TRIBUTES OF GREAT PERSONALITIES TO SREE NARAYANA GURU
Several national and foreign leaders have visited Sivagiri to pay their respects to Gurudeva. Their tributes are reproduced here.
I have been touring different parts of the world. During these travels, I have the good fortune to come into contact with several saints and Maharshis. But I have frankly to admit that I have never come across one who is spiritually greater than Swami Sree Narayana Guru of Malayalam nay a person who is on par with him in spiritual attainment.
I am sure, I shall never forget that radiant face illuminated by the self effulgent light of divine glory and those Yogic eyes fixing their gaze on a far remote point in the distant horizon.
Raveendra Natha Tagore, Sivagiri Mutt 22-11-1922.
I feel it as the greatest privilege in my life to have visited the beautiful state of Travancore and to have a darshan of venerable sage Sree Narayana Guru. I had the fortune to stay one day in his holy Asramam. Her Excellency the Regent Empress also spoke to me about the greatness of Guruswamy. I fervently hope that you would enforce his lofty ideals.
Mahatma Gandhi 1925, March 13.
Sree Narayana Guru had not much to talk to me. He was the Mahatma of high intellectual supremacy.
During recent centuries no one in India has enjoyed so much reverence as Sree Narayana Gurudeva commended, reverence so glorious, so enduring, so comprehensive, so universal and so pure. Like the sun, by mere presence, He spread his light and love… His life of renunciation has shown to numerous people the secret of the path of dedicated service or Karma Yoga. Rishi Narayana who has awakened Kerala is Patanjali in Yoga, Sankara in wisdom, Manu in the art of Government, Buddha in renunciation, Muhammad in strength of spiritual and Christ in humility, after 72 years spent in the drama of human life has gone to whence he came… For future generations he will be one of the divine personalities among the incarnations of God and the superhuman beings of India’s religious lore.
Theosophical society, 1928 September.
I feel very happy to have come to a place where a great man lived and gave his message to the people. Where great men have lived, that place becomes a holy ground something like temple, because of their thoughts and prayers that lie enshrined there. Sree Narayana Guru lived here and from here radiated his message, the message of no caste, no division and he wanted to build up a casteless and classless society. That message is still very much needed in these days. In order to get a casteless, classless society what are we to do? Many things have to be done. But the general approach which I presume is Sree Narayana Guru’s approach- the approach through the mind and heart and not of compulsion and coercion. Where there is not this turning of the heart and mind all other changes are likely to be superficial. I am most happy to have come to this place to pay my tribute to this great man who lived here and spread his message from here.
Jawaharlal Nehru, Sivagiri Mutt 1958.
Glasenapp does not say anything regarding the new religious manifestations in South India which are not negligible, such for eg. is the great Guru Sree Narayana whose beneficent spiritual activity has been exercising its influence during the past 40 years in the State of Travancore on nearly two million of his followers. (He passed away in 1928.) His teaching permeated with the philosophy of Sankara shows evidence of a striking difference of temperament compared with the mysticism of Bengal, of which effusion of love (Bhakthi) inspire in him a certain mistrust. He was one might say, a Jnanin of action, a grand religious intellectual, who had a keen living sense of the people and of social necessities. He has contributed greatly to the elevation of the oppressed classes in South India and his work has been associated at certain times with that of Gandhi.
M.Romain Rolland 1928, December.
It is natural that Kerala expresses its gratitude for the great service rendered by Sree Narayana Guru in the cause of religion and education and social uplift of the handicapped communities of Kerala. I was deeply impressed by him when I had the privilege of paying my respect to him in his Asramam at Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala.
C.Rajagopalachari, Sivagiri Mutt- 1925, March 13.
A great Social Reformer, a staunch Promoter of Hindu Religion, and a true Philosopher Sree Narayana Guru was a revolutionary Yogi of Kerala. Chopping of heads, and creation of chaos and confusion are not the necessary ingredients of revolution. Any sincere effort to transform the image of civilized life is revolution.
Dr.Radhakrishnan, 1967 December.
Sree Narayana Guru was the first Mahatma who proclaimed the slogan of Universal Brotherhood, long before Mahatma Gandhi championed the cause for the upliftment of the Harijans and oppressed communities. Sree Narayana Guru, who waged a war against superstition, outdated dogma, slavery and social injustice, was really a messenger of God.
Sree Narayana Guru who felt the presence of God in all the living beings of the universe, is the Philosopher of Advaita-vedanta of 20th century. It is said that sanyasins by virtue of their indomitable spiritual fervour and power of meditation project the World to sustain itself. Sree Narayana Guru has provided the veracity of the above statement beyond suspicion. Viewing from the above perspective, Sree Narayana Guru is none other than the true refection of the term ‘divinity’. His sublime philosophy has enlightened the humanity beyond the frontiers of India. The message of Sree Narayana Guru is all the more important in the present world than anything else.
Dr.Zakirhussain, Sivagiri Mutt, 1967 December 19.
I had a vision of God in human form. Sree Narayana Guru who was reknowned in the southernmost of India was that ‘supreme being’.
Deena bandhu C.F.Andrews, 1922 November 15.
Among the galaxy of erudite saints who ennobled and enriched Indias cultural heritage, Sree Narayana Guru occupies a pride of place. By sheer dint of his lofty ideals, unflinching loyalty to the canons of humanity, justice, truthfulness, Bhakti and his utter selflessness, transparent sincerity, humility, total renunciation of mundane desires and a commending grip over spiritual knowledge, Sree Narayana Guru acquired a halo of his own and endeared himself of all strata of his devotees. Nothing gave him greater joy than to witness the amelioration of the deplorable plight of the have-nots and the underdogs of human society. He was peerless in compassion for the poorer sections of the community. A purely materialistic existence divorced from the ethical and spiritual elevation of the individual is inimical to the development of a harmoniously balanced, integrated human society. The spiritual leaders like Sree Narayana Guru have made valiant efforts towards focusing the attention of our people on these vital facts of deriving spiritual solace and blissful joy.
V.V.Giri 1967 December.
Sree Narayana Guru is considered as one of the five or ten Avatars that have appeared in India during the last hundred years. I had an opportunity of meeting him in the year 1926 when I had been to Kerala for Vaikam Satyagraha. In those days he was residing at Varkala. There I had talked to him for an hour or two. My humble respect to the memory of this great sage.
Acharya Vinoba Bhave.
In India, we have had the benefit of many saints and sages who at different times in our long history gave on different occasions sustenance to the mind and spirit of man. One of them was Sree Narayana Guru who was respected as a great religious and social reformer in the South.
Sree Narayana Guru excels as the most outstanding prophet who enkindled the light of wisdom and obliterated the darkness of ignorance and obscurantism. I was astonished when I heard about the remarkable achievement of Sree Narayana Guru during the four decades of his life. A reading of his pregnable philosophical works enthralled me. It is great privilege to adore my principal deity, the Goddess Sarada of Kashmir at Sivagiri, consecrated by Sree Narayana Guru.
I paid a visit to Advaita Asramam to have a darshan of Sree Narayana Guru, the great philosopher of universal esteem. To my misfortune, I could not see him.
Can India rediscover Her Heart? Can religion, a philosophy of the Upanishads, help us in meeting the challenges of our nation? Can they rediscover our moral balance? All these burning questions are answered in living life by the Sivagiri Ashram. My humble and devoted prostrations to Sree Narayana Gurudev.. May his blessings be upon all of us. Gurudev was the personification of love as Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha.
I deem it a great privilege to be present here on this occasion to pay my humble tribute to the great soul who preached the gospel of universal religion. At no time his tenets were so essential as at present, when the world stands at the proximity of annihilation of the human civilization. Let us rededicate ourselves to the ideal that the Guru placed before us.
During the last 500 years, India has not seen so eminent a Jnanin or so great a social reformer as Sree Narayana Guru. Unfortunately, we Indians have not known him well enough.
Vaikom Mohammed Basheer.