Komaranahalli is about one Km from Malebennur, on Harihara Shimoga Road. It is a scared place, graced by Sri Lakshmi Ranganatha. The temple is by the side of a small tank, on a hillock. The tank was built by a Helava and hence named Helavanakatte. Sri Ranganatha was Ishtadaiva of Helavanakatte Giriyamma, a famous devotee and author of many Kannada kavyas. The site by the temple, which was petitioned by Appa earlier, was sanctioned by the Government as per recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner of Chitradurga District.
The foundation stone of Sri Ranganatha Ashram was laid on 08-08-1951. An Audumbara tree was planted on the same day. M/s Ramanarayana Avadhani, K. A. Venkatesh Rao, Gundu Rao, of Shimoga and scores of people from Malebennur worked in the construction of Ashrama. Nadig Subba Rao of Malebennur used to read Kumaravyasa Bharatha. Appa arranged for the reading of this epic and also, Thimmanna's Bharatha and Jaimini's Bharatha of Lakshmisha. After every parva a grand Santharpana was arranged.
In 1951, Audumbara Ashrama was established at Miyapura. In 1952, Appa spent the Navarathri at Miyapur. Holalu Mallara Bhattaru came and took darshan of Appa there. Once somebody asked Appa 'why don't you arrange for Jnana dasoha only at Ashrama" Appa replied 'If one who feeds with Jnana only and can go on, without eating, then it will be meaningful.
As a Jnani has the experience of being the Atman in all living beings, he shows compassion to all living beings. But if he eats food, and serves Jnana only to others it will be meaningless". Appa said “We belong to Chidambara Pantha. Anna santarpane should be arranged here on a large scale."
Appa had assured his followers that he would uplift and liberate them within seven lives. One day when he was in the temple choultry (Lakshman Rao) Achanna asked him "Appa you say that you would uplift and liberate us within seven lives. Tell us what our present state is."
Appa: "Lakshmana have you got a Guru."
Achanna: "Definitely, I have got the greatest possible Guru."
Appa: If so leave it to Him. Why do you worry? We love ignorant sishyas. Intelligent shishyas indulge in kutarka (Mal-logic)
Achanna: what is kutarka?
Appa: Not believing anything which is addressed to them.
Achanna: Appa you bypass any question I ask. You must answer this one.
Appa smiled and said "Go to tank yard, touch the well there and come back. While doing so perform Japa of the manthra I have given you. On your return, If you give me the count of Japa, I will tell you exactly where you are..
Dummi Achanna, Anaji Satyanna, Raghanna and Gundappa went to the well and returned. When Appa asked the count of Japa, they could not answer as they had not recited the Japa mentally even once. They fell down at his feet, and cried. Appa assured them that it has happened so because of His will. He asked them to “Follow the Guru. Do not question him unnecessarily”
Vedamurthy Keshava Ghanapaty was suffering from a pain in his stomach and his finances had nosedived. He came to Appa. Appa cured his stomach pain by a mere touch and asked him to practice Pourohitya. Ganapathi said "Is it not Parigraha”. Appa said "If you demand a sum for a particular homa, Japa or any other Vedic practice, it will be parigraha. If you are satisfied with what a grihasta gives it will not be so."
Sri Sri Sridhara Swamiji of Varada halli came to Komaranahally and gave a discourse on the greatness of Ramataraka Manthra. After the Bhiksha Vandana he was taking rest. But his secretary asked for him to be woken up as they had to reach Shimoga in time for a procession. Swamiji exclaimed "I wanted to rest in the presence of Sri Rama. But the world doesn't allow me to do so”.Shivappa Desai of Hospet was a prominent congress leader and freedom fighter. He was fed up with politics after the demise of his wife and came in search of "Bhagavan" at the bidding of a Jyortirlinga. Appa received him well. He gave him certain observances and asked him to return only after nine years. He named him as ‘Hamsa’. While the revered Hamsa was at Ramanatha Puram, he could not see the form of Appa during dhyana. One, Sri Nagappa of that place was an upasaka of Devi, and had Siddhis. He voluntarily offered to see Appa and tell him the exact state of affairs. He came to Komaranahalli and met Appa. His ego was removed by Appa, He returned a sober man. Later, Hamsa established Shankaralinga Ashrama at Arasikere.
Smt.Bhagirathamma came and settled at Komaranahalli. She had a piece of wet land at Bannur. She couldn't realize any money from it, nor could she sell it off. Appa sent Narayanamurthy with her to Bannur. He could not return from there to Huzur Jamabandi (Annual inspection of village accounts from the Deputy Commissioner). So, he wrote a letter to Appa expressing his anxiety. Appa replied "If you perform the duty of Rama, he will attend to your work." As the Jamabandi was postponed, Narayamurthy did not face any trouble. From the proceeds of the sale of the lands, Bhagirathamma gave fourteen thousand rupees to Appa. Appa purchased a land at Miyapura for the Ashrama. It was a barren land and fetched nothing. Later it was partially irrigated by the Bhadra channel. The rice of that land is used at Ranganathaashrama.
Appa's body was being battered by diseases. Sometimes, he could not get up for weeks on end. Once, he asked Narayanmurthy to take him to Vaikunta from Kailasa. The Ashram being the abode of Chidambara was Kailasa and the adjacent temple of Ranganatha Vaikunta!!! They carried him on a chair as he could not walk. There was a flowery adornment to the chair. Appa said "My followers have brought Pushpaka Vimana to transport me".
Kulandai Anandar revisited Appa at Komaranahalli. But no details are available. It is stated by some yogis that all the leading yogis, famous all over the world, visit Appa. We cannot comprehend it. We can recount an incident in this regard. One of Appa's disciples began to suffer from stomach pain which could not be cured. Another Shishya who had regained lifeby His kripa, lost his eyesight. They approached Appa and requested him to help them to overcome the disease. Appa said "Sri Gurunatha has once helped you and gave you life and relief. Don't think that he keeps a shop of miracles." The sishya suffering from stomach pain approached a world famous Mahatma (who is still alive) and asked him to cure his disease. He said after some time "you are under the care of Parabrahma. I am only buffoon in His circus company and am here to direct men towards the ultimate truth. Kindly go to your Guru, convey my pranams and ask him to cure you."
Appa selected a rock adjacent to the ashrama and caused a cave to be carved therein. One day Narayana murthy came to Komaranahalli. There was no fuel in Ashrama. The implements to dig the cave were inadequate. Appa said "Everyone cries for himself and his family. Who is there to cry for Guru?"
During this time the health of Appas body deteriorated. Some men began speculating about his successor in hush-hush. One day Appa heard this talk going on. He said "Here is my Jolige (a cloth made thing to receive alms) He who picks it up and begs in my successor." Verily Parameshwara descended to this earth as Shankaralinga to uplift and liberate his disciples. Shankaralinga became Paramatma by premabhakthi. Paramatma, to set an example of Premabhakthi, became Shankaralinga. Nithya Shuddha, Buddha, Sakshi Chaitanya, Bhuma, Nethi Nethyatmaka Parabrahma seems to be Shankaralinga. Shankaralinga, by swarupanusandhana, gave up Eshana-Thraya (Puthreshana, Vitheshana, and Dareshana) and became Parabrahma.
It was Phalguna shuddha Thritiya. Appa was reclining on the cot. Janamma washed his face and applied Vibhuthi and Kumkuma, and went inside. The dwellers in the Ashrama were engaged in their duties. On the same day Nagappa of Ramanathpuram took darshana of Appa outside the Ashrama, and was taught by Appa regarding Brahma. Nagappa of Harihara and Subbabhatta of Malebennur bowed down before him and went away. All of a sudden 'OM' Kara was heard everywhere in the Ashrama. Bhutanatha of Ranganathaswamy entered the body of Archakas and cried loudly. The yogamandira was lit by resplendence equal to many Suns. Appa merged with Akhanda Brahma (Brahmaivasun Brahmapyethi). To the Sons (followers) of Appa, the news was like a thunder bold striking them. The Sun of Atmajnana, The Full Moon who was shining in the hearts of shishyas, had set. Fierce sorrow surrounded everywhere.
The next day, the body was buried in the cave which Appa had got dug. Before burial, the body was bathed with Rudra Prashna. It was worshipped by Shiva sahasranama with Bilva and by Vishnu sahasranama with Thulasi. There, on the hill at Komaranahalli, by the side of Sri Lakshmi Ranganatha Swamy, rests the scared body, the treasure house of Thapas, performed for Six hundred years, starting from Sri Narasimha Saraswathi upto Shankaralinga. The sacred place is Kailasa, the abode of Samadhi, Vaikunta, the abode of Lakshmi Ranganatha, and Sathyaloka, the abode of Audumbara. He who goes there will be uplifted towards Mukthi. It is like Kamadhenu which grants all that Bhaktas seek.
Glory to Shankaralinga, our Dear Appa! May He grant us the Ananda of remembering Him, always!