Trailinga Swami spent the last of his life at Pancha Ganga Ghat in Kashi, now called Benares. His caretaker was Mangal Bhatt. Trailinga Swami spent his last years in silence next to Kali and Shiva deities carved from stone with his own hands. He sat at his altar writing Sanskrit shlokas and giving advice to others. When Saints visited him, he often spoke in his own version of sign language.
Many Saints met him during his lifetime. The famous Bengali Saint, Sri Ramakrishna, visited Trailinga Swami and said that although he had taken a body, Trailinga Swami was truly Lord Shiva and the embodiment of Wisdom. Both of them were so happy to be with one another, and yet few words were exchanged. They communicated at the level of the heart. Ramakrishna recognized all of the signs that indicated Trailinga Swami’s saintliness. Trailinga Swami also was most respectful.
One question that Ramakrishna asked was whether God was one or many? Trailinga Swami answered in sign language. “In samadhi, you will know that God is one. And when you have a taste for the world, God is many.”
One day Ramakrishna wished to feed Trailinga Swami pudding and gave him 25 pounds of sweet rice boiled in milk. Trailinga Swami ate the entire offering in one sitting.
Trailinga Swami was known to eat very little, often observing long fasts. A group of wicked men wanted to test his truthfulness and poisoned him with lime water, a concoction that looks like milk. The wicked men followed him to find out his reaction, which was not as they had expected. He urinated.
Rich visitors liked to decorate him with gold and gems. Attired like this he would lose consciousness and thieves would remove the jewels. For him, it was as if someone was giving and someone was taking. An incident occurred in which a King had adorned him with beautiful jewels, and robbers took away everything. When the robbers were brought to Trailinga Swami, he dismissed the whole incident saying, “I am still the same with or without the jewels.”
One day he announced to his disciples that he would like to leave this world. The distressed disciples cried that they had no statue of him. He promised his disciples a memoir, a statue of himself prior to his departure, which they made. Then before leaving, he advised his devotees to make a sandalwood coffin and to put his body within, and then to throw it into the Ganges. He entered in to meditative samadhi and consciously exited from the body on the 11th day of the full moon.
Following his directions, they placed his body in the sandalwood coffin, circumambulated Kashi, and then lowered the coffin into the Ganges, beside which he had resided for so many years. The coffin sank to the bottom, but after some time floated to the surface. When the disciples opened the lid, they found that the box was filled with flowers, and there was no sign of the body.
Those are some of the details of the life of Trailinga Swami, who continues to remain an inspiration to Saints and sadhus of all walks of life.