Sree Narayana Guru : Life and Messages

Sree Narayana Guru was an embodiment of all virtues, values and rare qualities seldom found in human race. He was a mystic, a teacher, a philosopher, a visionary, a scientist, a saint, a social reformer, a great nation builder and a poet, all blended into one. To millions of his devotees Sree Narayana Guru is an incarnation of God.  He was a saintly contemplative man who could impart wisdom and give enlightenment to a seeker of truth. His teachings are straight forward and simple, bringing out spiritual, moral and material revolution. Sree Narayana Guru was treasure house of knowledge and wisdom. His greatness and purity is to be experienced by swimming through the ocean of knowledge revealed through his writings, lofty messages and personal life. His life, work and teachings have refreshing uniqueness. There was naturalness and sublime simplicity tinged with mystery in them, thus rendering them peculiarly interesting and profoundly instructive. No one had so clearly and successfully demonstrated in recent centuries the ideals and methods and the way of realizing them. The achievements of Guru cannot be explained in words. His spiritual attainments made him omnipotent.

According to  Theosophical Society of India, Sree Narayana Guru was “Patanjali in yoga, Sankara in wisdom, Manu in the art of governance, Buddha in renunciation, Mohamed in strength of spirit and Christ in humility”. Swamy Dharma Teerthan,  a genius by himself, a contemporary and the disciple of Gurudev wrote in his book A Prophet of Peace: “We make no secret of the fact that we claim for Gurudev a place among the highest, among the suns and stars and not among the creatures of the earth; among the saviors of humanity and not among the kings and conquerors; among Buddhas, the Christs and 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 own outlook and blurring our vision of the greater truth”. He further quoted. “It is impossible to find in history, an individual who has performed so many wonderful miracles and has become the object of worship for everyone, while alive.”

Deena Bandhu C.F.Andrews, a well known philosopher, after visiting Guru had said “I had a vision of God in human form; Sree Narayana Guru, who is renowned in the southern-most part of India is that Supreme Being”. Mahakavi Kumaran Asan, who had the opportunity to live with Gurudev had expressed, in many words, through his poems, that the Gurudev was none other than God. Shivalingadasa Swamigal, the first disciple of Gurudev, found Gurudev to be Shiva, the God.

The life of Guru was an open book. He was born in a humble peasants’ family at a time when the people in Kerala were divided on the basis of caste. Vast sections of the society were degraded as Untouchables. They were being exploited socially, culturally, educationally and economically forcing them to live in shame as deprived destitute. They were denied education and employment. They were not allowed to wear proper cloths to cover nakedness. They were not allowed to worship satvik Gods or to enter their temples. They were not allowed to walk through the roads meant for upper caste people.  They were conditioned to believe that those restrictions were ordained by God. No one, therefore, dared to challenge the arrangements. Seeing the state of affairs, Swami Vivekananda had called Kerala as “Lunatic Asylum”.

Guru could not comprehend the prevalent state of affairs. He had the insatiable desire to know  the world, the universe and the creations therein. After preliminary education, he set out in search for the reason and the solution. He traveled the length and breadth of the country spending most of the time for meditation and thought. He lived with all types of people and interacted with them. He learned the philosophies of Vedic, Dravidian, Christian, Islamic and other well known faiths and analysed them to know the truth revealed therein. He had acquired excellent knowledge in Ayurveda. He undertook penance in pillathadam at the hills of Maruthwamalai in Tamil Nadu for years sustaining himself mostly on berries, tubers, leaves and water from mountain brooks.  He came out from there self realized to serve the society.

Guru started his mission with the consecration of Shiva temple at Aruvipuram on a Shivaratri night on 12.03.1888.  This was a small event without much of fanfare. But the aftermath of this small event sparked the social revolution in Kerala. It was an unprovoked challenge to the centuries old supremacy of priesthood. Throughout his life Guru executed his mission without confrontation and without creating any enemies. He never argued about anything. He never criticized anybody. He was a man of composure and action. He transformed the lunatic asylum to an abode of self respecting, forward looking and tolerant society with fraternal feelings smoothly and efficiently. He helped the people to save themselves from superstitious beliefs and to eradicate the self destroying rituals, customs and dogmas practiced by them out of ignorance and in the name of religion and tradition. He set an example to make the temples to be centers for purity and development. He was available for more than 40 years to execute his mission of transforming the society by instilling self respect and human dignity in the minds of the people. People of various talents from various fields of activity were attracted to Guru. Social reformers, freedom fighters, educationalists, thinkers, poets, writers, journalists, socially persecuted people and many more were attracted to Guru for guidance, light and inspiration. All of them actively participated and contributed to the revolution that followed.

 Many great personalities visited Guru at his Ashram in Sivagiri Mutt Varkala and paid glowing tributes.  Some of them were Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave etc. Rabindranath Tagore visited Guru at his Ashram in Sivagiri on 22nd November 1922 and recorded there that “I have been touring different parts of the world. During these travels, I have had the fortune to come into contact with several saints and maharshis. But I have frankly to admit that I have never seen one who is spiritually greater than Swamy Narayana Guru of Malayalam- nay, a person who is on par with him in spiritual attainment. I am sure, I shall never forget that radiant face illuminated by the self effulgent light of divine glory and those majestic eyes fixing their gaze on far remote point in the distant horizon”.

 Mahatma Gandhi after visiting Guru on 13th March 1925 at Varkala had said “I feel it as the greatest privilege in my life to have visited the beautiful State of Travancore and to have Darshan of venerable sage, Sree Narayana Guru.  I had the fortune to stay one day in his holy Ashrama. His Excellency the Regent Empress also spoke to me about the greatness of Guruswamy. I fervently hope that you would enforce his lofty ideals”. According to Guru, man’s duty is to take care of his life here and now. The life hereafter will take care of itself.  It was in this spirit that he wanted his followers to work for the making of their present lives healthier and richer.

Ramana Maharshi after meeting Guru said that “Sree Narayana Guru  was the Mahatma of high intellectual supremacy.”
M. Romain Rolland said  in December 1928 that “The new religious manifestations in South India which are not negligible, such for eg: is the great Guru Sree Narayana whose beneficent spiritual activity has been exercising its influence during the past 40 years in the state of Travancore on  millions of his followers(He passed away on 20th September 1928). His teaching permeated with the philosophy of Sankara shows evidence of striking difference of temperament compared with the mysticism of Bengal.  He was one might say “a jnanin of action” a grand religious intellectual, who had a keen living sense of the people and of social necessities. He has contributed greatly to the elevation of the oppressed classes in south India and his work has been associated  with that of Gandhi.”  
 Along with Gandhiji,  E.V. Ramasami Naickar, C. Rajagopalachari, Mahadeva Desai, Devadas Gandhi etc., were also there.   Gnadhiji had visited  Sivagiri twice more.  Great men like Swami  Shraddhananda, Pandit Rishiram, Divan C. Rajagopalachari, Divan Watts, Diwan Mandat,   M. Kishnan Nair, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Rao Bahadur P. Sundaram Pillai, etc., had also visited Guru, at different times and received his blessings. Mahakavi Ulloor  S. Prameswara Ayyer, who used to visit the Guru often and received  his blessings, had deep devotion and respect for the Guru. The eminent scholar Punnassery Neelakanta Sharma also was  an admirer of the Guru, and had composed  a number of poems in praise of the Gurudev.

 Eminent poets have also written poems  praising the Gurudev.  The Guru had such a wonderful personality that anyone came to  him, became  his admirer or disciple.

Swami Chinmayananda said:  can India  rediscover her heart ? can religion, a philosopher of the Upanishads, help us in meeting the challenges of our nation?  Can they rediscover  our moral balance ? all these burning questions are answered in living life  by the Sivagiri ashram. My humble and devoted  prostrations to Sree Narayana Gurudeva….may his blessings be upon all of us, Gurudeva was the personification of love  as Jesus Christ and lord Buddha.
The spiritual and material revolution that took place in Kerala at the instance of Sree Narayana Guru had great impact in the freedom movement that was taking place in the country. Guru wanted a total transformation. He wanted balanced growth for the society spiritually as well as materially.  Indian constitution drafted few years after the demise of guru had his influence. The secularism, Education, especially womens’ education, equality, prohibition etc were drawn from the teachings of the Guru. The Philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru is relevant without the barriers of place and time. It is relevant in the world as is relevant in India.

Sree Narayana Guru was  born on the 28th of August 1855 (Chingam 14th of 1031, as per the Malayalam Calendar under the star Chathayam in Malayalam) in a small village  called Chempazhanthi in Trivandrum Dist.  of Kerala state, at the southern tip of India.  His   parents were Maadan Aasan and Kuttiamma.  It is said that the Guru was born to this ideal couple after intensive prayers  and many years  of waiting.  Though the little boy was named  Narayanan, in course of time, the name  came to be shortened as Nanu.   Nanu means (Na + Anu)  that which is not small. He certainly  grew up to become great.  It is said  that even  his birth was extraordinary. This baby did not cry when  he was born, did not cry when the umbilical cord  was cut, nor when he was bathed.  He never cried  even for hunger, thirst or any other physical needs.  This calmness was a strange phenomenon.  He had three younger sisters. As a child when he visited their family temple of Manakkal Bhagavathi, along with  his mother and sisters , it was usual to find him somewhere in the temple  meditating seriously or just watching  the blue sky, immersed in deep thought.

Sree Narayana  who was known as Nanu  and Nanu Bhakathan learned a lot from his father . His knowledge on  customs and rituals  and also Indian spirituality was immeasurable . This knowledge was  obtained directly  from his father. Even though he was a naughty boy  during childhood, he noticed every bit of his surroundings for understanding the  universal laws guiding the world including the animals and human beings. His quotations, experiences, stories, advise, guidance, counter questioning and challenging the  superstitions , etc  were always   superb due to this approach of learning from the  nature/surroundings.  His  explanation to all customs and rituals, Indian concepts, beliefs, pathways, traditions    were all impregnated with full of logical, scientific and rational analyses  and wisdom .

During childhood itself he had the innate awareness that everything was an appendage of God.  The sense of equality or oneness therefore prevailed in  his behaviour towards anything  and everything. His feeling of ONENESS extended to encompass not only human beings but all living beings, trees and vines, animals and birds, worms and even insects.  This inherent conviction led to the logical  conclusion that   he and God  are the same in essence .  He used to eat  the offerings to the God  at home, before the pooja was over.  When questioned, his  reply used to be “God will be pleased if I am pleased’.      

Savarna, Avarna, Brahmin,Nambudiri, Nair, Ezhava, Paraya, Pulaya, were all equal to him.. He displayed these as a fun by touching and polluting the one who  observed caste discriminations and untouchability. He made friendship with the children of low castes like Parayas  and Pulayas.   He  took bath with them scrubbing  their backs and allowing them to scrub his. The people who observed caste discriminations and untouchability expressed their unhappiness  saying “Nanu has become  totally impure, defiled” but the little Nanu  had a ready reply that “My back  and their backs are  clean now”.

Nanu was initiated to primary education in1860 by the Elder Narayana Pillai of Kannamkara household, who was also a member of the Advisory Council to the King. Observing Nanu’s learning ability, he remarked, “Nanu learns as if he had studied the lessons earlier, and is simply repeating now”. Nanu was very good at studies. He could internalize anything that he heard or read just once. He exhibited extraordinary intelligence, brightness, humility, kindness and spiritual strength. Narayana Pillai told Maadan Aasan, that “Nanu’s birth and life shall be something extra-ordinary. After he crossed sixteen you will not be able to hold him to you”. Nanu acquired profound knowledge in Malayalam and Sanskrit. By the time Nanu reached 16 years, he developed the tendency to be introvert in thoughts and actions. He found solace in the loneliness on sea shores, near backwaters and among the bushes on hillocks.  Immersed in deep thought he used to roam about all alone in Chempazhanthy and neighbouring localities.  

 It is believed that during these wanderings, he mastered Tamil language and read all the important literary works and philosophical compositions in Tamil. He in later life translated holy books in Tamil like Thirukkural,, Ozhuvilodukkam, etc. to Malayalam.   

During the period of his wanderings he had an attack of small-pox and for about 18 days he did not go home. He lived in the dilapidated temple of Mother Goddess on yonder hill, where the people were afraid to go even during day time.

Nanu set out to Kayamkulam for higher studies in 1877 as a student under Kummampally Raman Pillai Aashan, a great scholar of those days and a strict celibate. The noble household of Varanapally was in the vicinity., where Nanu got free boarding and lodging. Under the guidance of Ramam Pillai Aashan, Nanu studied advanced Sanskrit literature, grammar, logic, astrology, and philosophy. He completed his studies in about three years (1877-1880). In those days Nanu developed interest in the worship of Lord Krishna and also practiced introspection and meditation.It is said that once he had a vision of young Lord Krishna playing with him.  He composed a poem of single stanza in Sanskrit “Sree Krishna Darshanam” describing the ecstasy he experienced on these visions. Later onhe composed hymns like Vasudevashtakam,Vinayakashtakam, Bhadra Kalyashtakam, Guhashtakam, Nava Manjariri etc. while at at Varanappally.  

The eldest member of Varanappally Shri. Kochu Krishna Panickar helped him in all his endeavors, either in higher studies or spiritual exercises. During the routine literary discussions held everyday Nanu participated  mainly as a listener to all arguments and counter arguments. If the discussions reached the level of quarrels, Nanu intervened and his opinions were always being accepted as final.

After returning from Varanapally Nanu  started teaching in the small school founded and run by his father, Maadan Aasan. This gave him the title”Nanu Aasan”.  Few months later,  he started a small school at Anchuthengu, a place having concentration of Pulayas, an untouchable community who were denied admission to the schools.  He concentrated on inculcating piety and other sober habits in the children.
 The behavior of Nanu Ashan gave an indication that he was moving away from normal family life to saintly life. The family members therefore decided to get him married  to bring him to the normal family life. As per the prevalent system Nanu’s three sisters went to the bride’s(Kaliamma of Nedunganda ,his paternal aunt’s grand daughter who was selected as the bride)  home, gave her a set of new clothes as part of marriage ceremony and brought her home at Chempazhanty. But Nanu Aasan had already left his home before his marriage was performed or Kaliamma was brought home. He was not in favor of family life.

Nanu Aasan rambled throughout South India, all alone, during 1880-1888. He wandered around the places like the seashore of Shankhu Mukham, Veli, Kochuveli, Mannanthala, Anchuthengu, Kulathur, Varkala, Nedunganda, Kadakkavur, Chilakkur, Nadayara, Aruvippuram (near Kilimanoor) Parasala, Neyyatinkara, Aruvippuram, Kalayikkavila, Iraniyal, Marthandam, Thakkala etc. It is said that he was seen among the fisherman, Christians, Muslims and all others and learnt their ways of life, practices,  rituals and philosophy. He acquired extensive knowledge of Quran , Bible and other religious texts. Christian and Islamic Scholars  revered him for the interpretations  he  could give on the texts of Bible and Quran.

Kunjan Pillai Chattambi introduced Nanu to Shri. Thaikkattu Ayyavu, a great adept in Hatha Yoga. Yoga practices under the guidance of Shri. Ayyavu increased his thirst for self realization and this led him to pillathadam in Marutvan hills of Kannyakumari district for intense penance.

 Enlightenment,  descended on him like a thousand suns rising together and his self ascended  like the flutter of a  blissful butterfly  from flower to flower tasting the nectar of life.   This made him Sree Narayana Guru. The experience of Guru at Marutuan Hills and the ecstasy he enjoyed could be gathered from his works like sivasatakam, subramanya stotram, guhastakam, atmopadesa satakam etc.  

His life after self realisation reveal that he had a definite plan and a well defined programme to reform the society from decadence. He sacrificed his spiritual achievements for the betterment of humanity. From Maruthwamalai he moved to the thick forest on the banks of Neyyar river and started living at a place known as Aruvippuram. Knowing the presence of a person with divine powers, the people around started visiting Guru for blessings and mitigation of sufferings. He got his 1st disciple, Ayyappan Pillai-later Shivalingadasa Swamigal, from this place. Sree Narayana Guru with the mastery  Yogic powers (Ashta Siddhi) and the knowledge in Ayurveda could cure the diseases of many people. He had miraculous powers of giving the blind the vision, the dumb the powers to speak, the paralysed ability to walk, curing the diseases like leprosy by a touch, a look or a word, blessing the childless with the children by offering some medicinal leaves or fruit . The elderly at  villages, could tell us thousands of such stories.

At the time of Guru’s birth Kerala was a land of worst caste distinctions, ignorance, superstitions and long practiced social bondage. In the name of chathurvarna  the people  were divided and  discriminated.  The  Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vysya and Shudra constituted  “Savarnas “ and others as “Avarnas”. Avarnas, though formed the majority of the population, were kept strictly away from the general stream of the society.

The rigid caste rules observed from generation to generation were the supreme power in the land. In the midst of ignorance and social tyranny, the poor laborers lived like a dumb-driven cattle serving their masters uncomplainingly. Large number of people in the society were denied the right for worship in temples, education, social status, economic freedom, freedom to walk along the public roads, wearing decent cloths to cover nakedness or wearing ornaments etc;. Seeing the pathetic condition of the people  Swamy Vivekananda called Kerala State as a “Lunatic Asylum”. But Sree Narayana Guru wanted to transform  the people there to a self respecting, forward looking and tolerant society. Guru wanted them to be educated, make them understand the importance of cleanliness and make them self reliant in earning the livelihood.   

. The very first act towards the implementation of his plan was the consecration of a “Shiva” temple at Aruvipuram, a village about 15 miles away from Trivandrum on 12.03.1888. It was a clarion call from Aruvippuram, proclaiming that those who belong to the lower rungs of the society also could install and worship gentle and serene   deities, which had been the privilege   of the upper  strata  alone for thousands of years. Apparently this was a simple act without hurting anybody. Nevertheless in effect it demolished the very foundation of age old tradition of consecrating idols and temples by the coterie of so called high caste priests alone. Here on the walls of this temple Guru wrote:

jaathibhedam-mathadvesham   “This is a model abode

ethumillathe sarvarum                 where all men shall live as brothers

sodarathvena vazhunna               without caste distinctions

mathruka sthanamanithu             and religious rivalries”

This event was quickly followed up by similar consecrations of temples in other parts of Kerala. All with the request and active participation of the people. The Guru had consecrated more than 60 temples in and outside Kerala He opened the doors of the temples to all who knock. People were made to realise  that the Gods and Goddesses were not the monopoly of few priests. Slowly and steadily his axe started falling on the mindset or perception of the people. The changed mental programming made them to believe that they are lower to none. Guru revealed through the consecrations of temples that the idols are not very essential. It is the ideals which matter. God lives not in temples but in the hearts of the seeker. Temples are required for men to purify themselves on their journey to the realization of truth. Guru revealed through his own life how the Advaita philosophy, that the supreme one alone prevails and all that we see and experience are only its variegated manifestations and could be practically applied in the day-to-day life of humanity. He wanted the temples to be places for the people to assemble exchange their views and to work together for the betterment of their lives.

Sree Narayana Guru Consecrated  Jagannadha  temple of Talassery on 13.02. 1908,  Kozhikkodu Sree Kantwswaram temple on 11.05.1910, Gokarnanatha Temple at Kudroli, in Mangalapuram(1910),Sivagiri Sree Sarada Madom on 30.04.1912, Sundareswaram temple  at Kannur on11.04.1916, Karamukku Sree Chidambara Temple on 13.05.1921, KalavamkodamArdhanareeshwara Temple on 14.06.1927 and Ullala Omkareshwara Temple on 25.06.1927. Disciples of Guru Viz.Santa Linga Swamy, a native of Tamil Naadu started Sree Narayana Mattom in 1913. Srimad Govindananada Swamy, started Sree Narayana Sevasharam at Kancheepuram in 1916, Govindananda Swamy had also toured  Singapore, Malaya and Japan in 1917 to spread the messages of the  Guru. In the same year, Sree Narayana Satsanga  Samithi, and Advaithasharama Sabha was also started at Chintadripet in Madras. Maharshi Asangananda Swamy,  disciple of Sivalinga  Dasa Swamy, settled at Yerpedu near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and started Vyasaashramam.  He became popular in Andhra Pradesh  as Malayala Swamy. Sankarananda  Swamy,  founded  a number of hermitages  in and around Kashi.  He was a teacher in  Kashi (Banares) University and had introduced  the Guru’s Darsanamala to be taught in  a number of Ashramas.  Shanti Ashram, founded  by Sadhu Sivaprasad in Agra.

          The Guru visited Sri Lanka in 1918 and started an organization “Vignanodayam”, and the devotees started Sree Narayana Mandiram at  Colombo.

Guru taught the people:“Gain strength through organization” and put this into practice by establishing an organization by the name  Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam in the year 1903. Sree Narayana Guru was the life time President (1903-1928) of SNDP Yogam, Dr. Palpu was 1st Vice – President and Kumaran Asan, the 1st Secretary.  SNDP played quite decisive and distinctive  role in the evolution of modern Kerala, .  Before  the advent of political  organizations SNDP took up political issues  required   for the progress of the people,  on the suggestions of the Guru.  SNDP played a major  role to secure freedom for untouchables, to use roads, right to temple entry and eradication  of untouchability.  SNDP was also used  to dispel superstitions  and unhealthy traditions  and to introduce reformative steps for the progress  and prosperity of the people.  SNDP always  struggled to secure the rights of the weaker sections. By using this organization he taught the people to have clean living habits and clear thinking. Self destroying customs like poligamy and polyandry, thalikettu(a mock marriage),worship of Gods with cruel features,  animal sacrifices to please Gods etc;  were also stopped with scientific reasoning. SNDP Yogam was founded for achieving  material and spiritual progress of a large mass of people  discarding discriminatory feelings.  It    was not meant to work  for the emancipation of one particular community alone but to strive for  the progress and prosperity of the entire society.  That was the objective of the Guru’s vision. A report submitted at the 50th Anniversary of SNDP, by the then general Secretary Sri R. Shankar will throw light on this. The first Women’s Association Stree Samajam(1904) and first Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition of Kerala  was organized at the 3rd Anniversary celebrations of SNDP at Kollam.  The first Labour Association meeting was conducted during the 15th Annual meeting of SNDP in 1918.  The First Labour Union (The Travancore Labour Union) was  founded at Alapuzha in 1925.  The leadership for this was  taken up, following the suggestion of the Guru, by Vadappuram  Sri V.K. Bava, a householder  disciple of the Guru. Much before reservation   was introduced in the Constitution of India,  an agitation for proportionate representation  under the leadership of SNDP had resulted in the introduction  of reservation in  Travancore Assembly in the Year 1934. SNDP Yogam  assumed the leadership in the process of social renaissance in Kerala. In later days, following the ideals of this organization, “Sadhu Jana Paripalana Yogam” for the uplift of Pulaya community was started by Ayyankali, Nair Service Society(NSS) by Mannathu Padmanabham, Yogakshema Sabha by  V.T. Bhattadirippadu and Kalyana  Dayini Sabha by Pandit Karuppan.   

 “ Gain freedom through education” was another clarion call made by Guru. He started Shools and technical training centers at various places. Though the education was in Sanskrit and Malayalam, emphasize was given to the need to teach English. People from all strata of the society were admitted in his schools.  

Activities of Guru attracted talented people from various fields of activity. Guru could deploy all of  them effectively and efficiently in  the reformation process enunciated by him. They were from the field of social service, freedom fighting, education, politics, thinkers, writers, poets,  spiritual seekers etc; etc;. Under the guidance, light and inspiration of Guru all of them performed in their own respective fields for the development of the people. Guru also established Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom(Registered on 09.01.1928) for the perpetual spiritual learning and its dissemination.

Thus in all conceivable ways, he led the people onward educationally, economically, socially, culturally and spiritually making them work out their own salvation, injuring nobody or raising not even a word of protest from any source.

He opened places of worship and education to all without any difference in caste, creed, religion or language. People could assemble there and work, learn and live in fraternity. Guru helped the fellow beings to save themselves from superstitious beliefs and to do away with the self destroying rituals, customs and dogmas practiced by them out of ignorance and in the name of religion and tradition. He wanted the temples to be centers for purity and development. Guru never argued about anything. Guru never criticized any body. Guru was a man of composure and action. While he was liberating the people from the age old ill-conceived traditions, he never said a word against the then so called custodians of tradition and vested interests. But he went on doing what was right and exhorted the people to follow.

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

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.  

Some of the important teachings of Sree Narayana Guru which have  universal relevance are the following:

1) “One caste, one religion, one God for man”  

2) “One in kind, one in faith, one in God is man, of one same womb, one same form, difference none there is at all”

3) “Whatever be the religion of a man, it is enough if it makes him virtuous”

4) “Ask not,  say not, think not caste”

5) “Acts that one performs for one’s own sake should also aim the good of others”

6) “Liquor is poison, make it not, sell it not, drink it not”

7) “ Gain freedom through education”

8) “Gain strength through organization”

9) “Gain prosperity through Industry”

Inspired by the teachings and messages of the Guru, hundreds of temples and other independent organizations came up and are functioning now in the state of Kerala and other places, such as Thalassery Jnanodaya Yogam, Kollam Sree Narayana Trust, Koorkancheri Sree Narayana Bhakta Paripalana Yogam, Moothakunnam HMDP Sabha, and a number of Clubs in Urban areas of all important towns, Mumbai Sree Narayana Mandira Samithi (Holy teeth, the only mortal remains, of Sree Narayana Guru -one wisdom tooth and four artificial teeth used by the Guru- received on 11th January 2004 are kept here)., Coimbatore Sree Narayana Mission, Bangalore Sree Narayana Mandira Samithi, Hyderabad  S N Educational and Cultural Society, Kolkata Sree Narayana Seva Sangham, Delhi Sree Narayana Kendra. Thousands of branches of SNDP, Branches of Narayana Gurukulam functioning in over 16 countries like Fiji, Singapore, Belgium, and America. Organizations in the name of the Guru  in cities like Singapore, London, Chicago and Colombo, Vyasashram in Andhra Pradesh (Yerpedu, near Tirupati), Suka Brahmashram near Sri Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh, Sree Narayana Vidyalayam at Payyannur  founded by the last disciple of the Guru Sri. Ananda Theerthar, Gayatri Ashram at Chalakudy founded by Geethananda Swamy,  Sree Narayana Sevika Ashram at Paliathuruthu of North Paravooor Dist. Started by Swamini  Amrutha Matha,  Sree Narayana Shanti Mattom started by Brhmacharini N.K. Thankamma  of Pathanamthitta, Mangala Bharati Ashram,  Thottuvapadi,  Perumbavoor, Sree Narayana Samskarika Samithi, an organization by Govt. servants among the devotees of the Guru etc.etc.

Sri Nataraja Guru, started Narayana Gurukulam In 1932 The Gurukulam offers a way of life in which all should live in unity immersed in eternal bliss, as all are just miniatures of the all pervading Universal Consciousness. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, atheists and agnostics live  together in unity  without any divisive feelings there. Guru Nityachaithanya Yati, and Muni Narayana Prasad nurtured and developed Gurukulam to a world renouned organization. The East West University of Brahma Vidya run  by the Gurukulam is a great institution for comparative philosophical studies.“The Parliament of World Govt.” established   by  Garry David,  a disciple of Nataraja Guru and a world citizen, deserves special mention.   The contributions of  Nataraja Guru’s other disciples, viz. Mr. John Spiers, Swamy Ascharyacharya and Mangalananda Swamy  are also remarkable.  “Gurukulam”, spiritual magazine, is the manifesto of Narayana Gurukulam. Gurukulam  runs a big publishing house,  which publishes books on the studies, interpretations and  criticisms of the Guru’s philosophy, his compositions, and other philosophical works.  The Gurukulam  Convention, held every year during Dec, 23 to 29th is a blessing to the seekers of Truth.  

                  28.08.1855  (1031 Chingam 14, Chathayam ) Born  Vayalvaram house in Chempazhanty (This is the date accepted by Sivagiri Mutt).

                  1860 Initiation to Education by Kannakara Mootha Narayana  Pillai.

                  1860 – 1877 Primary Education in a local school and at home from his father Madan Aasan, and uncle Krishnan Vaidyan – lonely meditations, wandering habits, acquires the name “ Nanu Bhaktan”.

                  1877 – 1880 Higher Education at Kayamkulam, Puduppally, under Kummampalli Raman Pillai Aasan-Boarding and lodging at Varanappalli.

                  1880 - 1888 Roaming about  in different parts of India.  Friendship with Chattambi Swamy – Yoga training from Thykkad Ayyavu-Penance at Maruthvamala - Vision of God - Becomes Narayana Guru and emerges at Aruvippuram.  The first disciple Sivalinga Dasa Swamy joins.

                  1888 - 1891 Installation of Shiva Lingam at Aruvippuram on Sivaratri night of (Kumbham)(12.03.1888)   The first message to humanity in connection with this, “Jaathi bhedam……….” is declared-Starting of Aruvippuram Temple Association.

                  1891 – 1897 Disciples like Bhairavan Swamy, Nischalananda Swamy, Chaithanya Swamy, Kumaran Aasan, Dr. Palpu, C.V Kunju Raman, and Moolur Padmanabha Panikkar, Paravoor Kesavan Aasan etc. are accepted.

                  1897 Composition of Atmopadesa Shathakam.

                  1901 Declared as a sublime Religious Reformer through the Govt. Census Report.  By this time, Guru’s name had spread from Kanyakumari to Mangalapuram.   

                  07.01.1903  Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam established.

                  1904 The Govt. exempts the Guru from appearing in courts. Ayyankali visits the Guru.  Founding of Sivagiri Mutt.

                  1905 The first All India Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition at Kollam on the third anniversary of SNDP.

                  1907 Felicitation by Theosophical Society at Kozhikkod-Indisposed and taking rest at Palakkadu

                  (13.02.1908) Consecration of Thalasseri Jagannadha Temple

                  (13.04.1910 Kozhikkod SreeKanteswaram Temple

                  30.04.1912  Sivagiri Sharada Mutt,

                  1912  Aluva Advaithashram. Ayyappan Pillai (Satya Vrathan), Sahodaran Ayyappan, T.K. Madhavan etc., become disciples.  

                  (21.02.1913 Mangalapuram Gokarnanadha Temple

                  11.04.1916) Kannur Sundareswaram Temple.

                  1916 The Guru’s Shashti Poorthi (60 Years) celebrated all over  Kerala, and in places like Madras, Bombay, Kolkatta, Coimbatore  and Madhurai and in other nations like Singapore, Sree Lanka, Burma & Malaysia.  Declaration that he has no caste.  Meeting Ramana Maharshi  at Thiru- annamalai.

                  1918 The first visit to Sree Lanka. The Guru wore saffron clothes for the first time. Founding of 42 night-schools in Sree Lanka and Vignanodayam Sabha in Colombo.

                  13.05.1921  Installation of lamp at Karamukku temple.

                  1921 Installation of plaque with Satyam, Dharmam, Daya, Shanti, written on it.

                  1921 Anti- liquor slogan as birthday message –

                  1921   Composing “Jati Nirnayam”. All Kerala Brotherhood Association meeting in Advaithashram-message supporting inter-caste marriages and inter-caste dining.

                  22.11. 1922 Viswakavi Ravindranath Tagore and C.F.Andrews visit the Guru at Sivagiri.

                  24.01.1924  Jan 24th The first All Religions’ Meet  in Asia at Aluva Advaithashram.

                    1924         March Starting of Vaikkam Satyagraha.

                  1925   Thulam 15th Foundation laying of Brahmavidyalayam at Sivagiri.

                              March 12th   Visit of Mahatma Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari, E.V Ramasami Naickar.

                  Kanni 11th Appointment of Bodhananda Swami as legal successor-

                  Medam 20th Registration of the Guru’s will.

                  01.09.1926  Second visit to Ceylon.

12.03.1927 Installation of the Guru’s metal statue at Thalassery  by Bodhananda


                  14.06.1927  Installation of mirrors with Om Santhi at Kalavamkodam

                  1928 Jan 9th  Founding of Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham

                  Jan 16th  Granted permission to  Sivagiri Pilgrimage-Guru is indisposed.  Journey to Palakkadu, Madras, Trichur, Kochi.

                  May  Rest at Sivagiri

                  May 20th  Nataraja Guru was sent abroad for higher studies

                  July  Swamy Dharma Theerthar receives Sanyasa deeksha

                  August Swamy Ananda Theerthar(last disdiple) receives Sanyasa deeksha.

                  20.09.1928 Thursday, at 3.30 pm Mahasamadhi at Vaidika Mattom in Sivagiri.