Panmana Ashramam – Spritiual Abode of Chattambi Swamikal
Located in Kollam district of Kerala, Panmana Ashramam is the holy abode of Sree Vidhyadhiraja Parama Bhattaraka Chattambi Swamikal. In the ashramam premises, one can find the mortal remains of the Chattambi Swamikal buried. There is a temple for the deity Thripurasundari Devi consecrated by him. Hence, it is also called as Mahasamadhi Peedom by locals and the followers of the seer. The ashramam has been offering various services for uplifting the mankind from the darkness of ignorance.
Chattambi Swamikal is considered as one of the social reformers who catalyzed the Renaissance of Cultural Revolution in Kerala when the state was slowly moving away from the untouchability and other evil social practices that discriminated people based on caste. He stood for the universal brotherhood and equal opportunities for all. When the state was reeling under discrimination at the place of worship for the downtrodden, he built a temple that could be visited by anybody. His quest for knowledge and eagerness to share the knowledge with people around him, gave required connect with the masses. The followers of this social reformer regard him as sage with a mission. Many ardent followers like to see him as re-incarnation of Lord Shiva, the Yogi of all Yogis who had born on this spiritual land. His religious quest and discovery, simplicity and the love and devotion to the fellow creatures helped him get the respect from simple people around him. Through his life, he had set an example by living on certain qualities that set him apart from others. The values for which he set an example are non-violence, truthfulness, non-acquisition and celibacy.
Since the establishment of the ashramam, it has transformed into a unique and sacred learning and service centre for the mankind. Its premise has had the divine presence of Sree Vidhyadiraja Chattambi Swamikal. He has constructed a temple for Sree Maha Thripurasundari Devi on it. Panmana Ashram is located about 18 kilometres north of Kollam city. When one travels by National Highway 47, he can find the ashramam near Panmanam. Within its premises, one can find the Samadhi of Chattambi Swamikal well maintained. The ashramam in the present form was built by Sri Kumbalathu Sanku Pillai. He was the ardent devotee of the seer, freedom fighter and a political luminary of the region. Under the patronage of the Chattambi Swamikal, he did a lot of social work for the state of Kerala. Even after the death of the sage, he continued the legacy and brought changes to the social fabric of pre-independent Kerala. The ashramam has a sister concern by the name Sree Balabhattarakeswarasram Trust that looks after the charity services of ashramam for the benefit of people from all walks of life.
The campus of the ashramam is located in placid and peaceful surroundings. Around the campus, one can find lush coconut palms and acres of paddy fields. Hence, it has become a veritable rustic paradise for the information seekers for as many as 75 years. This simple setup has been attracting for many years thousands of people for various reasons. The majority of them are the ardent seekers of the ultimate truth. Many great people, such as Mahatma Gandhi, had visited this place and enjoyed the services rendered by it. These people had spent most of the time doing the meditation and prayers to personally feel the serenity of the atmosphere. They had even discussed the social issues and patterns that existed with the inmates of the ashramam at their times of visit.
Activities Undertaken in Panmana Ashramam
In the ashramam premises, the disciples, such as Brahmacharins and other Seers undertake different courses on Indology. They learn to practice this course in the Gurukul format of learning. The spiritual learning centre within the campus also offers research opportunities in the fields of Vedas, Puranas and Ayurveda. There is an exclusive section dedicated for Sanskrit language in this learning centre. People can undertake the in-depth study on Sanskrit language and literature. Many disciples of the founding seer have descended on this premise to impart quality education to the information seekers on various aspects of Indian culture and spirituality. The study within the campus offers a totally different realm of experience due to its calm, peaceful and heavenly atmosphere prevailing there. Every activity undertaken in the ashramam has a time-frame. Hence, the inmates have to take note of that and live accordingly.
The founding Guru Sree Chattambi Swamikal had profound knowledge of herbal plants. He used this knowledge to provide affordable treatment to people around him. Sometimes, he used to treat people in his closer circle free of cost. He could characterise a medicinal plant by looking on it, smelling its aroma or touching the texture of its leaves. He knew the geographical location of each plant in the Western Ghats region. Utilizing his knowledge, he suggested thousands of preparatory methods of medicines to local Ayurveda physicians. The ashramam founded by him is trying to carry forward his legacy through his illustrious disciple Nirmalananda Giri Maharaj. The disciple had learned the techniques from his mentor Chattambi Swamikal. He makes unique concoction of medicines that only Chattambi Swamikal knew. Hence, there has been a beeline of people visiting the centre for various treatments. Ashramam authorities claim that Giri Maharaj has over 5000 people under his treatment for various ailments that were return off by other physicians. The proprietary medicine that he makes has worked wonders with various patients. That is the reason why even the high and mighty people visit this centre for treatment.
The Panmana Ashramam was founded by a social reformer and a sage. His name is Chattambi Swamikal. The ashramam offers various courses on Indology and advanced courses on the Puranas, Vedas and Ayurveda. The centre of learning within the campus offers in-house training to the students. Hence, the learners have to stay within the campus to undergo training. The ashramam has a temple dedicated to the presiding deity Tripurasundari Devi and a Samadhi of its founder Guru Chattambi Swamikal. The inmates of ashramam offer insight into the teachings of its founder Guru when visitors interact with them. Ayurveda centre found within the campus provides treatment for various incurable diseases. The treatment methods followed by the founding Guru have been followed till date. Hence, there is a steady beeline of visitors seeking the cure for various ailments that have been written off by other practitioners of modern and contemporary medicines. Therefore, the popular figures in the society also seek help from the traditional physicians residing in the campus. At present, the senior-most physician inside the centre has over 5000 people taking treatment from him for various ailments.