Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham, an organization of saint-disciples of Sree Narayana guru and is established by the Guru to propagate his concept of ‘One Caste, One Religion, One God'. Its headquartered in Sivagiri Mutt. It has Mutts and Ashramas across the country. It also established schools, Colleges, Hospitals throughout the country and holds assets worth of 2500 crores.
The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam had been set up with the Guru as president-for-life. But, disillusioned by its functioning, he formally dissociated himself from it in the evening of his life and founded the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham as a religious order.
Narayana Guru was not very happy with the way in which his disciples were conducting their life-mission with SNDP. He would not accept anything less than a world community of the human family. He hated the very idea of caste and man's adherence to such a totally irrational social prejudice and psychic coloration. So he decided to trust the materialization of his teaching in the hands of his sannyasin disciples who had come from all classes and communities, which included even westerners. This newly organized institution of sannyasins was called Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. The sangham was registered in Koorkencherry near Trichur in the year 1926. After the registration of the Dharma Sangham, the Guru instituted a will and testament by which all the ashrams and mutts and temples founded by him were transferred to the care, custody and administration of the Dharma Sangham. The Guru nominated Swami Bodhananda to be his successor and Nataraja Guru to be the adviser of the Dharma Sangham.
The SREE NARAYANA DHARMA SANGHAM was started with 12 members.
The Guru nominated Bodhananda Swamy as President of this organization. Swamy Dharma Theertha as Secretary. (He had not joined the ascetic order at that time, he was still Parameswara Menon) and Govindananda Swamy as Treasurer. When the organization was registered the following people were the members.
1.Divyasri Bodhananda Swamy
2.Srimad Govindananda Swamy
3.Sri. Sugunandagiri Swamy
4.Mambalam Vidyananda Swamy,
5.Swamy Dharma Theerthar,
6.Sri Narsimha Swamy
7.Sri. Ramananda Swamy
8.Sri. Neelakantan Brahmachari
11.P. Natarajan (future Nataraja Guru) did not join, but he was present for the group photo taken on that day.
12.On the next day, the Guru’s European disciple Earnest Kirk joined.
The objective of Dharma Sangham is to unify the society and lead it to a single world culture, where caste discriminations and religious rivalries are given up and everyone recognizes oneself as a microcosm of the great Advaithic Truth. The head -quarters of Dharma Sangham is at Sivagiri in Varkala. There are many Ashramas and other organizations within Kerala and outside working under the Dharma Sangham.
The following people have been the presidents of Dharma Sangham, and the Master of Sivagiri Mutt (Mathathipati)
1.Divyasri Bodhananda Swamy
2.Divyasri Govindananda Swamy
3.Divyasri Achyuthananda Swamy
4.Divyasri Shankarananda Swamy
During the last Mathadhipati Swamy Shankarananda’s regime the Dharma Sangham was converted into a Public Charitable Trust (1958) and started working under that name. The first president of the Trust was Swamy Ananda Theerthar, who had the good fortune to be the last disciple of the Guru. The Guru had ordered that every year on Chaitra Pournami day, all the members of the Dharma Sangham should join together to celebrate the anniversary of Dharma Sangham. Conducting the famous Annual Pilgrimage to Sivagiri is the responsibility of Dharma Sangham Trust. Two great events managed by the Dharma Sangham are Maha Samadhi Mandira Prathishta (installation of the Guru’s statue in the Mahasamadhi Mandiram) during 1982-83 and the celebration of the International year of the Guru in 1977. Other great events to be mentioned are the Guru’s Birth Centenary, Centenary of Aruvippuram Installation and the Silver Jubilee of Brahma Vidyalayam (25 years). Dharma Sangham is the dynamic force behind the growth of organizations in the name of the Guru into great spiritual centers. The great disciples of the Guru, who had dedicated themselves to spread the spiritual contributions of the Guru, in the common man’s consciousness, are Sivalinga Dasa Swamy, Chaitanya Swamy, Bodhananda Swamy, Govindananda Swamy, Vidyananda Swamy, Swamy Guru Prasad, Satyavratha Swamy, Dharma Theertha Swamy, Natarajaguru, Arya Bhatta Swamy, Sree Narayana Theerta Swamy, and after the demise of the Guru, Mangalananda Swamy, Geethananda Swamy and Brahmananda Swamy.
But the organizations in the name of the Guru have not fully recognized the great service rendered by these ascetic disciples. While remembering the names of the Guru’s disciples, these names are sometimes left out. The devotees of the Guru should know that the combined working of SNDP and the ascetics of Dharma Sangham would strengthen the organizations.
The first periodical published to carry the voice of Sivagiri was Navajivan monthly magazine with Swamy Satyavrathan as the Chief Editor. The second one was Dharmam weekly with Swamy Dharma Theerthar as Chief Editor. Sivagiri a monthly magazine with Swamy Nijananda as Editor in Chief, continues as the manifesto of Sivagiri Mutt.
Though a number of schools, Ashramas and hospitals function under Sivagiri Mutt, the most important one is Brahma Vidyalayam (the great school for all religions). In this, any child of any caste or religion who has passed 10th class can join to study. The expenses will be borne by Sivagiri Mutt. The course extends for seven years, and includes the syllabus of MA in Sanskrit of Kerala University and the philosophy of all religions. No need to mention that this course is based on the philosophic vision of the Guru. Whoever wishes to join can contact the Secretary, Brahma Vidyalaya Committee, Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala. The lineage of ascetic disciples emerges mainly through this Brahma Vidyalayam.
Guru Dharma Pracharana Sabha is a tributory organization, working under the Dharma Sangham. The main functions of this are studying of Guru’s compositions, publishing them, anti-liquor activities etc. There are more than thousand units for this. Devotees can contact Sivagiri Mutt, and register new units. It is a fact that the Dharma Sangham has not developed as much as the Guru visualized. To make it grow and develop is not the duty of only the ascetic order, but all devotees should remember that they too have a moral responsibility for the growth of Dharma Sangham.