[Revaluation by Unitive Understanding Group 2020]

Unitive Understanding / Narayana Guru

NARAYANA GURU (1854 - 1928)

Sree Narayana Guru

About this 'revaluation' endeavour

One of the key usages of Nataraja Guru is 'revaluation and restatement'. This usage includes the process of giving new interpretations to old texts, extracting new meanings, incorporating the findings of scientific instruments like telescope and microscope in to philosophic speculations, presenting old texts in new formats etc.

In a way this activity also is a 'technological revaluation' of a now out-of-print work titled Unitive Understanding II. This volume is the findings of a series of World Conferences organised by Narayana Gurukula, held during 1971-1973, towards the end of Nataraja Guru's life. It contains introductory articles by Nataraja Guru and papers presented, mostly by his foreign disciples.

The 'revaluation' to bring this precious work in to public domain using a state-of-the-art platform is carried out by Sri Sanal Madhavan from the original document made available by Curran A. de Bruler, with accuracy checks by Dr. R. Subhash and Dr. P. K. Sabu.

Shaj Kumar - Bangalore / Sree Narayana Lokam

NATARAJA GURU (1895 - 1973)

Unitive Understanding / Narayana Guru
Sree Narayana Guru


Please note that those responsible for editing and publishing this volume wish to maintain a neutral attitude in the matter of any explicit opinions contained herein tending to degrade or extol the rival claims of any particular religion or cultural expression. All rival claims are outside the scope of Unitive Understanding, for promoting which this volume is being published. Any statement that seems capable of being interpreted as taking a unilateral or rival position in this matter belongs to the individual contributor, and not to the sponsors of the publication.

This applies also to the choice of the photographs of Narayana Guru and Nataraja Guru. All science is independent of the individual scientist who must teach it. The choice of the Gurus' portraits for the frontispiece is therefore incidental only.

Sree Narayana Guru




Inaugural Address*

Sree Narayana Guru

I.     Religion

General Introduction
Classification Of religious groups
Further Differentiations
Scepticism And Belief
Underlying Structural Unity
Structuralism In Western Theology
One World Religion
The Unitive Approach
The Structural Frame Of Reference
The Two Poles Of Religion
Belief And Practice
The Prophetic And The Pagan
The Unity Of All Religions
Bibliography Sree Narayana Guru

II.    World Government

General Introduction
Memorandum On World Government
Section I.   Genesis
Section II.  Other Partial Approaches
Section III. Unique And Positive Qualities
Section IV. Active Programme
Section V.  Jurisdiction, Revenue, Resources, Etc.
Section VI. Conclusion Sree Narayana Guru

III.   World Law

General Introduction
Global Structural Perspective
Some Straight Thoughts On World Law
The Two Sides Involved
Law Is Like A Game
The Unitive Approach
Conclusion Sree Narayana Guru

IV.   Yoga

General Introduction
The Yoga Of The Vedanta
The Yoga-Darsana Of Narayana Guru
Yoga-Darsanam And Commentary
X Sree Narayana Guru

V.    Ethics

General Introduction
The Normative Notion
The Structural Basis Of Ethics
Structuralism Implicit In Bergson's Ethics
A Normative Notion For Ethics
Complementarity Of Taoist And Kantian Ethics
Horizontal Orientation Of Hobbes' Ethics
References Sree Narayana Guru

VI.   Aesthetics

General Introduction
Structural Frame Of Reference
Cancellation Of Counterparts
Aesthetics And The Saundarya Lahari
The Structural Frame Of Reference
Erotic Mysticism
Sankara's "Upsurging Billow Of Beauty"
References Sree Narayana Guru

VII.  Education

General Introduction
One-Sided Approach
The Tragic Paradox
Four Stages Of Education
Education As A Bipolar Process
Concluding Remarks
One-World Education
Historical Education
The Distinction Between Education And Schooling
The Mechanistic Approach
"The Father Of Modern Education"
Negative Education
Normative Notion
Four Stages
References Sree Narayana Guru

VIII. Economics

General Introduction
Vague Theories And Questionable Practices
Statistics And Scarcity Economics
Laissez Faire
An Absolutist Approach Required
Voices In The Wilderness
The Normative Frame Of Reference In Kalidasa
Clearing The Ground For A One-World Economics
Opulence And Abundance: The Two Worlds Of Economics
The "Science" Of Political Economy
Science Seeks Certitude
The Abundancists
John Ruskin
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Desiderata Of One-World Economics
Unto This Last As Unto Thee
References Sree Narayana Guru

IX.   Unified Science

An Integration Of The Sciences
No Common Intellectual Formation
Unitive Approach Needed
The Science Of Sciences
Descending Dialectics
Distinct Value Worlds
The Key Of Integration
Sree Narayana Guru


Unitive Understanding Vol. II is the title of this volume consisting of a collection of articles. Apology is due to the reader for coining such an expression in the English language, the responsibility for which belongs to Nataraja Guru, disciple-successor of Narayana Guru, who coined it when he was faced with the problem of finding an equivalent expression for what is known in India as Advaita. Advaita connotes more than mere unity, and denotes less than the absence of plurality. It is a term which has its own history in the context of Indian wisdom, and refers to a particular variety of Vedanta philosophy, of which the Upanishadic Rishis, Kalidasa and Sankaracarya have been famous exemplars. When Vedanta is referred to as being monotheistic or idealistic in character, we miss the most important virtue by which it remains a unique form of non dualism. The word "unified" is found more often used when we intend to say that different disciplines could be put together into one totality. The sum-total of a class of elements need not necessarily cover the emergent qualitative factor that true integration of disciplines can bring about. It is in this sense that internationalism is not the same as the arithmetic sum of all nations. In other words, there is a qualitative element as well as quantitative one, and these neutralize each other when two conjugates like body or mind, time or space, matter or energy, physics or metaphysics, are integrated into one. Such an integration has to follow laws of an epistemology, axiology and methodology proper to it.

A Unified Science, in the sense that differing disciplines could be put together into a common pattern at least forming a mosaic, has been attempted by academic authorities of the Vienna school, as also by the University of Chicago. Two volumes of an Encyclopaedia of Unified Science have also been published, as a result of these attempts to integrate disciplines. While it would be easy to establish such an integration between disciplines that are a posteriori in their approach, such as physics, the integration of physics with metaphysics presents a more serious methodological problem. Physics tends to favour the relativistic and experimental outlook, based on percepts, while metaphysics has to depend on the a priori and axiomatic postulates of pure reasoning. Both experiemental and axiomatic thinking enter into modern science as equal partners in what is now known as post-Einsteinian and non-Newtonian physics. Philosophers of science like Eddington give at least as much importance to the conceptual aspect of physics as to the experimental. In reality, in spite of disclaiming the a priori approach, physicists at all times have relied on mathematical verification or demonstration. Mathematics itself relies largely on conventional postulates derived from axiomatic thinking, essentially a priori in nature. Modern phenomenology is avowedly not in favour of a priorism, but still accepts many wholesale notions not based on empirical sense data. Thus, there are seen to be difficulties in the way of viewing different disciplines as capable of being fully integrated. The methodology proper to such integration has been discussed elsewhere, in the chapters of An Integrated Science of the Absolute, by Nataraja Guru. As it is a study in itself, we are not entering into its details here. All that is necessary to assert at this stage is that relativism and absolutism could both be cancelled-out in favour of a normalized or denormalized view of the Absolute, which would result from the Unitive Understanding that is proper to our own approach here.

Sree Narayana Guru



This is the 5th World Conference for Peace Through Unitive Understanding that we are holding in this out of the way no man's land corner of coastal Kerala, far removed from the strife and din of actual problems concerning peace on earth and good will to men. This near-island, dominated by a hill of seven peaks, is among the world's most neglected spots, and offers us a neutral and impartial venue for a Conference of this kind. Power politics cannot influence us here, nor can it be said in this extremely recessive part that any one political group will have a chance to raise its voice above that of any other by dint of its importance in world affairs. It is only under conditions far removed from criss-cross interests of rival clamourings or claims that our deliberations could have the atmosphere they need to treat of problems bearing directly or indirectly on peace, so as to seek a solution which could go deeper into the roots of them in order to have its effect globally felt. Such an improved atmosphere of understanding could create that state of mind necessary to cut just those roots of evil which might be lurking deep down as a doubt or blemish in the conscience of humanity, hindering the triumph of peace and good will. Mere paliatives do not effect any change involving root and branch at once.

It is with these considerations in mind that we have held four annual Conference at this sequestered beauty spot, where the open sea shore with its yellow sands vies with the 700 ft. high monkey-peak to give us an open outlook with both vertical and horizontal points of vantage. Although called the 5th World Conference, its small beginnings have to be located even one year earlier, though that initial event could not be counted as a regular Conference, except by intentionality. This 5th regular Conference therefore represents the progressive expansion of a dear aspiration which took life, as it were, in a very unambitious manner but which, by its growth and expression, fully justifies our hopes.

It would be wrong for us to forget here that the first seeds of such an idea were sown by a saint who lived at another end of this same Malabar Coast, just over a century ago. He was a humble man of common origin, but he belonged unmistakably to an ancient line of wise men, dating down from the days of Mahenjo Daro and Harappa in the Indus Valley. He walked the length and breadth of this forsaken country called Kerala - known for its lack of unity and solidarity due to many historical, geographical or even geological factors - favourably exposed to the monsoon breezes that kept bringing newer and newer waves of settlers, even from the other side of the Arabian Sea, through centuries or even milennia. His name, which is well known now, is none other than Narayana Guru. He loved this part of the country particularly, and humanity as a whole more generally, and gave a message and an example by his highly dedicated life instilled with a love of the peoples, as well as by his high passion and enthusiasm for truth. He wanted to see such a truth prevail for the betterment of humanity here or anywhere, and considered all relativistic frontiers to be detrimental to this end. No one questions his earnestness in these matters, at the end of one century and more of his influence. He was not an orthodox Hindu in a conventional sense, but without objecting to being treated as a Hindu he said, breaking through all barriers of closed orthodoxy, that any religion was good enough if it could make man have a better life under its influence. This same open and dynamic catholicty of outlook characterized his treatment of and approach to all disciplines and problems, even those bearing only indirectly on human happiness. All relativistic barriers dividing man from his neighbour - whether in the name of race, patriotism, sociology or ideology, and even the difference between the sexes - were according to him capable of resolution or solution by what we have qualified in the very title of this Conference as Unitive Understanding. Unitive Understanding only refers to the Truth that can make men free.

This Truth, however, is not so directly evident to the understanding as a simple object such as a pot or a jug might be, when recognized as a fact in everyday life. Man's hunger for Truth rises above such items as a loaf of bread, to higher and still higher satisfactions. We say that charity begins at home, and that one's own children must be well fed and educated; but there is another proverb which seems to say something more bilateral and less ego-centred in the words, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." There is no contradiction between these two standpoints when both of them are put together in terms of the particular Good of All the individuals and the General Good of the totality of individuals taken as a whole. Thus we come to a double-sided or dialectical point of view, which is the Unitive Understanding intended by the sponsors of this Conference.

There is nothing new about this approach. The time-honoured Advaita tradition of India fully favours this way of unitively integrating problems. Indian wisdom or spirituality could be said to be nothing more or less than this. It was the privilege of Narayana Guru, born in this part of the world, to represent this attitude in a fully revised and revalued form, thus giving us a firm and adequate foundation for the deliberations of this conference. Furthermore, this Conference is not meant to end each year as a mere 11-day wonder of a fanciful getting together without seriousness. It is the ambition of the sponsors to repeat this event each year so that this special feature of what we have underlined as the unitive approach might become applicable to more and more life problems, irrespective of their being present in India or outside. Thus we hope that events like war, with its anterior or posterior injustices or disasters, could be located at the time of their inception itsell, as they begin to spread within the human mind; for it has been well understood even by the U.N. Charter that wars begin in the minds of men. The solution also must belong to the same context. It is in the human mind that evil could sprout to cause conditions favourable to disasters great or small. General unrest, unhappiness, mistrusts and suspicions contribute to the same lack of human happiness, for all of which the solution is to be sought through better understanding, and not by decimating members of the human race by whatever descriptive name such a process might be condoned or pompously justified.

Looked at in the light of what we have said above, it will be conceded that the subjects chosen for our programme all without exception stem out of our desire to revise and restate all such important disciplines in the name of an open, generous, and global outlook where Unitive Understanding would give us the main guiding motive. It will be seen from our 1970 publication, which is available as a printed volume for the inspection of all concerned, that almost all the contributors therein have made an effort firstly to confine themselves to a world outlook; secondly, they have avoided taking any closed and static viewpoint where orthodoxies of various kinds might come into conflict; and thirdly, it is not only religious or spiritual subjects to which the contributors refer: the forum is meant to be open, and one is permitted within limits to agree to differ. Those who differ altogether cannot, of course, be treated as being for such a Conference but, rather, as being evidently against it. We come together to learn as well as to teach, at one and the same time in a spirit of give and take. This 5th World Conference is meant to continue the good work started six years ago at the same place and in the same period of the year, in the hope that someday it will gather enough momentum to be a tangible force in world affairs reaffirming human solidarity for security and happiness for all.
Sree Narayana Guru * This text was originally intended by the Guru for presentation at the Inaugural session of the 5th World Conference for Peace through Unitive Understanding on 11th November 1972 at the Gurukula Island Home (see Preface).

- Editor

Sree Narayana Guru



At the gracious invitation of Nataraja Guru, we have all come to this beautiful island, and have gathered together to attend the fourth World Conference for Peace Through Unitive Understanding. This Conference is not a mere concourse of people, collected to give thought to a few subjects and then disperse, leaving it to office staff to draw up and distribute the proceedings, which not unoften are filed and forgotten. This Conference is of a different type. It is not restricted to any particular zone or subject - political, religious, scientific, economic, educational or industrial - but it embraces world humanity and world peace. And only when the world is at peace could such subjects as would bring moral and material prosperity to mankind be peacefully pondered, co-ordinated, and served for the good of man. Those of us who are privileged to take part in this Conference shall therefore realize, as I am sure we already do, that we are not here for pleasure, but for work - to work in the service of mankind and universal peace, not only during the few days we are here together, but for all our lives. It therefore devolves upon us, almost as a sacred duty, to strive to create something tangible to which we can ever look as a beacon for guidance. Whole-hearted dedication to the cause of world unity and peace would be an appropriate beacon. That this shall be our earnest purpose should be indelibly impressed upon us by ourselves, and a deep and lasting impression of it could be engraved on our minds by force of thought. We shall endeavour therefore to create a "plant" of thought-force, from the seeds of which we could continue to grow more plants to help us spread messages of goodwill and peace to our fellow beings wherever we go. This could be the method of our active dedication; and in that, may God guide us.

The magnitude of the question of world peace should not, however, be under-estimated. It is colossal: and we can at best only touch the fringe of it, just as we can bathe only in our own length of water in the Ganges, while still deriving the consolation of having bathed in the holiness of the whole river. With similar thought, let us do whatever we can for world peace according to our mite, and have the satisfaction that it will contribute to the common endeavour of all who wish well of the world and the human community inhabiting it. An effort such as this, considered from the standpoint of individual ability, would be too huge to face - too huge even to contemplate - and one would hence hardly be roused or tempted to make a beginning at all. Considered collectively, however, it would present an easier picture, for what cannot a team of individuals achieve if they wish to in any sphere of life, whether social, economic, political, technological or scientific. The latest scientific technology has enabled man to reach the moon, to walk on it, and even to motor on it. Despite such great achievements, however, man is not yet close to any reliable success in keeping humanity free from the fear of worldwide conflagration which could destroy civilization and bring to a halt the hands of the clock of progress. It cannot, on the other hand, be ruled out that a band of human beings, sparked by the requisite urge, might stem the oncoming of this fearful event - a band in which every human being could play his part, however minute. We hope that man may awaken to this fact and realize its significance. It is our duty both to make him realize it and to realize it ourselves. With patience and determination, no task is impossible of fulfilment, if man has the will fervent enough to succeed.

Numerous discussions will introduce to us thoughts of various slants during the next few days, and it will be for us individually to choose from them and decide which of them would suit us to work on and to propagate for the benefit and unity of mankind. Their further development would then depend upon the specific characteristics of the areas of operation, and these would differ from place to place - a little or much. A set pattern cannot therefore be laid down for any one to follow invariably. Moreover, the world is changing rapidly, and so are the values of everything which constitutes life. Adjustments would hence have to be made to suit varying conditions, that efforts to promote national or international peace could be geared to suit the specific needs of the peoples of various parts of the world. There would always of course be ideological differences and oppositions and it would be unwise not to accept them. Nevertheless, there would always be some fundamental notions of human happiness which would be unchallengeable. We have to make our selection from these fundamental concepts, and propagate them for world peace in whatever manner we think practicable. But let the fact be clearly borne in our minds, that peace can be radiated by he alone who is at peace with himself.

Our course is thus clear: we have first to know what we would require to be at peace with ourselves. The answer would not seem to be intricate, but fairly simple, i.e., that we would primarily have to know and understand ourselves to realize what we ourselves are like. Only then could we hope to resolve and calm our various emotions, which else would be constantly effervescing in our minds and is disturbing our peace. And only when we understand ourselves could we hope to understand and be at peace with others who, after all, are no different from us, in that we are just as much others to others y as others are to us. Our differences would be of form but not of substance, as would be the case for example in a set comprising gold necklace, bangles, rings and ear-rings: the members of the set would differ in shape, size, and general appearance, but they would all consist of the same basic substance - gold. Their uses and functions would, however, naturally differ, and what one could serve, the other might not be able to; just as in the case of the sewing needle and is the spear - though both are of steel, the one cannot do what the other can. In a similar way are human beings created by nature, each having a functional capacity and ability different from the other. Not everyone could climb Mt. Everest: only those who have the natural ability would be tempted to and would dare the attempt. We human beings, however, are generally weak. We rarely dare to face ourselves and to asses our worth. Hence - speaking of our majority and exceptions apart - we often misjudge our capacity, misvalue our ability, walk into waters beyond our depth, sink, and fail in what we want to achieve. We thus invite disappointment, disturbance of our mental peace, and the resultant unhappiness. And though we may not, in many cases, be responsible for inviting failures by direct practical action in the manner mentioned, we are often unable to prevent a similar process being enacted in our minds, producing the incinerating emotion of envy of others who, in their attempt to achieve, have succeeded where we have failed. This bespeaks grave impotence on the part of man. Another direction in which his weakness branches is in letting unreasonable hopes arise in him. Such hopes would be doomed to come to naught, while a reasonable hope or expectation would have every hope of success: its very reasonableness would not permit of failure.

An unreasonable hope would be a false hope and would spring from a false appraisal of ourselves, from a better-than-thou attitude of the mind which only our ego - our sense of "I-ness" and "mineness" - could create. It is the ego that is our real enemy: conquer him, and one might almost say that we had conquered everything worth conquering. But our conquering of him does not mean that he will disappear, for we could never live without him. He would always be with us as our main prop and propeller, without which we would merely exist but not live. He would now be our ally, and not an adversary. Whereas previously he represented an untrained horse which we rode in perpetual fear of falling off or of being taken in a direction not of our choosing, he would now be seen to be a most useful conveyance to take us wherever we might wish to go.

But there is yet something more important to be conquered and that is "yourself." It would be nearer the truth therefore to say, "Be master of yourself, and you will have mastered everything worth mastering."

Apart from our physical self which is visible, there is a deep self which is invisible as are the roots of a tree. This deeper self more our real self than its physical counterpart, and is composed of emotions. It is this emotional self that we have to master, instead of allowing it to be master over us. This would be the unquestionable conquest, the worth of which would be incomparable. Such a conquest would not be difficult, were we to declare a systematic war on our disobedient and rebellious emotional self. The common tactics of warfare would be applicable here, in that the most vulnerable point would have to be determined first, and then attacked.

This inner self comprises a variety of shades of emotions, each representing a particular mood of man, which collectively go to make up what we know as our own nature, much in the same way as, conversely, sunlight is seen to be made up of the spectral colours as revealed in the rainbow or by means of a prism. We thus recognize our emotions as comprising our nature; but neither we nor the vast majority of people see them also as our weaknesses - which they most certainly are - weaknesses such as the complexes of fear, irritability, anger, hatred, suspisciousness, stubbornness, selfishness, and so on. Which of these is the weakest in itself and would offer the least resistance, should be marked as our initial target and tackled; and when we succeed, as we must, an inner strength is generated within us which increases with each further success, while the strength on the other side correspondingly decreases. The consolidation arrayed against us cracks; and as in a construction of concrete, reinforced though it may be, the cracks begin to multiply no sooner than the first appears; and the process of crumbling begins, no matter how strong the construction may have initially have been Victory over our weaker self would thus be ours.

Nothing in us would thenceforth be weak; we should be strong, and with that strength strong enough to vanquish whatever confronts us to test it. We could put our inner strength to a summit test ourselves, by employing it to bring to us the consciousness that we are no higher than the humblest and that, except on the physical plane, we are not separate from one another. The warmth of such a realization would melt the barriers of cold darkness which separate man from man, and help us to advance together towards the goal of "World Peace through Unitive Understanding."

Before concluding this inaugural talk, I shall not delay further the conveyance of gratitude on behalf of myself and my wife to Nataraja Guru for inviting us to this Conference. This was a great kindness he bestowed upon us, and we feel much honoured by it. On me he has bestowed the special honour of inaugurating the Conference, for which I am deeply beholden to him. Nataraja Guru has travelled much, and has therefore formed many contacts, especially with the learned and the intellectual. He himself a personage of great learning and study in the ancient scriptures, people in search of truth and the eternal reality are naturally attached to him. It is hence not surprising that his deep erudition and spiritual magnetism have brought to this Conference a large number of devotees, not only from our own country but also from overseas. We have been privileged to meet many of them, and we have already felt during the few hours that we have been here that an occasion as this comes rarely in one's life. Those of us therefore who have had an opportunity to be here, are fortunate; and we are certain that after we have met with, and listened to the discourses of, the delegates attending the Conference, we shall return home all the richer for the valuable experience gained by our contact with them, memories of which, and of this great assembly, we shall ever cherish.

With these few words, I declare this fourth World Conference for Peace through Unitive Understanding to be open.
Sree Narayana Guru * Presented at the Inaugural Session of the 4th World Conference for Peace through Unitive Understanding, 11th November 1971 (See Preface).

- Editor

Sree Narayana Guru

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