A scholar in Vedas and their interpretations, Manikya Somayaji was a versatile genius who made it his life’s mission to explain the intricacies Vendanta to common people. He nurtured thousands of disciples who grew into eminent scholars in their own right. Madugula Somayaji was born in a family of scholars at Patluru village in Ranga Reddy district in 1940. His great grandfather was Gangadhara Diskhitulu and grandfather was Ramakrishna Somayaji. Manikya Somajaji’s uncle was Narahari Somayaji and father Purushotham Somayaji conducted a number of yagas. Purushotham Somayaji was an authority on Vedas and Grammar. Manikya Somayaji was the thirteenth child of Puroshothama Somayajulu.
Full concentration on studying Vedas
When he was studying Vedas, there was a breakout of cholera and he wanted to go home to see his mother. When he told his mother about his plans, she discouraged him from travelling saying, “If something happened to you while studying, I deem that you are alive, but if you come away leaving veda classes you are not considered as alive.”That made him to concentrate on his studies. “I could become a scholar because of my mother. She took me and my elder brother to Andhra when the Razakar problem was at its worst in Talangana region. She took us to Chavatapapayya palem agraharam in Guntur district. The Veda school there refused admission to students from Telangana. My mother discussed salient features of Veda Dharma with the scholars who were surprised to see a woman so well versed with the highest points of Vedanta. They thought they would be insulting the Vedamata if they refused admission because they are outsiders when their mother was so particular about her sons studying Vedas,” Manikya Somayaji told Marumula Dattatreya Sarma who published an article in Namaste Telangana. Manikya Somayaji rose to a stage where, at the age of 17, he could win arguments with scholars.
Gets married to Lalitha
On his return after completing learning of Vedas, he made it his profession to publicize and spread Vedas. He got married to Lalitha, daughter of Ramachandra Bhat of Khaneranjole village near Humnabad in Karnataka. While leading family life he conducted Somayaga in in Telugu year Plavanga and justified the name of Somayaji. As Somidevamma, Lalitamma walked with him every inch in his journey of scholarship and Vedic propaganda. They have four children – two sons and two daughters – Purushothama Sharma, Sarvothama Sharma, Lakshminarasamma and Gayatri.
Teacher of Vedas
Getting in touch with Sastrula Viswanatha Sastry was an unforgettable experience and joining the Veda school at Sastry’s village Sivampeta made Manikya Somayaji a good teacher. About two thousand students were taught Veda and trained in sastras in two decades of his stay at that school.
Manikya Somayaji was instrumental in building Brahamasva Bhavanam at Benaras, the spiritual capital of India. He encouraged people to donate for a building which was named Brahmasva Bhavanam. He could collect about Rs. 3 crore. This was built in a place on Kedarghat on the banks of Ganges at Sonapur. He lived there in Kasi with his wife for ten years.
Felicitations followed him wherever he went. He was the main stay at Ayutha Chandiyaga organized by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), Chief Minister of Telangana State. He was also present to oversee Sahasra Chandiyagam at KCR’s farmhouse. He conducted at Dharmapuri mahaagni chayana purvaka jyotiraptoryamayagam at the time of Godavari Pushkarams. Sharma of Darshanam, a spiritual magazine, gave his lifetime achievement award and the title of ‘Dharmikavarenya.’ He was also presented by prestigious Vedic organizations with the titles of “Vaidika Siromani,’ and ‘Vedavidwanmoorti.’
Having spent all his life in service of Vedas and living in Kasi for a decade, Manikyam Somayaji lived a life full of meaning and accomplishments. He has thousands of his students all over the country. He is very well known among the scholars. He left this world to submerge with Parabrahma in early hours of Monday, 9 August 2021, in his 81 year.
(Courtesy: Namaste Telangana)