The Story of First Jagirdar of Myleripalayam In Coimbatore

Sarkeel Govinda Rao was the first Jagirdar of Myleripalayam near Coimbatore. Sarkeel was a title given to people who dealt with accounts and money. Long ago, 300 families of Deshastha Madhwa Brahmins migrated to Thanjavur and Kumbakonam. This took place during the era of Chatrapati Shivaji. The ancestors of Sarkeel Govinda Rao were part of this group.
The good work of Govinda Rao earned him rich rewards. He was much appreciated for his honesty. The English rewarded him with the Jagir of Myleripalayam near Coimbatore. Govinda Rao could collect the taxes and use them but he was not the Zamindar. He spoke an archaic form of Marathi which contained terms that are rare now. Sir Thomas Munro (1761 – 1827) was in great appreciation of Govinda Rao and he gifted him a piece of land on Raja Street in Coimbatore. Munro had been the Governor of Madras and was a high ranking military officer who had fought the Anglo Mysore and Anglo Maratha Wars. He had once visited Bellary in order to take over the income of the Saint Raghavendra Mutt in Mantralayam and was blessed to have a conversation with the great soul. This led to the finances left undisturbed and details of this experience is found on the Gazette that was published long ago.
The family of Govinda Rao lived in Thanjavur. They donated a lot of their lands to the Mutt that the family was attached too. Years passed by and his descendent G.Krishna Rao became an MLC. He thought that Thanjavur was a far flung area and he decided to have residences in both, Chennai and Coimbatore. The Chennai residence was known as Kimberly and measured 48 grounds on Harrington Road. G.Krishna Rao wrote on Dwaita philosophy for publications like the Bhavans Journal. The Coimbatore residence of the Jagirdar of Myleripalayam was given for a number of social causes. Quite a few Pontiffs who decorated important institutions like the Uttaradi Mutt had stayed in this old residence. They had given a lot of speeches and done poojas here. A number of poor Brahmins were permitted to celebrate their family weddings in this residence. They were given the space absolutely free of cost. The house became a meeting place for the Madhwa community.
G.Krishna Rao was married to Sona Bai and his son K.Govinda Rao was a banking professional. The grandson G.Vasudeva Rao lives in Bengaluru and he was associated with Oxford University Press, Deccan Herald etc., K.Govinda Rao was married to Malathi Bai, the third daughter of Nellikai Venkata Rao of Mangalore. Venkata Rao had been the Chairman of the Mangalore Municipality for 12 years and had shared a dais with Gandhi. He was an expert on horses and diamonds. Nellikai Venkata Rao was a connoisseur of Hindustani music and singers like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan had performed in his residence at Mangalore. He was a gymnast and a free style wrestler. His residence was known as Manohar Vilas and he was at one time, the uncrowned king of Mangalore.
G.Srinivasa Rao, the brother of G.Krishna Rao was married to Sarojini, the older daughter of Nellikai Venkata Rao. The couple were blessed with five kids and the daughter Hemalatha was wedded to the world famous Dwaita scholar B.N.K. Sharma who happened to hail from Coimbatore. His great grand father Cochi Rangappachar (1820 – 1891) was the Rajaguru of the Raja of Cochin those days. His house thinnai (seat near the doorstep) was known as the ‘Raja Thinnai’. This house was in Raja Street. Sridhar Rao, the son of G.Srinivasa Rao grew up to be the great Saint Swami Chidananda (1916 – 2008). Sridhar Rao grew up in Mangalore under the care of his grandmother Sundaramma. He had lost his mother early. Sridhar Rao had a spiritual inclination and he once left the home in the company of a mendicant. He was brought back and he promised his grandmother not to leave the house during her life time. His grandmother passed away in 1942 and later Sridhar Rao left home in order to seek knowledge from the Saints at Rishikesh. He met Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh and became his student. The great Sivananda initiated him and Swami Chinmayananda on the same day.
Swami Chidananda was a well known Yogi and a spiritual leader. He succeeded as the President of the Divine Life Society after his predecessor Swami Sivananda Saraswathi in 1963. The initiation had taken place on 10 July 1949. He had been appointed as the Secretary of the Divine Life Society in 1948. Swami Chidananda had got educated at Loyola College in Chennai. He had become a renunciate in 1936 and had joined the Ashram in 1943. The name Chidananda means ‘one who is consciousness and bliss’. Swami Chidananda had displayed brilliance and intellect from the very beginning. He used to look after the dispensary in the Ashram and became the man with a healing hand. The growing reputation of his divine healing hand attracted a rush of patients to the Sivananda Charitable Dispensary. It was during his first year of stay in the Ashram that he wrote his Magnum Opus ‘Light Fountain’, the fabulous biography of Sivananda. The great Swami Chidananda was a descendent of the Jagirdar of Myleripalayam Sarkeel Govinda Rao. The family had contributed towards the well being of the society.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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