A Global Vision
Navajyotisri Karunakara Guru, the Founder of Santhigiri Ashram at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala in South India, envisions a global spiritual renaissance, going beyond the barriers of religion, class, caste, race and gender differences. Santhigiri Ashram also conducts research in holistic health sciences integrating universal spiritual values and a contemplative life style. Daily, thousands visit the abode of the great Master to have a glimpse of the Parnasala, the lotus shaped mausoleum of the Guru, which is acclaimed as the most magnificent of its kind. The Ashram is home to a large number of householders, who live as a voluntary community with the Ashram as the nucleus. People from different regions irrespective of caste, class, gender and religious differences live together engaged in a variety of enterprises and services such as healthcare, farming, weaving, education, spiritual guidance, etc. cherishing the vision of a global family. Guru’s vision was to enable all people reach the Absolute Truth of God.
Spirituality beyond Religion
Spirituality transcends life, death, beliefs, customs, cultures etc. The awakened soul discovers prakriti or nature and the various dimensions in the physical nature where existence continues after death. With such realization, the jnanis (sages) of yore discovered and expounded the meaning of life in its full depth. There is a soul, a software that is coming and going in life and death. This software is an accumulation of the karmagati, i.e. the karmic propensity of the soul from countless births and deaths. The sense about the soul, its existence in the various dimensions, the inherent, unalterable laws by which it earns good and bad and evolves are the Soul Knowledge. In the present age (kali yuga) man has the possibilities of full awakening. For this he needs the guidance of the Guru in his life. This alone helps not religious rituals and theories. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru has discovered this reality and has expounded a way of life suited to this age, based on His realization and teaching. The contrast between spirituality and religion is clearly distinguished. While religious traditions present human beings as separate identities, the spiritual view brings out the universality in us.
The Age Specific Spiritual Guidance
The Manu tradition of Indian spirituality has provided humanity a time scale of Yugas (cosmic seasons). The basis of this Manu calendar is the Divine Will that governs the movement of nature and cosmos. The great gurus in each epoch who received the knowledge of this cosmic design relevant to that yuga led people in dharma, karma and worship of God, which defines Yuga Dharma. Spirituality ultimately relates to this spiritual administration or Yuga Dharma. The plethora of religious complexities today springs from a lack of relation with this cosmic design. It was revealed to the disciples of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru that it was a great spiritual error that led to a deviation in Yuga Dharma. Despite the sacrifice of great souls humanity could not be guided to the path of Truth. Thereafter, it was revealed that the restoration of Yuga Dharma is the mission of Guru, by correcting the wrong courses of human life and their ill effects consequent upon that deviation. In the dharma of Kali Yuga, everything must be oriented to the Supreme. The Guru must be Parabrahma Guru (the Supreme Divinely Commissioned Guru). The mantra, initiation, prayer, meditation and all else must be in relation to the Supreme. In the scriptures, the Jnana portion (knowledge portion) becomes relevant. Only darshanam (visions), asareeri (clairvoyance) emanating from the Supreme must be accepted.
In the long duration of a Manu age, partitioned by time zones such as Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali, a spiritual authority manifests age after age for the spiritual evolution of human race. Such a spiritual authority imparts to humanity the dharma to be followed in each age. But in course of time this path of knowledge (Jnana Margam) was lost, which had negative repercussions on the material and spiritual planes. This lost path has been rediscovered by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru. Guru has not only restored this process of knowledge but also perfected it and gifted it to humanity for its true progress. While correcting spiritual visions of the disciples, Guru taught them at the experiential level that the sources of visions differ. Visions may originate from powers residing in various astral planes, such as – bhootas (demonic spirits), pitrus (ancestral souls), devi-devas (deities), rishis or sanyasis etc. The ultimate vision or the ultimate plane of knowledge is Parabrahmam (The Supreme Light). So a Guru who has attained the Supreme Parabrahmam alone should be relied as the source of Darshanam. Knowledge of the entire creation, dharma, karma, mistakes and their correction etc. are received through such visions. Science, technology, astral knowledge, disease and medicines, even awareness of the past, present and future can be known in this manner. Our life must be lived with such knowledge and under the guidance of such a Guru. Such a Guru tradition is ordained to be the path of the Kali Age.
One of the basic tenets of Sanatana Dharma has been that the future course of an individual’s life depends on the cumulative effects of the residual vices and virtues in one’s jeeva or soul. Unless the inherited impurities or bad effects of misdeeds in past births are removed from one’s jeeva or genetic order, the future life will be influenced and guided by those negative instincts. It means a genetic cleansing is essential for getting more evolved progeny. Though different means have been devised and prescribed by religions and spiritual doctrines, no proper solution has been found to remove impurities and cleanse the evil effects in one’s jeeva and thus make possible a noble human life. After His spiritual completion, Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru became the divinely commissioned Guru to perform the cleansing or rehabilitation of the manes (ancestral souls), deities, etc. This cleansing ensures the birth of children free from the bad effects of past lives. This is an astral task of spiritual intercession performed by the spiritually designated disciple following Guru’s instruction and has no parallel that we know of. In Santhigiri Guru Parampara child birth is planned after this spiritual purification known as Gurupooja. Guru envisions the emergence of a new human race and a world order through such wisdom-filled children.
A New Spiritual Initiative
A New Spiritual Initiative
In the year 1926, Sri Aravinda Maharshi, the great Indian sage had seen in a vision the descent of the Supramental Light to the earth accompanied by Sri Krishna. Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru was born on 1 September 1927 at Chandrioor in Alleppy district of Kerala, after ten months of this vision. Guru experienced the radiant presence of Sri Krishna in Him until the age of nine. This experience had remained a mystery to the Guru for long. He had an intense desire to lead a monastic life. In His search for an Ashram, Guru found out the Advaita Ashram of Sri Narayana Guru at Aluva, in Kerala. He was just thirteen years old then. The next seventeen years, He lived in the Sivagiri Mutt and its branch ashrams. Guru was trying to find a spiritual guide to clarify His doubts about the childhood spiritual experiences and lead Him further. For long He could not find a right spiritual guide.
While He was living at the branch of Sivagiri Mutt at Aruvipuram in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, Guru decided to observe a spiritual vow for forty one days atop the Koditooki hills nearby. On the forty first day of this spiritual observance, the Saibaba of Sirdi appeared before Him in vision. The Guru took it as a good omen. Within a day or two after this, a well-wisher arrived at Aruvipuram and guided Guru to a Sufi saint by the name Qureshia Fakir, who was popularly known as Pattani Swami. The Fakir lived in the vicinity of Beema Masjid, near Thiruvananthapuram. Pattani Swami initiated Guru into mystical experiences and clarified His doubts. After years of struggle, self-sacrifices and spiritual wanderings, Guru established Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode, near Thiruvananthapuram, in the year 1965. On the day of Guru’s spiritual fulfilment, a word was received from the Divine Light: What I wished for ages has been fulfilled now, signifying the re-establishment of the lost jnana path related to the spiritual order of Manvantara. Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru left the earthly plane on 6th May, 1999 inaugurating a new spiritual era. It was revealed that this day is to be celebrated as Nava Oli Jyotir Dinam - Sarvamangala Sudinam, i.e. the All-Auspicious Day of the New Light.