A View of Santhigiri Ashram

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Subtle and Manifest Figure of Guru

Among a few who could realize the divine nature of Guru, Her Holiness Sishyapoojita is the foremost. I had tried to translate some of her sublime and profound words and visions although imperfectly. One such piece is here:
The Subtle and Manifest Figure of Guru
(Her Holiness Sishyapoojita Amrita Jnana Tapaswini)
I testify before the world my vision that Guru reveals indescribably, as the Guardian of the astral conception of God-ordained destiny, as the Indefinable Source of Radiance and the Conceptual Spectator, as the Ideological Thought in the primordial Vedas, as the Effulgent Sparks in the zodiacs and constellations reaching their depths, as the Minute in the Minutest, the Absolute in the Absolutes, as the Pure Resplendent Light behind all cause and effect, and as the Soul of Dharma of everything.
That Guru apportioned His life to lift up the disciple to His level is indeed great luck among luck and great virtue among virtues! However, I have witnessed every day and moment, the pain of Guru’s mind while sharing it, caused by the unbearable hurts, bitter than when the heart is dissected.
Unseen indeed is this universal God ordained Guru-Disciple bond, which becomes the loftiest example of guru-disciple relationship. Behind Guru’s sharing of His sacrificial virtue for curing the severe afflictions of the disciples is the mighty Will of God that human intelligence cannot perceive.
To mention an aptest comparison about this sharing between Guru and Disciple, it is most beautiful and delicate like the nest- building of a hornet. The wait of Guru for the sake of disciple is similar to the wait or self-denial of the hornet, which confines a worm inside a hole and waits until it comes out as a wasp. To share Guru, that would be according to the merit and right of the disciple. However, the wait of Brahman for the transformation of Guru to a state constituting the Original Will of Brahman lengthened to several ages.
Inanimate and animate beings, the oceans, waters, and all those varied manifestations are the radiating love and medium of Guru’s Will in the creation. Guru walks the disciple to the pathway of wisdom that exists as the under current in the Vedas, Upanishads, mythology, epics, Yoga Sutras etc. and to the endless plateaus of hidden spiritual secrets. Having come into that procession, I always see Guru in vision, and know Him as the one who sunders the subtle threads in the disciple’s karmic planes, as the astral substance for the building anew of panchendriyas, panchabhutas and panchakosas (five senses, five elements and five sheaths) becoming the witness of all and the fulfillments in wakeful and self-manifest states.
I have no words to describe Guru who exists as the imperishable form of human consciousness and as the everlasting expression of all that with and without form.
For many aeons, countless millions of ‘blessed abodes’ and ‘celestial soul embodiments’ were standing there claiming and beseeching (spiritual elevation). To give them what they deserved, Brahman had been keeping Guru dearly for several yugas to qualify Him for it. On its accomplishment, Word was received from Brahman that ‘what I desired for many ages has been fulfilled’. No other lineage in the world has received this luck. Ours is the first lineage, which has been blessed to receive that great luck.
Those joyful scenes savoring that luck, compassion and right are indeed astonishing. Still more astonishing are the innumerable perceptions and expressions of the tender love that Guru shares with the disciples and the beauty of the emotions of that ‘Willful (Astral) Figure’, the Witness of it. I see that ‘Willful Figure’ and ‘Wakeful Figure’ of Guru simultaneously in the physical and manifest state between the distance of a foot.
Guru stood manifesting in front of me in the astral form radiating extreme beauty and as the Supreme Radiance ablaze in glory in pure effulgent light. Forgetting myself and mustering courage, I began to think beholding that eternal form in humanly ways. ‘Now Guru cannot touch me physically’! After that, tears began to flow down from my eyes. Then Guru said:
‘You thought that you cannot touch me, didn’t you? You try and touch me!’ I not only touched but also prostrated before the physical form of Guru. And that Radiance embraced me strongly. Guru then asked:
‘Kid, what else do you want? Do you have any doubt about your divination? If you have, I would tell you’. That moment, I reached the acme of bliss. The utterly beautiful reflections of that experience existed gloriously in that atmosphere.
Beyond all the exalted verses, immersing strongly in that radiant Absoluteness, with glowing eyebrows, shapely ears, eyes closed in deep meditation, with muscles of perfect shape, with luminescent hands and feet, nails, hair and as the source of the spectrum of colors, I saw Guru glowing with extreme radiance. I also saw constellations, stars, and innumerable millions of solar systems in Him.
O’ God! You who have attired human form! Existing in your mirror image and by your Will, I adorn my soul collecting countless experiences. O’ Guru! You exist as the gracious, all-auspicious witness of ceaseless experiences, as the subtle flow of waves, as astounding joy, as the form of cause and effect and as the Supreme Radiance! You who are the all-witnessing dharma and God anointed, I pray with all my consciousness!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guru Gita –The Arcanum of Cosmic Law of Guru

Guru Gita is lesser known among the ancient sacred texts of India. It is an intriguing fact that an important scripture like Guru Gita had for a long time remained eclipsed. But the past decade has seen the growing popularity of Guru Gita. Most of our spiritual texts reflect a pantheistic view of religion. They have given rise to multifarious traditions of worship and led to the fragmentation of Indian society. Against these popular traditions, we can identify another stream of spiritual pursuit in India for the realization of transcendent truth. This is reflected in texts like the Upanishads, the Bhagavat Gita and Guru Gita. They show the path to god realization through Guru, the bearer of Truth and who connect the consciousness of man to a higher realm of spiritual experience. Their contents are eternally universal, i.e. Sanatana. The seekers of truth the world over from time immemorial have turned to these sources of wisdom for guidance.
Sanatana Dharma is the backbone of Indian culture evolved from the vigilant knowing of the Guru and disciple through their sacrifices for realizing the truth. Guru Gita, which reveals the secrets of this vital Guru Principle, is the quintessence of Sanatana Dharma, the Veda of the Age. Guru Gita is a text that should adorn every home like a shining priceless gem. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru has opened up an astounding vista of spiritual freedom through a newly found, vibrant Guru-Disciple mutuality. May the glory of Guru be celebrated again in this land of Rishis.
The grand narrations of ancient India are mostly found in Sanskrit verse, have a meandering form and are made up of numerous interconnected stories and advices. They often enshrine laws of life, great mystical truths and cosmic visions. Skanda Purana is one such grand narration depicting the ancient saga of Skanda, the mighty warrior who fought with skill to overcome the dark powers that troubled the world. Skanda, whose many other names include Kumara, Shanmukha, Subramanya, Karthikeya and Muruga is fabled in Indian mythology to be the son of a greater father, none other than the Siva, lord of dance, the conqueror of death and the powerful deity of dissolution and destruction.
Guru Gita occurs as part of the Uttarakanda of Skandapuranam. In spite of being only a part of a larger text, it is complete in itself. Further, it is an Arcanum containing the most vital law of life – the cosmic law of GURU – and is therefore perennially relevant to the world. It would not be wrong if we conclude that such visionary literature was made possible by a great tradition of spirituality that thrived in those times in the distant past as a result of austerities of a long line of rishis, who were seekers of Truth. Such is the uniqueness and grace of this treasure trove in world literature.
It is not the literary quality alone that makes this text outstanding, nor its sacredness. Guru Gita contains that sense of direction which is crucial to save planet earth itself from the man-made disasters it is riddled with. The human race has to return to the righteous path by restoring its connection with the Light of the one Universal God and through this finding, its proper relationship with Nature.  Needless to say that this involves the purification or cleansing of the human content.
Only when the human factor is correct can life be renewed with the infusion of compassion at all levels, ending violations of all kinds. All human affairs including politics, government and international relations need to be re-oriented on this basis. According to Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru, the powerful in the world is ‘conforming to the Vaisya’s way, a life-view clouded by ignorance and apathy’. The Vysya being the trader, who has created the market economy, considers only what is expedient. Expediency is the key word in today’s market culture. This can change only through individuals who change subject to spiritual intercession at the subtle planes and get oriented to basic values.
There is an interesting point to be noted here. Siva and Parvati are bonded in an ideal relationship. In sharing the secretes of god head Siva, the husband becomes Parvati’s guru. Parvathi, the wife is such an evolved disciple as to elicit those spiritual secrets from him. Conventionally Indians fancy that a wife should treat the husband as a deity. That the husband has to earn such a position is never highlighted. Guru Gita by the very form it is conceived implicitly conveys this idealistic message to householders.
Guru Gita is in the form of a dialogue between Siva and his consort Parvati – the parents of Skanda. Again, the dialogue is conceived as a retrieval from the past (possibly from what might be termed as ‘aakashic records’) by sage Suuta who is endowed with the faculty of transcendental vision of a higher order. Sage Suuta was a disciple of Vyasa and the son of sage Loma. He was approached by a group of rishis who were eager to go into the depths of the law of Guru. Suuta, then contacts through his visionary wisdom the knowledge that was given by Siva to Parvati on the mystery of GURU. And Suuta relates it to the eager rishis. This exchange between Suuta and the rishis, it is said, took place in Naimishaaranyam, a forest endowed with great natural beauty where a number of spiritually evolved sages lived and strived for perfection. (This area is supposed to be the present Nimasar in Sitapur district in Uttarpradesh).
The number of verses in Guru Gita appears to vary from version to version.  To wield a metallic stylus on palm leaves treated for the purpose of inscribing in order to make a copy of any book must have been a time consuming task before printing was invented. Patient and expert scholars only could have undertaken such a task. In the process of making such copies, omissions and additions could have naturally taken place. Among the disciples of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru there are many with awakened faculty of inner vision. The most evolved of them, Sishya Poojita Amrita Jnana Tapaswini is the present spiritual head of the parampara. A mantra was revealed to her from the Supreme Light:

‘ AUM Sri Karunakara Guru Ateeva Satyaprakashaya Namah’
This is being chanted by the Santhigiri parampara along with two earlier lines revealed around 1968-69.
‘ AUM Sree Karunakara Guru Parabrahmane Namah
AUM Sree Karunakara Guru Sathyapradaya Namah’
These three lines show GURU as:  1) the ocean of mercy, 2) the Absolute Brahman, 3) the giver of Truth (Jnana) and 4) the Light Supreme. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru represents the Light of God.
Guru – the two Sanskrit syllables ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ means the dispeller of darkness. That is a fully realized Guru is the Light of God. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru is such a fully realized Guru who brings the Light of God to our world. An experienced disciple Carloz Guzman who came to Guru, like the three Maji of the East went to infant Christ, without address or information, was led by this Light. Gifted by strong extra sensory vision Carloz vouches for the greatness of Guru’s Light. He speaks of the process of transformation individuals undergo in Guru’s presence thus:
‘By simply being near Guru his immense Prakasham – Light will immediately start purifying your soul in a very powerful way’. This experience of Carloz can be related to following verse from Guru Gita:
Abhyastai Kimu Deergha-kaala-vimalair-vyaadhi-pradair-dushkaraih
Praanaayaama-satair-aneka-karanaih Dukhaatmakai Durjayaih
Yasminnabhyudite Vinasyati Balii Vaayuh Swayam Tatkshanaat
Praaptam Tat Sahaja-swabhaavam-anisam Seve Tamekam Gurum

(What is the use with practices like Pranayama and several hundreds of other means that cleanse the soul prolonged, that produces affliction, that are strenuous, miserable and unattainable? On whose appearance (or presence), the uncontrollable life force (the Prana) becomes immediately subdued on its own, only that Guru, who has attained the ever abiding form, should be served always).
Guru is the Master of not only our soul but all the influences that affect it. He is the Master of our destiny, our ancestors and successors. Hear what Herman Nenning, another disciple of Guru has to say about it.
‘The complexities of the spirit world have direct influence on this life on the earth plane. Spirits of our ancestors (pitrus) and the deities they worshipped while they lived have astral links with us. From their various spheres, these entities could be good or evil. Guru severs their links with us, and they are helped at the astral level by Guru.  According to what they deserve, some of them are even liberated by Guru, some others are guided to be reborn. Those who are irretrievably evil could be even destroyed’.
Mr. Nenning had an issue to tackle:
‘My younger brother had taken to heavy drinking. He had closed up and after repeated efforts and much coaxing, he let his secret out. He was being haunted by evil apparitions. These entities even entered his body and tried to push him out of his body. No matter where he slept, these forces followed him. Every night he had these terrifying experiences. His way out was alcohol, even as a temporary solution, from this astral tyranny…’
Nenning had approached several adepts before for a solution to this problem. All of them had prescribed elaborate rituals in temples… Guru when informed of this responded differently. Your brother is attacked by spirits’, He said, ‘there is a solution here – Guru Pooja. But it is not easy. Means a lot of responsibility for you, you have to understand many things as well’.  In the Guru Pooja, there was no pooja, rites or ritual involved. The disciple ordained by Guru to do the ‘sankalpam’ to effect this spiritual intercession, did it at Guru’s behest. All Nenning did was to attend all the prayers in the Ashram prayer hall on the day this was done.Here is what Nenning had to say about the result.
 ‘After two weeks I reached Germany. My brother came to receive me. I asked him: ‘How are you?’ He answered, ‘I don’t know how, since two weeks I could sleep well and am completely free of the fear which troubled me’.
On hearing this Nenning introduced Guru to his brother for the first time. He was naturally astonished. Herman says that ‘Guru could, from such a distance and, without ever seeing effect a remedy to his problem was unbelievable!’
Later when Herman got closer to Guru he mustered the courage to ask Guru how many souls were freed from their stagnation through Guru Pooja.  ‘Between five to ten thousand’ was the answer. The Ashram does not have an exact account of families Guru has accorded this rarest of the rare act of grace. The number runs to several thousands. This act of grace had started in 1972.  This aspect of Guru can be related to:
Kulaanaam Kula-kotiinaam Taarakah Tatra Tatkshanaat
Atastam Sadgurum Jnaatwaa Trikaalam-abhivandayet
(It takes mere seconds for the Guru to save clans of men, millions of them. Therefore, knowing that perfect Guru, worship him during the three turns (sunrise, noon and sunset) of the day).
This work of unparalleled grace is going on ever after Guru left his physical form and merged in the Supreme Radiance of the Almighty. His Will works through Sishyapoojita Amrita Jnana Tapaswini, his closest disciple who is the present spiritual head of the parampara. Guru’s picture comes to our mind in the lines:
Hridambuje Karnika-madhya-samsthe Simhaasane Samsthita-  divya-moortim
Dhyaayet Gurum Chandra-kalaa-prakaasam Sachit-sukhaabheeshta-varam Dadhaanam
Swetaambaram Sweta-vilepa-pushpam Muktaa-vibhuusham Muditam Dwinetram
Vaamaanga-peetta-sthita-divya-saktim Mandasmitam Poorna-
(That divine form of Guru is to be meditated upon, who is in the throne, situated in the middle of the petals of the lotus-shaped heart, radiating like the luminous moon, and giving the coveted boon of transcendental joy. I ever salute that Guru robed in white, wearing white flowers and pearls, who is the basis of absolute compassion, who is with jubilant eyes, and ever abiding ‘divine power’ and pleasant smile).
He did not customarily wear white flowers and pearls but was always dressed in immaculate white. We get a clear picture of our Guru in:
Mohaadi-rahitah Saanto Nitya-tripto Niraasrayah
Trineekrita-Brahma-Vishnu-vaibhavah Paramo Guruh
(Free from all delusions and sorrows, calm and eternally satisfied, needing no support, and wielding incomparable power that makes naught the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, is the Supreme Guru)
We have realized:
Na Guroradhikam Tatwam Na Guroradhikam Tapah
Na Guroradhikam Jnaanam Tasmai Sree Gurave Namah

(My salutations to that auspicious Guru, other than whom there is no greater truth, no greater penance and no greater knowledge).
As far as we, Guru’s disciples, are concerned there is no philosophy, no law that is above our Guru. Guru’s words are the mantras that rescue from life’s crises. Guru’s form is a reason for us to meditate. We spontaneously keep on remembering Him. His sacred lotus feet inspires all our worship.
Dhyaana-moolam Guror-muurthih Poojaa-moolam Guroh Padam
Mantra-moolam Guror-vaakyam Mukthi-moolam Guroh Kripaa
(The basis of meditation is the form of Guru. The basis of worship is the feet of Guru. Mantra results from the words of Guru. The basis of liberation is the compassion of Guru).
In short we are convinced that our Guru Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru is none other than God – the Absolute Brahman:    
Durlabham Trishu Lokeshu Tacchrunushwa Vadaamyaham
Gurum BrahmaVinaa Naanyat Satyam. Satyam Varaanane.
(Oh beautiful one! I will tell you that which is very rare in the three worlds. Please listen. Guru is none other than the Absolute Brahman – God Himself. This verily is the truth).
Our Guru is God, though he himself said:  “I am only a means......”
How else can we experience God except through the perfect, fully realized, true GURU. And a number of persons who came in contact with our Guru have realized that He is a perfect, fully realized Guru.
The spiritual head affirms this through her exalted vision. Other visionary renunciants affirm this. Several householder disciples affirm this. All have seen Guru being worshipped by countless devis, devas, angels, prophets – souls of great evolution. Rishi Ratna Jnana Tapaswini gives an account of her experiences thus:
‘Once during our school excursion it was planned that we would be visiting Dharmasthalam, which is famous for its ancient temples and other holy places. Along with my friends when I came in front of the sanctum where the idols were placed, I saw the deities in reality and they were standing with folded hands in the prostrating manner.  A question crept up in my confused mind why should these powerful deities offer namaskaram to me, when lacks of people all over the world came here to offer salutations to them. The teacher from back started to call us to come fast. When I turned back, it was then that the doubts in my small mind were cleared. Guru with his gentle and consoling smile was standing in a bright radiance greater than that of these deities just back of me. Then only I realized that these deities were actually prostrating to Guru. In a similar manner, I started to receive visions where I saw crores of Devi-Devas, rishis, sanyasins, and prophets of all religions with their entire parampara surrendering to my Guru. It was from then on I started to realize and recognize the greatness and the mission of my Guru”

By Smt. O.V. Usha (The author is a well known Poet, Writer and Social Activist)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Paradigm shift in Indian Spiritual discourse on Dharma

Gurucharanam Saranam
ICPR National Seminar on Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru: Paradigm shift in Indian Spiritual discourse on Dharma .
Date: 22,23,24 August, 2017     Venue: Santhigiri Spiritual Zone Auditorium


Wisdom tradition of India is based on the idea of an underlying unifying spirit unity that sustains the whole and was able to postulate and maintain that all realms of existence are continuous and parts of the whole – the physical, the vital, the mental and the spiritual. It also indicates the philosophical idea that the most profound explication of Brahman as eternal purity is independent of matter/ spirit and freedom. Such a tradition has been able to relook human progress and a humane world characterized by the rediscovery of a new understanding of spirituality based on human sustainability. Unfortunately, the modern world order has made an extreme effort in emptying the sacred character of the human subject and also the cosmos and made it to become profane leading to humanity into an unprecedented crisis. The shaping of the present rationality within a span of the last 200 years or so was able to bring forth a number of negative  phenomena in science, techniques, art, ideas on development, philosophy, literature and practically in all spheres of social and cultural life. The criteria of instrumental rationality have found its wide application in all spheres of human activity: in science, techniques, economy, organization of collective life, our attitude towards the other. Be that as it may, it is significant to note that that there has been an upward understanding of the indispensable role of spirituality in nurturing and nourishing positive attitudes and values among humans. Nonetheless, the rising wave of religion induced animosity and fundamentalism all over the world has turned out to be an impregnable challenge that seems to engulf the whole humanity. It has created across the world intolerance, hatred and unhealthy competition causing thereby much disservice to the goal of religion and spirituality.

Despite India having the richest spiritual philosophies and knowledge systems, social segregation and superstitious belief systems and practices attributing to religion has done irreparable damage to the positive social evolution. The gross dichotomy between dharma as ideal and dharma as praxis in social, political and cultural life of the people ultimately contributed to foreign enslavement over centuries both mentally and culturally. Even after seventy years of independence, India has not been able to achieve desired material progress and social unity. Even today, social segregation suffused with notions of superiority and inferiority have been attributed to religion and sustained by religious beliefs, practices and worship systems. Nevertheless, India’s cultural legacy and religion continue to be the only unifying force and the ruling idea of ancient Indian thought is unity in diversity and not uniformity. 


Several Gurus and Acharyas took birth in India to restore dharma by eliminating the superstitious beliefs and practices based on religion and the resultant social segregation which is otherwise not the culture of this tradition exalted by Vedas and Upanishads. However, it has been a tragedy to find that these seers could not fulfill their mission and restore equilibrium by eliminating the basic deviations and distortions that ever caused social disintegration and made human life vitiated. Moreover, many of them confused the real meaning of dharma as constituting the distinctive duties of the four Varnas and the four Ashramas so that the term Varnashrama dharma has been misconstrued and looked upon as the Sanatana dharma. What they have lost sight was dharma as reflective morality. As Brihaspati and Vyasa put it, one has to depend on rational understanding of the social situation before coming to a decision regarding what is moral and what is not. Dharma, therefore, is not merely tradition or custom, but also truth and reason. This dichotomy between dharma as an ideal and dharma as praxis has ever been an unresolved dilemma in Indian societies.

It is in this context that the revelatory spirituality of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru assumes global importance. Guru’s teaching is a revelation on the unanswered riddles in spirituality and religion. During the occasion of Guru’s spiritual fulfillment in 1973, it was revealed to him that due to an error occurred to a great Kalantharaguru in the Manu Parampara, there occurred lapse in Kaladharma or Yuga dharma which was instrumental in getting arrested the succeeding spiritual progression and social evolution. Thus, despite the sacrifice of great souls, humanity could not be guided to a vvirtuous life visualized by great Acharyas. Guru’s teaching signifies the necessity of overcoming the overwhelming cultural undercurrents of the Error and the Curse for proper spiritual development and thereby an effective evolution of the society leading to the development of the country.

Guru’s teaching marks a break with the existing notions on the ontology of dharma. The revelatory spirituality of Guru has thus brought to human knowledge for first time in known spiritual history that the eclipse of dharma and non- observation of yugadharma had been the singular and the fundamental causation of the lingering miseries, violence, greed and vices in humans and society. Guru draws attention to the basic truth that it was because the spiritual and material life of humans were not in conformity with the dharma of the present yuga, there has been violence, wars, injustice and absence of peace. It is significant to note that none of the past seers has made such an observation regarding the inalienable nexus between Yugadharma and human well being. It is this position of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru that makes his teaching distinctive that calls for a paradigm shift in the existing dharma as exemplified in the faith, worship and practices of Hinduism.

The Seminar is purported to focus on the following topics:
1. Sanatana dharma and Yugadharma.
2. Dharma: Spiritual Progression, Material Fortune and Social Evolution 3. Worship Systems of Hinduism: Compatibilities and Incompatibilities
4. Yuga Dharma and Social Change: Metaphysical Assumptions
5. Dharma as the Ethics of Human Rights 6. Dharma as Legality and Reflective Morality
7. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru: Vision and Mission
8. Revelatory Spirituality and Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru 

Contact Conference Coordinator : Dr. Gopinathan Pillai (email: gopikgopi@yahoo.com)