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Sivagiri Sarada Mutt

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Sivagiri Sarada Mutt was planned and designed by Gurudevan who took a particular interest in it. Ordinary temples do not have windows. Gurudevan called this temple, which is octagonal in shape, ‘Sarada Mutt. Here unlike in other temples, there is no nivedyam (offering of food to the deity) or abhishekam (pouring oil, ghee and such on the idol). Devotees can worship the goddess by reciting hymns. The idol of Saraswathy seated on white lotus is the symbol of knowledge blossoming on whiteness or purity.The Sarada Consecration Committee had Dr.P.Palpu as its president and Kumaran Asan was secretary.

In connection with Prathishta of goddess Sarada, grand conferences and festivals were conducted for four consecutive days. Sree Narayana Guru introduced original and novel perceptions about temples, departing from traditional ideas on the subject. He shunned tantric rituals. There is no similar temple in India. Here, he established an architecture that was simple and different. For the first time in India, a temple with windows and ventilation was devised.The Guru installed a deity which was traditionally symbolic and aesthetically perfect. The highest standards of hygiene were introduced to maintain the place as a modal to other temples and temple worshippers. The opening of this temple was uniquely marked by the inspirational ceremony of guest of hymns in praise of the mother Sarada. The Guru himself wrote janani-navaratna Manjari, nine Gems in praise of the mother. It is not necessary to build temples in the old style by spending a lot of money he ordained. Further, he also advised not to spend money on festivals and fireworks.

In temples there should be spacious rooms where people can sit comfortably and take part in discourses. There must be schools attached to all temples. There should also be amenities attached to the temples to train children in various trades. The money that comes to the temples as donation must be spent in such a way that the poor people benefit from it. It is not desirable to make ponds near temples for the worshippers to take bath. It is not possible to keep the ponds always pure. Therefore bathrooms are to be constructed with an arrangement of small pipes so that the water will fall from above the head. From these words we can clearly understand the progressive nature of Gurudevan’s concept of the temple.Kumaranasan’s Saraswthi Panchakam and Sarada Stotra praises Goddess Shivagiri Sarada.

Photo by:  Ajayan Kollam, Courtesy: vaikhari.org

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