A conversation that spreads light by M.K. Sanu outlines the conversation that took place between Sree Narayana Guru, Vallabhassery Govindan Vaidyar, and T K Kittan in January 1928. They visited Guru with a request to proclaim Sivagiri as a pilgrimage. Vaidyar initiated the conversation like an advocate, ” Kittan writer has an appeal to make…”. Vaidyar confirmed that Kittan writer had listed everything for pilgrimage. Kittan writer had titled it as Pilgrimage to Sivagiri.
Guru questioned the need for a new pilgrimage while they already had other pilgrimage centers like Varkala Janaradhanam. Kittan writer replied that Hindu temples never opened the doors to the lower castes like him. Kittan writer requested Guru specify the period for pilgrimage. Guru suggested observing it on January 1 which would be on 16 or 17 of Dhanu in the Malayalam Calendar.
Guru put forward some suggestions regarding abstinence and dress code. Guru advised them to observe ten days of abstinence. He also counseled them to follow Buddha’s five ideals of purity ( purity of body, food, mind, word, and deed). He also opted for the yellow color for pilgrimage by stating that it was the color chosen by Sri Krishna and Sri Buddha.
In the next part of the conversation Guru clearly explained how simple the pilgrimage should be. He advised not to insist on the yellow color if someone didn’t have it. He told them they could adjust with white by coloring it with turmeric. He insisted on a journey that was full of humility and lack of luxury. He also warned that the Ezhava community was poor not in terms of wealth but education and cleanliness.
He told that the pilgrims who would face hardships and expenses should be rewarded with eight objectives because every deed should have a purpose. Guru noted the eight objectives for the pilgrimage: education, cleanliness, piety, organization, cultivation, trade, handicrafts, and technological training. He told them to arrange experts from each topic to give awareness to the Ezhava community.
By the end of this conversation, we can find the universal perspective of Guru. He said prosperity shouldn’t be limited to the Ezhava community but should spread to everyone through the Ezhava community. He advised that the purpose of this pilgrimage is to make the Ezhava community a model for the rest.
Read the summary of Gopinath Mohanty’s Paraja here
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