General

Nothing Happens by Chance

President Theodore Roosevelt was very near sighted and always carried two pairs of glasses, one for short sight and the other long. While speaking in Milwaukee during his last political campaign, he was shot by a man named Shrenk. Roosevelt was hurt, but was able to finish his speech uninterrupted.

Later while a surgeon was examining his wound, he discovered that the steel spectacle case in his vest pocket had deflected the bullet from hitting his heart. “That is remarkable,” said the President, “I have always considered it a nuisance to carry two pairs of glasses, and especially those thick heavy ones I kept in the metal case. Yet God used it to save my life.”

Note: Stories of this kind abound in history. Nothing happens by chance and everything has a purpose. And the Divinely intended purpose is always “for the good.”

By indian-admin on 21-10-2017
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Forgive the Aggressor

One afternoon the, usually peaceful, monastery of Sceta found one monk offending another. Abbot Sisois advised the offended monk to forgive the aggressor.

“No way,” insisted the monk. “He did it on purpose, and he has to pay.”

At once Abbot Sisois raised up his hands and began to pray aloud, “My Jesus, we no longer need you. Now we are capable of making our aggressors pay for their offences. Now we can take vengeance in to our hands and look after good and evil. So you can leave us.”

Ashamed of his own behaviour, the monk pardoned his offending brother.

 

It is very noble to forgive those who offend us. To go a step further and to love them is sublime. The hard part is that it requires a noble soul. Of all the people, I should know how hard it is to have one.

 

By Admin on 18-07-2017
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The Second Freedom Struggle

‘Let me quote from a letter that Gandhiji had written from Delhi on 27th January 1948, just 3 days before his martyrdom…’ the Baba began…‘Gandhiji had written in that letter: “The Congress has won political freedom, but it has yet to win economic freedom, social and moral freedoms. These freedoms are harder than the political, if only because they are constructive, less exciting and not spectacular.” …‘Political freedom, economic freedom, social freedom and moral freedom were the four pillars of the ‘Purna Swaraj’ that was envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi and other ‘freedom fighters’ who had laid down their lives in the first Freedom Struggle of India…… ‘We had won our political freedom in 1947. But ‘Purna Swaraj’ still remains a distant dream for us. We are yet to win economic, social and moral freedoms for India. This unfinished task calls for a ‘Second Freedom Struggle’ that will be harder and more challenging than the first. This is the historic mission bequeathed to posterity by those who had won the political freedom for India through their ‘blood, sweat and tears’- blood shed in non-violent struggle, sweat of hard work and tears of ardent prayer…..‘Economic freedom begins with freedom from poverty and hunger. Even after half a century and more of political freedom, more than 300 million people in India still live below poverty line, not being able to afford one nourishing meal a day. Hence, freedom from hunger whereby every Indian citizen is able to have at least one nourishing meal a day has to be the basic goal of the Second Freedom Struggle….‘Charity, freebies or ‘poor feeding’ cannot be the solution. We need to have a sustainable development strategy focusing on education, employment and empowerment….For this we will need entrepreneurship and employment-oriented as well as character building education. Are you with me my son?’, the Baba asked.‘Yes, of course revered guruji.’ Answered Atma Prakash ‘Now let us come to social freedom’ the Baba said after a pause. He continued: ‘Social freedom cannot be won for India as long as the dehumanizing caste system continues to exist in our country. The caste system, though had a relevance in ancient India, has today become a curse on Independent India. We need to liberate the people of India, especially the political parties in this country, from their obsession with caste-class-minority ‘vote bank’ politics…‘We need to see all Indians as children of the one true God and citizens of the one Sovereign Democratic Republic, and as members of one national family bound with a common destiny. Only enlightened leaders can have such an inclusive vision and undertake such a nation-building mission….‘Social freedom also implies freedom from the all-pervasive ‘subject mentality’ in India. We were subjects under foreign powers for centuries together. As a result, we have developed a ‘subject mentality’ which is still predominant in our mindset…‘Subjects always demand more and more rights and privileges for themselves even at the cost of national interests. Subjects have a tendency to steal and loot when they get a chance. They will not have any deep sense of nationalism or patriotism. Subjects will very seldom have any sense of responsibility and entrepreneurship….‘Social freedom for India will ever remain a mirage unless India is liberated from the all-pervasive subject mentality. The late President of USA, John F Kennedy, had told the American citizens: ‘Do not ask what America can do for you, but ask what you can do for America’. We Indians also need to ask ourselves not what we can take from Mother India but what we can give to Mother India….‘We need to develop responsible citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit in India, especially among the youth of our country’. The guru looked at his beloved disciple who was listening to his words very attentively.The Baba continued: ‘Moral freedom for India has to begin with freedom from corruption in the Government. Government money is the citizens’ money. It needs to be used for the well-being of the citizens of India. Every rupee must be accounted for and used judiciously….‘The all pervasive corruption in the successive Governments of Independent India has been the biggest block in the path of development in our country.’ The Baba stopped for a while and looked at Atma Prakash.

By Acharya Sachidananda on 17-02-2017
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The Sum Total of Isms

Gurucharanam‘Yesterday you had mentioned about Marxism, Leninism, Maoism
and Naxalism as ideologies of the graveyard, Babaji. Can you throw some more
light on this statement of yours?’ asked Sudhakar to his Master, next day
morning.

The Baba replied:

‘In fact all these four ideologies mentioned by you are only
derivatives of ‘Communism’ as we saw yesterday….

‘Communism, my son, was essentially a reactionary ideology.
It was a reaction against the injustice and exploitation perpetrated by the
Capitalists, the owning class, and against the hypocrisy of the Church…

‘The Capitalists in Europe who owned the means of production
exploited the working class mercilessly. The toiling masses, who created huge
profits for these greedy Capitalists, were treated like slaves. They were made
to work hard but were paid very meagerly. Their living conditions were very
pathetic. There was no one to hear their cries of pain and agony….

‘The Church was with the rich and the powerful. It was an
unjust and oppressive institution by itself with formidable wealth and power.
It always sided with the rich Capitalists….

‘The Church was also the biggest economic power in Europe at
the time of Karl Marx. It preached the Gospel of love and peace of Jesus
Christ. But it had very little to do with the values of the Divine Master….

‘The poor of the world had nowhere to go and no one to save
them. Karl Marx and Frederic Engels wrote their ‘Communist Manifesto’ in the
context of such a cruel and exploitative world…

‘The Marxian analysis of the society was based on Karl Marx’s
own understanding of and reactions to what existed around him. He called upon
the workers of the world to unite and eliminate the ‘bourgeoisie’, the
Capitalists. He urged the ‘proletariat’, the working class, to unite and
capture the political power and make their own destiny, and build their own
heaven on earth…..

‘Take my word, my son, neither Capitalism nor Communism or
any of their offshoots and derivatives, can lead us to sustainable development,
lasting peace and true happiness’, the Baba was emphatic in his words.

Sudhakar reflected on the words of Air Force Baba. ‘It makes
sense’ he thought to himself. 

By Joseph Mattappally on 03-07-2015
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I'm Awake

It is said that soon after his enlightenment, the Buddha passed a man who was struck by the Buddha's extra ordinary radiance and peaceful presence.
The man stopped him and asked,
“My friend, who are you? Are you a celestial being or God?”
“No,” said the Buddha.
“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard? 
Again the Buddha replied, “No.”
“Are you a man?”
“No.”
“Well, then, my friend, what are you?”
The Buddha replied, ” I am awake.”
(This Buddha story is shared by Dr, K Jayakumar, Kottayam)

By Admin on 30-12-2013
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Dr. James Kottoor on Christmas

Xstmas means: Becoming Human!

        Christmas, the festival of stars and blinking lights as
we understand it now, is fast approaching. Indian Thoughts has a class of elite
readers who take in the messages we share, to their hearts with a unique
understanding of the content. I found a broad article on Christmas, written by
a popular Indian journalist living in States now. I felt that it would be
appropriate to publish his article in full; I believe this will give a thorough
understanding on what Christmas truly means.   Joseph
Mattappally –Director (Indian Thoughts)

God became What? Humanely Human!

      Forget
becoming Christian! Take a radical detour to the roots of paradise lost where
God created a pair of humane humans in fruit-bearing lush river bed or to
Bethlehem’s manger where “God with us” appeared at home with highly placed
Kings and lowly placed shepherds, with animals and nature. Away with
exploitation, division and exclusion, is the clarion call of Xstmas – Dr. James
Kottoor (The writer can be contacted at: jkottoor@asianetindia.com)

      God became
man! That is the core of Christmas. What message has it for you and me? For me
it has nothing else but this: Become humanely human.  But how? If you need an example, just look at
the Poor Little Man (IL Poverillo) of Assisi, called the second Christ, whom
the present Pope Francis is trying to exemplify in his own life by including in
his loving embrace all humans and environment anywhere and everywhere and
fighting all sort of cultures of exclusion, as his recent Apostolic Exhortation
clearly highlights.

        I have
been toying with this idea for several decades and trying to impress upon others,
perhaps in vain, that being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean even becoming a
Christian or compelling others to follow suit which is proselytizing. And
proselytizing is “a solemn nonsense”. Papa Francis has said it.

      More
emphatically didn’t Jesus say: “You hypocrites? You sail the seas and cross
whole countries to win one convert; and when you succeed you make him twice as
deserving of going to hell as you yourselves are.” (Mt.23, 15) Definitely there
can’t be a starker indictment of proselytizing.

Jesus stayed a Jew

     And just
think of it! Jesus was a Jew and stayed a Jew all through out – INRI (Iēsus
Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum) = Jesus, King of the Jews, was the inscription put
over the crucified. He never became a Christian. What he became was MAN = SON
OF MAN (repeated 95 times in the Gospels). That is, he became a humanely human
person — an ideal man for all peoples, places, cultures and times especially
befriending the poor, downtrodden, exploited, rejected and excluded by the
comfortable class.

      In this I
have found an ally in William Stringfellow, the legendary lay theologian,
Episcopalian and social critic who died in 1985 at age 56. Discussing the
meaning of authentic Christian discipleship and witness in a war-mongering
nation and the need to fight the prevailing Constantinian compromise — the
accommodation of Christianity to the values of the empire and the preservation
of the status quo, he wrote:

   “I am called
in the Word of God — as is everyone else — to the vocation of being human,
nothing more and nothing less … to be a Christian means to be called to be an
exemplary human being. And to be a Christian categorically does not mean being
religious. Indeed, all religious versions of the gospel are profanities.”

      It is this
ideal Francis Pappa is referring constantly when he says:  I believe in God but he is not a Catholic or
Christian God but of all humans. To the question: Why this Pope is not
addressing Catholics his flock specifically, his answer was his mission was to
shepherd all humanity, all men of good will and not   “remaining shut up within structures
that give us a false sense of security, within rules that make us harsh
judges…..within habits that make us feel safe,” as elucidated in his recent
50,000 word Apostolic Exhortation called “Joy of the Gospel”. Why? Because he
says: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has
been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being
confined and from clinging to its own security.”

“Our Father” Excludes None

    Just think of
the prayer “Our Father” Jesus taught and every petition in it. The word “our”
is repeated thrice in it without restricting it to any particular group of
humanity – Christians, believers in a multitude of religions, not even
excluding unbelievers. In the mouth of Jesus “our” included the whole of
humanity. Precisely for that reason, I can never say His prayer and mean every
word of it until I too can include in it all humans, even agnostics, unbelievers
and atheists. The father of the prodigal never ceased to embrace his son with
his magnetic love even when he was living a profligate life. That is the God of
my conception, also of Pope Francis, as far as I can understand him.

      For this
reason whenever I have to say: “To those who love God everything turns out for
their own good”, I substitute God with Good, to include all,  even 
atheists who love Good,  to show
they too are equally included in God’s loving providence. I wrote this some 40
years ago. Think also of the “counter question” about God’s love for
homosexuals, the Pope asked! So Pope Francis makes no bones when he says there
is no Christian God but of all humans. What is important for each one, even
atheists to go to heaven, if there is a heaven, is to follow the commanding
dictates of one’s conscience, which is the voice of God. That has also been the
teaching of Catholic theology I learned from my younger days.

    This
understanding of Jesus and his mission is fraught with serious consequences for
the over 2000 divided churches and for the secular world of conflicting  or mutually exclusive economic philosophies,
each promoting selfish group agendas for self aggrandizement which literally
end up as an “idolatry of money” according to Pope’s  “Magna Charla for church reform”..
This deviation is what is  branded as  Churchianity (also called denominationalism),
the culture of creating divisive or conflicting churches like Latin,
Syro-malabar, Malankara, Knanaya etc.

Christianity instead has to be selfless, all embracing,
and universal. That is what Catholic should mean. So followers of various
churches can be only as good or as bad as any other organized religions or
political parties fighting for domination, thus becoming the biggest threat to
peace and harmony in the world today. Jesus never founded any such new
organized religion. He came to reform and redeem a fallen, degenerated humanity
at odds with one another, literally exploiting one another like Cain
slaughtering his brother — homo homini lupus (Man becoming a wolf to his
brother) — due to his fall from grace, his primordial God-willed love and care
status in total harmony with nature in the Paradise lost.

  Today’s
conglomeration of divided churches can’t be following Jesus who wanted and
prayed that they “all be one”. They in reality are religious colonizers and
empire builders, each blowing its own trumpet and patrimony, not of Jesus, for
promoting own power, position, wealth and domination. Jesus can’t be with any
of these divided churches. By sheer accident of birth or providential
happening, I am born into a Syro-malabar Church community hemmed in by its own
vested interests including territorial expansion. Therefore my option has to be
and is to be part of Margam Koodiyavar (those who choose to follow the path of
Jesus) who are a border-less people and  
crisscross all man-made religious borders, and not to be with any of the
divided churches of today. not ready to merge into one.

Ecumenism, not a Farce?

   Therefore for
me, the whole talk of  divided churches
for ecumenism and unity will ever remain a farce to fool the public. Speaking
on church unity to thronging crowds at the historic Maramon Convention in
Kerala, Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Church had said in
substance: “I am wasting my time talking to you on unity, because I fully know
you are all agreed and yearning for it. I should rather turn back and address
all bishops and archbishops of various churches on the Dias who alone are the
biggest road-blocks as they don’t want to give up money power,  positions of prominence and authority in
their particular churches,” as reported by K.M. Roy recently in Mathruboomi
daily.

     A month ago
Baselius Marthoma Dwideeyan, supreme head of Orthodox Church said as much at
an  ecumenical meet  in Changanassery and added those who create
and maintain divisions in the Church are those at the top echelons of  various churches addicted to power and
authority, not those at the bottom.(Sunday Shalom) When two Archdiocesan
Cathedrals, one Latin and other Syromalabar, separated just by a thin wall,
continue to pride themselves as Catholic what do they witness or counter
witness to, for the outside world if not their addiction to Churchianity? Not
to Christianity in any case! Not to unity of mind and heart but to craze for
power and pelf!

Catholic and Protestant Church buildings in Germany, it
was reported, are made  use of, by
different denominations, at fixed hours 
of the day on Sundays and week days, just to avoid overcrowding  the land with costly churches  used during morning hours only and are left
vacant  for the rest of the day. Can our
Bishops and Archbishops think at least of such a minimum cooperation, first
among Catholics – Latin, Syromalabaar or Syromalankara — then at a wider level
between Catholics and other separated Churches? In this context a joined
pastoral letter issued by the Delhi Latin and Syromalbar archdioceses is an
exemplary beginning.

What is more, aren’t we today witnessing at times a
cutthroat competition between parishes and dioceses in putting up imposing and
eye-catching Churches and Cathedrals, (even a tallest stature of Christ aping
Modi’s statue of Patel) in big city centres across India in the name of one who
built no churches, but drove out buyers and sellers who made such edifices a
den of thieves? At the same time we never fail to preach: Homo humus, fama
fumus, finis cinis (Man is mud, fame just smoke and the end of it all just
ashes!)

Break down Berlin Walls

 Many a Berlin
walls have to be demolished before Church unity can become a reality.
Fortunately the Carpenter of Nazareth never built a Cathedral and a throne in
it for himself. But he built and builds living temples not with stones but with
bread and butter, mercy and compassion, 
for the starving poor, broken hearted and stays enthroned in their
hearts as king of love. It is for this purpose that Francis Pappa propounds his
social gospel which is in mortal conflict with the “Trickle-down”
doctrine of a laze-faire brute capitalism with its deceptive gesture to filter
down part of the prosperity of the top rich to the  have-nots at the bottom.

Propounded first by Ronald Regan, US president from
1981, this so-called benign face of the Super Rich pioneered and produced only
just the opposite – not a “trickled-down” prosperity below but a
“siphoned-upward” prosperous society at the top that made the wealthiest
increase their profit by 400% while 93% of the poor become poorer — this,
despite an 80% increase in worker productivity since 1981 according to reports.
The promise was, that when the wealthiest were allowed to run their business
unhindered by regulation or taxation a lion’s share  of their profits would be invested inevitably
in the market to create  more jobs
and  higher income for the rest of the
poor jobless in  society.

But facts proved that it only created a culture of
comfort, prompting the rich to leap for undreamt of comforts in their “pursuit
of happiness”; a culture of waste – of just use and throw away  to have a taste of innumerable virgin items
they have surround themselves  with, and
a culture of indifference towards the have-nots for whom what is thrown away
would be  luxury. This is the tragic
hierarchical divisions, inequalities and exclusive comfort zones both in Church
and society that Pope Francis laments.

Thou shall not Kill, to 
Politicians

Thinking specifically of the political class he even
broke into a prayer: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are
genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, and the lives of the
poor!” To those not disturbed he asks: “How can it be that it is not a
news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when
the stock market loses two points?” and insists to apply the commandment
“Thou shall not kill” equally saying: 'thou shall not' to the tyranny of an economy
of cut throat competition creating exploitation, inequality, violence and death
of the excluded from the level playing field.   

  So the scandal
of divided churches and divided economic and political zones and world
governments will continue sine die. But all can at least help reduce the sting
of divisions and exclusions by following Francis Pappa’s example of addressing
the concerns – economic, social, moral and spiritual — not only of the
registered members of one’s own  divisive
group but of all humans in and around the confines of their pastoral or
political care. For Catholics it should mean ministering on priority basis
without distinction of creed, class and caste to all in diocesan and parish
boundaries. That is the meaning of Pope’s call to get out of the “Church of
sacristy” to go to meet those in the periphery.

So what  we are
called upon  to do at this Christmas is
to redouble efforts to inflame  in us
those dead or dying embers of humane humanity modeled on Jesus the crass,
“crazy”, “possessed”(Mk 3.21 & 22),   
carpenter of Nazareth — if that is too tall an order, modeled on the
poor man of Assisi who became second Christ, or at least modeled on 76 year old
Pope Francis whose simple life and humble humane approach to all and sundry
shows the way how to win friends and influence people for good across the
globe!.

By Admin on 08-12-2013
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On Anger

l    Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.

l    Anger is an arrow which will return against you.

l   Anger is like short circuit of thoughts. The consequence is
darkness.

l    Anger is nothing but an attachment for an object.

l    Anger is only one letter short of danger.

l    Anyone who angers you conquers you.

l    For every
10 minutes you are angry ; You lose 600 seconds of happiness !

l    He who
is slow to anger is better than the mighty.

l    Keep cool, anger is not an answer.

l    Never write a letter when you are angry.

l    Steel loses much of its value when it loses its temper.

Rakesh Mittal I AS

By Rakesh K Mittal IAS on 28-10-2012
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Choose your Words !

A careless word may kindle strife,
A cruel word may wreck a life.

 

A bitter word may hate instill,
A brutal word may even kill.

 

A gracious word may smooth the way,
A joyous word may make some life gay.

 

A timely word may lessen stress,
A loving word may heal and bless.
 

Tact makes you curb that nasty crack,
When you are on the brink.

It’s really thinking all you say,
Not saying all you think !

Rakesh Mittal I AS

By Admin on 21-10-2012
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An Voice of Charity

It was on 7th October 1950 that Mother Teresa established
a new congregation, the Missionaries of Charity’. Today, let us remember
her words, “By faith, I am a
Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world……” In 2012, the
community of Sisters of Charity has over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133
countries. Giving away “Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of
the poor” is one among their vows. Mother Teresa received numerous honours
in her life, including the Nobel Peace Prize. She refused the conventional
ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192,000 funds be
given to the poor in India. It is this attitude that made her great; it is this
attitude which each Indian needs to nourish within. It only makes India great. 

By Admin on 09-10-2012
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Comparison – J Vempeny

 

Do not compare yourself to others.

You are so unique, so different.

You possess many qualities

Which others do not have.

Comparing oneself to others

Is the cause of many problems.

This is especially true when the one

Compared is better off than us in some
way

In wealth, health, talents or other
accomplishments.

If you do have to compare yourself to
someone

Think of those less accomplished than
you.

Life becomes happy and peaceful

When we are satisfied with

What we have, with what we are.

Absence of desire is the secret to joy in
life.

By Admin on 07-10-2012