Disciples of Guru

Sivalinga Swami

Sivalinga Swami was one of the first and prominent disciples of Narayana Guru. He was born in 1859 in an orthodox Nair family in Aruvippuram. Before he became a Sanyasin he was known as Ayappan Pillai. Swami met Guru for the first time when Guru was staying in a cave near Neyyar River . He listened to Guru's words very carefully and sometimes he accompanied Guru in his journeys. Guru taught him some Sanskrit and later send him to Perunelli Krishnan Vaidyar for further study. He learned Sanskrit grammar under famous Sanskrit scholar Shri. Venkateswara Sasthri. He became acquainted with Kumaram, who later became the poet mahakavi KumaranAsan, at Aruvippuram and they became close friends. In 1905 Ayappan Pillai accepted the ascetic way of life from Guru and became SivalingadasaSwami. When Guru moved to Varkala he took Sivalingadasa Swami with him. Sivalingadasa Swami helped to build a hermitage for Guru at Sivagiri. He served in many Ashrams and temples according to Guru's suggestions. Later he stayed at Trichur Peringottukara Ashram; he started a Sanskrit school there. Later in his life he left the Ashram and started to live in Viswanatha Temple in Chavakkad. In 1919 Sivalinga Swami attained Samadhi. Kumaranasan wrote the poem ‘Parannu poya hamsam' (The flown away Swan) in remembrance of the Swami. The Swamikal wrote many spiritual compositions, ‘Vedanthasaravali', ‘Sharadhashtakam', and ‘Sree Narayana Guruvarya Panchakam' are a few his famous works.

Bodhananda Swami

Bodhananda Swami was already a Sanyasin before he became Sree Narayana Guru's disciple. He was born in a middle class family in Chirakkal village in Trichur district. His parents named him Velayudhan. He had an extraordinary physique and piercing eyes. Besides Malayalam, he also had some knowledge of Sanskrit. He was well versed in Ayurvedic treatment. From an early age he argued against inequality in the society. Due to the compulsion from his family he got married, but that relationship lasted only two years. He traveled to many places in North India and he accepted the Sanyasin life at Jyothir Mutt in Kasi. Jyothir Mutt, which followed the tradition of Sree Sankaracharya. Later he went to Bombay and stayed in an Ashram for a short time. He came back to Kerala and started agitations against untouchability and caste-lunacy. He opposed idol worship. When he heard of Guru's program about the idol installation at Jagannatha Temple , he went there. He talked to many youngsters there about the meaninglessness of idol worship and asked them stay away from the function. They requested Bodhananda Swami to meet and talk to Narayana Guru. He went to the hermitage where Guru was staying, but did not get a chance to talk with the Guru. He went there again to meet with the Guru; he prostrated in front of the Guru. Bodhananda Swami expressed his opinion to Guru, but Guru's explanation about the necessity of Temples and Idols made Bodhananda Swami stay there until the function was over. Guru introduced him to Sivalinga Swami and Chaitanya Swami who were staying there. Sivalinga Swami invited him to Peringottukara Mutt. After this he became a frequent visitor to Aruvippuram and Peringottukara. He became a member and Treasurer of Sharada idol installation committee. In 1912, on the third day of Sharada idol installation, Guru accepted Bodhanda as his Sanyasi disciple. Guru sent him as his representative in many meetings and committees. Bodhananda Swami who opposed idol worship served as a member of the Sree Narayana Guru statue committee at Jagannatha Temple , Tellicherry. This will show the depth of his devotion towards Sree Narayana Guru. He helped Nataraja Guru to set up the Narayana Gurukulam in Neelagiri. He spent a major portion of his life up-lifting the status of down-trodden people in his native state. He established the Cochin National Bank that helped the economic progress of the backward people in general. He codified Guru's precept on “Caste, Religion, Morality, Celibacy, Household duties etc, and published a book by name, “Sree Narayana Dharmam”. The Guru registered his will in Bodhananda Swami's name and made him his successor. But unfortunately Bodhananda Swami attained Samadhi two days after Guru's Samadhi, in 1928.

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