Iam in the process of collecting the life sketches of senior Guruswamys of yester years. I thought of including it in the next book to be released around June.
While collecting these information, our friend Shri. Balasubramanya Iyer, (our Bombay Balu) gave me the details of this wonderful personality Shri.Papa mama. Please find below a brief sketch on the life of Shri. Thiruppugazh Pappa
Siddha purushas rarely exhibit their powers, though their greatness is experienced through the results of their actions which always turn out beneficial to mankind.One such soul to have traversed this earth was Shri Subbaraman. Known to all in the spiritual field as Thirupugazh Papa, a veritable giant who used be requested to sing Thirupugazh even by Sri Kripananda Variar Swamigal, he was a great Ayyappa bhakta who inspired many to undertake pilgrimage to Sabarimalai .
Strict observance to austerities and total surrender to the Lord was has mantra.In those days ,there used to be discussions on various topics in Valiyaanavattam during the Makaram season amongst eminent Guruswamis. During such a session of discussion on mantra Shakti , Papa mama gave a masterly one and half hour discourse on the potency of the mantra " Sharanam Ayyappa".
In Valiayanavattam, after one of his meditation sessions, he compiled the 18 namaskara shlokams that all Ayyappa devotees in Mumbai follow to this date.They are as follows
- First five - Shastha Pancharatnam : -Starting with Loka Veeram Mahapujyam and ending with Pandyesha vamsha Tilakam
- First six strotrams from Shastru Shatakam : -Starting with Shabrigirinivaasam upto Shabarigiri kuteeram
- First seven shlokams from Shastha Bhujangam : -Starting with Shritaananda Chintamani upto Maha yoga peetojwalantam mahantam.
It is noteworthy that 18 namaskara shlokams compiled by him end with the shloka Mahayogapeetojwalantam mahantam. If we dedicate one namaskara to each thiru sopanam, on the eighteenth,we merge with the Lord with the stotra Mahayoga peetojwalantam Mahantam. What a great compilation this has been to mankind !
Born in the year 1920, the self made giant amongst devotees ,employed with Life Insurance Corparation Of India, devoted his entire life to singing soul stirring Tirupugazh bhajans, Thevarams, Tiruppavai and Divya nama sankeerthanams. Songs like " Tripuram Eriththa Sadasivan tanaya " were spontaneous outpourings of the great soul at Valiayanavattam during live bhajan sessions .His annual bhajan at Sannidhanam on 14th January was a veritable treat to hear.
Once while returning from pilgrimage, at a Railway station,when the train was late, he enthralled all present at the station with a soul stirring bhajan session . That God is manifested everywhere was truly realised by this great soul.
It would be unworthy of me if I do not mention the services rendered by his wife the late Sarada Subbaraman to the Ayyappa devotees who would virtually live in their house during the whole mandala season.Never a day would pass without her cooking and serving Annam to the devotees with utmost love.Never has a person returned from their house unfed.She climbed the holy eighteen steps with a recovering leg fracture exactly one month before she breathed her last on 23rd December 2000 . An act of ultimate surrender to the Almighty.
Papa mama never attached himself to any group, but was respected by all Guruswamis alike, a rarity indeed.He used to accompany Guruswami Kambankudi Meenakshi Sundaram Iyer to Shabarimalai .Myriad are the experiences of each and every one who had the benefit of his contact.All the bhajan bhagavathars today hold him in high esteem. He was to have rendered pravachanams on Guruvaayoorappan, Shaasthaa and more, but merging with Lord Shabarigirivaasan took precedence.
He knew of the inexorable destiny of the body a year before and expressed the same to Guruswami Meenakshi Sundaram Iyer of the same when he declared that the next year he would be seen merged with Shabarigirivaasan and verily Papa mama shed his mortal coil on 06/10/1974 as stated by himself.
Even today, all Ayyappa devtoees strictly follow the 18 namaskara shloka sequence laid by him and many have found the same to efficacious. The 18 namaskara shlokas recited daily are a mantra to the devotee.
Let Lord Shabarigirivaasan shower blessings on all of us.