Disciples of Guru

Chaitanya Swami

Chaithanya Swami was born in Varkala in 1877 as Narayana Pillai. He did not have any formal education, but learned to read and write Malayalam. He had some knowledge about the art of building, constructing and sculpture. It was Chattambi Swamikal who sent him to Sree Narayana Guru.When Guru saw Narayana Pillai for the first time, Guru said: “Caste and religion are not an obstacle for human relationship, moreover we have the same name. It is good! Others will get confused, so a name change is necessary; from now onwards you are ‘Narayana Chaitanyan'.Later he became a Sanyasin and accepted ‘Chaitanya' as his ascetic name. He faced a lot of opposition from his family members for associating with Sree Narayana Guru. He was the second person to ordain as a Sanyasin by the Guru. He had a superb administrative capacity and a high talent to adapt with others. He was instructed by Guru to look after Guru's institutions. Chaitanya Swami supervised the construction of Thalaserry Jagannatha Temple , Kozhikkode Sree Khanadeswara Temple , Kannur Sundreswara Temple and many other monasteries. He was one of the three witnesses who signed in the application to form Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. N. Kumaru and P. Narayana Pillai were the other witnesses. He served as the secretary of Alwaye Adwaita Ashram and as the administrator of the Sanskrit school there. Guru's famous composition ‘Atma Bodham' was copied down by him and kept safely. ‘Atma Bodham' was later renamed as ‘Atmopadesa Satakam'. Chaithanya Swami established Sree Narayana Ashram at West Hill in Kozhikkode. He continued his humanitarian activities and spread the gospel of Sree Narayana Guru till his Samadhi in 1953. He has written a book dealing with Guru's views on reformation of marriage, post – death rites etc.

Dharma Theerthar Swami

He was Prameswara Menon before he became the disciple of Sree Narayana Guru. He received his B.A. degree from Madras Presidency College . He worked in the Cochin government service for a brief period before he joined Bombay University for LLB. After receiving his law degree he started his law practice in the Trichur area. Soon he became a famous lawyer in that area. His activities against untouchability and other unorthodox practices made him popular. He worked as the editor of ‘Snehithan' magazine that was published from Trichur. At this time he became acquainted with Bodhananda and got attracted to his activities. He was a very good orator, so he became a regular speaker at the meetings arranged by Bodhananda Swami. He visited Aruvippuram and Sivagiri many times with Bodhananda Swami. These visits gave him the chance to learn about Sree Narayana Guru and his works. Parameswara Menon stopped his practice and moved to Sivagiri. After 2 years Guru accepted him as his disciple and re-named him as Dharma Theerthar. He was Guru's first Sanyasin disciple with a college degree. He traveled many places with Guru and served as an interpreter. Guru sought his legal advice before registering the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. He served as the Secretary of the Dharma Sangam for a long time. He started the systematic way of keeping accounts and records at Sivagiri Mutt. Swami Dharma Theerthar was the first person who took the initiative to collect Guru's literary works and publish them. He wrote, ‘the Prophet of Peace', first English book about Guru. He wrote and published many books in Malayalam and English. In 1941 he wrote and published a book, ‘Menance to Hindu Imperialism', about secularism in India . This book was later republished with a new title - ‘History of Hindu Imperialism'. In this book Dharma Theerthar says these words about his Guru: “The greatest saint, reformer, teacher and nation builder Travancore has produced, since the days of the first Sree Sankaracharya, was undoubtedly the late Sree Narayana Guru Swami. In any other country he would have been universally acclaimed as a savior and Prophet. But in the Hindu state, caste envelops in dark clouds even such great souls and prevents their light from penetrating in the open world when Rishi like him could not overcome the caste prejudices of a Hindu state”. Even though he was associated with Sivagiri for than 30 years, the politics that occurred after Guru's samadhi made him leave that place. He traveled in North India . Later he embraced Christianity and became John Dharma Theerthar, but till the end of his life, he spread Guru's philosophy.

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