Sri Trailanga Swami – The Walking Lord Shiva of Varanasi

Trailinga Swami was an Indian Saint from Banares who was recognized as an Avadhuta, a great Saint, by Ramakrishna, Yogananda, and other Saints of his time.

He was a great Hindu yogi lived in the Varanasi. He was famous for his divine powers and regarded as a renowned stature of the Bengal. There are many stories behind him about his spiritual and yogic powers. He lived a long life around 300 years and resided in Varanasi approximately 150 years. It is believed that Trailanga Swami was incarnation of the Lord Shiva and referred as the “The walking Lord Shiva of Varanasi”.

He was born in Holia at Vizianagaram.

In the Andhra Pradesh state and he named as Trailanga Swami after his defrayal in the Benares. His parents (Narashingha Rao and Vidyavati Devi) were immense devotee of the Lord Shiva. According to his biographers and believers, his birth date and the accurate period of longevity always vary. According to some disciples, his birth date was 1529 but some says it was 1607. People called him generally by his premonastic name, the Shivarama. He lived his whole life after 40 as a recluse in a cottage after the death of his parents. He did a hard spiritual practice for twenty years and he then got sannyasa by the initiation of his Guru Bhagirathananda in 1679. After getting sannyasa he went on a pilgrimage and reached at Prayag in 1733 and finally he got settled in the Varanasi in 1737.

He lived in Varanasi.

At some special places such as Assi Ghat, Vedavyas Asharama at Hanuman Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat till his death in 1887. He was always carefree like a child and frequently found roaming naked on the streets or the Gange ghats.

He talked to others very less or sometime not at all. A crowd of people often attracted to him for hearing of his yogic supremacy in order to get rid of their problems. Ramakrishna himself said the Trailanga Swami, an incarnation of the Lord Shiva. It is considered that Trailanga Swami has no body perception in him; he can lay very comfortably on the burning sand of the dessert which is generally impossible for the normal man. He was a real paramahansa according to the Ramakrishna.

He got fame worldwide and at the later phase of his life, devotees came to visited him. A day before his death, he took up a form of ajagaravritti and sat motionless. Devotees offer water to him as an abhisheka from early morning till noon as a living form of the Lord Shiva. He left the world on the Monday evening at December 26, 1887. Salilasamadhi was given to his body in the Ganges River in the Varanasi according to the customs of the Dashanami sect.

Legends and Stories

There are many stories about the spiritual powers of Telang Swami. According to the Robert Arnett writings, Telang Swami’s miracles are well documented and stored. He lived a great life for around 300 years and displayed his miraculous powers. Even he ate seldom, was weighing over 140 kg. It is noted that he was fully able to read the people’s mind like a book.

Many times he had seen drinking toxic poisons with no ill effect. Once upon a time, some of the disbeliever wanted to declare him as a scam. In this order they brought a bucket full with the calcium lime mixture. Telang Swami drank the full bucket without any ill effect. Then he broke his natural silence in order to clarify the law of karma, its reason and effect. Pilgrims at Varanasi saw him many times in a sitting position on the water surface of the river Ganges for many days. It is also believed that he was disappeared for long periods under the waves of water, and reappeared as well.

Read an excerpt about Trailanga/Telang Swami in the infamous book Autobiography of a Yogi.


His philosophy is extant and available in his life history by one of his disciples, the Umacharan Mukhopadhyay. According to the Umacharan Mukhopadhyay writings, Telang Swami had described the attachment of human to the world, the liberation and the assimilation in God. According to the Telang Swami, if someone attained the desirelessness state this world is then altered into the heaven. And he can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Just like, this world is a chronic disease and the medicine is the way to detachment from disease.

He described to his devotees that all the desire senses of the human body is his enemy and the control senses is his friend. He had given the real description of a poor person that the one who is very greedy is very poor. He described the Sadhu as one who has no attachment and desire.


He said, “Those who forget their own nature, their Godly essence, forget the power within themselves. Our real nature most often is mistaken by others. They prefer to believe in a miracle of the supernatural, rather than the inner strength of the powers that all of us possess.”

Watch a short clip about Trailanga Swami Below:

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