Monday, February 14, 2011

Coming Soon : A Series of Articles / News

I'm planning for a series of updates in the coming weeks, that includes travel and tourism, business and real estate scenario - particularly in Thiruvananthapuram / Trivandrum, and perhaps a set of interviews. 

If anyone is interested in guest posts, mail me at mentioning your expertise.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: The Complete Guide to Successful Event Planning by Shannon Kilkenny

Conducting a successful event is vital for any business or any individual party. If you are an event planner, good planning will ultimately lead to the growth of your business. Shannon Kilenny's book 'The Complete Guide to Successful Event,' is written in simple and easy to understand language and you can learn the tricks of the trade, of planning and conducting a successful event, reading the book.  

Since most of the tips come from Shannon's experiences at work and those of her colleague's, you can expect expert opinion on how to plan, manage and increase the success of hosting events. This book is suitable for anyone who wants to host an event on his/her own or is looking for an event-planning career.

The book begins with deciding on the kind of people who would participate in your event, the importance of choosing the right event site, charting expenses, planning the event in a green environment, selecting the speakers, to arranging food and sending thank you notes, post the event. The tips provided can be used for business, educational or social events.

Shannon Kilkenny gives sufficient case studies to explain how and where you can conduct events, find the flaws and suggest solution to make the event a great success. Budget creation is an important aspect and with proper planning, you can come up
with cost-effective solutions. She has given money saving tips, wherever possible.

She tells you the ambience and the room set up is vital, so as it to serve the food for your guests. The Internet being today's route to success for any successful business, Shannon Kilkenny tells you how you can market and promote your event through the Internet. Also, it is essential to have Internet access during business events. Further, the book will give details on how you should go about providing security for your high-profile guests. Even if you are new to event planning, this step-by-step guide will help you to carry out your responsibilities as an event planner with ease. If you are a professional too, you are certain to find tips on how you can conduct an event in a better manner.  

Shannon Kilkenny, in her book, also gives comprehensive checklist ideas for event planning. The resources section is filled with useful information related to event planning.

The CD, is packed with useful information, that gives additional information and support for planning an event. The CD sample agreement forms for speakers, questions for planning session, which will enable you to focus on your event planning from the start, tips on where you can find jobs as an event planner and more.

Published by Indra Publishing House, the book, a valuable asset to conduct a perfect event is priced at Rs.395/- (This price is applicable for sale only in the Indian Subcontinent).

(PS: This book review was originally posted at 

The foreign edition is priced at Rs.1942!  So, you save a lot, if you are an Indian and buy the product from India.

To Buy the Indian edition, at a discounted price, check out

If you are looking for a foreign edition, buy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poorna Kumbhamela at Santhigiri Ashram today (september 20, 2010)

‘Poorna Kumbhamela’ will be celebrated at Santhigiri Ashram on  20th September, Monday, in which thousands of devotees from all over India and abroad will participate. The Ashram has made extensive arrangements for the Kumbhamela, which is celebrated annually for the purification of one’s self, family and society.

The ceremonies will start with the morning prayers at 5AM followed by special prayers, floral offering and Guru Pooja at 12 noon.  The Kumbhamela procession will commence at 5 PM in the presence of sanyasins.Thousands of devotees clad in white carry the Kumbhams after observing ‘vritam’ (austerities) for 11 days. The ‘Kumbhamela’ procession is held with the accompaniment of musical bands and colorful parasols and the chanting of Guru Mantra, making it a unique devotional event.

The clay-made Kumbha is symbolic of life which perishes like the mud-pot with the slightest mishandling.  The medicated concoction inside the kumbha reminds us of the need to cultivate noble thoughts and faith.  Prayerful participation in the Kumbhamela helps to cleanse people of their karmic, ancestral and familial problems through the spiritual intercession of Guru.

The Ashram and the surrounding areas and the paths through which the Kumbhamela procession will move have been decorated and necessary arrangements made for the assemblage of the devotees.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Santhigiri’s message is beyond caste and religious confines: A. K. Antony

Photo Copyright: Resmi Jaimon (This picture was shot on September 11, 2010; a day before Parnasala Samarpanam)
 The Lotus-shaped Parnasala at Santhigiri Ashram made of pure white marble was opened to the public for worship on September 12th morning as the ‘Santhigiri Parampara’ (movement) celebrated the 84th birthday of its founder Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru with Defence Minister, Mr. A. K. Antony, lauding the life vision of Guru as beyond the narrow confines of caste and religion.

Inaugurating the ‘Navajpoojitham’ (Birthday) function at the Ashram auditorium, Mr. Antony said the life vision of Guru, being spread through Santhigiri Ashram, was one of universal peace. Guru stood for the goodness of all religions and ideologies and respected them.

While all religions talk of loving one another, in practice people are clashing with each other in the name of caste and creed. This is the tendency found in all religious groups in Kerala and elsewhere. Kerala, which was an example of religious tolerance, is now witnessing the growth of communal conflicts and animosities. This will hamper the growth and development of the people.  To contain religious intolerance and violence it is essential for all groups in society to work together, he added.

Lauding the charitable activities of Santhigiri Ashram, Mr. Antony recalled his long association with the Guru and the Ashram. “Guru treated everyone alike without any discrimination. The Guru’s love and compassion towards all is a gift to humanity. What started from a humble hut is now spreading to the various parts of the world,” he said.

Kerala Agriculture Minister, Mr. Mullakara Ratnakaran said in the Keynote Address that it was Santhigiri Ashram’s endeavour to lift society from the depths of disquiet to the mountain heights of peace. The main reason for the erosion of values in modern life was the people’s inability to combine spiritualism with materialism. The family is the foundation for good human values. India’s traditional culture epitomised the inculcation of a good value system through cultured families.  It is only through spirituality that it is possible to bring peace of mind, he added.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. K. V. Thomas, presided over the function. Former Union Minister, Mr. O. Rajagopal, MLAs, Mr. M. A. Wahid and M. Radhakrishnan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary, Mrs. Chandana Khan, IAS, Mangalapuram Gram Panchayat President, Mr. Gopinathan Nair and Vamanapuram Block Panchayat member, Mr. Soman, also addressed the gathering. Santhigiri General Secretary, Swami Chaithanya Jnana Thapaswi, gave the Welcome Address while Santhigiri Ashram Advisory Board member, Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan, gave the Vote of Thanks.

Earlier, in an atmosphere steeped with intense devotion, the Spiritual Head of Santhigiri Ashram, Her Holiness Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, consecrated the Gold Image of Guru installed in the Parnasala and conducted the first prayer rites in the magnificent Lotus structure .
Members of the Sanyasi Sangh at Parnasala
As the beautiful monument was opened to the public for worship irrespective of any discrimination, more than 10,000 people from several countries and spanning several castes, communities and religions participated in the special prayers, which began at 0500 hrs. Representatives of nearly 200 religious and spiritual organisations, who had participated in a two-day National Spiritual Congress at the Ashram, also did ‘Guru Darshanam’ at the Parnasala and took the Sishyapoojitha’s blessings.

After the flag hoisting, the members of the ‘Sanyasi Sangh’ at the Ashram offered floral tributes at the Guru’s feet in the Parnasala. Even as the devotees prayed with zeal on ground, there was an aerial floral tribute with an aircraft showering petals on the Parnasala and the Ashram complex in several sorties.

Addressing the large gathering, the Sishyapoojitha said that this was the first time in spiritual history that a ‘Sishya Parampara’ had undertaken a task of this nature for its Guru. In an address lasting almost half-an-hour, she recalled the Guru’s life of sacrifice. The completion of the Lotus-shaped Parnasala was the fruition of a ‘darshan’ (internal vision) that she had years ago. The Sishyapoojitha also honoured the technical and other people involved in the construction of the Parnasala, which is a unique technical marvel, comprising 21 full bloomed petals supported on 21 pillars.    

Members of the Sanyasi Sangh at Parnasala
After the noon prayers, the large gathering of devotees got an opportunity to prayerfully offer flowers at the Parnasala.        
President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Parnasala, Santhigiri Asrham on August 13, 2010
The Parnasala was formally dedicated to humanity by the President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, on August 13, 2010.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quest for truth is Journalists’ ‘dharma’ - Christopher Monckton

As in science, the ethics of journalism too demand that the practitioners devote themselves to the quest for truth, well known British politician and journalist, Lord Christopher Monckton, said here today.

Inaugurating a one-day  Media Seminar organized as part of the International Conference on Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality at Santhigiri Ashram, Lord Monckton said the debate on global warming had divided scientists into two distinct groups.

While one side argues that this is a natural cyclical process of global warming and cooling and humans have nothing to do with it, the other side says these problems are a direct result of human activities such as deforestation and industrialisation. But they are not searching for the real facts, he said.

The seminar was organized by Santhigiri Ashram in association with the Kesari Smaraka Journalists Trust.

Renowned media critic, Dr. Sebastian Paul, delivered the felicitation address. Senior journalist, Mr. B.R.P.Bhaskar, was the moderator. Swami Navananma Jnana Thapaswi, Director, Santhigiri Ashram, presided over the meeting. Mr. James K. Joseph, Ashram Chief Administrator, delivered the Welcome Speech while the Vote of Thanks was offered by Mr. R. Ajith Kumar, President, Kesari Smaraka Trust.   

Ayurveda Medical College to be started at Abu Dhabi with Santhigiri expertise - Dr. B.R. Shetty

Well known Gulf-based industrialist, Dr. B. R. Shetty, today said that he plans to start an Ayurveda Medical College at the upcoming Herbal City at Abu Dhabi in collaboration with the Healthcare Division of Santhigiri Ashram to protect the health of the people, mostly multi-cultural immigrants, living in the region.        
Inaugurating a one-day conference on ‘Health and Research in The Middle-East Asian Countries’, organized as part of the Parnasala Dedication Celebrations at Santhigiri Ashram, Dr. Shetty said the healthcare model practiced by Santhigiri was an exemplary one and the people in the Arab countries should also get the benefit of this system.

The preliminary talks in this connection with the promoters of the Herbal City had been concluded and the response was a positive one, he added. The Santhigiri Healthcare Division is running a chain of Ayurveda hospitals and Panchakarma centres all over India besides two Medical Colleges, one for Ayurveda and the other for Siddha, in Kerala.

“Santhigiri has given to humanity a concept of spirituality beyond religion which is a unifying and healing force,” he added.

Former Kerala Minister and popular cine artist K. B. Ganesh Kumar presided over the seminar, which was addressed by the UAE Indian Community Welfare Committee Convener, Mr. K. Kumar, UAE Exchange Global Operation CEO, Mr. Y. Sudheer Kumar, Ananthapuri Hospital Chairman, Prof. (Dr.) A. Marthanda Pillai, World Malayali Council, Abu Dhabi President, Mr. E A Hakim.

Khaleej Times Business Editor, Mr. Isaac John, Thiruvananthapuram Ayurveda College Principal, Dr. P. K. Ashok, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Principal, Dr. Ramdas Pisharoty, Santhigiri Siddha Medical College Principal, Dr. V. Arunachalam, and Santhigiri Healthcare and Research Organisation advisor, Dr. K. N. Syamaprasad also participated.     

The seminar was organized in collaboration with the NMC Hospital, Abu Dhabi, Ajman Gulf Medical College, UAE Indian Community Welfare Committee, Centre for Community Medicine, and other government and non-government healthcare organizations.

Focus on good thought and action to eliminate strife from the world: Dadi Janki

Santhigiri, Sep 10: The only way to spread peace in a strife-torn world is for everyone to focus on good thoughts and actions as peace can never come to people whose minds and actions are guided by anger, jealousy and competition, Rajayogini Dadi Janki, the Administrative Head of the Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vidyalaya, Mt. Abu, said here today.
Inaugurating a two-day National Spiritual Congress, organized by Santhigiri Ashram to mark the opening of the Lotus-shaped Parnasala (final resting place of the sacred body of the Ashram’s founder Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru), Dadi Janki said that Mahatma Gandhi had exhorted humanity to “see no evil, hear no evil and talk no evil”. To this, she wanted to add another maxim, “Think no evil.”

The only way to eliminate untruth, violence, corruption etc. from the world and to spread peace and love was to take a resolve for one’s thoughts and actions to be guided by patience, humility, tolerance and contentment. “If we change, the world will change,” she added.

While staying in the world and doing one’s karma (duties), we should always keep in mind our Divine origin. “I am an atman (an individual soul), but I belong to the Paramatman (Supreme Soul).” If we are conscious of God that Almighty Power would give us the energy and power to do truthful and right action, the 94-year-old Dadi Janki said.

Referring to the sterling contribution of Santhigiri Ashram in contributing to peace, Dadi Janki said that the Guru had planted the seeds of love and the people were now enjoying the fruits of that labour.

Delivering the Presidential Address, Swami Prakashananda, President, Sivagiri Mutt, recalled his long association with Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru when the latter served at Sivagiri Mutt and its branches for 17 years.

Describing ‘Sanatana Dharma’ (Eternal Dharma) as the culture of India, the Swami said that India was the land of ‘rishis’, realized souls, who had contributed the Vedas, Upanishads and other spiritual jewels to humanity as also universal principles such as “One Caste, One Religion and One God.”

Earlier, in his Welcome Address, Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi, Organising Secretary, Santhigiri Ashram, recalled the great life of sacrifice and suffering of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru in pursuit of the eternal spiritual truths and to help all living beings to find peace and fulfilment.

Describing the practitioners of various religious faiths and spiritual doctrines as “co-travelers to the same goal”, Swami Gururethnam said that there was a need to come together and unite in Oneness.

Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom, Marthoma Metropolitan, Pathanamthita, delivered the Keynote Address in the ‘Distinguished Presence’ of the Major Archbishop of the Sryo-Malankara Church Cleemis Catholicos. Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church, Swami Gurdeep Giri Maharaj, Chairman, Dera Swami Jagath Giri Trust, Punjab, and Swami Chinmayanand gave the ‘Blessing Address’.

The Imam of the Palayam Mosque, Jamaluddin Mankkada, and Panakkadu Syed Rasheed Ali Shihab Thangal gave Special Addresses. Mathru Swami, the Kerala Head of the Art of Living Foundation, read out a Message from Sri Sri Ravishankar, Head of the AOL Foundation.

Janani Rishirathna Jnana Thapaswini, Director, Santhigiri Ashram, offered the Vote of Thanks.

All the dignitaries on the dais were honoured with “ponnada” (shawl) and a special memento by Santhigiri Ashram General Secretary, Swami Chaithanya Jnana Thapaswi, and Director, Swami Dharmananda Jnana Thapaswi.

Representatives from more than 200 religious and spiritual organizations from different parts of India are participating in the National Spiritual Congress that seeks to bring the different religious faiths and doctrines on a common platform, underlying the basic oneness and unity of mankind.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

India should lead the world in tackling global warming: Horta

India, a land of ancient wisdom and one of the greatest civilizations in the world, should take the lead in preparing a roadmap to meet the challenge of global warming and climate change, the President of East Timor and the 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate, Mr. Jose Ramos Horta, on September 9, 2010.

Inaugurating a three-day International Conference on ‘Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality’ organized by the Santhigiri Research Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO and the American Center at Santhigiri Ashram, Mr Horta said India should partner with the other Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea to meet this global challenge and not wait for Europe or the US to act.

Stating that Asia today was a land of resources and skills, Mr Horta said if it displays the vision, the political will and the determination to meet the challenge of climate change, the rest of the world will follow. It was important for Asia to take the leadership as almost half of the seven billion population of the world resided here. The continent was also home to nearly 60 per cent of the world’s poorest, who were the hardest-hit by the dwindling natural resources.

Earlier, in his Presidential Address, former Union Minister of State for External Affairs and former UN Under-Secretary General, Mr. Shashi Tharoor, MP, complimented Santhigiri Ashram for adding the aspect of ‘secular spirituality’ to the debate on global warming. Though a relatively young organization, Santhigiri Ashram had in the past 40 years of its existence acquired a reputation for combining science with spirituality, health with prayers and reflection with human advancement, he added.

Describing spirituality as the quest for the Divine light, Mr. Tharoor said the founder of Santhigiri Ashram, Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, recognized the light of truth in all religions and was not confined by any particular religious text or doctrine.

Agreeing that all nations needed to cooperate in facing the challenge of environment degradation posed by global warming, Mr. Tharoor however said that there was a “differential” responsibility as the developed nations had contributed much more to global warming than the developing ones. While the US, with a total world population of three per cent produced 25 per cent of the greenhouse gases, India with 17 per cent of the world’s population produced less than four per cent of greenhouse gases.

“The rich countries thus have to make the extra effort to overcome this common challenge. They should make available expensive and clean technology cheap to the developing nations,” he added.

Earlier welcoming the large gathering, including nearly 400 delegates from 20 countries, Swami Navananma Jnana Thapaswi, Director, Santhigiri Ashram, said sustainable development was possible only if there was a change in the human vision and life style to one which was more in tune with the rhythm of nature which was a reflection of the Divine Will. Stating that the process of change had to start at the individual level, the Swami stressed the need for a spiritual master who was a ‘Trikala Jnani’ (the knower of past, present and future) to show the way for individual and societal transformation.

Ashram President, Swami Sathya Prakasha Jnana Thapaswi, and General Secretary, Swami Chaithanya Jnana Thapaswi, handed over a special memento to Mr. Horta.

The Santhigiri Research Foundation has organized the international conference to mark the opening on September 12 of the Lotus-shaped Parnasala (final resting place of the sacred body of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru), as a symbol of universal peace and fraternity.

Giving an ‘Introduction’ to the theme and objective of the conference, Deputy General Convener of the meet, Dr. Gopinatha Pillai said that it sought to bring on a common platform the two predominant views on global warming – one which held that human activity, particularly industrialization, was responsible for this – and the other which disputed this and said that it was a normal “cyclical” phenomenon.

The conference also sought to bring to the mainstream of the climate change debate the successful model of living practiced at Santhigiri, inspired by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, which was totally in conformity with the natural laws and the ‘Dharma’ of the Age.

Delivering a Special Address, British politician and journalist, Lord Christopher Monkton, said that contrary to the general perception about global warming, the world had actually undergone a slight “global cooling” since late 2001. As against the projected rise in global temperature by 1.5 Degrees Celsius, the temperature had gone up by only 0.6 Degrees Celsius, he added. “This talk of global warming is a new form of neo-imperialism,” he added.

In another Special Address, peace activist Mohammad Awad, known as the ‘Arab Gandhi’, said that the world had enough resources to tackle global warming, provided they stopped manufacturing weapons and making wars.

Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, lauded Santhigiri for initiating a “global movement for peace and sustainability” and said that the vision of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was for a society which was dynamic, realistic and not stuck in ideological cubicles.

Former CBI Director, Mr. D Karthikeyan, expressed concern over the receding of the Gangotri glacier, which he had personally observed during visits to the Himalayas during the past 30 years. There is a need for a judicious use of natural resources, he added.

Mrs. Corinna Y. Arnold, Head, Cultural Affairs, US Consulate, Chennai, expressed the Obama Administration’s determination to implement clean and green technology.

Mr. James Joseph, Chief Administrator, Santhigiri Ashram, gave the Vote of Thanks.

A number of eminent scientists, including Nobel laureates, environmentalists, national level political leaders and policy makers, sociologists, academicians, researchers and experts will attend the deliberations and present papers. Among the noted participants are the founder-president of Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) of USA and atmospheric physicist, Mr. S. Fred Singer, British politician and journalist, Mr. Christopher Monckton, Dr. Richard Falk, Prof., University of California, Dr. K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, former Chairman, ISRO, President of World Aquarium, Leonard Sonnenschein, Visiting Professor at the University of California, Ms. Hilal Elver, and Prof. Dinesh Mohan, IIT, Delhi.

The three Plenary Sessions of the Conference would be devoted to the themes of: The Problems of Global Warming and Climate Change; Sustainable Development; Spirituality of Sustainable Development.

The Parallel Sessions during the three days would cover a wide range of topics such as climate change projections for India; Health, environment and sustainable development; Copenhagen and the emerging scenario; Energy – conventional and non-conventional alternatives; Agricultural and food security; Transportation-alternatives; Protecting water resources; Forest conservation; Role of family and spirituality in re-orienting society; Transforming life visions and life styles; Gurupooja and human culture – Santhigiri experience; Sustainable spirituality and sustainable development – linkages.

Two girls bag Santhigiri Young Environment Scientist Award

The ‘Santhigiri Young Environment Scientist Award’, instituted by Santhigiri Ashram to promote awareness about environmental issues among school students, was today presented to two girls, Anagha Menon and Sheraf Susan Cherukutty, by the President of East Timor and the 1996 Nobel Laureate, Jose Ramos Horta, at the Santhigiri International Conference on Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality.

Each Award consists of a cash component of Rs.10001, a memento and a certificate. The winners were chosen after a state-wide competition in Kerala for Higher Secondary and High Secondary School students under the ‘Santhigiri Edu. Fest.’

While Anagha Menon of the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Thrissur, bagged the first prize in the Higher Secondary School category, Sheraf Susan Cherukutty of the Vaduthala Don Bosco Senior Secondary School got the Young Environment Scientist Award in the High School category.

The three-day International Conference, organized by the Santhigiri Research Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO and the American Center, was inaugurated by Mr Horta at Santhigiri Ashram this morning.

As part of ‘Santhigiri Expo’, being organized alongside the International Conference, school students will present working models and still models about climate change, sustainable development etc. The student making the best model would be awarded with the Young Scientist Award, consisting of a cash award, certificate and memento.

A Best School Award would also be given at the end of the Santhigiri Cultural Festival featuring mime, quiz, skit, group song etc.

It has been decided that the ‘Santhigiri Edu Fest’ will be held every year on the occasion of ‘Navapoojitham’, the birthday of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of Santhigiri Ashram.

Friday, August 13, 2010

President Pratibha Patil dedicates the full-bloomed white lotus, Parnasala

President Pratibha Patil dedicated Parnasala, the lotus-shape marvel at Santhigiri Ashram, that symbolizes 'universal peace and fraternity' at Thiruvananthapuram on August 13, 2010.

          NavaJyothiSree Karunakara Guru’s Parnasala at Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram

On reaching Santhigiri Ashram, she prayed at Aradhanalayam (prayer hall), and offered floral tributes at NavaJyothiSree Karunakara Guru's Parnasala. She also visited Sahakarana Mandiram (Shrine of togetherness) before proceeding to meet the spiritual head and Guru apparent of the ashram, Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini.

President Pratibha Patil began her speech in Malayalam cheering the large gathering at the auditorium. She said, “I am pleased to be here at the Santhigiri Ashram for the inauguration of the dedication ceremony of the Parnasala of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of this Ashram.”

The President said a critical aspect of NavaJyothiSree Karunakara Guru’s teachings was to address concerns of the less privileged and disadvantageous sections so as to build a society that is more equitable and sustainable. The President was also inaugurating the one-month long celebrations to mark the occasion.

“Creating a society of tolerant and caring individuals begins with the family. Children when taught good values from the very beginning understand the importance of human dignity. They are disciplined and conscious of their rights and duties, read to work hard and strive for excellence. Maintaining a congenial environment at home is conducive for building strong family bonds, which provide emotional sustenance. In a broader sense, the whole world is one family—Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. As love and understanding develops in families, it will promote more harmonious societies, where we show concern and compassion for each other as fellow human beings”, she said.

During the speech, Ms Patil described the guru as a “visionary who believed in a casteless society based on strong family values." She emphasized the need to empower woman, who have the potential to bring about change in the society.
She said  NavaJyothiSree Karunakara Guru believed that among human beings there can be no discrimination based on caste, religion or class, and taught his followers the importance of working together for peace, family welfare and spiritual growth.

The President also congratulated the Santhigiri Ashram for its efforts to promote traditional systems of medicine, including Ayurveda and Siddha. Further, she referred to the ashram’s efforts in promoting environmental friendly technologies, methods and systems. She said, “Awareness about the environment is the beginning of creating harmony between man and nature.”

Read President Pratibha Patil speech made while addressing the audience after Parnasala dedication at
Swami Navananma Jnana Thapaswi (Director, Santhigiri Ashram), Smt.J.Arundhathi MLA, Shri.Sashi Tharoor M.P, Shri.Ramesh Chennithala(KPCC President), Shri.Kodiyeri Balakrishnan(Minister for Home & Tourism, Govt. of Kerala) spoke on the occasion and Shri.R.S.Gavai(His Excellency the Governor of Kerala) presided over the function. Shri.Koliyakode Krishnan Nair(Ex.MLA), Patron,Parnasala Dedication Reception Committee said vote of thanks.

Parnasala will be opened for worship on September 12, 2010 and a grand function will be held to mark the occasion, that conicides with Guru's birthday. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

President to dedicate Lotus shaped Parnasala for World Peace and Harmony

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil is scheduled to dedicate the Parnasala for world peace and harmony on August 13, 2010 at Santhigiri Ashram, Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram.

Parnasala, a fully bloomed lotus in marble structure, is the final resting place of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of the Ashram. The President will also formally inaugurate the month-long celebrations. Parnasala will be opened for worship on September 12, 2010, on Guru's birthday. Years ago, 'Parnasala' was a thatched hut supported by four poles, where Guru lived and interacted with visitors. The thatched hut was later converted into a one-room tenement with a tiled roof.

The current structure of Parnasala, received in visions stands at a height of 91 feet, radius of 84 feet, 64 feet inner diameter and 21 petals. The structure contains twelve upward facing petals of 41 feet length and nine downward facing petals, 31 feet each. Lotus bud shaped 27-feet (made of high teak wood) sanctum sanctorum will contain an image of Guru in pure gold. The first floor of the Parnasala contains 12 rooms and will maintain articles used by Guru.  Guru left His physical body and merged in Adisankalpam - the Primordial Consciousness, the source of Creation on May 6, 1999. It was revealed from the Supreme Light that His body should be laid to rest in the Parnasala itself.

During tomorrow's visit, President will offer prayers at the prayer hall (Aradhanalayam) and offer flowers at the Parnasala. Thereafter, President will meet Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, the Guru apparent of the ashram. Following, President will address the gathering and declare Parnasala dedication to the humanity.

The month-long function will include cultural programmes, including a dance programme choreographed by Surya Krishnamurthy, ghazal rendition by Pankaj Udhas and a musical fusion by famous musicians percussionist Sivamani, violinist Balabhasker, ‘khadam' artiste Vikku Vinayakam, traditional percussionist Mattannoor Sankarankutty, guitarists Alwin Fernandez, Santhosh and Prasanth, and keyboard artiste Jayakumar; Kalaripayattu performances by CVN Kalari and traditional Gujarati dance form.

An international conference focusing on global warming, climate change, sustainable development and secular spirituality will also be held in association with UNESCO, TERI and Santhigiri Research Foundation in September.

Representatives from all major spiritual centers and religions across India will participate in The 'Spiritual Congress,' that will focus on the theme of universal peace.

The Education Fest to be conducted aims to find, promote and nurture a spirit of research among school and college students. 'Santhigiri Expo-2010' will also be held during this occasion.

A model eco-friendly village with mud houses and windmills has been recreated at the ashram. The Eco-Village, is said, will showcase models and methods to combat issues including pollution, environmental degradation, natural resource depletion etc. Indian and foreign organizations including government institutions, NGO's, research and educational institutions, students will participate and also exhibit the latest research and interventional methods in the areas of environment protection and sustainable development.

Further, the expo will have exhibitions stalls of village and craft products and revive memories of the old village life through the replicas recreated at the venue.

To view the animated shot of Parnasala or to know more about Santhigiri Ashram, visit

Details about Santhigiri Education fest:

Information about International Conference on Global Warming,Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality

For details about Expo 2010, and to contact, to exhibit your products and services:

To read some of the media news:

Further details about the ashram at:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Santhigiri Education Fest: District Level Entrance Exam on August 1 , Across Kerala

Santhigiri Research Foundation, an organization of Santhigiri Ashram, in association with UNESCO and The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), approved by Education Department, Govt. of Kerala is organizing Education Fest, that aims to create awareness of securing environment, to identify and encourage young and aspiring scientists.

The entrance examination will be held across Kerala, in all districts on August 1, 2010. In Ernakulam district, the examination will be held at St. Theresa's college at 9:30 am, for both High School and Higher Secondary School.

Students who haven’t registered yet can also participate in the entrance exam through spot registration, along with School Principal’s authorization letter and student ID card.

The objective type examination will be based on subjects such as global warming, climate change, sustainable development and secular spirituality. Students will also get the opportunity to present working/still model based on global warming, climate change and associated scientific ideas.

All participating students will receive a certificate of participation. Ten students who secure the top marks in the District level can participate in the State Level examination, to be held later. Fifty of the finalists, selected from the State Level examination will have the opportunity to participate in the International Conference, to be held during September, during the month long Parnasala dedication function at Thiruvananthapuram.

For further information, contact 0471-2419313, 9447530633 (Ernakulam District Co-ordinator); and

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shots from the street play , Kaanaakaazchakal

Shots from the street play , Kaanaakaazchakal ; performed at Marine Drive in Kochi on June 20, 2010. The play is peformed by Santhigiri Ashram's Viswasamskrithi Kalarangam team. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

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Kannakazhchakal, the street drama at Durbar Hall Ground, Kochi on June 19, 2010

Santhigiri Ashram's Viswasamskrithi Kalarangam team will stage the street drama, ‘Kannakazhchakal’ on June 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm at Durbar Hall Ground.

The drama is being held at over 1000 stages across Kerala, as a part of the Parnasala dedication campaign programme. NavaJyothiSree Karunakara Guru's Parnasala at Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram will be dedicated to humanity for enduring global peace on September 12, 2010.

Today, the world is standing at crossroads with several societal, cultural and environmental problems including terrorism, scarcity of food, health hazards and disturbances in family and societal life. Kannakazchakal aims to create awareness of the problems and the solutions of the environmental-societal-cultural issues, the world is facing now. The drama aims to generate awareness of the water-environmental pollution and the solutions and steps to solve them. Further, Kannakazchakal delves into the ecological imbalance caused by global warming, climate change, deforestation and other such issues.

The drama will also be staged in different parts of Kochi, in the coming week.

The schedule for in and around Kochi is as follows (I'll announce the venues later):

June 19, 2010 (Saturday) :
Durbar Hall Ground (Inaguration) : 5:00 pm
Palarivattom: 6:30 pm

June 20, 2010 (Sunday) :
Vytilla  - 11:00 am
Menaka Junction - 5:00 pm
High court Junction- 7:00 pm

June 21, 2010 (Monday):
Munampam - 11:00 am
Cherai - 3:00 pm
North Paravoor - 7:00 pm

June 22, 2010 (Tuesday):
Thripunithura - 11:00 am
Muvattapzuha - 3:00 pm
Kothamangalam - 7:00 pm

June 23, 2010 (Wednesday):
Fort Kochi - 3:00 pm
Thoppumpady - 5:00 pm
Palluruthy - 7:00 pm