Tag Archives: Religion

My Journey on the Road to Peace

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This is a Very Personal Sharing… Actually speaking, this my Journey to Peace should be described in Two sections. The first, a milestone in itself, was when I experienced Peace In the midst of Extreme Turmoil in a Most Astonishing way! And the second, which was like the reaching the End of a Journey. This post speaks of the First part of that Voyage!

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This article is the third in the series on Bible Study.

  1. On Bible study
  2. The Problem of Suffering
  3. My Journey on the Road to Peace
  4. The Answer to the Problem of Suffering!
  5. Understanding the Bible
  6. Ezekiel’s vision of God
  7. The Bible and History

The last three pertain to Bible Study, per se. The Others deal with the Use and the Advantages of Studying the Bible.

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The End of the Journey, as I called it above, brought me Tranquillity, as opposed to Peace, (which can be transitory). This came Only after I Experienced the Answer to the Problem of Suffering. And by Dhyaan. I shall share this second part with You in a separate post.

The Extreme Turmoil that I alluded to in the first paragraph happened in the Third year after my Ordination.

From my Seminary days, I had been a Charismatic Preacher, much in demand. It is more than 30 years since my Ordination, and yet there must be a few who would remember this poor old Yesudas in the dioceses of Hazaribagh, Bihar and as having served in the Divine Retreat Centre in Kerala. The Lord had worked great things, and I had the satisfaction of noting Peace and Well being come into the lives of Many people.

But I had been Overworking. Once I gave Three 10-day retreats, consecutively. On top of this, that was also the time of my ‘Mid life Crisis,’ of which I had not known in those days. Add to that some personal issues. Result, Yesudas Crashed.

Yesudas pulling his hair

There You have it! For posterity, Mark du Toit has captured my pulling out my hair in frustration! Haha!

Jokes aside, here are the salient points. While working in the Railways, after a Deep Experience, I decided to become a Priest. I got the Grace of Ordination after a fairly long wait, at the age of 35, and crashed within 3 years!

And Crash is a Good word for it. What I was experiencing within me was a Dissatisfaction. I was feeling Unloved and Unwanted. And with some reason. Consider. I have been, and still am, quite a ‘Religious’ kind of person. And to me Religion cannot go without Social Justice. But during the Final days of my Seminary, there were Three Distinct groups in my Diocese. One wanted, practically, Social Work Alone. One, with ‘me’ as the sole member, wanted a lot of Religiosity as well. And the Third group, as numerous as the first, Wanted Just to Fish! Their philosophy seemed to be: Down with Spirituality and Social Work.

The members of Both the groups Very Kindly looked down upon me with Disdain. 😦

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The catholic church has two kinds of priest, the so called ‘religious’ ones and the diocesan, (Down with the idea of first class and second class priests). When I was thinking of joining the seminary, I asked many priests about the difference between the two, and clearest answer I got from one was: ‘The religious are called to live a ‘perfect’ life.’ Wonderful, is it not? Provided You understand it. I did not. What did impress me was that the training for the diocesan ones was just about 7 years, compared to the other group, which had 4 to 10 years of Extra training! At the time of my deciding to join the seminary I was some 28 years old, and did not want super duper long trainings.

So I went in for the Diocesan Priesthood. These are supposed to live their lives without the support of Community! The ‘religious’ ones are always posted in groups of two’s or three’s at a minimum, whereas the diocesan priest, with less training, is supposed to go it alone! Frankly, No Training is given as to how to face Loneliness, etc. One should not wonder at the messes that diocesan priests land up in.

When I came back from giving my Retreats, my Mind used to be filled with the Sad and Horrible stories I had listened to. (That many don’t bother to Listen to the Sad state of their Brothers and Sisters is their business).

Not taking a Vacation, Not even taking Enough Rest, and all this Negativity, fed on my Doubts on the Existence of God Himself!

  • Was Not God Concerned about the Sufferings of His Children?
  • Or, horror of horrors, Was He Not Powerful Enough to put an end to Suffering?
  • And the worst scenario, Did God Exist at all?

All the above refer to the Problem of Suffering. To see that, please click here.

They say that one suffers from Depression if one’s Ability of Think is affected. I must have been Depressed. As I see it today, my thinking at that time had not been satisfactory at all. But whatever the Reasons, At That Time I came to the (Foolish) conclusion that God did not Exist. (A conclusion I have since revised, as You will accept!)

Yet, at that time, at least the next few points of thinking were Logical enough. Namely, I decided that:

  • If there is No God, there can be No Religion.
  • If there is No Religion, there is No Priesthood.
  • If the Priesthood was Not Valid, it would be Absolutely Dishonest of me to keep receiving the monthly stipend, as it is called, …the money the diocese paid us for our expenses.

And so, I wrote all these things down, along with a letter of Resignation from the Priesthood, and went and presented it to my late Venerable Bishop, Dr. G.V. Saupin, a Most Lovely and Wonderful Man.

My Late Bishop George

He was shocked, and tried his Best to stop me from going ahead with my ‘resignation.’ But I was too broken to listen even to that Dear and Excellent man.

I had about 6000 rupees. I used it to lease a small, road-side hotel that caters to truckers. I got another ‘kick’ from my priest companions even for this. Now, their question was, ‘WHY did You open that hostelry in the diocese itself, so near to where You had been posted?’ The thing is, these kinds of points do not enter my mind. The accusation was that I was planting seeds of Doubt in the minds of the ‘faithful’ by being in that place. …There I was, with those few thousands, which included 10 thousand (or was it 5?, I do not remember now), that the diocese had given me in ‘parting!’ I was supposed to travel to some far away spot even to earn my living. …

The hotel was not a success, though. I believe I spent more money on buying blankets for my workers than I was ‘making.’ More Importantly, I found that I had further lost my Peace!

Pulling out hair, a second time!

According to Christianity, everybody is ‘Called’ to a particular Service, a state of life, etc. Evidently, God did not like my trying to give up the Priesthood. For which I Thank God.

During those days, I have heard that my Bishop had Tears in his eyes when he spoke about me. That is one of the Most Important, and Treasured Memories of my Entire Life.

So, after just about two months of this, if I may call it, my Adventure, I went to my Bishop and said to him that I wanted to ‘Come Back’ to the Priesthood. He was quite Happy about it! …I myself requested him to allow me to go for Counselling, to which he consented, and I went to that Wonderful man, Dr. Trevor D’Netto in Pune. After 2 months of Intense counselling, he said to me: “Father, Your Mind is healed now. But You have to take care of Your ‘spirit’ by Yourself. In a Three cylinder engine, two of them are working well now. Unless and Until You see to the ‘third’ cylinder, the ‘engine’ will not work well.”

During those day, I used to walk around the Pune Race Course. One such evening, I realized that the new philosophies I was developing seemed quite Logical, But they were Not Bringing me Peace! That was an Experience! I stopped in my tracks. And this is what I said to God that day:

“I do not like the Way You are Running things. But I Surrender to You. Run the World Any way You Want.”

A Very Poor Surrender. But-it-brought-me-Peace. I could feel waves of it washing over me. That is what I call that Most Astonishing way. Surrendering (to God) brought me Peace.

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A SAGA OF REJECTION

When I went back to my diocesan headquarters, I found that my Bishop had been transferred. The diocese was under an administrator, who, though he carried a small copy of the New Testament in his hands at all times, has a heart harder than flint. He said: ‘Since You wrote and gave that You do not want to remain a Priest, that is how it shall be. Do not even put Your bags on the floor. Just Go!’ or words to that effect. And that started another Journey of Heart Ache for me, which You can read here (under preparation, please. And sorry, I have not yet got around to it.).

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In all this, Since those days, I have Successfully Lived my Decision to Come back to the Priesthood. I have Not been ‘De-frocked.’ But Am Absolutely Unwanted (even now!), and Totally Unsupported by my Diocese.  Most of the Clergy and Many of the Good Nuns look Down upon me! But I Continue to live Happily as a PriestTo me, that is Peace, and Happiness.

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04 Religion – Our Relationship with Other Humans

Most of Our Time is spent in Relationship with Other Human Beings! This is True whether We take the Family or the Work-Space. And this Accord follows certain Lines. Even Our ‘Recreation’ is governed by Our Mindset on this Interconnection with Others.

For instance, I know an Oldish gentleman who used to play Football (Soccer). Below his knee he has quite a number of Scars. He says he got them during his ‘Football days!’ Opposition players would not ‘mind’ Trampling down on the legs of their competitors. …There’s a Relationship for You!

Women, Almost a Total Half of the Human race, are said to have No Souls, No Rights, and are seen as ‘Playthings;’ and as ‘Support’ for heroes in movies. Worse, Woman has Acid thrown at her, is Raped, and is made to ‘Answer’ for these attacks, as if She is Responsible for them. As per its definition,  All this makes for Very Bad Religion!

IMP Acid attack victims

Slavery, Forced Labour, Child Labour, Not Paying Equitable Wages, Unjust Working Hours and Conditions, All spring from the Mindset which believes that Some Humans are worth Less.

Those who have come to Power by the use of Money or Numbers, as in the case of the ‘mafia,’ choose to think ‘Nothing’ of Others. politicians, judges and the police, who often misuse the Authority bestowed on them by the Citizenry, seem to think that People are there to ‘serve’ them.

The List can be Very Long. All Established Religions state what is Right and what is Not. The Sad part of it is that in some cases, it is held that some things are Ok if done to Others, but which should not be done to one’s own!

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In Practice, We see People practicing Love, the Most Harmonious kinship possible. We would find that MOST People are Ready to Help, Ready to Reach out a Helping Hand, whatever their Doctrine. 

Religion is Not what pastor W says, nor what bishop X does; not even what guru Y or mullah Z Suddenly announces one day, even if it becomes a trend.

The pharisee at right in the picture below was saying to God: “I Fast Two days a week, and I give You a Tenth of All my income.” (Luke 18:12). Evidently he thought God did not Know that! Haha! He must have ‘prayed’ too, and a lot, I am sure. But Jesus was Not Impressed by the pharisee.

Christ gives the pharisee’s example to show just How this man had Failed. The pharisee had completed All the Rituals, but, like Most of his kind of his age, had been Lacking in his Concern for his Fellow Man.

The Pharisee and the Publican

Image from: http://www.lookandlearn.com

In Conclusion, True Religion is that which Holds, and Teaches Us, among other things, to Have a Healthy and Positive Relationship with Our Fellow Human Beings.

[This article is part of a series on ‘Religion.’ To go to the Next one, please click here. …To go to the First of this series, please click here.]

03 Religion – and our Relationship with the Universe!

I start with the word UNIVERSE. For this post, this word shall mean all that is known and accepted as the Universe, Except for God and Man. These two shall be treated in separate posts. This is done for the sake of Convenience.

As We are into the subject of Relationships, We do not have to go too far into the Universe! Unless somebody wants to worship some star or something. But then that would take it into the realm of ‘god.’

We can afford to be Much Simpler than that. If We use the word ‘Nature’ instead of the universe, it becomes simpler still, so We shall do that.

Religion and the Universe would come down to whether We Believe in NURTURING NATURE, or are CARELESS about it, or even Destructive in our Behaviour. I do believe the Graphics make it quite Clear.

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deforestw

Deforestation. Image from: labspace.open.ac.uk

And its effects; The picture of the Chimps does speak Volumes, I think.

logs out n chimps

Image from: www.telegraph.co.uk

Mankind is almost blindly going about Destroying its own habitat. Mankind chooses to forget that destroying the forests is Harmful Not Only to the Animal kingdom.

forests getting destroyed

Forests getting destroyed. Graphic from: pic.twitter.com/XuyPpSUotk

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And two Examples about Cruelty to Animals.

dog cruelty

Image: www.bbc.co.uk

I find this particularly Poignant because the Dog seems to be of a Good breed (Greyhound?), and it seems to belong to people who seem to be well off!

At the same time, Just How can We Condone what We see below? Cruelty is Cruelty; and Uncaringness is Uncaringness.

chickens cooped

Image: www.salon.com

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Let us Thank God that there is Goodness too!

…As in the CHIPKO MOVEMENT, which has become Instrumental in Saving Senseless Destruction of Trees and the Forests. Chipko means ‘To Stick.’ We see in this picture some of the Pioneers of the movement, who ‘Stuck’ themselves to the Trees, Challenging the contractors to cut them down. Image from Wiki.

Chipko wiki

GREENPEACE is doing Great work in this regard. We have to be Grateful to them, and I do Express my Sincere Appreciation towards them here.

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How We Behave with Respect to Nature is the Outcome of our Beliefs. It is quite possible that We have not formulated them into a system, or even thought much about this. It would be good to pay attention to it and Change our Value Systems.

Having a Good Relationship with the Universe would make ‘Our’ Religion a Good one!

[This article is part of a series on Religion. To go to the Next one, please click here. …For the first one on this series, Please click here.]

02 What Is Religion?

This can also be named: The Meaning of the word ‘Religion.’

The word has its roots in the Latin term, ‘Religare,’ which stands for ‘Relationship.’ It relates to Just How You and I decide to Relate to: God, the Universe, and Man. In Other words,

RELIGION IS THE RELATIONSHIP ONE HOLDS WITH REGARD TO GOD, MAN AND THE UNIVERSE.

In Other Words,

RELIGION IS EACH PERSON’S SYSTEM OF RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSE, THE HUMAN KIND, AND GOD.

I had to learn the meaning of the word ‘Religion,’ at one stage of my life. If We are going to Use Any word, Others should at least Understand What We Mean by It!

Every Religion has a Word for GOD, and Every religion also seems to have Its Own Understanding of God! We shall see at least a little bit of it in other posts.

…MAN here means, Other Human Beings. And Man is considered in a separate category because Interpersonal Relationships with Human Beings is quite a bit more complicated than with the Universe, for which We can use another name, ‘Nature.’

The UNIVERSE again needs to be given some definition.

We shall see all this in separate posts. To go to the Next article in this series, namely, ‘Religion – and our Relationship with the Universe,’ please click here. …To see the First article in this series, please click here.