Gods Own Hermitage
A great Light appeared on the spiritual sky of India on 1st September, 1927 at Chandiroor in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. It was a Thursday. Sri Krishna, whom the world venerates as a great Avatar, was born in a dark prison cell. Jesus Christ, whom the humanity worships as a Savior, was born on a bed of hay beside a cattle shed. Though the great prince Siddhartha of Kapilavasthu was born in a palace, he chose to reside in the rustic hermitages of wandering ascetics.
The great Luminance that appeared on the spiritual sky of India on 1st September, 1927 at Chandiroor was born in a decrepit hut made of mud and thatched with coconut fronds. The simplicity of truth and the immense magnanimity of the Divine is the mark of such divine manifestations. The great Light which descended upon earth at Chandiroor is none other than Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru.
God realization has nothing to do with religious identities and rituals. The great Guru realized this truth and did not hesitate to accept a Sufi fakir as His spiritual mentor in the initial years of search for truth. Today Santhigiri Ashram is home for all people seeking spiritual solace and guidance - irrespective of caste, creed and religious differences. A secular model, which aims to unite people, has great relevance in this troubled times of religious fundamentalism and extremist violence.
Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru, after tortuous experiences in life and wanderings without food and shelter and undergoing painful trials and crossing of spiritual stages, came to this place at Pothencode, in the year 1968, making it His permanent abode. It was as per a divine intimation.
A small hut was made with bamboo sticks and coconut leaves in the wild environment which at that time was surrounded by thorny bushes, wild animals and serpents. This was the nascent beginning of the great monument – the Parnasala, which stands before us today in all splendors.
The Parnasala – originally meaning a hermitage made of leaves has, apart from its meaning of simplicity and spiritual significance, an additional meaning, symbolized by its lotus shape. It is a meaning which takes us to the sublime experience of beauty, tranquility and divine joy, which is implicit in the concept of Lotus and into which experience, the Parnasala lifts up our soul.
Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru spent His life discoursing about the epistemological change required in this unprecedented age of transformation, which unless heeded can lead humanity to a civilizational cul-de-sac or a rupture in the march of humanity towards peace and progress.
Guru took great risk as well as pain to separate the clutches of religion from the pure joy and freedom of spiritual experience. The Secular Spirituality propounded by Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru is based on this separation of religion from the truth of spiritual experience.
Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru struggled to guide the downtrodden people to the knowledge of life-principles vital for soul enrichment and social progress – a knowledge that had been denied to them for several centuries in the name of tradition and culture. The Guru guided them and lifted them up to an astounding level of spiritual understanding in order to unite them, to build up and nourish their families and the society to which they belonged through life supporting charitable activities and enterprises.
Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru tried to lighten the struggle of life by initiating a way of life – a community-living on which the members of the community can depend on to find the means of living together without any discriminative boundaries of caste, religion, class and gender differences. This model of living and growth which Guru envisioned based on the belief in the Oneness of God and mankind is a perfect model for the ailing civilization of our times.
The Parnasala of Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru represents all that is good in human endeavor to build up a unified world. It is one of the rarest monuments in the world and will be a land mark of great spiritual significance in the coming years. In addition to its status as ‘Gods Own Country’, Kerala will now become famous for the Parnasala; one might call the Parnasala as ‘Gods Own Hermitage’ or Home.
Let the bright light emanating from this most graceful edifice embrace the whole world and unite the heart of human beings in love and mutual respect, based on divine truths in nature. Navajayoti Sree Karunakara Guru has left behind the legacy of a Guru-Disciple order, the splendid gem of which is Her Holiness Sishyapoojita Amrita Jnana Tapaswini, who guides Santhigiri Ashram as its spiritual head and whose tireless prayers and conception for the last ten years have born fruit in this blossoming of the Parnasala into a magnificent divine structure of global importance.