Sri Narayana Guru, is called as Gurudevan by his followers. He is a Hindu social reformer ,worked hard for the upliftment of the backward communities of Kerala. He was born in the Ezhava caste, mainly he fought against the social injustices faced by the Ezhavas. Sri Narayana Guru, is famous as a great spiritual and social leader. He preached for the social equality and religious freedom of the downtrodden in the Kerala Society. He is a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gurudevan had preached One caste, one religion and one God for mankind. He has started Social Reform Movement in Kerala, transforming the Kerala Society.
Life of Sri Narayana Guru
Sri Narayana Guru was born on 20th of August, 1856, in a village called Chempazhanthi which is situated close to Thiruvananthapuram. His father was Madan Asan, by profession a farmer and mother Kutty Amma. His oiginal name was Narayanan , in childhood, he was fondly called as Nanu. He learn Sanskrit, stories of epics, etc from his father. He was trained in his house under the guidance of his uncle and father. He acquired so much knowledge on vast subjects during this period. Nanu was trained with the basics of the Sanskrit and Tamil languages and traditional subjects like Balaprobhodhanam, Siddharupam and Amarakosam.
His uncle took him to the Kummampilli Raman Pillai Asan at a village called Karunagapalli for further learning Sanskrit language and drama, poetry and literary criticism, along with logical rhetoric. He had learn the Upanishad and the Vedas there.
Meanwhile he started to teach in a school and people began to call him as Nanu Asan due to his wealth of knowledge.
Nanu tied the knot with a village doctor`s daughter called Kaliamma. After the death of his father and wife, Nanu had chosen the way of a Sanyasi in search of ultimate truth. During this journey, he came across Chattampi Swamikal and Kunjan Pillai, from whom Nanu learn Hatha Yoga.
Sri Narayana Guru is believed to have received Enlightenment during his staying at the hilly forest regions of Maruthwamala, where he was having a austere life and spent time practicing Yoga.
Reform Work of Sri Narayana Guru
Upper castes like Brahmin and Nayar, always suppressed backward communities like Ezhavas. There existed untouchability. He motivated and inspired backward communities, especially his own caste ezhavas to come forward to the main stream of society. Many injustices were prevalent against backward communities during those days. There were not allowed to enter the temples.
Sri Narayana Guru installed Siva idol at Aruvippuram, catalyzing the social reform movement. Idol installation was considered as the job of the Brahmins and Narayana Guru made a change to this system. He had installed 60 idols in different temples throughout Kerala.
Narayana Guru had written many devotional songs in Tamil, Sanskrit and Malayalam and it is well understood by laymen. He promoted single god theory. Guru was able to change the social system of Kerala, had been successful to make the lower caste people coming out of their barriers and to fight for their rights.
Sree Narayana Guru settled down at Sivagiri and built a Ashram, which is a major pilgrimage centre attracting lots of devotees. Sivagiri Ashram is situated near Varkala about 20 miles from Thiruvananthapuram.
Narayana Guru formed SNDP (Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam) which own many temples and administer many educational institutions.
Truly, Sree Naryana Guru initiated a silent revolution that changed the entire cultural and social scenarios of this state.