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A stroke of revolution

From Rameswaram to Kailas there are thousands of temples dedicated to Shiva. In most of them the deity installed is sivalinga. But when Narayana Guru picked up a stone from the river Neyyar and installed it on a pedestal with a silent prayer, it made a land-mark in the social and spiritual history of India." This sivalinga is more 'talked about than the sivalinga of Rameswaram installed by Sri Rama himself. It is probable that the caste tradition was not so rigid in the days of Rama so that no Brahmin questioned the right of a Kshatriya to install a sivalinga. Narayana Guru's transgression of the convention which had persisted for over 3000 years was not at all acceptable to the caste-people of India. Not only was the Guru not a Brahmin, he was not even a, shudra. He came from a community which was totally outside the four-fold varnas of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. Like Sankara, he was also a dravilasisuin the words of Nataraja Guru the great event of the installation of the temple took place in this manner:

A group of women and children, more sun-burnt than the rest of the crowd, sat segregated from the others. They were poor peasants, who, after a day's hard work, had come in search of consolation to the festive scene. For ages these poor laborers and their ancestors had tilled the soil for the richer people who took advantage of their goodness. On the basis of their caste, these people had been condemned to age-long suffering, and were segregated and spurned. The Guru's watchful eyes lighted on the group He asked the orators to wait a moment. He asked the crowd if these people should be segregated. Why should they not come and feel equality with the others The Guru arranged that two of the boys from the crowd be brought on the platform, and seated them, after kind questions, One on either side of him. "They are God's children as much as the others", he murmured, and tears of compassion more eloquent than speeches carried home his silent message to, the crowd. Even they who would have growled at such a "departure from tradition, could not resist the winning power of the Guru's eyes. They crouched, innocent of the axe, which the Guru aimed at the dead root of tradition. Statesmanship or subtle diplomacy was employed. It was the simplest manifestation of humanity, welling up in the heart of the Guru that won the case forever. Thus the first victory of the Guru was won. The boys were later admitted, as members of the hermitage; and they and many such, remained near the Guru, wherever he went, until the day of his passing away. While others Spoke and became excited over the past or the future, striving for hours to direct the popular mind, the Guru sat silent, and acted. His silence, when judged by its effect, marked the high-water mark of oratory. In winding up the proceedings of this memorable day, the Guru had merely a few simple words to say. These he put in the form of a motto, which one of those present proclaimed to the crowd. It read:

Devoid of dividing walls
Of caste or race
Or hatred of rival faith,
We all live here
In Brotherhood,
Such, know this place to be!
This Model Foundation!

Such, then, was the manner and such the character he gave to his work. It soon overflowed the limits of the province and spread its seeds far and wide.

The local enthusiasts formed a committee to manage the temple and there was an arrangement for the gathering of devotees on all nights of the new moon and full moon. When Dr.Palpu visited his parental home in Trivandrum, he came to know of a young yogi called Nanu Guru who was attracting thousands of people to his hermitage. On hearing this he remembered the prediction of Swami Vivekananda that the redemption of the toiling millions of Kerala will come only through a Guru. So he went at once to Sree Narayana Guru. When they saw each other it was like the Ganges coming to the ocean. Dr.Palpu dedicated himself entirely to the cause of the Guru without any reservation. The Guru took up the challenge of redeeming India of the scourge of casteism and untouchability. This led to the formation of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (S. N. D. P.) Yogam.

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