A View of Santhigiri Ashram

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What Makes This Guruparampara Different?

What makes Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru and Santhigiri Ashram different from other gurus and ashrams is a question often asked. While talking about the tenets of Gurumargam, Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru once mentioned that His path is the Vimochana Matam, i.e. the Liberating Dharma. Gurumargam is the way of devotion to the Guru who has been commissioned by God for the spiritual transformation and deliverance of humanity independent of all religious dogma. Guru is God’s medium to actualize the Will of God. As one scholar put it, at one level, God is the Guru; at another, Guru is the divinely commissioned Guru. The human Guru is equal to God but has in him an element of divinity due to his commission. This office is passed on to his successors who remain one with him. Guruship does not end with the physical departure of the founder Guru. The office is one and continuous. What the successors say and do is legitimized by virtue of their office. 

A few aspects that make Santhigiri Guruparampara different from other sage traditions may be surmised thus:

For the Guru, God is Parabrahman, the Supreme Truthful Light. There is no second God. His light pervades in everything and everyone. God is known only through his Creation. One should live in accordance with the divine order accepting the Will of God. Guidance comes from God through the medium of Guru, and liberation comes through Guru’s grace. For the Guru parampara the words of Guru or Guruvani are sacred.  It serves as the sole Holy Scripture for the followers. The word of Guru is equated with Truth, Truth with Guru and Guru with God.

A seeker cannot evolve spiritually without a Guru. Self-effort in the form of yoga, meditation, visit to temples and other holy places does not elevate the soul spiritually if one is without Guru. Guru, however, accepted the existence of all spiritual entities including ghosts, goblins, evil spirits, ancestral spirits, devi-devas, angels etc. which inhabit the subtle universe. However, they are not to be worshipped as they themselves seek birth and liberation in Kaliyuga through the medium of Guru. Only through a human embodiment and karma dharma, the souls can evolve to higher spiritual realms. Therefore, Guru rejects the worship of traditional deities and religious lore promoting such sectarian concepts of God. Neither did Guru favor the concept of maya or illusion and rejected the equation of individual soul with Brahman, the main feature of Vedanta.

Guru shed light on the secret of Creation by reiterating that the solar system including the human world was created by the sankalpam of Manu, who is the Primordial Purusha or the First Born of God. (This Manu, however, is different from the author of Manusmriti with the same name). Guru, therefore, rejected the puranic myth that Brahma is the Creator. For Guru, the trimurti gods were gurus of bygone cosmic ages who came for the spiritual correction of humanity. However, their spiritual incumbency in this age is disowned. Today the world is a theatre of pathetic religious discord. Every sect claims that theirs is the only way to God or the true path, which produces discord and violent conflicts among the religious followers. Guru says that behind these apparent contradictions, there is a thread of spiritual unity. 

Numerous gurus, seers and prophets of different caliber come for different duration such as 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500 or 5000 years according to the spiritual condition of the age. Great souls like Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir, Moses, Zarathustra, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Guru Nanak and others were preceptors who appeared for the spiritual renewal of humanity during historical intervals. This process of spiritual renovation goes on until the end of a cosmic age. In the light of this, no prophet or guru can claim to be the final messenger of God or the only way to God. It is this spiritual culture or character of Sanatana dharma which makes it eternally relevant, vibrant and tolerant to other religions. Although not subscribing to the tenets of established religions, Guru’s Liberating Dharma teaches a follower to respect all world teachers and their sacrifices in a deserving manner since they belong to the brotherhood of mahatmas who came for the spiritual reformation of humanity at various historical intervals. However, their mission remains incomplete necessitating another epoch of spiritual renewal by a world teacher. 

Guru disapproved the hierarchical caste system and opened the path of spiritual redemption for all people, especially the downtrodden and women. The followers of Guru belonged to all castes and occupations. The majority came from the backward castes, scheduled castes along with Brahmin, Nair, Christian and even Muslim communities. While repudiating caste system, Guru, however, said that varna concept is the classification of human instincts based on the quality of thoughts and actions. Varna of a person cannot be determined based on birth in a particular family or community. Sometime, in the same family itself one can find all varna types. 

There are no formal rituals for initiation into the faith of Guru. Anyone with faith in Guru, irrespective of religious and caste status, can join the faith. The only ritual formula for all spiritual performances and lifecycle ceremonies is the chanting of the divine name of the Guru revealed and potentiated by God. Verses and mantras from texts like Guru Gita extolling the glory of Guru is also recited for the purpose of worship. All Vedic rituals superintend by Brahmins and tantra and mantra and worship of devi-devas are rejected in favour of direct guidance from Guru or through the anointed preceptors in the Guru parampara after the founder Guru’s physical departure.

Remembrance of God through the guidance of embodied Guru, chanting His name and leading ethical life as householders helping each other is the path of karma and dharma suggested for the householders. Guru established a self-reliant model of commune life, where all believers lived under one roof engaged in different occupations so that it reduced the burden and tensions of life by way of cooperative living. The sanyasis are required to live in accordance with God’s will as socially responsible persons, not as recluses who live detached from the community life. The Ashram of Guru is regarded as the sacred place of pilgrimage. To live in accordance with the guidance of Guru is more important. To make willing sacrifice for the protection and perpetuation of Guru paramapara is an essential ingredient of the faith. 

Guru wanted that the society, the politics and government of the country be guided through the wisdom of an all-knowing Sage who functions by the sole of Will of God. Guru was concerned about the wrong direction of the society, of the painful conflicts, social disintegration and deprivation. Guru believed that only through the spiritual upliftment of householders, especially women, the desired spiritual renaissance can take place in the world. Guru gave much importance to bhakti and self-surrender for the divine cause in order to change both the quality and structure of social life. The basis for social regeneration advocated by Guru is essentially spiritual, ethical and family oriented. Guru personally guided all householders in every area of life including marriage, education, occupation, birth and death.

A new guru parampara is born with a divinely commissioned Guru to guide its social and religious life. Guru’s message is not merely of liberation but also of social action. Although there is a group of sanyasis and brahmacharis belonging to both genders in the Ashram, He did not want that sanyasis wander aimlessly as mendicants. He was opposed to such meaningless renunciation. His ideal is self-reliance through community life. The sanyasis of Guru supervise the community life. The members of the commune engage in self-sustaining enterprises with a vision to help the community and the society with exemplary products and services. 

Guru initiated a unique spiritual performance known as Gurupooja or Pitrupooja by which the devotee is freed from all inauspicious karma, i.e. deeds and debts of past and present lives and also from the consequences of erroneous ways of God worship handed down by the ancestors. After a few generations, several mahatmas and other high souls waiting for rebirth in the kaliyuga shall be born in the families thus spiritually purified. With that, the spiritual renovation of humanity would be complete. These noble souls are unable to take birth now because of the spiritual decadence and unqualified parentage.

The organizational basis of the Guru Parampara has been provided by Guru Himself in the form of Annadanam, Aturasevanam and Atmabodhanam, i.e. providing food to the needy, caring for people’s health and their spiritual uplift. 

Mukundan P.R.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fragrance of a Great Spiritual Renaissance

Gurucharanam Saranam

Why there is so much anarchy and moral degradation today?  Why does man forsake moral uprightness, qualities of love, truth, compassion and self sacrifice? He is only worried about the society, which values material possessions above everything else, even above God.  So he has become part of the demonic system with its absolute dependence on worldly challenges and a false sense of success in life. Indeed he has selected a path that drills holes into the soul.  He has selected a path that demonizes his soul and drains off all punya or virtuousness of the soul. 

Punya is the hard earned result of the sacred deeds performed by an individual and his ancestors through many lives.  Punya is the measure of divine aura or virtue in the soul, from which springs up every success and every ray of happiness. A person can be guided to the path of earning punya only through a trikala jnani Guru, i.e. an all knowing Guru who has attained certain spiritual stage. What happens to a person who has no punya in him? A man without punya sinks like a leaky boat and loses his battle in life.  Satan grinds his soul like wheat grains between his teeth. Most of us do not have the vigilance and masculinity to uphold right values and truth. The ugly result is in front of everyone. We live like the tiny creatures of a fearful world without any glow of Godly love, human warmth and compassion.

What should we do to liberate ourselves from this disturbing situation? We need few material comforts indeed, but that should not be at the cost of our soul, the very essence of life. We should think about the harmful consequences that would ultimately wound and desecrate our soul because of our misdeeds and ignorance. Although we all know what is right and wrong, we throw to winds all precautions at the suggestions of a little worldly gain and the tickling of sense buds. We are unable to withstand the temptations or we are drawn back by the desire for self-protection. But we cannot protect ourselves when our world is perishing - when our culture, the nation and the future of our children are in peril. We should think deeply. Nothing happens without a proper cause, which most of the time is hidden in the selfsame seed of the problem. However human tendency is to find extraneous reasons. Blaming others is one such thing.   

The sages of our land taught us about life and its intricacies. We have abandoned their teachings and most of the time talk rubbish, observe obsolete rituals and watch cricket and the glamour of the rich and the shamelessly clad models and actresses. People are stupefied by the gloss of these celebrities, who are the demigods of a sensuous world. Instead of becoming nation builders, our girls and youth are getting misled by this glamorous world, which ultimately drains their virtue. 

The destiny of a nation depends upon the collective punya or the sacred deeds of its people. When you as a nation are not virtuous, the base culture that develops as a result will ruin everything. This great country of sages and rishis, of great kings and social reformers has come to be ruled by all types of filthy people and corrupt politicians who loot and cheat the people. This can happen only when there is a serious spiritual degradation. 

Talking about Veda, Vedanta, Maya and Karma would not solve this civilizational crisis. Hindus should forsake all suicidal regional, caste and sectarian pride. There should be One Mantra, One God and One Caste for Hindus. They should open their prayer halls to all people, irrespective of their religious identity. What happened the other day in the Jagannath Temple at Puri to a foreign celebrity, who is a worshipper of Krishna? She was manhandled by the temple attendants over the bribe money for seeing the deity little closer. People enter a prayer hall not for desecration but for prayer. Those who are holy need not go into a temple. People go to a temple for getting purified. Sri L.K. Advani said once when he visited Santhigiri Ashram, the abode of Navajyotisri Karunakara Guru: 

‘We politicians live in a polluted world. When we visit Ashrams like this, we are trying to de-pollute ourselves’. 

If the entry of devotees is viewed as polluting, what divine help would be available from such places? This priestly ignorance, arrogance, superstition and exclusivist agenda should end. These are some of the ills of Hinduism which are tearing away the Hindu civilization, bit by bit. When would the Hindu leadership awaken to these truths? Perhaps never! Even if they do, it would not be possible for them to bring about this spiritual renaissance and unity. So many great souls of our motherland sacrificed their life for this. However, they could not have success, because there is spiritual disunity behind our spirituality. One should not think that only the Hindu religion is affected with this perversion. All other religions have come to the
brink of a spiritual stagnation and it is time for a world spiritual regeneration.

Our thoughts and actions have a subtle connection with dharma. If the source of a person’s faith is contaminated, his thoughts and actions would also be so. The horrible incidents of rape and murders and the problem of corruption, murders and bombings that take place in the name of jihad and all such violent ideologies are influenced by evil spirits. Evil spirits take control when weak humans succumb to greed, ignorance and superstition. The source of jihadist terror is Satan, a powerful super evil spirit, which will wipe out Islam from the face of the earth because God does not want to reform the world the Jihadist way. 

Only a Seer who has surpassed all sectarian ideologies can unite not only the Hindus, but the entire humanity under one spiritual roof. God has already blessed India with such a spiritual leadership. God’s Own Country, the land of Adi Sankaracharya has given birth to another great Mahatma, a great Manvantara Avatar to reestablish the true essence of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). He came and went unknown to the world, but the sacred fire He lit is radiating the hope and fragrance of a great spiritual renaissance. O’ Nation, hither turn to for guidance!

Mukundan P.R.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spirituall Aspects behind Marriage and Childbirth

The painful conflicts in the families, the breakdown of marriages, incidents of physical as well as mental deformities and the delinquent behaviour of children are caused by the thoughtless marriages performed by ignorant parents, who have neither understood the path of spiritual guidance from a wise seer nor its positive effects in life. Sensual gratification rather than spiritual fulfillment is guiding the man-woman relationship. The increasing trend of abortions, the culture of contractual marriages and divorces reflect this moral degradation.

Humankind has reached this ruinous state because our society has long ago deviated from the guidance of omniscient sages who can reveal the true secrets of life. Man has become more religious than spiritual. He has been unable to grasp the depth of important life-cycle ceremonies like marriage, birth and death, the spiritual aspect of man-woman relationship etc. These life-cycle ceremonies and relationships are divine in nature because they are related to one’s spiritual evolution and that of the family stock or gotra. The breakdown of the institution of family seen in the advanced Western countries is owing to this spiritual ignorance about the depth of family life. 

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru said that if a woman could be led to spiritual enlightenment that family would become blessed and through such uplifted families, the society and the nation would evolve to a healthy future. A woman through her virtuousness can guide her family to a positive direction. However, she needs spiritual guidance for the nourishment of her family. We can receive spiritual guidance only from an elevated seer. Not knowing the true character of an elevated seer, a few women fall in the trap of fake swamis, fakirs, padiris, tantriks and jyotishis and are cheated, which brings a bad name to the brotherhood of elevated spiritual masters, authentic ashrams and spiritual institutions.

We should not confuse the tantriks, jyotishis, evangelists, priests and the like with the true guru concept. Because of such bogus and questionable spiritual practices and beliefs and because of their own ignorance about true spirituality, both the learned and the uneducated generally view ashrams and gurus with suspicion. It would be beneficial to go through the Sree Gurugita published by Santhigiri Ashram, which mentions about the different types of gurus and the characteristics of a true Guru. 

We must realize that without a true preceptor, we cannot improve spiritually and materially. Some rich communities in India such as Marwaris, Sindhis, Punjabis and Gujaratis became prosperous because they lived respecting and serving their gurus and accepting their guidance. Recently somebody reported that Kerala spends approx. Rs.10, 000 billion per annum on rituals in temples, which is a sign that people are getting more and more ritualistic than spiritual. Different from this crowd of favour seekers at the doors of temples and darghas, for the people in the sagely path, spirituality is a meritorious way of life that would transform them for the better both spiritually and materially.

A successful and enduring marriage is fundamental to the health of a family, which is possible only when the couples are united spiritually. Therefore, a Guru gives the nod for marriage only after looking into the spiritual, cultural and ancestral background of couples. A mismatch in any of these aspects would adversely affect their family life including the life of their children. However, this need not be on the basis of one’s birth, caste, community and religion. It is purely a spiritual alignment of couples under the All-knowing Guru. With this type of marriage a pristine gotra or Guru Parampara is born.

Guru cleanses the harmful astral and ancestral aspects of the marriageable couple for the birth of a pure lineage free from cultural and genetic drawbacks. After marriage, Guru gives the couple necessary guidance on how to live as husband and wife. He advises about the prayers, sankalpam and other sacred deeds including the auspicious time for the birth of a virtuous child. The followers of Guru perform certain rituals and prayers, especially during the seventh month, which helps the developing baby in the womb. Thus, the life of the couple becomes spiritually oriented. 

Bringing up a child too is as important as the regimen and rituals required for the birth of a fortunate child, free of genetic and cultural drawbacks. The habits of a child are moulded during its early years and adolescence. Good and bad children are born from a mother. The mother should pray and do sankalpam for getting rid of the bad traits in children. The mother should try to change the bad characteristics through loving and painful prayer. Like food, which is important for the body, prayer is as much important for the soul. 

The women in the path of Guru are weaned away from decadent and meritless religious beliefs and rituals and atheistic beliefs of some people who neglect spiritual aspects altogether. They are guided to a healthy spiritual vision based on eternal values and verities based on the sage tradition of India. In the final count, we can say that a true social transformation can take place only through spiritually sensitized women and families in the society. 

Spiritual masters and prophets were innumerable in human history, but their followers seem to have given only a cursory importance to the astral aspects behind marriage and childbirth including the spiritual mentoring of women. The guidance initiated by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru is a correction in this regard.

Mukundan PR

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Challenges before Hinduism

A New Sky and a New Earth and a New Jerusalem
George, Netajipuram, Thiruvananthapuram

My name is George. I was born and brought up in Christian faith. I happened to know about Navajyotisri Karunakara Guru in 1986. An acquaintance of mine who was a regular visitor to the Ashram took me along with my family to the Ashram. When I saw Guru, he did not look like the person I had imagined. He was conversing like an ordinary person sitting on as small stool among a group of ordinary folks. He had no beard and flowing hair. He was clean-shaven, wore white clothes and had no airs about him.
We bowed before him and stood aside. Guru asked us whether we had eaten. We replied that we had. Guru signalled to us to sit down. The person who came with me introduced us to Guru. Guru asked me, ‘Why did you come?’ I replied that I wanted to grow spiritually and materially. Guru asked my companion to explain to me everything. Guru asked me again; ‘Are you alone’. I said that I had come with the family. Guru advised us to visit the Ashram often.

Then He continued the conversation. The talk was about Jesus Christ. In between, he asked me; ‘After Jesus’ resurrection, he first revealed himself to Magdalana Mariyam, who was tainted in life; why not to his mother, who gave him birth and brought him up?’
I stood there stupefied without knowing the answer. I had never heard such a question. When I stood there unable to give an answer, Guru repeated the question to others sitting down there. Nobody could give the answer. Then Guru himself revealed the answer. From that, I could understand one thing; it was by God’s Will I   came to him.
We began to frequent the Ashram and learnt more about Guru and His ideology. I could know from Guru’s teachings and from the experience of others that He is the Great Soul in the prophesies of Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammed, Nostradamus, Sri Narayana Guru, Aravind Maharshi, Sree Buddha and others.
I was convinced that the great master Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru is the Supreme Soul who could for the first time change a soul and its karmagati and cleanse all negative spiritual influences of ancestral souls and deities. With the proof of this, I accepted Guru as my saviour. The words of Yohannan in Bible helped me much in taking such a decision.
Guru explained to us the self-sacrifice and pain of numerous spiritual masters and their followers. Jesus had said that when the Soul of truth comes he would reveal every truth and speak referring his name. The words of Jesus became true here. Guru had revealed through vision that His coming was for the fulfilment of all religions and their ideologies.
Because of the moral decadence of the people who claim to be Sanatanist (Hindus), there developed obsolete way of worship, social injustices and a spiritual tradition that considers evil spirits as Almighty God, who show their strength through fits of trance. There were minor gods for lower castes and bigger gods for higher castes.  The ignorant people were made to believe that this is Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism).
I learnt from Guru that Sanatana Dharma is the spiritual culture of Gurus, who come as the exponents of dharma in every age. Wealth and knowledge is within the possession of people who do not worship Lakshmi and Saraswati, the goddesses of wealth and knowledge. Let us not forget that all scientific growth and richness in this age have come through these guru traditions. We might be scholars and wealthy. However, to have discriminative knowledge we should have a Guru; only through the medium of Guru, we will have wisdom. All our suffering is due to the absence of Guru in our life. We go to the Ashram to get such wisdom; going to the Ashram means the effort to free our soul.
We should venerate Guru If we are to get light dismissing the inner darkness. We will have every kind of knowledge and our vision becomes clear when we worship Guru, the medium through which God appears before us. We should worship only the Creator who has made this beautiful world. Why should we, instead, pray to other powers in creation? It is ignorance to see them in the place of God. Sanatana dharma is not worship of natural forces and deities. The spiritual culture of Hindus is related to the concept of ‘Mata, Pita, Guru and Daivam’, i.e. through the mother know the father, through the father know Guru and through Guru know God.  
Our ancestral background is polluted because of the decadent way of worship, which is ignorant about the age such worship was relevant. Those who have forsaken all this and converted to the path of gurus and prophets who believed in the Oneness of God have developed much higher. They were blessed by fortunes of all kinds, scientific and technological advancement and physical beauty. These words in the Bible are very significant: ‘even if you possess the whole world, if the soul has no rest, what a pity’.
Apart from this, there is this ignorance among us whether we are learned or ignorant. We think that if a Guru is born in a particular caste or religion he belongs to that particular caste or religion and we have nothing to do with that Guru. We do not know what a Guru is. How many persons know that Guru is the physical manifestation of formless God? Only Guru can give the experience of God. God has not made any other arrangements to know him. It is by the will of God, a Guru or prophet takes birth. Their ideology is for the whole mankind.  God has not made any system that for every caste and religion there are different gods. Let us remember that Guru is the path to God. It has been recorded in the Bible that ‘I am the truth and the path’.
The Mahatmas should not be discriminated because of birthplace, language or mode of life nor should they be limited under the boundaries of different religions and the quarrels over it. The Christian religion is an example for that. Only one Jesus Christ was born in the world. However, how many sects are there in the name of Jesus Christ? Each sect claims that his sect is greater than the other. Jesus would be weeping seeing this. The Godly path does not discriminate. Lord Father! Forgive this people.
The Soul of Truth is here who has come to purify all this. A New Sky and a New Earth and a New Jerusalem is ready after the purification of all of us, the earth and the stars.  Those who have luck and light in their soul - let them discover it.