Sivagiri pilgrimage, known as Sivagiri Theerthadanam in Malayalam, too has distinctive characters which make it different from other religious pilgrimages. Sree Narayana Guru’s followers, Vallabhasseri Govindan Vaidyar and T K Kittan Writer were the main persons behind such a concept and it was duly approved by Guru.
Hearing the concept of Sivagiri pilgrimage the Guru was pleased and he said the pilgrims should congregate at the beginning of the European New Year. It usually falls in the Malayalam month of Dhanu and the pilgrims are asked to observe 10-days purification. The purification process should be based on Buddha's principles of five purities - body, food, mind, word, deed and he said.
According to the Guru, the aim of pilgrimage should be the creation of comprehensive knowledge among the people. It will help in their overall development and prosperity, he believed. Hence the goals of the pilgrimage were set as Education, Cleanliness, Devotion to God, Organisation, Agriculture, Trade, Handicrafts and Technical training.
The Guru also insisted that the pilgrims should wear yellow clothes.
The first Sivagiri Pilgrimage
The first Sivagiri Pilgrimage started from the village of Elavumthitta and pilgrims were P.K. Divakara Panicker, P.K.Kesavan, P.V. Raghavan, M.K. Raghavan, S. Sankunni. They wore yellow dress and all the way to Sivagiri, recited Swaathanthra gadha (Freedom song) which was written by Kumaran Asan. The Guru also asked them to organise a series of lectures and asked them to put into practice the principles derived from these expert lectures. The Guru wanted the pilgrims to overcome the darkness of knowledge through this pilgrimage and to attain a higher level of spirituality through enlightenment.
In short, the pilgrimage helps the pilgrims to have a thorough physical and spiritual clean up and it also marks the Guru’s amazing quality to train people to keep pace with the modernity. The pilgrimage today also becomes a commemoration of Guru’s life and visions and it gives an opportunity for introspection.
Thus the visions put forward by the Guru help us reach an exalted level of spirituality with the help of knowledge.