Karunakara Guru

Karunakara Guru (1 September 1927 – 6 May 1999) also known as Navajyothi Sree Karunakara Guru, is a spiritual personality and head, and the founder 'Guru' of Santhigiri Ashram in Pothencode, Kerala, India.

Karunakara Guru
Born1 September 1927
Died6 May 1999
Other namesNavajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru, Nava Jyoti Sri Karunakara Guru

Birth and childhoodEdit

Karunakara Guru was born Karunakaran, into a modest family in the picturesque Chandiroor village in the Alappuzha district of Kerala on 1 September 1927.

His mother, Karthyayani, was a devout housewife and his father Govindan, a well respected noble man. When the child was only nine months old, he suffered the loss of his father. After the death of his father, Karunakaran spent his childhood years in his mother Karthyayani's house. Even as a child, he maintained utmost cleanliness, austerity and a regular prayer routine.

Around the age of 14, he left home to lead a monastic life and became an inmate of Advaita Ashram at Alwaye (near Kochi), a branch of Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the social reformer and Guru, Sree Narayana (1855–1928).

The path to enlightenmentEdit

He spent the next 17 years at various branches of Sivagiri Mutt, performing a wide variety of tasks, and worked without self interest, giving up all the comforts of food, sleep and rest. The seniors of the Mutt admired his rigorous work ethic, self negation and the perfection at which the many menial jobs were done! Everything was done with great care, and concern. While he was called a 'Santhi' (the priest), many devotees came to see him due to his attractive personality, and behavior that they fell in love with! Some experienced an aura in the simplicity of the child!

After many years of searching for a real 'Guru', he found his 'Guru' Khureshia Fakir, in a chance meeting. Khureshia Fakir, the sufi saint recognized his long lost disciple, embraced him and said, "You've come at last!". And as he accompanied his 'Guru' in spiritual wanderings, the array of visions, and the experience of enlightenment in the life of a sage, soon began!

In 1957, he left Sivagiri and moved to a hut on a nearby hill. This spot came to be called 'Santhigiri', by the locals, which roughly translates as the hill where Santhi, (the priest) resides. In 1968, he moved to Pothencode, near Thiruvananthapuram, where he had put up a thatched hut on a small piece of land donated by a well-wisher.

He spent several years in meditation and prayer here, and shared his ideas of the proper way of worship, the 'Gurumargam' or knowing God by the way of 'Guru', and spent countless hours in discourse with the people who came to visit him daily, on a wide variety of subjects! Santhi, now 'Karunakara Guru', was a solace to the people that relentlessly came to him with illnesses, and problems. Many came with terminal illnesses like cancer, and strange mental/moral disorders or family problems. And as most were very poor, they had nowhere else to go. 'Karunakara Guru' would only pray for them and give them 'bhasmam' or holy ash, and without any wondrous feats, their illnesses would disappear.


Santhigiri AshramEdit

The Santhigiri Ashram is located 21 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. Special events are held in August–September (birthday of Guru) and on 6 May (the day of the merger of Guru in eternal consciousness). Prayers are held every three hours, day and night, starting at 3:00 AM. Attractions include the resting place of the Guru in the form of a gigantic 91 feet high Lotus Parnasala built in marble, traditional Ayurveda and Siddha treatments and therapies. It is very near to tourist sites such as Varkala, Kovalam, Kanyakumari and Kerala backwaters. Admission is open to all regardless of sex, caste, creed or religion. The dress code is dhoti for men and sari for women for prayers and other spiritual functions. Women are banned during their menstrual cycles.

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