A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Soul's Journey to the Core of Truth

By K.T. Sreekumar, Kottarakara

Man learns to become a self-sacrificing social being; he grounds himself on the foundations of justice, law, culture, community living and develops methods of governance. Incessant actions threading through many lives bring transformation in his thoughts; actions in life purify and refine the soul of man and a stage is set for his flight to the ultimate evolutionary perfection - ‘Anandamaya Kosha’ or the ‘blissful sheath’. Such a soul loses self-identity after passing through the states of annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas and finds its eternal rest and fulfillment in the blissful state, which is the core of its being.

A soul’s journey to the core of Truth transcends the point at which Darwin concludes his theory of evolution: it is a pilgrimage to the climax of creational perfection, emerging from an evolutionary process which moves through water and land and culminates in the wholesome creation - man. But, a question remains. While an imperceptible power through its own mutative stirs has reached up to a state of perfection as represented by man - What next? Whither? Herein lies the relevance of a Guru; it is here how a seer becomes a guide.

Darwin’s hypothesis that life appeared first in water had been formulated in India in antiquity. For example, in Manu Smriti, it has been mentioned that in the beginning there was the sky; from the sky emerged air; from the air was produced fire; from the fire came forth water; the waters yielded earth and from the earth were born all living beings.

In the myth associated with the ten incarnations of God, it has been said that the first incarnation took place in water. According to Taitireeya Upanishad, owing to the creational vibrations in the Cosmic Consciousness, first the sound-impregnated sky was manifested. In that aural sky, there appeared water which is tactual - that can be experienced by touch. From the waters emerged the earth which is the abode of all sensory qualities – tactual, visual, aural, gustatory and olfactory as represented by touch, sight, sound, taste and smell respectively. From the earth came forth herbs; and from herbs food was produced; from food is produced essence (soul effulgence); and from that essence man.

For procreation, man and woman are the two fundamental aspects. Not dissimilar is the case with Cosmic Creation, which presupposes the interplay of a Cosmic Mind and a Cosmic Nature (Purusha & Prakriti). Both are reflections of Brahman itself. The binary of Prakriti and Purusha remains dormant in the Supreme Consciousness. At the time of Creation, Purusha and Prakriti become vibrant and manifest themselves. Along with Purusha and Prakriti, there emerges a third principle – Time. Time is a relative phenomenon; it becomes self apparent at the time of creation and disintegrates along with cosmic dissolution. The Indian philosophy avers that creation takes place when Prakriti, Purusha and the third element ‘Time’ converge in a creational axis.

After Vedic time, documentary proof is unavailable to establish that the genesis of man is from Manu, the primordial human ancestor. Modern science could also not formulate any conceptions in this regard. According to Bible, Jehova, the God, created all sentient and insentient beings, except Man, within the five initial days of creation. On the sixth day, God created Man to rule over them. He made the figure of man out of dust and water upon the earth and blew life into its nostrils. The first man born thus was named Adam. Next, taking a side bone out of him, God created a Woman for him - Havva. Let myth be myth; but the underlining concept is that all living beings were created from the elemental world consisting of air, water, earth, fire and space.

The Rigveda explains about the origin of life in a different way. The moon has a synonym – Soma. There is a subtle dust on the lunar surface named as Soma, because of which the synonym soma. This lunar dust, owing to the gravitational pull, falls on the earth; it is further compressed into a life molecule with the blending of powerful cosmic rays from the sun, other planets, stars and constellations. Thus, according to the Rigveda, life originates from the copulation of luminuous lunar light molecules and the vaporous dust on the earth. Time is another element that interlinks the origin of life to the union with cosmic rays.

Modern science hypothesizes the ‘big bang’ theory of creation. This theory is based on pivotal scientific principles such as the Theory of Relativity; the gravitational pulls between atomic particles; the simulations and permutations that create certain fundamental matter-molecules and gaseous energies; all these lead us to the theory that the origin of life is from the interplay of cosmic substances and energies diversely inherent in the astral world – the sun, moon, earth, stars and constellations. The soul of man inescapably pulsates in synchronization with the cosmic rays percolating down the solar system, 27 stars (nakshatram) and 12 zodiacs in the track of which spins everything. It is verily the manifest and unmanifest universe in the form of God; one with attributes (Saguna Brahman) and another attributeless (Nirguna Brahman).

The northern and southern transits of the sun cause uttarayanam, dakshinayanam and vishuvat. Likewise, the lunar swings cause alternate periods of light and darkness and also changes in the moods of nature. The moon represents the creative energy in living beings. The swings and tides due to the embrace of light-molecules of the earth and moon produce vibrations or currents of biological and physical propensities and emotional fermentations in the soul of man. In what state were we before birth and what do we become after death? An enquiry in this direction can begin only when we realize that man is an inseparable part of the cosmos.
What is the outer most crust or sheath of the Jeeva (soul)? It is the ‘Annamaya Kosha’ – the solidified soul energy or ‘food sheath’. This may be taken as the first insentient physical manifestation of the jeeva unencumbered with thoughts and emotions, as represented in the physicality of a sedentary plant kingdom entrenched in the earth with the help of roots and stumps. Certain microbial life cells in water also belong to this category.

The second evolutionary stage of the Jeeva developing from the Annamaya kosha is the ‘Pranamaya Kosha’ or the ‘energy sheath’. In this state, the Jeeva develops distinct qualities and shapes different from the plant kingdom. It develops into a creature with a head and starts breathing. It tries to move with the help of tails and wings, first in water, and then on land. The Jeeva has outlived its state of immobility rooted to the earth or confined to water.

By and by all sensory perceptions are accentuated – touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Now begins the evolution of the Jeeva to the ‘Manomaya Kosha’ or the ‘mind sheath’ from the state of creatures and animals. Now the Pranamaya kosha is filled with the Manomaya kosha. The animal kingdom, as against the plant kingdom, has freedom in its course of evolution and procreation; and due to biological and sensory pulls and pushes, variations take place in the process of multiplication of species. In this state, collective living of species with identical characterstics begins; for example the human family. In the humans, the soul, from the limitations of sensory existence, is raised to experience knowledge or existential awareness. This is the evolution of the soul to the ‘Jnanamaya Kosha’ or the ‘Knowledge sheath’. The soul becomes self conscious. From this self awareness, the thoughs of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ are born. Man begins to think about his existence and security. Herein is the genesis of human thoughts. Thoughts haunt man and ultimately he fumbles upon existential questions; who am I? What am I?

Man learns to become a self-sacrificing social being; he grounds himself on the foundations of justice, law, culture, community living and develops methods of governance. Incessant actions threading through many lives bring transformation in his thoughts; actions in life purify and refine the soul of man and a stage is set for his flight to the ultimate evolutionary perfection - ‘Anandamaya Kosha’ or the ‘blissful sheath’. Such a soul loses self-identity after passing through the states of annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas and finds its eternal rest and fulfillment in the blissful state, which is the core of its being.

While annamaya kosha is the gross physical body, the other sheaths consisting of prana, mana, vijnana and ananda (with all karmic appurtenances) constitute the subtle body of a person. What is physically perceptible is the annamaya kosha which, after separation from the soul, goes back to the five fundamental elements from which it was formed.

Our pilgrimage thus goes beyond Darwinism to the evolution of the invisible soul through the five elements and five life-sheaths to its core to behold the Supreme Truth, the Brahman, and to merge with it. It is this effort through the five elements, five senses and five life-sheaths that Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru draw our attention to.

(Translated from the original Malayalam by Mukundan P.R.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

101 Sacred Sayings of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru

Gurucharanam Saranam


1. The very truth, the method and medium of Santhigiri Ashram is to enable people (to) reach the goal of oneness of humanity, forgetting caste and religion.

2. What is taking place in Santhigiri is an effort to realize after evaluating everything that has happened until now, getting rid of its shortcomings and ordering it as required of the age to bring it forward to shape the future state of affairs. This is the revelation of Brahman given to us.

3. The ideology of Santhigiri is not religious law. It is an effort to reveal and correct the mistakes that had occurred in the midst of the society in order to make the people come up.

4. Let all the old remain in its place. Let us absorb the virtues thereof without destroying it. But, that which is evil will indeed be destroyed. This is our spirituality.

5. The truth of Guru is that which reveals or realizes and fulfils each aspect of knowledge. The greatness of this soul is such a truth, in which knowledge and life experiences are in harmony.

6. The religion I believe is of Friendship, Brotherhood and Truth.

7. Word is Truth; when that Truth becomes our experience that is Guru; when it is experienced still more profoundly, it becomes God.

8. Strive to gain purity in these three: thought, word and deed. By this, you will have love for God and God will have love for you.

9. Work without positions of power and achieve through self-sacrifice. It is this sacrifice that saves you.

10. What is taking place in the name of Gurupooja at Santhigiri is in fact Rishipooja – the worship of the sage, who is a Kalantharaguru (the Guru of authority for ages).

11. God is not particular about being worshipped. If you worship, do not distort it.

12. It is better to bring up your children endowed with ‘karmaseshi’ (capacity to perform life’s duty) than saving money for them.

13. Beginning from a grain of sand, for all things in the world that take birth and perish, there is a wholeness (or indestructibility) of its own.

14. The purificatory ways (karmasuddhi) shown to us by God are ‘griha suddhi’ (cleansing of the family line), ‘deva suddhi’ (cleansing of deities-soul’s celestial links), ‘pithrusuddhi’ (cleansing of ancestral souls). Fulfilling these three, entrust to Guru the fourth one (cleansing of one’s soul). This is the essence of Sanatana Dharma.

15. Guru is an unique entity that acts from the perception of the changing epochal processes as well as the traditions pertaining to each age.

16. Can you reach the abode described as ‘Self-Illumined’ (Brahman) just by talking about it? One must strive for it. Only by the strength of endeavour that abode can be reached.

17. We might have to go through some difficulties before certain goodness is achieved. Whatever happens, I would suffer anything for the sake of my generation. I will undergo any sacrifice to bring up the generation.

18. There is no need for self-sacrifice to bow down anywhere. All virtues are submissive to self-sacrifice. Even without any extraordinary feats or miraculous performances, the words of a renouncer will generate bliss in the heart.

19. If there is spiritual endowment in you, you will get it actualized. All the powers that had been the object of your worship will manifest before you.

20. The greatness of creation is that in all living beings the glory of God is manifest. Everything in Nature has been endowed with love, respect, devotion, humbleness and wisdom of its own.

21. God exists where science ends.

22. You should be as noble as an emperor and as humble as a servant.

23. To you who are of virtuous birth and fearless action, I am citing my own example to give courage to you. May you be convinced!

24. There is something to learn even from a small creature. Learning from everything, entertain a persistent desire that with your action you will improve at least one person.

25. The householder should cultivate a method (or wisdom) and effort, while leading an orderly life himself, in order to give the best upbringing to his children. You should take up the responsibilities (karmakanda) related to worldly life; otherwise, there is no use wasting time by wandering here and there.

26. Householders are not meant to live low. With their life, they should earn wealth, knowledge and riches and if necessary even the responsibility of governing the nations of the world.

27. The mind of a father should be as clear as the sky. And the mother should be one who utters profound words.

28. After making us aware of how to refine food and clothing and how to evolve a way of life, the Almighty today is guiding our intellect to the reflection on the Self, leading us to that path in which the soul gets entitled for liberation.

29. Joy and jealousy in excess are to be feared; therefore beware of them, for these will estrange you from God.

30. Do prayers to the One Almighty God and not to the deities and demigods, if you are not to wander for drinking water and food.

31. The law and justice evolved by human intellect are inadequate to sustain the laws of life -dharma of the human being. It does not occur to people why in the name of devotion, they should sway and dance in frenzy.

32. The ideology of Santhigiri is not Vedanta or something likewise. All people should have fulfilment in life.

33. You can attain all goodness and luck through your action. If unable to do anything good, there should be a thought not to perpetuate evil.

34. Do not commit sin for the sake of material gains.

35. It is better to practise self-sacrifice oneself than propagating it.

36. One’s propensities (Vasana) is the accumulation of the vices and virtues at one’s birth. The unique qualities in the soul become virtues and vices at birth.

37. We are not prepared to adopt the goodness shown to us by our ancestors through a life of self-sacrifice. What we see today is the light of their hardships of many ages.

38. The men and women who grow up here are the ones to decide on the course of the world. It is with this awareness of Dharma that we should become great. Our persistent prayer should be to get wisdom, experience and aptitude to act as per the call of time to correct all the mistakes that have happened down the tradition not only in relation to this solar system, but other solar systems too, establishing ourselves in this Dharma.

39. God does not sit where a few rationalists, liberationists, scholars and intellectuals debate together and establish Him.

40. We are all hurrying to take up the lowliest fulfilment in life because of our ignorance, lack of experience and wisdom.

41. The place of the bhakta (devotee) is on the lap of Guru and that of Guru in the heart of the devotee.

42. Be like a deaf, blind, dumb and ignorant person but with the vigilance to know everything. Then only one can gain whatever knowledge.

43. From where does the human life begin? Where do we end? What should we earn by human life, or in other words, after reaching to what extent of wisdom, have we commenced this life? To what extent we have reached today? First get this knowledge by contemplation. If not or if you are unable to do it, find a person (Guru) who is thus capable and following Him, perceive, experience and realize it.

44. Guru, the mother; Guru, the father; Guru, who has realized God; Guru who is God; Thus knowing from one’s birth and climbing up the steps of highest wisdom, seek peace. That indeed is the aim. That indeed is liberation. The human birth is for that indeed.

45. Gurupooja at Santhigiri is a fundamental spiritual performance based on the faith in the One Absolute God which unwinds the knots of accumulated karma of several births by cleansing the ancestral souls.

46. The Gurupooja at Santhigiri is a unique spiritual act that reveals the true aspects of the benign as well as malefic powers, including the deities (devas), manes (pithrus), sages (rishis) and renunciates (sanyasins), worshipped by the ancestors.

47. Gurupooja at Santhigiri is a spiritual act that imparts the knowledge about the (next) Age of Truth (Satyayuga) and the stages of the process leading to it, after completely removing the decadence of devotion due to (lack of awareness of the) shift in Yugadharma and showing the (path of) righteous devotion and wisdom.

48. Gurupooja at Santhigiri is an act ordained by the Absolute wherein the karmic entanglements of several births are perceived, disentangled and changed, lifting the souls to the levels of a deity (deva) or sage (rishi).

49. Is it possible for us to retrieve a good moment wasted by a distorted life?

50. Everyone has Love. But only through perpetual vigilance one can fulfil it to its fullest cognizance.

51. We, who live in this world, need a ‘One’ - an Absolute - for us to survive together. Remaining in that One spread out to everything. That One which embraces everything is the Truth.

52. How much have I done for the sake of my family, the nation, and if necessary, for the world. Each one of you should ask this to yourself.

53. None of us would wish to do an action harmful to ourselves. Then how come we have come to possess so much vice?

54. Each of us should be the possessors of the karma (action) that would (enable us to) go beyond everything that has been coming up (by way of development), contributing towards our happiness, convenience of living, be of advantage to society and become helpful to the whole world and every living being.

55. Realize through Gurudharma (Law of Guru) what was revealed in the past, what is put into practice today and what is to happen tomorrow.

56. Guru is a ‘deerghadarshi’ (far-sighted seer) who perceives and ordains what is needed and what is not needed for a yuga. Guru acts for the transformation of society at a particular point of time.

57. The reality of Guru manifests in the world in the Kaliyuga in its fullness and brilliance. Guru is the perceiver of times – the Trikalajna, who knows the past, present and future. Only a Guru, the beholder of three-fold time, can save you. The Trikalajna Guru is Perfectly Fulfilled.

58. When the evil deeds in the world becomes unbearable to Nature, God transforms these sins into wars, earthquakes and other natural calamities.

59. Do not forget that this world is established in Truth. Therefore, abandon the modes of worship contrary to the Yugadharma as well as sinful actions.

60. If humility leads to Truth, Truth will lead to Guru; and Guru to God. All of you should wish and also strive to become the servers of Truth.

61. The noble course is to comprehend the rights and wrongs that have come in the world until now - be it physical or spiritual - and to find out the reasons behind those rights and wrongs.

62. If you look a little deeply into this atmosphere, countless particles can be seen twinkling and disappearing even within the circle of a one rupee coin. Think that we are only one among such countless atoms.

63. Take up yourself the good and bad of others. It is like this: we should imbibe in our life whatever is good in a person. When you absorb the good in that person, the bad in him should also be taken up as yours. You should then tell him with love that there is such an error in him and that he should get rid of it. And when he gets rid of the bad, a certain vice in our soul also will have gone. If you feel that this person would not heed your words, pray for him everyday for three minutes. Then a God-given occasion will come to you to have an involvement with him. It would be the result of your prayer. Utilise this opportunity in a good way and tell him; he would have followed it certainly. That way we can remove a deficiency in our own soul.

64. This body is the layers (physical encasement) of a soul’s evolution formed through thousands of births. The lack of virtue (punyam) in the soul manifests in the form of different diseases in the body. Such karmic diseases are eradicated by the dharmic path that earns virtue through right action.

65. On getting up in the morning, reflect seated on the bed itself: ‘into what should I develop my home today?’ After attending to the day-to-day affairs at home, live aiming for the betterment of the organization, wasting not even a minute.

66. Life is the synonym of bliss concealed in the chronicle of the present, full of hardships.

67. The sense of ego will veil (block) the grace of God. We are actually nobody and nothing. We should have only this submission that we will pray to the best of our ability.

68. The benevolence of this path of dharma is the performance of Guru and disciple which enables a scholar as well as the ignorant to enquire about the dharma of the age after discerning the differences in the cycles of time – Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali.

69. We can distinguish our thoughts and emotions just like separating the different shades of one color, little by little. It is you (oneself) alone who can decide what shall be the path of your action (karmagati) and dharma. It would not do, if someone else decides it.

70. If you can perceive regarding Light, its Avrithi (different manifestations) as also how the Light dissolves, you will be able to know about your karmic propensity (karmagati).

71. Knowing all sorrows, behave with love and bring it in the ambit of your experience and identify yourself with it. Then you will know that the seat of sorrows and happiness is oneself.

72. It is the purity of action (karmasuddhi) in married life that creates the circumstances for the birth of a child useful to the family and society. Are you living in a manner befitting the justice of God? Ask yourself.

73. This atmosphere has in it layers of influence from any number of past yugadharmas (the code of living for an Age) and the five elements.

74. What you need to get is the benefit (virtue) of your actions. You should get that first from God. It is not for the sake of God that you worship God. You should think that it is for your own sake.

75. Prayer can bring goodness to us, our society and to the entire creation (living beings). It should be done as the ‘sankalpam’ of God (God’s Will).

76. You shed tears when there is pain. Even through those tears, pray to God that you should be able to perform His Will.

77. Even if (one is) able to do only a moment’s work, it should be done in the right manner. What is required is the mind and wisdom to work throughout our life with dedication, correcting the shortcomings in the soul.

78. God has given a place for anyone of you to come and assemble. The life of every man begins from the residue of the totality of action and will (sankalpa karma swaroopam), derived from his propensities. What exists embedded in a soul is the truth of interplanetary influences.

79. That the physical and spiritual have been separately considered, does not mean that they are separate. It is just for facilitating the knowledge of certain things. The physical body itself is the basis for spirituality.

80. Kali is the fourth quarter of a ‘Chaturyuga’. It has been taught to us and written down that Kali is bad as well as ruinous. The information that those who take birth in Kaliyuga are possessed by the passion of anger (kali) is not correct. We do not want such (mistaken ) farsightedness.

81. Earn virtue through Karma. Through that virtue, earn good fortune. That good fortune shall become the base for everything. The discipline of Santhigiri is the fulfilment of such action.

82. The fulfilment of monotheism is necessary in Kaliyuga (present era). Because, Kali is the epoch for soul’s liberation (mukti) and for Sudra, God realization.

83. It is in Kaliyuga, the Chaturyuga reaches its fulfilment. With 71 Chaturyugas, a Manvantara gets fulfilled. One cannot talk about the long range of Kali without respecting the epoch of Kali.

84. The long ranges of Kali (present era) need to be perceived transcending the faculties of intellect and thought. Kali is the time favourable – to the day, hour and second - to know the potential of the soul to endeavor with the help of the physical body (which is) experienced in the states of wakefulness (jagrat), dream (swapna) and deep sleep (sushupti). That is the science of the Kali Age.

85. Kali is the age of synchronization of the lives lived in the past, the present and those to come. If one is entrapped in the deviated contemporary ideologies, this synchronization will not be possible.

86. It could be because of the virtue of some past lives, we have got a human birth. We have had innumerable such human incarnations in the past. Even so, we are ruining our destiny ourselves committing numerous errors, unable to cut off from the tradition.

87. As per our faith, the gods and goddesses we have been praying to, as the objects of worship, are our Gods. The legacy of this is entrenched in the ferocious actions beginning from (and belonging to) the ‘satanic’ forces upto the domain of vetala (the state of extreme spiritual bewilderment). This is the greatest blunder we have inherited from our old tradition.

88. The path of Santhigiri is that of the wisdom that brings into our vision and understanding the mistakes of the bygone ages.

89. We have become degenerated with the concepts such as having a separate ‘god’ for each small caste. We can behold the history of long bygone ages, even while supporting the soul suitably in this body, the seat of our accumulated karma.

90. The message of Santhigiri works in accordance with the Will of Almighty. This message will exist always, in all ages, as a Dharma, like a sunrise of abounding blessedness. That is the aim of Santhigiri.

91. What is ingrained in a soul is the history and truth of nine planets. It is not possible to shed light on it with the power of knowledge that measures intellectually. Space Self-illumined: transcending thousands of such planes of illumination and traversing them with the cyclic aeons, the Guru who can determine the suitability of the dharmic path, which sheds light on several earthly planes, and the disciple who has internalised the dharma of that Guru - only can illuminate that (truth).

92. Jnani is the great sage who incarnates after traversing through several aeons in the pathway of the wisdom of changing ages (kaladharma). The Soul of that great Sage - whose austerities, ascending the wheel of time, in obediance to Yugadharma (law of the age), and who emerges sinless - is set apart by the Almighty’s Will. It is this Soul which is used for the voyage of time through many ages.

93. What can be done with those ‘valiant of action’ who bet in the name of great souls? They bring about intellectual ruin, turning the people into lifeless spectators and pushing them under the veil of ignorance. Hatred arising out of the rifts of caste, religion and class has grown among them to such an extent that even if God proceeds to pardon them, it is impossible to resolve these (animosities).

94. Can the field of action (karmabhumi) be gained if the karma (object) to be fulfilled by life is sung, narrated, written off and spoiled? Is there anything else in this other than the mind that obeys or makes others obey through laws? Seen in the world are the theaters of amusement of vices and virtues where God’s words are ‘sung’ (extolled) through one’s intelligence.

95. It would be appropriate if a small hint is given here of my experience for thinking people. I have not been able to find an explanation for my experience, in the tradition of knowledge including (the great text) Brahma Sutra. It is through intellectual exercise verses are written down and explanations attempted. The majesty of the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) tradition perfected in the Puranas, is an intellectual creation with words and images.

96. The great sages (Mamunis) extol what is seen in the present. The Mamuni is a seer of farsightedness. Mamuni is a great divine abstraction (Atma Sakti) at least in the category of an epochal Guru(Kalanthara Guru). Mamuni is the authority of a minimum seven solar systems.

97. Good things do not grow in all parts of the earth. Likewise, good water will collect only at certain places. When the lunar dust, with the contact of the sun’s rays and the even pressure of the atmosphere, falls down on earth, those dust particles are cultured by the turns of day and night, full moon and black moon and the characteristics of stars. The Soul that transcends all this, one by one, is the life codified in the concept of Guru. Living such a life, the Guru comes as the Word, as the Medium about whose sacred sayings it is said thus - Word is Truth, Truth is Guru, Guru is God.

98. The foremost education gained from the Ashram, is to correct through our wisdom, endeavour, self-sacrifice and action, whatever shortcomings we have in the family. It is not sanyasa (renunciation). Coming to the Ashram, having faith or living in the Ashram is not for adopting sanyasa. It is to learn through one’s life.

99. Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law of God) has not prevailed here. What is said as Sanatana is confined in the framework of Manu Smriti (the book of sacred laws). Kaliyuga is not ruinous. The four varnas (classes of humans based on soul temperament) exist always. In the Kaliyuga also it is there as in the other yugas. I wish to see that all human beings work for the Light of Truth.

100. Aravind Maharshi has said that Sri Krishna is the Over-Mind who accompanied the Supramental Light to the earth. The Guru-manifestation has been brought by Krishna with the esteem it deserves. Aravind Maharshi was beholding through transcendental vision what Krishna, who was the Guru of Dwapara Yuga, did for the age of Kali, standing in the subtle.

101. I am not away from you. I exist in all of you, as everything. You will get relief from all diseases and attain all sorts of peace, abundance and goodness by your prayers to Me! (This particular Guruvani was received from Guru’s Light by His foremost disciple Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini after Guru left the body.)

Petals of Sacrifice - Swami Vandanarupan Jnana Tapaswi

By Mukundan P.R.

Gurucharanam Saranam

Sri Devadas was a youth with robust health and a strong mind. Whatever others may talk, he had his independent decision concerning matters in life. He was engaged in contract work in his native town, Palakkad. It was in 1992. He went to Olassery, near Palakkad as he had heard that bricks were cheaper there. When he reached Olassery, he saw a group of white clad men and women moving along holding colorful parasols. ‘Have Christians come here too’, he murmured to himself. When he enquired what it was all about, somebody in the group said that their Guru was coming and they were waiting to welcome the Guru.

After sometime, the Guru came. Devadas watched. He saw Guru. The things were not as he imagined. Devadas’ heart began to beat a different tune. He did not know why. He was attracted to Guru’s figure immensely. The experience pounded his heart and pulled him to Guru. He was getting transported to a divine and joyful plane by the sight of Guru and the chanting of devotees.

In the subsequent time he began to visit the Ashram at Thiruvananthapuram and got an opportunity to be associated with the activities of the branch ashram at Palakkad. However, it took him some more years to accept and assimilate the ideology of Guru. The change of mind came through the monthly prayers at the branch ashram, which gave him an avenue of peace and realization. It dawned on him that it was the truthful way of life in harmony – harmony with home, harmony with community, harmony with Guru and God and harmony with himself.

The soul of Devaduttan was in readiness to receive Guru, the Light of life. But he never knew about Guru before. He neither knew about his own struggles for truth and light in past births. But Guru knew and spontaneously drew him to Him at appropriate time and place. After the Adisankalpam of Guru, when Sishyapoojita, as per Guru’s command, asked him to lead the life of a brahmachari, he obeyed like an obedient child. When Sishyapoojita, as per Guru’s command, asked him to renounce all worldly desires, he obeyed that too innocently and became a sanyasi – Swami Vandanarupan Jnana Tapaswi, a sanyasi with strong verve, looking after the building activities of the Ashram, under Aroodda Suddhi, as its in-charge.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Santhigiri Ashram - Invitation for Parnasala Dedication

Gurucharanam Saranam

Santhigiri Ashram
Dedication of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru’s Parnasala
At Santhigiri Ashram
September 12, 2010

Invitation and Message to Households
Priya Atmabandho,
Respectful Pranams

The construction work of the beautiful ‘Parnasala’ (mausoleum) of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru at Santhigiri Ashram is nearing completion. Way back in 1968, the Parnasala was a small hut put up by Guru when he established Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode, near Thiruvananthapuram. Today, it has developed into the tallest lotus shaped mausoleum in the world built in pristine white Makrana marble. The ‘Parnasala’ is the holy abode where the sacred physical remains of Guru and His Soul Effulgence exist, emitting the vibrations of peace and spiritual joy. Guru through his 72 years of life filled with sacrifice rectified the ‘dharmic’ foundation of society which has degenerated due to a spiritual error in the evolution of man. The Supreme Light informed Guru through revelatory visions certain aspects related to this error. These constitute the ideological foundation of Santhigiri Ashram. On September 12, 2010, the ‘Parnasala’ of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru is being dedicated to humanity, which will herald a new era of spiritual realization.

The occasion of the dedication of the Guru’s ‘Parnasala’ is most auspicious and forms part of the fulfillment of a glorious mission in the spiritual history of man. Cooperation and participation in the dedication activities mean getting blessed by the love and grace of God. Through this grace of the Supreme, we would be getting ourselves filled by the most valued ambrosial drops from the Supreme Universal Light. We are getting the Guru as our permanent refuge and solace in the life journey. The words from the Supreme Light are ever memorable that by praying to the Guru, one would get relief from all difficulties and diseases and also will gain all sorts of grace, peace and luck in life.

We invite you and your family with love and prayers to Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, on the sacred occasion of the Guru’s ‘Parnasala Dedication’ on September 12, 2010.

With Prayers,

Swami Chaithanya Jnana Thapaswi,
General Secretary, Santhigiri Ashram


The ‘Parnasala’ of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru at Santhigiri Ashram is the fulfillment of the work and dedication of countless devotees. The self-surrender of thousands of people has bloomed in the form of the lotus in white marble – the Parnasala. This mausoleum in the form of a full bloomed lotus excels all modern engineering techniques. It had no existing model for its construction. The ‘Parnasala’ of Guru symbolizes universal peace and spirituality beyond all discrimination of caste and religion. Its gates are open to all people in the world for prayer and worship.

Santhigiri Ashram had a modest beginning in a small hut. It was in this hut that Guru lived and this is where the physical remains of Guru were interred, after Guru merged with the Supreme Light on May 6, 1999. It was the Will of God that the ‘Parnasala’ of Guru be built in the form of a white lotus. This has been fulfilled by the tireless dedication of the devotees under the spiritual guidance of Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, the present spiritual head of the Ashram.

The Graceful Abode of Dharma

The ‘Parnasala’ of Guru is the symbol of the invaluable self-surrender, prayers and sacrifices of countless devotees. Each and every disciple of Guru, the devotees and their families have contributed to the construction and dedication of the ‘Parnasala’. They readily came forward without the consideration of money or other comforts. The materials for the construction were brought by the devotees to the Ashram with heart-felt prayers. This sense of fraternity, which has no parallel, declares the greatness of Guru’s ideology. During the full moon days the devotees performed prayers and offerings with the observance of vows (vritam) for the sake of the completion of the ‘Parnasala’. Guru created a society of people without the differences of high and low or discrimination based on caste, colour and religion. This benevolent model foretells the arrival of good times in the world.

Santhigiri is the abode of spirituality beyond religion. While declaring the purpose behind the dedication of ‘Sahakarana Mandiram’ or the ‘Shrine of Togetherness’ in the Ashram in March, 1999, Guru said that “a Guru comes in the world after accomplishing ‘dharma’ through the course of many lives in many ages. He should be able to impart the ‘Dharma’ relevant to the Age. Those who are disposed to this ideology should also understand it.” He further said that “Sahakarana Mandiram is the place where this cooperation is established through the Guru-Disciple Order. There is no place for caste and religion here. This is Dharma - the righteous way of life.”

Santhigiri – the Abode of Dharma! The Eternal Supreme Light embodied in Guru is experienced here through the bliss of spiritual experiences and transcendental visions. Those who love Guru get the vessels of their hearts filled with the ambrosia of Godly love. This is an experienced truth. Santhigiri Ashram works with the aim of guiding humanity through spiritual and physical purity for progress of mankind and is engaged in life-saving activities such as ‘Annadanam’ (providing free food), ‘Athurasevanam’ (caring for the sick) and ‘Athmabodhanam’ (spiritual emancipation).

The cause-effect principle in Nature is complementary in the spiritual and material growth of man. The mission of Santhigiri Ashram is to enquire into the meaning of spirituality beyond religion founded on the purity of thought and ‘karma’. It is a sacred journey to the unseen dimension of universal peace. It is the ‘mantra’ and nourishing ideology for the deliverance of humanity.

The Aims of Santhigiri Ashram
Facilitate and sustain blossoming of spiritual illumination in children and adults alike, guiding and leading them in the Right Path of Salvation.

Nurture and sustain Divine Grace in people, diffusing the radiance for the benefit of the entire world. Among these love plays the most dominant role.
Cultivate compassion for all beings - humans, animals and all others alike – fostering divine virtues: selflessness, generosity, fellow feeling, tolerance and serenity. Thus you love yourselves and God as well.

Strive for absolute purity of mind, word and deed. Thus you become both a lover and a beloved of the Almighty.

Beware of uncontrolled jubilation or jealousy; both will keep you away from God.

Treat the entire world as your own home; be un-swayed in glory or humiliation, friendship or enmity, praise or contempt.

Dedicate yourself to compassionate service, care and charity.

Always regard and give value to the World Teachers and their words.

Hold on to all these in your everyday life. These revelations made here are as destined by the Almighty that always there will be a realized Guru in this lineage.

‘Gurupooja’ at Santhigiri

The ‘Gurupooja’ at Santhigiri Ashram is based on the faith in One Supreme God. It is a spiritual intercession to purify the subtle karmic and ancestral soul entanglements. If the genetic pool of the ancestors is impure and unhealthy, the actions and ‘dharmic’ values of the living become vitiated, which leads to failures and misery in life. The ‘Gurupooja’ of Santhigiri Ashram is a contemplative spiritual intercession (‘sankalpa karma’) to remove ancestral or genetic impurities that result from meritless and distorted worship. Through this gracious spiritual path founded by the Guru, a new human generation of children will emerge in the world which values righteousness in thoughts and actions. The redemption of humanity in this manner could be done only by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of a new Guru Parampara in the world.

Marriages at Santhigiri Ashram

A society can be healthy only when the people are united in their hearts. The Indian society is highly fragmented owing to the division of people on the lines of caste, creed and religion. These barriers can be removed only when people live together and marry as one community. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru has created such a model community without the bindings of caste, creed and religion. The marriages conducted at Santhigiri Ashram are integrating the society by bringing together couples of different castes and religions under the enlightening guidance of Guru. Marriages of matching couples are conducted with the consent of the parents after looking into the soul intricacies (vice and virtue in the soul and in the ancestry) of the couple and the families concerned through extra sensory spiritual perception (darsanam) available from the Light of Guru.

Annadanam at Santhigiri Ashram (Providing Free Food)

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was particular that all those who came to visit him should not go back hungry. Even while Guru greatly suffered unable to find the means even for a meal, He was particular to share with others whatever was available. The ceaseless ‘Annadanam’ (three times a day) at Santhigiri Ashram for the past four decades is the result of this endless grace of Guru. Free food is served daily to thousands of people who visit Santhigiri Ashram, and its branch ashrams, from different parts of the world.

Athurasevanam (Caring for the Sick)

‘Athurasevanam’ is one of the fundamental services of Santhigiri Ashram. It is guided by the ‘Nava Arogya Dharma Siddhantam’ or ‘New Doctrine of Healthcare’ expounded by Guru, which takes into consideration the subtle karmic, spiritual and ancestral influences that affect human health adversely. The treatment method promoted by Guru integrates all healthcare concepts prevalent in the world. Santhigiri Ashram produces more than 500 Ayurveda and Siddha medicines in a certified quality and production environment, which makes Santhigiri medicines most sought after. The Healthcare Division of Santhigiri Ashram runs two medical colleges in Kerala (One Ayurveda and one Siddha), hospitals, a Paramedical Institute, Ayurveda and Panchakarma centres and mobile clinics in different parts of the country. The activities of Santhigiri Ashram in the field of Ayurveda and Siddha have contributed to a great extent to the promotion of the Indian indigenous systems of medicine.

Karunyam Healthcare Programme

Santhigiri Ashram has launched the ‘Karunyam Healthcare Programme’ with a view to provide free healthcare services to the poor in Indian villages, towns and metropolitan cities. Through this programme, Santhigiri Ashram regularly conducts medical camps for health check-ups and distributes medicines free of cost. Free in-patient treatment is provided to the poor at the Santhigiri hospitals under this programme. Through the medical camps, the Ashram also imparts health and environmental awareness to the people.

Chandiroor Siddha Gramam – Disease Free Village
Santhigiri Ashram adopted Chandiroor, the village blessed by the birth of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru in Alappuzha District of Kerala, for its pilot project to make the Indian villages disease-free by providing free medical assistance through the ancient Indian system of ‘Siddha’. This project was inaugurated by Dr. Anbumani Ramdoss, then Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in 2006. Free Health Cards were distributed to all the patients in the village which entitled them to get free medical care including medicines. The medical camps organized also focused on creating awareness on health, hygiene and environmental protection in the village, which is known to suffer from high levels of water contamination.

K.R. Narayanan Endowment

The K.R. Narayanan Endowment is a programme initiated by the Ashram to develop leadership and administrative qualities in the young people of Kerala. The programme was launched in June, 2008, to financially assist aspiring poor students for appearing in the Indian Civil Services Examination. The assistance is given to three selected candidates every year. By this programme Santhigiri Ashram also pays its tribute to Sri K.R. Narayanan, who rose from the bottom-most rung of the society to become the President of India through his sheer grit and merit. Sri K.R. Narayanan was greatly influenced by the Guru’s philosophy and donated his ancestral home and property to Santhigiri Ashram.

Utharasree - Educational Aid Programme

In the year 2008-2009, Santhigiri Ashram commenced another programme for assisting students from economically poor families. Many aspiring students are unable to complete their schooling and college education for want of adequate income in the family. By this programme the Ashram assists selected students every year by providing monetary help. School uniforms and study materials are also being distributed in government schools under this scheme. The programme is conducted under the auspices of Gurumahima, the organization for girls and young women in Santhigiri Ashram.

Ente Oushadha Gramam – My Herbal Village

This programme helps villagers to cultivate medicinal plants on a commercial basis. The Ashram provides seedlings and training to the villagers to motivate them in the cultivation of herbal plants. There is also a buy-back arrangement. The programme aims at protecting the herbal plant wealth and also promoting Ayurveda and Siddha, the Indian systems of treatment.

Santhiyathra from Kumbala to Parassala - An Initiative for Enduring Global Peace

Humanity today is facing varied problems such as global warming, climate change, scarcity of food and water, terrorism, fundamentalism, health hazards and other issues that threaten life. Santhigiri Ashram will organize a month-long ‘Santhiyathra’ in April, 2010, to generate awareness among the masses to ensure water and food security, protection of environment and peaceful living ensuring the dignity and rights of women and children as well as the aged. It also aims to educate the people on the need to protect animal and plant life to preserve harmony in the ecology.

The ‘Santhiyathra’ will commence from Kumbala in Kasargod district in North Kerala and will reach Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram district in South Kerala within 30 days. The journey will be on foot involving a vast spectrum of people – ‘sanyasis’, social activists, political leaders, cultural luminaries, environmental activists, scientists, teachers, students and all others. This ‘padayathra’ aims to convey the important message that only through a life vision that harmonizes spirituality and materialism, durable peace can become a reality. Seminars, exhibitions, competitions, road shows, sports and cultural programmes will also be organized in connection with the Santhiyathra.

Santhigiri Research Foundation
(Recognized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India &
Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India)
Santhigiri Social Research Institute
Santhigiri Scientific and Industrial Research Institute
Development Initiatives of Santhigiri Ashram (DISA)
Santhigiri ECOSON
(Ecological Solution for Natural Resources Management)
Santhigiri Research Foundation as part of its environmental protection activities provides technical assistance and guidance in the following areas.
Rainwater Harvesting* Bio-gas Plants* Water Purification Plants*
Earthworm Compost* Soak Pit*
Well Recharging* Construction of Ponds
Donations to Santhigiri Research Foundation are exempted under Income Tax Rule 35(I)(ii) & 35(I) (iii)

Santhigiri Healthcare & Research Organisation

Healthcare Products* Medical Services * Charitable Services* Research & Development* Medical Education* Health Tourism* Medical Publications* Herbal Gardens
Arts & Cultural Department
Viswa Samskarika Navothana Kendram*
Santhimahima* Gurumahima* Mathrumandalam* Gurukanthi
Communications Department
Santhigiri Publications
Santhigiri Adhyatmika Masika* Arogyapadmam* Siddhavani*
Ashram Publications* CDs & Documentaries

Branches of Santhigiri Ashram
‘Janmagriham’, Chandiroor P.O, Alappuzha District, Ph 0148-2876267
Santhigiri Ashram, Palarivattam P.O, Kottayam District, Ph. 0481-2552950
Santhigiri Ashram, Near Forest Office, Konni, Pathanamthitta District, Ph. 0468-2245294
Kallar Santhigiri Ashram, KP Colony, Kallar P.O, Idukki District, Ph. 04868-236172
Kumili Santhigiri Ashram, Amaravathi P.O, 2nd Mile, Kumily, Iduki District, Ph. 04869-223937
Santhigiri Ashram, Olassery P.O, Kudumbu Via, Palakkad District,
Ph.0491-2802526, 0491-2574556
Santhgiri Ashram, Nambiarkunnu P.O,Cheeral, Sulthanbathery, Wayanad District
Ph.04936262692, 263494, 236494
Santhigiri Ashram, Aravukunnu, Kizhakkemuri P.O, Kakkodi, Kozhikode
Ph-0495 2673611, 9744101907
Santhigiri Ashram, Chendayad P.O, Thalassery, Kannur District,
Ph 0490 2550648
Tamil Nadu
Santhigiri Ashram, Leepuram P.O, Vijayanarayanpuram, Kanyakumari, Ph-04652 246464
Santhigiri Ashram, Viragannur, Madakuanai, North Bank, Andarkottam P.O,
Madurai District Ph. 0452 6540752
Santhigiri Ashram, PB.No.344, Carmalaram P.O, Sarjapur Road, Kodathi Village,
Bangalore-560 035, Ph.080 28441144
New Delhi
Santhigiri Ashram, Sector VI, Pushp Vihar, Saket, New Delhi
Ph.011 29563718, 011 39529718
Santhigiri Regional Offices
Delhi (Zonal Office)
C-89, Shivalik, Geethanjali Marg, Near Malviya Nagar, New Delhi (South) – 110 017,
Ph- (011)32421077, 26681940, E Mail: santhigirinewdelhi@gmail.com
House No.10, MRD Road, Opp.Assa Eng. Institute Play Ground, Bhamuni Maidan P.O, Guwhati, Assam 781 021, Ph. (0361) 2657536, 2656918, Fax: (0361) 265 7536,
E-mail santhigirighty@gmail.com
G-13, The Grand Monarch Near Sheema Hall, 100ft, Anand Nagar Road, Satelite Area, Ahmedabad 380 015, Ph: (079) 26760480, 32991679, 40060489 Fax (079) 26932048,
E-mail: santhigiriahmd@gmail.com
House No.4, Pavani vilas, Dwarakapuri Colony, Panjagutta, Hyderabad 500 082
Ph: (040) 23323373, 23323387 Fax (040) 30685559.
E.mail: hyd2_savhyd@sancharnet.in
Top floor of Santhigiri Bhagini Nikethan Building, No.15/341, SSMC Complex, Pin-695 589
Ph-9287252501, 0471 -271 6279 E-mail: tvmro.santhigiri@gmail.com
Santhigiri Building, 36/2625 A, Karanakodam, Thammanam, Ernakulam-682 032
Ph-0484-2344918, Fax: 0484-2344918,
E-mail: santhigiriekm@sifi.com, santhigiriekm@gmail.com
Door No.EP/18/242, Arsons Complex, NH47, Kannur Road, Elathur P.O, Kozhikode 673 303
Ph: 0495-3204666, 2461347, 9287204666, Fax: 0495-2461347,
Email: santhigirikkd@gmail.com
No.1458, H Block, 16th Street, 16th Main Road, Anna Nagar West, Chennai-40
Mob:9962055641, E mail: chennaisanthigiri.assh@gmail.com
28,Opp.Appolo Hospital, Deputy Collectors Colony, Behind Chitramahal, (IInd Street), K.K.Nagar, MADURAI-625020, E.mail: santhigirimadurai@gmail.com
Door No. 103, Opp. Best Babyshop, Ramachandra Road East, D.B.Road, R.S.Puram, Coimbatore-2, Ph: 9944708165, 0422 76552897 E.mail: santhigiricoimbatore@gmail.com
No.2/2, ARS Mansion, MICO Factory Road, Adugodi, Bangalore-560 030
Ph:080 65721877, Mob:09243029151, D-mail: santhigiriblr@gmail.com
10, 1st Floor, Lakshmi Narayan Nivas Bldg, Above Casa Bhat, Behind Muncipal Office, Vasco Da Gama, Goa 403 802, Ph:0832 2516060 E-mail santhigirigoa@gmail.com
Sana Bang low, Plot No.251/264, Gorai, Shimpoli Road, Behind Swamy Vivekananda School, Gorai, Sector 1, Borivili West, Mumbai 91
Tel:022 32443433, E.mail: sasvmumbai@gmail.com, santhigirimumbai@yahoo.com
Santhigiri Ayurvedic Centre, #209 Belshalat Building, Karama
Ph: +971 4396 6183, Fax: +971 4396 6184, E.mail: santhigiridubai@gmail.com
For information and contact:
Santhigiri Research Foundation
Santhigiri State Nodal Office, Near Dhanya-Ramya Theatre, Thiruvananthapuram
Dial – 0471-6459390, 2572777, Helpline: 9037077101
Email: santhigirisnc@gmail.com, Website: www.santhigiriashram.org
(Parnasala Dedication Program Notice and Invitation issued from Santhigiri Ashram)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweet Reminiscences from the Memory Lane

From the Memoir of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru (Guruvani)

A large crowd of souls, who had lived and died, wandering as devotees completing the first or second stages, is seen reflected in the form of souls yearning to attain the celestial Deva stage as they have completed the stage of two-and-a-half. After crossing the fifth stage, when one enters stages of five-and-a-half, six and seven, the mystical experiences of astral planes would end. When these planes are transcended, one would have crossed the heavenly star clusters. It is said of such people that out of lakhs of people, who have had such mystical perception, only one or two become true seers.

In the fundamental nature of the life of great souls - belonging not only to the Hindu, but also the Islamic, Christian, Jain and all other noble guru lineages - one can invariably see the luminous procession of their dharmic and karmic imprints, aglow with great sacrifices. History stands proof that their contemporaries never understood or respected these great souls. (However), in those lives marked by great sacrifices, in life-times earned by virtuous births that were wholly spent for the sake of humanity, the role played by certain householders who had neither intelligence nor education remains as a stirring memory for the entire world. These humble, virtuous souls observed their dharma, earmarked to householders, as offerings in the model of the benevolent pronouncement of Krishna to Arjuna, ‘Take Refuge in Me Alone’.

In the life of my Guru* also, he had only a few ignorant disciples including me as his sole earning in life. Several people have shared the sacrifices of my Guru. But the hardships undertaken by one or two householders will never get erased from the memory tracks. Only a few householders can perform their dharmic duty truthfully and with total dedication when it comes to playing whatever role they have in the life of a sage, in line with the dharma of a householder. The people who helped me during my spiritual wanderings were possessors of such dharmic qualities as would remind one of the dharma observed by Kuchela.

‘Muthappan’ and his wife were a perfect model for the truthful essence of life. They lived in a street at Petta paying a monthly house rent of Rs. six. Their only means of livelihood was a bullock cart. Both husband and wife were disciples of Guru. They also treated the other disciples of Guru with utmost devotion and respect. Their devotion and reverence had become an epitome of total love that never deviated from the observance of dharma. This couple possessed hearts brimming with sacrifice when it came to fulfilling the wants of Guru and his disciples. Whatever these may be, they were eager to know their needs and fulfill them wholeheartedly. They had four children too.

I remember even today certain things Guru used to do with them. Even while the hunger of those six stomachs existed, the dharmic strictures Guru imposed on them can never be expunged from life’s memories. To play a role in the lives of great sages worthy of the definition of that epithet in the world, it was confined to these two souls. They were wealth in the form of disciples in the life of Guru. When I think about them, the memory salutes (them), filling the mind with overwhelming love and warmth. I think it is essential that the entire humanity should know about them.

Those days, whenever I went to meet Guru, on all those occasions they brought for Guru whatever he wanted to eat. They would also unfailingly and in a just manner feed those accompanying him. They were most elevated karmis (performers) in the principle of ‘sankalpam karma manasa’ (resolve in action and thought) and souls in the forefront of (performing) dharma. Three of Muthappan’s children were studying in school while the fourth was an infant. This bullock carter fulfilled the necessities of Guru and his disciples along with those of his own children. They slept on the floor on jute bags in their makeshift shack which had only sackcloth in the name of a roof. Only memories of great warriors of heroic action could thrill us like this. Those children, though ignorant, possessed an unreserved mind to give. One cannot forget the truth they had shown through their lives.

One day, Guru called them out from a group of disciples praying with closed eyes and said in Tamil mixed with Malayalam. “I want to go to the samadhi of Guru this evening. I don’t have the fare”. Muthappan readily got up and agreed to do the needful. He went and sold the bullock cart and brought the money. From the next day, he purchased the supplies from the traders in Chalai and Pettah and distributed them by head load. We can see him then as the most faithful servant of his master and his most beloved. Those days there were no problems of labour, owner-worker clashes or sabotage. Whatever the owner gave willingly, the worker received with pleasure. It was such a time.

Let me state what I felt about the situation. I felt that Guru had no kindness in his heart. The day that he said there was no money to go to Guru’s Samadhi, he had with him stuffed in his pocket and the four corners of his waist belt a sum of Rs. 674, when counted. Those days this amount was sufficient for two persons to go to the samadhi at Thanjavur and return. With so much money in his hand, he told them that he had no money. Pained by this word, the poor man went and sold his bullock cart and arranged the money for him. What else, but cruelty, could I think of this act. Whenever Muthappan was a little late in coming, Guru would arrive at his house along with the disciples anytime after sunset. They would eat whatever was available in the house – tapioca, black tea or porridge - and lie down on the jute bags and sleep.

In the morning Muthappan could be seen hurriedly going to the shops for buying breakfast for Guru and the disciples. On seeing him thus struggling pitiably, I used to wipe my tears unobserved by Guru. A man who had no name or fame worth mentioning, who had not earned the respect of society, for that man and his disciples, why should a householder, whose life was bare, undertake so much sacrifice, I used to think.

One day Guru told me, ‘Now you may go only after having experience’. Then he called and took money from Muthappan and went to Thakkala, taking me along. He sat under a mango tree in the lawns of the Thakkala Munsif court and called for Sri Parameswaran Pillai who was working as a Process Surveyor in the Munsif court. He came running from a nearby shop. Guru asked Parameshwaran Pillai to call all his disciples there - Meeran Pillai and eight others - who all belonged to different castes and religions. As per Guru’s instructions, all these people were brought there before 9 p.m. He praised me in front of these people and said, “All of you should come and sleep the night here from tomorrow’.

It was midnight on the third day from then that I unburdened my ignorance before Guru. It was nothing else, but about Guru’s behaviour of extracting money from Parameshwaran Pillai and Muthappan, causing them much agony.

Suddenly he shouted, ‘Hey!’ He was visibly upset and said, “There is no need to see whether these people are rich or poor. I am making them slog so that they may earn some virtue. Most of these householders come to fulfil their selfish desires and not because they have any aspect of sacrifice. Why did you think that they were like you? You have the experience of running and supervising an institution, undergoing pain and sacrifices in life. They have no such experience. Out of many people, only one or two may have the mind to do something benevolent. Parameshwaran Pillai, before coming to me, had ruined himself by selling his property worth Rs.2.5 lakh and squandering the money on drinking. Though Muthappan was not a drunkard, he had some other drawbacks. Only if they undergo some pain like this, the blemishes in their life will get erased and some blessedness would come, at least in the life of their children. Before coming to me, the life of these people was very bad. Virtuous people should have undergone all this (pain).

Swami gave no importance to rebirth, however he accepted that rebirth was a truth. That night he said, “Only after passing through many births, as per the ways of Hindus or Muslims, a visionary stage could be reached by a householder. Therefore, washing away the dirt of these people is what I do. If you do not understand, you will be realizing it soon.” After speaking thus, he fell silent.

The following day at 3 a.m., some invisible power struck me. Suddenly, I felt myself shrink like a small ball. Every pore was getting torn. My body came apart like a custard seed. That moment Guru strongly hit me and asked, “Were you afraid?” “Not internally, but my body is sapped off all strength,” I said. “Alright, take it easy. But there is hope,” Guru said.

Subsequently, he asked Parameshwaran Pillai to take leave. (At that time), I had memory and awareness but did not know how to act. (For instance), I did not realise that I should move aside on seeing a vehicle coming on the road. I could not understand why Parameshwaran Pillai was asked to take leave. Three of us would wander about. Swami would tell us one or the other story, halting here and there. Sometimes, it would take one-and-a-half hour to cover a mile-long distance. On reaching some temple on the way, he would ask me, “Hey, look there. What do you see?” He would repeat the question to Parameshwaran Pillai too.

On the eleventh day, we were taken to the samadhi of Peerukannu Sahib. At the entrance itself, my legs began to shake. In the ten or fifteen minutes that we sat there, lakhs of evil spirits and gods (devas) were seen arrayed up. A large number of ‘jinns’ also were seen. On seeing all this, I called out to the Swami. Pepper, salt, fruit, jaggery etc. were being brought there as offerings. During our visit itself, eight bunches of banana were brought. From these, we got eight bananas each, which we ate.

Strangely, on our return, Swami was quaking with laughter. He talked about spiritual visions and their aspects till midnight. He said, “This is a work for removing the misery of society. When you get the vision of Chattambi Swami and Narayana Guru, it should be informed to me. You should inform me when you see the pithrus (ancestral souls) and deities ranging from Vellala Chetty to Idiyas (communities). I have something to explain to you.” At that time also, he was praising me, but the others did not like this.

On the 21st day, Swami told us a story about the samadhi on top of Kattuva Sahib hill. He asked Meeran Pillai, who was from Thakkala, whether he knew about the significance of Peerukannu Sahib. He replied in the negative. Peerukannu Sahib was a person who accompanied Kattuva Sahib, a Hindu sanyasi. Both of them lived on that hill. One day Kattuva Sahib attained samadhi. The road was at least two miles away from there. There was no other route. It was difficult to carry the body, as it was heavy. Peerukannu Sahib picked up big stones and piled them up on the body. It took three days to complete the job. It was to protect the body from jackals. What is seen in Peerukannu Sahib is this blessedness.

Eleven days after this, one night, Swami began to praise me again. Some disciples, who were piqued by this, refused to go further with him. A trip was planned to Kattuvasahib hill taking along some provisions of fruit and water. Swami, five others and I climbed up the hill. On reaching the top, we sat under a banyan tree. Parameshwaran Pillai got up and said that the apparitions of countless evil spirits, gods and sanyasis were passing by. But, I could not see anything. I saw only a smoky light filling the entire place. All in the group announced that they had seen some things at several places. However, I did not have any visions.

After this, Swami made hurry for the return journey. Although everyone was tired, all of us began to walk fast. I had been going about without a bath or wash for several days. My sole possessions were the dirty shirt and dhoti that I wore and an umbrella. Swami took away my shirt, dhoti and umbrella. He dug out a cloth from his shoulder bag that looked like the stole of a cabaret dancer and asked me to put it on. I wore it. He then hit me and shouted, ‘Run, you!’ Though wary about my destination, I ran, and looked back only after running for a furlong.

The expenses of all the people on that day were borne by Parameshwaran Pillai. His total salary was Rs. 45 per month. The cost of the purchases in the provision store would have been at least Rs.700. His wife lived at home with only one sari to protect her honour. Thus this Parameshwaran Pillai and Muthappan were the benefactors of Swami. The two families showed such surrender and a disciple’s call of duty, even while living the simple lives of householders. In that manner they upheld the greatness of the Guru-disciple relationship! How did they perform it! In front of the grace shown by these two families, which had neither education nor wealth or anything of significance, I submit this with a prayerful heart.

Muthappan, after the samadhi of Swami, bought land and built a house. The children were married off and all of them now lead comfortable lives. One of them is in the police while another owns a truck and is the leader of head load workers.

When compared with the magnitude of the sacrifices undertaken by my Guru, I did not even know what sacrifice was during my spiritual wanderings. Let me narrate here certain aspects of my Guru’s struggles. He did not in the least forsake the duties as per Islamic custom. Every day, he taught in four Arabic schools by turn. At the age of 27, death had suddenly whisked away his wife and children. For a good devout, it was an opportunity to immerse into a life of renunciation.

Guru had understood from books about the places from which the state of samadhi could be roused. He had thought about a suitable place too for this purpose. Besides, there was the samadhi of a guru at Thanjavur which he had resolved to adhere. Apart from this samadhi, he had mentioned to me about three or four masjids, one of which was Nagoor Masjid in Valapattanam. Which of these places should one accept as the Guide?

There is the Channakara Thodu (a canal) which flows south to Ambalathura and further west to Poonthura. There is a bridge before reaching Poonthura. In the vicinity of this bridge, there is a place interspersed with forests, bushes and barren spaces. This place is known as Samadhikara. If one travels about two miles down the road south of Beemapally going through Samadhikara, Poonthura comes. This is a road in a coastal area with only a few fishermen living on both sides.

To the west of Pettah is Chakkai. To the south of Chakkai lies this barren land. One can hear the prayer calls from Beema Masjid and Vallakadavu sitting here. Guru normally sat at this place. Hardly anyone travelled by this path. People were afraid to walk down south by the banks of this canal. Women never travelled this way. There were reasons (for this). It was a place for dumping the bodies of the people who died in violence and clashes which were common those days in every nook and corner of the town (Trivandrum). This place was also the home of a certain breed of dogs known as ‘Chenkottai Pattikal’. They had extraordinary long tails. The mere sight of these dogs was enough to frighten a person out of his wits. If this dog finds a person alone, it will lunge and place its raised forelegs on the victim’s body and start biting wherever it pleases. That man will collapse dead there itself with extreme terror. Once dead, the dog will drag away the body. It was in this bushy area that Guru performed penance (tapas).

He would observe penance for 41 days without any food. Even for defecation, he would sit in the bush itself. He would not get up from there but would only change positions. After a week, there would be no urine or feces to empty and so no need to move. When 41 days are spent thus without food and water, the body would be desiccated like dried ginger. As there would be hardly any blood, the body would start swelling. Just like the reflection seen on the glistening surface of a brass pot or bowl, reflection of the people walking at a distance could be seen on this body. After another 41 days, the body would again get shrivelled up and appear like a wizened round substance. With this type of penance, he discovered what type of samadhi states could be roused. Within a period of six years, he undertook three such penances and experienced samadhi and discovered different aspects of mystical visions. This was the method Guru adopted for actualizing spiritual realization.

Subsequent to this, he got a book which was the size of a matchbox. This book was a record of the type of places where one could awaken the samadhi. He had shown me that book. The book also described the spiritual states which could be actualized in the samadhi places (tombs) like Nagoor Masjid, another mosque and samadhi at Thanjavur, Beema Masjid etc. It was also seen that there was certain uniqueness to these places. The route north west of Kanyakumari by the sea coast or otherwise lies in the equatorial zone. The Gandhi Memorial is established (there) based on this. Once in a year, through the mirror on top of the memorial, the sun’s rays will pass on to the samadhi. (The equator passes through some parts of Singapore also).

To the north, the equatorial zone covers places like Valapattanam and Nagoor. The luminescence of the equator, which divides the globe into the south and north hemispheres, is felt at some places up to a width of 300 miles. It is in these places of equatorial influence that samadhis and mosques are founded. The scientists had built the Gandhi Memorial keeping this in mind. These places are considered to have a unique spiritual brilliance. After crossing the Arabian deserts, going further north-west, this luminosity will gradually diminish. The avadhootas (spiritual wanderers) travel (there) realizing this enhanced spiritual luminosity in these places. The places where the sun’s rays fall more would be warmer. Avadhootas and their samadhis are situated mostly at such places. Guru had explained this subject to me reading from the aforesaid book.

When we stayed on the seashore, he would wake me up at 2 a.m. and tell me that an auspicious hour was approaching (brahma muhurtam, the auspicious period from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.) Then he would loosen and spread the wigwam (a shack) meant for keeping fishermen’s nets. Next, he would heap up sands to protect the flame of a big candle, by the light of which he read from that book in Urdu and explain the meaning. We slept in that shack itself.

It had been mentioned in that book that the excessive crowding of avadhootas near samadhis was owing to the beneficial effects of the sun’s rays. Among his disciples, Guru taught this knowledge only to me. He did not show this book to the others but only said that there was such knowledge in books. In comparison with the extreme pains undergone by Guru, it is needless to mention that in my whole life until then, I had not even known what was struggle.

Avadhootas, after wandering a lot, die sometimes without reaching the goal. There are many such people who lacked the self virtue to reach the goal. Some would reach up to a small aspect in samadhi. Some others may reach a quarter-way on the path. There are some who fulfil this through two or three life times. In the life time of a person, samadhi could be experienced only three times at the most. The time length for awakening the samadhi is eighteen-and-a-half years. Even if a soul is born virtuous, at least seven-and-a-half years would be required (for this).

‘Pratyakshavaham Dharmam’ – this saying in the Gita discloses that through a variety of mystical (visionary) aspects, samadhi could be experienced. Whatever it is, only a person who has roused a samadhi state at least three times in this manner could fulfil the mission in this direction. My Guru explained to me these matters while the other disciples were not near. He taught me after midnight between 12.30 p.m. and 6 a.m. There are some hidden aspects in the nature of secrets in the process of awakening the samadhi. However, those things cannot be explained here. What I am trying to explain here as sweet reminiscences from the memory lane is the truth of a life which bloomed in gracious munificence and in the depth and expanse of love. It is with the desire that if at least some people, to their measure of virtue, realise this, be there that much good.

Normally what happens is that when the avadhootas reach a thousandth part of the sun’s brilliance at the equator, they face death somewhere down the path. Few out of the billions of such souls reach the second, third, fourth or fifth stages (in spiritual realization). There are a few samadhi places of such souls. From the 3rd stage onwards, there will be less trouble (for the spiritual aspirant) from the people.

A large crowd of souls, who had lived and died, wandering as devotees completing the first or second stages, is seen reflected in the form of souls yearning to attain the celestial Deva stage as they have completed the stage of two-and-a-half. After crossing the fifth stage, when one enters the stages of five-and-a-half, six and seven, the mystical experiences of astral planes would end. When these planes are transcended, one would have crossed the heavenly star clusters. It is said of such people that out of lakhs of people, who have had such mystical perception, only one or two become true seers.

The souls, dead and stagnant after attaining the second stage, are those who have died displaying wonderful feats or those who were made to display miracles after being tricked by visions (by inimical spirits in spiritual planes) when it is found that the person is an avadhoota progressing in the path of vision. Such souls having become insensitive to honour and dishonour present themselves as the storehouse of great and wonderful teachings. It is about such yogis, who perform miraculous feats, Kumaranasan said thus:

‘Like the winds, like toddling infants,
Like maniacs, like a stark illiterate,
Transcending delusion, discrimination and the miraculous,
The Yogi Strides on’
(Free translation from Malayalam)

The majority of the populace knows about only such persons. These people live for 700 or 800 years through ‘kalpaseva’ (a medico-mystical method used by siddhars). They wander about thus performing miracles and get trapped in some spiritual chasms. Those who do not have the knowledge of ‘kalpaseva’ take to the life of a renunciate performing miracles in the aforesaid manner and go about as if they were beyond all rules.

If we travel in the direction of South Travancore from Kanyakumari we could meet people who narrate several wondrous tales, relating to such yogis, shrouded in mystery and miracles. An example is the miraculous depiction of a person known as Komba Swami. It is said about him that he took samadhi at seven places. They mention that finally he took samadhi at Thengapattanam and after that nobody saw him.

Another person who has been depicted in this way was a woman called Mayi Amma, who wandered like an avadhoota. When Sri Narayana Guru slept under the chariot of Sucheendram temple, it was seen that the organs of this woman were caught in flames. With this narration, she became a historic figure. There is also a story that Sri Narayana Guru gave her a mango. There exists a similar lady in Kanyakumari who goes about naked and lives in many ways. I have heard people calling her too by the name Mayi Amma. A rich man had even built a memorial (mandap) for this Mayi Amma to the north of the road going west from Kanyakumari.

There are innumerable such stories to my knowledge about Kattil Swami, Vatti Swami, Chatti Swami, Mannenna Swami, Kesavan Sanyasi, Ayya Swami, Sambrani Swami, Samadhi Thopp, Manakkad Samadhi, Kalladi Masthan and Kaniyapuram Thangal in Thiruvananthapuram region.

There are several popular myths about certain other elevated souls who have undergone ‘kalpaseva’ and also about Pakanar of Parachi Petta Panthikuralam, Naranathu Bhranthan and Thiruvalluvar. Apart from them, Subramanian, his spiritual mentor Bhogar and Hidumban et al are protagonists belonging to this miraculous tradition. There are so many people throughout Tamil Nadu who narrate such wondrous stories. There are the Subramanya devotees who take out big processions displaying wondrous performances such as piercing themselves with different types of tridents, walking on nail sandals, pirouetting with various types of ‘kavadi’ (decorated temple carriages) like Agni Kavadi, Pal Kavadi, Matsya Kavadi, Garuda Kavadi etc. People consider all these as significant performances.

Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamikal had performed miracles, though for a short period. There are also some ascetics, who following the examples of the great gurus, have performed certain miracles. Thrissur Pampu Swami, Shubhanandan and Swayam Prakashini are people belonging to this group. Prior to the present lady known as Vallikkavilamma, there was another woman who in a state of trance did divination. Some swamis who had lived with her for two or three years could be seen wonderstruck by their own narration of the several stories about her.

The history of Ochira also is no different from this. A group of masseurs known as Ochira Vaidyas built a mutt there with a statue of Kabir Swami. It could be seen from the Ochira ground (Patanilam). It seems that the mutt is now hidden because of the (surrounding) buildings. Like this, people with some degree of mystical perceptions have been hooked by the wondrous feats narrated by pundits. The history of such people, who have spent their life desiring to master miraculous performances and mystical visions, are available throughout India. Due to the aforesaid spiritual perception, one can see billions of souls who have got stuck spiritually without reaching the goal. What had been pointed out earlier is this fact mentioned by some. There is no dearth of Vedantic scholars who, giving importance to magical tricks, siddhi (miraculous acts) and the methods of pranayama (Hathayoga), eulogize such persons as seers in their writings.

Ishavasya Upanishad mentions the allegory of a sealed golden vessel from which luminous rays are reflected. The Mandukya Upanishad also mentions a similar simile of a large lighted torch, which when rapidly whirled around in the night and seen from a distance, gives the feeling of a big fireball. We have scribes and scholars who get greatly amazed by the talk of such miraculous occurrences. It is through such writers and scholars that the Devadasi tradition, which existed till recently, got cemented by the tapestry of mythical stories authored by them, leading to the giving away of girls into debauchment under a Deva. There are such places even today, known as ‘Koothambalam’, where libidinous singing, dancing and story recitals take place. One such place is Koothuparambu in Thalassery.

I mentioned these matters for the realization of all those with a spiritual inkling. Persons who take to the spiritual path aspiring for self-realization go astray by the visions of such fallen souls. Therefore, I seek forgiveness from the souls, thirsting for self-realization, for the delay in conveying the reminiscences from this memory trail. I utilize this occasion to remind you of the blunders that might happen while you proceed to honour the blessedness of the duty of gratitude to God.

This erroneous position has come up to (the level of) the myth of Padmapadar, who came to save Sankaracharya, the one extolled as the universal Guru, from a murderous sorcerer wanting to behead him. I wish blessedness to you in the name of God, reminding the truthful servants of God once again not to be like ordinary persons, who wriggle in some make-believe pit, and not to become baffled by losing the sense of direction with the illusory sighting of water owing to a mirage and also not to get misled entering into erroneous ways mentioned above in this memoir.

*Sufi saint Khureshia Fakir popularly known as Pattani Swami, who lived near the Beema Masjid south of Thiruvananthapuram, guided Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru in the initial stages of His spiritual quest.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Experience of the Unimaginable Glory of Guru

Mukundan P.R.

I was a picture of despair, confusion and instability before I met Guru. I feel endless gratitude to Guru, for He has given me an inner calm and filled my heart with rare spiritual satisfaction. Born to a Havildar Major in the Indian Army as the third son out of seven children, my childhood was scarred with domestic tension arising out of poverty, sickness and parental fights. A good setting for God realization! At the age of 17-18, I wandered alone in the lonely hills and temple yards in my village in Thrissur district of Kerala. There was a long forgotten rock cave only a few yards away from my house in Mullassery, near the big Parambanthally Siva temple. I sat there in the evenings on the black level rock that gave a feeling of bygone ages, staring at the western sky, watching the colours and curious pictures that the setting sun used to draw on the horizon. What I specially cherished in my deepest heart were the full moon nights with their soft and milky rays inspiring a celestial joy and the star studded sky which had an unusual depth and calm.

My first spiritual experience occurred during one such twilight sitting under the lively divine celebration that was the sky above, with stars shining like bright diamonds and the moon wafting rays of celestial joy. It was a momentary experience and realization. A flash of the divine that struck me so suddenly and deeply, that I became overwhelmed by its spurting joy. I became a little imbalanced after this experience. Now, some 34 years later, I would say that it was like a meteor hitting on my consciousness screen. If my memory is correct, it happened in the year 1973, the year of the spiritual completion of Guru. It is not that I had known about Santhigiri Ashram or Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru when it happened. In fact I heard about Guru and Santhigiri Ashram for the first time only in the year 1994 from Sahadevan, an office colleague in Bangalore. The experience in 1973, which I got sitting on the rocky ground gazing at the sky, was perhaps an inner inkling of the Brahman, the Supreme. It had nothing to do with any clairvision, clairvoyance or the like. It was an inner feeling of sudden enlightenment about the truth of God before which the significance of all worldly pursuits and struggles paled.

I was on a swing of joy after this experience and did not consider anything greater than it. However, it also marked the beginning of a long period of tribulation in my life. My heart thirsted for that ‘experience’ again. I walked as if in a dream to get reconnected to that experience. My soul wandered and it took me off to the 'ghats' and temples of Varanasi from my life in Mumbai. I was drifting alone aimlessly. I watched the flow of the Ganges umpteen times. The river seemed to flow down from a cave in another world, spitting dead bodies in its long course. I watched the pyres on the 'ghats', the fiery flames devouring hundreds of human bodies incessantly. The spirit world is strongly licking the human mind in Varanasi. Once I watched dawn break over the Ganges. I could virtually see celestial beings descend on its banks from the heavens. It was a hazy picture and might have been a hallucination. Whatever it may be, yet my hunger, my thirst, never was satiated, for, the big ‘experience’ never returned and I felt disturbed and a misfit in the world in which I lived. Then I faltered, rather it would be correct to say that I was caught up by my 'karma'. The karma of a life lived carelessly. It was through Guru that I later realized about the 'karmic baggage' and the role played by inseparable ancestral bonds. This knot of karmic dirt in fact is the cause of my birth in this fashion. I had erred thus in several births, I suppose, distancing myself from that Light – Guru. I had disgracefully fallen from the protection and guidance of Guru due to bad karmic and spiritual practices.

Without having a chance to know the truth, I suffered. Somewhere in a lonely and murky alley of life, I was wed to a woman, whom I had never known or met before. A child was born to us. After nearly 10 years of life in Varanasi, in a sudden twist of fate divine, I came back to my parents’ house, now with two extra mouths to feed. By the time, I felt like a man with a millstone around my neck. I then moved to Bangalore and settled down in a most boring vocation. But my prayers never stopped. The meditations, the silent thoughts and questions ever remained agile in the mind. My soul and heart silently sobbed for the experience of the divine light.

It was in the year 1994, in Bangalore, that I first met a disciple of Navajyothisree Karunkara Guru. His name is Sahadevan. I was working in a steel plant and Sahadevan happened to be my colleague. The opportunity to begin a spiritual conversation with him came once after he came back from a vacation in Kerala. I asked him casually about his holidays. To my pleasant surprise, he said that he visited his Guru in Santhigiri Ashram. I was curious and happy to hear about a Guru and an Ashram after all my days in Varanasi. I could not imagine then that this conversation was going to lead me to that LIGHT for which my heart thirsted always and that I was going to be reconnected to the ‘SOURCE’, the intuition of which I had experienced in my adolescence. But that comes later. I became very close to Sahadevan. While in office, we had plenty of opportunities to meet and talk, though he was in a different section. Once I noted that Sahadevan did not partake of ‘prasadham’ – the offerings made to gods worshipped by Hindus and people of other faiths too. I thought he was a bit foolish and lacked depth in spirituality. I was then a Vedantin and followed a pantheist view of religion. A Vedantin believes that only Brahman exists. But it is a matter of great contradiction how a Vedantin becomes an idolator, a worshipper of deities. I did not even think about this contradiction in those days. The deities for me were different aspects and attributes of the one Supreme Brahman and I believed there was nothing wrong in it. The great exponent of Vedanta Sri Sankaracharya composed hymns in praise of deities.

I had been initiated into mantra chanting by a monk-turned Sanskrit scholar in Varanasi, who had been initiated into sanyasa by a direct disciple of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Ramakrishna Mission. Apart from the mantra he gave me, I started experimenting with other mantras too like Lakshmi Gayatri, Surya Gayatri etc. I felt some pleasure chanting those mantras – nothing more, nothing less, by way of any spiritual experiences.

One day I asked Sahadevan whether his Guru had any mantra. To my pleasant surprise he said yes and gave me an Ashram monthly containing two lines of the mantra of Guru. I began chanting this along with my regular mantras and meditation. On the third day, during my evening prayers, I saw an apparition. It was a broad smiling face. I tried to process this face in my memory but could not come up with anything conclusively. It connected me to a world of masters in some unknown zone and era. While I sat there thus, a few more faces appeared before me. It was a kind of visionary experience, the first ever in my life. With a mind roused with curiosity, I asked Sahadevan for a description of his Guru for I thought the experience I had had something to do with his Guru. Sahadevan just smiled. He said that I should go to the Ashram and see Guru for myself.

It was somewhere in the middle of 1994, within three months of my visionary experience, that I reached Santhigiri Ashram. It was an evening well before sunset. I saw Guru in his thatched hut, which had a small hall attached to it for visitors to have 'darsan' of Guru. Guru, clad in pure white, with a broad smiling face, sat there emitting a tremendous radiance of love, devotion and a feeling of oneness. His form went into the depth of my mind. The experience in Bangalore reconnected me to this form, now a live figure. I announced my experience to some in the Ashram on coming out after meeting Guru.

After my first visit to the Ashram, I felt that I was put back on the spiritual track. With roused enthusiasm, I quickly prepared for another trip to the Ashram. This time Shri R.C. Saraf, a colleague who belonged to Kolkata, (now in London working for the Mittals) also joined me. Both of us reached the ashram travelling by bus from Bangalore. We waited for an audience with Guru. In the meantime, I helped Saraf to prepare a list of questions in Malayalam which he wanted to ask Guru. No philosophical questions, but domestic ones. I had no questions at that time in my mind. My soul only wanted to 'experience'.

Soon someone came and announced that Guru was waiting for us. A current went through me. We went to the small building (kettidam) where Guru was seated on a small wooden couch. There was with Guru a young bright sanyasini in orange clothes. Her face and eyes were bright with spiritual aura. This was Janani Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, the Revered Shishyapoojitha now. We bowed and touched our foreheads on the floor in front of Guru. I felt like an insect before that Divine Presence. I do not know what Saraf had felt. Doubtlessly there was more dirt in me.

Guru looked at me and asked, ‘What for have you come?’

My heart probably stopped for a moment. I could not speak immediately. I struggled to answer.

''I have taken passport and am trying to go abroad. Can I go?''

I felt very silly. No big questions about spirituality or philosophy fit for discussion with a sage.
Like a foolish person curious only to know the future, I asked that embodiment of Supreme Consciousness this inane question. However, this apparently foolish question was to have a deep ramification in my life afterwards. It was a question which fixed that I be with Guru than in a different place. It was my moment of initiation. The answer which Guru immediately gave was, ''If you go, you will neither be here nor there.'' I listened. How intimate were the words of Guru.

I sat there, ironically, like a numb mountain of questions. Guru further said that my life was influenced by the tradition of Devi worship in our family as well as by the good and bad karma of the ancestors and of my own self. I listened but could not decipher the depth of His words then. Now on reflection, I know that His answer had meant that, ''O disciple! You be with me. Why do you want to waste another life? Work out your salvation here and now.''

Prostrations O’ Guru! I could not realize your nectarine kindness. But like an obedient child I had listened to your words then. I feel greatly blessed by that. O Saviour of my life, O Supreme Guru! My turn was over and now Guru turned to Saraf. I do not remember what all things he asked Guru, though I was the one who translated his queries. While I sat there in the holy presence of Guru, I could feel a divine fragrance wafting in the room. My heart throbbed and soon a strong spiritual vibration hit my soul. A blissful current possessed my heart transporting me to a transcendental state of consciousness and tranquility.

I sat there wondering, ''Guru, who are you? I cannot understand anything. You are indeed a great Rishi.'' I did not know then that Guru could be God. So my infant spiritual mind pictured Him as a great Rishi exuding Brahmic bliss and joy. The meeting ended and we came out from that unforgettable Divine Presence, Guru.

Once out of that Presence, ignorance returned to me in the form of a doubt. How can a human be God? My idea of God was something formless; it was an internal thought, a consciousness of something unimaginable. I had not known that my concept of God would be proved wrong in the next few years I spent with Guru.

After stepping away from Guru’s presence, I stood a few yards away from the building where Guru sat. My mind was torn and the dark cloud of doubt suffocated me. It was a moment of torment. Then suddenly my eyes fell on a Light above the building where Guru sat. A White Light was getting formed above the building. It became very vivid to my eyes and looked like a big hemisphere, like an umbrella. As I concentrated on the Light, I wondered where it was emanating from. In a flash, the form of Guru appeared in a state of yogic sleep. The White Light was emerging from the Guru's navel; a thin thread like a lotus stem at the beginning and then spreading above like a vast umbrella of light. The sand under my feet began to loosen. I was losing balance as the vision gripped my being. I wanted now to wriggle my mind out of this strange experience. I slowly walked away from the place where I stood and a few moments later, the vision ceased, leaving me with an inward silence. I did not know then that I was entering a different dimension in spirituality. How can that grace be explained?

Though I experienced spiritual visions and the divinity of Guru many times over, sometimes I would try to think rationally. Once when my mind was thus clouded, I approached Guru and said, ''Guru, my mind gets disturbed sometimes by doubts''. Guru looked at me and then replied. ''You only should think over it.'' And I thought. I thought hard about my experiences with Guru and the visions that clearly showed the supremacy of Guru, in whom all living beings and the universe merged. Now I wanted to experience the Godliness of Guru in its truest measure. If Guru indeed were God, I should have that experience. My desire grew stronger and stronger. But how could I express my desire to Guru!

Guru was once giving darsan to devotees in the ashram. Occasionally he smeared vibhuti on the forehead of devotees. I too eagerly waited for my chance for the touch of vibhuti by Guru. When my turn came, He touched my forehead with vibhuti. I felt the softness of Guru’s finger. I came out and stood awhile. Suddenly I felt the whole world whirling. The planets, the stars, and the sky, everything was in a whirl. For the first time, I experienced everything merging together in a different dimension of experience. I was unable to stand this. I cried out to Guru in prayer that I should be brought back to my normal state. Within moments, the experience stopped, but I was in a dazed state and was unable to speak. An inner sense of bliss and quiet continued till I returned to Bangalore. I thought how foolish I was to hope for the experience of God. Even a fraction of that experience, I was unable to endure. How can human beings ever experience God with their body-mind mechanism? What they can hope to experience is only a minutest ray of the Unimaginable Light of God. Anyway, after this, I abandoned my desire to experience God anymore, at least for the time being. I only wanted to surrender to Him and His Unimaginable Glory.