" Dhyaana moolam guror murtih
Pooja moolam guror padam
Mantra moolam guror vakyam
Moksha moolam guror kripa "
Guru Gita.

Sri Sai Sundaram Mahraj

India is well known for its ancient heritage and spiritual glories. It is the mother of many great saints who preserved its spiritual history and passed it on to the next generations. In India the tradition of Guru-Shishya (Teacher-student) is being followed since ages and Sadguru guides his disciples in the spritual path. It is inevitable for everyone to resort to a Guru and believe in His lotus feet for their Spiritual progress. As said in Bhagawat Gita, God takes the form of Mahatmas and yogis in Kaliyuga. India has many great saints who fulfill the spiritual thirst of their devotees and protect them from all kinds of troubles to lead them on spiritual path. Some such saints are Sri Pada Sri Vallabha Swamy, Sri Nrusimha Saraswati Swamy of Gangapur, Sri Akkalkota Swamy of Akkalkota, Sri Saibaba of Shirdi, Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy of Sajjangad, Sri Sridhara Swamy of Varadapuram, Sri Narayana Maharaj of Harihar, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, Sri Venkaiah Swamy of Golagamudi and Sri Sai Sundaram Maharaj of Vizianagaram.

Sadguru Sri Sai Sundaram Maharaj of Vizianagaram is from the spiritual lineage of Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy. With the divine instigation from Shirdi Sai he constructed a Shirdi Sai Temple in Vizianagaram and maintains the practices, pooja in this temple resemble those in Shirdi. This temple is constructed on a sacred land where Sri Venkaiah Swamy once sat for a few moments. It is a sacred place, which is visited and blessed by many great Saints.

Sri Narayana Maharaj of Harihar in his visit to Vizianagaram looked at the proposed land for Sri Sai temple and said that that place has rich divine vibrations and was meant only for Spiritual purposes. He called it "Tapo Bhoomi" (land of penance) and said it will always have spiritual activities going on there. With the blessings of Sri Narayana Maharaj that place was finalized for the construction of Sri Sai Temple. In the same place, Sri Sai Sundaram Maharaj started a Deeksha for 108 days. Sri Sai indicated to Maharaj that He (Sai) will appear twice during the Deeksha and shower His blessings. One day when Maharaj was performing His parayana and offered His pranams to Sri Sai, a huge serpent (Cobra), more than 12 ft long, appeared before Him (Maharaj). Looking at the scales and mudras (signs) on the snake, He immediately recognized that it is Sri Sai who has appeared before Him in this form. Maharaj offered His oblations to the Cobra and finished that day's Tapas. After Maharaj offered His final respects, the Cobra vanished in front of Maharaj’s eyes. It is quite clear that Sri Sai had taken that form to bless Maharaj and to accept His prayers. In due course of time there came-up a big Temple of Sri Shirdi Sai. Countless devotees have been blessed after visiting the temple. There are many who are redeemed of their sins and worldly problems and at the same time making Spiritual progress. It is Sri Maharaj who is taking care of every one who seeks His blessings. In due course of time, with the blessings of Sri Maharaj, devotees constructed Guru Nilayam in Gurla mandalam, Vizianagaram. With the Divine Sankalpam of Maharaj, "Avadhoota Datta Sai Samartha Peetham" has been established which indicates that it is a perennial parampara which would be continuing for the days to come.

Sri Venkaiah Swamy stayed in Golagamudi, a village near Nellore, for most of the years before His Mahasamadhi. He used to visit the temples around Nellore and also bless His devotee's houses based on their necessity and belief. He used to visit places in and around Nellore. He took His Mahasamadhi in 1982. Even after His Mahasamadhi, Sri Venkaiah Swamy visits the houses of His earnest devotees with the same physical form. Here are the few incidents where Sri Swamy introduced himself and brought new devotees into His fold.

In last week of August in 1986, Sri Swamy came to Sri Sundaram Maharaj's house and asked for Bhiksha. At that time Maharaj did not know about Sri Swamy. But the radiant face and shining eyes of Sri Swamy made Maharaj guess that He (Swamy) is a yogi. When Maharaj offered Bhiksha, Sri Swamy took and offered it to a cow. This incident again confirmed that He is a replica of Shirdi Sai. Sri Swamy expressed His happiness and blessed Maharaj. Sri Swamy started speaking some thing within Him while looking at the sky and made gestures, which made Maharaj think of Sri Shirdi Sai. Then Sri Swamy left that place and disappeared. Maharaj felt spiritual bliss in the presence of Sri Swamy.

After few days Avadhuta Leela - Life history of Sri Swamy, reached Maharaj's house. Looking at the photo of Sri Swamy on the cover of the book, Maharaj confirmed that it was Sri Swamy who came for Bhiksha a week earlier. Maharaj started (parayana) reading the Life History of Sri Venkaiah Swamy and prayed to Sri Swamy to grant Him another darshan. He set aside a new bed sheet for Sri Swamy and prayed to Sri Swamy to take that bed sheet by the time He (Maharaj) finishes the parayana. Exactly on the day when Maharaj finished the parayana of Avadhuta Leela, Sri Swamy came to Maharaj's house for the second time. It was on December 12th 1986, Sri Swamy took the bed sheet kept for Him. Sri Swamy blessed Maharaj and went away. After this incident many people from Vizianagaram and all the devotees of Maharaj started visiting Golagamudi. This is all by the grace of Sri Swamy who pulled many devotees into His fold .

After a few days, with the divine Sankalpam of Shirdi Sai, Maharaj decided to construct a Temple for Shirdi Sai and choose land for it. At that time the chosen land was located on the outskirts of Vizianagaram. Maharaj used to go to that place daily and do penance. In April 1987, when Maharaj went to that site he saw Sri Venkaiah Swamy sitting there with smiles. Maharaj asked for Sri Swamy’s permission to keep the sacred fire of Golagamudi, in the temple at Vizianagaram. Sri Swamy was very happy with the divine Sankalpam of Maharaj and blessed Him. He also assured that all the devotees coming to this temple would have His (Swamy’s) blessings. In this way Sri Swamy is still in Vizianagaram in the form of His Dhuni (Sacred Fire). He is blessing every one who offers incense into it in the name of Sri Swamy or Sri Sai and who does pradakshina to it. The sacred fire of Golagamudi that came to Vizianagaram with the blessings of Sri Swamy is continuing to burn the sins of devotees.