A View of Santhigiri Ashram

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

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)
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