Monday, 6 August 2012

VAGBHADANANDA







Vagbhadananda


18th and 19th century was the darkest period in the history of Kerala . In that time, a number of social evils prevailed in Kerala society. It includes caste system, untouchability
Unapproachability... Caste system was very much rigid in Kerala society. This kind of social evils resulted the degeneration of cultural heritage of Kerala.In second half of 19th century witnessed a wide variety of socio religious reform movements emerged in Kerala society Their where a lot reformers like Sreenarayanaguru, Chattampiswami, Ayyankali, vagbhadananda etc. where led the socio religious reform movements in Kerala.

In the beginning of of 20th century there are a lot of organization and movements emerged in Kerala. Sreenarayana Guru established Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalanayogam in 1903. “one caste, one religion and one god for man” is its main slogun. Narayanaguru challenged Brahmin supremacy and consecrated idol for Eezhavas. Ayyankali established Sadhujana sankam. Mahathma Gandhi specified him as the king of Pulaya or Pulayaraja. . But his activities were limited with in Travankore.


Vagbhatananda, one of the prominent reformist leaders in the northern part of Kerala was another spiritual mentor who had closer relationship with Brahmananda Siva Yogi.

Though he was not popular like Sree Narayana Guru in Kerala, Vagbhatananda had excelled himself in erudition and oratory. It is believed that Vagbhatananda went a step ahead of Narayana Guru in matters of scholarship and oratorical skill. In the beginning he was with Brahma Samajam and later on he established Athmavidyasangham (a School of self awareness) through which he campaigned against drug abuse and caste system. Many including the upper castes attracted and joined in the campaign. According to the observation of E.M.S Namboothiripad there is no doubt that Vagbhatananda had a vital role in the social development of north Malabar. ̳No other spiritual mentor could ever synthesise theism and denial of justice‘

Vagbhadananda was one of the greatest social reformer in Kerala. He was a contemperrory of Sreenarayanaguru. He was born in 1887 at Patyam near Koottuparampu in Kannoor district. Earlier his name was Kunjikkannan. His father Korangurukkal was a teacher and had vivid knowledge in sanskrit and medical science . His mothers name was Cheeruvamma. Kunjikkannans life was very much influenced by his father, he acquired knowledge from his father himself . He read epics and puranas in his childhood itself. He helped his father in teaching from his Younger ages, and at age of Thirteen he came to be known as Kunjikkannangurukkal.

Just like that Sreenarayanaguru, kunjikkannan did not have the benefit of English Education. Even if the izhavas of malabar have the right to Receive English Education, his circumstances were not favorable for that. His father was his guru, or the teacher. But



their was a custom in malabar that a student must be accepted a guru as his official teacher by
giving Reward or dakshina to him. So Kunjikkannan Receive N.K.gurukkal as his teacher by giving dakshina.

His father and mother was telling so many Stories to him , it Inspired Him to read a lot of books. He used to analisedthe books that he read. He had his own conceptions about everything even adveda philosophy. Like his father, he was all respected by the people. He was very much efficient not only as a teacher but also as a orator .The popularity of his speech spread outside his district. Later he came to be non as V. K. Gurukkal.


In the beginning of 20th century, he was invited to kaliket, for delivering a speech. After that, he stayed their and engaged in social services. In 1906, he established a sanskrit school known as Tatvaprakasika. By inspiring that, V. P. Kurikos found sanskritvidyapeedam. The Thatvaprakisika provide education to the pupal belongs to all castes and
class. Their were no distinguish between rich and poor. It provide many concession for the students belong to lower-strata of the society. It facilitate education in grammar, medicine and astrology etc. Tatvaprakasika become famous in different part of Kerala. Students from each nook and corner of Kerala reached their for education. The students from different cast were came hear for education. Freedom fighters like Abdul Rahman Sahib, and Mouthu Moulavi, were the consistent visitors in tatvaprakasika. K. gurukkal was a very much conscious of his social issue. Then the society was based on a caste system and bramin secured a prominent possision in society. Their are a number of evil practices prevailed in that society. Like his father, he was all acted against the social evils and




bramin supremacy. He was influence by the activities of Brahmasamaj which had conducted their activities in kalichet at that time. He was all influenced by Brahmananda Sivayogi. The book Mokshapradiba writen by Brahmananda sivayogi shood give inspiration to him.it was the book writen against ideal worship and other evil practises in the society. Later Kunjikkannan
became the deciple of brahmananda. He give the name Vagbhadananda to Kunjikkannan beckuse of his ebility to speech.from 1914, he became famous as Vagbhadananda.

Associated with Brahmananda he established an organization namely Rajayogananda Koumadi in 1911. he also issued a magazien cald Sivayogivilasm and for the propogation of that magazine he conducted a compign from Mangloor to Madras. He delivered many speaks in and around Kerala. Poems he wrote in 1914 very well manifest his attitude. Even while being a disciple to Brahmananda Sivayogi he was a theist in the depth of his mind. These poems also tell us how far he has been influenced by Raja Yoga.47 Poems like Iswara Vicharam, Daiva vichinthanam narrate the greatness of God but Rajayogananda Gita, Darsanam and Yogamrutham describe the experience derived from Raja Yoga. He has always given the credit to Brahmananda Sivayogi for initiating him in to Raja Yoga. Yogamrutham says that one can attain peace if one follows the path of the Guru.48 Vagbhatananda fully subscribes to the view of Brahmananda Siva Yogi when Sivayogi says death is inevitable. If one focuses more on ones mind as per the ideal propounded by Vedas and science one can attain redemption. The poem Darsanam pays great respect to the Guru who brought him to this spiritual height.49 Rajayogananda Gita is another poem which states about the ecstasy one obtained through Rajayoga when one becomes god himself without dualism or non-dualism. During this


period he was more in to the vision and the ideals propounded by Brahmananda Siva Yogi than being a theist.50 The speeches of Vagbhatananda were instrumental in changing the people towards socio-religious reforms. Vagbhatananda had a large number of disciples not only in the northern part of Kerala but in the rest like Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram His social activities came tVagbhatanandan laboured hard to eradicate superstitions and evils from the society under the banner ̳Athmavidya Sangham‘. Even when extolling the existence of God, he opposed irrational religious beliefs. Not only through speeches, but also by means of practical activities he worked for his goal. He encouraged intercaste dining and inter-caste marriages. He vehemently opposed the practise of ̳untouchability‘ and conducted campaign against intoxication. In order to stop animal-sacrifice in temples he took his agitation inside the temple premises. His brave efforts against idolatry are also worth mentioning. He expounded to rally with Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle. He took a leading part in the Temple-entry Satyagraha at Guruvayoor. He also had an affinity towards socialismo spread different part of Kerala. In 1914, he visited Sreenarayanaguru and they conversed for a long time.it is said that, the questions asked by, Vagbhadananda may be influensed Sreenarayanaguru, and it might be resulted the consecrationof izhava siva in 1917. his speachs were criticised some times by the orthodox pupil.

Vagbhatanandan laboured hard to eradicate superstitions and evils from the society under the banner ̳Athmavidya Sangham‘. Even when extolling the existence of God, he opposed irrational religious beliefs. Not only through speeches, but also by means of practical activities he worked for his goal. He encouraged intercaste dining and inter-caste marriages. He vehemently opposed the practise of ̳untouchability‘ and conducted campaign against intoxication. In order to stop animal-sacrifice in temples he took his agitation inside the temple premises. His brave efforts against idolatry are also worth mentioning. He expounded to rally with Mahatma Gandhi in the

freedom struggle. He took a leading part in the Temple-entry Satyagraha at Guruvayoor. He also had an affinity towards socialism

Vagbhatanandan laboured hard to eradicate superstitions and evils from the society under the banner ̳Athmavidya Sangham‘. Even when extolling the existence of God, he opposed irrational religious beliefs. Not only through speeches, but also by means of practical activities he worked for his goal. He encouraged intercaste dining and inter-caste marriages. He vehemently opposed the practise of ̳untouchability‘ and conducted campaign against intoxication. In order to stop animal-sacrifice in temples he took his agitation inside the temple premises. His brave efforts against idolatry are also worth mentioning. He expounded to rally with Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle. He took a leading part in the Temple-entry Satyagraha at Guruvayoor. He also had an affinity towards socialism Vagbhadananda was entirly different from other saints. Unlike others, he interpreted vedanda as a weapon to use for rifoming the society. He did not beleaved in brahmacharya and he not never dressed like saint. He wamted to be a part of coman nab in the society.he maried a lady called Vagdevee who was the daughter of Tharu, and the sister of Karoor Sankaran. Then he had four suns and three daughters were born.in march thirty 1937, his wife was died. Earlier in 1917, he established an asociation called Athmavidyasangam for the propogation of his ideas and for acted against social evils. He was died in 1939, at Karappuram in kaliket.



WRITINGS AND THOUGHTS OF VAGBHADANANDA






The nineteenth century was a creative age of great potentialities. It produced an unusually large number of distinguished men in different parts of the globe. It was an era of new awakening in almost all walks of Indian life. A careful analysis shows that behind the over all consciousness and general stir to reform medievalism, there was a deep rooted spiritual urge for higher values within the very soul of our country. Vagbhadananda was the prominent thinker of the nineteenth century, who insisted a necessary, rational and revolutionary change in the social structure of Kerala. A society is a web of social relationships and there fore, social change means change in the system of social relationships. These are to be taken in terms of social process, social interaction and social organization. Social change is common to all societies. Its nature, pattern and causation are linked with certain historical and social conditions existing at the time. A society may also have wide regional variations regarding to its nature of social structure as well as its patterns of change.


Vagbhadananda was a person who gave his own contributions to the social reform movements in Kerala. Vagbhadanandas activities for the upliftment of Kerala society is refers in other chapters. Vagbhadananda introduce his writings among people for awaring them. He entered in to the literary world through poetry. Vagbhadananda wright not merely for literal beauty. He wrote some important work based own religion, philosophy and social reforms.

Vagbhadananda published his first work Athmavidya in 1925, as a manifesto of Athmavidyasangham. He has his own perception about spiritual, social and ethical value of life. In the book Athmavidya, Vagbhadananda tried for the physical and mental upliftment of the through cultural means. Vagbhadananda, writer desired that the people maybe replaced the blind and mad beliefs by truth full and appreciable beliefs customs and thoughts. Sukumar Azhikkod remarked that, this book help from known the inner meaning of Advaida. He also said that, this book can bring the ideas of Vivekananda, writing skill of Radhakrishna and their scholarship and logic of Balagamgadhara Thilak to Malayalam. This book opened new light of truth. It consisting of 13 chapters including introduction. The first five chapters were the study of Vedanda. Other eight chapters containing the advises against evil customs and beliefs. The book suggest that, morally right people has no need of visiting pilgrimage centers and the people without morality cannot save themselves, where ever they goes. Gandhian idea that the god is not in the Kashi and kabian but in the minds of people, reflects in this book. It underline the need of morality. It contains a chapters based on ethics. Vagbhadananda also stressed on the eradication of intoxicating drinks. Vagbhadananda explained about the bad effects of drinking on individual and society. Vagbhadananda marked several examples for that. Many of his disciples requested him to write a basic text for Athmavidyasangham. Vagbhadananda



starts his writing because as the continues request of one of his disciple P. Raghavan. He was the president of Cheruvannoor Athmavidyasangham. His entry to literary world is the the result of
cooperation with Brahmasamaj. At first, He wrote poem and recited in the meetings of Brahmasamaj.

The poems written by Vagbhatananda from 1915 onwards were entirely different from that of 1914. An example is the poem Iswara Vicharam written in 1915, in which there is a reflection of the main argument he puts forward in later years in the books Athmavidya, Adhyatmayuddham, and in many of his articles to rivet the belief in God. At dusk, he tells, the phenomenon of the setting sun and the star-lit sky implies the greatness of God. In the poem without any base or support he says that the real greatness of God lies in instilling the heavenly beauty on earth and providing the divine awareness and happiness to the world. In the last lines he implores God to guide those ―who shamelessly does foolish acts, due to the blindness of ignorance, and who arrogantly think they are the only scholarly and righteous person on the earth.‖ He requests the Almighty to lend him strength to succeed in his efforts against the crooked path of the wicked and the haughty. From here onwards it is understood that Vagbhatananda had begun to diverge himself from Brahmananda Sivayogi in words, thoughts and actions and began to criticize the views of Sivayogi. The reason may be the companionship of the aforementioned anonymous scholar-saint.

In the poem “Swathanthra Chinthamani” written in 1921, the manifesto of ̳Athmavidya Sangham‘ is clearly proclaimed. Through this poem he extols to shackle the ̳social-demon‘ of caste-system and to wipe out traditional evils like idolatry. Together with that he advocates to ―make God our constant companion‖.


The philosophies described in the Athmavidya is widely discussed in another book called Athmavidya Lekhanamala. It was published in 1934. It was the practical analysis of the advaida philosophy. It was a collection of the articles written by Vagbhadananda in Athmavidyakahalam and Madhrubhoomi.It was continuation of Athmavidya. Athmavidya Lekhanamala was re-printed in 1987.

Guruvayoor Satyagraha was one of the most important event in Kerala history. Orthodox Hindus reacted against this movement. As a result, upper cast Hindus published a magazine called Sanathana Hindu, for the protection of Hindu religion. It published many articles against Guruvayoor Satyagraha and Gandhiji's activities for Harigens. An upper caste Hindu scholar Damodaran Nampoodary wrote an article in the form of answers to the questions asked about untouchability by Mahatma Gandhi. This in this article, He civierly Criticized Gandhiji's interferences in the activities against untouchability. Vagbhadananda criticized this kind of arguments through his articles. The articles wrote in AthmavidyaKahalam was published in 1956 in the name of “Gandhijiyum Sastravyakyanangalum.”it was published by Vagbhadananda's disciple M.T. Kumaran Master. Later, it was added in the re-print of Athmavidya in 1987. Vagbhadananda wrote some prayer songs or reciting at the time of marriage and death. All such prayers written by him in varied times were combined together in a book called “prarthananjali”. This book published in 1937 had its second part which was published in 1949. An annual meeting of Athmavidyasangham travenkoor was held at Kalluppara and at that, members asked guru about lack of a prayer book. This lead to the writing of Prarthanaanjali.Sukumar Azhikkode argued that, some of them renaissance poets in that time was influence Vagbhadananda for writing this book. It it consist of several prayers or hymns for



different occasions like morning prayers, evening prayers, prayers for marriage and death etc. Some of the prayers were written in Sanskrit.
Their is no clearcut proof about his interest in classical musics. But some of his poems which can bee sing in Karna tic or Hindustani stile were published in the name of Keerthanamala. According to him, prayer is a way for purifying our thought. He criticized polethism in his writings. Vagbhadananda wrote in a beautiful poetical language. Some of works were included in literature for the child. Some of them were by-hearted by the children in that time. Even though He had a Very good literary stile. Vagbhadananda believed that literature should be used for social welfare. Vagbhadananda said that Human welfare is the aim of literature. Vagbhadanandas view on spiritual and physical mater's were included in his works.

Vagbhadananda made a critical study about Kavyavruthamwritten by Krishnan Nayar in 1937. Kavyavrutham was a critical study about Mayoorasandesam of Keralavarmma Valia Koithampuran Bashapushanam of A.R. Rajarajavarmma, Sahityasarvasam of Vadakkankoor Rajarajavarmma one part of Kilippattu etc. Mathrubhoomi wrote that, this book is proud to Kerala. Joseph Mundaseery and V.S. Ananda Narayana Sastri criticized this book. Vagbhadananda also criticized this book. Krishnan Nayar wrote answers to his criticism. Both are published in Mathrubhoomi. Later, Mathrubhoomi disagree to publish Vagbhadanandas criticism. So Vagbhadananda started a new Journal for this purpose. Vagbhadananda know that, literary criticism was not primary responsibility. But Vagbhadananda proved he can have the ability to it. This criticism's were not published as book in that time. But later it added to the 'Sampoornnakritikal”.



Another book is “Adyatmayudham” which has another name “Anantadarsanadwamsanam”. It was a critical study of Anandadarsanam written by Brahmananda Sivayogee.But there is acctraversy about the author. The authors names is not in the first edition of 1927. The name of Vagbhadananda is seen in the re-print of 1981. A statement added in its second edition by Kannoor Athmavidyasangham strongly argued that Vagbhadananda was its author. Swami Brahmavruthan also have this opinion. Sukumar Azhikkod also agreed to this view. But Swami Nirmalanandayogee was disagreed to this view. V.K. Nedungadi also discarded this view through his book “Vagbhadanandanday peril orujarasanthadi” in 1991.In the beginning Brahmananda Sivayogee and Vagbhadananda maintained a good relation. But in due course their were some problems between them. Critiques says that this is the reason for such different opinion about this book. Vagbhadanandas sun remembered, even though their were idealogical different between them, Vagbhadananda was always respected Brahmanandasivayogee. After the death of Brahmananda Sivayogee, Vagbhadananda wrote an article about him in AthmavidyaKahalam which stress his respect to Brahmananda Sivayogee.

Vagbhadananda wrote many articles and editorials in his journals like Sivayogeevilasm, Abhinavakeralam, Athmavidyakahalam and Yajamanan. But this were not codified in complete manner. Mathrubhumi published a greatest book called “Vagbhadanandanenday Sampoornnakritikal”. This work incorporate many poems and articles which was not published as a book by Vagbhadananda.



Vagbhadananda reacted against social evils and blind faith's in the society and religion in that time through his literature. In the main time, Vagbhadananda also give his contributions to the literature.
Vagbhatananda was mainly attracted by the Advaita philosophy. He extols to revere the Lord of the Universe and to oppose injustice. Though he preaches that both the Soul and the Spirit are one, he believed in their separate existence. He puts forward the dictum, ―the Soul is Supreme‖— contradictory to Brahmananda Sivayogi‘s ―the Mind is Supreme‖. Nevertheless, he embraces the other ideologies of the latter. Vagbhatananda too, like Brahmananda Sivayogi, believed in the talent of man. Both of them agree the existence of a dormant power buried deep within oneself. While Sivayogi calls it Sakti‘, Vagbhatananda calls it the Soul‘. The disciple accepts his teacher‘s notion that everybody yearns for happiness. They equally concur that controlling the mind will give serene happiness and to get it, Raja Yoga is the best method. For this, rigorous torture of the physical body is unwanted; just deep meditation is enough.

Both of them were strongly opposed to idolatry, animal sacrifice and drug abuse. They resolutely condemned the social evil of casteism and fought tooth and nail against the practice of untouchability. They believed in love and righteousness. Both of them reacted against the hollowness of ascetics and the god-incarnates and stressed the need for knowledge. They advocated that Rajayoga can be practiced even by the layman and it neitherdemand any form of strenuous lifestyle nor does it have any adverse effects. It was by accepting almost all the teachings and principles of his



guru‘, Brahmananda Sivayogi that Vagbhatananda wrote the book Atmavidhya and executed it through the Atmavidhya Sangham‘. Still they had a different viewpoint when it came to the most mundane thing: Brahmananda Sivayogi stood for materialism, and Vagbhadanandan spiritualism. Though they
stood together for reforming the society, they were poles apart in matters of faith. Brahmananda Sivayogi took logic, experience and authoritative texts as the criterion for the denial of God. A logical contemplation proves the nonexistence of God. There is no doubt that Mokshapradeepam and other works will apply a man reading his reason in his thoughts and will become an atheist. He says there has been no appearance of God, in any form or shape, until now in any man‘s know-how. Brahmananda Sivayogi quotes from the great philosophical texts—the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, the Bhagavat Gita etc.—in order to underline the absence of God. In his books, he vehemently declares that the faith in God is yet another form of superstition, like idolatry and caste–religion endorsement. He denounces the concept of a life-after-death, as well as the theory of rebirth. Vagbhatananda‘s belief in spiritualism is based on the fear of death. In place of logic and experience, Vagbhatananda takes imagination, authoritative texts and debate as the norm. There is no dearth of principles to support spiritualism in the philosophical texts of India. Being a good debater, Vagbhatananda has no difficulty to succeed with topics like God, Soul, theory of rebirth etc. Moreover, since he is a romantic poet, it is easy for him to present things related to God laced with imagination. But things established by Brahmananda Sivayogi, with the help of logic and experience, remains untouched by Vagbhatananda. What surprises us is his rationalistic approach to traditional dogmas and superstitions with the exception of faith in God.

He logically thinks and acts on issues like animal sacrifice, idolatry, untouchability and contradictions in caste and religion. Vagbhatananda diluted the scientific theories of Brahmananda Sivayogi, and in place of a principle based on reason and logic, he reinstalled


one based on superstition. More often than not, the theists are superstitious. With the exception of subjects like the soul, the spirit, God, reincarnation etc., Vagbhatananda too, like Brahmananda Sivayogi opposes irrationalities. He was more eager to eradicate idol-worship than his teacher. He says to idol-worshippers: ―If you have no choice, then go, pluck some grass, and feed the cows. Then, surely, you will gain virtueHe regarded Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Subramanian, Ganapathi and other deities not as divine beings but as historical and mythological figures. He states: ―When encased in faith, even grass and cow dung are considered sacred and placed on high pedestal.‖ Vagbhatananda opines that Sri Rama‘s aggression was against the Buddhists during his sacrificial-expedition ; Asuras or the demons were the followers of Buddhism, and the destruction of Lanka was due to his hostility towards Buddhists and Saivites who were about to get into an alliance. Here Vagbhatananda had adopted analytical and rational approach of Brahmananda Sivayogi and Sree Narayana Guru.

Vagbhatananda‘s belief in the doctrine of rebirth was one of his significant discrepancies from that of Brahmananda Sivayogi. In 1935, he brought out a pamphlet in opposition to the anti-rebirth standpoint. Punarjanmam‟ [rebirth] was a counter to the pamphlet „Punarjanmam Illa‟.(no rebirth).Argumentatively, he breaks through opposing points-of-view and firmly establishes his position regarding the theory of reincarnation. He points out that great persons like Buddha, Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, etc., were people who believed in reincarnation. That Vagbhatananda puts in order to support his theory sounds immature when compared to that of Brahmananda Sivayogi. For instance: ―We notice that a new-born baby craves to drink milk from the mother‘s breasts. If this craving is due to some form of reminiscence, which in turn is the result of some previous experience, and if it is certain that experience is not gained in this birth, then it is clearly



proved and has to be accepted that it is gained from an earlier birth. There is no need to say that the physical body is taken by one who has been breastfed in his earlier life, but as one nourishes the body by absorbing nutrients.‖ 68 The chief criticism and rebuke leveled against Brahmananda Sivayogi
comes in Vagbhatananda‘s Adhyatmayuddham or Anandadarsa Pradhvamsanam. Vagbhatananda begins his attack on Brahmananda Sivayogi by calling him Pompous Swami Brahmananda‘.It is the foremost disparaging comment against him. Brahmananda Sivayogi himself admits in his works about this derisive remark. He explains why he is being called so. He says: Oh, prideful religious-upholders! You can call an iconoclast opposing caste–creed–idol-worship by whatever name you please: Buddha, a padre, or a Tipu Sultan. If not enough, you can consider me as one who derides morals or traditions or Hinduism, or as a person who is a blasphemer or an atheist. If still not enough, call me arrogant or vainglorious. I am someone who desires to confer happiness on people of all faiths—by uniting them under one roof of Anandamatha, thus ending the squabbles of all faiths in the name of diverse faith.... Therefore, religious-superiors ought not to be irascible when the vices of their religion are pointed out. Instead, own. . they should patiently read and contemplate on my books, so that they can relieve from religious grief and can gain happiness.

Vagbhatananda uses grandiloquent words in order to criticize Brahmananda Sivayogi in Adhyatmayudham. All through the text, he adopts a style that reflects mockery, intolerance and personal hatred. He tries to nail down unscientific arguments with his scholastic and rhetorical skills. The institution of Brahmananda Sivayogi, that invites the common people to blind-ignorant and naked atheism, that too in front of the watchful eyes of the intelligentsia,—the degenerated establishment known by the name, Anandamatham—ought to be checked. Its very foundations should be demolished in such a way that it will never rise again; as if stamped out by the


feet of time. It has now become expedient to take up the pen to achieve this end‖, 71 own. When \
Brahmananda Sivayogi led the renaissance movement in Kerala one step forward, Vagbhatananda who ascended the pedestal took it two steps backward. so says Vagbhatananda. Evidently, in order to criticise the haughty‘ Brahmananda Sivayogi, Vagbhatananda adopts an equally degraded tone reflecting arrogance, bigotry, and sheer contempt. He does not even display a respect worthy to an opponent. In place of matured and noble language that suits a spiritual-scholar he chooses sub-standard words that befit a political speech. All the ideas subjected to Vagbhatananda‘s criticism had been written in Mokshaprdeebham in 1905, and which had greatly influenced him earlier. To take an opposing stance and criticise it, after all these years, is nothing but vainglorious and intolerant attitude. The way Vagbhatananda deals with Brahmananda Sivayogi‘s argument—if belief, like lust, is inherent in man, then surely, everyone will worship God—seems immature, even with all his debating skills. Since everyone loves to be happy by birth, and since happiness is God, then he asserts that faith too is inborn. Here also, Vagbhatananda seems to forget the contextual meaning of the term God‘ as used by Brahmananda Sivayogi.


Press and Nationalism

Vagbhadananda was grate social reformer who fight against social evils and injustice prevailed in the society which he leaves. He used news papers and magazines to opened up his ideas and activities for the people. Vagbhadananda tried to popularized his ideas through these medias. Vagbhadananda also try to maintain through social justice through these medias. Vagbhadananda also worked for developing national consciousness.

Vagbhadananda was the chief editor of various journals like Sivayogivilasa, Abhinavakeralam, Athmavidyakahalam, Yajamanan etc. Sivayogivilasam stressed on spiritual matters where as Abhinavakeralam try to aware the people Against evil customs. Yajamanan was only worked for literary criticism. But Athmavidyakahalam entirely different from all of them. It worked for not only for spiritual matters but the Independence of nation and protection of human rights.

Vagbhadananda acted as journalist for 25 years. Vagbhadanandas ideas were clearly expressed through his own newspapers. Vagbhadananda considered journalism as a way of propagating Dharma,.


Vagbhadananda started Sivayogivilasm for the propagation of the ideas of Brahmananda Sivayogi who was a profound social reformer and a great critique of social evils like idol worship. This was stood for spiritual matters. The newspapers in that time was not able to published articles against evil customs in Hindu religion in that period. In reality, there is no change in that condition till now. The newspapers never try to eradicate the evil practices crept into the society.

Vagbhadananda established Sivayogivilasam with the help and P.Swami, another disciple of Brahmananda Sivayogi in 1914. In due course, it came to be known as Sivayogavilasam. Critiques says that this name change is a result of the small clash between the Vagbhadananda and Brahmanandasivayogi.

In 1920's, Athmavidyasangham became stronger in Kerala. It had several branches in different parts of Kerala. So Athmavidyasangham need a newspaper for giving instruction to its leaders and introducing its activities for the followers. For that purposes , Abhinavakeralam was started by Vagbhadananda in 1921. Its aims and objectives were stated in the introduction of the first volume. It had faced several crises in that time. It can't survived for more than two years because of economic crises. The collapse of the newspaper creates so any problems in the activities of the Athmavidyasangham. Due to such problems Vagbhadananda realized the need of a newspaper.

Vagbhadananda Started a new daily known as Athmavidyakahalam. It became active in 1929. its chief editor was C.P. Raman Nayar, who was one of the follower of Vagbhadananda, and activist in Athmavidyasangham and a grate artist. But vagbhadananda was its major organizer. P. Raghavan was its manager. It was famous in the name Kahalam. Its activities came to an end in 1933.
This daily reflects the activities of Athmavidyasangham. Even though, Athmavidyakahalam gave importance to spiritual matters, its editorial stood for the necessities of that period. Its objectives were described in its first edition itself. Its main objectives were to remove evil customs from religion, to promote truth, equality and liberty and to preserve unity. Athmavidyakahalam also aimed to suppress caste system and protect justice.

Athmavidyakahalam played a leading role In awaring the people about the necessity of freedom and to promote national movement. It gave valuable contribution for gaining popular support to national movement conducted by Indian National Congress. The editorial published in the Athmavidyakahalam was more popular than the articles published in it. The editorial so in Athmavidyakahalam gave support to Mahatma Gandhi's ideas like protection of Harijens, promotion of khadi, irradication of untouchability and to avoid drinking. Before the congress give attention to this fields, Vagbhadananda and his Athmavidyasangham was conscious of it. Before Mahathma Gandhiji described the ; lower cast as Harijans, Athmavidyasangham call them as Harijans through Sivayogivilasam. Vagbhadananda declared that, all men are the children of god, and so that there is no relevance in caste system. He also criticized the suppressive activities of Britishers.

Vagbhadananda published another daily which is known as Yajamanan. It aim to publish the article which the other newspapers were disagree to publish. It started its activities in 1937. it received its name Yajamanam for the commemoration of Kalyattu Yajamanan, feudal lord or Kalyattu Chattukutty who was the strong supporter of Athmavidyasangham. Chattukutty was died in 1935 He was popularly known as Yajamanan. But it could not survived for more than five editions. because of financial crisis.

Vagbhadananda congratulated the activities of congress like their attempt to make entry of lower caste to temples. He wrote articles about temple entry in Athmavidyakahalam. He justified the lower caste entry in temple.

Vagbhadananda and athmavidyasangham were participated in the movements Against british supermacy. He advocated the principle of Gandhi like avoidance of foreign dress and propagation of khady Promotion. British became angry of his writings during the civil dis- obedience period and they gave several warning for him.

Vaikom Satyagraha was an important movement for temple entry. Important leaders were P.K. Madhavan, Mannattu Pathmanabhan, K. Kelappan etc. As a result of the movement, the road in the western part of Vaikom temple was opened for all. After the success of the movement, a meeting was held at Harippadu in 1926 which was presided over by Mannattu Pathmanabhan and Vagbhadananda was participated in it.

Guruvayur Satyagraha was the another great movement which was taken over by congress and Mahathma Gandhi was participated in it. Vagbhadananda wrote articles about this satyagrahas in Athmavidyakahalam. Vagbhadananda visited K. Kelappan in ayoor when his kelappan started fasting. After that Vagbhadananda delivered a speech about cast system and British supremacy, in public meeting. Vagbhadananda respected Mahatma Gandhi and all activities were influence on him.

In 1930, Gandhiji declared civil desobidient movement. Some Malayalam magazines reacted against this. Sahodaran Ayyappan wrote that congrass were the natural enemies of depressed


clas. Mithavadi wrote that, congress is the supporters of higher caste Hindus and Gandhiji is the biggest enemy of depressed class. Kesari states that, Gandhiji is fooliman to believe quite Independence would be attained through promotions of Kadhi and prohibiting drinking. Prohibiting drinkg. Mithavadi was against national movement from its beginning in 1913. Vagbhadananda opposed this like opiniences. Vagbhadananda like Mahatma Gandhi verymuch.Vagbhadananda called gandhi as a greatest lover of humanity. The situation in Malabar was necessitated activities of Vagbhadananda. The cast revolts in Malabar was carried out by the national movement. Vagbhadananda and Athmavidyasangham gave support to the national movement. Vaagbhadanandas presence largely influence this movements. Vagbhadananda enables his followers to directly participate in the national movement. Many of his followers actively participated and arrested during the civil desobidence movement. Important among them are M.T. Kumaran, T.V. Anandan, P. Achudanandan, T.V. Kutty, A. Chattumastar, K Kumaran and Dr Chandu etc. One of his disciple M.T. Kumaran was a prominent dramatist. His drama Chandalabhikshuki, questioned the cast system. M.T. Kumaran was influenced by Vagbhadananda in his activities.

He was interested in the socio economic upliftment of the depressed class people. Some of the families in Karakkad was lived in starvation because of cast discrimination. Because,
the orthodox were not ready to give jobs to them. He found Karakkad Aikya Sangham by organizing the unemployed people in co-operative basis. Sangham provide employment opportunities to the labors and through that, they earned for livelihood. He also cooperated with such progressive organizations. Abhinavabharatha Youvak Sangham was one of the prominent organization in Malabar for cultivators. It drew inspiration from Athmavidyasangham.



M.T. Kumaran Master admitted that, he was very much influenced by Athmavidyasangham and Athmavidyakahalam. E.M.S. Also drew inspiration from him. He said that, most of the participants in national movement was the followers of Vagbhadananda, Sree Narayanaguru, and Brahmananda Sivayogi.



Kerala society was filled with social evils and blind faith for a long time. The upper-caste people always considered lower-caste as untouchables and un approachable. The caste system in Kerala is more rigid than that of in India. society was divide in rather different casts. the lower caste lived in a more miserable conditions. They leberd for upper-caste and lived under grate humiliation. Vivekananda described Kerala as a unaticeasium because of understanding the situation.

Inspite of caste-system, there are a lot of superstitions and evil practices crept in the Kerala society. Their were also a number of unique customs like TalikettuKalyanam, Thirandukuli, Vannattimattu etc. and also a number customs associated with marriage and death.

In the late 19th century, a lot of social reform movements emerged in Kerala and such social reformers can reform Kerala society. Such movements try to reform society and religion. The leaders of such movements made thorough study of the circumstances leading to the social reform movement and try to aware the people about that. A lot


of association emerged in Kerala for unifying for the attainment of their right and opportunities. This kind of activities were known as Renaissance.

The role of Vagbhadananda in the reform movements in Kerala was very important. In general historians considered only Sree Nrayanaguru and Chattampiswamikal etc. As the social reformers in Kerala. But their activities were started from Travencore which accomplished its goal only through the activities of Vagbhadananda and Brammananda Sivayogee in Malabar.

The movements primarily aimed for the upliftment of society but some times, they engaged in some other activities also. Vagbhadanandaguru was died in October 28 1939. He always encourage in several activities till his death. He adopted Sankaracharyas Advaida philosophy in his life. Sankaracharya used it for spiritual purposes. But Vagbhadananda re-afirm this philosophy and adopted it for the earthly life. Vagbhadananda said that the practical side of Vedanda is the social rights. He argued that all men are equal irrespective of caste because all are created by the same god. Sree Nrayanaguru aimed at the social, cultural and religious upliftment of Eezhavas by destroying all the inequalities prevailed in the society. In earlier, Vagbhadananda had also the same objective. But later, his activities covered in more wider ranges. Vagbhadananda acted against many social evils and customs like Talikettukalyanam, Vannattimattu, tirundukuli etc. E.M.S. Nampoodirippad told about Vagbhadananda that even though he don't became famous in Kerala like Sree Narayanaguru, he can influence the developments of Eezhava communities. He was more efficient in scholarship and language. He acted against caste- systems and drinking through Brahmasamajam at first and later through Athmavidyasangam. Even upper-caste people were the disciple of Vagbhadananda. It is an doubt that he gave many contributions to development



of society in Malabar. Vagbhadananda was not famous out side Kerala. Aryasamaj, Brahmasamajl, and S.N.D.P. Were active in Kerala when Vagbhadananda entered in this field. Earlier, he was cooperated with Brahmasamaj to act against idol worship and polethism. Later, he found Athmavidyasangam for the same purposes and after the formation of Athmavidyasangam even he associated with Brahmasamajam.

He attracted by the ideas of Brahmananda Sivayogi which was provide in his book Mokshapradeepa. He worked with Brahmananda Sivayogi for a long time, but their were some clashes between them. Vagbhadananda could not accept some of the ideas of Brahmananda Sivayogi. Even though he worked in Brahmasamajam, many of his concept did not accepted in samajam. Later he formed
Kerala society was filled with social evils and blind faith for a long time. The upper-caste people always considered lower-caste as untouchables and un approachable. The caste system in Kerala is more rigid than that of in India. society was divide in rather different casts. the lower caste lived in a more miserable conditions. They leberd for upper-caste and lived under grate humiliation. Vivekananda described Kerala as a unaticeasium because of understanding the situation.

Inspite of caste-system, there are a lot of superstitions and evil practices crept in the Kerala society. Their were also a number of unique customs like TalikettuKalyanam, Thirandukuli, Vannattimattu etc. and also a number customs associated with marriage and death.

In the late 19th century, a lot of social reform movements emerged in Kerala and such social reformers can reform Kerala society. Such movements try to reform society and religion. The leaders of such movements made thorough study of the circumstances leading to the social reform movement and try to aware the people about that. A lot


of association emerged in Kerala for unifying for the attainment of their right and opportunities. This kind of activities were known as Renaissance.

The role of Vagbhadananda in the reform movements in Kerala was very important. In general historians considered only Sree Nrayanaguru and Chattampiswamikal etc. As the social reformers in Kerala. But their activities were started from Travencore which accomplished its goal only through the activities of Vagbhadananda and Brammananda Sivayogee in Malabar.

The movements primarily aimed for the upliftment of society but some times, they engaged in some other activities also. Vagbhadanandaguru was died in October 28 1939. He always encourage in several activities till his death. He adopted Sankaracharyas Advaida philosophy in his life. Sankaracharya used it for spiritual purposes. But Vagbhadananda re-afirm this philosophy and adopted it for the earthly life. Vagbhadananda said that the practical side of Vedanda is the social rights. He argued that all men are equal irrespective of caste because all are created by the same god. Sree Nrayanaguru aimed at the social, cultural and religious upliftment of Eezhavas by destroying all the inequalities prevailed in the society. In earlier, Vagbhadananda had also the same objective. But later, his activities covered in more wider ranges. Vagbhadananda acted against many social evils and customs like Talikettukalyanam, Vannattimattu, tirundukuli etc. E.M.S. Nampoodirippad told about Vagbhadananda that even though he don't became famous in Kerala like Sree Narayanaguru, he can influence the developments of Eezhava communities. He was more efficient in scholarship and language. He acted against caste- systems and drinking through Brahmasamajam at first and later through Athmavidyasangam. Even upper-caste people were the disciple of Vagbhadananda. It is an doubt that he gave many contributions to development



of society in Malabar. Vagbhadananda was not famous out side Kerala. Aryasamaj, Brahmasamajl, and S.N.D.P. Were active in Kerala when Vagbhadananda entered in this field. Earlier, he was cooperated with Brahmasamaj to act against idol worship and polethism. Later, he found Athmavidyasangam for the same purposes and after the formation of Athmavidyasangam even he associated with Brahmasamajam.

He attracted by the ideas of Brahmananda Sivayogi which was provide in his book Mokshapradeepa. He worked with Brahmananda Sivayogi for a long time, but their were some clashes between them. Vagbhadananda could not accept some of the ideas of Brahmananda Sivayogi. Even though he worked in Brahmasamajam, many of his concept did not accepted in samajam. Later he formed Athmavidyasangam for improving his activities.

He led a great reform movement which was win for an extend reforming society by demolishing caste system and many of the social evils. His activities were mainly conducted through Athmavidyasangam. In the earlier period sangam and S.N.D.P. Worked in parallel line. But Vagbhadananda was against idol worship but Narayanaguru supported this. The organizations like S.N.D.P. And Anandamahasabha did not provide must support to the Indian nationalism. Vagbhadananda was entirely different spiritual leaders. Vagbhadananda gave much contributions to spiritualism as well as nationalism. Vagbhadananda and Athmavidyasangam played prominent role in promoting nationalist ideas among the people in north Malabar. Athmavidhya sangam also try to make unity in the society through inter caste dining and it inspired people to act against British colonization. National organizations supported Vagbhadananda in his activities. He acted against Brahmin supermecy, and idol worship based social justice and human rights like



Equality, liberty, fraternity. The essence of social thought was the opposition to society. Some times, we felt that, his activities, and thoughts are against to each other. Vagbhadananda was against idol worship and he always questioned to the meaninglessness of idol worship. But Vagbhadananda extended all support to the movement for temple entry to the lower-caste. We may , mystery in this behavior. But he take the issue of temple entry as part of human rights. Temple entry was the right of all Hindu believers. Prohibition of temple entry is the domination of upper-class. Prayer is strictly personal mater. It could not exposed by upper-caste to the lover-caste. Vagbhadananda replied to the critique the temple entry is a human right. But the worship with in the temple is different.

Some opined that Sree Narayanaguru tried to bramanaisation in Eezhavas. Narayanaguru established several temples for Eezhavas. Narayanaguru tried to uplift Ezhavas in to Brahmins by propagating one-caste, one-religion, and one-god for man.

Vagbhadananda criticized all type of primitive customs like Teyyam, tira etc. Vagbhadananda did not worship any kind of idols. Vagbhadananda did not consecrated temples. Vagbhadananda not agree with bramin Siva and Ezhava Siva. Vagbhadananda wrote some hymns for reciting at the time of marriage, death and for pray. Inspite of that he never instructed more things for god and worship. Vagbhadananda was not interested in Sanskritisation. Kerala society is not ready to avoid idol worship till now. But bramin supermecy was over throned. Untouchability in completely dis-apearde. Rigidity of caste system was decreased. Many of the social evils are disappeared.


Vagbhadananda inspired the people to leave with morality. Vagbhadananda gave importance to the purity of mind. Vagbhadananda extended all support in ideas of Mahathma Gandhi. Vagbhadananda criticised the orthodox people who opposed Gandhi.

A group of people lived in Kerala under the instruction of Vagbhadananda till n ow. They were in north Kerala. Most of them were ezhavas. Their is no idol worship and use of pedestal lamp in that community. They are completely avoid evil custom and the customs after death.
The leftist movement were grown in the Vagbhadanandas Malabar. It is closely connected with Vagbhadanandas socialist ideas of common ownership of production. Later some other organizations adopted Vagbhadanandas ideas. Athmavidyasangham had its own influence over Abhinava Bharatha Youvaksangham, communist party etc.
Still, his revolutionary ideas and its systematic implementation is more than enough to guide Kerala again in a renaissance path. An institution with adequate man-power, resources and ability has to emerge, in order to revitalize the renaissance movement set in motion by the great Vagbhadananda. His teachings have made history and its importance could not be minimized though in present day Kerala it has come under a cloud. Those who are fed up with materialistic culture and superstitions will definitely turn to him for solace and mental peace.


Athmavidyasangam for improving his activities.

He led a great reform movement which was win for an extend reforming society by demolishing caste system and many of the social evils. His activities were mainly conducted through Athmavidyasangam. In the earlier period sangam and S.N.D.P. Worked in parallel line. But Vagbhadananda was against idol worship but Narayanaguru supported this. The organizations like S.N.D.P. And Anandamahasabha did not provide must support to the Indian nationalism. Vagbhadananda was entirely different spiritual leaders. Vagbhadananda gave much contributions to spiritualism as well as nationalism. Vagbhadananda and Athmavidyasangam played prominent role in promoting nationalist ideas among the people in north Malabar. Athmavidhya sangam also try to make unity in the society through inter caste dining and it inspired people to act against British colonization. National organizations supported Vagbhadananda in his activities. He acted against Brahmin supermecy, and idol worship based social justice and human rights like



Equality, liberty, fraternity. The essence of social thought was the opposition to society. Some times, we felt that, his activities, and thoughts are against to each other. Vagbhadananda was against idol worship and he always questioned to the meaninglessness of idol worship. But Vagbhadananda extended all support to the movement for temple entry to the lower-caste. We may , mystery in this behavior. But he take the issue of temple entry as part of human rights. Temple entry was the right of all Hindu believers. Prohibition of temple entry is the domination of upper-class. Prayer is strictly personal mater. It could not exposed by upper-caste to the lover-caste. Vagbhadananda replied to the critique the temple entry is a human right. But the worship with in the temple is different.

Some opined that Sree Narayanaguru tried to bramanaisation in Eezhavas. Narayanaguru established several temples for Eezhavas. Narayanaguru tried to uplift Ezhavas in to Brahmins by propagating one-caste, one-religion, and one-god for man.

Vagbhadananda criticized all type of primitive customs like Teyyam, tira etc. Vagbhadananda did not worship any kind of idols. Vagbhadananda did not consecrated temples. Vagbhadananda not agree with bramin Siva and Ezhava Siva. Vagbhadananda wrote some hymns for reciting at the time of marriage, death and for pray. Inspite of that he never instructed more things for god and worship. Vagbhadananda was not interested in Sanskritisation. Kerala society is not ready to avoid idol worship till now. But bramin supermecy was over throned. Untouchability in completely dis-apearde. Rigidity of caste system was decreased. Many of the social evils are disappeared.


Vagbhadananda inspired the people to leave with morality. Vagbhadananda gave importance to the purity of mind. Vagbhadananda extended all support in ideas of Mahathma Gandhi. Vagbhadananda criticised the orthodox people who opposed Gandhi.

A group of people lived in Kerala under the instruction of Vagbhadananda till n ow. They were in north Kerala. Most of them were ezhavas. Their is no idol worship and use of pedestal lamp in that community. They are completely avoid evil custom and the customs after death.
The leftist movement were grown in the Vagbhadanandas Malabar. It is closely connected with Vagbhadanandas socialist ideas of common ownership of production. Later some other organizations adopted Vagbhadanandas ideas. Athmavidyasangham had its own influence over Abhinava Bharatha Youvaksangham, communist party etc.
Still, his revolutionary ideas and its systematic implementation is more than enough to guide Kerala again in a renaissance path. An institution with adequate man-power, resources and ability has to emerge, in order to revitalize the renaissance movement set in motion by the great Vagbhadananda. His teachings have made history and its importance could not be minimized though in present day Kerala it has come under a cloud. Those who are fed up with materialistic culture and superstitions will definitely turn to him for solace and mental peace.



5 comments:

  1. Nice article bringing the information about a great social reformer. Thanks.

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