Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti is an important public holiday in the state of Kerala. Schools, offices, and banks are closed on this day. It is a celebration of the birthday of Narayana Guru, who was a social reformer and saint. While he immersed himself in meditative practices for spiritual upliftment, he also worked for the empowerment of people in Kerala who were downtrodden due to caste prejudices.
Born on 28 August 1855, his birthday is celebrated in the month of ‘'Chingam’' in the Malayalam calendar on the day of the ‘'Chathayam’' star. The dates will vary from year to year. In the year 2021, it will be celebrated on 21 September. Today, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti is celebrated not just in Kerala, but in other states in India as well as other countries of the world where the Malayalee diaspora has spread.
Shri Narayana Guru Jayanti Date 2021
|Shri Narayana Guru Jayanti||21 September, Tuesday||Kerala|
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Celebrations of Sree Narayana Jayanti
Sree Narayana Jayanti is celebrated with great aplomb across the state of Kerala. The state is dotted with shrines to Sree Narayana Guru. On this day, the shrines as well as long stretches of roads are decorated with floral tributes using specially dried coconut leaves. People carry out harmonious processions in remembrance of the great guru. Community feasts are arranged with special emphasis on the poor and downtrodden. There are also common prayers held that are attended by people irrespective of caste or creed. There are also special conferences or seminars held in educational institutions and other organisations. These talks and discussions remind people of his teachings and philosophy.
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Legacy of Sree Narayana Guru
Sree Narayana Guru was born in a time when the caste system was rampant in Kerala society. Born in the Ezhava caste, which was thought to be a lower caste, he had experienced firsthand the discrimination wrought upon them by the upper caste section of society. His most famous saying in Malayalam translates as ‘'One caste, one religion, one god for all’'.
Narayana Guru consecrated more than 40 temples across the state as an act of protest to permit so called lower caste people to enter temples. The famous ‘'Vaikom Satyagraha’' protest movement against caste discrimination and untouchability, which centered around the Sri Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom, was triggered by an upper-caste person blocking Narayana Guru from walking on the road leading to the famous temple. This led to all such restrictions being finally abolished and everyone, irrespective of caste, being given the freedom to walk on public roads that led to the temple.
The Sivagiri pilgrimage was approved with his blessings in 1924 and initiated by three of his disciplines and continues till this day. Under the Guru’s tutelage, the pilgrimage is undertaken to promote the virtues of cleanliness, education, devotion, agriculture, handicrafts, and trade.
While translating three major sacred texts, he also published more than 40 works of his own in Malayalam, Tamil, and Sanskrit.
Sree Narayana Guru embodied and propagated communal harmony and universal brotherhood following in the footsteps of Adi Sankara. The development of Kerala into a more humane and egalitarian society began in the wake of these footsteps. Sree Narayana Guru passed away on 20 September 1928. Today, this philosophy is a way of life for the state of Kerala.
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