The Vision and Mission of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru
Santhigiri Ashram was founded by Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru in the year 1968 at Pothencode, 21 KMs away from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. It is emerging as the global capital of spirituality where people belonging to all walks of life despite religious, racial, gender and ideological differences arrive attracted by the new doctrine and path gifted by Guru to humanity. Guru was a seer of unparalleled wisdom and spiritual realization and was able to foresee the past, present and future course of development of our life and society. Guru did not subscribe to any orthodox religious beliefs. Revelations from the Supreme Light and the rare insights and experiences of His life of sacrifice spanning 72 years became the basis of Gurumargam, the new spiritual path founded by Guru.
Navajyotisree Guru was born on 1st September, 1927, at Chandirur, Alapuzha district in Kerala. The birth of Guru was marked by incidents associated with divine births. After birth, Guru became aware of a unique spiritual experience. There was a ‘Radiance’ inside Him until the age of nine, which Guru identified as the visage of Sri Krishna. When He became 14 years old, Guru left home in search of spiritual realization. He led the life of an ascetic in the Ashram founded by Sri Narayana Guru, well known spiritual and social reformer of Kerala who said ‘One Caste, One Religion, One God for humanity’.
During His search for truth, Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru met Khureshia Fakir, a Sufi sage, who lived near Beema Masjid at Thiruvananthapuram. The ancestors of Khureshia Fakir belonged to Pathan tribe of Afghanistan, hence he was also known as Pattani Swami. This Sufi master was instrumental in awakening rare mystical experiences present in Guru. After few years’ association with Khureshia Fakir, Guru established Santhigiri Ashram near Pothencode. In the year 1973, after a series of spiritual experiences and fulfillments, Guru’s supreme spiritual status and extra ordinary divine mission was revealed to the disciples by the Radiance of God. On 6th May, 1999, Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru merged with the eternal Light of God. The present head of Santhigiri Ashram is Her Holiness Sishyapoojita Amritajnana Tapaswini, who is empowered by the Guru to spiritually lead the Guruparampara.
Guru founded a universal spiritual path based on the faith in the oneness of God and humanity in fulfillment of the wishes of great rishis, sages and prophets who came in the past. The teachings of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru deal with revelatory and visionary spiritual experiences. It deals with the questions of spiritual evolution, spiritual hierarchies, cosmic time order, astral pollution, soul transmigration, karma, and most importantly the possibility of spiritual intervention from time to time in the evolution of human civilization. The path of Guru can be referred as Jnana Margam - the experiential path of spiritual realization to help humanity evolve spiritually founded on the esoteric principles of Sanatana Dharma.
Mission of Peace
As per the teachings of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru, salvation is possible only by lifting oneself to higher spiritual planes above the hierarchies of spirits, celestials, angels, gods and goddesses. The astral planes up to heaven are related to pleasure and pain, name and form. By their worship and spiritual practices, the souls get connected to these lower astral planes, which produce only dual experiences of happiness and misery. So long as the soul is subject to the lower astral planes, there will be imbalances and variations in the karmic and spiritual earnings affecting the measure of soul’s virtue and evolutionary growth. The disturbances in nature, the moral degradation of humanity and the consequent trail of meaningless violence and sorrow are directly or indirectly related with man’s association with lower spiritual planes.
Enduring health, peace and prosperity is the result of tranquility arising from soul’s composure in higher spiritual planes where all dualities disappear and soul remains in its state of purity and positive spiritual emanations. It is the plane where Oneness of God and Oneness of Humanity become an actual experience. This spiritual transition is the basis for a healthy society and which is necessary to achieve lasting peace, enduring health and progress. Before embarking on this path of higher spiritual transition, one has to get rid of the karmic, ancestral and spiritual baggage by rightly establishing oneself in the path of such a spiritual master, who has transcended the lower astral planes and realized the Will of God. Sri Aravind Ghosh referred to this spiritual transition as the Supra-mental evolution. The life fulfillment of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru was that He was able to make this spiritual transition a reality among a big community of people, which is now spreading to the entire world, irrespective of caste, religion, class and other differentiations. That Santhigiri Ashram receives ‘revealed words’ from the Supreme Light adds great importance to this theme.
Guru recognizes family as the basic unit of the society. The family envisaged by Guru is well founded in Dharma, fulfilling its duties towards society. There is an Association of house-holders, Grihasthasrama Sangham in the Ashram and the members meet from time to time to discuss issues related to familial relations and the duties of the family to society. Viswa Samskarika Navodhana Kendram (V.S.N.K) is the Ashram’s cultural wing that seeks to propagate the message of Guru for a spiritual and cultural renaissance in the world. Santhimahima is the wing of boys and young men under the auspicious of the Ashram and is dedicated to the spreading awareness of dharma among the youth. It aims at instilling values in young people and preparing them for a meaningful and responsible life as citizens of the world. Gurukanti is a centre to make children between the age of 5 to 13 aware of the values of love, truth and compassion and to bring out their talents and skills.
Gurumahima is an organization for the character formation of women based on the values and teachings of Guru. Mathrumandalam is a women’s organization under the auspices of the Ashram and is concerned with the empowerment of women. There are various women oriented enterprises managed by the Ashram - a weaving centre, cutting and stitching centre, curry powder unit, printing press, dairy farm and flower gardens, agricultural division, coir factory and oil mill. According to Guru the material and spiritual well-being of women are the foundation for a good society and a good world.
Sustainable Development Activities
Ashram has taken up bold initiatives in promoting a sustainable pattern of development that may contribute to do away with the negative impact of human activities on earth. The life pattern and life culture of the Santhigiri community is an enduring example the world community can learn from. Santhigiri disseminates and teaches that the objective of human life is not material accumulation alone. Life becomes meaningful and peaceful when material pursuit is supplemented by spiritual pursuit. The fundamental focus of Guru’s teaching, the spiritual practices and material activities that Guru initiated are with a view to nurture and nourish a life culture and life style agreeable to natural environment and positive human development.
Life Style Changes
Guru’s teaching and the path laid down for its actualization provides guidance in day today life in reorienting life towards higher planes of virtues. This orientation towards the need of nourishing virtues in life, transforms one’s life vision and gradually changes take place in lifestyle. When discriminative understanding grows, one becomes conscious of the positive and negative impact of unbridled and mindless growth of science, technology and material conditions in life.
The members of Santhigiri community are more conscious of the harmful effects of global warming and climate change and use of pesticides and artificial methods employed in different areas of food processing , agriculture, time saving devices which dissuades him not to indulge in physical exertions. The simplicity of life and a natural way of living, loving and caring of nature and the eco-friendly development of the physical environment speak a lot of Ashram’s significance and contribution in guiding society in a new path of development. Ashram for the last 30 years has followed the methods of bio-farming in agriculture. Only natural manure is used in farming .plants are preserved and while cutting even the branch of a tree, permission of the tree is sought in spiritual way. In such sanctity vegetations are preserved and a culture that cares and preserve environment is promoted. The dairy in the Ashram provides the raw materials for biogas. The vegetable and other bio- wastes that runs into tones along with cow dung is the raw material for the bio-manure manufactured in the Ashram.
In the field of health care and medical treatment Santhigiri has made commendable and substantial contribution and guidance to the world. The Ashram runs hospitals and panchakarma centers in and outside the state. There is a pharmaceutical centre that produces around five hundred medicines both classical and proprietary. Part of the raw materials required, come from the herbal gardens of Santhigiri at Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad. The Ashram had launched several free mass healthcare programs such and ‘Karunyam’ and adoption of a village which benefitted lakhs of people. Santhigiri also operates Mobile clinics that reach medical assistance to the doorsteps of the poor in the villages as well as in the cities.
Education and Research
Santhigiri Ashram runs prestigious schools and medical colleges (Ayurveda and Siddha). The Ashram is also engaged in social and scientific research and has been recognized by the Ministry of Science &Technology Govt. of India and exempted under Income tax rule 35(i), (ii) & (iii). Santhigiri Research Journal is a new journal of spirituality and Science published by Santhigiri Ashram. The Ashram publishing house brings out a spiritual monthly Santhigiri Adhyatmika Masika and an occasional news paper Umminithankam. Several books on spirituality have been brought out by this wing. The health care division brings out a health magazine, Arogyapadmam and an online Newsletter, Siddhavani.