His Holiness Swami Isa is an enlightened saint of this age. The divine wisdom achieved through decades of tapas (spiritual practices) has found him a unique place among the great Indian lineage of God realized Gurus. Draped in only a white dhoti and shawl Swami Isa is a perfect embodiment of purity, devotion, dedication and supreme wisdom.
Born in 1956 in a quite village on the outskirts of Trivandrum, Kerala, His Holiness Swami Isa felt even from boyhood a strong passion for the vision of God. He was different in his thoughts and deeds right from childhood. Unlike other children who spent their free time in sport his time was spent creating, in mud, the images of Gods and Goddesses and worshipping them with flowers.
His very birth was during the auspicious conjunction of the two constellations, Sravana or Thiruvonam and Dhanushta or Avittam (Abhijit muhurtham) in the month of Thulam (Malayalam Era). He was a child with prodigious intelligence and an extra ordinary memory.
At the age of 16 he had his first experience of spiritual ecstasy. It was on a Sivarathri night. He was returning home after delivering a spiritual talk at the Keleshwaram Siva temple. It was half past midnight. Walking alone in the middle of a paddy field he happened to look at the dark sky and saw a beautiful crescent moon.
Suddenly, a beam of snow-white light descended towards him. He fell on the ground entering a trace. Hours had passed. When he woke up a subtle transformation had taken place within him. It is from this day onwards that he began wearing white clothes.
During his college education he was also performing the duties of a priest at Thozhuvancode a temple of the Divine Mother. It was during this period that the concept of women as the Divine Mother became deep rooted in his mind.
It was also during this time that he befriended a great traditional ayurvedic physician Shankara Subramanyam, an ardent devotee of Lord Muruga. This physician taught him secret mantras and tantras including the Bala and Athibala mantras which were imparted to Lord Rama by Saint Viswamithra in the Thretha Yuga.
The intense yearning to see his favorite deity face to face drove the young aspirant across hills and mountains. He spent a long period deeply immersed in rigorous spiritual practices that ultimately culminated in the first vision of God. It was on another Sivarathri night when he was at Marutwamala, a hill cave in the Kanyakumari district with a group of devotees.
They were singing bhajans at Pillathadom, a small temple of Lord Ganapathy. It was past one o’clock at night when the singers leaned against the walls of the cave drowsy with sleep. He came out of the cave and walked to a chembaka tree, a short distance away and sat under it.
With a heart melting to see the Almighty, gazing at the crescent moon in the dark sky he began to chant the mantra of his Ishtadevata (favorite deity) at the top of his voice. Tears trickled down from his eyes. A subtle current passed through his body and his breath stopped. The beautiful image that he had worshipped from childhood appeared before him with all the divine glory. Everything else vanished from his sight except the Lord. It was the supreme moment of God realization.
While experiencing a steady flow of bliss, he heard the Almighty’s divine voice lovingly and tenderly calling him “ISA…!” It echoed again and again in his heart. Thus bestowing him with the name Isa. The Lord Himself gave him mantra initiation. At this moment of God realization he was blessed with several unique and divine powers as well as insight into the Vedas, Upanishads and other holy scriptures.
The third eye of wisdom was opened. His consciousness merged with the creator. The secrets of creation, sustenance and destruction were spontaneously revealed within the deep realms of wisdom. After this experience he was gifted with the yogic power of materialization. Overflowing with divine trance and yogic powers he began his journey from temple to temple and cave to cave, across the Sahya Hills (the western ghats) where divine experiences were awaiting him.
Once reaching back home he realized that a monastic life alone was possible for him. Convincing his beloved parents of his yogic mastery over the panchabhoota (the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether), he was granted their consent for his new life and set out on his parivrajaka vruthi (the journey undertaken by the religious mendicant dedicating himself at the feet of God).
The grace of the Divine guided him through innumerable cosmic experiences on his journey. The darsan of the sage Agasthya at Neyyar Dam, the vision of Lord Muruga and the experience of Nirvikalpa samadhi while meditating at the famous temple at Palani, the Cosmic dance of Lord Siva to the accompaniment of the divine symphony of flute, veena and mridangam at Chidambaram, the vision of Lord Dakshinamoorthi revealing the inner meaning of the Dakshinamoorthi Sthothram at Thiruvannamalai, the home of the great saint Ramana Maharshi, the Divine Mother appearing in different cosmic incarnations like Maha Kali, Maha Lekshmi, and Maha Saraswathi while sitting in meditation on the famous Sarvajna Peetom of Adi Sankara at Kudajadri near the temple of Mookambika, wild animals befriending him at Kudanchikkal hills are only some of the myriad divine experiences that awaited him.
The long journey ended at Rameswaram where the ordained rituals to complete the parivrajaka life were performed. The young saint returned home with all the grace and strength of spiritual wisdom.
For a brief period he spent time in silent contemplation of God in a small hut near his ancestral home at Oruvathilkotta. Though he didn’t want to be noticed by anybody, everybody began to notice him. Realizing the divine presence people from all walks of life began pouring in to seek blessings from the “Swami”. On the day of Gurupoornima in 1991 he formally accepted the name ‘Swami Isa’.
And that marked the humble beginning of the ashram Isalayam and its divine mission. Spiritual seekers and ardent devotees, sensing the great divinity in Swami Isa are instinctively drawn to Him. Every devotee has the impression of having an individual and personal relation with the divine. Swami Isa guides earnest devotees to pursue the path of self-realization through his loving care and spiritual wisdom.
‘Energy constitutes, sustains, and dissolves the universe. Everything is made up of energy, from a blade of grass to a fleeting thought to the entire cosmos. Recognizing this knowledge from both its objective and subjective aspects will reduce the gap between the seeker and the universe, and elevate him to a state of total consciousness,’ says Swami Isa.Energy consciousness is what Swami Isa prescribes to attain this state of heightened awareness.
The swami continues: ‘ A seeker who understands the equivalence between him and the universe will experience his inherent oneness with the universe. The individual is a miniature of the universe at both physical and subtle levels.
Just as the human body is composed of the same elements as the manifested universe, the individual subtle body also has the same powers of the universal subtle body that can be realized through energy consciousness. This is the underlying principle of Swami Isa’s philosophy.
‘I and my Father are one,’ said Jesus Christ. To comprehend this idea in its entirety would be to achieve the ultimate goal. Main hoon manzil, main toh safar bhi, main hi musafir hoon, sings the wandering minstrel. I am the destination, the journey and also the traveler,- the ultimate realisation that the self, the seeker and the sought are the same. There is no difference between the seeker and the Supreme Truth.
Om purnamadam purnamidam purnat purnamudaschate,Purnasya purnam adaya purnameva vashishyate.
(That is a complete entity. This is a complete entity. From the complete entity alone arose the other complete entity. After the complete entity is removed from the complete entity, still the complete entity remains as an unaltered, complete whole.)
This invocation of the Isha Upanishad comments on the concurrent oneness and duality of the spirit by symbolizing it as two variables, each assigned the value of infinity, and thus reducing it to a seemingly simple algebraic equation. As everything is derived from the universal consciousness, the individual self is complete in its true nature.
An individual’s physical body, the swami believes, and his subtler layers of existence like mind, intellect, ego, ignorance and consciousness are closely interconnected. The root cause of all positive or negative changes in the physical body can be traced to changes in these subtle layers of existence, each of which is essentially a flow of energy. Just like matter, these energy layers too exist in different forms. Intellect exists in the solid state, mind in the liquid state, ego as heat, ignorance as air and consciousness as space. They have their cosmic counterparts-the cosmic mind, the cosmic intellect, the cosmic ego, the cosmic ignorance and the cosmic consciousness.
The Isalayam ashram endeavors to rigorously implement their spiritual findings in everyday spirituality. Towards this end, the Swasthilingam constituted of 1008 herbs, interconnected with 1008 copper wires, has been installed in the ashram, and it radiates positive magnetic energy beneficial to the environment. It is believed to have nine circles of magnetism representing the pancha bhutas or five elements, air, water, earth, fire and ether and the four energy levels of the mind, intellect, ego and ignorance.