Still hunting for Trinity of Ls (Love, Light, Life!) Change alone: is Permanent!
dr james kottoor
As a child, I believed — all children do I suppose — everything elders said on the basis "Moothavar chollum Muthunellika aathiyam kaikumpinneyenikkum)" — Whatever elders said may sound bitter first, but sweet later— came the quick answer!
My first experiment was when I had a problem with Maths, making mistakes! So I asked my elder brother: How to solve it? "Easy like pump water! Say the Prayer to Our Lady: 'Memorare', Remember Oh Mother…" and he asked: "What do you say in that prayer?" I didn't know what it meant although I knew all 36 prayers by heart and said them daily, but never understood the meaning of any of them, since I never started using my reason then!
Once my brother explained it, I became "Head on heels in love with that one prayer & Our Lady" and that was the very beginning of my prayer life! My only God was she, and didn't know even Jesus, much less about Trinity! That continued all through my youthful years, even in Seminary!
Once you constantly think of someone or something, you expect that person coming or that thing happening soon! It happened in my case also, so my devotion to Mary grew by leaps and bounds!
My first enlightenment (Bodhodayam) happened on arrival in Seminary, when the very saintly Rector CandidusVallojio asked me in the crowd of seminarians pressing around: "Did you eat?" and could not understandeven that much spoken English and he had to say it slowly a third time for me to say: "Yes!", my first spoken English!
That was the first shock treatment I received to wake me up from the depth of ignorance about my knowledge of English at least! And the rule in the seminary was: I had to speak English, write English and preach in English –me thrown into the depths of English to swim or sink or float! Sink, I should not, I thought, so tried hard & floated!
The only thing I started doing from then was to waste no time, read & take notes, self study even free ‘siesta time’ to this moment! Have I succeeded? NO! is my convicton! That is why I call myself a “Know-nothing” below all else, so bound to learn from all else! My only achievement in studies? It is, I have not failed in any class!
From that time & moment I have been changing according to new insights received! I replaced Mary with Jesus as God incarnate! But how can I imitate a ‘God’, become like him? Stupid, impossible! So tried to imitate him as ‘Son of Man’ 56 times’, washed feet of his disciples – betrayers, deniers, power-hungry!
So changed again to ‘Everlasting Man’ of Chesterton!’ But there are others with more inspiring thoughts and actions like Socrates, Plato, Aristotel, Tagore, Vivekanda, Gandhi, Narayana Guru and many more, my pestering reason continue to unsettle me!
And what about believing in a God,– begetting a Son who dies – God without beginning and end? So I posted few twitters!
My wish to see God doesn't die even after 87 year-search! But I'm sure to die soon. Does it mean, God doesn't exist? Not able to convince myself of it either, nor in Gods named by all religions! Does it mean, I'll have to live in hope only to die in despair, irrational though?
I wish, that Wish eternal, God exists, not that visible catholic God — Father, Son, Spirit — but that invisible Love, Light, Life eternal, as uncaused Cause!Searched for him/her/it all my life long, past 87 years all over the world, but failed miserably! But my wish doesn't die!
Confusion confounded! Who will deliver me from this Vale of tears, whose creator cant be a God, believed to be the embodiment of goodness, mercy & love? Otherwise, all beliefs are baseless! That proves irrefutably I am a Know-nothing, Mandasiromany (pearl among Idiots)!
What change next?
Another trinity digestible – Love eternal, Light eternal, Life eternal? Digestible, OK! But will other fighting Religions agree? No, It is their nature to fight, so accept, don’t approve it! Let God die to allow devils to laugh, till death certain for all!
NB: The following is what I wrote in my book: ‘Womb to Tomb’ in 2008! Two Songs I love most to be sung loudwhile laying dead are those of Vayalar: “Man created Gods” and of Fr. Abel: “In search of God”, because ‘a dead man never speaks’ , certain! I had taught my children to sing them with gusto while young, though I will not be able then either to see or hear them! james kottoor
Please read the following from book:‘Womb to Tomb’!
When Religions Fight!
God Dies and Devil Laughs!
What was the one unforgettable Malayalam film song in the last half a century? To this question raised in a daily the answer given was: “Man created religions (Manushyan mathangale srishtichu) of the great thinker and poet Vayalar Ramavarma.
I too always felt the same about this revolutionary song. Equally memorable to me has been another song: In Search of God… (Ishwarane Thaady) by Fr. Abel CMI of Kalabhavan renown.
Both being eye-openers, heart rending and thought provoking, I had written them down together in my thoughtful thoughts collections and even taught my children to sing them with gusto often, for spiritual nourishment. Both are worth recalling for the benefit of the times we live in. The substance of Vayalar’s song may be freely rendered as follows:
Man created religions and religions created Gods.
Man, religions and gods together divided this earth, among themselves! Indeed they divided the minds as well of people, of our people among themselves.
We became Hindus, Muslims and Christians,
We became unable to recognize each other
And we made India a veritable lunatic asylum.
Making thousands and thousands of human hearts.
Veritable store houses of deadly lethal weapons.
God dies in our streets and devils scream out their laughter.
Where has gone truth, where has gone beauty and our freedoms?
Where has gone our blood relations and our eternal love relations?
Where has gone divine incarnations coming in thousand ages?
Man dies in our streets and religions laugh aloud in utter shame!
God is not Hindu, not Muslim, not Christian, Indran or the Moon
Oh! Revelations that emanate from under whitewashed
Sepulchres! You have built temples and Ashrams, Yes!
In fact you have built thousands of deceptive faces and facades!
You betrayed Krishna, betrayed Buddha, betrayed Christ,
You betrayed Nabi; you betrayed Marx and you pretended,
to be good people, pretended to be extremely exemplary!
Yes you really acted superbly like very good people indeed!
Oh dark nights preceding saffron tinted dusks of New Moon
You have covered BharathVedantha, AdvaithaVedantha
With BhagavathGheeta, hidden them so far with Gheeta!
This song, as anyone can see, is a scathing indictment of the politics of religion and a telling description of the depths of degradation to which religions have sunk. We have made a mockery of religions and religious practices by putting the cart before the horse, nay by making the tail wag the dog. In the modern version of religions it is no more the one and only God who guides the destinies of man, but man who creates the god of his fancy and decides how he should behave, where he should be enthroned, what names and titles he should assume, in what shape he should appear, who should be his close associates, how he should parade his power and glory, who should act as his watch and ward, whom he should reward or punish, what things he should tolerate or prosper.
Death of the Living God
What is more, the one true God, in this process, is pushed into the backyard and eclipsed by a plethora of gods (Deus ex machina) produced at random and marketed by the whims and fancies of what are called religions pundits. They act like multinational companies competing for profit or like political parties competing, first, to capture power, second to mint money using that power and third to hang on to that power by hook or crook to protect and preserve all ill-gotten wealth.
The rarest of rare spiritual luminaries who appeared in human history like Buddha, Christ, Nabi, insightful Rishies and authors of Ramayana and Mahabharata, Sri Ramakrishna Parmahamsa, Vivekananda and Sri Narayana Guru, may not have even dreamt of any organized religions after them and the kind of outfits developed around them. Their present day organizers who call themselves priests, pujaries, pontiffs, Mullahs, Achariyas or Gurus busy themselves, like their counter parts in the world, with the promotion of the religions they have built up. While a negligible few do it for a noble cause most of them are driven by the craze for power, position, pelf, profit and a gala good living.
Thus Christ, Buddha, Ramah and Krishna, and Sri Narayana Guru are all betrayed and sold as valuable merchandise in the religious market by their adoring followers to make a comfortable living.
As a result what we have today is any number of outer shells of religions without inner substance – the vision and ideals of their so-called founding fathers. For example, which of the more than 2000 versions of the Churches is a living expression of the life and teachings of Jesus, his high thinking and simple living, his life of truth, love, justice, mercy, compassion and self-sacrificing service to the least and lost?
So it is with the organizers and followers of all religions. Religions have become carbon copies of corrupt political parties of our times like Congress without Gandhiji or Communism without Marx or Democracy with out concern for the core problems of the common man. It is this unholy alliance between corrupt religious organizations and political parties that have dealt a death blow to God in the hearts and minds and lives of the people today of which Vayalar mourns and means when he says; God dies in the streets and devil laughs.
The remedy to this sad sate of affairs is not in the destruction of these religions but systematic education of the thinking sections to help them rediscover the true religious spirit and to nurse it grow. Religion is the outward expression of the innate urge of the human soul to attach itself to its creator. This cannot be destroyed. Unlike animals man can’t find lasting joy, peace and contentment by satisfying the sensitive needs of the body. He has to soar high on the wings of his reason and imagination to reach up to God who dwells in the world of his thoughts and yearnings of his soul.
It is this magnetic pull that ought to express itself as true religiosity and spirituality like the spokes that connects the wheel to its hub. As the planets are held together and made to go round smoothly thanks to the vertical and horizontal magnetic forces, individuals, communities and nations should hang together by the forces of worshipful attitude and human fellow-feeling — one binding them vertically to God and the other horizontally among themselves as members of an extended spiritual family.
Religion of Humanity – Ideal!
In the ideal situation there can be and should be only one religion, the religion of a humane humanity which binds the entire mankind as one grand close-knit family of brothers and sisters and one God who presides over as its loving and gracious Father. That alone would be a public proclamation and demonstration of humanity’s innate urge to acknowledge its total dependence on God the fatherly creator, who wants his children to stay together and grow together supporting one another as one loving household. In a family the one who gets the greatest attention is the sick and disabled who need utmost care. So should it be in the human family.
A family functions at its very best when its members are guided by the principle: To each one according to his needs and from each one according to his capacities, in a spirit of service for the common good. This has to be also the outstanding trait of a true religion. Hence the solemn statement: “Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.”Jas.1.27.
So true religiosity is to be demonstrated in one’s readiness to rush to the aid of those in urgent need – material, social, physical or spiritual and not stopping with organizing worship with chanting of prayers and hymns in reverential postures or penitential processions and offerings made to deities in temples and churches. Equally misplaced is the zeal of the affluent to build magnificent churches, temples and mosques, and drape them with dazzling gold and silver but would not spend a penny to feed the hungry, cloth the naked or house the homeless.
Common Prayer Centres!
This requires a radical rethinking on the part of every religion. Instead of flaunting an air of superiority over others, all religions, especially Christians, if they are sincere, should take the initiative to come together in a parliament of religions as equals willing to learn from each other.
An initial step in the right direction would be to start putting up universal prayer centres, as suggested by many, where prayers and readings from all religious scriptures promoting human brotherhood are encouraged. Besides the building of more partisan places of worship should be discouraged.If people belonging to different religions can and do study together, work together, travel together, play together and go to the same supermarket for shopping, there is greater reason why they should gather together to pray to the one God whom they believe in as their common Father. Fatherhood does not lose any of its sacredness just because children differ in calling their father Pappa, Appa, Acha or Daddy. Similarly one may call God, Lord, Iswara, Rama, Krishna, Christ , Allah or Devi.
That would mean for Christians to give up their claim that Christ is the sole redeemer, and Muslims that Mohammad is the last and seal of all prophets and prophecies. Similarly with other religions with irreconcilable claims which makes it impossible for the smooth functioning of a family. The repeated pronouncement of Jesus: “Your faith has saved you” should prompt Christians to extend similar endorsement to all whose faith and belief is different from theirs. Muslims should extend the principle of equality and brotherhood of all as practiced by Muhammad Nabi. For Hindus they have only to put into practice their cosmic concept of one family under God – Vasudaivakudumbakam, or the call of Sri Narayana Guru for: One race, one religion, one God. In practice it is going to be difficult only for the various sectarian and marrow minded religious groups.
Of course it is different religious perceptions that have led people into divisions, competitions, intolerance and conflicts instead of collaboration, comprehension and mutual enrichment in the past. To prevent conflicts what is vital is to stay united in essential things, to tolerate differences in unnecessary things, to promote charity in all things and to desist the temptation of washing the dirty linen in public, and worst of all throwing the baby(in this case God) out together with the bath wash and exposing religion to public ridicule.
God’s Abode and Form
If religions today are infested with misleading blind leaders what are the options left for the honest seeker yearning for a true taste of the divine? An answer to this question is found in the graphic description of a pilgrim’s journey in search of God. The poetic perception is from the departed luminary Fr.Abel. It may help to lead every honest seeker to the true abode where God dwells and reveals his unforgettable face. Following is a free rendering of that immortal song:
In desperate search of God did I walk & walk
Nay I did transcend oceans vast in my search
But God couldn’t be found here or there
Nor anywhere in the uninhabited land scape
Where am I to find the footprints of God?
I searched the surface of earth, but didn’t see
Where is God’s beautiful home and garden?
I searched all the heavens but couldn’t find!
I haven’t seen, haven’t seen repeated
The murmuring breezy bushes and flowers
You won’t see Him, won’t see Him at all
Chirped cute birds as they flew gaily away!.
Finally I did turn into my own inner Self
To take a peep into the cave of my own heart
Yes it is there in my heart that He dwells
There I found Him in his true form: LOVE!
God is Love in Action
Yes the name of that invisible and invincible power is Love. God is love, unselfish love burning like a lit lamp in every human heart ready to share its light and warmth with every one.
His abode is not on far off mountain tops, in deserts, temples or shrines made by human hands but in living and loving humans we meet daily. No human being has ever seen God or will ever see him with his mortal eyes. Humans have to discover God in their neighbour’s face through love.
Hence the teaching of John: “Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love…Anyone who says,’ I love God’, and hates his brother is a liar, since a man who does not love the brother that he can see, cannot love God, whom he has never seen.” 1Jn.4, 6 & 20. Hence religions that drive people into conflicting camps are only exposing their crass ignorance of the core concept of God and religion.
Every new born baby in the family of man is a loud proclamation that God has not lost His faith in man even if man has lost his faith in God. The sprouting up of every new religion instead may be seen as an affirmation that religions have lost their faith in the one God. That is why Christmas with its universal appeal is called the story of God coming in search of man, the crown and glory of creation, in order to knock at the door of his heart to enter and dwell there as LOVE incarnate, LOVE divine! It is this art of discovering that God within oneself and his neighbour, lurking like the fire in the ash, the glow in the fire, the fragrance in the flower, the music in the flute, the murmur in the heart beat and the sense in the sound of that beat, that deserves to be called religion pure and unalloyed.
Saints and sages, rishies, gurus and peerless prophets who excelled in this art were the truly religious people. Religions that grew up around them or after them missed out what they found. That is why they have ended up putting up lifeless temples and places of worship with replicas of gods and goddesses with eyes that don’t see, ears that don’t hear, mouths that don’t speak, feet that don’t walk and hands that don’t bless and therefore have to be remote controlled by their masters to work wonders as in a puppet show to keep their audience spell bound in a make-believe heavenly bliss. These religions with their pomp an d fanfare must die and fade out if true spirituality and religiosity have to flourish. For that, brotherhood of peoples and nations have to be promoted first. That alone is religion pure and simple accessible to one and all and worth striving after!