The devotee with a difference


The devotee with a difference

As a matter of fact, Malliyur Sankaran Namboodiri was not born with silver spoon in his mouth. However, his forefathers had an illustrious life as they were in good relation with the erstwhile ruling kings.

His father's name was Parameswaran Namboodiri and mother's name was Arya Antharjanam. As the maiden son of his parents, Sankaran Namboodiri was born in the year 1096. At the age of 9 he had his Upanayanam and at 14 he completed his Samavarthanam. Later he spent few years at Narasimha temple by studying and performing puja and returned home at the age of 12.

His father was not keen on sending him to school only because he thought that by doing so his son will lose his Brahmanya and will get into bad company. And thus at the age of 14 Sankaran Namboodiri started learning Sanskrit under tutelage of Panmana Vasudevan Namboodiri.

He fell ill due to prolonged working hours at the temple, studies and lack of adequate rest. It all started with indigestion. In a matter of a year his health deteriorated further and was taken various places for treatment including that of Thaikkatu Mooss where he felt better but illness still bugged him. Further, on the instructions of Kaithamattom, he was treated by Kuzhiyadi Raman Namboodiri which lasted for almost 6 months. But all these could not bring Sankaran Namboodiri back to good health.

It was at this point of time that Kuzhiyadi Raman Namboodiri suggested him to practice Surya Namaskaram along with the medicines. In between, he also went to Thiruvananthapuram and stayed there for 15 days as part of treatment but in vain. All these prolonged affairs affected Sankaran Namboodiri psyche.

It was at this critical juncture that he turned towards Lord Guruvayoorappan following his mother's request. And thus during the Malayalam month of Thulam Sankaran Namboodiri reached the Sree Krishna temple at Guruvayur. It was at Guruvayur that Sankaran Namboodiri met the scholarly devotee Brahmasri Padappa Namboodiri who stayed at Guruvayur at that time. He spent much time with him whose diet included only Nedyam which he shared with all those who were near him at the time of having it.

Padappa Namboodiri had an instant liking for his new devotee. It was the same for the devotee too. It was at this revered place that Padappa Namboodiri blessed his new devotee with lessons of Bhagawatha. And the young devotee submitted the only coin that he had as dakshina at the guru's feet. It's an unwritten rule that one should read the Bhagawatha everyday after learning the Bhagawatha. But the devotee had no means to buy one. However, Lord Guruvayorappan himself found out a way for procuring one. An old lady who was a staunch devotee brought a Bhagawatha and gave it to him. Thus Sankaran Namboodiri started reading out the Bhagawatha and along with it he also explained the same in a vivid manner. It was a moving experience for those who happened to listen to Sankaran Namboodiri. His Bhagawatha reading was well appreciated by one and all and soon he returned to his Illam.

At that time Mamanna Swamiyar (Samavedi) used to stay at Thiruvarpu. He invited Sankaran Namboodiri to continue his pursuit for knowledge and stayed at the Math for two years and went ahead with his higher studies. He was very happy at the fact that his desire to learn was getting its continuity from unexpected corners. During his two year tenure Malliyur studies Nishedham, Tharkam, Kavyam, Kaumudi, Vyakaranam etc.

It was at this point of time that Malliyur felt like going for Bhajan at Adityapuram. And he reached the Adityapuram Sun temple and continued with his Bhajana. Soon his in-depth knowledge of Bhagawatha and its interpretations had good following in and around Adityapuram. And he received an invitation from Ilanjhithanam Illam for Bhagawatha recital. For a period of six months he stayed there and continued with his Bhagawatha recital and again at Kandamaruku Illam for a period of two years with recitals and lectures. From there he went to Kumaranellur Bhagawathy temple with his recitals.

It wad during this period that he received an invitation from Chirattam Illam at Olassa for rendering his lectures and he reached the place and stayed there for nearly two years as he got an offer to learn Ashtangahridayam. As he stayed there he was very disturbed with the thoughts of illness and one fine day he had a dream which advocated him to practice surya-namaskaram to get relived of all his illnesses.

In the year 1124 A naalukettu which was donated by Kaithamattom Sankaran Namboodiri was dismantled and was taken to Malliyur and constructed an Illam there using the same materials. Though he had a place to sleep he had nothing much to be happy about.

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