Special Correspondent

Sivagiri pilgrimage concludes

VARKALA: The teachings of Sree Narayana Guru are all the more relevant at a time when the lack of good human beings is the main problem facing society, Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan has said.

He was inaugurating a meeting held in connection with the conclusion of the 73rd annual Sivagiri pilgrimage at the Sivagiri Madhom here on Saturday. SNDP Yogam secretary Vellappally Natesan was in the chair.

The guru had taught that humanism is the essence of all religions, Mr. Ramakrishnan said. He had drawn a clear distinction between spirituality and communalism, which are as dissimilar as nectar and poison. "Our greatest tragedy is that few people today are ready to abide by the words of great souls."

Pointing out that Swami Vivekananda had also called for a "man-making religion," Mr. Ramakrishnan said it was mere hypocrisy to claim that one loves only God, but not human beings.

The Sivagiri pilgrimage, coming at the year-end, was a time for self-examination and self-assessment. It underscored the fact that cleanliness of the mind was far more important than outward cleanliness.

KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said the pilgrimage espoused simplicity in daily life. This message was invaluable at a time when suicides were on the rise in the State owing to rampant consumerism.

Delivering the pilgrimage message, Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust president Swamy Swaroopananda said the time had come to reflect deeply on the true significance of the Guru's teaching of `one caste, one religion, one God for humanity.'

Varkala Radhakrishnan and Pannian Ravindran, MPs; Varkala Kahar and Rajan Babu, MLAs; and Swamy Sookshmananda were among those who spoke.