Sree Narayana Guru, A GREAT AUTHOR
Swamy Dharma Teerthan in his book “ A Prophet of Peace” wrote about Sree Narayana Guru “We make no secret of the fact that we claim for Gurudev a place among the highest, among the sun and stars, and not among the creatures of the earth, among the saviors of humanity and not among the kings and conquerors, among the Buddhas, the Christ and the Mohammeds , and not among mere philosophers and geniuses. The highest standards ,therefore, are not too high to measure the value of his work. The widest sweep of our mental vision will not be too wide to comprehend the scope of his message. We have to approach the subject in terms of world problems and in the light of the evolution of centuries. To think of Gurudev merely as a reformer, as the religious leader of a community, as a great scholar and genius or the founder of numerous institutions would be narrowing our outlook and blurring our vision of the greatest truth.” This statement had come from his heart, out of his experience with Gurudev. Sree Narayana Guru was in fact a mystic, a philosopher , visionary , scientist , social reformer, poet and much more, all blended into one. He was all virtues, values and rare qualities personified. He was a Jnanin of action.
I am not venturing to narrate, analyze and explain about qualities and contributions of Sree Narayana Guru, because I am afraid that I may err in close scrutiny by the varied perspectives of scholars and thinkers. I understand that he was a self realized person who could realize the eternal truth. This is apparent in all the innumerable activities he had been involved during his life time. Guru neither created any enemy nor antagonized with any of the prevailing systems to implement his plans for improving the quality of the less privileged in the society. Leaving the readers to their wisdom to understand Guru, I prefer to take an easy route of introducing the readers to the books written by Sree Narayana Guru and the literature available on the life and teachings of Guru. The interpretations and explanations on the books written by Sree Narayana Guru are developing as Sree Narayana Guru literature in geographical progression. These are now available in different languages like Malayalam, Tamil, English, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi etc. Many publishers are now coming forward to publish the Sree Narayana literature for they are in high demand.
Sree Narayana Guru had written many books. There are about 63 books now available and published. The list of books Could be seen from the web site of Sree Narayana Mandira Samiti, Mumbai (the address being www.snms.in). These books could be categorized into five. They are (1) Devotional Songs (2) Philosophical Books (3) Books of Proclamations (4) Translations and (5) Prose.
Darsanamala(A garland of vision of the absolute), Atmopadesa-satakam(One hundred verses of self instruction),Advaita Dipika(Lamp of non-dual wisdom), Anukampa Dasakam(Ten verses of mercy), Arivu(Epistemology of Gnosis) Cit-Jada-Cintanam (Reverie on consciousness and matter), Pindanandi(Pre-natal Gratitude), Swanubhava-Giti(Experiential Rhapsody), Daivadasakam(Ten verses to God), Janani Navaratna Manjari (Nine-Jewelled Bouquet to Mother), Kundalini pattu( The song of the kundalini power etc. are some of the popular books written by Guru. These works are incomparable for their haunting melody, sublime concepts and mystic experience.
In Darsanamala, the book written by Guru, the concept of the absolute is elucidated in one hundred verses, divided into ten darsanas of ten verses each. It is conceived as a garland of ten exquisite flowers, strung together in the thread of the absolute. The ten darsanas cover not only the epistemological ground of the earlier nine of the Indian philosophy; yet another is necessitated, perhaps, by the new concepts which surfaced after them. Into this ten-fold container is distilled the Guru’s darsana of life. In this scheme, Bhakti occupies the seminal position. Concept-wise the ten fall into three well-marked groups. Sections 1 to 4 come under the phenomenological group, concerned with the objective world, viz. Adhyaropa, Apavada, Asatya and Maya darsanas. The middle three , Bhana, Karma and Jnana are psychological in approach. The third section, 8,9 & 10, is set apart for mystical experience. They are Bhakti, Yoga and Nirvana. The format suggests a graded symmetry in the unfolding of awareness and the orderly development of thought. The sequence starts with Supposition(Adhyaropa) and gains momentum through consciousness(Bhana) to consummate in salvation(Nirvana).The core concept is Bhana. Bhakti is the means to salvation(Nirvana). It comes after and through Karma and Jnana. Yoga follows Bhakti. To be an effective means to Nirvana, Bhakti must have the aid of Yoga or discipline of the mind and intellect. The Bhakti Darsana is expounded in a terse, quintessential style. The full implications of Darsanamala become clear when read in conjunction with the other poems of the Guru.
Atmopadesa Satakam(one hundred verses of self-instruction) is yet another composition of Sree Narayana Guru. This could be considered as the representative of Sree Narayana philosophy. The verses in this book are written in simple Malayalam. The essence of Vedantic philosophy, the divine experiences encountered by Guru in his search for the Absolute, the systematic approach to be adopted by the seekers of truth are given by Guru in melodious verses. Apparently this book look very simple to understand by any common man. But for the seekers of truth the depth of the philosophy contained is immeasurable. Many learned persons have attempted to find out the meanings of the verses and to interpret them. These were on the basis of the pearls they could pick up while diving through the ocean. Hundreds of interpretations have been published and are available in the market. But no one could claim it to be an exclusive interpretation. This indicates the depth of the subject incorporated by Guru in the book. By understanding the book one will realize what exactly is the nature of the self and that knowledge will give an insight as to how one should conduct his life during the tenure provided to him.
Daiva Dasakam is a prayer written by Guru for daily use by the children who were inmates in his Ashram. The ten verses are very simple, but when we search for the meaning and attempt to interpret one could see that it is the essence of vedantic philosophy given in a capsule form for the use of common man. The people from any caste, creed, region or religion could use this prayer. To my knowledge no universal prayer was available like this after Gayatri Mantra.
SreeNarayana Gurukulam, Sreenivasapuram.P.O, Varkala, Kerala, India-695145 have published all the books of Sree Narayana Guru with meanings, explanations and interpretations. All the books are available at the above address. Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust, Varkala, Kerala-695145 have also undertaken to publish similar books written by various authors. Prominent among them is the one written by Prof.G.Balakrishnan Nair. Sree Narayana Gurukulam attempted to translate and interpret the books of Guru in English and most of the works of Guru are now available in English with them. All the books are available at very reasonable price. The Word of the Guru, One hundred verses in self Instruction, An Integrated Science of the Absolute, An Anthology of the poems of Narayana Guru are the world famous books written by Nataraja Guru based on the Philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru. Sree Narayana Gurukulam is fully engaged in the research and study of Sree Narayana Philosophy. Contributions of Nitya Chaitanya Yati, Muni Narayana Prasad and other inmates and the people connected with them deserve to be appreciated.
In this world of complexities, contradictions and intolerances the spiritual radiance and the divine message of Sree Narayana Guru with his unitive Vedantic and synthesis of the spiritual and temporal can save mankind.His commandments are as simple as those of Jesus. His philosophy is as profound as of Adisankara. His teachings are straight and simple. So much so, beyond race and religion, beyond caste, creed and continent, Sree Narayana Guru can lead kindly light to all parts of the universe. He is already a universal Guru whom time cannot wither no custom stale. It is the obligation of Kerala and Keralites wherever they are to spread the glorious and universal teachings of this noble and unique soul. Once his life, doings, writings and messages reach the common people there will be a spiritual, moral and material revolution. He saw these dimensions in an integral fashion. Only such a synthesis can combat the vulgar culture that consumes the composite values of India. Thus there is a cosmic patriotism, salvation methodology which the greatest Guru has left as legacy.