Sunday, May 3, 2009


AYYAPPAN, THE FOUNDER of the Sahodaran Sangham {Association of Brotherhood) mentioned earlier, has carved out an immortal niche for himself in the annals of social movement in Kerala by the revolutionary changes he affected and the sufferings he underwent for the uplift of every man, woman and child, paying special attention to the lowly section of society. The more orthodox among the Ezhavas were averse to granting to castes lower than themselves the rights and privileges which they were gaining one after the other from the higher castes. That was by no means Sree Narayana Guru’s idea of reform. It has to be applied in every case consistently.

He was the first Ezhava to become a graduate in Cochin State. All the lower castes were so proud of him that they called him Ayyappan B.A as if the degree was part of his name. He was honoured like a prince. And people simply hung on his lips. They had great hopes of his becoming a great man. Sure enough, he did become one, but not in the way they wanted him to be.

He wanted all the untouchables to mix together, move forward tighter, interdine and even intermarry. Once again a leader had arisen who appeared to be far ahead of his times. The people who had rejoiced in having got a treasure, found they had caught a tartar. He preached equality among all castes. Preaching was easy. But here he was actually giving shape to a Sahodara Sangh (Association of Brothers) and going about practicing what he was preaching. That was too much for them to swallow. They opposed him. Ayyappan suffered all this with endless patience. When, however, they claimed that he was going against his Guru, he went straight to him sought his advice. Sree Narayana Guru gave him his support in writing:

“Whatever be the religion, language, custom, caste or dress of
individuals, since they are all human beings, there can be no objection to
their interdining or intermarrying.”

This also has become a famous message, one of the universal statements of Guru.
Such epigrammatic saying contained the principles on which people were to rely in their day-to-day lives. They helped them to appreciate the fundamental philosophy of oneness underlying the entire universe. They knew that such a basis did exist and that was enough for them.
Swami blessed his great disciple Ayyappan with these inspiring words: “You must have the patience of Jesus Christ.” This supreme compliment paid by the Swami the form of advice was richly deserved. He travelled throughout Kerala preaching the Guru’s message like a typhoon, winning all the way. The people of Kerala never returned to their original orthodoxy after that.
After his death , his wife Parvathi has been continuing his work by founding an asylum for destitutes on a hillock near Alwaye, known as Sree Narayana Giri.


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