Chattampi Swamikal (1853-1924): Renaissance Leaders Notes for Kerala PSC


  • Chattampi Swamikal was born on 25 August 1853 at Kollur, a suburban village of Thiruvananthapuram in Southern Travancore.
  • His father was Vasudeva Sharma, a Namboothiri, from Mavelikkara and mother Nangamma a woman from Kollur.
  • His childhood name was Ayyappan. But he was called by his pet name Kunjan by all and so was later known as Kunjan Pillai.
  • While learning at the ‘Patasala’ of Pettayil Raman Pillai asan, he was deputed as the ‘Chattampi’  (monitor ) of the class. So later he came to be known as ‘Chattambi Swamikal’.
  • Chattampi Swamikal denounced the orthodox interpretation of Hindu texts citing sources from the Vedas. He along with his contemporary Narayana Guru, strived to reform the heavily ritualistic and caste-ridden Hindu society of the late 19th century Kerala.
  •  Chattampi Swamikal promoted vegetarianism and professed non-violence (Ahimsa). He authored several books on spirituality, history, and language.
  • Chattampi Swamikal strongly opposed the conversion activities of the Christian missionaries but was not against Christianity.
  •  The place where Chattambi Swamikal acquired self realization Vadaveeswaram a village in in Tamil Nadu.
  • At Aniyoor Temple near Vamanapuram Chattampi Swami met another young man Nanu Asan who was in search of spiritual guidance.
  • By then Swami was well versed in yoga and spiritual matters and their meeting proved to be the start of a profound and cherished companionship, although the two were of different temperaments. They lived and travelled for many months together. Later Swamikal took Nanu Asan, to his guru Thykkattu Ayyavu.
  • It was with Chattampi Swamikal that Narayana Guru made his first trip to Aruvippuram, which was chosen as Narayana Guru’s abode for meditation and spiritual activities.
  • Later Swami met Neelakanta Theerthapada a great Sanskri Scholar and Theerthapada Paramahamsa who established an ashram and also Theerthapada System for the line of sanyasins following Swami’s teachings and methods.
  • Bodheswaran, Perunnelli Krishnan Vaidhyan, Velutheri Kesavan Vaidhyan, Kumbalath Sanku Pillai etc were grihastha disciples of Chattambi Swamikal.
  •  He attained mahasamadhi on 5th August 1924 at Panmana in Kollam district. Mortal remains of Chattampi Swamikal were enshrined at his Samadhistanam at Panmana. This site is today called Panmana Ashramam (Kollam district).
  • Vedadhikara Niroopanam, Prachina Malayalam,Adwaitha Chintha Paddhathi, Moksha Pradeepa Khandanam etc. are famous works of Chattambi Swamikal.
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