In the early Indian society there was a four tier hierarchial caste stratification. They were Brahmins or priests, the Kshatriyas or warriors, the Vaisyas or merchants and the Sudras or workers. These four castes were together known as ‘Chaturvarna – ‘Chatur’ meaning four and ‘varna’ meaning ‘colour’ or caste.
In addition to these four castes of caste Hindu, there were the out castes who were untouchables.
In the ninetieth century Kerala was a hot bed of castes. The rigidity of castes and its impact on the social life of the keralites were so terrible that Vivekananda is known to have called it a ‘mad-house of caste’.
The arrangement of castes was made according to the degree of pollution by touch or approach. Lower Caste people were not allowed to enter in to the temples controlled by the upper castes. They had to stand at some distance away from the temples. There were untouchability, unapproachability and even unseeability.
Some people believed that the low caste people were not to be seen by the Brahmins when they had to be specially pure. This horrid caste system brings in to light how the upper castes enjoyed life in its fullest manner. Society was moulded for the convenience of the upper castes and majority of men and women were deprived of normal life activities.
Sree Narayana Guru, consecrated the FIRST EVER temple for the untouchables in Aruvippuram, Kerala, South India.
The Temple and Mutt are situated on the banks of Neyyar – a famous river in Kerala.This is the place selected by Guru to establish a Siva Temple. On the Sivarathri Day of 1888 AD. Guru consecrated the temple and opened it for all people irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.
This was an epoch making event in the history of India. The Guru dreamt a society where all people live like brothers and sisters without any animosity based on caste and religion.
This was the Guru’s message to the world, which was written on the walls of the temple. “This is the model abode where all men live in brotherhood devoid of dividing walls of caste or race or hatred of rival faith”.