Sri Ramalinga adigal was born on 05.10.1823 at Marudhur, a village 20 kms from Chidambaram at Tamilnadu. His parents were Ramaiah Pillai and Chinnammai. His father died shortly after his birth and hence the family moved to Ponneri, native town of his mother, where from they shifted to Chennai after two years.
Ramalinga Vallalar’s elder brother, the earning member of the family, tried to educate Vallalar in traditional way, but his efforts went in vain. Vallalar, unlike the other children of his age, was totally disinterested in the usual pleasures of childhood. He had unparalleled proficiency in Tamil language and his inclination was totally towards God. He could compose wonderful devotional songs at a very early age. Later his elder brother realized the greatness of Ramalinga Vallalar and has allowed him to live in his own style. However, due to compulsion of relatives, Vallalar had to get married. But he did not lead an active marital life.
Vallalar had himself reported that he was took over by the Almighty at the age of nine and that his spiritual life began at the age of twelve. In the initial stages, he used to visit many temples and shrines nearby and worshipped the deities. Later on, his orientation shifted towards higher realms and his focus was the supreme power beyond all forms.
In 1858, Vallalar moved from Chennai and started staying at Karunguzhi, a hamlet near his birth place, There he had performed several miracles including burning light with water, bringing up an everflowing spring (which is still there) by digging with his hand, etc. In 1865, he formed the ‘Sanmarga Sangh’ to advocate his principles of One God, Compassion upon beings, Avoidance of killing animals and non-intake of Non Vegetarian food, feeding the hungry people etc. In 1867, Vallalar established Dharmasala at Vadalur wherein the hunger of poor people was satiated.
Vallalar’s spiritual efforts matured and he could achieve immortality by changing his physical coil into embodiment of light. He could reach the highest point by Grace of the Almighty. He has expressed his way, life and the truths that he found in various forms of songs, at every stage. He created ‘Sathya Gnana Sabha’ at Vadalur to indicate the inner experience.
Finally, on 30.01.1874, he merged with the Great Light of Grace at his room in Siddhivalagam. He remains a beacon and as well a guiding Master for those in the search of God.