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Advaita ashram

When Sivagiri became a well-established center, the Guru once again changed his residence. He went further north to Alwaye and founded an ashram' not far from Kalady, the birthplace of Sankara, who was venerated for his non-dual wisdom. As homage to the hallowed memory of Sankara and to proclaim his own stand, the new ashram was founded in 1913. Nataraja Guru in his The Word of the Guru gives a very picturesque description of the Advaita-Ashram as it was in the time of Narayana Guru. We quote that section in full length:

The traveler who was animated by a desire to see this leader of one of the modern religious movements in India, would most probably have had to alight, as the present writer once did, at the small railway station called AIwaye, two stations to the north of the terminus of the Cochin State Railway. Alwaye is a small municipal town belonging then to the State Of Travancore. It is associated with the name of the great Indian philosopher, Sankaracharya, who is said to have taken sanyasa, the vow of renunciation in search of wisdom, while bathing in the broad river of crystal water winding its way through the town. If the traveler had directed his footsteps along one of the roads leading to the river-side, he would have come across a stile leading into a compound, which he must cross, keeping his way along the narrow avenue till he reached the bright river-side beyond the trees. He would have found, on turning to the right, a neat little white building strewn round with pure river sand the silence of the place broken only by birds or by the voice of occasional bathers in the river. On one side he would see below him the river boiling over with a thousand whirlpools on its broad breast, the banks overgrown with luxuriant vegetation. If the Guru was in the Ashram (hermitage) he could invariably be found on a little raised seat overlooking the river. As he turned to look at the visitor, the latter would, if he had a keen eye, discover from the expressions of his face that the Guru had just been disturbed from some all-absorbing subject while he sat gazing at the river scene. There could be discovered a peculiar composure in his features revealing a peaceful otherworldly contemplation. He would ask the newcomer who he was, in the most gentle of voices, and treat him, probably, to a meal of fruits and milk. After that, if he conversed, the topic in all probability turned on how human nature must improve; how there is no necessity for man to quarrel with man, as he does at present, on supposed religious, national, or racial distinctions; how, while a cow or a dog may be considered to belong to a different "caste" it is absurd to think that one man differs from another except in trivial things like dress or language; and how it is immaterial, in everyday life, what school of philosophy or what creed a man professed so long as he does not transgress the bounds of common human goodness. Before the newcomer retired from the abode of the Guru leaving him to gaze on the river scene in absorbing meditation, let him walk round the humble hermitage, and he would not have failed to observe the neat little kitchen where a Brahmachari (dedicated student) prepared light food for the Guru, or noted how sparing the Guru's diet was. In the grounds of the hermitage he would have found trees, each one of them receiving its share of the Guru's care. Before leaving the precincts had the visitor cast his glance on the inscription in golden letters on one of the walls of the Ashram, he would have read as follows:

'One in Kind, one in faith, one in God is man, Of one same womb, one same form, difference none there is at all.'

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