Chattambi Swamigal 1853--1924 one the greatest scholar-saints of Kerala


The Kollur madom[Kollur, a suburban village of Trivandrum in southern Travancore].owned and managed two temples in Kannanmoola too - the Devi Temple and the Sastha Temple. A boy, Kunjan Pillai was born on August 25, 1853, to Vasudeva Sarma, priest of the Devi temple, and Nangamma Pillai, of Kollur Madom. This boy later came to be called Chattambi Swamigal.
The child listened to Sanskrit lessons that were taught to the other boys of his age in the Kollur Athiyara madom and imbibed them. Later, Kunjan Pillai attended the pallikoodam (school) of Pettayil Raman Pillai Asan, who was a highly revered preceptor of the times. Later, Kunjan Pillai returned to the pallikoodam as an instructor. He was also entrusted with the duty of maintaining the discipline among students. He came to be called `Chattambi' and the name stuck A class monitor, wasd then called ‘Chattambi.’ The title stayed on, perhaps because of his daring, unconventional and questioning .

The young Kunjan Pillai also did a stint of clerical service in the Huzoor Kutcheri (Government Secretariat). The transformation of Kunjan Pillai from tutor and clerk into a mystic and avadhuta was sudden. He had the uncanny ability to communicate with animals such as cats and dogs. People all walks of life flocked to him and began to address him as Chattambi Swamigal.
He authored several books on religion and spirituality such as `Vedadhikara Nirupanam', `Pracheena Keralam', `A critique on Christianity' and `Sarvamatha Saamarasam.' Chattambi Swamigal learned Vedanta from Ayyaswami of Thycaud and Subhajadaapadi of Kalladakurichi. His meeting with Swami Vivekananda, in 1892, was instrumental in bringing about social change in a caste-ridden society. Other spiritual leaders in the forefront of the social reform movement were Sree Narayana Guru, Brahmananda Sivayogi and Vagbhatananda Guru.

Chattampi Swamikal denounced the orthodox interpretation of Hindu texts citing sources from the Vedas. Swamikal also worked for the emancipation of women and encouraged them to come to the forefront of society. He said that the enslavement of women was a manifestation of male arrogance. Swamikal promoted vegetarianism and professed non-violence (Ahimsa). He strongly opposed Christian missionary activities and criticized Christianity. He authored several books on spirituality and the history of language.
t was in 1882 at the Aniyoor Temple near Vamanapuram that Chattampi Swami first met the young Nanu Asan. By then Kunjan Pillai was well versed in yoga and spiritual matters and their meeting proved to be the start of a profound and cherished companionship, although the two were of different temperaments. In those days Nānu Āśān was a soft-spoken introvert while Kunjan Pillai an outspoken extrovert. Swamikal took Nānu Āśān, who was in search of a mentor, to his guru Thykkattu Ayyavu.
Sri Narayana Guru,Chattambi swamikal &;Swami Neelakanta TheerthapaadarLater Nānu Āśān and Chattampi Swamikal travelled together to many places in quest of truth and spiritual knowledge. It was with Chattampi Swamikal that Nārāyana Guru made his first trip to Aruvippuram, which was chosen as Nārāyana Guru's abode for meditation and spiritual activities. Chattampi Swamikal, however, did not stay there for long, although the two maintained their contacts, respect and regard for each other.
Chattampi Swamikal has got many disciples Grihastha disciples like Bodheswaran, Perunnelli Krsihnan Vaidhyan, Velutheri Kesavan Vaidhyan etc as well Sanyasi dsciples likeNarayana Guru, Neelakanta Therthapada and Theerthapad Parmahamsa who played very important role in renaissance and reformation in Kerala
oward the end of his life Swamikal settled down at Panmana, a village in Kollam district. After prolonged illness, Swamikal attained Maha Samadhi on May 5, 1924. His mortal remains were enshrined at his Samadhistanam at Panmana. This site is today called Panmana Ashramam, 

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Samadhi Smarakam at Panmana Ashram

teachings of Chattampi Swamikal

  • Avoid boastful thoughts about your physical achievements and material accumulations. Contemplate over the ultimate reality of existence. That alone will give meaning to life
  • The whole universe is the manifestation of the one. The apparent differences between different objects are only an illusion. An understanding of this truth will lead to liberation and salvation
  • This universe is the manifestation of but one mind. Alienation between one mind and another mind is unnatural. The mind of man is in no way different from the mind of any other creature
  • Enslavement of woman is a manifestation of male arrogance. It is against all canons of justice and ethics. It is criminal, immoral



Works of Chattampi Swamikal




  • Advaita Chinta Paddhati
  • Keralathile Desa Namangal
  • Kristumata Nirupanam
  • Jivakarunya Nirupanam
  • Devarcha Paddhatiyude Upodghatam
  • Devi Manasa Puja Stotra Vyakhyanam
  • Nijananda Vilasam (published by Narayana Gurukulam, Srinivasapuram, Varkala)
  • Pranavavum Sankhya Darsanavum
  • Prapanchathil Stri Purushanmarkkulla Sthanam
  • Pracheena Malayalam (published by Kurukshethra Prakasan, Kaloor, Cochin)
  • Bhasha Padma Puranam
  • Malayalathile Chila Sthala Namangal
  • Vedadhikara Niroopanam (published by Kurukshethra Prakasan, Kaloor, Cochin)
  • Chila Kavit Sakalangal
  • Chila Kathukal
  • Chila Sambhashanangal
Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai remarked that Sri.Vidhyadhiraja Chattambi Swamikal was a multi-faced personality.  He was a saint ithout the saffron, a saint who attained divine knowledge without performing Thapass (lonely prayer in jungle), a friend of the world who loved all creations alike, great philosopher who pioneered the social relations without being a part of it, a famous scholar who had no higher education, an expert who built up his knowledge out of his experience, a social reformer who succeeded in establishing cordial relations between different communities and a learned intellectual genius of our times.