Why We Should Read, Remember, And Emulate The Socio-Spiritual Fight Of Sri Karpatri Sivaprakasa Swamigal Against Casteism

Here, then is an instance of how traditional Vedantic humanism of Hindu nation repudiated the concept of colour-based superiority, mixed with Indian caste.

When some of his disciples asked him that he should get a disciple from a non-scheduled community, and ask Swami Sahajananda to go, Sri Karpatri Sivaprakasa Maharaj replied with his Vedantic satire. “Yes, he should be made to go. He came from somewhere and he will have to go somewhere. He cannot stay.”

Then when the casteists started settling down, Swami elaborated to them the futility of caste-based notions. These were superficial affiliations, he said to them. But if one looks deeper, were we all not born of women and are we all not divine in our essence?

From Upanishads to Thirukkural to Manisha Panchakam, he would cite and make the assembled disciples realise the utter stupidity of their caste-based objections to Swami Sahajananda.

When a person questioned, in an offensive way, if the scheduled community children could really study, Sri Karpatri Maharaj simply asked Swami Sahajananda to recite a tough verse and explain its meaning. When Swami Sahajananda did, the person who questioned repented for his folly and declared that jaati etc, were simply artificial constructions.

Sri Karpatri Maharaj had a highly valued copy of Ribhu Gita — then a very rare copy. He had been given that text by his guru. Of all his disciples, it was to Swami Sahajananda that he presented that sacred text. It was a statement of profound significance, both spiritual as well as social.

Sahajananda was a very calm personality but economically poor.

When one made a remark on Swami Sahajananda’s poverty, Sri Karpatri Maharaj said that he was actually a very (spiritually) rich person. And when someone made a comment on the young seer being always silent and calm, Sri Karpatri Maharaj stated that Swami Sahajananda was an equivalent of Shankaracharya himself.

Not all his disciples took to such praise of Sahajananda easily. One Natesa Nayakar wrote a letter to Sri Karpatri Maharaj that if he would not send the boy away, Nayakar would be forced to kill Karpatri Maharaj by poison. Even after this letter, Sri Karpatri Maharaj treated Nayakar with love but did not flinch in his love and concern for Swami Sahajananda.

Later, Swami Sahajananda wanted to start social and spiritual institutions to uplift the marginalised and exploited sections of the society at Chidambaram. Naturally, there was opposition. The so-called upper castes wanted to stop such institutions from coming up.

Sri Karpatri Maharaj not only supported the saint but also contacted Paranjothi Swami of an influential Saivite Mutt in Chidambaram. This Swami too was not very favourable with respect to establishment of the institutions. But Sri Karpatri Maharaj convinced him and made him assist Swami Sahajananda in overcoming the opposition as well as in establishing the institutions.

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