A View of Santhigiri Ashram

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Say No to Caste

Gurucharanam Saranam


Say No to Caste

Mukundan P.R.


Another leaf from the tree of time has fallen down. Now welcome a new dawn. Observing our thoughts and actions, a truth becomes apparent that how blissfully the Hindus are imprisoned in the dingy cells of caste, cricket, corruption, and controversies. The Hindus give me the feeling that they live in a large chilling plant isolated both in time and place. The cacophony of their discordant voice forebodes something unpleasant, especially in regard to their understanding of Hinduism and caste system. They tend to believe that the spiritual practices they follow and the social model they have erected are matchless and irrefutable. Nothing less can be the truth in practical terms. The Hindu society in particular is reeling under the weight of a dilapidated spiritual and social order.

The apologists of caste system should remember that it is caste which has weakened India. Islam entered India with the faith in one Supreme God upholding the concept of an equalitarian society. They ridiculed the Hindu social order and the spiritual licentiousness prevailing among Hindus. Islam dissected India into three after the struggle for independence. That it will continue to do so should be more or less clear to us going by the dangerous Jihadist philosophy. If Kashmir was Islamized and which wants cessation now, the credit goes to the ignoble caste rigidity which prevailed in the valley in the beginning. The evil was eradicated by the efforts of spiritual leaders like Lal Ded and Noorudin Rishi (a convert from lower caste), opening the door for a socially inclusive ideology preached by Islam. If Kerala is 50% Muslim and Christian, it is because of caste. The conversion of low caste Hindus, especially in states like Tamil Nadu, is defacing the culture face of India, thanks to caste system. The only reason why there is no formal conversion into Hinduism from outside is due to its abhorrent caste order. Suppose a Christian or a Muslim wants to convert into Hinduism, the immediate problem before him or her would be the question to what caste would he be ultimately tagged.

The people in the lower caste ladder, who make the bulk of India, would never support a caste based society. If they now accept caste identity, it is for crushing the dominance of upper castes and to claim their rightful share in an unjust social order. If the political system of the country has been corrupted, it is because of the caste based politics which includes all castes. Caste remains the bed rock of corruption, disintegration and disunity of India. I feel the people who utter words in support of a caste based society, past or present, should be banished to Antarctica, where they should be buried deep under the Ice Mountains to die there. Probably, it is the only way if the Indian society is to be cleansed from this evil avatar of discrimination and domination. The atrocities that were committed on the poor people of India in the name of caste and untouchability are horrendous and a tale bigger than Mahabharata and Ramayana put together.

Just a few decades ago, the so called lower castes in Kerala had to jump off the road and hide behind bushes if a higher caste person comes from either side of the road. Then they began a Satyagraha. It is called Vaikkam Satyagraha, in which Mahatma Gandhi also took part. The Satyagraha, one should remember, was not for entry of lower castes into a temple, but for the right to walk on the road near a temple. It was much later temple entry for the lower castes was allowed by a government decree. Almost the same period, there was another sinful caste tradition in Kerala. If a lower caste woman has to cover her nakedness, she had to pay tax to the king. It was known as ‘mulakkaram’ – tax for covering woman’s breast. Both lower caste women and men were not allowed to wear proper clothes in the society of higher castes.

Once, a self respecting lady from Alappuzha cut her breast and gave it to the collectors of breast-tax, in a platter. Today she is worshipped as a local deity in Alapuzha. Such were the atrocities inflicted upon the people by the Brahmin-Kshatriya combine in the country. If there is a darkest history of India, that begins with the caste system, which made the country corrupt, disunited and ultimately a slave to other barbarians from outside. No civilized society will tag human beings as inferior and superior on the basis of birth in poor social conditions which itself is the byproduct of an unjust social order. And funnily enough, some of you may like to offer final libations to this social evil by karma theory.

What all crimes the wily priests have committed against the poor people in Kerala and elsewhere in the country by way of taboos, rites and rituals! A lower caste woman during her seventh month of pregnancy was to be fed with tamarind, while the Brahmins fed their pregnant women with honey and milk. The consumption of tamarind during the seventh month of pregnancy will ensure the birth of a dark and brainless child. At the time of the menstruation of women in a Brahmin family, they would celebrate it in a unique way. A rice pudding (poriyada) would be made and the menstruated woman would be made to sit on it ceremoniously. After that this pudding would be given to the Sudras, mostly Nairs working as servants in their households. Those who partake of the pudding would never have BrahmaJnana, it is said. Fortunately, all these black rituals have stopped now by the initiatives of reformers like Sri Narayana Guru.

Another obnoxious tradition was the observance of ‘pitru tarpanam’ which the Sudras were supposed to do on the most inauspicious dark month of the year (karkidaka), at the most inauspicious time of Amavasya (dark moon day), while the Brahmins did it on pournami, the full moon day of a most auspicious month. By doing pitru tarpanam during amavasya, the influences of dark forces will be extremely high and the ancestral souls of the Sudras would ever remain hooked with dark spirits in hellish regions. The twice-borns of Kerala used all dirty tricks to keep the Sudras under subjection. Is this system one is eulogizing about? Every version of caste theory should be sickening to a civilized society.

Caste system is allowed to continue here because a few people could feel superior to their unfortunate brethren, who are made up of the same blood. But no one would commit such a crime against their own brethren. So it has been committed by a people whose blood is not purely Indian. One cannot deny the fact that the caste system was institutionalized by a people who had different blood in their vein than Indian. So it is also racism which is behind the perpetuation of caste theory. And racism is a crime. Let no right thinking Hindus ever support or justify caste system, because it would be equal to supporting racism and an unjust social order which will further weaken India and the cause of Hinduism.

However, Hindus generally continue to remain carefree enjoying the sumptuous feast of caste, cricket and corruption. They sleep in the mansion of an old bygone era, remaining oblivious to the spiritual transformation taking place around the globe in the new age of Kali. Is India again heading for a disaster much worst than it had endured during the past thousand years? Probably yes, if Hindus do not wake up. Their dream castle might crumble any time if they do not remain alert and truly dharmic, not in words, but by deeds. The endless talk on caste and the vain glory of Hindu culture would not yield any practical good. Also Hindus cannot prosper ridiculing other religions while they themselves are subject to ridicule because of their allegedly philistine exclusivist character not in true sync with the tenets of Sanatana Dharma.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Conversion of a Christian Marxist

Gurucharanam Saranam

The Conversion of a Christian Marxist

Mukundan P.R.

Even a hardcore Marxist has a thirsting space in his heart for God. A heretic may not have a place among the believing flock, but certainly God has a door for him too in his kind kingdom. Sri Andrews was a hardcore Marxist and a heretic. He never went to a church when be became conscious of its institutional character. He objected to all forms of institutionalized religion. But I do not think it was a rebellion against God. In his heart of heart he might have yearned for the light of God, for he searched for Truth around him and in the lap of nature. He broke all conventions of the society, traditions and beliefs. Though an orthodox Christian of higher caste origin, he opted for a backward caste Hindu woman as his life partner. The history of his ancestors, as far as I could understand, goes back to the first century of Christ, when one of Christ’s apostles, St. Thomas arrived in Kerala and converted the Nambudiri Brahmins at Palayoor, a place near Guruvayur temple. St. Thomas outwitted the Brahmins by performing a miracle. Even now the remains of their temple and pond are to be found here alongside the Church. Today, these Christians are a prosperous group in Kerala, well educated and controlling most of the business. Some of these Christians display a heretic and eccentric character and hold Hindu customs and beliefs in good esteem. As if an atonement for their ancestors’ deed, a few of them had done commendable service for the promotion of Sanskrit and Vedic studies in Kerala.

Now coming back to the story of Sri Andrews, he showed exemplary qualities in his child hood. He was brilliant in his studies and was liked by his family and friends because of his socializing nature. He always took up leadership when there was a crisis. There was a temple just in front of his house at Karamukku, near Trichur. The temple was a famous one because Sri Narayana Guru, the well known spirito-social reformer of Kerala himself had lighted the lamp in the temple. Andrews and his friends, mostly belonging to the Ezhava community in the locality spent their leisure in the temple precincts, exchanging jokes. They vied with each other for receiving prasadam from the temple, mostly boiled chana, during prayer times. Good old times, when the religious bug did not shatter peace in the community. Even now, unlike many other societies, the Hindus, Christians and Muslims in Kerala live like a close knit family. Their roots are so much twined together. Jihadists and religious fundamentalists are like murky evil spirits out to spoil the peace of humanity.

Sri Andrews was strongly influenced by Marxian ideology. and has a Masters degree in Arts. He joined government service and became a Joint Secretary in the Kerala Secretariat. He encountered corruption, official lethargy and a general moral decadence in the society. His utopia about a socialist society soon crumbled. It left him with bitterness. Having lost his bed of ideology, be began to wander aimlessly. He tried to find tranquility by drinking heavily. In those days he came across some books on spirituality. He found flashes of wisdom in the books of Jiddu Krishnamurthi and Ramana Maharshi. Once he went to Sivagiri Mutt at Varkala. His wife was his constant companion in his wanders. A steadfast wife, both in sorrow and happiness, is an asset in one’s life.

On the way there to the Mutt, he felt repulsed by the brewing industry flourishing in the area. He had been a mild boozer himself, so he could feel the cursed air which did not blend well with the precinct of a sage. He continued to visit some more ashrams. He was not, however, satisfied. His derailed life continued without any hope of peace. There was now the shortage of money. Wealth deserts one whose coffers of virtue are empty. The search of Andrews was for the key to the coffers of virtue and peace.

He had two little sons and he occasionally visited Santhigiri Ayurveda Hospital which belonged to Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode, for consultation. One day the doctor, a devotee of the Guru, invited him to visit the Ashram. So he went to see the Guru with the company of his wife. For him, the Guru looked like a respected elder in a joint family. Sri Andrews did not show any spiritual mannerisms nor did he enter the prayer hall, for he disliked religious rituals, not only of his own religion but of others too.

When they were about to leave, a woman ascetic of the Guru called his wife aside and talked to her for a few moments. He waited a few yards away. When she joined him, he enquired what the yellow clad sanyasini had been talking to her. Her revelation presently astonished him. The sanyasini had revealed that some close relative in his family had a sad death and the influence of that soul was weighing down on him heavily and that he had to do something about it. This was startling information for him, because he had a sister who committed suicide, while she was just about to enter the order of nuns in a Christian Mission.

The revelation of the sanyasini about his life made him serious. There is some peculiarity in this Ashram, he thought. However, being a rational man, he began to think and find out in what all ways the soul of his sister was influencing him. He found quite a few things which proved the influence. Important among them was the special feeling he had towards nuns, whenever he met one. Whenever any nun came to the Secretariat for any job, he would go out of his way to get their work done. He almost became a maniac those moments. Having now convinced of the influence, he tried to banish the affinity towards nuns and all other things related to his sister. At the same time, he repeated his visit to the Ashram.

Now for the first time, he began to listen whenever Guru spoke to the assembled people. The words of Guru, like liquid light, flooded the dark interiors of his soul, revealing beyond a world of pure spiritual joy and brilliance. He was so much magnetized by the baptizing words of Guru that he often took leave from the office to listen to Guru in the Ashram. It continued until the cloak of ignorance was slowly lifted up from his soul. His inside now was illumined and enthused with the wisdom of a rare kind.

One day, as usual, he came to the Ashram straight from the office. Since he was late, he thought that Guru would have begun his talk. He had wished to join the Guru from the start. When he entered the Ashram, the place looked deserted. All must have gone to attend Guru’s talk, he thought. He wanted a white dhoti to go to Guru’s hall. He was in trousers and normally people never went to Guru’s room in western dress. So he waited there with distress, hoping that somebody would come there soon for his rescue. After a few moments, Sri Rajan Varghese (now Swami Guru Nishchaya Jnana Tapaswi, another Christian convert to Gurumargam) came in front of Sri Andrews. He said that Guru had sent him saying that somebody was waiting here for a dhoti. When he saw Sri Andrews standing there, he understood, who Guru had meant.

Sri Rajan Varghese brought the dhoti and Sri Andrews quickly went inside. Guru had not begun speaking. He began only when Andrews came in and joined the group. With moistened eyes, Sri Andrews bowed in front of the Guru. The unfailing grace of the all knowing Guru melted the heart of the hardcore Marxist. An unending stream of faith and love now began flowing from the sluices of his starved heart. He became a dove in the kingdom of God, winging its way above the marvelous ocean of spiritual bliss. Andrews’s conversion was total, not with swords, nor with miracles, nor with the promise of heaven or the threats of last judgment. True conversion takes place through the experience of love. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru did not convert people, but only their hearts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Biography of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru – Revised Edition, 2010


Gurucharanam Sarnam
Biography of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru – Revised Edition, 2010
English Translation: Mukundan P.R.
Edited by: Sanghamitra
Publisher’s Note
Santhigiri Ashram through its research wing has been publishing books and journals on health, peace and spirituality in line with the teachings of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, whose vibrant and exalted vision augurs well for a civilizational change in the dawn of this millennium. The Great Master lived almost an obscure life away from the blitz of propaganda and publicity. He liked it that way. But, the fragrance of a flower spreads on its own by the natural breeze. The divine fragrance of Guru’s life has spread far and wide today through the little murmurs and whispers of a devoted community of believers.
The life of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was an open book, for He lived always among the people, as one of them. He was close to the devotees’ hearts as the embodiment of love. He was  unimaginably holy and simple. He lived under the roof of a thatched hut. Indeed, He was the perfect picture of divinity, God in human form, whose touch, glance, speech and experience raised the human spirit to an exalted plane of transcendent joy.
We have tried to draw here a small outline of Guru’s earthly existence for the benefit of posterity. The narration of His life is based on bits and pieces of information provided mostly by Guru Himself and His contemporaries. It has already been published in Malayalam by the title ‘Poovum Mullum’ (Flower & Thorn), compiled by Dr. C.V. Babu, University of Delhi. This is more or less a free translation of the same into English. We prayerfully submit this work at the lotus feet of our Guru, Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru.
 Santhigiri Ashram



Chapter 1 : Birth and Childhood 11
Chapter 2 : Life of Renunciation 22
Chapter 3 : Under the Tutelage of Guru 39
Chapter 4 : Spiritual Impasse 56
Chapter 5 : Spiritual Completion 69
Chapter 6 : Consecration of Prayer Hall 82
Chapter 7 : Merging in the Adisankalpam 88

Chapter 1 : Birth and Childhood

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was born at Chandiroor in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, 1st September, 1927 (Malayalam Era 1103). Chandiroor is a beautiful village, as the name itself suggests, i.e. the land of the moon or the moon-lit land, in Alappuzha district of Kerala. Here the lustrous white patches of sand resemble a silvery carpet as if laid by the Almighty in preparation for the Divine ordination. The beautiful, tranquil, verdant paddy fields, groves and trees bearing abundant fruit give the land an air of surfeit and plentitude justifying the epithet ‘God’s Own Country’. Lulled by the constant caress of a mighty ocean and soothed by the cool waters of the Western Ghats, lotus bearing ponds and lakes, God could not have found a better place for His earthly sojourn. The month of Chingam (Malayalam Calendar) or Sraavan has a special cultural and spiritual significance in the Indian tradition. As per astrology, the star of Choti (Swaati) in the month of Chingam is especially hallowed for various reasons. Guru was born on the 16th of Chingam under the auspicious star Choti.
The divine child opened its eyes to see a small oil lamp shimmering tranquil aura! Then a thatched little hut made from the leaves of the blessed kera (coconut) tree. According to the vision of Sri Aurobindo, the Supramental Light descended upon earth on 24th November, 1926, which is celebrated as Siddhi Day at Aurobindo Ashram. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was born a little over nine months after this descent of the Supramental Light.
Chittekkad House had nothing to boast of – power, pelf, education, social status or family name. It was a lower middle class family and Smt. Karthyayani, Guru’s mother, was not known for any extraordinary qualities, either in worldly matters or spiritual wisdom. However, she had some special experiences when she was carrying Guru. She had the ‘visions’ of thousands of celestial beings in different attires coming in procession to prostrate before her. She could not understand what it meant. Some of them in that group looked like rishis, some like angels and Christian priests with long gowns and there were women in purdah. Some were telling the beads in their hand. People with different looks and attires appeared in front of her uttering prayers. They silently moved aside, after bowing before her. Several among them looked like noble souls, but she could not understand their religious identities. They appeared and bowed even when she moved about. These experiences lasted till the delivery. She used to tell her younger son Aravindan that while she was carrying ‘Swami Mon’ (Guru) she had experienced great ethereal bliss and was able to see celestial appearances. In her womb was the great soul through whom these celestial beings were to get deliverance!
In those times, there were hardly any vehicles and doctors. When the mother developed labour pains, the village midwife was summoned. It was past midnight, but still the delivery did not take place. No one in the house slept. The few people who had assembled there became restless and concerned. While the puzzle and anxiety continued the grandfather (mother’s father) went to the pond in the house-yard and began to wash up in order to pray. Standing waist-deep in water, he prayed with a heavy heart. At this, a pregnant cow appeared from nowhere. It collapsed in the house-yard whining loudly, writhing in pain and anguish. In a few moments, it had become breathless and dead. The villagers had never seen such a cow in their village. The birth of the child took place soon after this incident.
The midwife was wiping the face of the newborn when it started crying loudly. She was astonished to hear the masculine voice of the child, not expected from a just born baby. Hardly a day had passed when the child was visited by sickness. Its body became cold like a clod of mud. Big blisters appeared on the body. The illness became severe by the day. The child did not cry or consume water or milk. It just lay there, still and silent. The people at home and from the neighbourhood were perplexed and looked at each other. It was the ninth day and the illness reached a critical stage. The child was laid on a plantain leaf. Everybody felt the icy approach of death. The grandfather once again entered into the pond, bathed and prayed standing in waist-deep water. ‘O God! Save the child if it is destined to live, otherwise….’ He had hardly finished the prayer, than the child’s cry reached his eardrums. The child had shown signs of improvement. Slowly it recovered and became hale and hearty. The personification of the Divine Light in the mortal world with its accompaniment of pain! Parents named the child Karunakaran and it grew up as a symbol of divine effulgence and joy.
The Childhood of Guru: One day Guru’s father was sitting on a cot in the house watching the little child joyfully giggling and thumbing the floor lying on a small mat. Recognizing the father it started to crawl slowly on its knees towards him. The father looked at the child with great affection. The child reached to embrace that shore of parental love. Getting hold of his foot thumb, it smiled and looked at the father. Immediately the father drew him to his bosom with great affection and kissed it profusely. A rare moment of fatherly love and warmth! Four months after Guru’s birth, the father became bed ridden. When Guru was nine months, this shore of love went deep under the ocean of time. Mother, widowed now, found it hard to bring up the child.
As years passed, the child once grievingly thought of its father. That night when he slept, he saw a dream. There was a person. Then another person pointed at this person and said, ‘that is your father’. Father was slowly disappearing from him like a withered dream. Guru had no way to have contact with the father’s family. He spent the childhood with his mother. His maternal uncle, Sankaran by name, looked after him and his mother. Apart from the uncle, the maternal parents also lived in the house.
Guru was still a crawling infant. Once, the child passed urine inside the house. Upon this, the mother slapped him tenderly and said, ‘You should go outside and urinate.’ The child never urinated in the house after this incident. It would climb down the doorway to the courtyard whenever it wanted to urinate and crawl back slowly holding on to the door sills. Guru as a child was extraordinarily conscious about purity and cleanliness. He would not step into dirt and mud around the house. He made footwear for himself with the strong cowl of areca nut leaves. From early childhood, Guru maintained absolute purity and avoided contact with all types of filth and dirt. It is true to the saying cleanliness is next to godliness. The child habitually commenced daily prayers from the age of three years.
Guru’s life became increasingly focused and disciplined as he grew up. He would get up early in the morning and go for a bath in the nearby pond. He would wash, bathe and change clothes in the mornings and evenings. It was a rigorous routine of physical and spiritual discipline. After bathing he would burn incense sticks and sit down to pray. No one knew to whom he prayed or for what he prayed. He would drink water and eat food only after the prayers. As a child, Guru liked white rice and plain coconut chutney. He would choose a neat place to eat spreading a towel as his seat. His dress was the traditional ‘dhoti’ with a ‘kaupeenam’ (loincloth) beneath.
There was a family temple in the mother’s house. The grandmother would occasionally take the child to the temple. Once when Guru was about the age of five, his grandmother took him to this temple. At the temple, the child was immersed in prayers and lost in spiritual bliss. It was time to return. But Guru did not want to return and wanted to stay on in the temple. He was about to tell this to his grandmother. Suddenly he heard a voice, ‘These are ignorant and insensitive people. Do not speak to them thus’. Guru then silently went back with his grandmother.
Guru did not seek or desire anything from others. He was also beyond others’ subjugation. He found joy in sharing eatables with his childhood companions. But he would not join company with them or play. He liked solitude and silence, which were his companions. He did not have any interest in the playful life natural to children. The little lad would spend lonely hours watching the myriad phenomena of nature; the sunrise in the eastern horizon, where the endless green fields and the vast expanse of dark backwaters met; the rays of the sun tickling colourful shades on the water filled paddy fields. Guru would keenly watch all this during his solitary musings.
One day a few children of his age from the neighbourhood came to Guru’s house inviting him to play. Guru was reluctant, but the children insisted. The grandmother also supported the children. ‘Go and play with them’, she said. Guru still made no moves. Then Raphael, a boy in the group, physically lifted Guru and took him to the playground. Then one of the boys took a banana stem and fixing it on the ground asked Guru to hold it tight. Another boy came running quickly with a sickle and swiftly cut the stem. The sickle cut the stem and unfortunately the hand of Guru too. The wound started oozing blood. This made the children run away from the scene in panic. Guru sat there alone sobbing and trying to swallow the pain. Then Raphael’s mother came there and dressed the wound. After this incident, the children did not try to call Guru to play. Thus ended Guru’s childhood plays!
People could not understand Guru in his childhood because of the rare blend of his character and distinctive qualities. Who could have understood the divine presence, the incomprehensible, eternal, pure effulgence radiating through him? The pure inner effulgence of Guru radiated an unbroken flow of purity, quietude and joy. He could see a face filling his heart from the time he could remember. He was unable to speak due to this internal presence. This silence continued even when he started to walk. He just giggled when somebody spoke to him or would just hum yes or no. Beyond that no words would come out. Even at the age of three, the child did not speak. The parents gave medicines, offered prayers and offerings at some temples. He was made to perambulate Kanichukulangara Temple with pandam (a traditional torch burned with oily cloth). He performed another ritual holding lighted wicks and also did daily prayers at the family temple. At the end of all this, the child started to talk a little. He was five years old then. He spoke only few words, rarely still. The words were cryptic emerging from the internal presence. Guru was like a mike producing the sound. Guru thought this internal presence was inside everybody. Others thought Guru was dumb seeing his inability to speak. It was much later Guru realized that this internal presence was not there in others. It took still some more time to recognize the internal presence as Lord Sri Krishna. In the realm of spiritual ascendancy, the position of Sri Krishna had been incomparable. Sri Krishna, who had attained the formless transcendental state, was the internal presence guiding Guru. This internal presence lasted till the age of nine years after which it slowly disappeared. Now Guru was able to speak normally. But until that time, he could not go to school.
Once, a copra trader in the village lost a large amount of money. The trader was very sad and frantically searched every place he visited for the lost money. When Guru went for the morning bath, he found the money. He went to the trader and said that he had got the money and immediately handed over the bundle of money to him. This incident endeared Guru to all the people in the village.
Augustine was Guru’s childhood companion in the neighbourhood. Once, Augustine, his brother, Raphael and sister, Annie were alone in the house, as their parents had gone for a wedding. They had left some rice and provisions for them to prepare food. The children decided to cook ‘paal-paayasam’ (pudding with rice and milk). The paayasam was prepared and the children immediately sat down to eat. They had hardly taken in one or two mouthfuls than were overcome with nausea. Augustine went to Guru and took him to the house to tell him about the fiasco that was their paal-paayasam. Guru took a small quantity and tasted it. He asked them, ‘didn’t you add salt to this?’ On adding a little salt, the paayasam tasted good as it should.
There was a mango tree in Guru’s house. It stood near the pond in the house yard. Guru liked the tree more than the other trees in the compound. The mango tree bore fruit in abundance. There were no other mango trees in the neighbourhood with such dense population of mangoes. The mangoes of that benevolent tree were greatly delicious. One day a ripe rotund mango fell. Guru picked up the mango and buried the fruit as it was without even tasting it. The seed germinated and the sapling began to grow. He planted a banyan and a jackfruit tree also beside this, all of which grew very well. When Guru left home, the family tied a goat near the plants and the goat ate up everything except the mango plant, which subsequently grew and flourished to become a big mango tree. It was hearth to many birds which made homes beneath the shades of its leaves and branches. This tree had some uniqueness. It had mangoes throughout the year. Because of this, it became the haven for children as well as squirrels and birds that perched atop enjoying daily feasts of sweet ripe mangoes.
Guru liked the cool shade of this mango tree. Its canopy, always in bloom with mango flowers and buds, wafted sweet smell in the air. One day Guru’s uncle decided to cut down this mango tree. However, the intervention of Guru saved the tree presently. There were other varieties of mango trees in the house yard. But Guru liked this particular mango tree which he himself had planted and which gave him the tastiest mangoes in all seasons. When Guru became absorbed in spiritual matters, the contact with home was rare. In his absence, this tree was cut down. Guru became very sad when he came to know about the cruelty meted out to his mango tree.
When Guru was ten years old, the uncle decided to conduct the remarriage of his mother. The little boy requested him not to send his mother in remarriage. But nobody listened to the child. They took it as the bickering of a ten-year-old boy. The mother’s remarriage took place and she went to Ezhupunna in Cherthala taluk along with the stepfather. His name was Kochu Sankhu.
Guru could not get proper education as he had not attended school. However, he went to a traditional teacher (Asan Kalari) for some time, where he learnt to read and write and some arithmetic. Maliyekkal Kumaran Asan was the first teacher. Then Poovathil Kunjan Asan taught Guru and a few other students. Augustine Kunju, Chathan, Chavadi, Moideen Kutty, Krishnan, Narayananan, Peter, Damodaran, Pathumma and Thevan were Guru’s companions. The first three persons completed their studies along with Guru. In the Asan Kalari, Guru stood first in studies. But Guru took no interest in the studies. If he was made to sit down to learn, he would become lost in thoughts and thus forget to study. By the age of 12, this non-formal education also came to a stop. Therefore, Guru did not pick up the craft of learning through books.
From the second marriage of his mother, a child was born. Guru was taken to the stepfather’s house to look after the child. The stepfather was an alcoholic and often quarreled after coming back from his drinking sessions. This character of the stepfather was unbearable to Guru. However, in the presence of Guru the stepfather would not quarrel. At that young age too, the presence of Guru was able to overpower all malevolent tendencies in others. Guru’s uncle occasionally visited him and wanted to take him back home. But for long two years, Guru had to remain there as the stepfather would not accede to the avuncular requests.

Chapter 2 : Life of Renunciation
From childhood itself, Guru wished to lead a monastic life and wanted to join some ashram. While at the house of his stepfather, he wore a rosary as if in preparation for a pilgrimage to Palani in Tamil Nadu, famous for its Subramanya temple. The observance of ‘vritam’ (austerities) also began. If his mother gave food at her times of physical impurity or without bathing, Guru would not eat. He would just decline the food smilingly. However, he never made any complaints. Occasionally, he was entrusted to buy fish from the market. As he had to obey the parents, he would go up to the fish market. But invariably, by the time he reached the market, it would have been closed with all the fish sold out. He would return home without fish and hand over the unspent money to the parents.
It was almost two years since he started the vritam to go to Palani. But save the vritam, the pilgrimage never fructified. Those who saw him asked, ‘When is the pilgrimage to Palani?’ Guru would reply ‘When the time comes, I will go. Is there any harm, if the vritam is a little more?’ When the children of his age went to school wearing good clothes, Guru went to work in a nearby coir factory producing coir mats, the whole day shuttling from one spinning wheel to the other.
Guru spent two years with the stepfather. He was now 14 years. One day his stepfather came home terribly drunk. He shouted extremely foul words, crossing all limits of civility. Guru’s mind was deeply hurt. That night Guru left home. He spent the night on the veranda of a village prayer hall nearby. In the morning he got up and went to Kumaran Asan, who first taught him the alphabets. Guru informed him of his desire to join an ashram. The teacher sat there for a few moments, quietly thinking. Then he got up, and instructing the children to study, took Guru along with him. There lived a person called Krishna Pillai at Aroor, who had been in contact with some ashrams. Asan decided to meet him. Krishna Pillai, when informed of the boy’s desire, said, “There is an ashram of Swami Agamananda at Kaladi.” They decided to take Guru there. Asan arranged a local acquaintance to accompany Guru to the ashram at Kaladi (near Kochi). The person sent by the Asan dropped Guru at the gate of Agamananda Ashram and returned. However, the ashram authorities asked Guru to go back the same evening, saying that children were not allowed to stay at the ashram. Helpless and alone, Guru walked in the direction of Aluva town.
Advaita Ashram of Sree Narayana Guru is situated at Aluva. On the way, Guru heard the conversation of two persons and understood that they were going to the ashram ghat for bathing. He followed them as he did not know where the ashram was. They walked and entered into what he thought was a house. Guru hesitated a little, but soon found himself standing in front of the vast ambience of a bathing ghat. He bathed in the cool and clean waters and felt fresh from the physical and mental fatigue. He then went straight into the Advaita Ashram. The swami in charge of the ashram was sitting on a chair in the lawn. Guru went near him whereupon the swami enquired about his visit. Guru told him about his desire to lead a monastic life. The swami called the ashram officials and instructed them to arrange an accommodation for him at the ashram.
The following day the ashram officials enquired from him the reason for his visit. When they learnt about Guru’s desire to stay at the ashram, they informed him that there were enough people at the ashram and if they required additional people, they would inform him. The head of the mutt came there. Listening to the conversation, he said immediately, “Do not send him away anywhere. Let him stay here.” Swami Sanakarananda, the head of the mutt, had recognized the divine sparkle in the boy and his ardent spiritual desire. With the kind-hearted intervention of the swami, Guru’s ashram life thus took off.
It was the continuity of a life of sacrifice threading through countless births. Two years at the Aluva Advaita Ashram and Guru quickly familiarized himself with the ashram routine. The joy of ascetic life never diminished in him, but was ever growing day by day. Nobody could dither him from his ineffable spiritual conviction. The doors of sacrifice had opened before him, foreboding a future civilizational change that would alter the spiritual graph of mankind. Who could have dispirited the bidding of the immortal Universal Self? The sun may lose its warmth, the moon its soft rays, the stars their twinkle, the mountains their might, the ocean its salinity, but never the divine self its essential nature.
There was always the sparkle of divine effulgence in Guru. He never idled away time. He had the habit of tirelessly working on the jobs entrusted to him. He never made complaints nor was he disillusioned with anybody. The efflorescence of his inner tranquility reflected a perennial joy even while engaged in the otherwise mirthless routine of life. Guru tied just a cotton towel around his waist. The short built, ruddy, fair complexioned lad of great magnetism attracted the attention of all. The wisdom beyond the fecundity of age, unshakable steadiness in truth, benevolence brimming with grace, chaste godly love, humble and ennobling behaviour! Guru stood out from the rest. However, his prodigious qualities, sense of sacrifice and elevated character disturbed the peace of some at the ashram. This budding life of selfless service was soon uprooted from the Advaita Ashram and planted at Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala.
The luminous and blessed character of Guru inescapably attracted the attention of the people. They enquired about this young boy at Sivagiri. As he had come from the Aluva branch, he was called ‘Aluva Karunakaran’. As a prelude to the greatness that lay ahead, Guru had to undergo many experiences that called for physical toil, steadiness of mind as well as sagely purity and perfection. Seventeen long years of service at Advaita Ashram and Sivagiri Mutt proved to be the stepping stones in that direction.
Initially, Guru was entrusted with the responsibility of collecting flowers for the worship at Sarada Mutt and Mahasamadhi (resting place of Sree Narayana Guru). Guru loved all jobs. He had no discriminating thought on the type of job one did. He would do all jobs neatly and perfectly with equal care, be it small or big, high or low, in the eyes of the world. He had an inherent quality to respect and love the jobs entrusted to him. He swept the lawns, worked in the kitchen, served guests, assisted the head of the mutt, performed worship at the Mahasamadhi of Sree Narayana Guru – the list of duties was long for that karmayogi. He also blended love and humility with his work. But in the eyes of the majority of the people at Sivagiri, Guru was only a good servant.
Through hard work and sacrifice, over a period of time, Guru became privileged to perform Guru Pooja and Pushpanjali - worship and rituals - at Sarada Mutt and the Mahasamadhi. People now called him Karunakaran Santhi. The devotees observed a divine aura enveloping Guru when he performed pushpanjali. When he recited bhajans (hymns) the atmosphere vibrated with devotion, transporting people to transcendental joy. He chanted the mantras and prayers with indescribable serenity and a melodious voice filled with devotion and inherent purity. The devotees would crowd the prayer hall to enjoy those sacred moments. Those dispirited souls would also join the prayers to partake of the joy and nectar of devotion. Sivagiri was new to such a Santhi (performer of rituals or a priest). There were several other Santhis at Sivagiri Mutt those days, all stalwarts. Sri Padmanabhan Santhi, Raghavan Santhi, Kumaran Santhi, Paramu Santhi and Chellappan Santhi were among them. Karunakara Santhi was below their rank. But they could not excel Guru in what he did.
Sivagiri is a big confluence of people coming from different parts of the state and elsewhere. Visitors would conduct pushpanjali by paying the required amount at the office counter. After performing pushpanjali they would go back immediately. That was the usual practice. Therefore, they never came with the preparation to stay back. But things changed when Guru started performing the worship and prayers. Devotees began insisting that Guru perform prayers for them. There was a reason. People who received vibhuti (holy ash) and theertham (sacred water) from Guru got spiritual experiences and experienced healing. They were convinced that the boy was not just another Santhi. They began waiting for Guru’s time and convenience. When important persons came, they also did the same. They all began to wait for Guru, which sometimes meant staying back at the ashram. When some very important persons came, they started asking for Guru first. Not only that, people lovingly brought fruits, articles for worship, coins etc. They would then beautifully arrange these articles in a platter and place it in front of Guru with reverence. Soon it had become a regular practice.
It was a recognition which the President or Secretary of Sivagiri Mutt never received. This caused many problems in the subsequent stay of Guru at Sivagiri Mutt. Guru accepted all bitter experiences calmly, with his inbuilt strength of mind. He bore the sharp nails of calumny and blame with a tender smile. He did not react to the aggressions and gently tried to avoid conflicts. He would do the job of ten people singly and swiftly. He did not say no to any job. He did not do only his own work but would also help others to do their jobs. This endeared Guru to his colleagues.
Earlier, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti (the birthday celebration of Sree Narayana Guru) was not an annual public celebration as at present. For the first time, Guru organized a procession in which one Sri Bhasuran, who stayed near Sivagiri Ashram, and a few children participated. When the procession led by Guru reached Varkala Maidan, the public there jeered and mocked watching the procession. They teased and pooh-poohed the whole exercise. The following year also the Jayanti procession was taken to Varkala Maidan. The result was the same as the previous year. The local people mocked and derided the processionists. But in the third year, the public itself organized the procession. It was thus that Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti came to be celebrated annually.
A few years had passed since Sree Narayana Guru gave up the mortal frame, but a mausoleum had not been built. While Guru lived at Sivagiri, he wished to see a monument built over the samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru. He desired that it should be a peerless mausoleum ever built in Kerala. During leisurely hours in the company of colleagues, he told them about his desire. They would mock at him saying, ‘It is seventeen years since Swami took samadhi. We are unable to keep a lamp even properly in the place. Then how can you hope to build Samadhi Mandiram (mausoleum)?’
They were speaking the truth. The situation was such at the time. They contested that they would not be able to see even a stone put for the Samadhi Mandiram. But Guru was firm in his faith. ‘I would go from here only after seeing that,’ he said. Then one of his companions said that one should not hope to die seeing that. ‘I would die only after seeing it.’ When Guru said this, all of them laughed. Guru used to pray and contemplate for the construction of Samadhi Mandiram. He performed worship at the samadhi those days. He mentally calculated the height of the Samadhi Mandiram – 75 feet. That should be the elevation of Samadhi Mandiram of Sree Narayana Guru, he decided. Then he measured 75 feet taking short footsteps. It was like the culling of fire from a log of wood. Guru struggled to build the edifice of the Samadhi Mandiram internally with utmost sincerity and tireless prayers. For long eight years that internal fire of contemplation and prayer continued. In the silent hours of night, he would pray walking up and down under the santenu and jackfruit trees east of the samadhi. So deep was his desire that sometimes he broke down and wept praying. He would sit in the corner of the samadhi during free hours and get transfixed in deep meditation.
In the eighth year thus a proposal came up for the construction of Samadhi Mandiram. The height of the structure was also decided - 72 feet. An elevation up to the age of Sree Narayana Guru! Guru felt sad when he knew about the height, for he had desired an elevation of 75 feet. But when he came to know there was a dome of 3 feet above, he felt happy because now the height would be exactly 75 feet. His prayers and deep desire took concrete shape within ten years.
Guru had shifted from Sivagiri before the completion of the Samadhi Mandiram. It was after three years, one day, Guru came to Sivagiri Mutt. A bell tolled just when he entered Sivagiri. He enquired what the matter was. He was then informed that it was the day of completion of the work of Samadhi Mandiram. The bell was tolling on this auspicious occasion. Guru’s joy knew no bounds. He began to weep with tears of joy. It was the moment of fulfilment, the culmination of eight years of heartfelt prayers, submissions and contemplation.
Guru once said recollecting those experiences, ‘When you live here (at Santhigiri), whatever way you desire this institution to grow, it would grow accordingly with the strength of your heartfelt prayers’.
In the ocean of mundane life, Guru was searching for the bank of spiritual enlightenment and guidance. What was that divine luster which filled his heart till the age of nine? ‘Whom shall I ask,’ he wondered. He enquired from the monks living at Sivagiri Mutt. But none could give him an explanation. Several saints and holy men visited Sivagiri those days. From them too, he enquired, but there was only disappointment. People at Sivagiri Mutt tried to teach Guru vocal and instrumental music, Vedic rituals and transcendental knowledge but his mind did not glue to all this. The great visionary felt learning and academic exercises to be futile. Such was the depth of his inner inkling of truth. The light of truth does not emanate from the pages of books darkened with ink. He felt disillusioned with the inane scholastic verve and began to look for a Guru who had had spiritual experience. That was what was required. The search was for that. However, despite his best efforts, his desire remained unfulfilled. Months and years withered away.
One day, a famous scholarly monk came to Sivagiri. His name was Swami Jagadeeshwarananda. He was for the past 21 years teaching Logic and Vedanta at Benares Hindu University. He was a teacher as well as a seeker. It was this sage who taught Brahma Sutra to Swami Agamananda. When Guru told Swami Jagadeeshwarananda about his experience, he said, ‘I know this is true. Years before, Dr. Sivanandan had told me about a similar experience. I have also read it in books. Now I hear it from you. As for me, I have no such experiences. I could not even see the flicker of light of an incense stick to talk to you about this.’
There was an ‘S.N. Sadyalam’ (an eatery) at Varkala run by Sri Gangadharan Mudalali. His sister had a daughter. Guru was those days performing pooja and rituals at the Sarada Mutt and Samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru. Guru was a gentle, attractive young lad. A blazing young ascetic! This girl began to like Guru. Hers was a blind desire unmindful of the consequences and limitations. Unable to control herself, one day she opened her heart to Guru. She told Guru about her desire. A mind that loved all beings equally in divine adoration! Disgusted by the selfishness and carnality of the request, Guru fumed with anger. He bluntly told her that he did not desire such a life. Her heart broke. However, she continued to keep the fire of passion burning in her heart.
One day, she went near the rivulet where Guru used to go for his morning ablutions. She stood there waiting for Guru. It was dark as the dawn had not still brightened. There was a piece of paper in her hand in which the place of meeting and time were mentioned. When Guru encountered the girl there with the letter, he was shocked and told her that somebody had cheated her. She had thought the letter was written by Guru. Guru informed her that he was not literate to write a letter. Guru again told her softly that his mission in life was different and sent her back. The satanic spirit that had come with the promise of wealth and enjoyment was repelled by Guru. But the girl, who succumbed to that spirit, could not survive the tragedy that followed. The sinful souls who had forged the letter were waiting in the darkness. They pounced on her and mutilated her body in that pre-dawn hour. Unable to bear the shock and tragic fate, she ended her life that day. The police registered a case and started interrogation. But, the real culprits had to undergo severe hardships later and had to repent their inhuman act. One of them even confessed his crime on his death bed.
Guru toiled day and night at Sivagiri. His physical body was offered as a sacrifice in the kitchen fires of Sivagiri Mutt. He had to do the worship at the samadhi, prepare and serve food to all. Guru would gladly accept jobs given by others. He only prayed that he should have the time to complete the assigned tasks. He hardly got the time to sleep. Everybody would have slept, but there would be jobs waiting for Guru before he got a chance to curl up with whatever little slice of night was left. Guru would not like to rest until and unless the jobs of the day were completed. This meant very late nights and he prayed beseechingly before going to sleep that he should be able to get up early for the morning chores. Nobody bothered to think about the grueling life of Guru. But Guru never complained and smilingly went about radiating love. His purity of mind and humility made people feel happy. He behaved with all in equal measure without the slightest arrogance and egotism. Thus lived that benevolence among men!
The long days of ceaseless work made Guru fall ill one day. Sankarananda Swami, the head of the Mutt, then instructed Guru to thenceforth undertake only the work in the prayer room. The kind-hearted Swami also made arrangements for Guru’s treatment. For the next two-and-a-half years, Guru worked as the assistant of Swami Sankarananada. Guru learnt many things during this period. The affectionate attitude of Swami Sankararanada became a salve for the Guru’s thorny life at Sivagiri. Guru learnt from the Swami the working and status of the different institutions of Sivagiri and how people in different parts of the country regarded Sivagiri.
A life of godly love, of asceticism and piety, of brilliant actions and initiatives! The life of Guru was a matchless confluence of all these. In the path of that crusader, colleagues as well as ashram authorities dug the mines of hatred and treachery. Guru did not justify himself or argue his case before others. His mind thirsted to love all without bounds. He took on himself the odium and aggression of others and diluted it in the churning sill of endurance. Guru tried to bring closer to him those who had some virtuousness left in the remote corners of their mind. Such goodness in people is the result of accrued virtue of many births.
A real sanyasi is fearless and truthful. For the same reason the mortals loathe him. The prominent people at Sivagiri Mutt tried to discover some faults to pillory Guru. When they were unsuccessful, they transferred Guru from one branch to another. Further still, they cut short the funds to those branches. Guru was not perturbed by all this. He fulfilled the necessities with the inadequate sum. Sometimes he was able to save some amount, which he kept for other necessities that arose occasionally. The branch ashrams where Guru lived began to be frequented by more people. After the two-and-a-half years spent as the companion of Swami Sanakarananada, Guru was transferred to several branch ashrams of Sivagiri Mutt – Aruvipuram, Kunnumpara, Chempazhanthi, Thrissur, Anapara, Kanchipuram and Mambalam.
Guru was now at the Aruvipuram branch ashram as the in-charge there. An in-charge with no assistants! He struggled without a helping hand to run the ashram and the routine activities. By the time all the work got completed, the night would have gone far, leaving him behind. There would be very little time left to sleep and relax the muscles. This aggravated the physical problems which he had already suffered and which still lingered. Nobody cared and enquired about his problems. The rigours of hard, incessant work wore him out and he eventually fell ill. One day, when he got up early in the morning, as he did usually, he fell down unconscious. He recovered only after six in the morning. He had lost consciousness for about two hours. Well known physicians, Dr. K.N. Pai and Sri Kakakudi Padmanabhan Vaidyar, were summoned. Both of them treated Guru in turn. But the treatment did not help Guru.
Guru’s mind was now in agony. It hurt him like thorns. ‘What is the use of my life? I could not gain anything spiritually. The body is also wrecked now. I could not yet find a Guru of spiritual experience to guide me’. The young mind, scorched by the fire of uncertainties, sank down to gloomy depths. It burnt like a pit of coal, unknown to others. Guru flipped through the pages of his brief life. ‘I have met innumerable swamis and saints and enquired about spiritual experience. But there was only disappointment. Nobody could show me the shore of enlightenment.’
The well known monks at Sivagiri Mutt - Swami Sachidananda of Maruthwamala, Swami Brahmananada of Palghat, who would float himself on water for hours, Swami Sachidananda of Aluva Advaita Ashram, the disciples of Swami Sivananda Paramahamsa and Alathur Sivayogi, Kuttalam Sankarananda Swami – all stalwarts, but I could not gain anything. What have I achieved through ashram life? Guru thought in reminiscence. ‘I could not earn anything in life myself, nor could I share spiritual truth with my co-travelers – the sanyasis (ascetics) and the common man. I had forsaken my home with a strong desire to lead a life of renunciation and penance. I left my mother, who gave me birth, and the land I was born.’
Guru had known the life of several brahmacharis, the celibates, and was convinced that many of them travelled on the wrong track. Therefore, he did not try to interact with them. Brahmacharyam or a life of celibacy is the taintless purity of truth in human life. Brahmacharyam is the sacred sacrifice of an ascetic, who has renounced worldly life. That sanctity of truth should be vigilantly kept. It is only then the path of re-establishing the dharma could be embedded in the historical passage of time, with discrimination of truth and untruth, in the institutions of family, society and the nation. A soul of such experience and enlightenment as a guide in life was far from realization in Guru’s life.
Guru, as in-charge of Aruvipuram branch ashram, struggled hard with the tedium of physical work. Slowly his health deteriorated. He did not mind it, however. There is no sacrifice that could weigh down spiritual realization. He finally took a firm decision that he should realize the truth. ‘The enquiry should continue to impart light unto the world creaking under the burden of sin and self-destruction. What would be the benefit otherwise of this life? No, there is no stopping from the striving ahead.’ Guru took a spiritual vow to climb the ‘Kodithooki Hill’ near Aruvipuram for 41 days. It was the place where Sree Narayana Guru had meditated. He decided to go there and meditate. Somehow time should be found for spiritual practice despite the burden of work, Guru decided. There is a cave on top of the hill, where Sree Narayana Guru had performed penance for some time. Sree Narayana Guru was a perfect sage, a pitcher filled with selfless service and taintless sacrifice.
Every day, after performing pooja, Guru would climb up the Kodithooki hill. There he started practising unbroken meditation in the mornings and evenings. Going up and down the hill was time consuming and there was the tedious routine of work. Despite all odds, the meditation continued. It was the fortieth day. As usual, Guru climbed up and stood on top of the hill. Suddenly something miraculous happened. There was a brilliant blinding light in the atmosphere and in it was the bust and visage of a divine soul. Seeing that figure, Guru trembled and began to lose his senses. It was his first ever spiritual vision with naked eyes. The form in the auricle of light blessed Guru and disappeared. Completely shaken, Guru sat down in contemplation. After a while when some fear crept into his mind, he got up and started to walk back to the ashram. The mind was now dancing with unexplainable joy. Such an experience was the first in his life. With great exhilaration and scintillating joy, he reached the ashram. ‘Whose vision was that,’ he began to think. He could not recognize the figure he saw in that vision, however hard he tried. He had not seen such a figure earlier.
After several months, Guru had an occasion to go to Neyyattinkara town near Thiruvananthapuram. He went into a tea shop in the town. Seeing in the shop a framed picture in a glass cube, Guru enquired whose portrait that was. For, it was the figure he saw at the top of Kodithooki hill in a bright avalanche of light. The picture was of Shirdi Sai Baba. So it was Rishi Shirdi Sai Baba who appeared before Guru in vision and became an auspicious omen for the spiritual journey ahead. Now the dark curtain of uncertainties of spiritual life slowly lifted and the doors of transcendental truth and realization began to open, one by one.

Chapter 3 : Under the Tutelage of Guru
On the day that Guru got this vision of Shirdi Sai Baba, Sri Vijayan of Karikulam Poovvar was camping in the Aruvipuram Ashram for the night. He was a close aide of Guru. In the morning Sri Vijayan conducted pooja at the temple and at the portrait of Sree Narayana Guru, situated in the southern block of the temple. He sat there and meditated for some time. Suddenly he got up and approached Guru with a never before show of reverence and care. ‘You are a good soul,’ Vijayan said. ‘Can you come with me to a place? I shall introduce you to a divine soul.’ Guru listened. His heart was throbbing with joy and curiosity. He entrusted the responsibilities of the ashram to other persons and set out on the journey with Vijayan. The long awaited journey to the pristine, blissful goal of self-realization. By evening they reached Beema Masjid near Thiruvananthapuram city. In the south-west direction of Beema Masjid, there was an area full of wild bushes. The divine sage whom Vijayan referred to lived in the bushy area. To the west of this, the great Arabian Sea roared. Vijayan took Guru near the hedge. A man was sleeping there on jute bags which served him as a rug. There was none besides him. That was the sage Vijayan promised to introduce Guru to. A gigantic dark figure with long hands! Khureshia Fakir, known also as Pattani Swami! Guru stood before him motionless enjoying the blissful moments of that first meeting.
The shore and the ocean had begun to wear the blanket of dusk. Vijayan went near the sage and prostrated before him. He informed him about the person who had come along with him. ‘Alright, alright let it be in the morning.’ The words of Khureshia Fakir came out with the accompaniment of the roar of the Arabian Sea. Guru spent that night at Beema Masjid. The place was reverberating with the roar of the sea and the splash of waves. ‘Tomorrow morning I should meet that Swami’, Guru thought and tried to sleep. As the signs and sounds of the approaching dawn became vivid, Guru got up. There was a canal to the east of Beema Masjid. He went there and took a bath. His mind was full of excitement at the day’s meeting with the sage. He was still bathing when he saw him coming along the canal. Khuereshia Fakir! He walked clad in a lungi, holding a satchel in his hand. He was moving ahead. Guru immediately came out from the water and walked quickly towards him in wet clothes. The swami suddenly turned and looked. His profound and reddish eyes were now fixed on Guru. Guru stood in front of him with reverence and folded hands.
‘Aren’t you the one I saw yesterday,’ he asked. ‘Yes’, Guru replied. The waters of the canal reflected the limitless sky up in the horizon.
“For what have you come,” the Swami asked.
“For peace; whatever is required for peace of the soul,” Guru replied.
The swami came and embraced Guru; like the shore embraces and accepts the forlorn waves tossed about in the wide and deep expanse of the sea. The swami wept embracing Guru. The turbulent waves rested a while in the bosom of the shore, in the rhythmic throb of nature. The glorious blessed meeting of Guru and Disciple!
“You are the heir…you are the heir…you are the heir.” The swami said these words three times. He then took out a piece of paper from his satchel and wrote down a mantra. He handed over the piece of paper to Guru and instructed, “Chant this mantra during the three turns of the day. You will see two signs either in dream or wakeful state. Then come and see me.” He said this and walked ahead.
Guru stood there beside the silent flow of the canal watching that benevolence walking away. There was nothing equal to that universal love. The union between guru and disciple! It is the rare confluence of the divine grace that spreads across the cosmic planes. Thus Khureshia Fakir, popularly known as Pattani Swami, became the blessed mentor of Guru. It was the fulfilment of a long-held desire of the Guru for a preceptor. However, it was not to be the end of a journey but the beginning of a great saga of spiritual discovery. Guru began to practice the mantra initiation of Pattani Swami. As predicted by the swami, Guru got experience. He saw two signs in dreams within three months of the initiation. As per the instruction, he went and told his master about the experience. Pattani Swami listened and said, ‘everything is there, but there would be delay. Continue the practice.’
Through the practice of mantra initiation Guru was ascending certain spiritual heights. This made the spiritually inimical forces to react in opposition to Guru. With the passing of each day, people around him began to be unhappy with him. The bond of love was suddenly ruptured. Love soured into hatred. Hatred pitched itself into virulent criticism, enmity and intolerance. Guru spent one year drinking the searing potion of malice and aggression of others. The island of hope and refuge now was only his Guru. Their occasional meetings gave him consolation.
Pattani Swami asked Guru to get married in order to cross a spiritual plane. The unusual advice perplexed Guru as he had taken a vow of celibacy. The Guru knew the mind of the disciple; therefore he suggested an alternative to cross the spiritual embankment. “Find out a whore and gain her reverence. You should make her and her husband serve you. In the process you may have to suffer a lot of criticism and bad name,” the Swami warned Guru. Guru accepted the instruction in word and spirit. He was ready to undergo any trouble to avoid a conjugal life. Soon he began to observe the ascetic method suggested by Pattani Swami. The ordinary people around him did not understand Guru’s conduct, which created a lot of misunderstandings among them. Now, in the minds of the people, there was odium, enmity and sarcasm for Guru. The depth of it increased unbearably. One day a person menacingly approached Guru and pushed him about and then hit him. Guru had not done any harm to that person or to the people there.
After this incident, Guru locked up the Aruvipuram temple and handed over the key at Sivagiri Mutt. The officials of Sivagiri mutt wanted to initiate criminal proceedings against the physical assault on Guru. But, Guru did not like the idea and stopped the initiative. Several unfortunate incidents took place in the family of the person who assaulted Guru. His wife became mentally imbalanced and died within a month of the assault on Guru. After four years, the child of the dead woman also suffered mental derangement. Guru cured the child and some others affected by the same problem later.
While living in the confines of Sivagiri Mutt, Guru’s heart thirsted to serve humanity. Those days Guru was in charge of the Sivagiri kitchen and store. The ashram kitchen was his main work place. Guru ran the affairs selflessly and truthfully in an impeccable manner. He brought down the expenditure to half. Guru served food to all with a heart full of purity and benevolence. The food was tasty and abundant. There would be still some food left after all the people ate to their surfeit. The ashram officials did not like to give the balance food to outsiders. But Guru would give it to hungry poor people without others knowing about it. Once, a poor devotee came to Sivagiri. He was very hungry and tired. But, nobody gave him food. Guru’s mind was deeply hurt by this. He gave his own share of food to the hungry visitor. The officials seized this opportunity to take action against Guru, who went hungry that day. Guru felt deep pain and could not sleep that night. ‘I am unable to give even a morsel of food to others,’ Guru thought sadly. His heart was heavy. He wept and prayed that night that even if it were a piece of tapioca, he should be in a position to share it with others.
Under the tutelage of Pattani Swami, Guru was ascending the realms of transcendental experience step by step. Guru’s elevation made the satanic spirits jittery and jealous. They turned against Guru. The companions of Guru in Sivagiri who loved him till then became antagonistic without any particular reason. Guru did not involve in the group quarrels at Sivagiri and kept himself aloof from them. Guru adopted a line of non-attachment and the ethics of humanism. He loved the contestants of both groups equally. But, all of them now turned against Guru. Sivagiri as a whole was now against Guru. Swami Sankarananda, the head of the mutt, was fond of Guru. There were a few other colleagues and devotees who loved Guru. All of them were now unhappy with him. Guru did not understand the reason, for he had not done anything to harm the relationship by his word or action.
Kumara Swami alias Naadan Kumaran was now the President of Sivagiri Mutt. The power struggle had reached a climax. They tried hard to pillory Guru. However, they could not find any ground to act against him. At last they weaved a story of theft and stamped it on him. A small bronze lamp “disappeared” from Sivagiri. Authorities registered a complaint with the police, alleging theft. The secretary of the ashram briefed the sub-inspector who came for investigation. The President of the Trust, Kumara Swami, pointed to Guru and said, “It is Karunakaran who daily opens and closes the prayer hall. Nobody else enters inside.” Guru’s face reddened with protest. However, he did not lose self control or get angry. He said to the president, “Swami, I am also an heir to this place like you. Whatever right I have, you too have that. You should remember this while talking.” After speaking thus, Guru went out of the room. The sub-inspector realized that the case of lamp-theft was a fabrication. The truthfulness of Guru was so evident. He was like a wick burning in the fire of sacrifice. That effulgence was self revealing and could not be hidden.
Guru was unable to continue the life at Sivagiri owing to the harassment and accusations from people. He felt suffocated in that atmosphere of hostility and cruel apathy. Guru wished to go somewhere from Sivagiri. But where could he go? He had left his home and relatives years ago. He never went back as he had lived the life of a sanyasi at Sivagiri Mutt and its branch ashrams for several years. He did not know an independent life. He had no savings either. At last, he decided to go and see Pattani Swami, his Guru. Handing over the key of the Sree Narayana Guru samadhi, where he had performed pooja for six years, to the authorities, Guru proceeded to see Pattani Swami at Beema Masjid.
It was night when he reached Beema Masjid. Pattani Swami was not there. Then he decided to go and look in the bushes behind Beema Masjid, where Pattani Swami used to sleep. However, he was not there too. Guru decided to wait for him there. He waited in the hedge alone. There was thick darkness around and the hissing sound of the ocean lashed at the eardrums. From the deep bay of the ocean, biting cold sneaked into the bush uninvited. Guru could not sleep. He was hungry and fearful. The night crept ahead. It must have been about 2 a.m. Guru saw a shadow approaching the bush. It was a woman. She came and stood in front of Guru. She was a Muslim woman. She placed some food in front of Guru wrapped inside some leaves. She looked at Guru carefully. She realized that it was not the person she expected. However, he was hungry, she thought.
“Beema informed me that he was hungry and to give him food. That is why I brought food. I thought it was Ustad (master) who was hungry,” she explained. Guru respected her wish and accepted the food. It was non-vegetarian, which Guru did not eat. However he ate the food to assuage the burning fire of hunger. She watched him eating and continued, “You are a good believer. Otherwise Beema would not have informed me. You should therefore pray and study the holy books.” The woman had come with the food, prompted by a spiritual vision from Beema in a dream. Beema is the presiding deity in Beema Masjid.
Pattani Swami came in the morning. He said immediately on seeing Guru, “You suffered on account of hunger, isn’t it? Never mind. But you should go back to Sivagiri at this moment. Nobody is there.” These words hurt Guru like sharp thorns in the heart. He had left Sivagiri deciding never to return. He tried to convince the swami that there were two other extra people when he left Sivagiri. But still, the Guru insisted and asked him to go back. “How do I again step into Sivagiri? I had left with a decision never to go back,” Guru said again to Pattani Swami. But the swami ordered him again, “You should return to Sivagiri immediately. Nobody is there.”
‘One should not disobey the words of Guru. To obey his words, I will just step into Sivagiri and then will go to my house,’ Guru thought. He had never desired to go back to his house. Since there was no other way, his thoughts now went in that direction too. ‘How can I live in the house after years of life in an ashram? The people at home have absolutely no such culture. Therefore, if I went, it would only accentuate my detachment from worldly life. Whatever it be, let me follow the words of Guru.’ Thinking thus, he rose to go back to Sivagiri.
His mentor gave him one rupee and four annas and said,
‘Take lunch from Thambannur Grant Hotel and catch a bus from there’. Guru returned to Sivagiri in order to honour the words of his guide. Guru reached Sivagiri Mutt again. He stepped inside and drew water from the well in front of the office to wash up. At that instance, he heard a lamentation from the office. ‘O God, things have come to this sorry state!’ It was Swami Kaivalyananda. He came out from the office and saw Guru standing in front. With surprise and happiness he said hurriedly, ‘My dear Karunakara! Come fast. Nobody has lit the lamp at the samadhi today’.
Guru realized only then the pathetic situation that prevailed. ‘How true were the Guru’s words!’ After washing up, he went and lit the lamp at the samadhi and did whatever was required. There was rice porridge for the evening meal. After eating, Guru went and sat down on the platform in front of Sarada Mutt. Then Swami Kaivalyananda came there and sat down with him. The Swami began to explain about the greatness of sacrifice and service and the difficulties associated with it. For example, he quoted the lives of Sri Kelappan, T.K. Madhavan, K.P. Kesava Menon, Mannath Padmanabhan, Vaikkom Parameswaran Nair et al who had led the Vaikkom Satyagraha, undergoing great difficulties in life. There would be difficulties when serving in public organizations as these are congregations of different types of people. Therefore, he advised Guru to continue the service without getting bogged down by difficulties. It is not proper to leave the organization. People living here have come owing to various circumstances in life. They have not come here in search of transcendental truth and realization. They would not understand the greatness of sacrifice and selfless service of a renunciate. ‘Didn’t you see,’ the swami continued, ‘When you left, it was orphaned. It would be so when people like you, who have love and sacrifice in them, leave’. That night, Guru decided never to leave Sivagiri under any circumstances. It reflected Guru’s truthful readiness for sacrifice, the selfless desire for a life of service for the good of humanity.
One day after this, Pattani Swami came to Varkala in search of Guru. Guru was at Sivagiri Mutt then. Pattani Swami sat under a huge cashew nut tree near the tunnel at Varkala. He sent Vijayan to Sivagiri to fetch Guru. When Guru came, he said to him, ‘Do not go from here. You will have a change from Sivagiri. Stay on and everything will get cleared. I had to come to see you. I am going on a big journey. It would be long before I return.’ Saying thus, he took out one rupee and gave it to Guru. Pattani Swami then went away.
One day Guru was distributing sandalwood paste to devotees after the prayers at Sivagiri. One among the crowd showed his finger and asked Guru to put the paste on it. Guru put the paste on his finger and the man put it on his forehead. He showed his finger again and asked Guru to put the paste once more. Guru did not like the behaviour of this person. He asked him to stretch his hand and take the sandal paste as he was in a hurry. The person seized this opportunity and started a ruckus. He scowled, “There are some children of boatmen here, creating a stink. One gets stunk with these people.” Guru replied, “It is not your mistake. Either it is a fault in you or in your upbringing.” The person then went to Swami Narayana Teertha and complained. Swami Narayana Teertha came along with him and scolded Guru. Guru did not speak then. When Swami Narayana Teertha was sitting with Aruvipuram Chellappa Panicker and Swami Arya Bhattan, Guru went and said to him, “If you see a mistake, you can correct it. But it should be after knowing the truth. It is not fair that you speak like other ignorant people.”
The Ashram committee met that day and took some decisions. Swami Gitananda and Swami Kumarananda came and informed Guru, “The committee has decided that you should go on a trip (pilgrimage). We are telling you this with affection and not with any ill-will.” They were finding an alibi to avoid Guru. Guru understood their state of intolerance. He replied, “Good decision. If you wanted, you could ask me to leave from here. Whether to undertake a pilgrimage or not and when to undertake the same leave it to me. If I do it on your advice, would I be any better? Let me stay here for a few more days. Allow me food for four more days. I will go then.”
The four days that Guru requested for were over. It was a Thursday. Guru did not go to eat food. He sat on the sill of the ‘baalalayam’ (outer periphery) from the morning without having any food. The news spread outside. Food was brought from outside by those who loved and respected Guru. Guru thus spent 21 days on the veranda of the ‘baalalayam’. There is a hill to the north of Sivagiri. Sri Gangadharan Mudalali, a benevolent person, donated a piece of land to Guru on the slope of this hill near Varkala College. A small thatched hut was built at this place. If one looked from here to the north and east, a few houses could be seen scattered in the distance. To the west of the hill-slope was the thick foliage of a large cashew nut plantation. The place was desolate and uninhabited. Guru shifted from the active life of Sivagiri Mutt to this lonely hut on the hill. It was a Thursday and the day of ‘Utradam’ star. That day, four householders brought food for Guru. Guru bade adieu to Sivagiri forever after seventeen years of selfless service without any remuneration and any encumbrance to the institution.
The hill where Karunakaran Santhi lived came to be called Santhigiri. That was the beginning of Santhigiri Ashram. In the initial period, Guru went to Sivagiri Mutt daily, sometimes two or three times in a day. But later, he could not find the time. Guru traversed many stages in spiritual experience. Several people helped Guru in his spiritual activities after the estrangement from Sivagiri. Special mention should be made of the families of Sri Vidyadharan Kanakkan, Sri Gangadharan Mudalali, Sri Govindan and Sri Sahadevan. For twelve years Guru lived near Sivagiri. During this period, he also undertook spiritual journeys with Pattani Swami.
Even six months after Pattani Swami left Guru, there was no news of him. ‘Didn’t he return from his trip,’ Guru wondered. ‘Let me go and search for him’, Guru decided and went to look for his mentor at the usual place, near the sea shore at Beema Masjid. Fortunately, Pattani Swami was there. Seeing Guru, Pattani Swami said, ‘You did not get spiritual experience, isn’t it? Now you may go back only after getting it.’ Guru thus began to stay with Pattani Swami. It was a period of ‘avadhoota’ or spiritual wanderings.
Pattani Swami took his disciple to Thakkala, near Thiruvananthapuram. In the day time, they wandered in the hilly, remote and desolate places nearby. At sunset, they would come back to the lawns of Thakkala court. The other disciples of Pattani Swami would also assemble there at night. Occasionally, Pattani Swami would praise Guru in the presence of his other disciples. ‘You do not know him. He is great soul.’ But Guru did not feel happy about this frequent praise.
One day the swami and his disciples were sleeping in a row in the lawns of Thakkala Court. The night had begun to recede into the lap of dawn. At around 3 a.m., Guru had an extremely wonderful transcendental experience. The whole cosmos metamorphosed into a blissful ball and entered into his body. He felt as if his body was shrinking like a custard seed. Pattani Swami then hit him and asked, ‘Were you afraid?’ Guru replied, ‘Not internally’. ‘Then there is salvation,’ Pattani Swami informed.
After this spiritual experience, Guru’s nature changed totally. He was like a lunatic now. Even when he saw oncoming vehicles, he would not move away. Pattani Swami arranged a person to look after Guru. He asked Thakkala Parameswran Pillai to take a few days leave for this purpose. He looked after Guru for some time. Pattani Swami and the disciples would go around the temples in the area during day time. Guru was able to see the deities and spirits at those places with naked eyes. At the Thakkala Peerukannu Sahib Samadhi also, the same experience occurred. The sojourn of the swami and disciples continued for long. After visiting Kattuva Sahib hill and Padmanabhapuram Palace, they reached a place where ‘Kalliyankattu Neeli’, a fierce female spirit, had taken abode. Pattani Swami asked the disciples to sit down and meditate. Sri Parameshwaran Pillai then had the vision of Kalliyankattu Neeli as a ‘yakshi’ (a female spirit). When Pattani Swami asked her to leave, she disappeared. Then he asked Guru, ‘Did you see anything?’ Guru replied in the negative. Then Pattani Swami said, ‘No evil spirit would come in front of you.’ He then began to praise Guru.
They continued their journey, travelling through Tamil Nadu. At one place, they saw a clean temple within a walled complex where daily worship was taking place. They rested near the temple. At night, Pattani Swami ordered Guru and the other disciples to go inside the temple. When he returned, Pattani Swami asked Guru, “How did you feel?”
“It is good, a clean place,” Guru replied.
They had not come across any such clean temple in Tamil
Nadu. Pattani Swami entered the temple. He beckoned Guru to come along. The other disciples waited outside. When Guru entered the temple, Pattani Swami asked Guru to spit on all the idols. The Hindu disciple hesitated to spit on those idols of demigods. But it was the order of his master. One cannot disobey the words of one’s guru. He began to spit on all the idols one by one. After doing this, he came back to the swami. Pattani Swami again ordered, “Go and kick on the chest and feet of all those idols.” Guru had since childhood worshipped these deities. “How can I kick those idols,” he thought and felt a ball of desperation in the heart. However, he felt relieved that he was obeying the orders of his master. As instructed, he kicked all the idols on their chest and feet and came back. Next, Pattani Swami ordered Guru to take a piece of pottery and collect his urine. When Guru brought his urine, Pattani Swami asked him to sprinkle it on all the idols. Guru did not mind the inner feeling of consternation any more to obey the words of his mentor.
The swami and disciples then continued their journey ahead. As they went on, a sudden feeling of fear gripped Guru. “Should have I done all that in the matter of faith,” he wondered. The swami knew the torment of his disciple and therefore began to speak about the difference in the merit of eating the leftover food of a sanyasi and that offered to a demigod. He further said in conclusion, “all those spirits who inhabited the temple have attained salvation today. For a long time, they were suffering in that place.”
Guru gained spiritual experiences through Pattani Swami. Not only that, he gained freedom from physical limitations through the methods of Pattani Swami, who made him carry big fish on his head through busy main roads and walk to places with the fishing hook in hand. He also used to lock Guru inside filthy and bloody slaughter houses in the night. Once, Pattani Swami began to pray and meditate to know about Guru’s soul. The meditation continued for three days. On the third day, at around 1.30 a.m., the swami suddenly got up. He slapped Guru on his thigh and said, “You are very great. God is not revealing you to me fully.” Guru was taken aback by the pitched voice of that great man.
Guru completed his spiritual wanderings with Pattani Swami. He had received spiritual experiences mostly at Thakkala, Thiruvithamcode, Kanyakumari, the beach west of Beema Masjid, Sankhumukham, East Fort, Vallakkadavu, Manakkadu Samadhi, Poonthura, Kovalam, Sucheendram and Kattuva Sahib. One day, Pattani Swami asked Guru to remove the clothes worn by him. When Guru removed his clothes, Pattani Swami took them and tore them into two pieces. He gave one piece to Guru to wear it. He then gave Guru a slap and shouted fiercely, ‘Run’. Guru was shocked and wondered where to go. He had no experience of wandering alone. Neither was he able to live with worldly ways. He could not think about a way to lead his life. He had no idea about the aim in life. He felt like an orphan again. But it was the order of his master and could not be disobeyed. He ran wearing that rag of cloth.
It was intended to be a spiritual wandering for Guru. He began to feel the pangs of thirst and hunger. He was alone now. He was not accustomed to begging from others. His hunger and thirst became unbearable. However, in that journey he received plenty of experiences. He got the required help for food and clothes without asking for it. Experiences beyond words! He had received enough internal experiences for self-development, spiritual elevation and to rise above gloriously. Those experiences led Guru to a path of transformation. At the end of this wandering, he went back to Pattani Swami and explained all his experiences. Listening to them, the eyes of Pattani Swami filled with tears. He said to Guru, “Now you go wherever you like. You will get everything.” It was a blessing in parting. Both then boarded the train to Thiruvananthapuram. From Thiruvananthapuram, Pattani Swami went to Vallakkadavu and Guru went to Varkala. Their contacts continued for the next six- and -a-half years.

Chapter 4 : Spiritual Impasse
After completing the spiritual wanderings, Guru reached Varkala Santhigiri. He spent one-and-a-half years there in solitude. The rich experiences and transcendental visions Guru received during his spiritual wanderings were unforgettable. Those glorious experiences could be achieved only through supreme sacrifices in life. The service done by Pattani Swami to elevate Guru to those spiritual heights was invaluable. He elevated the disciple to the fourth plane in spirituality.
It was during this period, Guru interacted with many Siddhas - miracle men. Kalladi Masthan, Poonthura Swami, Vatti Swami, Chunnambu Swami and Nagercoil Mulagu Swami were some among them. Their activities amounted to spreading among people the viciousness of the demonic spirits with whose help they performed certain miracles. Through the words of Pattani Swami and through self-experience, Guru realized that these miracle men did not follow the path to peace and self-realization.
Guru went to an ashram at Varanapally which was under construction. He was living at Varkala Santhigiri then. Granting the wish of the ashram office bearers, Guru stayed there till its completion. There was a sick person near Varanapally. His problem was that if he touched cold water, his whole body, from the feet to the head, would become sensitive. He had become sick thus from the practice of yoga. Guru tried to cure him by making him stand back to back with Guru’s body. It took one-and-a-half years to cure him completely.
Guru had realized the different aspects of yoga (meditation), bhakti (devotion) and jnanam (knowledge). After performing the consecration of the ashram at Varanapally, Guru returned to Varkala Santhigiri. It was the first consecration done by Guru. Several years passed after the establishment of Varkala Santhigiri. People who loved Guru brought food for him in that hut. He spent seven years and four months thus in silent prayer. One morning, on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam, three persons came to the Guru’s hut in the manner of a pilgrimage. They were masons from Varkala. They came to Guru and said, “We wish to have food here tomorrow. Please grant us permission.” Guru agreed to fulfil their wish. The next day, they came with the necessary provisions for cooking food. That day they took food with Guru. That was the beginning of Santhigiri’s ‘annadanam’ (free offering of food). It was the fulfilment of Guru’s long-cherished desire. There was the Grace and Will of God behind this fulfilment, making ‘annadanam’ an integral part of Santhigiri Ashram.
From the next day, they made it a regular practice. Several others also started to do the same. In that month itself, hundreds of people came in this manner. They were helpless people suffering from various diseases and difficulties in life. Guru gave them holy ash and holy water – ‘vibuti’ and ‘theertham’. Those who received it experienced healing and relief from difficulties. The crowd of visitors increased day by day. Guru did not do any rituals, but only prayed for those who came. When a year passed thus, Guru could not find time to visit Sivagiri. Santhigiri had become popular among people. Even up to 1 a.m., people flocked to the Guru’s hut. Guru took upon himself the divine service of healing people, helping relieve their pain and difficulties. This had created great goodwill for Guru among the people.
A few youths, who were associated with some ill-motivated and vested interests at Sivagiri Mutt, began a campaign against Guru. But it did not succeed. The relentless flow of people to Guru continued. Three years passed thus. The devotees submitted various offerings at the feet of Guru, including vessels and other articles. The value of the articles in those days itself was around Rs. 20,000. Within a span of four-and-a-half years, a building of moderate size, a prayer hall and a well were constructed and an institutional style of functioning brought into place.
Regularly, devotees at Varkala Santhigiri took Guru to their houses to consecrate their prayer rooms according to their belief and faith. People from different castes and religions approached Guru for this purpose. Muslims would get a silver egg and silver sword wrapped in silk consecrated in their houses. The householders would henceforth perform prayers sitting in front of this. Christians also got consecrations done through Guru according to their faith. Guru did not permit the worship of low spirits such as Matan, Maruta, Bhadrakali, Yakshi etc. Mostly, he installed the portrait of Sree Narayana Guru. That also was not compelled. There was a practice of prayer sittings for 21 days or 41 days for those wishing cure for diseases. During those days, Guru himself did the worship and recited prayers for the devotees. He gave holy ash and holy water to all. That was the only practice. Guru did not do any other rituals or practice of tantra, mantra etc. People coming to Guru commonly received experiences. Those who had experiences began coming to the ashram a few times in a week. Guru would speak to them for their spiritual uplift and enlightenment.
He talked those days about Sree Narayana Guru and his own Guru, Pattani Swami, and about the Trimurthi tradition (the traditional Hindu worship of the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara).When Guru reigned at the spiritual plane of demigods, the plane of celestials, he venerated Sree Narayana Guru and the Trinity. It is the third plane in spiritual elevation. The devotees who came to Varkala Santhigiri were advised to follow the same system of worship. Those who followed it under the advice of Guru started getting miraculous experiences. People crowded the ashram like flies on a piece of jaggery. All of them were seeking a solution to their problems, diseases and afflictions from evil spirits.
Pratyakshavaham Dharmam’ has been mentioned in the Bhagavat Gita, i.e. the truth is revealed on its own. Guru received visions of truth. Not only that, he started getting revelatory words. Within a flash of a few seconds, the demigods and deities of fierce forms appeared in submission and veneration. These spiritual beings through the medium of Guru’s disciples gave necessary instructions for the cure of diseases and problems. As per that information, Guru would advise the people by when and how the disease would be cured. The healing occurred invariably even before the time predicted.
Many disciples of Guru got elevated in the matter of spiritual visions (Extra Sensory Perceptions). Several people were healed thus through the help of visions. Many received mantra initiation from Guru. The flow of people had increased greatly. Those days, Guru did the pushpanjali (ritual worship) himself. During this period, four persons received a significant vision that Guru should not perform the rituals henceforth. Guru had reached the spiritual stature of the divinities being worshipped. Hence, this visionary instruction was received. This, they informed to Guru. However, Guru continued to perform the worship.
One day, Guru was performing the morning prayers at 9 a.m. Hundreds of people were present in the prayer hall. Suddenly something strange happened. A ball of light, of blue and white aura, fell on the prayer tray held by Guru. It flew up from the Guru’s hand and fell in the north-west corner of the prayer hall. All those present witnessed it. It was then revealed that Guru should not worship the deities and only the disciples should perform the prayers. After this, Guru did not perform or recite prayers for the devotees in the prayer hall.
Occasionally, Guru would call all disciples and speak to them. The topics would be the spiritual experiences and visions of the people coming to the ashram. He would first ask the devotees to describe the visions. The people who received the visions and those who heard about them did not understand the meaning or purport of those visions. They did not have the intuition also to decipher those visions. They would therefore first describe these to Guru, which is the right practice. After listening to the experiences, Guru would ask them to reveal the experiences, if appropriate, in public, with Guru explaining the meaning and significance of those visions and revelations.
Once, a disciple saw Guru and the Trinity at the same spiritual elevation and Sree Narayana Guru, a step above, on the fourth spiritual plane. After some time, the disciple saw Guru and Sree Narayana Guru sitting at the same spiritual elevation. After a few days, there was yet another vision that revealed Guru sitting above the spiritual plane of Sree Narayana Guru. These were intimations of the various spiritual stages and Guru’s ascension of these stages in the course of time. It was a revelatory vision showing the difference between the stages of a deva (demigod), a sanyasi (ascetic) and a rishi (sage).
There is a spiritual stage in the Trimurthi system denoted as the third spiritual plane. When one reaches that plane, whatever visions and oracles are received would be felt as truth. Thus, one would try to do everything as per these. The experiences would be actualized also in the way one wishes. But, this would last only till the completion of this spiritual stage. When one moves ahead to the fourth stage, all sorts of trials and difficulties would take place. The whole world would turn against the person who has reached that state. This would be the work of highly inimical spirits in the spiritual planes which would be creating insurmountable problems in the life of this soul. They would try to mislead him in many ways. This experience would continue till he reaches the sixth spiritual stage. It is in similar circumstances Jesus said to Satan, ‘Satan, you leave me.’ Satan mercilessly led Jesus to the cross where Jesus, the Messenger of God, bewailed ‘O God, have you forsaken me?’ It occurred when Jesus had crossed the third spiritual stage. In the same spiritual stage, Prophet Mohammed suffered great persecution and fled from Mecca to Medina. The prophet once exclaimed, ‘Jinns rule the world.’ The great Buddha had mentioned about ‘Mara and his family’ for these polluted and fallen souls. Buddha died after eating contaminated pork offered as alms.
The disciples of Guru received intimation through visions that Guru also had reached this critical stage in spirituality. Guru realized that dangerous episodes of calamity were approaching him. One evening, he addressed his devotees and told them, “Soon, among you seated here, ninety percent will desert me.” Nobody could believe this. Everybody said, ‘How can I, How can I?’ But, before long it happened. Guru had known it. He did not follow the path of miracles or siddhi, as siddhi was not beneficial for the development of spiritual experience. It was in fact a hindrance to spiritual growth. There was an inherent purpose in Guru’s life. That awareness and aim protected Guru from falling into the treacherous ravine of siddhi. The crucifixion of Jesus was the unfortunate consequence of the trail of miracles that the great soul performed. When he was drained of his spiritual brilliance, the demonic forces hooked him in a trap.
The satanic forces worked against Guru too when he was ascending the fourth stage. They tried to prevent the spiritual progress of Guru. In order to dilute and nullify the spiritual brilliance of Guru, he was made to give initiation even to people possessed by evil spirits. Through initiation, the Guru has to accept half of the disciple’s virtues and vices. If the disciple goes astray, it affects the Guru spiritually.
People now began to get estranged and go away from Guru on flimsy grounds. Somebody left because Guru did not help him recover a treasure. Some people left on the ground that Guru should not have crossed the stage of Sree Narayana Guru. The person who saw this vision turned against Guru and went away. Without any rhyme and reason, people cast aspersions on Guru. The things Guru said would happen did happen. Wherever Guru’s fame had spread, now was infamy. Guru became angry when things went wrong. He began to thrash the disciples who had visions as he thought it was due to their mistake that the intimations were going wrong. But things got only worse. The devotees left Guru one by one. The public now looked at Guru with contempt. They ridiculed Guru, insulted him, harassed him and spread hateful propaganda against him. Those who were close to Guru and loved him did not go to him anymore.
Now doubts cropped up in the mind of Guru. He was passing the days in extreme torment. Those days an ‘avadhoota’ - a spiritual wanderer - came to Varkala Santhigiri and said, “Word is Truth, Truth is Guru, Guru is God’’. Guru’s mind became clear at once and all doubts vanished with these words of the ‘avadhoota’.
Guru occasionally went to the vacant house of Sri Gangadharan Mudalali at Poolanthara, Pothencode, near Thiruvananthapuram. The narrow path from Pothencode to Poolanthara was rough and deserted. The house was surrounded by wild bushes and creepers. The place had very little human habitation. One or two mud houses stood at some distance. The people were uncultured and utterly poor. Sri Gangadharan Mudalali donated a piece of land at Poolanthara in 1964 to Guru. It was a quiet and elevated place. Guru built an ashram there in the same year with mud walls and a thatched roof. There was a veranda for that small structure. The walls were whitewashed. This was used as the pooja room and the place was called Guhananda Ashram. Pattani Swami, the Guru’s mentor, had performed the consecration of Guhananda Ashram. Rishi Sai Baba, Lord Subramanya and Sree Narayana Guru were worshipped here. In the evenings, the devotees lit a lamp and sang bhajans (devotional songs).
Guru lived at Varkala Santhigiri. He rarely came to Guhananda Ashram. He stayed for one or two days on such occasions. Guru had made arrangements with some of his disciples to light the lamp. These included Sri Appu Pillai, Sri Divakaran Pillai, the sons of Sri Bhaskaran Panicker, Sri Parayil Sasi and his brothers. One Sri Janardhanan Pillai, who lived nearby, took care of the other things. Somebody from the neighbourhood would also come at night to give company to the disciples of Guru at Guhananda Ashram. Sometimes, some sanyasis from Varkala also stayed there. The ashram had only one small thatched prayer room. It was used for all other purposes as well. It was an ashram for namesake only. Later, a small thatched structure was built near this prayer hall. It had a small kitchen and a hall for serving food which could accommodate not more than half a dozen people. The floor and half-built walls were made of mud. They used to paste the floor with cow dung to purify the place.
About fifteen householders from Poolanthara and Pothencode were associated with the ashram. Sri N. Kochu Narayanan Mestri, Sri Sukumaran, Smt. Sukumari and Sri Nellikkad Falgunan, Sri Divakaran Pillai, Sri Arjunan Panicker,
Sri Bhaskaran Panicker, Sri Damodharan Panicker, Sri Sadanandan Panicker, Sri Chellappan, Sri Janardhanan Pillai, Sri Pattalam Appu Pillai, Sri Chandran Pillai, Sri Krishna Pillai and Sri Paraman Pillai and a few members of their families were among them. Some of these devotees observed ‘vritam’ (austerities) on Sundays. Those who observed ‘vritam’ would come to the ashram on Sundays. Guru would come here once in a month from Varkala on Sundays and spend the day with these devotees. On the anniversary day of the ashram, disciples from Varkala Santhigiri also came here. Guru, his close disciples and those having spiritual visions were undergoing several difficulties. In those days, a revelation was received that Guru should live in isolation, away from the company of people. Therefore he remained quiet for two months. Again the same intimation was received. Guru then came to the Pothencode Guhananda Ashram and spent seven months in solitude.
The work on Guru Vihar at Vaikkam was in progress during days. It was a cave used by Sree Narayana Guru. The owner of this cave requested Guru to visit the place once in a week and Guru acceding to his request went there weekly. On those trips, he occasionally stayed at the house of Sri Kuzhivila Kadalikkad Gopalan Master at Vaikkom Mel Kadakkavur. It was Guru who laid the foundation stone for the Guru Vihar prayer hall. On one occasion, some householders were talking to Guru about their problems and illness. Then a few youths came there and began to scold Guru. Guru then discontinued his visits to that place.
Again intimation was received to go to an isolated place. Along with this, two lines of a mantra were also revealed to two disciples, one male and one female, from the Light. The male received ‘Aum Sree Karunakara Guru Parabrahmane Namah’ and the female ‘Aum Sree Karunakara Guru Satyapradaya Namah’. The name of Brahman as revealed from the Light of Brahman! It was also intimated that this mantra should be chanted and potentiated. Those who received the mantra, informed Guru about it. But Guru did not allow the disciples to chant this as it had his name in it.
One day, early in the morning, Guru and Kadalikkad Gopalan Master were waiting at the Kadakkavoor railway station to go to Chirayankizh. A group of youths, who were returning from a temple festival, came that way. When they saw Guru they started insulting and ridiculing him. When Guru proceeded to board the train, one among them hit Guru and pulled his shawl. An error had happened that day. There was an intimation that Guru should not go out for a week. He remained indoors for six days. The seventh day, he went out, forgetful of the intimation.
Guru came to the Kadalikkad house at Vaikkam. He began to think why the people, who once praised, venerated and respected him, now defiled him. Then once again intimation was received that he should remain in solitude, away from the sight of people. The intimation was repeated three times. Therefore, Guru decided to shift from Varkala and spend the days of seclusion at Pothencode. Almost the entire public near Sivagiri seized this opportunity to ridicule Guru. They let out the propaganda that Guru was beaten up and driven out from Varkala Santhigiri.
In one way, it was true that there was a minor scuffle. It was the time of the Sivagiri pilgrimage. There was a practice of ‘homam’ (fire ritual) at Santhigiri those days. Guru was not at Varkala then. He was at the Kadalikkad house at Vaikkom. A group, including Sri Srinivasan alias Panayara Manja, Umminimoodu Sridharan, the son-in-law of Anchu Thengil Neelakantan Mudalali, went to buy the articles for the ‘homam’. When they returned with the articles and were about to enter the ashram, a couple of outsiders started a ruckus. When the Santhigiri inmates questioned them, they assaulted them and went. Those who beat them and those who were beaten both went their way without any further proceedings. Guru had informed Advocate Pushpangadan through a letter to arrange police protection at the place before the incident took place. But the words of Guru were not taken seriously. Thus word spread that Guru was beaten up and driven out from Varkala.

Chapter 5 : Spiritual Completion
A night in December, 1968, Guru came to Guhananda Ashram and made it his permanent abode. The ashram then consisted of a small prayer hall and a thatched shed which was commonly used for cooking and other purposes. A small thatched hut was additionally built besides the kitchen for Guru. While Guru slept inside, the disciples stayed out in the veranda providing guard. When Guru began to stay there permanently, a few devotees from the neighbourhood – Sri Prabhakaran, either one of his brothers Sri Madhavan or Sri Sahadevan - also started sleeping the night at the ashram. In the beginning, there were only a few people with Guru. Sri Babu, Sudhakaran (a mentally disturbed person), Sri Thankappan and his brothers Sri Prabhakaran and Sri Sahadevan from Poolanthara. Prasannan, who came along with Guru, was only sixteen years then. Prasannan performed the rituals as advised by Guru. Guru would, through Prasannan, seek the intimations for various matters. Guru did everything according to these revelatory intimations received through transcendental vision or darshan.
Those days, a revelatory instruction was received thus: ‘Do not do anything for the next nine months. Engage yourself in prayers and meditation. A change is going to happen after this’. It was a time when Guru was not supposed to be interacting with people. Nothing was to be done for anyone. Even holy ash could not be given to devotees. Guru spent the days in confinement in prayers and meditation. One day, a family from Varkala came to see Guru. It was Sri Sridharan, his wife and their six-month-old son. They were in great torment as puss had formed in the child’s navel and spread. Doctors had advised surgery in two stages. They had with them the test result from the Trivandrum Medical College Hospital.
Only four months had passed after the intimation to spend nine months in confinement and without doing anything spiritually. Therefore, Guru said, ‘I am not permitted to do anything now. You should take the child to hospital only’. The parents of the child did not listen to Guru’s words. They decided to stay there and informed Guru. ‘If the child has to die, let it die here. We are not going anywhere else from the protection of Guru’. Seeing their difficulties, though he had no sanction, Guru gave the child holy ash and holy water. He did this continuously for 21 days. One day, as he was applying holy ash on the child’s navel, puss and putrid blood with an extremely foul smell spurted from the navel. Guru pressed out the puss completely. The child afterwards recovered and was healed.
Sri Babu cooked food and looked after the other necessities of Guru. It was a time for Guru to observe extreme caution. He could not receive the gift of money from others. Only the disciples could receive the same. Guru faced financial difficulties now. It was hard to meet the expenses for food for the inmates and visitors. As Guru was not permitted to do anything spiritually, the income also was reduced. Many days thus passed without any provision even for food. Guru in that period entrusted Sahadevan Swami to perform 41 days special prayers. On the 26th day, Guru went on a visit to the house at Kadalikatt. That day Sahadevan Swami packed up his things and left the ashram, without informing anybody. The next day when Guru came back, the matter was reported to him.
Guru said, ‘Let him be gone’.
Sahadevan Swami had gone complaining that he was not informed of his wife’s death when he was on the 41-day spiritual performance. Guru had sent the necessary money for his wife’s rites. The matter was not informed to him as he was on an important spiritual observance. He was entrusted with it as per the intimation received from the Light. But that person had now breached the spiritual covenant and gone away. Guru was particular not to follow the path of siddhi – the performance of miracles. The Swami who had gone thus without the permission of Guru became a yoga bhrashta – a spiritually fallen soul and soon died of some disease.
Though Guru spent his days as per the intimation to live away from the company of people, those who knew Guru continued to visit him now and then. Well wishers like Sri Madhavan, Sri Narayanan Mistri, Sri Sadasivan, Sri Bharatan and others helped Guru those days to tide over the financial crisis. These devotees purchased and brought rice and other provisions to the ashram.
It was revealed that nothing should be done without getting the intimation from the Light. As per that, Guru lived in confinement without any spiritual performances. It was just like a life incognito. During this period, a group of about 15 people brought a woman to the ashram one afternoon. Her name was Saraswati Amma and she lived near the ashram. She suffered from fits of possession by evil spirits and had become unconscious. That was the last day of the nine-month confinement for Guru as per the intimation. It was looked into whether it was permitted to do anything in the case of this woman. Then intimation was received from the Trimurthi and the sages under them, “Now you may slowly start healing people.” As per this intimation, Guru gave the woman holy water and holy ash. She regained consciousness and became completely normal.
With this, there began a big rush of people to the ashram from nearby areas. There were people from all religions and castes. Those who came were possessed by evil spirits. Once these people entered the ashram they would become violent and uncontrollable. They would get entranced and scream, scratch and scold. People affected thus and with other diseases started coming to the ashram from distant places too. Within a period of three weeks about sixty people were healed. In those days, there were no buildings or other facilities in the ashram. The sick and their relatives slept on the bare ground or on grass enduring the rigours of nature. They were prepared to suffer the hot sun or the cold mist driven by the hope of a cure to their problems.
Those days there were about 45 sick people at the ashram. Most of them belonged to the Muslim and Nair communities. There were some acute cases among them. Guru exterminated the demonic spirits through silent contemplation and submissive prayers. The spiritual intercession was effected through the disciples, not directly by Guru, during the prayer times at the ashram. Guru was the medium of this spiritual intercession. The sick persons would be informed that they would be relieved of their suffering within such and such time. Some were asked to perform prayers for certain periods of time as suggested by Guru. These instructions were given as per the intimations received through visions. Initially, everything took place as per the intimations. But later, the intimations started proving wrong. Such a situation had developed at Varkala also. Though Guru gave holy water and holy ash, the sick and those possessed were not getting healed. By following the intimations received through visions, now nothing beneficial happened. It was looked into in several ways, but a clear picture was not available. The revelations were proving wrong. The situation at Varkala seemed to be repeating here.
Guru again thought it was due to the mistake of the disciples through whom intimations were received. Guru scolded and thrashed them. But it was all futile. The deadlock became severe. Finally it became clear that the mistake was in the intimation itself. When Guru was thus in turmoil, unable to realize the reason behind the impasse, he became angry and said to the disciples who had the visions: “Throw away this junk.” Saying thus he locked himself in the ‘parnasala’(resting place). He did not allow anyone to see him.
“I did not come desiring all this. I have come in search of peace for the soul. I was made to do all this and now I am left in the lurch. I will not take this up again. I do not want all this.” Thinking thus, he entered into deep meditation. It was time for food, but Guru did not get up. He did not accept even water. Completely detached, he remained in meditation. Others in the ashram also forsook food. The congregation of people now began to pray in unison. That day there were about 150 people at the ashram. Five families had come from Pothencode for prayers. All of them starved and prayed in deep agony.
It was past noon. The prayers continued. Through intimation, it was informed to Guru that he should get up and take food. But, Guru refused. He vowed that he should know the truth for certain. Otherwise, he would not even touch drinking water. The spiritual powers from which the intimations were being received now became alarmed and afraid. There was a special intimation that nobody should take the food already prepared for that day. The evil forces had made the food and water poisonous. The intimation was that nobody should take food until word was received from the Light. There was an instruction not to drink water from the well in the ashram. Disregarding this, two persons drew water from the well and drank. After a while they vomited the water, blue in colour.
There was also an intimation that one should not sleep during the prayers. Nellikkatt Sahadevan, who fell asleep in the ashram yard, was lifted up by some force and dropped down with a thud. Neither he nor the others could see who did it. Among other instructions, there was a prohibition on going out of the ashram. A person, who went out, felt that he was being thrown back into the ashram by somebody. But he could not see anybody around him. When all these strange things happened, people began to pray frantically without a break.
In the afternoon, at 4 p.m., a bright radiance appeared. It was a pure white radiance never seen before. Word was received from that Light. “Suffered a lot, isn’t it? Never mind, everything will be alright. Now Guru and all others should take food. Wait for me again at 5 p.m.” When Guru was informed about this, he permitted them to do accordingly. All people, including Guru, took food. When it was five minutes to five, the Light appeared again. Instructions were received from the Light about the things to be done. It was the opening of a new chapter and actions were initiated as per the words from that Light.
With this, almost all the powers in the spiritual planes started to resist Guru. These included countless evil spirits, rishis, sanyasis, gurus and even the Trimurthi (Trinity Gods). The resistance and misguidance of these divinities were now clearly perceived. All this was known through visions. Word came on how to safeguard from this spiritual depravity. A person by the name Pattalam Ramakrishnan, possessed by a terrible Gandharva (a fierce goblin), was screaming and repeating such intimations being informed to Guru. During this time, the problems of sick persons became acute. Those who were possessed screamed and jumped in trance. Lunatics shouted and ran in all directions. The atmosphere in the ashram became chaotic with the terrible actions and screaming of the afflicted people.
The only way to overcome the spiritual resistance from the subtle cosmic beings was prayer. It took many days of fasting and prayers, which were repeated many times, to subdue the belligerent spiritual and depraved forces wielding enormous siddhi – miraculous power. It was indeed a ferocious spiritual war as it entailed a seminal and epochal spiritual change in the world. All devotees obeyed the instructions of Guru based on the intimations from the Light.
In those days, there were no facilities in the ashram as at present. People prayed sitting on the uneven ground full of gravel. They prayed incessantly, foregoing sleep and food, disregarding the harsh sun, rain or mist. Several people swooned praying in the simmering heat. It was an epochal spiritual war in which the weapons of the victorious were their innocent and heart-felt prayers. The merciless spiritual powers, however, persisted.
As the crisis continued, the divine intervention of Sri Krishna was necessitated to end the upheaval. Krishna came in a chariot and stood in the atmosphere of the ashram for a week to nullify all opposition. He revealed to the disciples that from now on if they surrender and pray to the soul effulgence of Guru all the hindrances would be removed. Thus, the disciples got the conviction that the intimations from the demigods were incorrect. Guru advised them not to depend on the intimations from the demigods and to take instructions from the White Transcendental Light alone. Revelation was received to the effect that the devotees should chant only the ‘Akhanda Naamam’ (the mantra received from the Light with Guru’s name) and act in accordance with the intimations from the Transcendental Radiance.
The countless souls and demonic powers in the spiritual sky were consigned to the fire of the radiance of Brahman. Within 21 days everything was calm. Brahman sent nine chariots in order to coronate Guru as the Spiritual Authority of the nine planets, 12 zodiacs and 27 constellations i.e. the controller of the whole solar system. Thus the meaning of Guru’s life and the intent of Godly Will were clarified. The chariots sent by Brahman returned after circling the nine planets. It marked the completion of Guru’s spiritual stature. Lord Sri Krishna stood guard to this spiritual transition and helped Guru with utmost vigil and a divine mission. After Guru’s spiritual completion, Sri Krishna went back with an instruction to the disciples of Guru: “From now on, Guru takes my place. Do everything in Guru’s name and you shall overcome all problems.”
Guru filled the universe as the Totality of Dharma. The Will of Brahman was fulfilled by the coronation of Guru as the heir to a new world. The followers of Guru adopted a worship system based on faith in One Universal God, the Brahman. As per the Divine intimation, they accepted the path of Guru - ‘Guru Margam’ - and began worshipping Him as the medium to the Transcendental Light.
Despite all this, Guru was still unprepared to remove the portraits of the demigods and divinities in the prayer hall which he had kept and worshipped. ‘A time will come for that. Then let the disciples do it’, Guru said. The disciples continued to worship in front of those portraits but in the name of Guru. In 1972, Guru went on a trip to Kallar, a hilly forest area in Idukki district of Kerala. During his stay there, another spiritual completion took place. Suma, a girl disciple of Guru, got two visions. Guru was seen as the king of forest people there and also as a great sage with several hundred disciples.
The other vision was like this. In a circle of light, there appeared a big lotus bud. Slowly its petals opened one by one. At last it was fully bloomed. Then each petal began to fall one by one. When asked about its meaning, it was further revealed that each petal stood for a great soul who had come from the beginning of this Kali Yuga (Kali Yuga began more than 5200 years ago, after the demise of Sri Krishna. The total duration of the Kali Age is 432,000 years). Then the number 2444 was shown. It meant that these many great souls had come into the world after the time of Sri Krishna.
These souls had come to implement the covenant of Brahman, the Supreme. However, they were unable to fulfil the Will of God as the nature of God’s great mission was not understood in its proper measure. Several of them were cast in the fire of great torment and persecution. Some of them were caught in the tangles of egotism, learning, miracles or caste and religious affiliations subtly instigated by the web of demonic spirits. Therefore, the covenant of God could not be fulfilled in the world. Thus Brahman manifested Himself through Guru to guide the world in the Dharma of Kali Yuga.
The blossom of lotus and the fallen petals denoted the great souls and their merger in the great Light of Guru’s soul. All of them would manifest in this Guru Parampara (Guru Lineage) as per the Will of Brahman to fulfil their life mission. This Guru lineage will be led ahead by such fulfilments. Guru becomes the progenitor of this new Guru Lineage. The attainment of self-realization will be through the medium of Guru for those great seekers of truth before they merge with the Transcendental Light of Brahman. Through Guru, the Brahmic Will is manifested and it will continue to manifest throughout the course of the cosmic wheel of time.
In the Light of Brahman 2444 Gurus and their lineages were shown. Each of these Gurus has billions of souls as disciples and followers. The initial seven Gurus have 100 billion followers and the rest have 40 billion followers. The malevolence and pollution in all these Guru lineages should be purified, rectifying the cause of the spiritual fall. It is the mission of Guru’s manifestation. All these purified souls are remaining in the spiritual sky. Guru performs the purification of these souls by radiating his prayerful effulgence. Guru thus destroyed the demonic streak in all these lineages. The Gurus in these lineages were then given release in the Light of Brahman. This process of cosmic purification took four-and-a-half years to complete.
On 1st September, 1973, intimation was received from Brahman that a spiritual performance should be done by men and women belonging to all 27 ‘nakshatram’ (stars). It was for the fructification of Guru’s spiritual completion. As per the intimation, men and women belonging to all 27 stars conducted the prayer. It was an aspect related to the consecration of Guru as the Spiritual Authority for cleansing the cosmic vexation arising from the debris of fallen souls and their negativity in the realm of spiritual realization. Thus a new plane of life transformation could be opened and through that an opportunity for the birth of a good and noble generation of human beings will be realised.
A handful of ordinary people, without any knowledge or experience, performed this fundamental action of great significance. Guru made them perform these actions as per the intimations from Brahman from time to time. These actions were denoted by Brahman as Spiritual Completions or Fulfilments. It was the fulfilment of the Will of Brahman through Guru. On the completion of this series of spiritual fulfilments, a revelation came from Brahman on 20th September, 1973 (4th of Kanni, 1149 ME): “What I desired for aeons has been fulfilled now. I am satisfied’.
In the year 1985, intimation was received like this. “This place (Santhigiri) will become a world famous pilgrimage centre. After the year 1973, to the householders who live a righteous life, at least to a small measure, would be born virtuous children. They would be more blessed and elevated than their parents.”
When Guru talked on that day, he said, “The lineages of disciples of these Gurus have been taking birth all over the world since the year 1973. These children would feel an affinity to this Guru Parampara. Children of great elevation would take birth in this Guru Lineage than anywhere else. Our prayers, conceptions and actions are all towards this end.”
Guru has thus become the Presiding Authority for all constellations, spiritual planes and planets. He gained the spiritual self-fulfilment to bring all souls in the spiritual planes under His spiritual brilliance and to cleanse them. He became the cosmic entity in which all beings submerge. He became verily the cosmic time, the endless universe with countless solar systems, the manifested form itself of Brahman. He became the formless form of Brahman, the Aumkar.
It was revealed during the spiritual completion of Guru that the wish of Brahman had been fulfilled. What Brahman wished was the establishment of the true path of self-realization for the whole humanity. The spiritual completion of Guru opened the door to that realization.


Chapter 6 : Consecration of Prayer Hall

The Prayer Hall at Santhigiri Ashram is consecrated as per the Will of Brahman. The foundation stone for the Prayer Hall was laid by Guru on 20th October, 1986, Monday, at noon (Malayalam Era 1162, Tulam 3). It was constructed as per the intimations from Brahman according to the concept of cosmic wheel consisting of 27 constellations, 12 zodiac divisions and 9 planets. The sanctum sanctorum was erected on the morning of 30th January, 1989. The concept of Guru behind the establishment of this Prayer Hall is to nourish a universal culture based on truth. The consecration took place at 3 a.m. on 10th February, 1989 (Malayalam Calendar 1164, Makaram 28). Guru Himself performed the consecration. Prayers and contemplations associated with it were done from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m.
A magnificent golden lotus with the conceptual 2444 petals! This had been revealed through vision. The splendid and beautiful lotus was installed in the Prayer Hall above a platform having ten steps. These ten steps denote the elevated soul effulgence of Guru that exists above ten spiritual planes. Above the golden lotus is the glorious outline of Guru. Situated in its centre (heart) is the glittering Aumkar. From the Aumkar, rays of radiant light spread in all directions.
The completion of prayers and contemplations for the consecration took place on 23rd April, 1989 (M.E. 1164, Medom 10). The anniversary of the consecration is celebrated on Makaram 28th and the completion of consecration on Medom 10th. These are the sacred days granted to mankind by the Grace of Brahman to pray and dedicate oneself to that Supreme Will till the end of time. These days are the memorable milestones made available by the Providence of God, laying the path of worship and dharma in the Kali Yuga for the whole of humanity. Nothing should impair that sanctity and its significance, our burden of work or other rituals in life.
The consecration meant the pouring out of Guru’s own soul effulgence in the object consecrated. This caused severe repercussion in the physical body of Guru. The soul of Guru! The soul of transcendental union and bliss; the soul that ploughed the path for liberation in the Kali Yuga; the soul that has self-fulfilled through innumerous divine manifestations such as a deva (demigod) or a rishi (sage) for self-realization! From the peak of transcendental solitude and God realization, Guru came down to the world of mortals as per the decree of Brahman. Rising again from the ocean of perfection, re-enacted the spiritual ascensions and fulfilments, in the short span of a life. He burnt Himself countless times in the fire of endurance. When He passed through this fire of torment, self-fulfilment or spiritual completion took place. His soul became the universal abode of the 2444 gurus born in this Kali Yuga. He was elevated to the true meaning of ‘Guru is verily the Supreme Brahman’, proving the scriptural aphorism. He became the Supreme Father of the universe fulfilling Godly Will.
The appointed time for the graceful transfer of His soul effulgence as willed by Brahman came near. It was the peak of self sacrifice – the sacrificial consecration of one’s own soul that pulsated inseparably with the Light of Brahman. The soul is installed or poured out on to something external. It is like discarding one’s soul from the body or transferring one’s soul to an external object. That was the consecration Guru did. The ultimate sacrifice of forsaking one’s soul with all its earned virtue out of sacrifices made through thousands of births. Here the sacrifice of Guru and the Will of God get fulfilled in perfect unison. The golden moment in the history of sacrifices! But it is not the end of the historical path of sacrifice. It is only its beginning, the point of emergence which will thread through the epochal valleys of time – the Manvanataras.
The first step in the process of Santhigiri’s ascension in the spiritual sky of the world had already begun with the consecration of the Prayer Hall by Guru. The Word of Brahman that Santhigiri would become a world famous pilgrimage centre began to be actualized in the subsequent years. Thousands of people began to climb the steps of Santhigiri Ashram. World famous political leaders, literary giants, stalwarts in the social and scientific fields, spiritual leaders from all religions and creeds, thinkers and educationists - all came to Santhigiri Ashram and saw the ray of hope, in the preparation for a great renaissance, emanating from Santhigiri. They experienced indescribable peace and transcendental joy in the abode of Guru.
Thousands of families from a society divided by the walls of caste, religion and class migrated to a new spiritual movement of equality, spiritual experience and guidance. They experienced Godly love and fatherly protection at the feet of Guru. They submitted themselves at the feet of Guru along with all their possessions, worldly and otherwise. Thus a big community of disciples and devotees sprang up at Santhigiri Ashram. Guru created an enviable model of self-sufficient community living, which has become the succour and hope for thousands of people, engaged in various professions, trades and enterprises. It was the birth of a new spiritual movement bereft of caste and religious identities and discrimination. It ploughed the path of liberation and human elevation to a depressed and diseased society, opening up the spring of a universal transformation.
Fulfilling the revelations during the days of ‘spiritual completions’ of Guru that great souls from all Guru Lineages would take birth in this Guru Parampara (Guru Lineage) thousands of families were cleansed of the spiritual drawbacks at the genetic level so as to prepare the way for the birth of noble souls in the subsequent generations of these families. This spiritual cleansing was called Guru Pooja in Santhigiri Ashram, which is performed for the families of devotees with the permission from Guru.
Guru continued to live a life of extreme simplicity. He lived under the roof a thatched hut till His last moments. The devotees of Guru wished to construct a magnificent edifice for Guru, the divine manifestation. Guru permitted the construction of this building and named it as Sahakarana Mandiram – the House of Cooperation. It was revealed about this that it would become the meeting place of world leaders, in the times to come, to discuss issues facing mankind. The heads of nations would come to Santhigiri to seek guidance from Guru on various matters. The process of actualizing this prophecy has already begun. The President of the Indian Republic, top leaders of national political parties, Governors, Ambassadors, Central and State Ministers and other top officials have met Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, the Successor of Guru, at the Sahakarana Mandiram and held discussions in the subsequent years after the passage and merging of Guru in the Primordial Light of Brahman.
Guru had completed the purpose of His life and the mission with which Brahman had entrusted Him. On Thursday, 6th May, 1999, at 9.35 p.m., Guru left His physical body. His soul left the mortal world and merged in the Primordial Radiance of Brahman – the Adisankalpam. He became NavaOli and Navajyothi, the New Radiance of Brahman. A revelation came from that Light after Guru’s merger with Adisankalpam. ‘Do not think that I have gone from you. I am with each one of you, as the totality in your life. I will continue to guide this Guru Parampara till the end of time’. After Guru’s merger with the Adisankalpam, as per the intimations from the Light, a disciple was elevated to the position of Sishyapoojitha, the venerated among the disciples. Thus, Janani Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, who was with Guru from the age of nine and who performed spiritual intercessions on behalf of Guru through the medium of transcendental visions for a long period, became the first Sishyapoojitha of Guru. Guru’s presence and guidance still continue as prophesied and will ever continue for ages to come. A golden era has begun, not only for India, but for the whole humanity. The liberating, transforming and guiding Light of Guru is the threshold to that great dawn of civilizational change and uplift.

Chapter 7 : Merging in the Adisankalpam
Guru left His physical body at 9.35 on the night of Thursday, 6th May, 1999 (23rd Medom, 1174 ME). The occurrences and reflections of it manifested from 5.30 in the evening on that day. Guru wanted Janani Amritha Jnana Thapaswini (now the revered Sishyapoojitha) to do the sankalpam. When Sishyapoojitha asked Guru what should be the sankalpam, Guru directed that the present sankalpam being done (Ella Vidha Deva Paramparyum…..) is enough:
‘It is prayed to the Supreme Light that all lineages belonging to all manner of gods, (deva parampara) goddesses (devi parampara), sages (rishi parampara), spiritual teachers (guru parampara) and all others – may these merge in the lineage of my Guru and the karmic strength of the entire solar system – may it belong to and gain strength in Guru – and may it get actuated in everything.’
Guru asked her (Sishyapoojitha) to envision this in every atom of the solar system along with its aspects of actualization. Guru then did sankalpam for ten minutes. At that time, Sishyapoojitha saw that the entire solar system was spinning and the Light of Guru (the Soul of Guru) was lashing with a roar with the terrific speed of a storm. When she informed Guru of this vision, Guru said: ‘Everything is there; it is enough; there is nothing more to get’.
The sankalpam continued. Trillions of things were in a flux, including several solar systems! Guru in the physical state was seen strongly penetrating inside every devotee. Suddenly, Guru rose. It was at that moment Guru left His body. The time then was 9.35 p.m.
The visions of Sishyapoojitha following this:
Trillions of luminescent forms of Guru in myriad states manifested. The radiance in each of these was reaching out to the objects in the planets and purifying them. It was a purification with regard to the aspect of chaturyugas. Even for a single ascetic puissance of Guru, there were 48 trillion variations.
Guru had, earlier, got the purification done by Sishyapoojitha up to 12 chaturyugas. The rest (chaturyugas up to the present 28th) were cleansed when Guru merged in ‘Adisankalpam’ (The Primordial Plane of Consciousness). It was not possible to count the souls thus caught for cleansing. All these souls have been stationed in the Ashram around the Parnasala and the Prayer Hall.
All the matters that Guru wished were fulfilled. The Radiance of Guru had in the year 1978 revealed during the time of sankalpam that once the Supreme Blessed Radiance gets actualized in the Parampara, Guru would not remain in the bodily state.
It is not right to say that Guru was lying merging in Adisankalpam because the process of cleansing was still going on. It continued until 5 a.m. the next day. When Guru’s body was taken to the Parnasala (in the afternoon, 7th May), the solar systems and the cosmos were under the Supreme Radiance of God.
Guru, remaining as ‘NavaOli’ (New Light and Sound) from the time of merging in the ‘Adisankalpam’ till 29th June, 1999, gave hundreds of intimations. Significant among these are the ordained duties of disciples; dharmic matters related to the future course of action to be fulfilled as per the Will of Almighty for the fulfilment of the physical and spiritual aspects for the sake of humanity; and intimations with regard to mankind’s future.
Guru informed that He will give guidance in all matters by Himself. Certain intimations received by Sishyapoojitha that can be revealed are being mentioned here now. Other revelations cannot be made known at present as there is no consent for it from the Brahmic Will. These shall be revealed as and when the occasion comes and the sanction for it is received.
The first intimation revealed by Guru was about the matters relating to the interment of His body and the spiritual performances with regard to it. The intimation from Brahman is to refer to Guru’s physical departure as ‘Adisankalpathil Layichu’ – ‘Merged in the Primal Plane of Consciousness’. Along with this there was an intimation to pray, observing vows for 1001 days with the sankalpam that:
‘It is prayed to the Supreme Light that all lineages belonging to all manner of gods, goddesses, rishis, gurus and all others – may these merge in the lineage of my Guru and the karmic strength of the entire solar system – may it belong to and gain strength in Guru – and may it get actuated in everything’.
‘On this earth, by the mere touch of this earth which exists here, fulfilling the sankalpam and prayers of 1001 days, there will be relief from all problems’.
The intimation from Brahman as aforesaid is that there will be relief from all sorts of diseases and there will be all manners of peace. Everyone can actualize this through their efforts. The ‘Yaama Praarthana’ – the prayers taking place at the Ashram at three-hour intervals is for the fulfilment of this sankalpam for all times.
The intimation received subsequently is that the physical separation of Guru should not be referred to as ‘samadhi’. The word samadhi is generally used for the physical end of Mahatmas. It can be said so about one who reaches the stage of Jnana - realization. However, with regard to Guru, it is a state beyond all spiritual stages of realization achieved after voyaging several astral planes of consciousness, becoming thus One with the Primal Contemplative Plane, viz. the Supreme Radiance of God.
In that plane of White Radiance, self- resplendent and free of everything but in which everything has its existence and which is experienced as the truth behind all visions of disciples, everything merges in it, losing all characteristics of thought and form. This Radiance is seen penetrating the souls of all devotees and believers, who then appeared in the form of Guru. The whole universe gets absorbed in the form and contemplation of Guru.
The writ of Brahman again came that it should be in the Parnasala that the physical body of Guru should be interred and it (the interment) should be referred to as ‘Divya Pooja Samarpanam’; the place, where rest the physical remains of Guru, should be called as ‘Parnasala’.
Guru remaining as the Radiance informed further:
‘Do not think that I am not there. I exist in each one of you as your very essence. From now on, I can be got in vision only through the aspect of devotion. What is received in the aspect of devotion only should be taken as authentic. This is the truth at all times with regard to visions’.
Guru remaining in vision revealed the time for the ‘Divya Pooja Samarpanam’ and how the body should be interred. Guru the same day informed thus:
‘The differences of religion, caste, colour and class discriminations should never come in the Parampara. If it is done so, I will destroy everything remaining as a formidable power’.
The same day, it was further informed that floral offerings should be made for 72 days from the day of the ‘Adisankalpam’, observing prayers and sankalpam. The 72 days are symbolic of the 72 years for which Guru remained in the physical body. Intimation from Brahman was also received that the concluding day of the 72 days prayers should be called as ‘NavaOli Sankalpa Pooja’.
The words ‘Adisankalpathil Layichu’, ‘Divya Pooja Samarpanam’, ‘NavaOli Sankalpa Pooja’ are all revealed by Guru remaining in His subtle radiant form.
Giving the ordination that ‘All my matters should be performed informing all and with the participation of all’, Guru also informed the manner in which the ‘NavaOli Sankalpa Pooja’ should be performed. As per that intimation, ‘NavaOli Sankalpa Pooja’ commenced at 3 a.m. on the 72nd day and ended with a ‘deepa pradakshinam’ at night. The prayers and sankalpam with the observance of vows continued till 30th January, 2002.
Guru informed that the Parnasala, where Guru reclines receiving the ‘Divya Pooja Samarpanam’, should be maintained as it is and should be protected as a prayerful memorial for all times. An enveloping edifice (aavarana soudham), as befitting and magnificent, should be built with the total love and cooperation of the Parampara.
It was shown in vision that the idol in the Parnasala is to be installed inside the chamber where Guru rests - above eleven steps - on the replica of a globe made on a lotus shaped pedestal with the representation of the 27 stars, 12 zodiacs and nine planets.
Those with clarified vision always see Guru sitting on a seat (peettam) in all resplendence and receiving the worship when flowers are offered with sankalpam. As Guru is the Radiance which absorbs all other powers, there would be no rites of mourning, it was revealed.
Guru continued to give instructions regarding the Ashram administration, one by one. Guru instructed that there should be Guru Darshan daily at the Sahakarana Mandiram from 10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. and the recordings of Guru’s words (Guruvani) should be played and the pain and suffering undergone by Guru should be told to all people. Monday, as was the practice, would be the rest day for Guru.
The portrait of Guru that was kept in the Parnasala should be enlarged and kept in the Sahakarana Mandiram, it was informed.
‘Those who wish to become Brahmacharis should be made to pray for 72 days and after realizing themselves the status of their souls, and getting guidance through the person handling vision (darshan), they should reach the state of desired perfection. They can become so (Brahmacharis) according to my words, if it is destined for them.
‘Those who accept the vow of Sanyasa should do so only after seeing what they get after worshipping me for 12 days. I will myself inform the name to be given to them and all other matters. It will be so for all times to come’.
Guru said: ‘There should be no election or any type of competition, at any time. You should not get into such a situation. I will myself intimate you everything. I will intimate you only as per the Will of Brahman. There should be no talk inside the Ashram such as ‘Secretary, President and Treasurer’, whoever it is. One should not utter here any such word which will annihilate all virtue.’
Guru then said sternly: “I remain as I am.”
‘The householder disciple is led to sanyasa, before which he should be made to pray for 72 days. When it is disclosed by me that which is required for him, understanding his wrongs and virtues, those having darshan should see what is in his soul. He should then never go back to his house. Whatever is required with regard to the family obligations should be expedited by the other people here.
‘Whoever it is, be it even a sanyasi, if they get deviated, they should not be excused. Let them go to other places. If someone acts negatively in the Parampara, seeing whatever I inform about it, correct them by instructing them suitably in order to nullify their karma and if they do not correct themselves, leave them to their own way. I will take them to Brahman under my direct guidance, making it actualize as per the Dharma of Brahman.
‘Those who accept the vow of sanyasa submitting everything before me, I will give them everything by myself. They will see it themselves.
‘I am not separate from you. I exist in everyone as the Absolute.
‘No one should enter the Parnasala wearing a shirt. Do not mention it as samadhi. In front of the Parnasala, the words ‘Parnasala’ should be written and kept.
‘Only truth should be informed while seeing in vision.
‘All should be able to keep my words as the words of Brahman. My words should be kept undiluted. ‘After 12 years, sanyasis shall wear white clothes.
‘Those who accept ‘deeksha’ (vow of sanyasa) should offer garlands at the ‘peetom’ after floral offerings. Offer flowers once again then. The articles for sanyasa deeksha should be arranged in front along with the water for ceremonial washing (padaprakshalanam). I will give deeksha directly or otherwise’.
Guru then came directly in an indescribable way.
‘A meeting should be called at Pothencode three days before the 72nd day and all my matters should be informed to them. My gratefulness to them should also be informed. They should be invited to the Ashram for lunch.’
The time to start the work of the Parnasala, the place where the lamp should be lit, the things to be done inside and outside the Parnasala and the shape of the gate and all were informed.
Instead of ‘Mattathipathi’, the word ‘Gurukula Brahma Niveditan’ was given by Guru. The one who offers himself – all his actions, mind and body; one who is offered to Brahman – ‘Gurukula Brahma Niveditan’!
Guru informed that Gurupooja can be done in continuance of the practice. ‘No one should commit a mistake’. Guru informed this Himself, ablaze in the radiance, doing sankalpam. Guru is making all to perform, remaining strongly in the subtle as well as the gross and the planetary dimensions too.
It was seen that Guru was entering the houses of all householders (devotees) and remaining there protecting them.
Stating that Guru will give instructions on all matters with regard to the administration of the Ashram, Guru said the following words about the purpose of the Ashram:
‘The aim of the Ashram is to nourish the aspect of ‘darshan’, taking across all spiritual planes, and to act as per the ordination of Brahman.
‘The householder (grihasthashrami), who keeps the words of Guru as the words of Brahman, who comes surrendering everything of his for the sake of this, as per my words, asking whether he will be fitting for this or not, and if suitable, he can be allowed to stay here. The sanyasis themselves should take up the responsibility of protecting my words and taking them ahead as the Dharma of Brahman’.
Guru said: ‘whatever has come as of now with me will get release and liberation.
‘The lamp to be kept in the Parnasala will have a height of 75 inches,’ Guru informed.
With this the flow of a new radiance has begun in the ways of spiritual and physical concepts, in the ways of dharma and the concept of time. It has been revealed to a group of ignorant people by the Will and Grace of that Supreme Light.
It is the birth of the ‘Adi Guru’ – the Primal Guru. The Truth of Guru existed as sankalpam in the bosom of Brahman, in that limitless ocean of consciousness. It remained in the contemplative stage and got manifested with the sankalpam of the ‘Sapta Rishis’ (the Seven Primal Rishis) as the waves of creation, with its myriad forms filling the universe; this is the truth and substance of ‘Adisankalpam’. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru is that very essence and medium which Brahman set apart for this new Creation.
The Radiance of Guru fills the whole universe. And from it emerges the sound of Aum. The white brilliance of that Light is indescribable. Nothing exists besides it, which is the Supreme Luminance in the truth of Aumkar. ‘NavaOli’ or the ‘New Radiance of Guru’ is the representation of that Supreme Light as ordained by Brahman.