President, Dravidar kazhagam
Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928) was a great social reformer who transformed the social life of the down-trodden and the discriminated by the dominant Hindu religion through its inhuman practices in Kerala. Hindu religion discriminated the vast toiling section of the society as untouchable, unseeable and unapproachable objectively. The scriptures were designed in support of such discriminations which were propagated as if they were pronounced by the prime god of Hindu religion and adhered to as ordain.
Sree Narayana Guru dispelled the discriminatory pronouncements of Hindu religion especially by establishing ‘Shiva Temple’ on his own and appointing the priests hailing from the discriminated and entry denied Ezhavas and other untouchables to offer the services. The establishment of Shiva Temple was a strategic reform move of Guru to provide the professional services that were denied to their own people by Hindu religion. Besides, Narayana Guru was particular in imparting education to those historically denied education .
He systematically formulated his doctrine of ‘One Caste, One Creed, One God for man’ and convened All Religions Conference in Alwaye, Kerala in 1924. This All Religions Conference was not like The Parliament of Religions which was held in connection with the World’s Columbian Exposition in the city of Chicago, U.S.A in 1893 wherein Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) attended and addressed by representing Hindu religion. Guru while convening the All Religions Conference did not identify himself as Hindu. One brahmin from Madras – Triplicane Theosophical Society represented Hindu religion in the Conference.
Ultimately he advocated the prayer of God without any idol but with mere flame in the background of a mirror and popularised such prayer practices. In Tamil Nadu, Vallalar Ramalinga Adigal (1823-1874) also did praise the Lord Shiva in the beginning of his life but later praised for the prayer through the mode of light. Guru never proclaimed himself as Hindu at any point of his life. In addition, Guru emphasised introduction of law for conversion from one religion to another and even for the right of individuals to be free from religion.
The core of Guru’s philosophy was emancipating the discriminated and the down trodden of Hindu religion and making them equal humans with the rest of the population in the society. On the contrary, the essence and the main focus of Hindu religion is discrimination making the subjects unequal that too in a graded hierarchy. How can the Guru who stressed equality be identified as Hindu saint?
The assimilating forces may point out that Guru established Advaita Ashram at Alwaye, thereby he had to be necessarily a Hindu sanyasi
As quoted from the ‘The Word of the Guru – An Outline of the Life and Teachings of the Guru Narayana’ by Padmanabhan Natarajan (Published by The Gurukula Publishing House, Bangalore),
“Religion itself has to be contemplatively understood as seeking to better man’s relations with his fellows, endeavouring to raise him to a truly higher status as Man.”
The above interpretation of religion could be arrived at from the sayings of Sree Narayana Guru thus:
If it makes a better man”
Further the interpretation is concluded by Guru thus:
“The mystical doctrines contained in the body of the composition apply directly to a spiritual life without any special religious or academic colouration. In fact, it is above such distractions and considerations. Vedanta, particularly, Advaita Vedanta is no substitute religion or scripture but is a synthetic approach to all scripture.”
The above words would give a new dimension to spiritual life, the type of which is not reflected in Hindu religion. In the doctrine of Guru to establish egalitarian society, humans are prime factors and not any divine mythical ‘brahmam’.
Through all these words, it can be concluded that Guru considered ‘religion’ insignificant. But Guru’s doctrine gives impetus to the status of high order to man with equality. When the words of Guru remain like this, the claim of the saffron party to project Guru as a Hindu saint is nothing but a blatant violation and fabrication of the preaching carried out by Guru.
The ultimate beneficiaries due to the sustenance of Varnashra Dharma are brahmins. Starting from the Vedic period, brahminocracy has been trying to keep the rest of the social sections under subjugation. It is not through armed struggle or suppression but by applying clutches applied over the brains of the rest in the society. The mind-sets of the subjugated have been tuned not only to accept the social slavery but to glorify it as divine destiny, ordained by god. The strategic approach of the brahminocracy is to oppose the views, antagonistic to it – first by ignoring without giving publicity to such views, then to oppose it openly if it becomes prominent. At that stage, the oppressive brahminocracy in order to suppress the views will apparently accept the progressive views and in course of time, such progressive views would be assimilated, thereby its distinct identity would be lost. This strategy has been adopted by the brahminical priesthood, centuries together despite their deviated deployment in some other remunerative professions. The significant casualty that was caused by brahminocracy was the assimilation of Buddhism starting from the period of Buddha, an atheist – rationalist movement to ‘Advaita charged’ Mahayana of Buddhism. This assimilation took place over a period of 400 years in the period of BCE, where documentation of preaching of Buddha in letter form did not prevail.
But in the case of Guru even prior to the completion of one century after his demise, the seeds are sown to assimilate Sree Narayana Guru as Hindu saint. Despite the establishment of Advaita Ashram by Guru in Alwaye, his social reform movement has no link with Hinduism. In the current period of enormous development in IT and communication modes, the move is very explicit to assimilate Guru as Hindu saint by the brahminocracy oriented BJP through its Facebook account, BJP Keralam. The history of such assimilative tactics must be exposed and explained to all so that the genuine motive and thinking of Sree Narayana Guru would come to light fully for the betterment of humankind.