Saturday, May 30, 2009

52.Swami Dharma Theerthar (Jhon Dharma Theerthar)

Disciple of Sree Narayana gurudevan

Swami Dharma Theerthar

He was Prameswara Menon before he became the disciple of Sree Narayana Guru. He received his B.A. degree from Madras Presidency College . He worked in the Cochin government service for a brief period before he joined Bombay University for LLB. After receiving his law degree he started his law practice in the Trichur area. Soon he became a famous lawyer in that area. His activities against untouchability and other unorthodox practices made him popular.

He worked as the editor of ‘Snehithan' magazine that was published from Trichur. At this time he became acquainted with Bodhananda and got attracted to his activities. He was a very good orator, so he became a regular speaker at the meetings arranged by Bodhananda Swami. He visited Aruvippuram and Sivagiri many times with Bodhananda Swami. These visits gave him the chance to learn about Sree Narayana Guru and his works. Parameswara Menon stopped his practice and moved to Sivagiri. After 2 years Guru accepted him as his disciple and re-named him as Dharma Theerthar.

He was Guru's first Sanyasin disciple with a college degree. He traveled many places with Guru and served as an interpreter. Guru sought his legal advice before registering the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. He served as the Secretary of the Dharma Sangam for a long time. He started the systematic way of keeping accounts and records at Sivagiri Mutt. Swami Dharma Theerthar was the first person who took the initiative to collect Guru's literary works and publish them. He wrote, ‘the Prophet of Peace', first English book about Guru. He wrote and published many books in Malayalam and English. In 1941 he wrote and published a book, ‘Menance to Hindu Imperialism', about secularism in India . This book was later republished with a new title - ‘History of Hindu Imperialism'.

In this book Dharma Theerthar says these words about his Guru: “The greatest saint, reformer, teacher and nation builder Travancore has produced, since the days of the first Sree Sankaracharya, was undoubtedly the late Sree Narayana Guru Swami. In any other country he would have been universally acclaimed as a savior and Prophet. But in the Hindu state, caste envelops in dark clouds even such great souls and prevents their light from penetrating in the open world when Rishi like him could not overcome the caste prejudices of a Hindu state”. Even though he was associated with Sivagiri for than 30 years, the politics that occurred after Guru's samadhi made him leave that place. He traveled in North India . Later he embraced Christianity and became John Dharma Theerthar, but till the end of his life, he spread Guru's philosophy.


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