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The Life, Times and Miracles of Sree Narayana Guru

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Item Code: NAN245
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: K. K. Ramachandran
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9788124608876
Pages: 336 (5 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 490 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About the Book

The relevance and importance of the teachings of the saint-poet- philosopher-social reformer Sree Narayana Guru are increasing day by day and have been influencing millions of people all over the world. Of the hundreds of biographies of Guru, this book in three parts is unique as it depicts the life of this spiritual preceptor, chronologically detailing the varied roles he played to change the social, economic, political, religious and spiritual life of the people and the countless incredible miracles he performed during his 72 years of worldly existence.

The book provides an in-depth study of the social conditions prevailed during the nineteenth-twentieth century Kerala. A picture is clearly drawn on how an avarna liberated a society steeped in ignorance to such heights that the higher-ups in social order could not even dream of, by a bloodless spiritual revolution. The different roles Guru enacted in his life and the numerous miracles he performed, not highlighted so far in any biography, find a prominent place in this book. The life of Guru is presented here as it was. Readers can form their own conclusions about this great soul. The Foreword by Prof. M.K. Sanoo is a lead to the life of Guru.

About the Author

K.K. Ramachandran got graduated from University of Calcutta in political science and economics, after obtaining formal education from his native place. He joined one of the units of J.K. Organisation, Calcutta and retired from their Delhi office. He was Assistant Editor of Kerala Rashmi, a monthly published from Calcutta. He published a novel and a few short stories under the pseudonyms "Seetha" and "Ramchand". Ramachandran is actively involved in the propagation of Gurudharma and now settled in Annamanada, Thrissur.


Saint or social reformer? Gyana-yogi or karma-yogi? Or Both? The debates notwithstanding, there is universal agreement that Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928) is the most influential person Kerala gave birth to in the nineteenth century. He shook the state out of the centuries-old slumber of ignorance and slavery and pioneered the Renaissance Movement which laid the foundations of modern Kerala (and, incidentally of the acclaimed Kerala model as we understand today). There is hardly any sphere of human activity he hasn't left his impress upon - religion, education, social change, ethos, etc. - and change for the better. It was on the fertile climate of ideas created by Guru those political movements; communism in particular, took deep roots and radically transformed the face of this tiny state. The metamorphosis - from "the lunatic asylum of India", as Kerala was described by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 to the "sanest state in the country" is entirely due to the revolution ushered in by this great saint.

K.K. Ramachandran's book on Guru is being published at a critical time in the perennial discourse on the continuing relevance and significance of Guru's life and thought. Two recent controversies at the national level deserve mention: the first relates to a far from truthful reference to Guru as "the charismatic preacher" by the journalist Ramachandra Guha in his book on Indian history, and the second, a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of an ardent devotee of Guru taking the oath of office in the name of Narayana Guru; the court is expected to give a verdict whether Guru should be treated as a god or not. The first can be dismissed as a journalist's ignorance of Kerala history. The second, however, is serious. In a land where historical figures like Jesus Christ and the Buddha are worshipped as gods, no court (and not judge) can ever prescribe qualifications that go into the making of a god; it should be left to the devotee if he should treat Sree Narayana as god or not. Both instances, both however, point to a total ignorance or Kerala history as an absence of subaltern perspective in assessing the contribution of a great soul like Sree Narayana Guru.

Kerala at the turn of the nineteenth century was a most miserable place. More than 80 per cent of its population, irrespective of caste - upper or lower - lived in utter poverty and indescribable misery. To make matters worse, large sections of the population - the lower castes - suffered from humiliating practices like untouchability, ban on public roads, temples and schools, inaccessibility to any government employment, etc. These inhuman practices had the social sanction of the ruling and priestly classes. A rigid hierarchy based on some barbaric ideology had been created to retain their power, profit and privilege. Neither the oppressed nor the oppressor questioned, let alone challenge, the sanctity of these evil social practices. Isolated instances of rebellion were ruthlessly put down. Shankara's "Advaita Siddhanta" stopped on the threshold of the upper caste. The arrival of Islam and Christianity failed to make any inroads into the bleak and grim social scenario except to convert a percentage of frustrated population into their fold; the colonial powers rarely interfered. It never occurred to any "educated" ruler of the state that he was presiding over one of the most uncivilized states in the country. The spice business and interaction with foreign countries that historians wax eloquent about never touched the lives of the common people; these had no impact on their social life. Into this hopelessly dark horizon Sree Narayana Guru rose like the sun dispelling darkness and ushering in a dawn, to remove the veil of ignorance and empower the helpless majority with strength and dignity.

Years of meditation, rigorous yogic practices and wandering in the forests and mountains had made Guru a saint; years of learning immersed in the Vedas, the Upanishads and other religious texts had made him a scholar-poet in Malayalam, Tamil and Sanskrit. When he emerged on the public life of Kerala in the 1880s as the Enlightened One, he knew the role he was destined to play: uplift the marginalized millions from the fetters of ignorance and slavery, and the privileged from the chains of blind traditions and superstitions. To fight these evil practices Guru had only two weapons at his command: an unassailable spiritual force and an ocean-deep knowledge. The momentous step in this direction was the installation of a Shivalinga at Aruvippuram near Trivandrum in 1888. (Ramachandran has given a detailed account of this historic event in this book.) To the dazed priestly class who questioned the right to consecrate an idol his firm reply was: "We have not installed a Brahmin Shiva".

Throughout his life, Guru - in his pronouncements, discourses and writings - stressed the oneness of the essence of man. He democratized Shankara's theory of jeevatma-paramatma to embrace all human beings, irrespective of their caste, colour, gender and religion. His messages like "One caste, One religion and One God for man" and "Irrespective of caste, man must strive to be good" became household quotes in every Malayali home. Gandhiji whose attitude to caste and religion was always ambivalent, in his interview with Guru in the shade of a mango tree at Guru's Ashrama (1925) said: "Guru, each leaf of this tree is different from the other. How could you then say that they are all equal?" Guru's reply was sharp and clear: "But they will all taste the same." This statement also crystallizes the essence of his whole life's teachings - the oneness of the human soul and the variety of its manifestations. The same inspiring message runs through the large number of philosophical discourses he wrote in Malayalam, Tamil and Sanskrit. Perhaps, the finest exposition of Shankara's Advaita theory in Malayalam is the one composed by Guru in the form of a simple prayer, Daivadashakam.

One of the defining features of Sree Narayana thought is its unswerving commitments to social change, to progress and to the creation of an egalitarian society. Being a prophetic thinker Guru intuitively recognized that man does not live by "religion" alone. Spiritual illumination has to be matched by material progress. For him spirituality divorced from human experience, devoid of compassion and service to humanity was the very anti-thesis of spirituality. Naturally he refused to follow the beaten path, sitting in the dark corner, counting beads. Guru had never read Karl Marx. But as a karmayogi he arrived at the same philosophical conclusion of Marx that philosophers so far had only interpreted the universe, the point was to change it. For that Guru gave a prescription to the ignorant landless and homeless: "Enlighten yourselves through education, empower yourselves through organization." Today more than a century after he gave the call, the complaint is often "too much education and too many organizations".

It is a mistaken notion, understandable in the caste-based Indian context, that Guru represented the depressed classes only. Nothing is farther from the truth. In his Messianic march towards change, progress and freedom he had the solid support of the enlightened majority of all communities. He was instrumental in subjecting every community to a self-analysis aimed at shedding age-old superstitions and charting out new paths. He was also constantly interacting with spiritual leaders and social reformers of the period like Chattampi Swamikal (1853-1924), Vagbhadanandan (1885-1939) and Ayyankali (1863-1941). A major reason for the support of people of all shades and opinions for the liberation movement started by Guru is the total absence of anger or bitterness in his writings and discourses. His wit, free from sarcasm, was a rare quality in a spiritual leader. Being a true saint Guru spoke for all mankind, never for sects.


In writing and compiling this book I am greatly and immensely indebted to the works of the great poet Kumaran Asan, Moorkkothu Kumaran, Swami Muni Narayana Prasad, Kottukkoyikkal Velayudhan, Sreemad Satchidananda Swamikal, Chambadan Vijayan, Dr T. Bhaskaran, Prof. M.K. Sanoo, Koickal K. Jacob, M.K. Sreedharan, Swamini Sreedharan, V.T. Saseendran and other distinguished writers on Narayana literature. It is indisputable that Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most extraordinary saints born in this world. He was a radical revolutionary, a social reformer, a poet of highest order, a non-dualist philosopher who revived and streamlined non-dualism for the masses and an apostle of peace. Of course, many more epithets can be proffered on this multifaceted personality. We cannot find any other man, who has so deeply and wholly influenced Kerala, nay Indian society, in the twentieth century and thereafter as Guru, a fact that speaks eloquently about his glory and greatness. Certainly he will influence the whole world as he does now for the attainment of a world of one caste, one religion and one God for man.

There are hundreds of books available to know and spread the message and vision of Guru. Then why this book? The question is pertinent and the answer is hidden in the pages of this book.

Often I feel that I am not capable of bringing out a fraction of the profundity and majesty of this phenomenon called Guru. His immeasurable greatness is too deep to be written or completed by any writer. But fully knowing this I have tried my best and the result in a nutshell is in this humble book. From this if one could discover the new dimensions that I understood and presented of his greatness, I can legitimately feel proud to have succeeded in my mission.

My aim was to compile and present to the readers only a few out of thousands of miracles performed by Guru but on second thoughts I felt that a short life-sketch of Guru is essential to understand those miracles in their true spirit. Though the extraordinary events form the major portion of this book, the short biography will be quite appropriate for an understanding of the vision and philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru. During its writing, I had the privilege to talk to many distinguished celebrities on Narayana literature and came to know that the miracles not so far heard or recorded are greater in number than those that have seen the light of the day. I have translated into English only a few out of the recorded miracles. Then what to speak of the innumerable unrecorded ones that are told and retold and in circulation in almost all places in Kerala where Guru had gone and stayed. Before entering the great magical world of Guru's extraordinary accomplishments, it is essential to undertake a short journey into the life of Guru to get a proper perspective of his deeds and actions.

I do not claim that this book is perfect or infallible. For the rendering of miracle portion I have relied on recorded history. I repeat that nobody has written a complete book about Guru and nobody will be able to write a full story on him as he is too great a philosopher to be restricted to a few books. That is why when Nataraja Guru mentioned to Guru about writing his biography his remark was that coming generation would not believe in his story. I am confident that the readers and critics of Narayana literature will welcome this attempt as a humble addition to their libraries. Prof. M.K. Sanoo has blessed me by writing a foreword to this book. I have no words to express my gratitude to Sanoo Maash, the professor’s professor. The Malayalam language is proud of him for his various books on different subjects and I pray to the Almighty to give long life and strength to complete the varied works now in his hands.


  Foreword v
  Preface xi
  Part I: The Life, Times and Vision of Guru  
1 The Universal Guru 2
2 The Origin of the Lotus 5
3 The Blossoming of the Lotus 19
4 The Radiance of the Lotus 31
5 The Transcendence of the Lotus 63
  Part II: The Multifaceted Personality  
6 The Multifaceted Personality 79
7 Social Reformer 80
8 Poet 82
9 Non-Dual Vedist 89
10 Ascetic/Yogi 92
11 Educationist 94
12 Priest 97
13 Scientist Sage 99
14 Philosopher 102
15 Economist 104
16 Environmentalist 106
17 Champion of Peace 109
18 Spiritual Leader 113
19 Physician 115
20 Conversationalist 117
21 Organizer 120
22 Politician 123
23 Humanist 127
24 Management Expert 130
25 Incarnation of God 133
  Part III: The Miracle Saint  
26 The Miracle Saint 139
27 The Consecration of Shiva Idol 144
28 wishful Coconut 147
29 Drinking Leader 148
30 Pledging for Riches 148
31 The Hidden Fruits 149
32 Cows on Strike 150
33 Musical Madness 150
34 Deadly Dance 151
35 Dream and Reality 152
36 Journey at Noon 153
37 Divine Walking Stick 154
38 Three Enough 155
39 Open Account 157
40 Invisible Vision 157
41 Tamer of Spirits 158
42 Chithragupta's Lieutenant 159
43 Coconut Water for Rain 160
44 Telegram to Heaven 160
45 Wonders of Water 161
46 Deity's Open Door 162
47 The Hidden Test 162
48 Wall against Waves 163
49 Deadly Second Life 163
50 Locks Need no Key 65
51 Chainless Change 166
52 Wild Friendship 167
53 Vanishing Madness under Rose Apple Tree 168
54 Coir for Cooked Rice 169
55 One Ache, One Medicine 169
56 Changed Itinerary 170
57 Heavenly Mango 170
58 Rainy Recitation 171
59 Beetles and Cakes 171
60 Supply of Missing Coffee 172
61 Fruitful Prayer 173
62 Leftovers for Lifting 176
63 One Vision Many Lives 176
64 Play of Stone Throwing 177
65 We Too will Set Out 178
66 Counterfeisance in Smithereens 179
67 Spirited Letter 180
68 Withered Coconuts Bundled 181
69 Bitter Leaves, Better Children 181
70 From Top to Earth 182
71 Mind Photographer 183
72 Milk vs Diabetes 184
73 Mother, Daughter and the Magician 184
74 Warts in Potato Water 185
75 I Like What You Like 185
76 Types of Blessings 186
77 Deposit and Withdrawal 187
78 Divine Pomegranate 188
79 Saliva and Spices 188
80 Colours of Spittle 191
81 Boar's Delight 192
82 Man and the Beast 192
83 Gratitude 193
84 Fighting Slaves 194
85 Babies of Sugar 195
86 Share of Kittens 195
87 In the Name of god 196
88 The Hidden Feast 196
89 Service to All 197
90 Life and Food 198
91 Curry Leaves in Coconut Oil 199
92 Not Tomorrow Today Now 200
93 Lost in the Loft 200
94 No Second Marriage 201
95 Extension of Life 202
96 True Devotee 202
97 Grieving Lady 203
98 The Ring and the Leper 204
99 Life is a Drama 205
100 Flood in Rocks 206
101 Deceit Disease 206
102 Drama at Midnight 207
103 Blacker than White 207
104 Medication to Incantation 208
105 Deeds of Donation 209
106 Kidding Rain 210
107 His Master's Voice 210
108 Roping the Serpent 211
109 Remedy in Depths 212
110 Puffed Rice, Powdered Face 212
111 Poison and Faith 213
112 Liberation from Calamity 214
113 Remedial Repentence 215
114 Naming Sex 215
115 Pond Water in Goblet 216
116 One = Five minus Four 216
117 Sleeping pills 217
118 Magical Panacea 217
119 Splendour at Midnight 218
120 Two for One 219
121 Money Baking 220
122 Thorn in the fruit 220
123 Sweet is Speech 221
124 Humility in Prostration 221
125 Teethless Sleeping 222
126 Green Shadow 223
127 Spiritless Spirit 223
128 Pieces to Peace 225
129 Sankaran Raman - Shankar Ram 226
130 Water is Thinner than Arrack 227
131 Lines and Ways 227
132 Distant Sight 228
133 The Spirited Water 229
134 Madness of Propaganda 230
135 Light and Darkness 231
136 Life after Death 231
137 Worshipping with Lamps 232
138 Seven Minus Eight = One 233
139 Fictional Truth 233
140 From Ashes to Temples 234
141 Men, Beasts All Alike 234
142 Song in the Lap Tuck 235
143 Touching Eloquence 235
144 One Rain One Year 239
145 Hanging in Fire 240
146 Idol Lifted, Elephants Fired 241
147 Name in the Net 241
148 House Warming wish 242
149 The Devotional Chair 242
150 Prediction 1888 Fruition 1928 243
151 Rain in the clouds 245
152 Gurudeb Meets Gurudevan 245
153 Stocks for Adversity 247
154 Serpent and Rope 249
155 Hugging Nuts 250
156 Letter to Spirit 251
157 The Plantain Fruits and Blockheads 251
158 Sight Test 252
159 Coffee Party 253
160 The Frolicsome Krishna and the Fierce Bull 254
161 As You Like It 256
162 Vanishing Trip 257
163 Bittergourd is Sweet 259
164 On the Wings of Magic 262
165 Exporting Business 264
166 Wrong Prescription 265
167 Enrolling Lies Early 265
168 Light to Enlighten 266
169 The Bullish "Namullu" 266
170 Varied Wonders 268
171 Here, There and Everywhere 276
172 The Test 277
173 Prawns in the Vomit 279
174 Stopping Stones by Letters 281
175 House with Leftovers 282
176 The Hen, Goat and the child 283
177 Miracles after the Mahasamadhi 284
178 The Chirping Coucal 285
179 Words Buried in the Throat 285
180 The Words Lying in the Mind 287
181 The Legs that Forgot Walking 288
182 Note on Date of Birth of Sree Narayana Guru 290
  Glossary 294
  Bibliography 297
  Index 298


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