Jeganatha Swamigal was born, nine years prior to the birth of Ramalinga Adigal, at Puri near Calcutta, India in 1814 in the Tamil month of Thai. He was a follower of Ramalinga Adigal’s principles.
At the age of eighteen, he left for Chittagong in Burma.
Later at thirty, he tracked down to Malaya through Thailand. He worked as a brakeman in the Malayan Railways. He was based in Tanjong Malim for four years. Later he lived in Baling for eight years. The locals there saw him as a spiritual man and addressed him as Swami.
Then he went on a pilgrimage to Singapore. Enroute he stopped at Taiping, where he was mistaken as a spy by the Burmese security forces loyal to the British in Malaya and put behind bars. Surprisingly he was released the next day without any interrogation.
At Seremban too, people began to take notice of his spiritual nature.
He moved on to Teluk Anson where he undertook charity and fed the poor.
Finally, he settled in Tapah. He built a hut for himself near a Chinese graveyard and continued his sadhana and tapas or austerity here.
Jeganatha Swamigal purchased three acres of rubber land in the vicinity and allowed the locals to build their homes on his land. He lived a simple life never making himself and his powers known to others. He lived alone. Often he used to be seen in loincloth and people made fun of him calling him a lunatic. When he went out, he dressed like Ramalinga Adigal. It is said that he never took a bath but there was always a sweet aroma around him.
When the time came for him to go into samadhi, Jeganatha Swamigal asked to be buried alive but the authorities in Malaya did not allow that. Therefore, he dictated that his followers leave an opening with a pipe protruding in the concrete floor. Jeganathar most probably went into another living thing thus appearing 'dead' in his present body. He then must have taken another body shortly, leaving behind his presumed ‘dead’ body to be laid and buried. Jeganathar must have entered, back into his body later, through the pipe that was now laid in the ground at his samadhi.
It is mentioned that Siddha Arunagirinathar who left his body to fetch the Parichatha flower from another world in the form of a bird, on returning back home, found to his dismay that his body, that he had carefully hidden in the towers of Arunachaleswarer temple in Tiruvannamalai, had been taken away and buried by his arch enemy, Sambanthan, a black magician. As it was buried underground, Arunagirinathar had no way to return to his body and stayed in the form of the bird until his reunion with Lord Murugan. Contrary to this version, Agathiyar revealed recently that Arunagiri was in his physical human form till his last days.
Swamigal went into samadhi at 4.30 am on 25 January 1959 in Tapah. Jeganathar chose a full moon and a Thaipusam day to go into samadhi. An eyewitness mentions that a flash of light was seen at that moment emerging from his samadhi.
A shivalingam was installed above his samadhi. The locals collected funds to build a Shiva Temple. In 1980, N. Arumugam Pillai of Penang built a small hall. Later in 1990, A.V. Pasupathy Pillai of Malacca renovated the Shiva temple. Now there is a temple for Lord Shiva with a lingam erected above his samadhi. The pipe protruding into the samadhi is just behind this lingam. On my maiden visit to this temple some years back, the caretaker cum priest led me to the back of the Lingam at the inner sanctum to listen to Jeganathar’s breath.
His Guru Puja is celebrated a day after Thaipusam annually. Jeganatha Swamigal is believed to be alive till this day.
Jeganathar lived for 145 years. He had three disciples: Chitramuthu Adigal from Panaikulam, India, Veemavar from Indonesia, and Sathyananthar of Sudha Samajam, Malaya.
Listen to Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal of the Sri Agathiyar Sri Thava Murugar Gnana Peedham at Kallar talk passionately of both his Guru Chitramuthu Adigal and his Paramaguru Jeganathar in this video clip.
Source of information from Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal and TIRUPPUR THAAIVEEDU AINTHAVATHU ANDU NIRAIVU VIZHA MALAR, 1994, the caretaker cum local priest of Jeganathar Temple who has since then passed away, and from Nithyavani Manikam’s blog at http://nithyavani.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-post_28.html.
Read more about Swamigal at http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=470