INTRODUCTION For my project in Indian Ethos and Values, I have chosen ‘Sree Narayana Guru’. The greatest revolutionary as well as spiritual leader Kerala has ever had. He is undoubtedly the greatest malayalee ever to have lived in Kerala. India is a home to many Saints and Sages that have brought enlightenment to the people and freed the society from evils, the main was the caste system that separated man from man, created disunity and impeded progress. In the life of Sree Narayana Guru, we see the same thread that run among the various lives of hundreds of Saints and reformers who came before him. Guru strived hard to work for a society that was casteless. For him no man is too low to be admitted into the unifying and ennobling experience of the spirit. He is the great man who changed the face of Kerala. Guru not only lead people with his ‘atmachaitanya’ but also removed all the social evils and madness prevailing in the society of Kerala at that point of time based on the caste. He gave hope as well as courage to those lower caste people who were even denied the basic rights in life just because they were born in caste that was lower than their superiors. He led those people to freedom as well as tore away the evil social beliefs and shattered the curse of caste related injustice in Kerala. He taught his followers to have courage and remove these evils and injustice that is happening around them. He told that a man should be judged on the basis of of his deeds and not based on his caste. Guru’s teachings and vision of truth, thought the Hindu in expression, are universal in essence, transcending any notion of Hinduism as a systematic philosophy or dogma. The vision of Sree Narayana Guru belongs to all humanity and not just for selected persons. That is why Sree Narayana Guru’s teachings lives on even today because they are simple and profound, having the magical quality which is found in the wisdom of all great sages of East and West. A divine man, a social reformer, a revolutionary, a man who stood for truth, Sree Narayana Guru taught us a simple thing to us in his whole life. ‘One caste, One Religion and One Lord’.


Sree Narayana Guru is man who led an extraordinary yet divine life. Many of the main events that happened in the life of Guru are listed in a chronological order according to the date. The main events that happened in the life of Sree Narayana Guru are listed as below. They are as follows: YEAR 1854: Sree Narayana Guru was born in Vayal Varam house situated in Chempazhanti. This is a village that is located near Trivandrum in the state of Kerala. Guru’s parents where Madan Asan and Kuttiyama. YEAR 1872: Sree Narayana Guru completes the first part of his education in Chempazhanti. YEAR 1877: Sree Narayana Guru takes the higher studies, specializing in Sanskrit at Varanapally. He learns sansrit from his uncle. He travels to Puthupally near Kalayamkulam for further studies in Tirukkural, Chilappathikaram, Manimekhala etc. YEAR 1880: Sree Narayana Guru returns to Chempazhanti after studying from Varanapally. He became a teacher at the neighboring schools of Kadakkavoor and Anjengo. It was also that point where he was being called ‘Nanu Asan’. In short Guru was preparing himself for leading the life of a yogi. YEAR 1884: Sree Narayana Guru’s father Madan Asan passed away that year. Guru’s marriage also happened in that time. But Sree Narayana Guru had already chosen to become a saint and thus bid Farwell to his wife and family. At the age of 26 Guru left his home. YEAR 1888:

Sree Narayana Guru meets two important people in his journey, Krishnan Vaidyar and Kunjan Pillai (later known as Chattampi Swamikal). Guru learned yoga with them. Guru further travelled to Travancore. During this time ‘Nanu Asan’ Metamorphosed into ‘Nanu Swami’. Guru constructs a Shiva temple at Aruvippuram. YEAR 1897: Sree Narayana Guru composed Atmopadesasatakam, it is an original at Aruvippuram. YEAR 1898: The temple constructed at Aruvippuram formed an unofficial committee for its functioning. In this year it was registered as a society. This committee later became the core centre of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalan Yogam. YEAR 1891: Sree Narayana Guru meets one of his most illustrious disciples Kumaru, who later went on to become one of the greatest poets in Malayalam, Kumaran Asan. Guru sends him to Bangalore for further education YEAR 1901: The role and importance of Sree Narayana Guru is recognized all over Kerala. The government at that time made a state census record of him as Sanskrit scholar. YEAR 1903: Sree Narayana Dharma Paripala Yogam (SNDP) was founded by his followers. Sree Narayana Guru was the president, Kumaran Asan was the secretary, Dr. Palpu was the vice president. YEAR 1904: Sree Narayana Guru settles at Sivagiri in Varkala. It is from there he founded the temples of Anjengo, Perringottukara. YEAR 1904-1912:

In this time period Sree Narayana Guru was mainly involved in setting up of temples all over Kerala. Some of them are temples in trichur, kannur, Calicut and Mangalore. Sree Narayana Guru also established an ashram called adwait ashramam at Aluvai. YEAR 1916: This year marked the 60th birthday celebration of Sree Narayana Guru. But contrary to customs Guru did not want any grand celebrations. He celebrated this day by spending time Advaita Ashramam. Guru also made statements against non usage of alcohol. YEAR 1924: In this year Sree Narayana Guru conducted at All Religion Conference with a main objective to know better of all religions. In that same year another famous event Vaikom satyagraha took place under the guidance of Sree Narayana Guru. In this the lower caste protested in non violent manner to open up temples and road for them. It was also at that time Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranad Tagore. YEAR 1926: In this year’s Sree Narayana Guru travelled to Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu extensively. Guru visited various Buddhist temples in Colombo. In his 70 th birthday Guru made plans for his succession. He made Bodhanandaswami as his successor. YEAR 1928: Sree Narayana Guru attained Samadhi in Varkala. The yugpurusha who changed the face of Kerala with his divinity and courage with an unending passion towards seeking the truth was no more.

KERALA AT THAT TIME Kerala is a state located in the South India. It is a very remarkable place in terms of people, geography, culture, arts, business etc. It is because of this distinctiveness in the landscape, the customs, and very rhythms of the life that make Kerala different from rest of the states in India. According to the legends, Kerala was created by throwing his axe in the ocean. Kerala has a very unique geography. It is said that tectonic activity raised the land from the sea. Kerala is cut off from its neighboring state Tamil Nadu mainly because of the mountain ranges. Malayalam, the language spoken in Kerala is basically old Tamil with a lot of Sanskrit in it. Kerala was also a great trade centre even in the olden times. Romans, Arabs, Spanish, Portuguese etc have traded with Kerala. Pepper was one of the most traded as well as expensive items from Kerala, and so was other spices, wood etc. Kerala has a very rich and famous history in business with rest of the world. However Kerala in the time of Sree Narayana Guru was also a place that was in the clutches of many social evils and superstitious beliefs. Man and women were judged and treated based on their caste they belong to. The low caste peoples life where nothing short of utter misery made by their superior castes. It is said that one time Swami Vivekananda himself came to Kerala and he was so shocked by the discrimination he saw there he declared that Kerala was nothing short of a place inhabited by lunatics- a Lunatic Asylum. He himself was incensed by the extraordinary cruel practices that were followed and imposed on the people who were told they belong to the lower caste. Kerala at that point of time was a state that was shamed by these absurd and cruel practices followed by the people of the upper practices towards their own fellow beings who had just the bad luck of being born into a caste that according to them was lower than theirs and hence deserved to be punished for everything and anything they do. The low caste people, basically pulayar, parayar were the people who suffered the most at that time. There were many cruel and horrible practices that were followed at that time towards the people belonging to the lower castes (mainly pulayar and

paravar). They were subjected to server punishments and inequality practices at that time. Many of the examples of the injustice done towards the low caste people by the upper classes include banning them from the temples. They were not allowed to worship in the temples and many of the times they were not even allowed to walk near the premises of the temple as it was believed that their presence would lead to impurity in the temple. There was also another rule that lower caste people would not be allowed to cover their bodies fully. The women should go bare breasted and were not allowed to carry any jewelry with them. They should always give the utmost respect to their people belonging to the upper caste. They should always consider themselves as unworthy and impure. Untouchability was also another dominant evil that was existing in the society those days. The lower caste people were considered untouchables by the upper class people. There were well defined spaces or distances that the lower caste people should maintain when they are near the upper caste people. A mere touch of the lower caste people was considered impurity. Even greater evil was ‘Unseeablity’ that was prevailing in the society. Much lower caste was actually considered to be unseeable by many upper caste members. The mere sight of them was considered to be polluted. These unfortunate people had to move away from their sight and often shout that they are coming. The lower caste people at that period were considered to be the people who the society disrespects and ridicules the most. They themselves were forced to move out of the residential areas and built homes near the forests and other dirty places. They were not allowed to worship the normal lords of upper class society. Infact they worshiped many demon lords like Kali. Even their offerings to the lords they worship was in the form of liquor and meat. The food they ate was also unhealthy and unhygienic. They were denied education and their children were not allowed to do the work done by the upper class men It was at this condition that Sree Narayana Guru was born. He was born in an Ezhava family. This was the present condition of the people in Kerala at that time.

CONTRIBUTION OF GURU TO THE SOCIETY OF KERALA The contribution of Sree Narayana Guru to the society of Kerala is beyond the measure of any scale. He was such a great person who lifted the society of Kerala from the clutches of many social evils at that time, not just the caste based injustices and practices, and he still continues and will always be a symbol and person of hope, peace and spirituality all over the Kerala. He was true social reformer at that time who actually saved Kerala from these social injustices. It was under his guidance and leadership of Guru that lead to the Reform movement in Kerala which was an uprising of the lower caste people against the various injustices and malpractices that they have been suffering for a long time. Sree Narayana Guru revolted against casteism, fought against untouchablitity, unseeablity and unapproachablity. He wanted people of Kerala to learn new values in spirituality as well as accept the social equality and thus transforming Kerala as a whole to a state free off all the devils and demons associated with its society. Sree Narayana Guru is famous for his in depth knowledge in Vedas, his poetic proficiency as well as following a path of non-violence as means of protesting against the system. Guru always gave utmost importance for the need for the spiritual as well as social upliftment of the lower caste people. He believed that by proper education and by spiritual enlightenment the present situation can be changed in a proper way and he concentrated his efforts towards achieving that. He is nothing short of a great saint who had come to Kerala to help those helpless and the depressed sections of the society and give them hope as well as courage and most of all giving them the both internal and external peace. He was a teacher that taught spiritual and Vedic teachings but he was also a fighter who tireless fought for the rights, privileges and upliftment of the weaker sections in the society. It is because of these things that Guru is remembered as one of the most influential and spiritual leaders that changed the face of the Kerala. Sree Narayana Guru believed that only through proper education to all the society itself will improve and people will the values of kindness, mercy, scholasticism as well as devotion and treat their fellow people with the proper respect.

Sree Narayana Guru is remembered for the great reforms he has brought in the society of Kerala. He is a gentle revolutionary whose legacy continues even after his demise and his teachings are followed in Kerala even now. His main vision was to turn the society into human beings with self confidence and dignity and mutual respect and compassion for each other as well as the nature. Sree Narayana Guru has touched many aspects of the Kerala society and changed many existing superstitious beliefs as well as social injustices that were prevailing at that point of time. The following is a specific list of those areas that Guru has changed and improved. They are listed as follows: 1) UNTOUCHABLITY, UNSEEABLITY AND UNAPPROACHABILITY: Sree Narayana Guru worked on mainly these three things. We can see that these three were the main social evils that were prevailing in the society of Kerala at that point of time. This mainly affected the life of lower caste people making it nothing short of misery. The upper caste were considered like lords and should be even touched, seen and approached by the lower caste. Sree Narayana Guru did a major contribution in removing these evils completely from the society of Kerala. It was under his leadership that ‘Vaikkam Satyagraha’ and the reform movement. 2) EDUCATION FOR EVERY ONE: In that time the right to education was only reserved to the upper caste people and their children. Schools and other educational establishments were strictly for the educating the upper classes. The lower caste students were not given any chance for any education whatsoever. In simple terms by education is a means of making a person able as well as qualified for a better life in this world. Sree Narayana Guru believed that proper education to all people irrespective of their caste, their background will uproot many forms of evil in the society. It is a source of power and illumination that helps in changing the nature of individuals as well as a harmonious development of physical. Mental, intellectual and spiritual powers. Guru opened many educational institutions as well as imparted his knowledge to various disciples who later educated the masses of the people in Kerala. So he made a major contribution towards the education in Kerala. 3) SOCIAL UPLIFTMENT:

Sree Narayana Guru did a lot for the social upliftment of the lower classes in Kerala. As mentioned earlier they were leading a miserable life under the rule of upper class people. The places of worship, the institutions of education, the security and power centers of the society were in the hands of the upper caste people, the lower caste people had no say at that period. They were denied access to the temples, they were forbidden to walk in the public roads, they were not employed in many establishments, and they were not allowed to dress up properly. So Sree Narayana Guru worked on removing these massive problems from the society. Guru’s made many efforts in educating the lower caste people from various teaching in the Vedas and Upanishads. One of the first examples that Guru did to fight against these evils is the building a temple of Shiva in Aruvippuram. This very act was a clear indication that the revolt or fight against these injustice practices have begun. Guru also opened many schools for education. SNDP was established in the coming years for the upliftment of the downtrodden masses. His legacy and dream was carried out by his disciples after his demise. 4) DISCOURAGING ALCHOHOLISM: Sree Narayana Guru was a strong oppose of alcoholism in the society. In his own words Guru explained to the people that liquor is poison and one should not brew it, or vend it. On its consumption your body stinks, your clothes will carry that stink, your house will stink and whatever you touch will stink like that. Guru had seen that the liquor was mainly produced by a small section of lower caste people (Ezhavas). The damage that alcohol does to their families as the men spend all their hard earned money on its consumption leaving nothing for their families, their children remain uneducated and starved for the most of time. The situation in the entire house was chaotic and the person who made the alcohol too suffered the same fate. These were the common reasons that Guru was against the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol in the society of Kerala. 5) SREE NARAYANA DHARMA PARIPALANA YOGAM (SNDP): Guru helped in the formation of SNDP, this was an organization that mainly worked for the upliftment of the lower caste in the society. It also had other main objectives like management and administration of various temples, education of lower castes, improving their morality etc.

VARIOUS INCIDENTS FROM SREE NARAYANA GURU’S LIFE There are many incidences that took place in the great life of Sree Narayana Guru. These incidents give an inside view on how Guru in various stages of his life, childhood, teenage, adult, old never moved away from the path of righteousness and followed the dharma all along. The following section is related to the various incidents that took place in Sree Narayana Guru’s life. They are listed as below: 1) INCIDENT WITH GURUS FATHER: This incident takes place in the early child hood of Sree Narayana Guru. In this incident Gurus father receives information that people have seen Guru walk out from a house of a pulayar (low caste people). When confronted, Guru said that he was passing near the house when he saw the rice boiling in the pot inside the house. There was no one in that house at that time. The pot was overheated and the rice was overflowing, so avoid wasting of food, Guru went inside and kept the pot away from the fire and thus stopping the wastage of rice. Guru’s father was furious and demanded Guru to cleanse himself right away as by touching those utensils Guru has made himself and his house impure. Guru replied that his actions had saved a poor family their only meal for the day, so how can he be impure by mere acting of saving a family their only meal. This was one of the incidents were Gurus father was unable to answer to Guru as he had seen the mad social customs that were followed at that time prevented a person from helping the other based on the caste. 2) HEALING A LOW CASTE PULAYA: This incident takes place when Sree Narayana Guru was teenager. Guru at that time had known a poor pulayar called ‘Chatthan’ a cattleman who took care of the cows. Guru took the first imitative to break the barriers of the caste, he always talked to Chatthan, eventually both of them became friends. Guru was one of the few persons who actually talked to him. One day Guru noticed Chatthan was missing from his work and enquired. It was known that he was suffering from Leprosy and no one goes near his house or him anymore. Guru made to visit to his house carrying some medicines. With the help of those ayurvedic medicines

Chatthan was soon able to recover from Leprosy fast and later he became the follower of Guru. If not for Guru’s timely help his chances of recovering was less. 3) THE MARRIAGE OF GURU: Marriage of Guru was another important incidence in his life. Guru was a young man at that time when his family arranged for his marriage. At that time the present customs of the boy with his parents seeing the girl (Pennukannal) was not practiced. Even the presence of the groom was not necessary. The sister of the groom usually gifts a fine cloth (pudava) to the girl and the marriage is fixed. But Guru realized that being a married man will only hold him back from the path he had chosen for devotion as well his own goal of removing the evils from the society. So Guru Bid farewell to his wife saying that everyone is born in this world to fulfill his destiny, so both of them should fulfill each of their destinies, which are two different paths. So saying this Guru left to become a wandered and a yogi. 4) BUILDING THE TEMPLE OF EZHAVA SIVA: In the year 1888 another important incident happened in Guru’s life. Guru constructed a Siva temple at Aruvippuram. It was a historic event in that wrote a new chapter in the history of Kerala. This event was this important as at that time only Upper caste people ( brahminas) was allowed to construct and worship in temples. This incident created uproar among the upper caste people and they wanted an answer from Guru for this incident as they demanded how Guru can install a Siva temple without their permission. Guru calmly sends his answer that ‘He has only installed an Ezhava Siva. These very words demolished their statements. How can Siva who is a universal lord, the creator and destructor merely be an ‘Ezhava’. So this made them realize the value and importance of Guru and his deeds. 5) INCIDENCE WITH WORSHIPPING IDOLS: Another important incidence that took place in Guru’s life where in a place called Kalavakode in Cherthala where an argument was there between two sections of people, one for idol worship and one against it. When asked Guru’s opinion, Guru took a mirror and then wrote the symbol ‘OM’ in it. And he made the similar for temples near vaikam.

MY LEARNINGS FROM THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF SREE NARAYANA GURU Sree Narayana Guru is a great social reformer, he is also a great revolutionary as well as a philosopher who has always fought for the upliftment of the poor and weaker sections of the society. In short he was the architect who molded the society of the modern Kerala. His greatest message was ‘One cast, one religion and one Lord’. He always believed in attaining spiritual freedom, universal harmony as well as brother hood. There is so much knowledge to be learned from the life and teachings of Guru. Many of his works as well as teachings are still relevant for any individual even today and will be needed for the future generations. Guru shared his knowledge to the common man in the most simple yet deeply affecting words. He has published many works like Atmopadesa Śatakam, Anukamba Dasakam etc and also works in Sanskrit like Chidambarashtakam, Sree Vasudeva Ashtakam etc. He has also done translations of Tirukural, Isavasyo Upanishad etc. As a student, as a member of a society and as a human being I have much to learn and understand from the life and the teachings of Sree Narayana Guru. As a simple individual it also becomes my duty to understand the teachings and also to follow the way shown by Sree Narayana Guru and to follow the vision set by him and to do by contribution to the society where I have grown and to help the persons who have helped me grow in my life and attain the success. I have learned many things from the great life and from the teachings of Gurudevan. I have listed all the various things I have learned and understood from the life of Guru as well as his various teachings. They are listed as follows: 1) TREATING EVERYONE WITH COMPASSION, DIGNITY AND RESPECT: One of the main teachings of Sree Narayana Guru is that we should treat every individual with the respect he deserves and also with the proper dignity. There should also be a level of compassion to be shown to all the people in the society. It is one of his main teachings. Guru wanted a society to bee free from the evils of people ruling over the other on the basis of caste and creed. Thus it leads to the

lack of compassion as well as respect in the society as a whole. So I have learnt this from Guru, to be compassionate as well as respectful to the people around me. Elder and younger, boy or girl, family or friends and to never treat people without respect. 2) ROLE OF EDUCATION: Sree Narayana Guru always stressed on the importance of education for an individual. According to him education is the means by which an individual can be qualified to live a better life as well as identify and uproot the evils existing in the society as well as improve the society as whole with his contribution. As a student I realize the importance of education and I also believe it is the right of every child to have proper education that empowers him for the future. Guru also suggested the study of English as he understood how important it will become for the future. As a student I understand the value and importance of education that has been provided to me by my parents and teachers. I believe that through education I am training myself to become a better person in all aspects of my life and not just the academic part alone. Guru has also said about the importance of reading, I believe that value is a must for every student for gaining the knowledge. I believe that whatever knowledge that I get from my education it also becomes my responsibility to share that knowledge to others and enrich them. 3) RESTRAINING MYSELF FROM ALCHOHOLISM: Another important message that Sree Narayana Guru wanted to spread among the people was to restrain oneself from the evil of alcoholism. This is mainly because a person who consumes alcohol spends all his energy and money on it leavening little or nothing for his family, he also is a liability to the society and his entire life is ruined because of it. Realizing this imminent danger, Guru wanted people to stop the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol. As a teenager, I understand the dangers and consequences of having alcohol. It not only affects my life but also the life of other members around me, my class mates, my friends, my family and my society. I am doing nothing for the society by consuming it and I am brining damage to own body. So it is important for me to restrain myself from consuming alcohol and other commodities like it. I believe it

is also my duty to spread this knowledge of Guru to others and make them realize the dangers and prevent them from being an alcoholic. 4) VALUES FOR LEADING A BETTER LIFE: Sree Narayana Guru has said many values that help a person to live a happy, peaceful, and productive life where he can help others around him grow along with him as well as make the society a better place to live and work. He always believed in the four principles of Satyam, Daya, Dharmam and Danam. He always wanted people to believe in themselves and work towards achieving success without changing their morals or standards that would harm their fellow beings as well as the society. Guru also believed and told people to lead a life of simplicity and avoid splurging money in unwanted occasions. He wanted every individual to care of his society and care for its people. As I am member of the society it is important for me to follow these teachings as they tell me how to make my life better where I can grow and simultaneously prevent myself from becoming a selfish, self centered and greedy person. I have learned from the teachings of Guru that one should have a good behavior towards others, mercy and compassion in one’s heart, devotion towards the lord, and excel myself in all aspects of education. Guru also teaches me the importance of non violence, as well as the value of sharing and caring. MY ACTION PLAN: My action plan from the knowledge and learnings i got from the life and teachings of Sree Narayana Guru is split into many sections. Since Guru mainly told several things that should be followed, i would divide my time and other resources for the purpose of those things. They are as followed: 1) SHARING AND CARING FOR THE POOR: One of the main things that i learned from Guru is that there will always be people who are less fortunate than me, and they live around my world and in my society. So I have to do my part for helping them. First thing is that I will set aside almost 15% of my earnings for them. At the present I am student, so the money will be what I get from my parents. But in the future when I am placed and have a job I will increase it to 23%. In this way I can help them. But for their caring I will give

them my used clothes or the clothes that are too tight for me. Their children can have those clothes. Also I believe education is a must for every child. So my used books, old books, even my course books will be donated to children to help them learn. Also I will spend at least 5 hours in a week to attend or participate in activities that help them. 2) CARING FOR THE ANIMALS: Sree Narayana Guru always preached about caring living beings. I believe that I must do my part in helping those animals which are generally considered a nuisance as they are born in the street. I will allocate money for buying these helpless animals food. I will also adopt these animals as my pets. I have already taken three animals from the street. I will also or join myself in the animal welfare association. When I am employed I will spend almost 15% of money for buying food for the animals as well as providing they shelter as well as medicine. 3) RESTRAINING MYSELF FROM ALCOHOLISM: As a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru, I believe it is my duty to restrain myself from consuming as well as distributing alcohol and other substances that are harmful to the health. They are also affecting the people around me and just by one person consuming it affect the economy as a whole. So I will take a stand against it, I will not consume any such things, and I will also to my level best convince people to abandon these habits. I am student at present but I believe smoking, drinking and other activities start at this early stages. So I will convince my friends and class mates if they engage in such activities. Also I will join alcohol restrain clubs as well as use social media like face book to spread this message. Also when I get a job and are working, then I will spend my time in maintaining a Blog that explains

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