Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928)

§   Sree Narayana Guru was born at Chempazhanthi in Thiruvananthapuram district on 20th August 1856 (Chathayam in the month of Chingam).
§   His father was Madan Asan and mother was Kutty Amma.
§   His was named Narayanan and was dotingly called Nanu.
§   At the age of five, Nanu joined a nearby school for formal education. He continued his education at home with his father and uncle in Tamil, Sankrit, and other traditional subjects. His father was a teacher(Asan), was proficient in Sanskrit, Astrology and Ayurveda. His uncle Krishnana Vaidyan was a reputed Ayurvedic physician. He was taught the basics of the Tamil and Sanskrit languages and traditional subjects such as Siddharupam, Balaprobhodhanam and Amarakosam.
§   He had his higher studies at Varanapally by Kummampalli Raman pillai Asan.
§   He showed strong affinity for poetics and reasoning, composing hymns and singing them in praise of God.
§   His mother passed away when he was 15. Nanu spent the most part of his early youth assisting his father in tutoring, and his uncle in the practice of Ayurveda, while devoting the rest of his time for devotional practices at the temples nearby.
§   After his studies he also began teaching in a near-by school. From that time the people respectfully called him “Nanu Asan”.
§   His friendship with Chattambi Swamikal started in 1884. Chattambi Swamikal introduced him to Thycaud Ayyaswami, a distinguished yoga guru of Trivandrum. From him Nanoo learned ‘yogasanas’, practices like Nauli, Dhoudi, and Khadam and Khechari mudra.
§   Later he went to Maruthwamala in search of ultimate truth and spent 8 years of solitary life. Here, Narayana guru is believed to have attained a state of Enlightenment.
§   In 1888, he installed an idol of Shiva at Aruvippuram on the banks of Neyyar river.
§   As only Brahmins had ever installed an idol, that event was dubbed as ‘Aruvippuram revolution’. When Brahmins challenged his right to consecrate, he replied in his famous quote “I installed my siva; not a Brahmin siva”.
§   At Aruvippuram these words were inscribed on a plaque “Without differences of caste, Nor enmities of creed, Here it is, the model of an abode, where all live like brothers at heart”.
§   In 1891 Kumaranasan (then Kumaru) met Guru.
§   Sree Narayana Guru was appointed as the first president of SNDP Yogam founded in 1903 with the initiative of Dr.Palpu.
§   A new phase began in the Guru’s life in 1904. He decided to give up his wandering life and settle down at Sivagiri, about 32 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram. The name ‘Sivagiri’ was given by Guru.
§   In 1905 he organised the first agricultural and industrial exhibition in India, at Kollam
§   He established many temples at different parts of the Kerala. He did the prathishta of the goddess Sree Sarada at Sivagiri on April 1912.
§   In 1914 he established Adwaithasramam at Aluva (Ernakulam district).
§   In 1916 he met Ramana Maharshi at Thiruvannamala, Tamil nadu.
§   Guru made his first visit to Sri Lanka in 1918. It is the only foreign country visited by him.
§   Rabindranath Tagore visited Sree Narayana Guru at Sivagiri in 1922.
§   Tagore recorded after his visit to Sivagiri, ‘I have been touring different parts of the world. During these travels, I have had the good fortune to come into contact with several saints and maharshis. But I have frankly to admit that I have never come across one who is spiritually greater than Swami Sree Narayana Guru of Kerala — nay, a person who is on par with him in spiritual attainments. I am sure I shall never forget that radiant face, illumined by the self effulgent light of divine glory and those yogic eyes fixing their gaze on a remote point on a far-away horizon.’
§   Guru provided leadership to the ‘Sarva Matha Sammelanam’ held at Aluva in 1924.
§   The theme of the conference was “Not for argument but to know and inform others”. He visited the Satyagrahis at Vaikkom in 1924.
§   When Gandhiji visited Kerala in connection with Vaikom Satyagraha in 1925, he also visited Guru.
§   Mahathma Gandhi wrote in the guest book at Sivagiri, “I consider it the greatest good fortune of my life to have visited the beautiful Travancore state and met the most venerable saint, Sree Narayana Guru Swami trippadangal”.
§   Guru’s second visit to Sri Lanka was in 1926.
§   Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham was registered in 1928. Guru attained samadhi on 20th September 1928 (5th of Kanni month of Kollam Era).
§   He is regarded as the father of the renaissance of Kerala.
§   He belonged to Ezhava community and it was an era in which Ezhavas were facing much social injustices in the caste-ridden society of Kerala.
§   He was the first Keralite to be appeared on an Indian stamp and also the first Keralite to be inscribed on a coin of RBI.
§   He is only Keralite whose birth day and death anniversary are declared holiday by the Government of Kerala.
§   He was the only person who was exempted from court appearances in civil cases by Government of Travancore.
§   The slogan popularized by Sree Narayana Guru-“One caste, one religion and one God for mankind”.
§   He also exhorted “Liquor is poison, make it not, sell it not, drink it not”.
§   “Organize and strengthen Educate and Enlighten” was also the advice of Guru.
§   He taught “Whatever may be the religion of a man, it is enough if he becomes virtuous”, “Ask not, Say not, think not caste”, “Act that one performs for one’s sake should also benefit other”.
§   The novel ‘Guru’ by K.Surendran depicts the life of Sree Narayana Guru.
§   The film ‘Yugapurushan’ directed by R.Sukumaran based on the life of Guru.
§   Sivalinga Swamikal was the first Sanyasa disciple of Guru.
§   Anandatheertha Swamikal was his last Sanyasa disciple.
§   The first work of Sree Narayana Guru is Gajendramoksham Vanchipattu. His other famous works are Atmopadeshasatakam, Darshanamala, Daiva Dasakam, Nirvritipachakam, Janani Navaratna Manjari etc.
§   Sivagiri pilgrimage, now known as Sivagiri Theerthadanam, was conceived by Vallabhasseri Govindan Vaidyar and T K Kittan Writer. It was duly approved by Gurudevan on January, 1928.

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