THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A T Ariyaratne, the Sri Lankan social reformer and winner of Magsaysay Award and the Gandhi Peace Prize, visited Santhigiri Ashram on Friday. This is his third visit to the Ashram and the first after the dedication of Lotus Parnasala.
Ariyaratne is here to attend the 84th birthday celebrations of K Vishwanathan, director of Mithranikethan, a charitable institution, near here. He was accompanied by Mithranikethan Vishwanathan and wife Sethulakshmi. N Radkrishnan, chairman of Indian Council of Gandhian Studies also accompanied them.
The group paid floral tributes at the Lotus Parnasala and had a private audience with Amritha Jnana Thapaswini.
At a meeting attended by members of Gurudharma Prakasha Sabha and inmates of the Ashram, Ariyaratne reminisced his meeting with Karunakara Guru in 1999 and said that the meeting had left a permanent impression on his mind.
On that day, he said, your Guru became my Guru. Every morning since then, following the advice of Guru, Ariyaratne had been meditating for an hour.
He said that every form of economic development of today was nothing but organised greed using the best technology and knowledge. Education, which should enlighten and awaken our nations, too became a lucrative enterprise.
“Every kind of food we eat is made not to feed our hunger but to make profit. So is the case with medicine.
This is the reason for the cultural and spiritual decay of the world,” Ariyaratne said. Without using gun and violence humans can solve these problems. During 30 years of war in Sri Lanka, we tried everything to bring in peace. Nonetheless, thousands of innocents were killed, he added.
He said that Karunakara Guru possessed that universal wisdom that one can gain only through detachment from the mundane.
He entreated the sanyasis of the ashram to strive together to build a critical mass of spiritual consciousness in the society. Then only can we bring lasting peace to the world.
N Radhakrishnan said that Ariyaratne or ‘Ari’ as he was dearly called, was the lone voice of sanity and brotherhood in the midst of the ravages of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka.
At Santhigiri Ashram, when he met the Shishyapoojitha, he got a vision of all that Karunakara Guru had stood and lived for.