March 3, 2021

Best Study Notes on Renaissance in Kerala 01 – Chattampi Swamikal

Image of Chattampi Swamikal

Chattampi Swamikal born on Aug 25, 1853, and attained Samadhi on May 5, 1924 was a sage and social reformer. Swamikal’s thoughts and work influenced the starting of many social, religious, literary, and political organizations and reform movements in Kerala and he gave voice to those who were marginalized for the first time.

Study Notes

  • Chattampi Swamikal was a Hindu wiseman (sage) and social reformist, his full name was Sree Vidyadhiraja Parama Bhattaraka Chattampi Swamikal.
  • Chattampi Swamikal was born on August 25, 1853 at Kollur, an ordinary residential village of Thiruvananthapuram in Southern Travancore.
  • His father was Vasudeva Sharma, a Namboothiri (a Malayali Brahmin), from Mavelikkara and mother Nangamma, a Nair (denoting membership of the Nair community) woman from Kollur.
  • Swami’s pre-teen name was Ayyappan. But he was called by his nickname Kunjan by all and so was afterward known as Kunjan Pillai.
  • At the time of studying at the “Patasala” of Pettayil Raman Pillai Asan, he was nominated as the Class leader and called ‘Chattampi’ (rowdy) of the class, eventually, he came to be known as ‘Chattambi Swamikal’.
  • Swami criticized the traditional interpretation of Hindu texts quoting sources from the Vedas.
  • He believed that the different religions are different routes leading to the one place.
  • Swamikal encouraged vegetarian foods and taught non-violence (Ahimsa).
  • The Vadaveeswaram village in Tamil Nadu, Chattambi Swamikal acquired enlightenment.
  • Chattampi Swami met another young man “Nanu Asan” at Aniyoor Temple near Vamanapuram who was in search of spiritual guidance.
  • By this time Swami became very skilled in yoga and spiritual affairs and their discussion proved to be the start of a profound and esteem intimacy, although the two were of different characters.
  • Both Swamikal and Asan lived and traveled for many months together, Later he took Nanu Asan, to his guru Thykkattu Ayyavu.
  • Sree Narayana Guru made his first trip to Aruvippuram with Chattampi Swamikal, which was chosen as Narayana Guru’s base for meditation and spiritual activities. Sree Narayana Guru swami practiced austere Jnana and Yoga under Chattampi Swamikal.
  • Chattambi Swamikal met Neelakanta Theerthapada a pronounced Sanskrit Scholar and Theerthapada Paramahamsa were among his prominent disciples who had established an ashram and also Theerthapada System for the hostel of sannyasins following Swami’s teachings and methods.
  • Bodheswaran, Perunnelli Krishnan Vaidhyan, Velutheri Kesavan Vaidhyan, Kumbalath Sanku Pillai etc were Grihastha (In house) disciples of Chattambi Swamikal.
  • Chattambi Swamikal attained Mahasamadhi (He consciously left their body) on August 5, 1924 at Panmana in Kollam district.
  • The mortal remains of Chattampi Swamikal were idolized at his Samadhistanam at Panmana. This site is today called Panmana Ashramam (Kollam district), Kerala.
  • Swamikal’s work Vedadhikara Niroopanam infused a very powerful reformation movement in Kerala.
  • The largest book written by him was Prachina Malayalam which deals with the history of Kerala.
  • Published in 1946, Adwaitha Chintha Paddhathi is a guide on Vedantha for a common man by Swamikal.
  • Moksha Pradeepa Khandanam is a collection of essays, is also one of the well-known works of Chattambi Swamikal.
  • Chattambi Swamikal also wrote about Christianity. His book Christumatha Nirupanam has two eiditions the Christumatha Saram which summarize What Christainity is in accordance with Indian tradition. and Christumatha Saram which translates as Cream of Christianity.
  • Swamikal also acted for liberation of women and motivate them to come forward to strengthen the society. He said that in ancient Indian religion and law gave equal status to females, and their had very respectable position in family and society.
  • Government of India, Postal issued a postal stamp on Swamikal in 2014
  • The Chattampi Swami Digital Archive (CSDA) project has be initiated by the Centre of South Indian Studies with an aim to collect all the extant manuscripts related to Chattampi Swami to be collated or at least examined.

Renaissance in Kerala

Chattampi Swamikal

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