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Meivazhi (Tamil: மெய்வழி Meyvaḻi), meaning 'the True Path', is a syncretic monotheistic religion based in Tamil Nadu, India. It seeks to spread the true purpose of every religion which originated on Earth and preaches the oneness of all religions, thus getting its name. Its focus is on spiritual enlightenment and conquest of death by attaining Heaven, through the teachings and blessings of its founder and leader, Meivazhi Salai Andavargal (Tamil: மெய்வழி சாலை ஆண்டவர்கள் meyvaḻi cālai āṇṭavarkaḷ), who is believed to be the final incarnation of God expected by all religious holy scriptures, by its followers. It was started in the year 1900.

It has its own set of holy scriptures that runs up to four volumes, along with a unique prayer system and festivals. Although its founder was born in a Muslim family, it draws strongly from Hinduism and preaches the message, "oneness of essence" of all the previous major scriptures like Saivism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc..,. It allows membership irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion, but the only requirement for being a disciple of Meivazhi religion is to be a believer in God.[1] Its official liturgical language is Tamil. It has only one temple all across the world, which is situated at Meivazhi Salai in Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu, named as the Ponnaranga Devalayam (Tamil: பொன்னரங்க தேவாலயம், Poṉṉaraṅka tēvālayam). The religion forbids smoking, alcohol, gambling, and theft, and practices vegetarianism. [2]

Its male followers are seen to be often clad in white panchakacham and a pointed turban. The disciples who had received spiritual blessings (Tamil: உபதேசம் Upatēcam) directly from Salai Aandavargal, wear saffron clothing and turban along with an upward-pointing crescent moon symbol called as 'Kilnaamam' (Tamil: கிள்நாமம் Kiḷnāmām) on their turban. [3][4][5][6][7][8]

HistoryEdit

 
His Holiness, Sri Meivazhi Salai Andavargal

The followers of the Meivazhi religion believe, the person who founded the Meivazhi religion to be the Kalki, the final incarnation of Lord Vishnu as mentioned in Hinduism and also the Second Coming of God's incarnation on this Earth as mentioned in various other religions. The followers of this religion address the founder as "Meivazhi Salai Aandavargal (Tamil: மெய்வழி சாலை ஆண்டவர்கள் meyvaḻi Cālai āṇṭavarkaḷ)". The main source of the early life and history of Salai Aandavargal are mostly extracted from the Meivazhi scriptures written by the early followers of the religion and also from contents written by Salai Aandavargal himself.

Biography of Salai AandavargalEdit

"Aadhi Maanmiyam (Tamil: ஆதி மாண்மியம்)", one of the volumes of Meivazhi scriptures, narrates the real name, early life and experiences of Salai Andavargal. According to the scripture, Aandavargal was born in 1857 at Markampatti, a village in Oddanchatram Taluk, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. He was named Khader Badsha Rowther by his parents - his father being Jamal Hussain Rowther and mother Periya Thayi. He had his primary education in the village elementary school and followed the profession of his father as an agriculturist. As a youth, he had a keen interest in spirituality. He met many false gurus and initially believed that hatha yoga was the only way to achieve the highest spiritual realization. But he realized later that people were pretending to be saints for the sake of earning money and their own selfish purposes. He migrated to Kasukkaranpalayam, a village in Perundurai taluk, Erode in Tamil Nadu after his marriage to Suleka Bivi and worked as a wholesale paddy merchant. He had a daughter named Aisuamma and he almost gave up on spirituality. But It was during this period, that he met his satguru Shri Thanigai Mani Piran (real name is Mohamed Saligh also known as Pattaiyar), who was stated to be more than 600 years old and who revealed to Salai Aandavargal about his true form. Shri Thanigai Mani Piran was also the GURU of Ramalinga Swamigal. He baptized Salai Aandavargal through Brahmopadhesam (Tamil: ப்ரஹ்மோபாதேசம் Prahmōpātēcam), the spiritual rebirth, at Kasukkaranpalayam, Erode. Thereafter, Salai Aandavargal followed his satguru all over South India, renouncing his profession, wife, children and everything to attain the highest spiritual enlightenment. When Aandavargal finished his travels with his guru, he was ordered to tend to a flock of sheep at Reddiyapatti village in Dindigul district for a year. This is celebrated annually as the "(Tamil: ஆடு மேய்ப்பு திருக்கோலக் காட்சி Āṭu mēyppu tirukkōlak kāṭci)" festival. The first meeting of Salai Andavargal and his guru is celebrated by the followers as a festival during pournami day of the Panguni month (April), as the "(Tamil: பிறவா நாள் பிறப்பு திருநாள் Piṟavā nāḷ piṟappu tirunāḷ)" festival.

TapasEdit

Thereafter he was directed to observe severe Tapas in the cave on the western side of Thiruparankundram hill (near Madurai) which he carried out for many years the wakefulness and near starvation diet of Prickly pear. Thereby he acquired divine symbols (sannadams) in his sacred hand – such us Udukai, Trishula, Shankhu, Sudarshana Chakra, Villu, Vaal, Gada (mace), Angusam, Paasam, Modhagam, Vel and finally the “Khill Namam" (Crescent moon). The Crescent moon is the ultimate divine symbol, which is now used by his followers as their religion's righteous symbol. His holiness acquiring the holy symbol is commemorated by celebrating the festival of “(Tamil: கோடாயுத சன்னதத் திருக்காப்பு கங்கநத் திருநாள் Kodaayudha Sannathath Thirukkappu Kangganath Thirunall) in the month of Vaikasi (June).

When the savant understood that his disciple Salai Andavargal is fully endowed with wit and power to commence his holy mission “Meivazhi”(True Path), he christened him “Maarganadhar” and departed from him after persuading Salai Andavargal to proceed forward alone in his holy mission.

Cladding himself in a saffron robe, Andavargal first preached to sanyasis and Saints, but thereupon he understood that most of the sanyasis were impostors not because of their ignorance but deliberation to loot innocent people's money for satisfying their lust and hunger. Finally, Andavargal gave up the garb of sanyasi and took to preaching family people engaged in worldly occupations. Later at Tiruppattur in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, he married Panimathi Nachiyar as per his Guru's wish.

Religious attributes of Salai AandavargalEdit

It is claimed that the Heavenly Tokens which distinguish Meivazhi Salai Andavargal from the mushrooms of impostors, masquerading as master all over the world, and identify him as the only true Master of the Age, are:

  • that he has conquered slumber and sleep.
  • that his Breath never passes out of His nostrils.
  • that he has practically overcome the need for food.

Goal of MeivazhiEdit

  1. Meivazhi Salai Aandavargal's mission, unparalleled in the history of the spiritual hierarchy, consists of bringing home to man the Lost truth that the very purpose of religion is to rescue him from the death-throes, eradicating the falsehoods and half-truths about religions among many other spiritual values.
  2. Baptizing with the spirit, thereby enlightening and expanding the dark and constricted heart and opening the vistas of soul, a series of eternal revelations;
  3. Warning against the impending disaster and destruction, the whole universe is facing.
  4. Offering mankind a helping hand to escape the 'sting of death' and to win the 'victory of the grave', and
  5. Resurrecting the dead even many days after their final departure from the mortal coil to reach their rendezvous (heavenly destination), which is the Abode of Bliss.

Beliefs of MeivazhiEdit

Man is an Astral being originally created by God in Heaven along with all the other Angels. But, as explained by every major religion which came upon Earth, Man was banished from Heaven after consuming a fruit created by Satan despite God's warnings, ending in a cursed state, containing both Good and Evil, within himself. Consequently, Man became unfit for living in Heaven and sent to Earth for a period of repentance. Man has been living on Earth ever since and so was Satan. God had always reminded Man that both Good and Evil exists within himself and that all he had to do to, was get in touch with his good side to reach God and Heaven. Man was given a choice to choose whichever he wanted. He could choose the Good side to reach God or otherwise, he could stay on Earth. Satan, who was more powerful than mankind and not visible to the cursed human form, was also banished to Earth and had shown no signs of repentance ever since. Satan has been corrupting mankind in whatever ways possible to prevent mankind from going back to Heaven. Most of the sufferings faced by Mankind are not because of God, but the absence of God, which emboldens Satan to wreak havoc among mankind and rule over the Earth.

During the initial days on Earth, known as the Satya Yuga, Mankind was well aware of their descent and was well-connected with God. Therefore, Satan was well under control. Satan never went anywhere close to mankind when they were in touch with God. However, when mankind forgets their origins and God, Satan gets an opportunity to corrupt them and use them for perpetuating evil deeds. The Satya Yuga came to an end and Treta Yuga started, when a portion of Mankind started to forget their origins and Satan successfully infiltrated them. Subsequently, the Dvapara Yuga saw a majority of mankind forgetting their origin and many of them were corrupted by Satan, manipulating them to believe in worldly ideas and lust after materialistic possessions, provoking them to commit heinous sins and fight amongst themselves for obtaining worldly possessions.

God had noticed these developments all along and knew that Mankind had no chance against Satan by themselves and would definitely need guidance. Therefore, God along with several other Angels had always been on Earth under various identities amongst different sectors of mankind spread across various continents, teaching them their true origin. All the different identities were shadows of the same God. All the religion in the world were started with the only purpose of making mankind realize their origins and to reach back to the one God who created them.

But despite God's efforts, Satan was also living amongst mankind during all those times, and had actively worked against the teachings of God, manipulating mankind to believe in multiple religious beliefs, multiple gods and fragmented them into different groups. Satan had managed to manipulate mankind, and create chaos amongst mankind, making them believe in multiple Gods and pitted followers of one fragment against each other. This led to utter chaos and mankind would no longer believe even the true God. Religion became a mere mockery serving no purpose. A large portion of Mankind was following religions only in name, but do not know its purpose nor they know the true God. Mankind was obsessed with materialistic possessions, totally unaware of their astral origin.

To make things worse, many Angels sent by God in the human form were tortured and even crucified by the corrupted mankind, because of disbelief and hatred under the influence of Satan. This led to the beginning of the Kali Yuga, where many angels feared visiting earth due to the extent of torture meted out by mankind and most angels had returned to Heaven declaring the mankind ungrateful. The Crucification of an angel was a turning point, where God decided to put an end to Satan by destroying its world and banish it to Hell along with its followers. However, God decided to give a final opportunity to mankind before putting an end to Satan and its followers. Therefore, God, who had visiting mankind under 9 identities since the Satya Yuga, decided to visit mankind, for the final time to make them understand their true nature and their destiny. Many angels had prophecized this visit as the beginning of the Kalki Yuga, popularly explained under Kalki Purana.

It is absolutely believed that Meivazhi Salai marks the beginning of this Kalki Yuga, where its founder had united almost every major religion such a Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, etc... into one community, which is no ordinary feat. Meivazhi religion preaches the oneness of all religion at its core and the true purpose of every religion on earth. Further, Meivazhi Salai strives to make mankind realize the forgotten origins and destiny of mankind to reach Heaven. Meivazhi religion constantly reminds its followers that God and evil are both within themselves and to always remember the true God at Heart, to reach Heaven. Also, its founder had instructed the followers to not worship his statues or photos, which are merely a temporary identity of god and not the god himself. Therefore, the followers of Meivazhi do not worship any statues or photos. The Meivazhi Religion teaches its followers that the only thing mankind ought to pray to God is for protecting their soul from Satan and not for any other materialistic possessions.

It is believed that the sign that a Man has reached God is that the person's physical self will become incorruptible when he dies. The soul will rest within oneself during death and hence, the person shows signs of incorruptibility. Although this may sound very strange for a majority of people, this incorruptibility very commonly occurs to the followers of the Meivazhi religion. There were instances where even non-followers, who had visited the Meivazhi Salai and prayed, acknowledging the God within themselves, have shown signs of incorruptibility. It is believed that most non-followers follow a religion, which is lost and followed only in name without even knowing that God lies within himself. People search for God in the skies, oceans, rocks and everywhere, unaware of the whereabouts of true God, and die without fulfilling their most basic purpose of finding God within their lifetime. When this happens, their soul leaves their physical selves in search of God everywhere else and will either be reborn or enslaved by Satan. Eventually, their body will decompose. But when their soul settles within themselves and reaches God, the body will never decompose, as seen in many saints.

End of the world prophecyEdit

As stated by every other major religion on Earth, the Meivazhi religion also reiterates the end of the world prophecies and the destruction of the world during the Kalki Yuga, and it is further believed by its followers that the Kalki Yuga, the final phase of the world has already started. Its founder had mentioned that the destruction will take place on during Hijri 1,500 (between 21.07.2077 and 19.08.2077) in the Second Volume of Meivazhi Vedas.

Claims of incorruptibilityEdit

The Followers of Meivazhi believe that a person's attainment of Heaven or Hell can be ascertained by their body, by observing 10 signs after death showing Immortal Proofs of Salvation at the time of death, as said to be happening in Meivazhi, showing real majestic victory over the force of death:

  • No bad stench of the body showing only pleasant aroma of the body. No discharge of foul-smelling liquid.
  • No stiffening of the body, thus showing signs of the flexibility of parts.
  • The body will be light in weight like a flower-basket.
  • The body sweats as the time passes.
  • The complete body exhibits warmness.
  • The natural conditions of the throat path. Hence the body takes in the Holy Water when given.
  • The knuckles giving out sound when cracked, all continuing in the living state.
  • The disappearance of deformities such as hunchback, with which they may have been afflicted.
  • The pure and pleasant state of the body reflecting youthfulness and cheeriness blooming on the face.
  • The body does not decay after death and also, the earth does not affect the body.

Meivazhi VedasEdit

Meivazhi has its own Holy scriptures running up to four volumes in Tamil language.

  • Volume I (Tamil: ஆதி மெய் உதய பூரண வேதாந்தம் Āti mey utaya pūraṇa vētāntam)
  • Volume II (Tamil: ஆண்டவர்கள் மான்மியம் Āṇṭavarkaḷ māṉmiyam)
  • Volume III (Tamil: எமன் படர் அடிபடு கொடாயூதக் கூர் Emaṉ paṭar aṭipaṭu koṭāyūtak kūr)
  • Volume IV (Tamil: எமன் படர் அடிபடு திரு மெய்ஞ்ஞானக் கொரல் Emaṉ paṭar aṭipaṭu tiru meyññāṉak koral)

Meivazhi SabhaEdit

The first Meivazhi Ashram was founded at Rajagambeeram village in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. The second one was started at Tirupathur, a panchayat town in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, where the Sabha was initially registered on 19 June 1933. From small beginnings, the number of followers gradually increased, year by year. By 1939, the sabha was shifted to Madurai (Aruppukottai Road). But in 1942, during the Second World War, the British Government acquired the entire place in Madurai and paid a compensation of Rs.1,37,750.00 to Meivazhi Sabha. Consequently, the sabha had to be shifted to a different place. In the same year, the sabha was shifted to a land at Pappancahivayal, Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu where Aandavargal purchased a jungle land for about Rs.6,000.00 and cleared it for habitation. The sabha was re-registered on 10 June 1944 in the, then Pudukkottai State, where it has been functioning ever since. This place is the present Meivazhi Salai. The Control of the Sabha was under Meivazhi Salai Aandavargal till 1976, after which he entered a very deep meditative state. The place where he started meditating has become a shrine for the followers of Meivazhi and is called as the "Ponnaranga Devalayam (Tamil: பொன்னரங்க தேவாலயம், Poṉṉaraṅka tēvālayam), meaning "The Golden Temple". All the Prayers, Rituals and Festivals are held around this Shrine.

Dress code for entering the AshramEdit

Meivazhi followers have a mandatory dress code for entering the ashram. Men who have received the upadhesam, the highest level of spiritual teaching (known as Anandars), wear saffron shirts and traditional Hindu panchakacham trousers. Males who have not received it wear white turbans and clothes other than saffron, and in dark colours. Women who have received upadhesam wear sarees and cover their head with a saffron scarf, while other women cover their head with the end of the sarees.

ControversiesEdit

When the Temple's lands in Madurai, where the Temple originally existed, were acquired by the British Government, the Temple was compensated a significant amount, which was alleged to be invested in gold ornaments and jewels. The controversy also led the government to believe that such gold were distributed by Salai Aandavargal to some trusted followers, for hiding them at various places across the temple's lands in Pappanachivayal, Pudukottai. Accordingly during the 1970s, when the Indian Government implemented the Gold (Control) Act, 1968, most of the golden ornaments in possession of the temple were seized by the Government after conducting many raids, which made headlines. However even today, Andavargal’s followers assert that all such golds were either bought or gifted to Andavargal by his devotees and any effort to hide them is to ensure that no dreadful sin befalls on mankind for seizing what is God’s own wealth or endowment - A fundamental belief in most religions. [9]

Practices and ritualsEdit

The followers of Meivazhi do not worship any idols, tombs or any materialistic subjects, but they focus on the god within themselves whenever they pray. The rituals and festivals, which take place near the temple are merely a reminder for its followers to always focus on the god within them and to never forget the god who created them.

PrayersEdit

Daily rituals take place around the clock at the Ponnaranga Devalayam, throughout the year. The most significant prayer ritual for the followers is the evening one, which is attended by the most people on any given day. The followers refer to the prayer rituals as 'Vanakkam (Tamil: வணக்கம் Vaṇakkam)', literally meaning 'Hello' or 'Greeting' in English, possibly referring to the meeting of Human soul with the God.

1. Prayer at 4:00 AM and Vanakkam at 4:30 AM;

2. Maha Sangarpa Manthiram at 7:00 AM;

3. Aravala Vanakkam at 12:00 PM;

4. Vanakkam at 6:00 PM;

5. Vanakkam at 9:00 PM, 12:00 AM, 1:30 AM, 3:00 AM;

6. Para Vanakkam at 10.00 PM to 12.00 AM, 12.00 AM to 2.00 AM and 2.00 AM to 4.00 AM;

FestivalsEdit

1. Piravaa naal Pirappu Thirunal (Tamil: பிறவா நாள் பிறப்பு திருநாள் Piṟavā nāḷ piṟappu tirunāḷ), during the month of Panguni, celebrating the day of Spiritual rebirth of Salai Andavargal.

2. Vaikaasi Thiruvizha (Tamil: வைகாசி திருவிழா Vaikāci tiruviḻā), comprising three festivals:-

  • Aadu meippu Thiruvizha (Tamil: ஆடு மேய்ப்பு திருவிழா Āṭu mēyppu tiruviḻā), in remembrance of Salai Andavargal as a good Shepherd as per the command of his Guru.
  • Pasubatha Kangana Thiruvizha (Tamil: பாசுபத கங்கணம் திருவிழா Pācupata kaṅkaṇam tiruviḻā), celebrating Salai Andavargal's acquisition of Sannadam and Spiritual powers through continuous Penance.
  • Puthadai Punai seer Thiruvizha (Tamil: புத்தாடை புனை சீர் திருவிழா Puttāṭai puṉai cīr tiruviḻā), celebrating the start of a Spiritual life through family life.

3. Pichai Andavar Thirukkola Thiruvizha (Tamil: பிச்சை ஆண்டவர் திருக்கோல திருவிழா Piccai āṇṭavar tirukkōla tiruviḻā), during the month of Purattaasi, celebrating the Bestower of Alms

4. Thiru Avathara Thirunal (Tamil: திரு அவதார திருநாள் Tiru avatāra tirunāḷ), at the end of Maargazhi and during Bhogi), celebrating the birth of Salai Andavargal.

5. Kolari Saalayar Pongal திருநாள் (Tamil: கோளரி சாலையார் பொங்கல் Kōḷari cālaiyār poṅkal tirunāḷ) in the month of Thai, celebrating the festival of Pongal, with preparation of sweet Pongal using holy water by the Disciples gathered around the Ponnaranga Devalayam

  • Mattu Pongal (Tamil: மாட்டுப் பொங்கல் Māṭṭup poṅkal), celebrating the Cows and Bulls with decorations, sweet Pongal and other activities around the Ponnaranga Devalayam, around Flag post, singing songs)

6. Karthigai Deepam, (Tamil: கார்த்திகை தீபம் Kārttikai tīpam), celebrating the Festival of lights in the month of Karthikai)

7. Hoisting of the Pooran Kodi (Tamil: பூரான் கொடி Pūrāṉ koṭi), a special flag decorated with 92 bells, during the Panguni and Vaikaasi festivals.

8. Hoisting of the White flag bearing the 'Killnaamam (Tamil: கிள்நாமம் Kiḷnāmam)' or the Crescent Moon, which occurs twice every month, on the full moon day and on the third day of New Moon.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nainar, Nahla (2018-01-13). "The way of Meivazhi Salai, where all faiths merge". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  2. ^ Chennai DC Special, 16 June 2010 Meivazhisalai showcases alternate way of life Retrieved February 2015
  3. ^ Kayleigh Robinson "Becoming One with the Divine: Meivazhi Salai Shows the Way" Archived 2015-04-23 at Archive.today, Madurai Messenger, April 2014.
  4. ^ Meivazhi Sabha releases book, The Hindu April 2, 2012.
  5. ^ அருணகிரி "தமிழ்நாட்டுக்கு உள்ளே ஒரு தனி நாடு", கீற்று, Nov 2011.
  6. ^ "மெய்வழி மதம்: பல்வேறு மதங்கள், சாதிகளின் சங்கமம்!". www.vikatan.com (in Tamil). Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  7. ^ ManiMaran.R,Vengadesh.R (2019-05-08). "இறந்தவர்களைச் சிரித்த முகத்துடன் அடக்கம் செய்யும் மக்கள்! - புதுக்கோட்டையில் ஓர் அதிசய கிராமம் #MyVikatan | Meivazhi Salai village which spreads true equality". https://www.vikatan.com/ (in Tamil). Retrieved 2019-06-09. External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Deccan Chronicle Vol. 6, No. 81, 16 June 2010 Village chooses to live without electricity Retrieved February 2015
  9. ^ April 4, Rama Rao Gidugu; May 15, 2015 ISSUE DATE:; April 9, 1976UPDATED:; Ist, 2015 16:47. "Diamonds and gold seized from Meivazhisalai ashram in Tamil Nadu". India Today. Retrieved 2019-06-09.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

Nainar, Nahla (2018-01-13). "The way of Meivazhi Salai, where all faiths merge". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-06-09.

Chennai DC Special, 16 June 2010 Meivazhisalai showcases alternate way of life Retrieved February 2015
Kayleigh Robinson "Becoming One with the Divine: Meivazhi Salai Shows the Way" Archived 2015-04-23 at Archive.today, Madurai Messenger, April 2014.
Meivazhi Sabha releases book, The Hindu April 2, 2012.
அருணகிரி "தமிழ்நாட்டுக்கு உள்ளே ஒரு தனி நாடு", கீற்று, Nov 2011.
"மெய்வழி மதம்: பல்வேறு மதங்கள், சாதிகளின் சங்கமம்!". www.vikatan.com (in Tamil). Retrieved 2017-01-29.
ManiMaran.R,Vengadesh.R (2019-05-08). "இறந்தவர்களைச் சிரித்த முகத்துடன் அடக்கம் செய்யும் மக்கள்! - புதுக்கோட்டையில் ஓர் அதிசய கிராமம் #MyVikatan | Meivazhi Salai village which spreads true equality". https://www.vikatan.com/ (in Tamil). Retrieved 2019-06-09. External link in |website= (help)
Deccan Chronicle Vol. 6, No. 81, 16 June 2010 Village chooses to live without electricity Retrieved February 2015

See alsoEdit