Guru’s Two Years at Advaita Ashram


Those who walked before us, their wanderings. If you look for the reasons behind it, it may seem unbelievable. Sometimes one may withdraw without understanding anything after analyzing with logic. Those who absorb it beyond reason will listen closely. Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru, the founder of Santhigiri Ashram, was a great soul who undertook Avadhuta Yatra. It was a journey to touch the soul of India and seek the meaning of Avadhuta’s life. The mission and history of Guru who lived here performing karma with a selfless attitude cannot be easily grasped by ordinary people because it is beyond reason. Their lives are like a signpost before us. We can also walk through it.

Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru loved ashram life from his childhood. But the situation at home was not so good. Guru had spent two years in the house of his stepfather. Guru was 11 years old then. One day, there was an incident that hurt Guru’s heart because of the stepfather. He left the house that night. He slept on the floor of the nearby Bhajana Mutt. The next morning he met Maliyekal Kumaranashan who had taught him the alphabet. He asked him to take him to an ashram. A person named Krishnapillai was associated with many ashrams in Arur. Kumaranashan went and saw him. As he suggested, they left for Agamananda Ashram at Kaladi. On the way, Ashan met someone who knew that ashram. He said he would take Guru to Agamananda Swami’s ashram. Aasan’s acquaintance returned after leaving Guru in the ashram. But Guru was turned back in the evening saying they did not allow children to stay in the ashram.

The Guru walked alone from there in the direction of Aluva. While walking, he heard somebody say, ‘Let us go to the Ashram pond and take a bath’. So he followed them and reached the wide pond. After bathing in the clear water, Guru walked straight to the adjacent Advaita ashram. When Guru entered the ashram, Shankarananda Swami, the ashram in charge, was sitting on a chair outside. He went straight to him and informed his desire to stay in the Ashram. Thus began the Guru’s ashram career under the benevolence of Shankarananda Swami. He lived in the Advaita Ashram for two years. Even though he was unfamiliar with the ashram discipline, Guru quickly adapted to it, and his interest in ashram life increased. There the doors to Guru’s sacrificial life were getting opened.

Agamananda Swami was a great scholar of the Sri Ramakrishna Sannyasi lineage. It was Agamananda Swami who began the renaissance in the birthplace of Sri Shankaracharya, which had been neglected for centuries. Swami made great efforts to spread spiritual light through his service. This ashram was started at Kaladi by Agamananda Swami, an initiated disciple of Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj, the first President of Ramakrishna University and a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Inspired by the erudition, personality, and saintly life of Swami Agamananda, Sri Ramakrishna Ashram was started on a few acres of land donated by a native named Parayattu Govinda Menon on the banks of Periyar. A thatched hut on four bamboo poles. That was the ashram of that time. In 1936, he started an ashram named Sri Ramakrishna Advaita Ashramam. In 1941, the ashram was affiliated with the Belur Math. This is the Ashre where Sri Karunakara Guru first came.

From today (1/05/24) the Santhigiri Shishya Parampara is undertaking the Avadhuta Yatra to these places where the marks of Guru’s life are imprinted. This pilgrimage takes place on the eve of Navoli Jyotir Dinam, the anniversary of Guru’s Remembrance Day. The Avadhuta Sangha first went to Kaladi Agamananda Ashram. The group performed prayers there and then went to Aluva Advaita Ashram. The group returned after performing prayers, reliving the memories of Guru’s stay there for two years.

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