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Sree Narayana Guru

GS Paper 1

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Context: Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti.(167th birth anniversary of Sree Narayan Guru)

Who was he?

Sree Narayana Guru was a catalyst and leader who reformed the oppressive caste system that prevailed in society at the time.

  • He was born in 1856 in Chempazhanthy, a village near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • Belong to the Ezhava caste, Narayan Guru had experienced discrimination from the upper caste of society.
  • His philosophy always advocated social equality, education for all, and spiritual enlightenment.

Sree_Narayana_Guru ,


Significant Contribution for Society:

  • He gave the famous slogan One Caste, One Religion, One God for All (Oru Jathi, Oru Matham, Oru Daivam, Manushyanu).
  • In 1888, Narayana Guru consecrated the first temple of Lord Shiva, where an idol was ordinated by a non-brahmin in Aruvippuram village of Kerala.
  • His step sparked off the anti-caste revolution against the upper-caste Brahmin communities.
  • In one temple he consecrated at Kalavancode, he kept mirrors instead of idols. This symbolised his message that the divine was within each individual.
  • in 1903, he established the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) as the founder and president.
  • He had set up more than 40 temples across the state as an act of protest to permit lower caste people to enter temples.


Contribution to National Movement:

  • He was in the forefront of the movement for universal temple entry and against the societal ills like the social discrimination of untouchables.
  • He provided the impetus for Vaikom agitation which was aimed at temple entry in Travancore for the lower castes.
  • He captured the essence of Indianness in his poems which highlighted the unity that lies beneath the world’s apparent diversity.


Philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru:

  • 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.
  • In 1913, he founded the Advaita Ashram at Aluva. This was an important event in his spiritual quest.
  • This Ashram was dedicated to a great principle – Om Sahodaryam Sarvatra (all men are equal in the eyes of God).


 Literary Works:

He wrote various books in different languages. Few of them are: Advaitha Deepika, Asrama, Thevarappathinkangal, Brahmavidya Panchakam etc.

 Relevance of His Philosophy:

Sree Narayana Guru’s philosophy of Universal Oneness has special relevance in the contemporary global context where in the social fabric of many countries and communities are being eroded by hatred, violence, bigotry, sectarianism and other divisive tendencies.



Prelims Link:

  1. Sree Narayana Guru belonged to which state?
  2. Aravippuram movement is associated with?
  3. Who established Advaita Ashram in Kalady?
  4. Who started Vaikkom Satyagraha? What were the objectives?
  5. Important leaders who met Sree Narayana Guru.
  6. Who composed Atmopadesa Satakam?

Mains Link:

Discuss the role of Sri Narayana Guru in social reforms in India.

Sources: PIB.