Since his lifetime Nārāyana Guru has been conferred formal recognitions and honours by the State, intelligentsia and society. In 1901 the State Census Manual of Travancore recorded Sree Nārāyana as a revered "Guru" and an erudite Sanskrit scholar. A sharp drop in the statistics of the commission of crime was also attributed to the correcting and moralizing influence of Nārāyana Guru on the society. In 1904 the then Maharajah of Travancore exempted Nārāyana Guru from personal appearances in court, an honour recognizing the Guru as a distinguished living personality.
The first statue of the Guru was conceived by Moorkoth Kumaran and sculpted by an Italian sculptor Prof. Tavaroli whilst the Guru was still alive. The bronze statue, which took 14 months to complete, was installed at the Jaggannaatha temple at Thalassery and unveiled on 13 March 1927, after the consecration of the statue by Bodhananda Swamikal, the disciple and then spiritual successor-designate to Nārāyana Guru.
On the Guru's Mahasamadhi (passing away), the famed Jnanapith award winner poet Mahakavi G. Sankara Kurup paid tribute to Nārāyana Guru by writing a Malayalam verse venerating the Guru as The Second Buddha. Sree Nārāyana Guru's legacy continues to be revered at esteemed levels within social, intellectual and spiritually organised communities worldwide.
Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi,the renowned spiritual teacher reckoned as the greatest karmayogi to uphold Sanatana Dharma since Swami Vivekananda drew inspiration from the guru's life and teachings and popularised it through his long oratories across the length and breadth of Kerala.He can be regarded as a political sucessor of the guru who enshrined the guru's vision in the setting up of Hindu Aikya Vedi uniting all the hindu organisations in Kerala under the aegis of a single organisation brushing aside caste distinctions and uniting the two major groups of Hindus in the state,respectively the savarna Nairs and Ezhavas.As Noted by Nair, Dr Balakrishnan (1999). Socio-Spiritual Movements in Kerala.
All across the State of Kerala, and outside of the State, hundreds of small chapel-like Guru Mandirams are devoted to the reverence and worship of Sree Nārāyana Guru. Most recently, a distinctively styled iconographic statue of Nārāyana Guru named the Jnana Vigraham was conceived and created by a team of artists, as a suggestive model for the future, to improve the aesthetic quality of statues of Nārāyana Guru kept in homes and placed in Guru Mandirams worldwide.
At the turn of the 21st Century, Sree Nārāyana Guru was named as The Malayalee of the Century by Kerala's leading daily Malayala Manorama. The full cover-page spread of the newspaper was dedicated to Nārāyana Guru in its last issue of the Century on 31 December 1999. So also Nārāyana Guru was featured first among the "100 great lives" nominated by Malayala Manorama on the occasion of Malayala Manorama's centenary celebrations in the year 1988.