A View of Santhigiri Ashram

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

Sunday, June 13, 2010

O.V. Vijayan on Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru

Revelatory Religion in Historical Perspective
O.V. Vijayan

Revelation is like a constant rain that saturates the knowing of man, yet many reject it, dulled as they are by gross pursuits. The Guru intercedes and sensitizes him to the perennial rain.

Even this intercession is fraught with danger. Systems arise from it, exclusion, and the eventual denial of the perennial totality. Mohammed had said:

When you meet the people of the Book (Jews) and the Christians, tell them that the God you worship- is the same one as theirs.

Even the Guru is put to test, test exceedingly harsh and he also responds with exceedingly harsh truth. A Gentile woman sought the aid of Christ who responded: ‘My mission is to the children, not the dogs”. She replied: “Lord, the dogs eat what the children discard. Grant me but that’. Full of joy, the Redeemer said, ‘Woman, your faith has made you whole’.

The early Christians limited their apostolic mission to the Jews, until Pauline Christianity made the apostolic concern universal.

A Guru by historical accident, functions within inherited traditions and images. But his message eventually transcends these and fulfils itself as Revelation.

Human societies have tended to reject the mystical because it is strenuous and perilous, and without the guidance of a preceptor fraught with demonic perception. In the Christian tradition as elsewhere the mystics have been preserved as saints, as cult figures, the dispensers of miracles while the perenniality of the mystical itself has been rejected by the ordinary worshipper. Even so the mystical keeps company with man all the time and it merely takes a look around the shoulder to discover it.

A Glimpse on the Core Teachings of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru

Karunakara Guru is a Teacher in the absolute sense of the term, in the tradition of revelations and prophecies, and the acceptance of this in a civilization overwhelmed by chemical and mechanical cleverness is perhaps the initial hurdle before the reader. If one accepts the Supreme, its immanence in our midst becomes familiar reality. In his life and mission Karunakara Guru exemplifies this familiarity; he does not speak a language of theology, or at least keeps it to the minimum and discourses on practical paradigms.

Santhigiri Ashram he has set up near Trivandrum has no doubt a core of renunciates and seers, but is sustained by a large number of resident householders. They are the task force of the Guru and he expects them to cleanse themselves through right action and right thought and become vehicles for a purer progeny in which will be born the evolutes of the future. The Ashram’s mission is predicated on the certitude of such births as the revealed Will of the Absolute.

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru is no island in the flux of prophecy and Revelation. There have been Teachers earlier who said much the same thing, but perhaps not with such immediacy and fullness. The purpose of creation is the elevation of all creatures through tortuous stages to the realization of the Absolute which is the Supreme Light. The ancient Indian called it the Brahman. In other ethnic bowls the same has been known as Allah, the Holy Spirit and so on.

The simplicity of man’s communication with the Supreme Light was lost by the very process of historical duration. Evolution has left us with different orders of beings, from the visible and gross creatures to tiers of astral entities. These represent stages with all the impermanence, and passing, that we witness in the biological world. The Supreme Light alone endures.

The intermediacy of revelation has caused the limitation of human vision and its confinement to these different stages. Thus the cosmic gods, which the Hindus call the Trimurti and the devas have been mistaken for the Supreme - an instance of arrested vision.

All religions, to a lesser or greater degree, have thus been seduced but in the case of Indian religion - Hinduism if we might use a convenient term - the investiture of the cosmic gods has been widespread and spiritually retrograde. By mistaking the Trimurti and the devas for Brahman, and their revelation with the Revelation of the Brahman, Hindu society has put limits on its spiritual growth.

This spiritual retardation in turn has led to widespread societal distortions. It is the bane of social sciences to keep the mind out, certainly the spirit out, and embark on analysis with purely secular historical tools. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru does not repudiate these tools, but tries unobtrusively, and in the language of the wood hewer and the earth-tiller, to link these tools with tools of the supreme consciousness.

The cosmic beings namely the Trimurti and the devas are rejected as objects of ultimate worship by the Guru but he does not deny their veracity or the spiritual eminence they have achieved. Theirs is a splendorous astral world, and if the worldly human is overawed by it, it is understandable. Their eminence too is sanctified by the Supreme as a necessary stage in astral evolution. But they are not the Supreme and the path of the jeeva or the soul is not to end in them, or at their stage of astral evolution. If worship leads to such a destination, it will fall short of the realm of Truth.

These are the spiritual pitfalls in the practice of religion. The splendorous deva is mistaken for a manifestation of godhead, and the epiphany for the exercise of God-energy. In fact God does not manifest Himself in Trinity; the Absolute God in the Trimurti will be a contradiction in terms. Creation, Sustenance and Destruction are not separately structured processes, but coexistent aspects of the same evolutionary process. It is almost mechanical to designate these as separate tasks to separate gods.

The idea of the Supreme Godhead manifesting itself as avtars has caused havoc in the Indian’s response to Brahman. We have the reality of designated World Teachers, some of whom were spiritually higher than the Trimurti.

An example is Krishna. He has been degraded by the ritualists into an avatar of Vishnu, one of the Trimurti. Krishna was a human Guru, sent to relate humanity to the Brahman. Incidentally, if we go by the lore of Krishna, we find him exhibiting the miracles of the devas but all the while going beyond them, and prophetically proclaiming the path of the Teacher-the path of the Brahman.

Many such Teachers have been sent to many ethnic communities and regions, some of the most significant in recent history being Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and Sankara. One says recent history because there is a calendar infinitely vaster, awesomely so, than the historical one. This is the Manu Calendar, made up of age quartets, the chaturyugas, and quarter clusters, the manvantaras.

Many manvantaras make a kalpa. The modem man with is limited historicity, will find this hard to accept, but such is the mindboggling trajectory of the jeeva, the soul.
The Gurus are human who have been given visions of these spans of Time, and the relative stature of each Guru varies with the extent of revelation he has received. Very often it will not be possible for a guru to receive it all in one life time. So he repeats his life or stays content to remain in whatever stage of spiritual evolution he has arrived at. However some gurus, by the grace of the Supreme, are able to take in their visions in relatively short spells of time. Thus we have a hierarchy of gurus, which is really a hierarchy of the Absolute’s instruments.
According to Revelation a major error occurred in the Guru tradition. This was in the third age quarter of the present manavantara and in the Manu-lineage. This recoiled on the Manu-lineage, and its, memory ceased to be alive.

From the seventh through to the eleventh quarter the Supreme evolved the cosmic gods to rectify this error. However, lulled by the adoration they received from the humans these cosmic gods perpetuated that worship and failed the Supreme.

The last five thousands years were the ongoing Kali, the concluding age of the quartet. It is during Kali that the karmas of the quartet are resolved and hence the Absolute enriches it with prophecy and redemption. A fresh attempt has been made in this Kali, starting with the advent of Krishna and following through the prophets worldwide, to redeem the Error of the Manu-line.

All this is precarious as secular history. But the Santhigiri Ashram and its Guru have borne testament in numerous experiential cameos to which we can only invite the reader’s attention by first stimulating his primary receptivity. To those who might think it absurd, we would only request to take a humbler look at the absurdities our present civilization is founded on: chemicalization, pollution, genetic distortion, environmental degradation and the constant possibility of the nuclear holocaust.

(Quoted from the Introduction by Sri O.V. Vijayan to the book 'A Dialogue on Human Prospect' of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru, Santhigiri Publications)

(Late Sri Padmabhushan O.V. Vijayan is a well known writer, novelist and cartoonist. He won several literary awards including Kendra Sahitya Academy Award)
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