81st Sivagiri pilgrimage begins at Varkala

The philosophy and teachings of Sree Narayana Guru will be included in the higher secondary school (HSS) curriculum from the next academic year, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was delivering the presidential address at the inauguration of the 81st Sivagiri pilgrimage at Varkala on Monday.

It had already become part of the Malayalam and Social Studies syllabi in schools from classes IV to X and will be integrated with the higher secondary syllabus from the next academic year. The director of the Sree Narayana Guru Centre for International Studies had been included in the curriculum committee, he said.

Education was one of the eight cardinal principles the Guru had put forth for the growth and development of society.

The State had made remarkable achievements in this sector and it had won encomiums too. A lot more remained to be done in the higher education sector. The decision to open self-financing colleges in higher education was one major achievement. A healthy co-existence of the public and private sectors was imperative for registering more achievements on this score, he said.

Maharashtra Governor K.Sankaranarayanan, who inaugurated the pilgrimage, said it was time for introspection as to how much we practised the ideals of the Guru. Of the eight cardinal principles the Guru preached, education was the most important. Educational institutions in the name of the Guru were rendering a great service to people irrespective of caste and creed, he said.

Making a veiled reference to the current political situation, Mr. Sankaranarayanan said only Mr. Chandy could head the State government and had it been anyone else, it would have been a failure.

Swami Amruthananda lighted a lamp to mark the start of the function. Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust general secretary Swami Rithambarananda welcomed the gathering. Swami Prakasananda and Swami Sookshmananda delivered the benedictory address.

Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikkunnil Suresh; Fisheries Minister K. Babu; P.T. Thomas, MP; Varkala Kahar, MLA; Varkala Municipal chairman Sooryaprakash; P.V. Chandran, managing editor, Mathrubhumi; Gokulam Gopalan, managing director, Gokulam Medical College; former Director, Public Relations Department, Thottam Rajasekharan; Kottayam SNDP Union president A.G. Thankappan; and pilgrimage chief coordinator K.R. Anil Kumar spoke.

Mr. Rajasekharan, author of many books on the ideals of the Guru, was honoured at the function. Theerthadana Padheyam, a book by Swami Avyayananda; a biography of the Guru by S. Omana; and a book to mark the 60th birthday of Sugathan Thanthri; were also released at the function.