Shivamma Thayee was an ardent devotee of shirdi Saibaba since her childhood. Her uncle (father's elder brother) Thangavel Gounder was a Rajayogi and he hailed from a village known as Papanayakana Palya in Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. His Brother's name was Vetrivel. Vetrivel had married Smt.Pushpavatamma. Shivamma Thayee was the daughter of Vetrivel and Pushpavathamma. She belonged to Vellal Goundar Community. Vetrivel earned his livelihood by doing Agriculture. He had 4 Acres of Cultivation Land. The family lead a decent life with whatever income they got from Agriculture. Shivamma Thayee was born on 29th May 1889 as the eldest daughter in the family. Her parents used to call her as "Rajamma". Shivamma Thayee grew up as the pet daughter of her parents. Later on 3 more children were added to her family. Shivamma Thayee had one Younger Sister and 2 Younger Brothers.
During those days Madras Presidency was under the rule of the Britishes. There was not much scope for Education. Hence, Shivamma Thayee did not study much. There was Mutt in the village where an Educated person from Naidu Community used to impart free teaching to village children. Shivamma Thayee studied in that school upto 3rd Standard and was able to read and write Tamil to some extent.
As the eldest daughter in the family, Shivamma Thayee used to help her parents in Agriculture. She also used to take care of her younger Brothers and Sister. When her mother went out for agriculture related work, Shivamma Thayee used to cook and serve food, interact with village ladies there by gained considerable worldly knowledge. Since her parents were soft natured Shivamma Thayee also developed the same qualities by birth.
Shivamma Thayee got married to Shri.Subbaiah from the neighbouring village at the age of 13 years. Subbaiah was working in a factory at Coimbatore. He was by nature very strict and short temepered. He never used to mix with anyone easily. He wanted everybody obey his orders. He stayed in a joint family with his Uncle and Aunty. Eventhough there was not much family problems, Shivamma Thayee was not happy. She did not like her husband's stubborn nature. Just three months after their marriage, Shivamma Thayee and Subbaiah started living in a separate house of their own.
In due course of time Shivamma Thayee gave birth to a Male Child. He was named as Mani Raaj. Shivamma Thayee forgot all her tension while taking care of her son and got deeply engrossed in family life.
Her Uncle Thangavel Gounder who was living in a house next to Shivamma Thayee was an ardent devotee of Shirdi Saibaba. He used to serve many well known Saints in his house. This had a direct impact on Shivamma Thayee. Hence, Shivamma Thayee also became an ardent devotee of shirdi Saibaba since her childhood.
Baba appeared in the dream of Shivamma Thayee and initiated her with Gayathri Mantram in her ear, and also wrote down Gayathri Manthram on a paper with pencil in Tamil and gave it to her. After this incident Shivamma Thayee totally forgot the Gayatri Mantram and engrossed once again in her family life. In due course, her son Mani Raaj grew up and Shivamma Thayee performed his marriage. Mani Raaj joined Poilce Service in Coimbatore.
In due course Subbaiah got a job in T.R.Mill in Bangalore. Hence, he shifted to Bangalore along with Shivamma Thayee. Mani Raaj and his wife were living in Coimbatore as he was posted in Coimbatore itself. Subbaiah got a site from T.R.Mill in Chamarajpet area in Bangalore. In that site, Subbaiah built a own house and started living there.
Shivamma Thayee had lost the paper given by Saibaba. Baba once again came in her dream and told her that the slip was in the Rice storage drum.
From the time Baba appeared in her dream, she was longing to go to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. She had to get the permission from her husband for this. She asked for it and also asked him to take her to Shirdi. He was a non believer but got belief on Baba with the happening of a miracle. Then, he agreed to take her to Shirdi. It was in 1908 at her 17th year she visited Shirdi for the first time. Baba used to talk to Shivamma Thayee in Tamil only.
After returning from Shirdi, her devotion towards Saibaba increased. Shivamma Thayee started to perform Saibaba Pooja on every Thursday. She used to invite great Saints to her house and feed them. She used to cure the ailments of devotees as per the instructions given by Saibaba. Once on Ekadashi Day, while she was performing Tulasi Pooja, she saw a pair of Silver Padukas enclosed in a cloth. On closely observing the cloth, she came to know that it was the Holy Bhagavadwaja. From that day onwards, Shivamma Thayee started worshipping the Holy Silver Padukas as well with deep devotion.
In the meantime, her son Mani Raaj died few days after the birth of his only Son. Seeing this her Daughter In Law also committed suicide by consuming poison. Mani Raaj's In Laws took the child along with them. After performing the last rites of her Son and Daughter In Law, Shivamma Thayee wanted to visit kashi and accordingly informed her husband. But he not only declined to accompany her, but also told her to look for a new Wife for him at that ripe old age of 68 years. Shivamma Thayee re-confirmed with her husband and started looking for a new Bride. Within a month's time, she searched a new bride for her husband and to him married to her.
Later, Shivamma Thayee left the house on a Thursday with the photograph of Baba and a pair of Silver Padukas granted by Baba and which she used to perform Pooja. She came to Shri Sadguru Shirdi Saibaba Mutt at N.G.R.Layout, Roopena Agrahara locality in Bangalore and started living there.
Three Temple have been constructed in this place as per the instructions of Shivamma Thayee.
As the devotee enters through the main gate of the temple complex the first temple he sees was inaugurated on 20th May 1970 by Shivamma Thayee, with the help of her followers. The land for the construction of this temple was donated by Late Sri.Narayana Reddy. At the entrance of the temple there is a Black Stone Idol of Nandi. To the right of Nandi Idol Navagraha Idols are present. In the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple Black Stone Idols of Ganapati, Shirdi Saibaba and Subramanya is present. In the cellar right below the Saibaba Statue the Samadhi of Shivamma Thayee is present.
The second temple in the temple complex is more than 50 years old and the exact year of construction is not known. This temple was also inaugurated by Shivamma Thayee with the help of her fellow devotees. Outside the temple there is a big Tulsi Brindavan. At the entrance of the Mandir there is a stone slab on which Shivamma Thayee used to sit. As the devotee enters the temple to the left one finds the place where Shivamma Thayee used to stay and sleep. A marble idol of Shivamma Thayee is present in this place. It is said that Shivamma Thayee has performed penance for more than 9 years in this place. In the Sanctum Sanctorum a Silver Idol of Nagasai is present.
The third temple in the temple complex is the Dwarakamai. This holy place was inaugurated on 10th February 1989 by Shivamma Thayee. In this place you will find the marble idol of “Bhikshatana Moorthi” of Saibaba which you will not see anywhere in the world. Shivamma Thayee was fortunate enough to see Saibaba in flesh and blood in the year 1918. She also got the vision of Saibaba in “Bhikshatana Moorthi” form that inspired her to construct this wonderful Dwarakamai. Swami Brahmananda of Chinmaya Mission and Swami Vidya Naraayana Teertha of Dwaraka Badarikashrama performed the inaugural speech on the occasion. Sri.R.Seshadri and Sri.P.S.Narayana Rao of Sai Spiritual Centre, Thyagarajanagar, Bangalore addressed the devotees present on the inauguration day and explained about the specialty of Dwarakamai in this place. Veteran Sai Bhajan Singer Sri.Hariharan did Saibhajans on the auspicious day and enthralled all the Sai Devotees present on that day. Apart from the “Bhikshatana Moorthi” of Saibaba there is a life size photo of Dwarakamai Saibaba, A wooden Palanquin and paintings of Upasini Baba and Shirdi Saibaba donated by some devotee.
Shivamma Thayee attained Maha Samadhi in the year 1994.
For details about Temple and its activities, click here.
(Source: Translated from the Official Kannada Book on Shivamma Thayee published by Shri Sadguru Shirdi Saibaba Mutt into English)