The Making of the Guru

As a philosopher and social developer

The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:33 pm

The young Narayanan, also known as Nanu, was born to Madan Asan and Kochupennu/or is it Kuttiyamma?, of Vayalvarath house, a middle class Ezhava family, at Chempazhanthi near Trivandrum on the 26th of August 1856 Common Era or chathayam nakshatram in Chingam (Leo), 1032 Malabar Era. Madan Asan was a farmer and Asan or village schoolmaster. Kochupennu was a housewife. They also had two other children, both girls. And Nanu’s uncle, Krishnan Vaidyar, was an ayurvedic physician of considerable repute.

The tiny three roomed hut where Nanu was born, with its walls of unbaked clay, floor of cowdung and its thatch of coconut leaves, is preserved as a monument. While to our modern eyes, it looks like a primitive hovel, by the standards of the day, it was a reasonably comfortable home. It reminds one of the humble log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born.
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala

Re: The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:33 pm

As a young boy, Nanu was most notable for his piety (he was known for a while as “Nanu bhakta”) and his compassion towards others. He never failed to visit nearby temples; every day, he would take a ritual bath, visit the temple, pray, and adorn himself with sacred ash on his forehead and arms. Nevertheless, there was humor in his faith: there is a story of his stealing the fruits and other offerings to the deities from the puja room. On being challenged he suggested that if he, a little child, were happy, then God would be happy too.

Nanu also was fond of travel, frequently visiting his many relatives in various villages in the vicinity and spending a day or two with them. This may have been unconscious preparation for his later life as a wandering ascetic and monk, in the best traditions of Indian mystics and philosophers.

Early in life, Nanu showed his compassion to those less fortunate than himself: for instance, he mixed with the ‘outcaste’ Pulayas, sometimes sharing their food, to general consternation. On one memorable occasion, he was passing by a Pulaya hut, and noticed that their humble rice gruel was about to overflow the pot. Without a second thought, Nanu picked the pot off the fire. When chided by his father for this allegedly ‘polluting’ act, Nanu responded that if he hadn’t done what he had, that poor family would have starved that day: a statement of unassailable logic.
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala

Re: The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:34 pm

Nor was Nanu inclined to pay any regard to the so-called ‘high castes’ either. For, early in life, he realized that all humans are born with equal dignity and that the Creator’s grace does not discriminate amongst His creations.

As a youngster, Nanu once fell seriously ill with the smallpox. He spent the entire duration of 18 days at a Devi temple in Nedunganda, where he had gone to visit relatives. Without uttering a word to anyone, Nanu stayed alone at the temple, prayed and chanted, and sustained himself on alms. On the nineteeth day, cured, he went home. His astonished parents asked him who had healed him, the answer: “The Bhagavati did”. There is a connection between the Bhagavati and smallpox in village Kerala: the illness is thought to be controlled by her.

Nanu was a studious child. At the age of five, he was inducted into the world of writing by a local village officer, who incidentally was a descendant of the Ettuveettil Pillais, legendary foes of Marthanda Varma of Travancore. From his uncle, Nanu learned Sanskrit. On his own, he learned Tamil. He read the Tolkappiyam, Chilappathikaram, Manimekhala, and the Tirukkural, and became as fluent in old Tamil as though he were a native speaker.
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala

Re: The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:36 pm

At the instance of his uncle, young Nanu was sent to Puthuppally near Kayamkulam to study Sanskrit under a well known teacher, Raman Pillai Asan. From the age of twenty to twenty three, he studied with him, living with the aristocratic Ezhava family of Varanappallil, who were wealthy landed gentry. This was necessary because Raman Pillai, a Nair, could not have Ezhava students living with him even though he had a traditional gurukulam

Young Nanu turned out to be an exceptional student. The Asan generally taught each of his students based on their capabilities. Even though the original intent had been to teach Nanu the Raghuvamsam and Kumarasambhavam, the Asan soon realized that his pupil was capable of more, so he taught him grammar, rhetoric and logic, as well as Vedanta.

After a few very pleasant years of rigorous study, Nanu realized that he needed to move on. A severe bout of dysentery laid him low, and that was the end of his formal education. He returned to Chempazhanthi, and took to being a teacher at neighborhood schools in Anjengo and Kadakkavoor. And he became known as “Nanu Asan” or teacher. His spiritual nature was beginning to come to the fore, and he wrote devotional poems to Lord Subrahmanya and Lord Siva. He spent much time with Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda. He was preparing himself for the life of a yogi.

Nanu Asan’s parents were alarmed at this turn of events: they wished their son to be a householder. They arranged his marriage with one of his cousins. Indeed, according to custom, his sisters presented the bride with her wedding finery, and Nanu Asan was married.

However, marriage was not sufficient to hold the Guru from his chosen path of devotion and brahmacharya, celibacy. It is believed that the marriage was unconsummated, and that the Guru said to his wife, bidding farewell to her: “Everyone is born into the world to fulfill their own destinies. You and I are destined to do different things. You should follow your own path, and I mine.” Instead of the desired result, as in the case of the Buddha, marriage in fact hastened renunciation. Soon after, Nanu Asan left home for good to become a wandering ascetic, at the age of twenty-six.

Nanu Asan spent some time at the family home of an old classmate of his from the Varanappalli days, Perunellil Krishnan Vaidyar, a physician and scholar. There he met someone who was to become a close friend: the yogi Kunjan Pillai, later to become wellknown as Chattampi Swamikal. The two were impressed by each other’s spirituality and knowledge. Contemporaries, they shared interests in Vedic texts, Saivism and the Tamil classics. Nanu Asan was also introduced to Kunjan Pillai’s guru, the hatha yogi and Subrahmanya-devotee, Thycaud Ayyavu.

After becoming adept at hatha yoga, a prelude to his later practice of raja yoga, Nanu Asan continued his wanderings around Southern Travancore, and indeed, much of Southern India. He was following in the footsteps of innumerable saints and seekers after the Truth of this ancient land, through solitude, austerities and meditation. He spent his nights outdoors under the canopy of the stars.
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala

Re: The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:37 pm

But his asceticism did not abhor contact with people; he would spend time in the home of a fisherman or an outcaste, visiting a Muslim or a Christian. He respected the Sufitradition in Islam, as well as for the religion’s emphasis on a brotherhood of man. He was also attracted to Christian ideals of compassion as well as service to others. He considered the world his family, vasudhaiva kudumbakam.

It was during this time that “Nanu Asan” metamorphosed into “Nanu Swami”. The simple villagers he encountered were awed by the spirituality and grace of this imposing figure. He also had considerable knowledge of medicinal plants and ayurveda from his family’s traditions and from his uncle and from his study of Sanskrit works. Whenever he came across a villager whom he could heal, he would help him with ayurvedic remedies. Naturally, people began to ascribe various miracles to him, but as the Swami himself might have said, these were simply the result of his sympathetic and astute observation of the problems of the people who came to him.

Nanu Swami spent many months in a cave at the summit of Marutvamala in Kanyakumari District. He chose this wonderfully scenic location, with the ocean in the distance, and an unfettered view of the far horizon. He spent much time in the cave in yogic postures. When hungry, he would drink from a crystalline stream nearby. For food, he used his knowledge of local plants: some tubers and a plant whose juice would set, appam like, if you let it sit for a while, and it is both nutritious and tasty.

Some time during this period of intense sadhna, deep penance and meditation, he attained a Buddha-like Enlightenment; he became a self-realized soul. Here he achieved the kind of self knowledge that he later celebrated in his major work, Atmopadesa satakam (One Hundred Verses of Self Instruction).
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala

Re: The Making of the Guru

Postby manu » Wed May 06, 2009 4:38 pm

As the Guru later wrote in his Muni charya panchakam (The Path of the Ascetic) after he visited Sri Ramana Maharshi at Tiruvannamalai, his meditation had allowed him to cut through the veil of maya and realize the nature of Truth:

Let him live in his own home or in the forest
Or at the water’s edge: no matter.
With mind ev’r in the Absolute fixed,
The yogi dwells seeing always in terms of selfhood.
Enjoys he bliss, that silent one,
Like mirage in desert land,
Contemplating that Absolute
Beyond compare.


That point marked the transition from “Nanu Swami” to “Sri Narayana Guru Swami”, for he was no longer merely an adept, an ascetic, a renunciant, an itinerant. He had gone beyond jnana yoga, and had reached the summit of raja yoga. Now it was time to bring his knowledge and experience to the masses, to begin the time of karma yoga. His long years of preparation and sadhna had made him a jeevan mukta: now, at the age of thirty one, he had an obligation to return to society and share with others the wisdom that had come to him on the summit of Marutvamala.
Thanks,
Manu


Man’s humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

-------SreeNarayanaGuru---------
User avatar
manu
Valuable Contributor
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: Ettumanoor,Kottayam,Kerala


Return to As a philosopher and social developer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron
./cache/ is NOT writable.