and meditation in Pillathadam cave at the top of the Maruthwamala Hills,
located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. He got enlightened in
this cave.
After enlightenment Sree Narayana Guru began evolving his mission in
life: redressing the evil customs and removing caste discriminations which
corroded the Indian society. He was to uplift the oppressed classes in the
caste system. He spent his time mostly among the low-caste people and
partook food with them. Soon they came to believe that he was a great
yogi who performed miracles. People of all religions, including Christians
and Muslims, respected him. There were also those who misunderstood
Gurudev, out of ignorance about his life and deeds. But he was unaffected
by praise or criticism. He slept in inns, wayside rest-houses and on open
grounds. Experiencing the inequalities, injustices and evil customs which
existed in society, this itinerant life went on for four to five years and it
played a vital role in moulding Narayana Guru"s later activities.
Reform Movement: The origin of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana
Yogam (SNDP movement) lies among the Izhavas (toddy-tappers) of
Kerala. In the traditional caste hierarchy the Izhavas were considered as
unapproachable, so much so that they had to maintain a distance of at least
34 feet from the Nambudri Brahmins. They suffered from many civic and
ritual disabilities. Because of social awakening of 19th century, some of
the Izhavas chose to convert themselves while a majority remained in the
fold of Hinduism and vowed to fight against their disabilities. This was
possible mainly due to the efforts of Sri Narayana Guru. He was a
charismatic leader and was responsible for a thorough transformation of
the style of life involving new religious beliefs, ritual, and outlook. He
established a parallel source of legitimacy with his institutions of temples,
priests, monks and monasteries.
                      MAHATMA AYYANKALI