals were complete. The Brahmins decided to leave his house without completing the rituals. Aiyaval begged at them and asked for a pariharam the remedy. The envied Pundits told him that the Pariharam was to take a dip in river Ganges and that too he should go by foot and return on the same day itself. Aiyaval surrendered at the feet of Brummendra and Brummendra sang,’Thonga tharange Gange…’. The well in Aiyaval’s house started springing up Ganges water. The Pundits saw the giant fishes and crocodiles of Ganges too coming out. Not only Aiyaval, the whole village, Thiruvisainallur of Kumbakonam district purified themselves with Ganges flooding over their street. Till date it is seen by the devotees the water level rising in that well on every Thai Amavasai day. It is celebrated as a holy function there every year.

Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo was 1872 born in Calcutta went to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Aurobindo was in the Baroda Service, and in secretariate work for the Maharaja. Later as Professor of English and, finally, Vice-Principal in the Baroda College.
The political action of Sri Aurobindo covered eight years. He joined the New Party, an advanced section small in numbers with political theory of Non-cooperation. There was struggle between the Moderates and the Nationalists. The new-born Nationalist party put forward Swaraj (independence) as its goal as against the Moderate hope of colonial self-government. During his twelve months' detention in the Alipore Jail, which had been spent entirely in practice of Yoga, his inner spiritual life was pressing upon him for an exclusiie concentration. Eventually he cut off connection with politics, and devoted his time to his spiritual work and his sadhana. He passed on in search of a more complete experience uniting and harmonising the two ends of existence, Spirit and Matter. Mind is an ignorance seeking after Truth, discover one's true self, remain in constant union with the Divine. Sri Aurobindo left his body on December 5, 1950. The Mother carried on his work until November 17, 1973.

SaiBaba

Sai Baba of Shirdi, spiritual master for Hindu and Muslim devotees. He had no love for perishable things and stressed on simplicity, moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God. Sai Baba's teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam. He gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived, practised Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, "Sabka Malik Ek" ("One God governs all"), is associated with Hinduism, Islam and Sufism.

Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk, was a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began, "Sisters and brothers of America ...,in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893. He learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated there as National Youth Day.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Bhaktivedanta Swami was born in 1896 in Calcutta. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Maharaja later initiated him into the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya (followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu). He traveled to New York in 1965. He is the Founder Acharya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) or the Hare Krishna movement, whose followers are found all over the world.

Ramana

Ramana Maharshi (1879 born as Venkataraman Iyer) from Tiruchuli, Tamil Nadu, had a "death-experience". Later he left his uncle's home in Madurai, and journeyed to the holy mountain Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, where he took on the role of a sannyasin (though not formally initiated), and remained for the rest of his life. Ramana Maharshi gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices,but recommended self-enquiry as the principal means to remove ignorance and abide in Self-awareness,together with bhakti (devotion) or surrender to the Self. Like Buddha, he said, "Silence is the true upadesa. Truth is beyond words and does not warrant explanation. He stressed on simplicity.
Ramana Maharshi did not publicise himself as a guru, never claimed to have disciples, and never appointed any successors. Ramana never promoted any lineage. Ramana then became relatively well known in and out of India after 1934 when Paul Brunton, having first visited Ramana in January 1931, published the book A Search in Secret India.

Paramacharya - Maahaperiava,- a true Sanyasi par excellence!

Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamiji or the Sage of Kanchi is usually referred to as Paramacharya, Mahaswami or Maha Periyavar. He was renowned for his saintly life, simplicity and knowledge in a wide array of subjects. He is considered as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of Hinduism for protecting Vedas, tradition, and dharma. He knows many languages including Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, English and he is known for his discourses covering various topics ranging from rituals to metaphysics, puranas and advaita. Paul Brunton, one of the early popularisers of Neo-Hindu spiritualism, talks about him via the book " A Search in Secret India".

Vedanta Maharishi

Yogiraj Shri Vethathiri Maharishi (14 August 1911 – 28 March 2006) was a spiritual leader and founder-trustee of the World Community Service Center in 1958 in Chennai. Vethathiri strove to find answers to three questions: “What is God?” “What is life?” “Why is poverty in the world?” He was a qualified practitioner of two systems of Indian indigenous medicine, Ayurveda and Siddha. Vethathiri led the life of a householder until he was 50, and then changed the course of his life from being a businessman to teach and write about his experiences of purported divine revelations.