Saccidananda ashram Shantivanam was started on 21st March 1950 by Jules Monchanin and Henry Le Saux therefore on 21st March 2013 we are celebrating the 63rd birthday of our ashram.On this occasion I am pleased to announce that we have opened the website for oblates of Shantivanam to be in communication with each other and with our community. I am sure that this website will help us to deepen our spiritual pursuit and promote the communication between Shantivanam and oblates.


At present Shantivanam has 11 solemn professed monks and one simple professed and one novice. Also we have one candidate in Shantivanam.


The community offers hospitality to whoever comes to the ashram to seek God.

Social Work

The ashram continues its charitable work by helping the poor in building houses for the homeless, and old age home for the destitute and helping the poor children for their education.

Interfaith dialogue

The ashram is always known as a place of dialogue and meeting with other religions and cultures.

Fr. Bede, man of  Prayer and Communion

Fr. Bede was a man of prayer. It means that he lived in God and he realised the Divine presence in him. This was not the end of his search, because he realised the same Divine presence in all the people beyond nationality, religion, and colour. He also experienced  the Divine presence in the whole creation. So he had great love and veneration for human beings, nature and animals. He experienced the sacredness of creation and he experienced the Divine presence in everything.The source of his energy was his prayer life and his deep communion with God. His punctuality and faithfulness to prayer life and love and concern for others touched me very much. There is a Golden string which binds the whole creation, that golden string is the flow of the Divine power. This divine power can be realised only when we are in union with God. Fr. Bede lived his life in union with God and he realized this Divine power in the form of a Golden string which binds the whole creation. His prayer life and love of God led him to experience oneness with God, humanity and the whole creation.


Dear Oblates and friends,

Today we are celebrating the feast of St Benedict of Nursia, the father of Western Monasticism. There are many beautiful stories about his deep trust in Divine providence. When a village nearby his monastery suffered from a severe famine, he gave away all the provisions stored in the abbey. But he noticed the unhappy face of many monks of his monastery and told them “Do not worry, tomorrow you will have plenty.” As he foretold the next morning a large quantity of flour was placed by unknown hands at the monastery gate.

During his time monks used to do lots of penance and mortification of the body. But Benedict never encouraged self-imposed abnormal penance and austerities. Once he met a hermit in a cave who chained his foot to a rock. He sought spiritual guidance from Benedict. In reply Benedict sent him the message, “If you are truly a servant of God, chain yourself not with a chain of iron but with a chain of Christ.”

The chain which binds us to Christ is love. The Benedictine way to love Christ is by listening “ Listen carefully, my child the precepts of the Lord…"(prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict)

These  well-known opening words of the Rule of St. Benedict inspire us. Listening is the path by which we can grow in wisdom and truth and so live humbly before God and discover His love.

Dear oblates and friends of Shantivanam, 

I send to you all the greetings of the feast of St. Benedict and keep you in my prayers. 

With regards 

Yours in Christ and St. Benedict

Fr. George Nelliyanil

Message for the 21st Mahasamadhi  of our beloved Guruji. Fr. Bede.

Dear oblates and friends,

 Today, 13th May we are celebrating the 21st Mahasamadhi  of our beloved Guruji. Fr. Bede. On this occasion I am glad to share with you one of his messages which touched me very much. That is “Go Beyond”, Fr. Bede was a charismatic and prophetic figure which we could find in his gentle face and eyes filled with compassion. His kavi colored cloth and simple life touched the heart of everyone who met him and he radiated to them the message ‘Go Beyond’.

 In the article , A New Vision of Reality,  he writes about the “Go Beyond”:

 “All our conflicts”  he writes, “arise because we stop at a certain level. Christians stop at the Christian religion, and if you are a Muslim you stop at Islam, if you are a Hindu you stop at your own symbolism and formalized structure. Each one feels himself separate from others. Only when you go beyond these distinctions, and are open to the reality beyond, can you overcome these conflicts. So also the conflicts between black and white peoples, Jews and Arabs, Tamil and Singhalese; they are fighting because they stop at some limited form and do not go beyond it to the formless”.

The Absolute is formless and transcendent. In order to understand the Absolute we need to describe it with paradox. So we understand the Absolute in a limited manner, because the religious experiences are framed in dogmas and structures and symbols. According to Fr. Bede the Absolute cannot be understood by our intellect and reason alone. The only way to know the Absolute is to experience it.  

Every religion has its symbols to transmit the religious message. The role of the symbol is to lead people to theAbsolute. So symbols are very important. The symbols are used to describe something which is indescribable.  But by mistake people often stop at symbols. And as a consequence we live in continuous conflict in our social, political and  religious life. The way to solve this problem is to “go beyond”. According to him this ancient wisdom of unity is present in all the religions.  For Fr Bede all the religions should conceive the notion about the transcendent Reality where all differences can be overcome.

Fr Bede points out that “All is interrelated and “no part exists without the whole,  and “ The whole is contained in every part”. This unity is the ancient wisdom, which Fr. Bede believes can only be sought by “going beyond”.

May the life and message of Fr. Bede help the seekers to ‘go beyond’ and experience the oneness with Father Son and the Holy Spirit. (Ref., Go Beyond-Father Bede and the Ancient Wisdom, H. W. Underhill).


Dear friends and oblates,

Easter is a special time in which we commemorate the unconditional love of God as we read in John 3,16 “ For God so loved the world , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Here is a beautiful story about love; perhaps you have already heard it:

Once upon a time a bird fell in love with a white rose. One day she (bird) proposed to him (white rose), but the white rose refused. The white rose said I don't love you. The bird came daily and proposed to him. Finally, the white rose said when I turn red, I will love you. One day the bird came and cut her wings and spread her blood on the rose and the rose turned red. Then the rose realized how much the bird loved him but it was too late because the bird was dead.

In the outstretched arms of Jesus, we hear the cry of God: “come to me”. “ I love you.”   We must be willing to say those simple words that can be at all times too hard to express:  I love you. On the cross, God, in the person of Jesus, has  become quite vulnerable, totally exposed, bearing His heart through his pierced and open side-.

Love is bliss. Love is beauty and romance. Love is caring as well as sharing. Love is sacrifice and responsibility. Love in a relationship is a blend of all. Love doesn't care about face or race. Love can happen to anyone at anytime with anybody. Love has no limitations. Love is endless and it's the most precious thing in the world. Love is victory. In the passion death and Resurrection of Jesus we experience God’s unconditional love.

May the light and joy of the Easter be with you always and let us share our Easter joy and love with one another.

I keep you all in my prayers. Please remember us also in your prayers. Easter blessings to you all.

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

Happy Easter

Fr. George Nelliyanil


10th April Remembering Fr. Jules Monchanin  

Today on 10th April we are celebrating the birthday of Jules Monchanin, the co-founder of Saccidananda ashram Shantivanam. On this occasion I would like to share with you some of his thoughts about this above mentioned foundation, Saccidananda Ashram, which is still a spiritual powerhouse for many seekers. The ashram would not have come into existence without the vision and wish of Monchanin. So let us read some of his mystical vision from  “An Indian Benedictine Ashram”, the Magnacarta of Saccidananda ashram. The following words are taken from the above mentioned book:

 “The true Indian sannyasi  is a man who had some intuition into the divine  Transcendence and consequently devotes his  life to its pursuit; and the normal attitude of whose soul is an unswerving attention to God, the Absolute One; this is symbolized in the attention to God. Absolute One; this is a mysterious sound (AUM) the object of his constant meditation.

“The true sannyasi, following the footsteps  of the vedic seers  and “ Upanishadic” seekers(Jnanin),- in order to obtain salvation( Moksha), from the bondage (samsara under the iron bond of karma) of illusion ( maya) - ought to focus his mind upon the nirguna Brahman, the absolute, as devoid of attribution, in it’s pure simplicity.”

More than the Hindu sannyasi, the Christian monk is invited by a divine call to concentrate his mind and heart (not exclusively but primarily)- beyond the mysteries of Creation, Incarnation and Redemption themselves- on the very mystery of God, the blessed Trinity.

But, for the enlightened sannyasi, the ultimate simplicity of the Absolute can rightly be named by reduplication SAT (being) CIT, (thought) , Ananda (bliss), knowing, as he does, that the Deity has not, but is by essence, Existence, Intelligence and beatitude.

Repeating that sacred formula SACCIDANANDA, the Christian gives it a  new and mysterious meaning, unknown to man,  because such acknowledgement is above any created intelligence, but was communicated (in novissimo tempore) to all mankind through ultimate Revelation by the Word made flesh.

And, more fervently and with greater appreciation than any of his fellow sannyasis, can the Christian monk utter Sat, when thinking of the Father, the “Principle-less” Principle, the very source and end of the expansion and “re-collection” of the divine Life: Cit, when remembering the eternal Son, the Logos, the intellectual consubstantial Image of the Existent; Ananda, when meditating on the Paraclete, Unifying together the Father and the Son. And just as AUM is one sound from three elements ( A,U,M), so also the mystery of the one identical essence in three” hypostases” may  be expressed by that pregnant sacred utterance. It rings like the symbol of the silent Deity (An Indian Benedictine Ashram PP. 75).


64th Birthday of Shantivanam and first anniversary of website Oblates of Shantivanam 


Dear oblates and friends of Shantivanam

Today, March 21st 2014, we are celebrating the 64th birthday of Shantivanam ashram and the first anniversary of the website of the oblates of Shantivanam.  On this occasion   I would like to share with you a brief thought on ‘Relationship’.  The purpose of the website is to promote the communication and deepen the relationship. I am glad that you are making use of this website to deepen your relationship with one another and with God. On this special occasion I thank Tina Goodchild for finding time and rendering her service to keep our website up-to-date .

Once someone asked me a question, "will you love me forever?" I hope you too have heard this kind of question. All love is to have a love relationship for ever, the relationship which lasts for eternity. There is also a deep desire to connect this relationship with our past. We always keep in our mind our past love experience. This shows that our desire to have relationship is so strong in us. If our relationship is to fulfill our personal needs, then after fulfilling our personal needs we will lose our relationships. So the lasting relationship comes from the level of sharing.

The lovers often say to each other, ‘I love you’. and repeat it several times on the same day . Sometimes the teenagers write it on the walls, on the busses and in the love letters. They write it several times. Love is repetition. All our prayers are repetition, our mantra is a repetition.

Falling in love is also another familiar phrase for us. It is not a receiving mode of love but a giving mode of love. It is sharing of love. If our relationship is based on receiving love, it will not last for long. To experience love in the relationship, one has to live in the present. One who lives in the present feels that he is in God and God is in him. We call this experience the experience of Saccidananda.

The founders of Saccidananda ashram had a deep God experience in Saccidananda, Holy Trinity. It is an experience. For Monchanin, to say “God is Love” is to confess a Trinity of Persons. He says God has life. God is essentially communication of self to self. God is Father, Word and Spirit. God is essentially Love. The Father opens his heart through the Son to the Spirit. He also says that God is unity. If God in God’s own self is gift, God is at the same time gift for others, as creator. God can communicate divine joy,divine life. Saccidananda ashram is a place where we experience this joy of our relationship with the Divine. I am glad that you come to the ashram and being in this love relationship wherever you are.

Blessings from Saccidananda Ashram to all our oblates

Yours in Christ

Fr. George





Dear oblates of Shantivanam

       Today we are entering a new Season, one of penance and sacrifices and Ash Wednesday is "the first of forty days of the Lenten Season that precedes Easter.

The Purpose of Lent

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the real aim of Lent is, above all else, to prepare men for the celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ…the better the preparation the more effective the celebration will be. One can effectively relive the mystery only with purified mind and heart. The purpose of Lent is to provide that purification by weaning men from sin and selfishness through self-denial and prayer, by creating in them the desire to do God’s will and to make His kingdom come by making it come first of all in their hearts.”

Lent is a season of purification, reflection, re-evaluation, repentance and reconciliation. It is a time of profound grace that takes root in us and transforms us. Through our Lenten observance and by listening to the Scripture from the Lenten liturgies and by participating in the traditional practices of the Church, we are invited, in this holy season, to be stripped down and purified from all the obstacles that keep us from seeing our true selves clearly; stripped down so that we may come to understand more powerfully the Love of God who embraces all of who we are. There are many ways to enter into the spirit of this season and to "observe" these days. One great way to enter into this season is by following the traditional practices of the Church which are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. What is great about these practices is that they give us a way to enter into this season of healing with body and soul; physically and spiritually.


It is more than just giving away money but also giving of our time through serving the needs of those around us. It is a practice which encourages us to let go of things, money, possessions, our valuable time, which may have a high priority in our lives. Almsgiving encourages us to strip away those "things" which can cause us to be separated from one another. It also challenges us to take a serious look at distinguishing between what we need and what we want in the same spirit of examining our needs and wants.


It is a practice of rearranging our eating habits either by cutting down on consumption or by abstaining all together, helps us to be reminded of our need for God to fill us. Fasting allows us to feel physically the ongoing spiritual needs of the soul and can help us to feel the truth that only God can truly satisfy our deepest longings. Almsgiving and fasting help us to feel the season of Lent.


It is the other traditional practice in the Church, and through prayer we are able to experience Lent on a spiritual level. Prayer slows us down, allows us to be focused, and enables us to be stripped away from our obsession with this world and moves us to a higher consciousness. Prayer allows us to "see" our life and our works with the eyes of faith that opens the heart to seeing God in the midst of it all.

       I wish you a holy and joyful season of Lent, a time in which you grow closer to the Lord and leave sin behind. The Lord comes to us with a different grace in each season. May the grace God gives us during this season of Lent not be in vain.

Yours In Saccidananda

Fr. George Nelliyanil





New Year is the most celebrated feast in the modern world. Almost all the people of the world celebrate this first day of the New Year. People celebrate this feast by sending greetings cards, sharing sweets, visiting friends, fireworks and party etc. New Year comes to give us fresh hope and a better future and it gives us also dreams of a better future. May all your New Year Resolutions and dreams come true.

Bhagavad Gita gives us a beautiful message for our spiritual life. It is the way of detachment ie desires nothing for himself, because he doesn’t have the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and the sense of possessiveness. He wants nothing because he is not attached to anything. Such people live for the good of others. When a man renounces ‘I’ness and ‘miness’ he becomes unselfish and will be able to do selfless service to others. It is non attachment. This is the teaching of the Gita for the transformation of life on earth. It is the continuous service of others in the spirit of worship.

Jesus tells us not to worry about our needs in this world, but to seek God’s kingdom, having the promise that their heavenly Father would then also meet all those needs: “ not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt 6:31-33).

Putting Jesus first in all things (Mark 8:34-38).The disciple of Christ needs to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. We must put off self-centeredness and put on Christ-centeredness. Because our Christ centered life will make us to see all in Christ.

Fruitfulness (John 15:5-8).Our job is not producing fruit. Our job is to abide in Christ, and if we do, the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit, and this fruit is the result of our obedience. As we become more obedient to the Lord and learn to walk in His ways, our lives will transform. The biggest transformation will take place in our hearts, and the overflow of this will be new a new way of living. The change we seek is done from the inside out, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May all our spiritual practices help us to realize our real self and may all live in love and harmony.





Dear Friends and oblates of Shantivanam,

Christmas is a celebration of joy. We celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts, decorating the houses, making a crib at home and putting Christmas stars, visiting friends, attending the Holy mass, sharing Christmas cakes, decorating the Christmas tree etc. The reason for this joy is Emmanuel: God with us. Christmas tells us that we are not alone. The Creator is with us and within us. This is the reason for which we celebrate Christmas with joy. The shepherds were the people who were privileged to experience first the nearness of the Lord.

Christmas is a love story only lovers will understand it. Thus, Augustine,” Give me a person who loves; he will understand what I am saying. Give me someone who does not love; he or she will not understand what we are saying.” The nearness of God cannot be understood with our cleverness. To understand and experience the nearness of God one has to attune one’s life with the life of Jesus.

In Jesus God comes closer to us as He can and He becomes one of us. He came to us as tender compassion and to bring light to those who live in the darkness. Wherever we experience His presence we experience Peace and Love even in the midst of chaos of the world.

God has no plan to leave us alone. This is the message of the parable of the Prodigal son and the Lost Sheep. In Jesus God’s unconditional love is manifested to the whole humanity.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this advent and Christmas season help you to become more like Jesus and burn like a candle which gives light to the world of darkness and pain with love and goodness.

Fr. George Nelliyanil

Saccidananda ashram Shantivanam, India









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