Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru – A World Spiritual Reformer

Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru (1927-1999) is a fully realized Guru, who has opened a new path for the spiritual transformation and deliverance of humanity independent of all religious dogma. It has been defined that ‘a Guru, who is commissioned by God, is God’s medium to actualize His Will. Therefore, the human Guru has in him an element of divinity due to this commission. Guruship does not end with the physical departure of founder Guru. The office is one and continuous. What the successors say and do is legitimized by virtue of their office’. Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru once mentioned that His path is Vimochana Matam, i.e. the Liberating Dharma. A few aspects that make this Guru Parampara different from other guru traditions may be surmised thus:

For the Guru, God is Parabrahman, the Supreme Light. There is no second God. His light pervades in everything and everyone. God is known only through his Creation. One should live in accordance with the divine order accepting the Will of God. Guidance comes from God through the medium of Guru, and liberation comes through Guru’s grace. For the Guru Parampara the Word of Guru or Guruvani is Veda. It serves as the Holy Scripture for the followers. The Word of Guru is equated with Truth, Truth with Guru and Guru with God.

A seeker cannot evolve spiritually without a Guru. Self-effort in the form of yoga, meditation, visit to temples and other religious places does not elevate the soul spiritually if one is without a realized Guru. Guru, however, accepted the existence of various spiritual entities that inhabit the cosmos. However, they are not to be worshipped in this age as these divinities seek rebirth in Kaliyuga to work out their own liberation through the divinely commissioned Guru in order to be guided to Satya Yuga, the age of spiritual perfection. Therefore, Guru rejected the worship of such spiritual entities and religious lore that promotes sectarian concepts of God. According to the teachings of the Guru, the Trimurti gods including Brahma were gurus of bygone cosmic ages who came for the spiritual guidance of humanity. However, their spiritual incumbency in this age is disowned.

Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru did not favor the concept ofmaya which postulates that the world is an illusion and rejected the equation of individual soul with Brahman as exemplified in the Vedantic aphorisms such as ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahman) and ‘Tat Twam Asi’(You are That).  He said that jeevatma is only a reflection or the ray of the Supreme Light, not the Supreme itself.

The Guru’s idea of creation differs from the puranic myths, which mention that god Brahma is the Creator. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru reveals that every solar system(s) in which all living beings have their abode is created through the medium of Archetypal Manus, who are said to be the first self-projection of God and through whose ideation or sankalpa manifests the visible universe consisting of planetary units and stellar systems. Because of this, the Indian rishis calculated the age of the cosmos in terms of Manvantara after the name of Manus.  A Manu is God manifest, the primordial Purusha mentioned in the Vedas and Upanishads, the divine entity who creates our local universe consisting of twelve zodiacs, twenty seven stars and nine planets. This Manu, therefore, is not to be related with the author of Manusmriti, one of the dharmic treatises in Hinduism.

The great rishis have said that God is pure Consciousness and Light indefinable. However, God transforms Himself into a Cosmic Person (i.e. Manu) wishing to create our universe. Various divinities, humans and other sentient and insentient beings in the solar system get evolved through a long process of cyclical evolution by the limitless potential of knowledge and action potential (jnanashakti andkriyashakti) and ideation (sankalpam) of this Cosmic Person..

The pathetic religious discords today arise owing to the ignorance about this natural spiritual order. Every sect claims that theirs is the only way to God or the true path, which produces discord and conflicts in the society. Numerous gurus, seers and prophets of different caliber come for different duration such as 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500 or 5000 years according to the socio-spiritual condition of a society. Sri Ram, Sri Krishna, Sri Buddha, Mahavir, Zarathustra, Moses, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Guru Nanak and others were great preceptors who appeared for such spiritual renovation during historical intervals. This process of spiritual renovation goes on until the end of a cosmic age that has the length of billions of years. The spiritual evolution of humanity is not limited to 2000 or 5000 years. Therefore, no prophet or guru can claim to be the final messenger of God or the only way to God. It is this spiritual culture or character of Indian spirituality known as Sanatana Dharma (the eternal spiritual order) that makes it eternally relevant, vibrant and tolerant to other religions.

Although not subscribing to the tenets of established religions, Guru’s Liberating Dharma teaches a follower to respect all world teachers and their sacrifices in a deserving manner since they belong to the brotherhood of mahatmas who came for the spiritual reformation of humanity at various historical intervals. However, their mission remains incomplete, which is evident from the present conflicts and civilizational crisis, which necessitated a spiritual renewal by another World Teacher.  Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru is that World Teacher presiding over this spiritual renewal.

Guru disapproved the hierarchical caste system and opened the path of spiritual redemption for all irrespective of their caste or religious identitities. The followers of Guru belonged to all castes and occupations especially the marginalized communities. While repudiating caste system, Guru, however, said that Varna concept, wrongly misinterpreted as jati (caste) is the classification of human temparaments (vasana) based on the quality of one’s thoughts and actions. Varna of a person cannot be determined based on birth in a particular family or community.  Sometimes, in the same family itself one can find all Varna types.

There are no formal rituals for initiation into the faith of Guru. Anyone with faith in Guru, irrespective of religious and caste status, can join the faith. The only ritual formula for all spiritual performances and lifecycle ceremonies is the chanting of the divine Guru mantra that was revealed from the Light. Verses from texts like Guru Gita and mantras from Upanishads extolling the glory of Guru and Almighty God is also recited for the purpose of worship.

The Ashram of Guru is regarded as the sacred place of pilgrimage. To live in accordance with the guidance of Guru is more important. To make willing sacrifices for the protection and perpetuation of guru paramapara is an essential ingredient of the faith. All Vedic rituals superintended by brahmins through tantra and mantra and worship of devi-devas are rejected in favour of direct guidance from the Guru. After the physical departure of founder Guru, guidance comes through the anointed preceptors with the power of visionary faculties or ‘seeing’.

Remembrance of God by chanting the sacred Guru mantra and leading ethical life as householders helping each other is the path of karma and dharma suggested for the householders.  Guru established a self-reliant model of commune life, where all believers lived under one roof engaged in different occupations so that it reduced the burden of life by way of cooperative living. The sanyasis are required to live in accordance with God’s will as socially responsible persons, not as recluses who live detached from community life.  Although there is a group of sanyasis and brahmacharis belonging to both genders in the Ashram, Guru did not want sanyasis to wander aimlessly as mendicants. He was opposed to such meaningless renunciation. The sanyasis of Guru supervise the community life. The members of the commune engage in self-sustaining enterprises with a vision to help society with exemplary products and services.

According to the Guru, the society and government should be guided by the wisdom of an all-knowing sage who functions by the Will of God. Guru was concerned about the wrong direction of society, of the painful conflicts and social disunity. Guru believed that only through the spiritual upliftment of householders, especially women, the desired spiritual renaissance can take place in the world.  Guru gave importance to bhakti (devotion) and self-sacrifice for the divine cause in order to change both the quality and structure of social life. The basis for social regeneration advocated by Guru is essentially spiritual, ethical and family oriented. Guru personally guided householders in every aspect of life and life-cycle ceremonies.  A new guru parampara is born with a divinely commissioned Guru to guide its social and religious life. Guru’s message is not merely of liberation but also of social action.

Guru initiated a unique spiritual performance known as Gurupooja or Pitrusudhi by which the devotee is freed from inauspicious karma of ancestors, the bad and good deeds of one’s past and present lives and also from the consequences of erroneous religious practices handed down by ancestors. This is a purely contemplative spiritual intercession performed by the incumbent spiritual head for releasing the devotees from negative karmic and spiritual influences. After a few generations, several mahatmas and other high souls waiting for rebirth in this age will be born in the families thus purified. With that, the spiritual renovation of humanity would be complete.

Navajyotisree Guru was born on 1st September, 1927, at Chandirur, Alapuzha district in Kerala. The birth of Guru was marked by incidents associated with divine births. After His birth, Guru became aware of a unique spiritual experience. There was a ‘Radiance’ inside Him until the age of nine, which He identified with Sri Krishna. When He became 14 years old, Guru left home in search of spiritual realization. He led the life of an ascetic in the Ashram founded by Sri Narayana Guru, well known spiritual and social reformer of Kerala who said ‘One Caste, One Religion, One God for humanity’.

During His search for truth, Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru met Khureshia Fakir, a Sufi sage, who lived near Beema Masjid at Thiruvananthapuram. The ancestors of Khureshia Fakir belonged to Pathan tribe of Afghanistan, hence he was also known as Pattani Swami. This Sufi master was instrumental in awakening rare mystical experiences present in Guru. After few years’ association with Khureshia Fakir, Guru established Santhigiri Ashram near Pothencode. In the year 1973, after a series of spiritual experiences and fulfillments, Guru’s supreme spiritual status and extra ordinary divine mission were revealed to the disciples by the Radiance of God. On 6th May, 1999, Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru merged with the eternal Light of God. The present head of Santhigiri Ashram is Her Holiness Sishyapoojita Amritajnana Tapaswini, who is empowered by the Guru to spiritually lead the Guruparampara.

Guru founded a universal spiritual path based on the faith in the Oneness of God and Humanity in fulfillment of the wishes of great rishis, sages and prophets who came in the past. The teachings of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru deal with the questions of spiritual evolution, spiritual hierarchies, cosmic time order, astral pollution, soul transmigration, purification of karmic, ancestral and spiritual errors, and the possibility of spiritual intervention from time to time in the spiritual evolution of humanity. The path of Guru can be referred as Jnana Margam – founded on the monotheistic principles of Sanatana Dharma.


Reviving the Wisdom Tradition

Sanatana vs. Hindu culture
Indian culture represents a unique all-embracing world-view and a vibrant way of life. The cultural stream of India is very extensive and comes down from eternity. It had never been just a philosophical conception cut off from practicality. India’s spiritual vision leads our awareness to eternity through the rise and fall of civilizations, as revealed by the sages through the concept of Manu cycles or the Manvantara order, spanning billions and billions of years, measuring the age and rhythmic movement of the universe. In spiritual terms, the continuity of this cosmic vision functioned through an all-inclusive spiritual concept known as Sanatana Dharma, which meant an eternal system of dharma in relation to creation, life and existence. This spiritual culture was shared and perpetuated through a line of spiritual masters and their disciples and came to be known as Guru-Sishya Parampara or the Wisdom Tradition – the jnana marga.
We can see that the source of everything related to Indian culture and heritage has been derived from this wisdom path handed down through the Guru-sishya tradition. It had existed as a righteous and sublime way of life inspiring and touching all aspects of life. It nourished Dharma, i.e. the right knowledge and right conduct that enriches and expands the horizon of life. This spiritual vision of India had existed as a life-vision related to the inner transformation of life-force or jeeva, which can be seen as the practical expression of spirituality. The wisdom path of India aims to lift man from his bare emotional existence to the highest pedestal of consciousness and human values through a process of transformation, which ends with mukthi, i.e. liberation from the cycles of births and deaths. This vision of the Indian sages is constituted by the ancient Manu-centric Sanatana Dharma, from which this spiritual culture originated.
When we deliberate on this subject, we have to highlight certain fundamental truths. We can understand it in depth only through a review of Indian culture, which flows in two distinct socio-spiritual streams, i.e. the Sanatana culture and Haindava culture (ritualistic Hinduism), as distinct from each other. We know that the ancient-most culture of India is known as Arsha Bharata Samskara or Sanatana Dharma, which is the rishi culture.
Manu – the Nucleus of Creation
We have to re-examine the eventful history of how Sanatana Dharma could not elevate itself to its desired status and how it has got degenerated into the present day Haindava culture, through its long course over the ages. We cannot understand this history without mentioning about the kaala ganana or cosmic age calculation.
Indian Cosmic Time Calculation
1 Kalpa = 14 Manvantaras
71 Age Quartets = 1 Manvantara
1 Age Quartet = Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali = 43,20,000 years
The wheel of time called as Kalpa, Manvantara, Chaturyuga etc. is related to the parinaama or evolution of an atomic life-form into the absolute status of Brahman through the ebb and flow of srishti, sthithi, samhara and moksha i.e., creation, sustenance, dissolution and ultimate liberation. In the duration of a Kalpa, the creation completely merges with Brahman, the Supreme Light. This system of time is determined and ordered for the time-bound evolution of karma and dharma of all life-forms beginning from the microbial life-forms. The history of man’s spiritual quest reveals two types of realities. One is his subjective individuality and the second is its cosmic identity linking him organically to the Cosmic Truth in a parental relationship, God being the Cosmic Father or Creator.
The rishis measured every episode of creation in terms of Manvantara equivalent to the age of a Manu. Every solar system and life cycles originates from the sankalpam (conception) of Manus. In the endless march of time, uncountable Kalpas and Manu cycles have gone by, which would explain the reason behind a vast and expanding universe. For the same reason, the Indian rishis named God as Brahman, its meaning being ‘That which Expands’.
The cosmic phenomenon has got a nucleus, a functional centre from which everything manifests. That nucleus is the Manu, the Absolute in the form of the Archetypal Preceptor God, the instrumentality through whom the Will of the Absolute is carried out, controlling the temporal dimension including karma and dharma. Every yuga in a Manvantara fulfills the law of evolution in a structured way. The wisdom tradition envisions a gradual evolution through various time segments known as satya, treta, dwapara and kali yuga within the time period of a Manu, consisting of seventy one age quartets or chatur yugas. There are fourteen such Manu cycles in a single episode of creation known as kalpa. We can guess the depth of Indian spirituality when we know that the length of a chaturyuga itself has a duration of 43,20,000 years. We are in the seventh cycle of such an episode of creation, initiated by Vaivaswata Manu, the seventh Manu. In the present Manu cycle, this is the Kali yuga of the twenty eighth chaturyuga. There are forty three chaturyugas (28+43=71) yet to pass to complete the present Manu cycle.
The History of Spiritual Deviation
When this Manu-centric age calculation was distorted, the karma and dharma to be followed according to each age went wrong. Twenty five chaturyugas have passed in this manner. It would be difficult for us to grasp its magnitude in one word. In the Manu-centric Sanatana Dharma, Manu alias the Cosmic Purusha is the Creator, not the Trimurti gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. From the time the puranas, the mythological treatises began to explain creation in terms of trimurty gods, changing the time order of Manu as beginning from Brahma, the ancient Sanatana stream of spiritual culture took a diversion and began to flow through a diversified path, fragmenting Indian spirituality into three broad sects, Saiva, Vaishnava and Saketheya with hundreds of sub-sects.
Sanatana Dharma                                                                                    Trimurti System /Hinduism

Creation begins from Creation begins from

Manu alias Purusha                                                                                  Brahma/Vishnu/Siva/Devi,so on

Ashram Tradition                                                                                      Temple Tradition

Guru Centric (wisdom tradition)                                                            Priest Centric (ritual tradition)

Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru explains the history of this spiritual diversion in the following words:
‘What we are going through is the time-order of Manvantaras. That is our perspective or cognition of the world. In the Manu-tradition a great spiritual evolute fell from grace (in the third chaturyuga of the present seventh Manvantara). As a result the Brahman initiated a corrective in the seventh chaturyuga (by evolving the Trimurty system) which was brought to a completion in the eleventh chaturyuga. Thereafter astral matters related to mukti were revealed which got codified as Vedas, Sastras and the Upanishads, without changing the old Manvantara order (to reaffirm that order). Since the sages could not transcend those who received these astral matters did not enquire into the reason why they had received such knowledge. They used their intellect in understanding the path shown by the Almighty and charted their version of the Manvantara time-order chaturyugas, manvantaras and kalpas as subservient to Brahma. Thus they could not invoke Manu, the First Guru and grasp the Error and correct it. This is a peril that has befallen us.
‘The Error was repeated again and again as the evolutes, who were the spiritual authorities of revealed knowledge, could not discover the mystery and unravel it in full before us…. The feeling of ‘I’ (Aham Brahmasmi) developed in the line of Manus. In the higher planes of knowing it was seen that all the wisdom and knowledge attained so far have come through it (the Manu tradition). This ‘I-ness’ can be seen in any of the books of Vedanta. You talk to any common person – this bloated notion of a free ‘I’ (ego) can be seen. When this comes up in the circle of ascetics (brahmacharis), then such notions come forth through the master-disciple lineage. In the tradition of deity-worship (devaparampara), the ‘deva’ (god) I am devoted to or the ‘devi’ (goddess) I am devoted to is the greatest and most glorious (is observed). Because of such possessiveness in individuals, all kinds of deities, chamundi, yakshi, pey, maruta, matan, mantramurthi (dark, evil spirits such as succubi, ghosts, ghouls etc.) became the ‘Lords’. This has happened because of people’s selfishness and egoism…..

‘Due to the emergence of Varnasrama, castes and castes upon castes, those who worshiped according to the Trimurti tradition could not function in accordance with the goodness of the Age. Earlier to this, tales were created using the medium of Srutis and Smritis and they were presented as authentic. Before that, as there appeared the creed of ‘materializations’ (siddhi), some sanyasis themselves handled the traditions of siddhi. As it all came up to this, the tradition of Manu faded away even from memory. This degradation of the times is due to the refusal to modify the customs that required a change according to the age and the falsification of the ideology that the abode of Brahman should all the time be with the celestials (devas) and Brahmins’.
Sanatana Dharma Vs Hinduism
The Manvantara time-reckoning was thus re-charted bringing it under the trimurti tradition, giving it a new definition. It distorted the Sanatana spiritual culture that followed the Guru-centric jnana path respecting the age-specific dharma and karma. Moreover, the status of Guruhood was substituted by the temple tradition involving priest-craft and worship of devi-devas. Guru-hood in the Sanatana culture transcends the statuses of all spiritual entities including the trimurti gods, devi-devas as well as the planes of rishi, sanyasi, etc. above the trimurtis. This deviation fragmented the Indian society spiritually as well as socially.
As already mentioned, this mistake gave India two contradictory spiritual characteristics. We can identify these two spiritual characteristics in terms of the Arsha Bharata Samskara guided by the guru tradition, and the Haindava culture, which has grown through the popular temple tradition with all sorts of superstitions, caste restrictions, untouchability and so on. The Haindava culture was strongly established here in which different spiritual entities with different identity, naama-rupa – names and forms and rituals were installed in temples and worshipped in order to appease them through tantric and mantric rituals with the intermediacy of priests. Along with this, the practices of blessings, performance of siddhi, miracles and exorcism also emerged.The jnana path tried to nourish the qualities of truth, love, compassion and humility through right thoughts and deeds and strived to earn punya – virtue through the ways of karma and dharma and bhakti for attaining spiritual sublimity. In contrast, for the fulfillment of desires and other objectives, when people began to adopt a faith system based on the worship of spiritual entities beginning from trimurtis, demigods, yaksha, gandharva, kinnara, bhuta ganas and other angelic beings as well as all types of demonic and disturbed spirits roaming the earth’s atmosphere, these meritless spiritual practices resulted in the physical deformity as well as mental degradation of the populace. They were further made to suffer confined in the ghettos of caste, religion, clan, tribe, with each caste, clan and tribe owing allegiance to different gods, occupation, customs, rituals, etc.
Such a degrading and retrogressive culture was perpetuated in the society through mythology, language, arts and literature, religious edicts, etc. as well as through the wondrous tales of siddhi and through the scholarly discourses about maya, dvaita and advaita. This spiritual diversion has been the root cause for the subsequent spiritual fall and cultural degradation of Indian society. The concept of age-specific spiritual reformation is resisted by the orthodoxy substantiating the chaturvakyas (four great enunciations) in the Vedas, all of which try to imagine the individual soul as equal to Brahman, the Supreme. ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, one of the chaturvakyas means that ‘I am Brahman’. The individual soul is only part of Brahman, not Brahman itself, said Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru.
Vedas are bound to Yuga Dharma, i.e. they are age-specific. The sages in every age receive the revealed ‘word’ from Brahman, which becomes the Vedas. The wisdom tradition worked through the Guru-sishya order. Guru is the highest symbol of perfection, the connecting link to the Absolute Truth. Such a Guru would be the spiritual authority of the age, of karma, dharma, jnana and mukthi. The wisdom tradition is a knowledge related to life and its fulfillment. With the advent of Vedic ritualism, this pure life-culture became defunct. The graceful Guru fathoms the threefold time and the cause-effect background of life-experiences. This inner fathoming or mental absorption of an omniscient Guru is to be known as Smriti. The word Smriti means Guru’s perception of those karmic entanglements, which are behind the emotional swings in life, in the form of sorrows and happiness, and the advice Guru gives to the disciple for overcoming such hurdles is to be considered as the Veda or Sruti.
When one approaches a Guru in order to liberate the soul from its emotional and karmic entanglements, such process of learning sitting beside the Guru is Upanishad. Such a culture of learning from the Master and living by his guiding words was the essence of the Wisdom Tradition of Indian spirituality. When the spiritual guidance of such a Guru embodiment was unavailable, people began to lead life unaware about the evolving course of dharma, accepting the Vedas and Upanishads – the pre-historic catalogues of dharma, as the inviolable source of wisdom.
Reviving the Wisdom Traditon
The saying that ‘Guru Sakala Dharmata’ is based on this exalted vision of the absolute truth of God. The absolute truth of God self-manifests and gets activated through Guru and his Word, which is to be followed by the family – the mother, father, children and others. The divine Word revealed through the Guru becomes the guiding force behind the institution of family – the Grihasthashram and Grihasthashrama Dharma, orienting life and culture to a pedestal of absolute purity and sublime truth. It is this lost guru-disciple ashram culture which we have to re-establish as the highest aspects of Indian culture and spirituality. Today, unfortunately, the householders are totally cut off from this ashram-centric spiritual culture.
The individual as well as family life is affected by the good and bad deeds of ancestral souls. There are also the negative influences because of the distorted worship of maligned spiritual entities, followed by the families as mentioned earlier. The Guru parampara of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru strives to unburden the individuals, families and gotras from the negative karmagati and spiritual influences, through a way of life that follows the word of Guru vigilantly by mind, word and deed, keeping only the Atmajnani Guru in the heart. Only the realized and divinely authoritative Guru can perceive the karmagati of a person and guide one to the Absolute Truth through ultimate bhakti, the surrender in devotion, realizing that ‘Guru Saakshaat Parabrahm’, i.e. Guru is the very embodiment of Brahman.
We can thus see that this guru-sishya tradition is the essence of the spiritual soul of India, which strives to evolve the human spirit from the status of a human to the many dimensions of the divine such as deva, rishi, sanyasi, jnani, bhakta and muktha leading to ultimate liberation. These spiritual embodiments are related to expanding levels of human consciousness related to spiritual evolution. Guru Margam or the wisdom path combines jnana, karma, yoga and bhakti in order to nourish dharma and through that one’s success in life by way of enhanced punya and through that, fortune and wealth. Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru reminds us that we have lost this wisdom tradition. The history of the degeneration of this wisdom path is very old as it began twenty five chaturyugas ago in the present Manu cycle.
The spiritual view of India is a path that strives to fulfill dharma, i.e. the duties and purpose of life, artha, the earning of wealth etc. required for attaining material and spiritual well being, kama, exhausting or fulfilling all desires and finally, earning mukthi, getting release from the cycles of births and deaths. It is essential that we realize when and why this wisdom tradition was lost to India. The backbone of Sanatana culture was to realize the path of evolution in a natural and rational way and moreover, in accordance with the will of God. It was intended to actualize this knowledge in life and evolve oneself to the path of jnana.
We should be able to understand that the prayer ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu’ as the essence of this spiritual culture. The Indian spiritual concept is the path of fulfilling the purpose of life through karma according to dharma and the concept of parinama or evolution through the wheel of time. It is a complete life-vision in which from an atom to the Absolute attains perfection undergoing transformation. It is in this manner that the Indian spiritual concept had existed as the richest spiritual path in the world. We have to realize that our present spiritual, cultural and social situation is very pathetic. The spiritual guidance of Navajyotisree Karunakara Guru sheds light on the cause-effects of this spiritual degradation, which is both ironic and distressing.
The Guru’s is a path of spiritual renaissance to redeem the society from this spiritual degradation and value erosion. Guru brings to our focus the deviation occurred in the transformational path of spirituality relevant to the age and to dharma and karma. It is an indisputable fact that Guru’s movement of spiritual renaissance, as a correction to this situation, is able to impart to the modern world a new light and inspiration, brilliance and strength. Guru presents before us a new path of karma and dharma respecting the yuga dharma in order to rectify the situation taking into consideration the spiritual as well as material aspects. In Santhigiri, Guru has begun to develop it as a liberating culture without the restrictions of caste, religion, class, gender etc. to fulfill the dictum ‘One Caste, One Religion and One God for Humanity’. (Author Swami Navanama Jnana Tapaswi, Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India)

The True Religion of India

In the present age, we see that the whole humanity is in disharmony owing to religious differences. This means that the present day religious theologies and practices have outlived their spiritual efficacy to bring about peace and spiritual evolvement to humanity. It is for India to take up a leadership role in the spiritual renewal of humanity. Although it may be unconvincing to many, the reality is that India is the mother of spirituality, the inheritor of an ancient most spiritual culture. Mark Twain (1835-1910) wrote that India is the “Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition… India had the start of the whole world in the beginning of things…’

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) the famous American Philosopher said that ‘The Hindoos are most serenely and thoughtfully religious than the Hebrews. They have perhaps a purer, more independent and impersonal knowledge of God. Their religious books describes the first inquisitive and contemplative access to God… The calmness and gentleness with which the Hindoo philosophers approach and discourse on forbidden themes is admirable’.
Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) once said about Hinduism: “After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect , none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism…’

What is the base of India’s great spiritual culture that deserves such eulogy from these great teachers, thinkers and philosophers? They were not obviously referring to the pantheistic beliefs and practices of the vast sections of ignorant Hindu population and their superstitions, about the snake charmers, the relentless feuds between hostile castes, clans and regional states or about the culture of animal and human sacrifices, bride burning, rape and inhuman murder of helpless women etc. that attract the condemnation of Hindus and their religion. These famous thinkers found inspiration from the great metaphysical teachings of the rishis and sages of India that form the true Sanatana principles, which have hardly anything to do with the priest mediated temple oriented Hindu religion, often referred by scholars as Brahmanical Hinduism. Very less people, scholarly and otherwise, including the Hindus seem to realize the great flip-flop occurred in understanding the true basis of Indian spirituality, which can be categorized into two broad categories based on their ideological and ritualistic differences, most importantly based on the difference between their cosmologies.

The first one is the ancient Guru-Disciple Ashram (Rishi) tradition and the other is the Temple tradition or Trimurti (Devi-Deva) tradition. The temple tradition thrives on the premises of mythology found in the puranas that promote the worship of trimurti gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and their vast family of gods and goddesses, as the ultimate spiritual authorities, whereas in the Guru-Disciple Ashram or Rishi tradition, the authority of creation is Manu, known to be the First Projection of God or the Saguna Brahman. In the rishi tradition, the medium between man and God is the Preceptors or Gurus who come in every age (yuga) for the spiritual uplift of humanity, reveals Navajyotisri Karunakara Guru. As Swami Vivekananda said, Guru is the mask worn by the formless God to come near man.

Every human universe (solar system) is born out of the sankalpam or conception of Manu, the Primordial Father of humanity and that is why the age of the universe is calculated in terms of Manvantara after the name of Manu. In a cosmic age known as Kalpa, fourteen Manus appear and project the solar system with the help of saptarshis, (the planetary spirits controlling the solar system). The time of six Manus has already passed and the present age belongs to the seventh Vaivaswata Manu. Our sages have even mentioned the names of these seven Manus who are going to appear in this Kalpa. The spiritual cataclysm of India is that this universal cosmology based on Manu has been altered subsequently to accommodate and project the trimurti gods as the authorities of creation.

The Trimurti tradition is based on Purana Samhita, the mythological treatise known to have been composed by Veda Vyasa (Krishna Dwaipayana) at the end of Dwapara Yuga. The present puranas are the subsequent redactions by his disciples such as Romaharsha and others during the beginning of Kali yuga. There are evidences to suggest that the present day puranas and epics were composed during the Buddhist or post Buddhist period about 2500 years ago or little later. The puranas and epics, which contain important chronicles of the past cosmic ages are said to be perennial and existed in every yuga in different forms and orally handed down age after age. Thus, the myths and legends about Brahma, Vishnu and Siva might be speaking to us the spiritual history of an unimaginable distant past. The puranic authors have cleverly mixed the metaphysical teachings of the rishis in their compositions in such a way that one would be unable to distinguish between the very diverging schools of thought in them. In reality, the philosophy of the rishis envisioned God independent of the mythical tradition and even the polytheism of the Vedas.