His Holiness Paranjothi Gnanaoli Mahan was born on March 21, 1929 in a well-to-do family in Erode.From his childhood, he was spiritually inclined and involved himself in intense prayers and yogic practices. His thirst and intensity to know more about God, lead him into Bhakthi Yoga (Path of Devotion). In the course of his penance, he acquired several powers. However, he knew this was not the end of the road. He felt he still lacked the knowledge of God and yearned to see Him.
Once he had visited the famous shrine of Lord Muruga in Palani, Tamil Nadu and performed the 'Anga Pradakshinam' to Lord Muruga. The 'Anga Pradakshinam' is a traditional worship where the devotee lies down on the floor with his hands stretched out over his head and palms folded in reverence and circumnavigates the outer ring of the temple. Swamiji went round the hill, bare bodied, offering himself to the Lord seeking to know one thing – to know HIM. Awestruck by his spiritual fervour, the public hurried behind him to assist him as the path was rocky and rough whereas he felt there was 'another force' pushing him on until he completed his prayer.