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The spiritual home that inspired him

By J. Ajith Kumar



O.V. Vijayan and wife Theresa Vijayan at Santhigiri Ashram.

POTHENCODE, (Thiruvananthapuram), March 30. O.V. Vijayan's association with the Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode is several decades old. For Vijayan, the founder of the ashram, Karunakara Guru, was a teacher in the true sense of the term.

Vijayan has gone on record thus, "I come to Santhigiri Ashram to bathe in the sea of humility after sloughing off arrogance and self-esteem, arising from artistic sensibility. The spiritual experience one has with the Guru is too deep for verbal approximation."

Accompanying him on his visits to the ashram were his wife, Theresa Vijayan, and his sister O.V. Usha, a writer in Malayalam in her own right. The serene environs of the ashram were a perennial source of solace and inspiration to the writer.

According to Vijayan's own account, his encounter with Karunakara Guru was the beginning of a progression from barrenness to creativity, from ignorance to knowledge and from knowledge to wisdom.

After the publication of `Khasakhinte Ithihasam' (Saga of Khazakh), described as Vijayan's masterpiece, he went through a barren phase which ended after his first encounter with the Guru. And then followed other works like `Dharmapuranam' and `Gurusagaram,' all dedicated to Karunakara Guru.

Guru's influence

Vijayan attributes all his literary creations to the Guru's influence, describing himself, with remarkable humility, as a tool in the hands of the teacher. He was almost a nihilist who rarely prayed and had the honesty to confess that if at all he prayed, his prayer was selfish.

Vijayan, according to his own confession, had trodden the primrose path of sin, but the Guru consoled him by pointing out that it was natural for a human being to sin. "It does not matter," the Guru said. For Vijayan, these words of the Guru contained all the punishment he thought he deserved.

Transformation

Vijayan, who had no confidence in himself, was transformed into a believer by his contact with the Guru. For him, the Guru was that eternal and still point from where sublime thoughts and visions of a Supreme nature emanated. "To those who might think it absurd, I would only request they take a humbler look at the absurdities that our present civilisation is founded on," he says.

Recalls Swamy Jyothirmaya Jnana Tapaswi, president of the Santhigiri Ashram: "The Guru gave him an ineffable, intense spiritual experience. Vijayan fervently wished that he could have met his teacher earlier on in life".

The Swamy said that during his visits to the Ashram, Vijayan used to spend hours with the Guru. "Between them, they discussed matters out of the ordinary. What transpired between them, an ordinary listener has not been able to comprehend," he added.

According to Jnana Tapaswi, Vijayan believed that man who is lost in the futility and anarchy of modern life could be led to meaningful creativity and enlightenment only by a teacher of the stature of Karunakara Guru.

After moving from Delhi to Hyderabad, there were occasions when Vijayan's life was under threat from extremist religious organisations. On all such occasions, he used to disappear from Hyderabad. Nobody knew where he was, but the inmates of Santhigiri Ashram vouch that Vijayan used to take refuge in the ashram on all such occasions.

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