Shree Narayana Guru

Sree Narayana Guru was born on August 22, 1856, in Chempazhanthy, a tiny village in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, to Madan Asan with his wife, Kuttiyamma. According to societal mores of the period, he originally belonged to the Ezhava caste and also was deemed ‘avarna’.

He loved isolation and had spent a lot of time in serious reflection since he was a child. He worshipped in the local temples, and he wrote hymns and devotional songs.

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Sree Narayana Guru – A Brief Background

In India, he had been a philosopher, a spiritual leader, and a social reformer. To foster spiritual enlightenment and social equality in Kerala’s caste-ridden culture, he launched a reform effort against injustice. After leaving home, he journeyed through Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where he encountered Chattampi Swamikal, a social and religious reformist who introduced Guru to Ayyavu Swamikal a meditation and yoga teacher. He maintained his explorations until he arrived in Maruthwamala’s Pillathadam cave, where he established an ashram and practised yoga and meditation for the next eight years. He went to Aruvippuram in 1888, where he pondered for quite a while and dedicated a piece of stone collected from the area and made it as Aruvippuram Shiva Temple.

In 1904, Guru relocated to Sivagiri, near Varkala, where he established a school for students from the lower social strata and provided them with free education regardless of caste. But it required him seven years to construct a temple nearby, the Sarada Mutt, completed in 1912. He also built temples in Thrissur, Kannur, Anchuthengu, Thalassery, Kozhikode, and Mangalore. His travels took him to many places, including Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon), which he visited for the last time in 1926. On his arrival in India, he was active in various activities, including the preparation of the Sivagiri pilgrimage, which he began during a visit to Pallathuruthy of 1927 to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Pallathuruthy. Sree Guru Narayan’s death was on September 20, 1928, and the day is commemorated in Kerala as Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi.

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Education and Works of Narayana Guru

He was lured to austerity from a young age. He spent eight years as a hermit in the woods.

He studied the Vedas, Upanishads, literature, Sanskrit logic rhetoric, Hatha Yoga, and other philosophies.

On Sree Narayana Guru’s birth anniversary, the Prime Minister paid respect to him. The Vice President of India had previously presented “Not Many, But One,” an English version of Sree Narayana Gurudev’s poems.

Narayana Guru – Major Works

  • He coined the slogan “One Caste, One Religion, One God for All” to combat caste injustice (Oru Jathi, Oru Matham, Oru Daivam, Manushyanu).
  • In 1888, he constructed a temple in Aruvippuram devoted to Lord Shiva, defying the caste-based norms of the time.
  • Sree Narayana Guru used mirrors instead of idols in one of the temples he built in Kalavancode. This was a symbol for his teaching that the divine dwelled within every one of us.
  • Conversions: He preached equality but believed that disparities should not be utilized to modify and cause social unrest.
  • In 1923, he convened an All-Region Conference at Alwaye Advaita Ashram, which was said to be the first of its kind in India. This was a response to the Ezhava community’s religious conversions.
  • Later, as the founder and president of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), he formed a philanthropic society in 1903. To this day, the organization maintains a substantial presence.
  • The Sivagiri pilgrimage began in 1924 to promote hygiene, literacy, dedication, agriculture, handicrafts, and trade.
  • He became one of the most ardent supporters and re-evaluators of Advaita Vedanta, Adi Shankara’s non-duality concept.
  • Sree Narayana Guru wrote several novels in a variety of languages. Advaitha Deepika, Asrama, Thevarappathinkangal, and others are a few.
  • He was a brilliant social reformer who led the charge for universal temple access and against societal problems such as social discrimination against untouchables.
  • He sparked the Vaikom agitation, which was aimed at the temple.

Sree Narayana Guru & His Major Contributions to Science

  1. The need to uphold hygiene standards, education, agriculture, trade, handicrafts, and technical training was emphasized.
  2. The Adyaropa darsanam (Darsanamala) tells how the universe was created.
  3. Mystic reflections and insights parallel to current science advancements have two examples, i.e., Daivadasakam and Atmopadesa satakam.
  4. Philosophy’s Current Relevance: Gurudev’s idea of Universal Oneness is especially relevant in the current global setting, where hatred, violence, prejudice, sectarianism, and other divisive tendencies, are eroding the fabric of society in many communities and countries.

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