Chapter X : A Metal Statue.

On January 31st of 1926, Sunday, a meeting of the labour Union was held at the house of Mundangadan Govindan in Thalassery. In that meeting, there was a suggestion from Shri.Moorkothu Kumaran (author of this book) that a statue of Sree Narayana Guru may be installed in the premises of of Jagannadha Temple. There was a Temple association called Jnanodaya Yogam to handle the Temple Affairs. One of the members pointed out that the Directors of this yogam could not take up the responsibility of the statue installation, hence it had to be taken  up by Shri Moorkothu Kumaran himself who suggested it. This was approved in the meeting. Accordingly, a committee was formed to take up this matter, with Shri Moorkothu Kumaran as secretary, Bodhananda Swamy as President, Chaithanya  Swami as Vice President, Shri Mundangadan Govindan as Treasurer, Guruprasad Swami, Shri A.V. Vasudevan, Dr.P.Sekharan, Shri.M.K.Madhavan and Shri.A.V.Kunjikannan as members and started fund collection. People from all over Kerala, irrespective of caste and religion made liberal contributions to this fund happily. The secretary personally went to the Colombo and collected money. Dr.P.Kannai  collected funds from Burma and sent it. At Colombo, the Secretary met an Italian Sculptor Mr.Thavarali and entrusted him with the work of making the state. After fourteen months of hard work, on the 13th  March 1927 that statue could be installed. It was a grand function. The details are given below:
 On 13th march 1927, Sunday, unusually joy and cheerfulness was felt in the town of Thalassery. That was the day when the metal statue of Sree Narayan Guru wa to be unveiled.
 Bodhananda Swami had reached Thalassery  from Coimbatore by train on the previous day. Soon after Saturday midnight, he placed statue on the pedestal. On the Northern side of Jagannadha temple a small octagonal shed was built with a tiled roof and an ornamental top dome on it. The pedestal was a square platform in this shed.(Experts say that this pedestal is too small and it does not show off the magnificence of the statue to its full extent. This shortcominh is to be rectified by future generations).
 The important members of the Brahma Vidya Sangham, Shri N.S. Rama Rao M.A., Shri. Mancheri Rama Iyyer, shri.V.Karunakaran Nair etc., reached Thalassery on Sunday by train. They were received with honour by the members of the Statue Fund Committee. Gentleman like Dr.Ram Kammath and Adv. Sankara Iyyer were also present at the station to receive the dignitaries. Shri N.S. Rama Rao was garlanded by the secretary.
 Shri.N.S. Rama Rao a post graduate from Cambridge University, who had joined Brahma Vidya Sanghom, remained a celibate to serve mankind. He had travelled trhough out the world i.e, America, Europe and Australia and gined experience and worldly wisdom. His speech in a meeting of the Brhma Vidya Sanghom at Holland had become world famous. The people of Thalassery had the good fortune to enjoy his ability to speech in good, fluent and powerful English. This naturally handsome man won the love and respect of the people of Thalassey with his humility, devotion, courtesy and willingness to serve the people.
 The President reached the spot exactly by 3 O’ clock. More than five thousand men and women were assembled there, including Brahmins and non-Brahmins without any caste feeling, officials and non-officals. After the President was seated on the dias, three children rendered a prayer song. This was followed by Shri.Moorkothu Kumaran’s speech:
 “Ladies and Gentlemen,
       All the outside, in the name of the statue committee I welcome all the people who have assembled here on this auspicious occasion, responding to our invitation.
 This is the first time a statue is being unveiled in Kerala. The statue being unveiled here today is not that of a war here who had conquered nations by getting thousands of people killed on bothe the sides, not that of  King who had received power through inheritance, not that of a sciebtist who happened to discover a great rule of nature accidently, not that of an artist who had become popular through his artist talent. We have assembled here to witness the inveiling of the statue of a real yogi who effulgent with spiritual powers and inner purity and had become the object of respect and affection of not only millions of downtrodden people but also others.
 Though Sree Narayana Guru is the recipient of universal respect, at the same time he is a devoted servant of mankind also. In other words, he is a Janna Yogi and Karma Yogi at the same time. His action dedicated to the well-being of humanity.
 Sun shines and vaporizes water from the earth and stores as clouds. During rainy season, water is given back to the earth and the people as rains. Similarly the wisdom, spiritual and mystic powers which Sree Narayana Guru gained through severe penance and rigorous yogi exercises, are bestowed on humanity for their benefit. After he set out on this path, what he had done is well-known.
 The Swami, who had gained perfect self-control and renunciated any desire for rewards of his actions, understood very well through observations what he need of the people was at that time. He set out on his task without enraging neither the orthodox nor promoting boasting among the progressive.
 He expressed through actions that social quality is to be attained, not by down-grading the higher levels, but by elevating the lower graded to the higher level. The Swami did not try to elevate to anyone to Brahminical statue by conferring external symbols like the sacred thread around the neck or caste marks on the forehead. For the true elevation of the human being he recommended only purity of the mind and cleanliness of the body, clothes, and food as compulsory daily rituals. Sidestepping these he did not encourage to secure the right of entry to those temples. If at all he fought against any evil traditions it was only against animal slaughter and alcoholism. He stressed in his advices that rituals of worship which include these two are uncivilized and diabolic and he took bold steps to annihiliate these. The installation of the new temple was the first daring and most successful step in this directions. He believed that the installation of temples od serene deities was the best way to attract people to adopt sober rituals of worship, discarding their implicit faith in animal sacrifice and drunken orgies as compulsory rituals practiced for generations. The result of this experiment is crystal clear to everyone. When he found that the sense of spirituality in the people had gone beyond the need for an idol to worship, he gave to the people the Sarada Mutt, where they could meditate without worshiping the idol. Rituals of offering to the deity and celebrations of festivals were also banned to effect an change in the ambience of the temple. For those who did not need even the presence of a deity to mediate, the Adwaithasramam was founded. In all these, primary condition for entry was stipulated as cleanliness of the body, food and purity of the mind. By laying down this fundamental condition, he had exposed the artificially of caste. The Swami’s disciples, ranging from the high caste Brahmin to the lowest Chandala, who cannot be identified by their clothes, appearance or spoken words, now live together as members of a single family at Sivagiri Mutt and adwaithasramam. In these institutions difference in caste and religion are ignored. Each one has the freedom to pray and worship in his own special way, according to the religion he follows. Those who understood this fact can realize the true meaning of the Gospel of Unnity, “One Caste One Religion One God for Man” visualized by the Swami. After understanding the true meaning of this principle and the fact that the Swami had actually practices this in his life, great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Ravindranath Tagore came down to meet him.
 If anyone thinks that Sree Narayan guru is the special property of a particular caste or community, that will be an unpardonable offence against him. Adi Sankaracharya had chirned the ocean of Vedanta and given its surf to the people. He was so great that he found the spark of divinity in all living beings and to illustrate that he composed ‘Maneesha Panchakam’ .But the people of Kerala had restricted such a great Acharya to the confines of a particular caste. Not only that, they have made use of his words as the fortress walls of casteism( compare Viveka Chudaamani stanza-2) and heaped the evils of caste discrimination as his original sin. IF such people push Sree Narayana Guru into the prison of a particular caste, it will not be a surprise.
 The main reason for the disdain  to which India, our dear motherland, is subjected to, is the ill-will between castes and the rivalry between religions. Narayan Guru, from this tiny corner of this great land, namely Kerala, has shown to the great leaders of this land that the best method to liberate the society is by annihilating these evils and working for the progress and prosperity of the society. So far there was no reason to repent that the Swami had gone wrong at any point. But unfortunately, the leaders who are disciples and devotees of ther Swami are unable to recognize the path traversed by him to remedy this infirmity and bother about religious conversions and right to temple sentries. It is a pity that they are unable to understand the ways and means employed by the Swami find solutions. My humble opinion is that if we understand the ideals of the Swami clearly and follow the methods peacefully, which he had proved effective. Kerala which was branded as a lunatic asylum will be able to claim the title of a model state for the whole of India.
 The Statue that is being unveiled here on this day remains a symbol to commemorate the great achievements of the Swami and a reminder of his ideals to the future generations of Kerala. The feelings of each one of us is the perfect proof to the complacence and sense of gratification felt by those people who have involved themselves to make the installation of this statue a reality by their generous contributions in cash and kind and those who enjoy the good fortune to be present here and participate in this function.
 No explanation is required to install the statue of a great Jnana Yogi, who became a Karma Yogi also by working out a most useful and peaceful way for the salvation of mankind. This statue is not a memorial installed by a few people to express their love for someone or their gratitude to someone for financial help. This not a monument by a rich man to keep the memory of a beloved alive. This is a token of the gratitude of the people to superhuman personality who had sacrificed all his spiritual powers and yoigic achievements to redress the grievances of those who had bwwn crushed under the yoke of tradition, and dislodge the obstacles in their path of progress and emancipation. This statue is a life size representation of the physical appearance of that personality to enable future generation to see how he looked like and pay their respects, This statue is the product of devotion and respect felt by millions of people which has flowed down as contributions in cash and kind, to make this a reality. Brahmins, Pulayas, and Christians Muslims and Christians also have contributed.
 Sree Narayana Guru had been popular among the people of all religions, castes and universally acceptable because he had given freedom to his disciples to continue in their religion and purse any type of worship that they liked and because he lived a selfless life without deviating an  iota from the principles he preached. Therefore, it is no wonder that people of all religions and castes contributed unhappily and lavishly for making this statue a reality.
 
 It is not just an accident that an eminent person deserving in all respects to unveil the first statue of the Swami is present here. Shri. N.S. Rama rao is a gentleman in whom, all the qualities and excellence that people think are necessary to perform this, are combined. Some people think that it should be done by a Brahmin. Mr.Rama Rao is Brahmin notmerely because he is born to a Brahmin woman and was invested with the sacred thread. He is a true Brahmin by virtue of his knowledge and practice. Some others are of the opinion that the Swami’s statue had to be unveiled only by one who respects and follows his ideals. In that case, Mr. Rama Rao, as an active member of Brahma Vidya Sanghom, not only preaches that people of the world should live like a fraternity without caste and religious difference, but also honestly and sincerely persuades the people to follow these principles. As such, he is the most deserving person and how can we conclude that this coming is accidental?
Let us now proceed with the ritual of unveiling the statue, which will ne a reminder, to the world at large and Kerala especially, to remember with gratitude the bountry he has bestowed on us, not only for this generation, but for future generations also. Let this be a land mark to commemorate the  virtuous life and ideals of the Swami forever.”
 After this speech by Mr.Kumaran, Shri Mancheri, Rama Iyyer introduced the chief guest of the function to the people through a very interesting and witty speech. Next, the chief guest spoke in English. Shri.V.Krunakaran Nair made an on the spot translation of the beautiful speech. In his speech Mr.Rama Rao elaborated the importance of religion in India. If there is any set of people who are sincerely interested and not ridiculed about religion, it is only the Indians. He had been to a mammoth meeting of the Catholics in Chicago. The piety exhibited by those who were assembled there was in no way more than the piety of the people here. But religion in our land has become a fortress of pernicious customs and traditions. In olden days, the foundation of our religion was renunciation. The Brahmin was equal to an ascetic, renouncing all worldly interests. He was respected for that. Kshatriya, vysya and Shudra has practiced some way of renunciation which suited them. They received respect also proportionate to that. There was no social hierarchy in those days. Such a class difference without hierarchy exists in western countries also. That works well there but it is not being restricted and narrowed down. The people there enjoy the benefits of their social setup. But in our land, inequality is the rule. This should not be allowed. He concluded his speech by mentioning caste rules during Sree Rama’s time and enumerating the wonderful achievements of the Swami. Then he unveiled the statue.
 People appreciated the beauty and workmankind of the statue. But some of them felt that the pedestal is not high enough to hold the statue.
 After the unveiling was over some Pulayas came there with a picture of the Swami and sang songs praising him.
 Shri Karunakaran Nair gave a wonderful speech on Adoration of the great. Function concluded with vote of thanks by Secretary followed by the recitation of hymns by Brahmins., Nair, Thiyyas and all other castes together. It was very happy ending.