Sadasiva Brahmendra

Sadasiva Brahmendra was a saint, composer of Carnatic music and Advaita philosopher who lived near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, during the 18th century. He composed mainly in Sanskrit. Only a few of his compositions have survived, but they are recognised as great compositions of Carnatic music.[2]

Sadasiva Brahmendra
Born17th-early 18th century
Madurai, later moved to Thiruvisanallur, Kumbakonam[1]
DiedApr-May 1755 (Vaishaka Sukla Dasami)
Nerur (Tamil Nadu), near Karur, Tamil Nadu
Major shrineAdishtanam at Nerur (Tamil Nadu), Manamadurai


Sadasiva was born into a Telugu Velanadu Brahmin couple Moksha Somasundara Avadhaani and Parvati.[3] His initial name was Sivaramakrishna. He was married at the age of 17. Sadasiva lived in Kumbakonam, in Tamil Nadu in the 17th to 18th century. He went to learn vedas and other various subjects in Sanskrit in Tiruvisainallur. His contemporaries such as Sridhara Ayyavaal and Sri Bhagvan Nama Bodendral lived in the nearby areas at that time.

Shiva ramakrishna left his home in search of Truth. After taking sanyasa, he is said to have wandered around, naked or semi-naked, and often in a trance-like state. He was reclusive and often meditated, and was described as being in a "supremely intoxicated state".[4] He is said to have performed many miracles whilst alive, some of the most prominent are provided below. His jiva samadhi site is briefly mentioned in 'Autobiography of a Yogi' by Paramahamsa Yogananda.

On the river banks of Cauvery in Mahadhanapuram, he was asked by some children to be taken to Madurai, more than 100 miles away, for an annual festival. The saint asked them to close their eyes, and a few seconds later they reopened their eyes and found they were in Madurai.[5] He also wrote the Atma Vidya Vilasa, an advaitic work.

There is an epilogue to this story. The next day, another youth, incredulous at hearing this story, asked Sadasiva to take him also to this festival. It is said that the youth immediately found himself in the distant city. When it was time to return, Sadasiva was nowhere to be found. The youth had to make his way back on foot.[6]

Whilst relaxing near a heap of grains, he began meditating. The farmer who owned the land mistook Sadasiva for a thief, and confronted him. The farmer raised his stick to hit the saint, but became a statue. He remained in this state until the morning, when Sadasiva finished meditating and smiled at the farmer. The farmer was restored to his normal state, and asked the saint for forgiveness.[5]

At another time, while meditating on the banks of the Cauvery river, he was carried away by a sudden flood. Weeks later, when some villagers were digging near a mound of earth, their shovels struck his body. He woke up and walked away.[6]

Temple service

He is said to have met the Raja Thondaiman of Pudukottai and initiated him into the Dakshinamurthy Mantra. He is said to have written the mantra on sand. This sand was picked up by the king and it is in the worship of the royal family till now in the Dakshinamoorthy temple inside the Pudukottai palace in Pudukottai.[7][8]

He was responsible for installing the deity Punnainallur Mariamman near Thanjavur and guided the installation at Devadanapatti Kamakshi temple. He was also involved in the Kalyana Venkatesa Perumal temple at Karur.[5] He also installed the Hanuman Murthi in the Prasanna Venkateswara temple at Nalu Kal Mandapam in Thanjavur.[9]

He also installed Lord Ganesh and a powerful Ganesh Yantra at the Thirunageshwaram Rahu Stalam temple at Kumbakonam. An inscription in the temple bears testimony to this fact. The shrine can still be seen at the entrance to the temple.

He has five samadhis :

Every year in Nerur and Manamadurai, music festivals are conducted in his honor. In Manamadurai his samadhi is located at the Somanathar temple, which was identified by Sri Sivan SAR, Purvashrama Bratha (Brother) of the Paramacharya of Kanchi.[10]

Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati, pontiff of the Sringeri Saradha Peetham had visited Nerur and composed two slokas in praise of Sri Sadasiva Bramhendra - Sadasivendra Stava and Sadasivendra Pancharatna[11][12]


He is the author of several Sanskrit works. The following works have been printed/published.

  1. Brahmasūtra-vṛtti or brahma-tattva-prakāśikā
  2. Yoga-sudhākara which is a commentary on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.
  3. Siddhānta-kalpa-valli
  4. Advaita-rasa-mañjari
  5. ātmānusandhānam
  6. ātmavidyā-vilāsa
  7. Shiva-mānasa-pūjā
  8. Dakshinamurtty Dhyanam
  9. Swapnoditam
  10. Navamanimala
  11. Swapnoditam
  12. Navavarnaratnamala
  13. Swanubhutiprakashitak
  14. Manoniyamanam
  15. Paramahamsacharya
  16. Shivayoga Dipika

The following works are ascribed to Sri Brahmendral but no printed version is available.

  1. Upanishadvyakhyanam
  2. Kesaravalli
  3. Suta Samhita
  4. Bhagavatasara
  5. Saparyaparyayastavah
  6. Atmanatmaviveka prakashika


He also wrote several Carnatic compositions to spread the advaita philosophy among common people. These songs are renowned for depth in content as well as brevity of expression. His compositions are quite popular and can be heard frequently in Carnatic music concerts though they are not always rendered in the same raga since the same song has sometimes been set to music by various artists. Some of these are

  1. Ananda Purna Bodhoham Sachchidananda - Shankarabharanam
  2. Ananda Purna Bodhoham Satatam - Madhyamavati
  3. Bhajare Gopalam - Hindolam
  4. Bhajare Raghuviram - Kalyani
  5. Bhajare Yadunatham - Peelu
  6. Brahmaivaham - Nadanamakriya
  7. Bruhi Mukundethi - Gowla, Navaroju, Kurinji, Senchurutti
  8. Chetah Sreeramam - Dwijavanthi / Surati [13]
  9. Chinta Nasti Kila - Navroj
  10. Gayathi Vanamali - Gavathi, Yamuna Kalyani
  11. Khelathi Brahmande - Sindhubhairavi
  12. Khelathi Mama Hrudaye - Atana
  13. Kridathi Vanamali - Sindhubhairavi
  14. Krishna Paahi - Madhyamavati
  15. Manasa Sanchara Re -Sama
  16. Nahi Re Nahi Re - Gavathi
  17. Pibare Rama Rasam - Ahir Bhairav or Yamunakalyani[14]
  18. Poorna Bodhoham - Kalyani
  19. Prativaram Varam - Todi
  20. Sarvam Bramha Mayam - Mishra Sivaranjani
  21. Smaravaram - Jog or Sindhubhairavi [15]
  22. Sthiratha Nahi Nahire - Amruthavarshini
  23. Tatvat Jeevitham - Keeravani
  24. Tunga Tarange Gange - Hamsadhwani


In the movies

Character of Sadasiva Bramhendra is portrayed in the Tamil movie Mahashakti Mariamman

Sivan Sar has written a detailed life history of Sri Brahmendral in his book "Yenipadigalil Manthargal",

Tamil writer Balakumaran has written a novel Thozhan based on the life of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra.

See also


Further reading

Brahmatatvaprakasika nama Brahmasutravrttih -

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