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Sree Narayana Guru

Context

  • On the occasion of the 167th birth anniversary of Sree Narayana Guru, the Karnataka government is planning to set up a corporation after 19th-century social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
  • The corporation is aimed at uplifting the economically poor Billava community people who are the followers of Narayana Guru by extending them various facilities, like other government-owned corporations in the State.

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About Sree Narayana Guru

  • Birth and Death: Sree Narayana Guru was born on 22nd August 1856 in an Ezhava family in a village near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
    • Sree Narayana Guru died on 20th September, 1928. This day is observed as Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi in Kerala.
  • During this time, people from the Ezhava community were considered Avarna and faced social injustice in the caste-ridden society of Kerala.
  • Narayana Guru was a social reformer. He has been credited with transforming the social fabric of Kerala and changing the beliefs of Keralites in ways unimaginable at that point in time.
  • His philosophy always advocated social equality, education for all, and spiritual enlightenment.
    • Sree Narayana Guru became one of the greatest proponents and re-evaluators of Advaita Vedanta, the principle of non-duality put forward by Adi Shankara.

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Contributions of Sree Narayan Guru

  • Believed in casteless and monotheism: he gave his popular slogan “One Caste, One Religion, One God for All” (Oru Jathi, Oru Matham, Oru Daivam, Manushyanu).
  • Temple Entry Movement:
    • He was at the forefront of the movement for universal temple entry and against societal ills like the social discrimination of untouchables.
    • In 1888, he built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Aruvippuram which was against the caste-based restrictions of the time.
    • In one temple he consecrated at Kalavancode, he kept mirrors instead of idols. This symbolized his message that the divine was within each individual.
    • Vaikom Satyagraha (1924–25): Narayana Gurudev provided the impetus for Vaikom agitation which was aimed at temple entry in Travancore for the lower castes. It drew nationwide attention and appreciation from Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Establishment of Shri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP Yogam): It was a spiritual organization, formally founded by Dr. Padmanabhan Palpu in 1903, with the guidance of Shri Narayana Guru.
    • The main aim of SNDP Yogam was to spiritually uplift the people of the Ezhava/Tiyyar communities.
  • Literary Works: He published 45 works in Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Tamil languages which include Atmopadesa Śatakam, a hundred-verse spiritual poem, and Daiva Dasakam, a universal prayer in ten verses.
    • He wrote various other books in different languages. A few of them are Advaitha Deepika, Asrama, Thevarappathinkangal, etc.

 

Caste-based Census in India

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