Meivazhi - The True Path (Tamil: மெய்வழி) is a syncretic monotheistic religion based in Tamil Nadu, India. Its focus is spiritual enlightenment and the conquering of death, through the teachings and example of its founder and leader, Brahma Prakasa Meivazhi Salai Andavargal, believed to be the final incarnation of God expected by all religious holy scriptures and was said to be over 120 years old. It was started in the year 1900. It has its own set of holy scriptures that runs up to four volumes, along with a unique prayer system and festivals. Although its founder was born to a Muslim family, it draws strongly from Hinduism. Mevaizhi preaches the message, "oneness of essence" of all the previous major scriptures like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc. and allows membership irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion. The only requirement for being a follower of Meivazhi is to be a believer in God. Meivazhi has an ashram in Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu called as the Meivazhi Salai. Its official liturgical language is Tamil. The religion forbids smoking, alcohol, gambling, and theft, and practices vegetarianism. Its male followers are seen to be often clad in white panchakacham and a pointed turban. The followers who had received spiritual blessings (Tamil: உபதேசம்) directly from Salai Aandavargal, wear saffron clothing and additionally, have an upward-pointing crescent moon symbol called as 'Kilnaamam' (Tamil: கிள்நாமம்) on their turban. 
The followers of the Meivazhi religion believe, the person who founded the Meivazhi religion to be the Kalki, the final incarnation of Lord Vishnu as mentioned in Hinduism and also the Second Coming of God's incarnation on this Earth as mentioned in various other religions. The followers of this religion address the founder as "Salai Aandavargal". The main source of the early life and history of Salai Aandavargal are mostly extracted from the Meivazhi scriptures written by the early followers of the religion and also from contents written by Salai Aandavargal himself.
Biography of Salai Aandavargal
"Aadhi Maanmiyam (Tamil: ஆதி மாண்மியம்)", one of the volumes of Meivazhi scriptures, narrates the real name, early life and experiences of Salai Andavargal. According to the scripture, Aandavargal was born in 1857 at Markampatti, a village in Oddanchatram Taluk, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. He was named Khader Badsha Rowther by his parents - his father being Jamal Hussain Rowther and mother Periya Thayi. He had his primary education in the village elementary school and followed the profession of his father as an agriculturist. As a youth, he had a keen interest in spirituality. He met many false gurus and initially believed that hatha yoga was the only way to achieve the highest spiritual realization. But he realized later that people were pretending to be saints for the sake of earning money and their own selfish purposes. He migrated to Kasukkaranpalayam, a village in Perundurai taluk, Erode in Tamil Nadu after his marriage to Suleka Bivi and worked as a wholesale paddy merchant. He had a daughter named Aisuamma and he almost gave up on spirituality. But It was during this period, that he met his satguru Shri Thanigai Mani Piran (real name is Mohamed Saligh also known as Pattaiyar), who was stated to be more than 2000 years old and who revealed to Salai Aandavargal about his true form. Shri Thanigai Mani Piran also was the teacher of Ramalinga Swamigal. He baptized Salai Aandavargal through Brahmopadhesam (Tamil: ப்ரஹ்மோபாதேசம்), the spiritual rebirth, at Kasukkaranpalayam, Erode. Thereafter, Salai Aandavargal followed his satguru all over South India, renouncing his profession, wife, children and everything to attain the highest spiritual enlightenment. When Aandavargal finished his travels with his guru, he was ordered to tend to a flock of sheep at Reddiyapatti village in Dindigul district for a year. This is celebrated annually as the "Āṭu mēyppu tirukkōlak kāṭci" (Tamil: ஆடு மேய்ப்பு திருக்கோலக் காட்சி) festival. The first meeting of Salai Andavargal and his guru is celebrated by the followers as a festival during pournami day of the Panguni month (April), as the "Piṟavā nāḷ piṟappu tirunāḷ" (Tamil: பிறவா நாள் பிறப்பு திருநாள்) festival.
Thereafter he was directed to observe severe Tapas in the cave on the western side of Thiruparankundram hill (near Madurai) which he carried out for many years the wakefulness and near starvation diet of Prickly pear. Thereby he acquired divine symbols (sannadams) in his sacred hand – such us Udukai, Trishula, Shankha, Sudarshana Chakra, Villu, Vaal, Gada (mace), Angusam, Paasam, Modhagam, Vel and finally the “Khill Namam" (Crescent moon). The Crescent moon is the ultimate divine symbol, which is now used by his followers as their religion's righteous symbol. His holiness acquiring the holy symbol is commemorated by celebrating the festival of “Kodaayudha Sannathath Thirukkappu Kangganath Thirunall“ (Tamil: கோடாயுத சன்னதத் திருக்காப்பு கங்கநத் திருநாள்) in the month of Vaikasi (June).
When the savant understood that his disciple Salai Andavargal is fully endowed with wit and power to commence his holy mission “Meivazhi”(True Path), he christened him “Maarganadhar” and departed from him after persuading Salai Andavargal to proceed forward alone in his holy mission.
Cladding himself in a saffron robe, Andavargal first preached to sanyasis and Saints, but thereupon he understood that most of the sanyasis were impostors not because of their ignorance but deliberation to loot innocent people’s money for satisfying their lust and hunger. Finally, Andavargal gave up the garb of sanyasi and took to preaching family people engaged in worldly occupations. Later at Tiruppattur in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, he married Panimathi Nachiyar as per his Guru’s wish.
Religious attributes of Salai Aandavargal
It is claimed that the Heavenly Tokens which distinguish Meivazhi Salai Andavargal from the mushrooms of impostors, masquerading as master all over the world, and identify him as the only true Master of the Age, are:
- that he has conquered slumber and sleep.
- that his Breath never passes out of His nostrils.
- that he has practically overcome the need for food.
Goal of Meivazhi
- Meivazhi Salai Aandavargal's mission, unparalleled in the history of spiritual hierarchy, consists of bringing home to man the Lost truth that the very purpose of religion is to rescue him from the death-throes, eradicating the falsehoods and half-truths about religions among many other spiritual values.
- Baptizing with the spirit, thereby enlightening and expanding the dark and constricted heart and opening the vistas of soul, a series of eternal revelations;
- Warning against the impending disaster and destruction, the whole universe is facing.
- Offering mankind a helping hand to escape the 'sting of death' and to win the 'victory of the grave', and
- Resurrecting the dead even many days after their final departure from the mortal coil to reach their rendezvous (heavenly destination), which is the Abode of Bliss.
According to Meivazhi, the true goal of a Human being is to find and reach God. As stated in several other religious scriptures, Man was created in Heaven, who was banished to Earth as punishment. Before the world ends, the Human soul should reach God or it will be dragged to Hell by Yama when the world ends. Those who have successfully reached God will reach Heaven. A sign that a Man has reached God is that the person's physical self will become incorruptible when he dies. The soul will rest within oneself during death and hence, the person shows signs of incorruptibility. Most people search for God in the skies, oceans, rocks and everywhere, failing to look within themselves and not realizing that God lies within themselves. When People die without fulfilling their most basic purpose of finding God within their lifetime, their soul leaves their physical selves in search of God everywhere else and will become lost. Eventually the body will decompose. The soul will be eventually either enslaved by Yama or reborn again on earth. But when their soul settles within themselves and reached God, the body will never decompose.
Claims of incorruptibility
The Followers of Meivazhi believe that a person's attainment of Heaven or Hell can be ascertained by their body, by observing 10 signs after death showing Immortal Proofs of Salvation at the time of death, as said to be happening in Meivazhi, showing real majestic victory over the force of death:
- No bad stench of the body showing only pleasant aroma of the body. No discharge of foul-smelling liquid.
- No stiffening of the body, thus showing signs of the flexibility of parts.
- The body will be light in weight like a flower-basket.
- The body sweats as the time passes.
- The complete body exhibits warmness.
- The natural conditions of the throat path. Hence the body takes in the Holy Water when given.
- The knuckles giving out sound when cracked, all continuing in the living state.
- The disappearance of deformities such as hunchback, with which they may have been afflicted.
- The pure and pleasant state of the body reflecting youthfulness and cheeriness blooming on the face.
- The body does not decay after death and also, the earth does not affect the body.
Meivazhi has its own Holy scriptures running up to four volumes in Tamil language.
- Āti mey utaya pūraṇa vētāntam (Tamil: ஆதி மெய் உதய பூரண வேதாந்தம்)
- Āṇṭavarkaḷ māṉmiyam (Tamil: ஆண்டவர்கள் மான்மியம்)
- Emaṉ paṭar aṭipaṭu koṭāyūtak kūr (Tamil: எமன் படர் அடிபடு கொடாயூதக் கூர்)
- Emaṉ paṭar aṭipaṭu tiru meyññāṉak koral (Tamil: எமன் படர் அடிபடு திரு மெய்ஞ்ஞானக் கொரல்)
The first Meivazhi Ashram was founded at Rajagambeeram village in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. The second one was started at Tirupathur, a panchayat town in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, where the Sabha was initially registered on 19 June 1933. From small beginnings, the number of followers gradually increased, year by year. By 1939, the sabha was shifted to Madurai (Aruppukottai Road). But in 1942, during the Second World War, the British Government acquired the entire place in Madurai and paid a compensation of Rs.1,37,750.00 to Meivazhi Sabha. Consequently, the sabha had to be shifted to a different place. In the same year, the sabha was shifted to a land at Pappancahivayal, Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu where Aandavargal purchased a jungle land for about Rs.6,000.00 and cleared it for habitation. The sabha was re-registered on 10 June 1944 in the, then Pudukkottai State, where it has been functioning ever since. This place is the present Meivazhi Salai. The Control of the Sabha was under Meivazhi Salai Aandavargal till 1976, after which he entered a very deep meditative state. The place where he started meditating has become a shrine for the followers of Meivazhi and is called as the "Poṉṉaraṅka tēvālayam" (Tamil: பொன்னரங்க தேவாலயம், meaning Golden Temple). All the Prayers, Rituals and Festivals are held around this Shrine.
Dress code for entering the Ashram
Meivazhi followers have a mandatory dress code for entering the ashram. Men who have received the upadhesam, the highest level of spiritual teaching (known as Anandars), wear saffron shirts and traditional Hindu panchakacham trousers. Males who have not received it wear white turbans and clothes other than saffron, and in dark colours. Women who have received upadhesam wear sarees and cover their head with a saffron scarf, while other women cover their head with the end of the sarees.
Daily rituals at the Ponnaranga Devalayam takes place all over the day.
1. Morning prayer at 4:00 AM and Vanakkam at 4:30 AM;
2. Maha Sangarpa Manthiram at 7:00 AM;
3. Aravala Vanakkam at 12:00 PM;
4. Evening Vanakkam at 6:00 PM;
5. Night Vanakkam at 9:00 PM, 12:00 AM, 1:30 AM, 3:00 AM;
6. Para Vanakkam at 10.00 PM to 12.00 AM, 12.00 AM to 2.00 AM and 2.00 AM to 4.00 AM;
1. Piravanal Pirappu Thirunal (in the month of Panguni) – The day of Spiritual rebirth of Andavargal
2. Vaikaasi Thiruvizha – Tri-festivals
- Aadu meippu Thiruvizha (remembering Andavargal as a good Shepherd)
- Pasubatha Kangana Thiruvizha (acquiring Sannadam and Spiritual powers through continuous Penance)
- Puthadai Punaiseer Thiruvizha (Reciting Pava mannippu, start of Spiritual life through family life)
3. Pichai Andavar Thirukkola Thiruvizha (in the month of Purattaasi)- Bestower of Alms
5. Kolari Salayar Pongal Festival in the month of Thai (Through holy water, disciples prepare sweet Pongal around Ponnaranga Devalayam) and Mattu Pongal (Cows and Bulls are decorated and fed with sweet Pongal. Also there will be Kolattam by young people and Kummy by Adult disciples around Flag post, singing Ponnaranga Kommi song)
6. Karthigai Deepam (Festival of lights in the month of Karthikai)
7. Flag Hoisting: In addition to Pooran kodi, a special flag having 92 bells will be hoisted at Panguni and Vaikaasi festivals. And the White flag, having the symbol of Killnaamam is hoisted twice a month, on the full moon day and on the third day of New Moon.
- Kayleigh Robinson "Becoming One with the Divine: Meivazhi Salai Shows the Way" Archived 2015-04-23 at Archive.is, Madurai Messenger, April 2014.
- Meivazhi Sabha releases book, The Hindu April 2, 2012.
- அருணகிரி "தமிழ்நாட்டுக்கு உள்ளே ஒரு தனி நாடு", கீற்று, Nov 2011.
- "மெய்வழி மதம்: பல்வேறு மதங்கள், சாதிகளின் சங்கமம்!". www.vikatan.com (in Tamil). Retrieved 2017-01-29.
- Meivazhi Salai, Village