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Sree Narayana Guru

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Sree Narayana Guru:


164th birth anniversary of Sree Narayana Guru observed on 2nd September.

Who was Sree Narayana Guru?

Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928) was a social reformer. He has been credited with transforming the social fabric of kerala and changing the beliefs of keralites in ways unimaginable at that point in time.

He was born into an Ezhava family in an era when people from such communities, which were regarded as Avarna, faced much social injustice in the caste-ridden society of Kerala.



Social reform movements:

  • He led a reform movement in Kerala, rejected casteism, and promoted new values of spiritual freedom and social equality.
  • He stressed the need for the spiritual and social upliftment of the downtrodden by their own efforts through the establishment of temples and educational institutions.
  • In the process, he denounced the superstitions that clouded the fundamental Hindu cultural convention of caste.
  • He preached the ‘oneness’ of humanity, crossing the boundaries of caste and creed.
  • In 1888, he installed an idol of siva at Aravippuram in Kerala in his effort to show that the consecration of god’s image was not a monopoly of the brahmins. This is popularly known as Aravippuram movement.
  • In one temple he consecrated at Kalavancode, he kept mirrors instead of idols. This symbolised his message that the divine was within each individual.
  • He also founded an Advaita Ashram in Kalady.
  • He also lent his support to the Vaikkom Satyagraha which was aimed at temple entry in Travancore for the lower castes. Mahatma Gandhi met Guru during this time.

Important literary works:

He contributed many important literary works, the most influential being Atmopadesa Satakam which he composed in 1897.


Prelims Link:

  1. Sree Narayana Guru belonged to which state?
  2. Aravippuram movement is associated with?
  3. Who established Advaita Ashram in Kalady?
  4. Who started Vaikkom Satyagraha? What were the objectives?
  5. Important leaders who met Sree Narayana Guru.
  6. Who composed Atmopadesa Satakam?

Mains Link:

Discuss the role of Sri Narayana Guru in social reforms in India.Sources: pib.

Sources: pib.