MESSAGES FROM FR DORATHICK RAJAN

(Prior of Saccidananda Ashram Shantivanam from 9th April 2018)

Please scroll down for previous messages




Death anniversary of our beloved founder Swami Jules Monchanin

10th October 1957

 

10th October 2019

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam ashram,

Today we commemorate the death anniversary of our beloved founder Swami Jules Monchanin, who took the name of Parama Arubi Ananda (the bliss of the Supreme Spirit)  Jules Monchanin (1895-1957), the founder of the Shantivanam ashram, came to India in 1939 as a French Catholic priest. His life in India was devoted to integrating the Hindu tradition, especially its sannyasi contemplative practice, into the life of the Christian Church. Bede Griffiths comments about Monchanin that "His knowledge of Indian culture and philosophy was profound, but at the same time, he sought to embody his ideal of a meeting between the Hindu philosophical tradition and the Christian faith in a community which would be rooted in the culture of India.[1] The goal of the ashram for Monchanin and Abhishiktananda:  We would like to crystallize and transubstantiate the search of the Hindu sannyāsī. Advaita and the praise of the Trinity are our only aim. This means we must grasp the authentic Hindu search for God in order to Christianize it, starting with ourselves first of all, from within.[2]

Monchanin explored the mystery of the Trinity as Saccidananda for he believed that in it the monism and pluralism, personal and impersonal, are reconciled. He felt that India was specially destined by God to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity.[3] He proposes that Christian mysticism can only be Trinitarian. The personal union that we seek in Christian mysticism must always share in the tri-personal inner colloquy of Saccidananda. Monchanin was guided by an intense theological vision of a world already being understood, purified and transformed by the Spirit of Christ. This seems to be the key to his thought. He was not interested in making converts, nor was he concerned with what we have become accustomed to calling dialogue. He wanted to evangelize the religious culture of India, to change it from within through the witness of personal holiness. He was not, therefore, trying to Christianize Hinduism but to develop a more deep awareness of himself as Christian and to make present that personal witness to Hindus. He led a contemplative life of prayer and study, sharing the customs and culture of local people in the manner of an Indian ascetic. Monchanin was a pioneer in the Catholic Church of an inclusive view of the relation between Christianity and Hinduism, Monchanin Bede Griffiths said, "he has left behind him the witness to an ideal, like that of de Nobili and Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya, which it seems to me can only grow in its significance as the years  go by." The Indian tradition should not be rejected but integrated into the Church.[4] Something of Monchanin's contribution may be seen in the fact that after his death this view became the official position of the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council. Monchanin Bede Griffiths said, "He has left behind him the witness to an ideal, like that of de Nobili and Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya, which it seems to me can only grow in its significance as the years go by."[5] The ashram which he founded remains as a witness to the ideal of a contemplative life which he had set before him, and his life and writings remain to inspire others with the vision of a Christian contemplation which shall have assimilated the wisdom of India, and a theology in which the genius of India shall find expression in Christian terms.[6]

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 


[1] https://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1103&context=jhcs

 [2] In J.G. Weber, In Quest of the Absolute, 73.

 [3] Abhishiktananda, Swami Parama Arubi Anandam, 1033.

 [4] Jules Monchanin, Pioneer in Hindu-Christian Dialogue, 73.

 [5] Jules Monchanin, Pioneer in Hindu-Christian Dialogue,64.

 [6] Quoted in J.G. Weber, In Quest of the Absolute, 3.

 

September 2019

Climate Change:  A call to Protect and Promote Peace throughout the World.

Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Today we often
see and hear about two things that are threatening us all - War and climate change. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres says “Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.” Human beings are blessed with peace and protected by nature and that is why we call Mother Nature. Mother of all living beings which exist on this planet. Now Mother Nature is in such grave danger that it threatens us in many ways in our life. The human and health influences of climate change are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Extreme weather events are disrupting more and more lives.  Nature and natural resources are much in trade, for instance, we can see the 5 elements (Pancha Mahabhuta) are in the trade as well as in crisis, Water: We are in crisis, Air: we are in a condition by pollution and we need to get an Air conditioner, Fire: The natural gas, Earth: sand and soil, Space: Aurora Station, the world's first space hotel will be soon. All this makes us reflect whether it is connected to spirituality or any individuals? Yes definitely to spirituality and each individual is affected by this environmental crisis and  climate change. Spirituality means the way we think in order for us to function fully; all aspects of ourselves must be balanced. Our mind, body, and spirit have to be in harmony with each other. It is so important always and that is why all the religions will emphasize the spiritual life. We have a gift of life when we live spiritually, that means beyond religion our life becomes spiritual life, that is the response to our life and our existence in this Universe. It is time to reflect on climate change and take action to bring harmony. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”- Pope Frances in  Laudato si.  How do we act towards this threat?  not with fear and anger because fear and anger are always destructive. We only react to this problem but start with the present - that is with intelligence - then we will respond to the problem and it will always be productive. To take action does not mean that you have to join in some organization to protect nature or should plant many trees etc… if you do, it is well, but rather we can all start with something very practical - things we consume in day to day life that we use. What is needed is not more than that and makes a lot of difference!  Start with a simple life. In  Genesis 1:28  we see: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Many times we misunderstand that and we think we have all the control over the world dominion and with this selfishness we act. Dominion also means that we human beings are responsible to protect mother earth and promote peace and harmony to all.  Remember Peace is our natural state. Men and women are essentially soul or Atma which has three essential qualities which are SAT, CHIT, ANANDA or Truth, knowledge, and Bliss.  When we realize this we go beyond all the turmoil humankind has created and we protect nature and promote Peace in the whole universe. It is time to unite together with all the nations, religions, Cultures together to Protect and Promote Peace throughout the World.

 Shanti Shanti Shanti…

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick


           


AUGUST 2019

Sannyasa beyond Religion

 


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Today, 30th August, we commemorate the birthday of Swami Abishiktananda. We reflect on Swamis vision of sannyasa beyond religion. In one of his last writings on sannyasa, an article published as a series in the divine life, the journal of Shivananda ashram Rishikesh, Swami Abishiktananda offers a more radical vision of sannyasa.

In every religion and in every religious experience, he says, there is a ‘beyond’ and in sannyasa is the acknowledgement of such a beyond of all symbols, all possibility of being adequately signified by rites, creeds and all signs. It is paradoxically the sign of what is beyond institutions. Expression like Christian sannyasa or Hindu sannyasa has value on the phenomenological level.  The call of complete renunciation cuts across all dharmas and does not mind any frontier. It is therefore normal, affirms swamiji from his own experience, that the monks of all dharmas discover themselves as brothers across the frontier of their respective dharmas in that very transcendence of all signs to which all of them bear witness. A true sannyasi is “the man beyond the realms of signs whose function here below is to remind everyone that the ‘eschaton’ is already present”.[1] One might wonder whether there could be a rite to go beyond rites? And whether there could be a sign to realize what is beyond signs? It is in answering these questions that swamiji shows his deep understanding of the ideal and the real in sannyasa.

The sannyasi, says he, live in the world of signs; and this world of manifestation is in need of him, the ‘beyond – sign to realize the impossible bridging between the two worlds keeping them apart and yet linking one with the other. Besides, there is also the need for society itself of the presence of formal sannyasis in the midst of it. Now, with regard to the type of diksha, he believes that it is normal that the official initiation be done within the religious tradition in which each individual is born and has grown in spirit. For, as long as we remain at the level of signs, the best signs are generally those amidst which we woke up as men and as men devoted to God, even if later on those signs have to be purified and freed from limitations and particularism.  Integrating deeply his experience as a Christian monk with his experience of sannyasa with its upanishadic insights, swamiji presents a kind of ecumenical diksha- a monastic profession of which both a Hindu sannyasin and a Christian monk would be witnesses. The first would transmit to the candidate the initiation he himself received and co-opt him into that mystery of sannyasa which manifested itself all along the centuries by the numerous mahatmas and sadus; the other will initiate him to that no less numerous mass of witnesses who heard the invitation of Christ to leave everything for the kingdom. Then,” beyond the double vamsa, both of them, indivisibly, in advaita, will lead him to the spirit, the unique things which calls that inner light which shines in the heart of all those who are called.”[2]

Shanti shanti shanti..

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 



[1] Divine life, nov.1973,450-451.

[2] Divine life, feb. 1974,63.




JULY 2019


Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam


Greetings and Peace to all

Prana- The life Energy and vital force

 

Prana is a Sanskrit word constructed of the syllables praandan. 'An' means movement and 'pra' is a prefix meaning constant. Therefore, prana means constant motion. This constant motion begins in the human being as soon as he is conceived in his mother's womb. Prana is therefore energy responsible for the human life. Prana in a simple term we can understand our breath.  In the Christian tradition Breath of God, revealing God to the world and giving life, not only to humans, but also to the whole of creation. The very first verse of the Bible speaks of the Spirit as a mighty wind which moves over the face of the deep, drawing aside, as it were, the veils of darkness to allow the beautiful earth to emerge (Gen 1:1). Human beings were not a "living being" until God breathed into Humans. The word for breath in Hebrew is ruach which also means Spirit, so man or women only becomes a "living being" when God gives him His Spirit . When God takes back the breath, life disappears: ‘When you take away their breath they die and return to the dust’ (Ps. 104:29).

In Upanishads we can see Prana next to the Self and the Supreme-Self, the most important entity which is frequently mentioned in the Upanishads is prana. The Chandogya Upanishad compares the pranic energy in the body with the energy of the sun. It declares that what is in the sun is the same as what is in prana. The sun is the sustainer of all. The energy in the body is actually similar to the energy present in the sun. Hence in the austerities (tapas), the body is able to generate heat. According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the breath not only protects the organs in the body, but also keeps them free from evil. In the past, it carried all the organs to the ends of the quarters and freed them from the impurities of evil. Thus, as long as prana is present in the body, the organs are safe and the body remains pure. prana keeps the body alive and free from evil. While the body can survive without the presence of other organs, although it may lose some functionality in the process, without the breath it dies. Like the Self, prana is also invisible and subtle. It remains veiled behind names and forms. While the Self is indivisible, the breath is divisible. It divides itself into various kinds and flows in the body in various directions. prana is superior to the organs in the body, including the senses, the mind and the limbs, it has a great significance in the practice of yoga, in the purification of the mind and body and in stabilizing them.

 The most ancient spiritual text of India, the Rig Veda, says about the breath. In the great Hymn of Creation (10:129:2) it says of the Absolute: “That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature.” Before creation the Cosmic Breath was fully internal, becoming external at the advent of the universe. It is the same way with us. In the depths of meditation the breath becomes internal so that we, too, breathe inwardly and perceive that inward movement which is a manifestation of our own essential nature. This is why Breath is so important in our life we can see in many religious traditions and meditation techniques are based on awareness of breath because essentially you know when you are aware of your prana (breath) then you will know how the life is happening in you. Unless we do not know what is our life? We may not know how to respond to our life. So for me it is so important to know the basic what is life then it is easy to respond to life. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.7  says beautifully “When one breathes, one knows him as breath”. This implies that through breathing specifically through observing the breath – God can be known. Two things happen when you know about Prana first you know yourself second you come to know God. As a Christian we can even understand well the prana in John 20:22 Jesus again reminded all his disciples “When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. The Prana which we share is the same, so the importance of the prana is to be cared for in our life.  When we are constantly aware of the prana, we will be connected with the creator - this is the link and key for your life. Let us feel that every moment and every breath we take is a Gift of life and feel that it is God who works evidently within us throughout our life.
 
Shanti Shanti Shanti

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick



JUNE 2019
Greetings and Peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam,


Sit in the cell as in paradise

 As we celebrate the Solemnity  of St. Romuald on 19 th June, his beautiful little rule comes to my mind. The beginning of Romuald’s brief rule “Sit In your cell as in paradise”, touched me a lot when I read it for the first time.  This is the advice normally given to Hesychast.  Hesychast is one who lives in golden solitude.  Abba Moses gives a similar command “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything”. In the scripture we read “The Kingdom of God is within you”  Luke 17:21. “You are the Temple of the living God” II Corinthians 6:16. One of the fundamental truths emphasized by Jesus is the immanence of the Kingdom of God, the fact that it is within each and every human being. The Adi Grantha beautifully says “The temple of God is the body, from which comes out the rubies of knowledge”  When we sit in the cell as in paradise in solitude and silence, cast all our thoughts of the world behind. This is fundamental for meditation, then observe within. Then we discover the inner dynamism of love in the depth of our heart.   This Divine mystery represents a dynamic unity in relationship.  The Christian revelation evokes, according to Fr. Bede Griffiths, a unique awareness of the correspondence between the life of the Divine Mystery and of human consciousness. Specially, the movement of human consciousness in returning to a non-dual union with its source, is seen in the person of Jesus Christ and in its symbolic re–enactment through liturgy and theology in the church. Thus, following Christ, the individual and human consciousness itself, may undergo incarnation, death (self- transcendence) and resurrection through its participation in the life of Christ. This process of self-realization culminates, for a Christian, in the experience of the Kingdom of God  in which all the created reality  serves as reflection of the divine reality. To identify the inner dynamism and power, within the Divine mystery, as Love. It is this love which moves the human consciousness towards full integration and full fulfillment. Realizing this Love within us helps us to empty ourselves completely as a brief rule of St.Romuald ends:” Empty yourself completely and waiting content with the grace of God …”. This emptiness frees the mind and allows Gods grace within us. Thus we experience here and now Gods love within us.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

 With Love

Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE 26TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF FR BEDE GRIFFITHS 13TH MAY


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

Today we commemorate the 26th death anniversary of Fr. Bede Griffiths. We give thanks for the great gift of God to us. Last week a sister from FMM congregation visited our Ashram after many years. She shared her experience with Fr.Bede Griffiths - after meeting him her life was transformed. She was there at the time of Fr. Bede’s funeral - she witnessed the change of nature as she was telling me how much Fr. Bede is connected with nature. This reminded me of the first time I read The Golden String before coming to Shantivanam: When he was in his last year at Oxford, Griffiths had a powerful experience of the numinous, which is often quoted in the secondary literature as pivotal in Griffiths’ spiritual journey:

A lark rose suddenly from the ground … and poured out its song over my head, and then sank still singing to rest. Everything then drew still as the sunset faded and the veil of dusk began to cover the earth.  I remember now the feeling of awe which came over me.  I felt inclined to kneel on the ground, as though I had been standing in the presence of an angel; and I hardly dared to look on the face of the sky, because it seemed as though it was but a veil before the face of God.[1]

These mystical experiences in his early years are crucial as we can see them retrospectively as pre-figurations of his later engagements with Eastern Spirituality. Later Fr.Bede Griffiths came to the realization that a relationship with God is a two way process; that God was searching for him, just as he was searching for God. He saw that Christianity ‘was not just a doctrine to be preached but a life to be lived.’[2] God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything - Bede Griffiths.


Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

[1] Bede Griffiths, The Golden String (London: Harvill Press 1954), 9.

[2] Bede Griffiths, The Golden String, 119.


                                           



EASTER MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam…. A warm greeting to you all. Let His joy, peace, and love ascend into your home this Easter and through the years. Truly, He has risen!

On Holy Saturday one of the workers went to clean the chapel. Soon she rushed to me with tears in her eyes. I just asked her what happened. She with tears in her eyes in a feeble voice said that God is not there and there is no light in the lamp! She is a Hindu lady but she did not know that we empty the tabernacle and no light will be there until Easter. But I could see that her belief in God and her feeling towards God is something very profound and meaningful. It is almost the same as when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-3. When friends and loved ones die, when we are broken, and when God seems so far away and it seems as though we are left with nothing but to sit in silence and contemplate that brokenness -  Do we do as Judas, who killed himself in great sorrow and despair, or do we do as Mary Magdalen who set out in her great sorrow to visit the grave of Jesus and witness the Resurrection? 

The extract below from an Easter homily by Fr Eugene Lobo, SJ  is taken from the following website:-https://indiancatholicmatters.org/easter-homily-today-is-a-fulfilment-of-his-fathers-will/

Mary Magdalene went in search of Jesus even after the disciples went away. She loved her master and was much devoted to him and wanted to remain close the tomb. She was upset with the events that the stone was removed, the body was missing and she thought that someone had deliberately stolen it. She wept at the loss and with the inner burning desire to be near him, to follow Him, to hear Him, to feel loved, to be understood and to be forgiven of sins. In the tomb she sees two angels who ask her the reason for her crying. At that very moment Jesus too is present and he too asks her the reason for her crying. She thinks that he is gardener and looks for his help but Jesus presents himself to her and calls her by name. Only then she understands who he was and worships him. Jesus indeed accepts her presence but gives her the mission. She was asked to go and tell all, starting from the disciples that Jesus is raised from the dead and she has seen him and he has the good news for everyone. He also tells her that he has to ascend to the Father but she has her task to fulfill here and now, namely to be his messenger.

For Peter and other disciples this was the moment of growth in their faith in the resurrection of Jesus. Immediately after the visit to the empty tomb they may have been shocked. This will soon be clarified to them about the resurrection of Jesus perhaps through Mary Magdalene. Later it is further clarified as he encountered the disciples on the way to Emmaus where he explained the positive meaning of the sufferings of the messiah as found in the Old Testament.

The resurrection of Jesus brought a new hope in the disciples and transformed their emptiness into a fullness of light. The word, “Jesus is alive!” or “I have seen the Lord!” were enough to instantly create a great spiritual hunger in their soul the worldly minds of the disciples suddenly became alerted to the truth. Faith was being reinstated in the Words that Jesus had spoken while He lived on earth. They could now understand what it really means to be raised from the dead. In this resurrection is the new creation by the Father. In the book of Genesis we hear of God creating the Universe. Now in the new creation God creates something more than that. He raises his own Son from the dead and gives him to the Humanity as a new gift and commissions him to remain with human kind forever.

To the Disciples the Resurrection was a new experience. It was something totally unexpected and new. It gave them a new vision of life. They were persons totally transformed with the presence of the Resurrected Jesus. They had seen his suffering and during that time most of them had remained hidden out of fear. For them as it is for us the celebration of Easter Sunday totally reverses the image of Good Friday. It tell us what Good Friday is about; It tells us that what took place on the cross on Good Friday was not just a simple death but a real sacrifice, it was not a defeat but a triumph over sin and death, and it was not an end but a great beginning.

Jesus accepted death in total obedience to his Father. He tells the Father that he is ready to do his will and sacrificed himself for the salvation of the world. His death was not a defeat but a triumph over sin and death. His death in reality was a passage to new life and hence it is no end in itself. Ultimately the Easter is the celebration of the total unending love of the Father for the sake of Humanity. He gave back his son to us for human kind with greater love and with the resurrection Jesus will stay with us forever. The resurrection of Jesus, and later the Pentecost brings change in the disciples. They knew of his presence and Jesus worked many miracles through them. People in Jerusalem too once they saw their work held them in high esteem. The result of their work was that the community increased in numbers.

Today on Easter Sunday the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus reminds us that we have the same mission as Peter and Mary Magdalene and the other disciples of Jesus. This requires as the first reading of today tells us that we need a radical conversion, a radical change on our part.

In the celebration of the Pasch, the Jews used to throw out all the leavened bread they had and replace it with freshly baked unleavened bread. Because of the fermentation process that leavened bread undergoes, yeast was regarded as a corrupting agent. So Paul tells us that we, too, as we celebrate our Christian Passover, are to become “a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be…having only the unleavened bread of integrity and truth.”Further, Peter emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ disciples not only experiencing and enjoying the joy of their Risen Master and Lord but also of sharing that experience and joy with as many people as possible. It is something we must do also to live joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord. For the true Christian, in fact, every day is an Easter Day lived joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord. “He has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed Jesus to judge everyone, alive or dead, that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name…”

On this day Jesus calls us to be his messengers of peace. We pray that this peace will remain in our hearts always to make us his messengers in the world of today. The celebration of Easter is a call for us to change – and perhaps change radically – as Jesus’ own disciples changed. I wish you all to celebrate this day with peace, love and bliss. Have a blessed and holy Easter.

Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With Love

Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF FR. JULES MONCHANIN Born10th April 1895


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam

Today we remember the birth anniversary of Swami Parama Arubi Ananda ( Jules Monchanin).

The Call of Swami Parama Arubi Ananda is so beautiful to reflect on in this lenten season as we are close to Easter.

He became fully aware of his vocation to India during his serious illness on 26 march 1932 on Passion Sunday. His condition of health was so bad just near to death. He promised God that if he recovers, he would dedicate himself to the salvation of India. When his health was restored he just dedicates himself to learn Indian philosophy, culture etc... Swami once wrote “I had always been drawn by India. If you look at the development of a vocation, you will find its roots in the earliest years of childhood. You discern signs which were found in mysticism. As in Heidegger’s concept of time in future which draws the present and the past so there was always within me this attraction of India. At first it was primary intellectual, and it had not yet taken shape in a definite vocation…  The working out of a person’s destiny is always a great mystery. The graces received are bound to many others. There are incarnate graces which make you go from intellectual level to level of life.” In him the intellect found redoubtable strength in the extraordinary strength of his spirit. Right up to the end, with calm, humble, simplicity, he followed the call, so hard, so gentle, which resounded in him. More precisely, his call was inseparably a call to the mission  to communicate the vision of the Holy Trinity , Of Christ  and of the church  a call to the monastic life and a call to India. An Ashram (monastic order) dedicated to contemplation is needed in India. It is needed as  Swami Parama Arubi Ananda often said,” that Christianity be rethought as Indian, and Indian as a Christian.” Today  Swami Parama Arubi Ananda‘s call gives us a great inspiration to move from the intellectual level to a life level experience in our Spiritual journey.


Shanti Shanti Shanti


With love and Prayers


Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE 69TH ANNIVERSARY OF SACCIDANANDA ASHRAM SHANTIVANAM 21ST MARCH 2019


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends …

Today we celebrate our 69 th anniversary of our Ashram.  On the feast of St. Benedict in the holy Year 1950, the mass was celebrated for the first time in a hermitage, Shantivanam, newly erected on the bank of river Cauvary, near the small town of Kulittalai .  Two priests Parama Arupi Ananda and Abhishiktananda  were then permitted by his Excellency the Rt. Rev. Dr. Mendonca, Bishop of Tiruchirapalli, to enter that hermitage and, dressed in the traditional garb of Indian ascetics, to dedicate themselves to the quest of God and salvation through a life of solitude, prayer and silence, after the manner of so many Indian pioneers – but in the light of the teaching of Christ and the examples of Christian monks. Anticipating the second Vatican council and the all Indian seminar – to show that they sought to identify themselves with the “Hindu search for God” the quest of the absolute, which inspired monastic life in India from the earliest times; they also intended to relate this quest to their own experience of God in Christ in the mystery of The Holy Trinity. The ashram is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

The aim of the ashram is to establish a way of contemplative life, based on the traditions of Christian monasticism and Hindu sannyasa, renunciation of the world in order to seek God or in Hindu Terms - liberation which goes back many centuries before the birth of Christ and continues to the present day.   Our aim at Shativanam is to unite ourselves with this tradition as Christian Sannyasis. Fr. Bede Griffiths led the development of dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism as part of the Christian Ashram Movement. His belief in the brotherhood of all mankind and his attempt to bridge religious differences with interfaith dialogue.  His spiritual understanding transcended many people. The ashram is attentive not only to spiritual seekers but is also conscious of the poor and the needy neighbors in the surrounding villages. Though the ashram’s primary call is to discover “the kingdom of God within,” it is also deeply proactive to the cry of the poor in their milieu through the words of Jesus “whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters that you do unto me.” 

Shantivanam Ashram is a mother of all other catholic ashrams. Today we must ponder the vision of our founders for ashram .  Ashram must above all be a place of prayer and contemplation, where those who feel a call to a life of seclusion from the world and total commitment to a life of prayer in poverty, chastity and obedience may find the opportunity which they seek. But at the same time we want this spirit of prayer to radiate outwards, so that those who are engaged in the world may be able to come here and discover something of the reality of the presence of God in their lives. It is our belief that no economic or social development can be of any lasting value, unless it is based on a deep awareness of the reality of God, of that infinite transcendence which is known in prayer and meditation, which alone gives any ultimate meaning to human life. We believe that it is such centres of prayer and meditation, which are the greatest need of the Church and the world today.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With Prayers

Fr. Dorathick

Message from Fr. Dorathick February 2019


Blessed are the Peace makers


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Our world today is not a place of peace and tranquility. Evil in the world is becoming increasingly aggressive and hostile like recent Pulwama terror attack and in many other attacks in other parts of the world. The result is hate and violence exists in our world. In John 15:18 Jesus warns us about this, If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. The greatest challenge for the peacemaker is to reflect the nature of God in an environment dominated by evil. If we ask What is the purpose of this Universe? What is the goal of life? The Indians suggest peace- Shanti. The Chinese evoke harmony. The Christans dream of fullness- pleroma, the terms may be different, but the vision is the same. We can think of other terms like communion, advaitic or non- dual oneness, “ God , All in all”(1 Cor 15:28), “ That they may be all one”(Jn 17:21) Jesus’ proclamation is set in the horizon of peace. At the very beginning of his life he proclaims: “Blessed are the peacemakers”( mt 5:9).

There are 3 steps towards true and lasting peace:

1. Peace with God – peace I leave with you. In Greek the word for peace is the word EIRENE  and comes from the root verb EIRO which means to join together. In this context, peace is not the absence of something but the joining together of something. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of grace. Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God. Before Jesus went away he comforted His disciples by promising that His peace would remain – “Peace I leave with you”. He was leaving them in right relationship with himself. This relationship would last beyond the cross to eternity. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts He gives the same promise to us – that through justification the relationship which we began will continue. Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through ignorance we were separated from God. That separation leads to a longing in the human heart. People try to fill that God shaped void with many things, but nothing will satisfy. Without justification it is impossible to have real peace. Conscience forbids it. Ignorance is a mountain between a man and God, and must be taken away. The sense of guilt lies heavy on the heart and must be removed. Unpardoned sin will murder peace. The true Christian knows all this well. His peace arises from a consciousness of his sins being forgiven, and his guilt being put away. ... He has peace with God, because he is justified. Gen 3:9 says But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"  He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Sin severed our relationship with God. The result was shame. Sin caused Adam to try to hide from God, and sin has been causing mankind to run from God ever since. The results of this broken relationship with God lead to fear (feeling naked) and blame (the woman YOU put here…) It all started with a broken relationship with God, so peace must begin with a restored relationship with God.

2. Peace with ourselves – my peace I give you When we have peace with God then we are able to make peace with ourselves. Feelings of insecurity, guilt and unforgiveness are all dealt with in the cross. It is only when we see ourselves through the eyes of God that we can truly understand who we really are. Paul understood the inner war of the soul that we all have within us: Rom 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Jesus gives us His sense of inner peace – “my peace I give you”. As people we are not “good nothings” but “fallen somethings”. We need to understand that God made us good and that He loves us despite our wrong choices. Peace rules the day when Christ rules the heart and mind. If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. -- Chinese Proverb First put yourself at peace, and then you may the better make others be at peace. A peaceful and patient man is of more profit to himself and to others, too, than a learned man who has no peace.

 3. Peace with others – I do not give to you as the world gives There are so many people today that are talking about peace, but the problem is that peace with others is impossible until you have peace with God and peace with self. Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the presence of grace in conflict. Peace does not mean or avoiding all differences and ideals. It is not appeasement, or pretending conflict does not exist. It is not religious tolerance in saying “you believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want”.

John Stott writes in The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, Peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation… It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that "they shall be called sons of God." For they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with his love. Making peace makes us God's children— which means we are related to each other as family. Peacemakers actively work to bring about a spiritual wholeness and healing between those who are away from God by their ignorance.  Peacemaking requires time and effort. We must pursue and produce it. God approves and blesses the peacemakers. Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians by saying, ―Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.‖ That is the very best blessing for those who want to be called the children of God.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 


Message from Fr. Dorathick January 2019

God revealed in Creation  

Peace and Joy be with you all

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

How do I know God?  This is a quest we can see from long ago in the history and traditions until today. Obviously there are many different traditions, cultures, religions languages, art, etc.. that God has revealed to us. Creation is one of the best and easiest ways to know God. The scriptures are clear that God’s presence can be found in Creation. This in fact, seems to be one of God’s best dwelling places. Psalm 19 testifies to the revelation of God through His creation: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. Bhagavad-Gita 9.19 says I radiate heat as the sun, and I withhold, as well as send forth rain. I am immortality as well as death personified, O Arjun. I am the spirit as well as matter. The Puranas describe that when God first created the universe, He manifested the first-born Brahma and entrusted him with the work of further creation.  Brahma was bewildered by the task of creating the materials and the life-forms in the universe from the subtle material energy. Then God revealed knowledge unto him. There is nothing apart from Me. Shree Krishna reveals that He is the Vedas, the sacrificial fire, the syllable “Om,” the clarified butter, and the act of offering.  No matter what the form and sentiment of our devotion, there is nothing apart from God that we can offer to Him.  Nevertheless, it is the sentiment of love that pleases God, not the material of the offering. God, therefore, reveals Himself to us in the natural world of creation and through the use of our natural reason. We can observe the world around us and draw a logical conclusion that God exists. This is called natural revelation because we are using our native power of reasoning about creatures to "perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them" (Wis 13:4).

The creation itself tells us about the existence of God the Creator just as the human person reveals to us God’s existence through the human soul, that “seed of eternity” that can originate only in God (CCC 33). When we look at the created world around us, we have the natural ability to learn about God. As St. Paul tells us, "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made" (Rom 1:20). When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything. No amount of unaided thinking or observation could lead to comprehension of God CCC 52 …By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him, and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.  The Nature is God's gift to everyone. There are people who see and love God’s wonders in creation, but some stop seeing God in it.  There are also people who worship the created world and serve creature rather than transcending from the creation to the creator. God made his Creation in such a way that we could see Him reflected in its beauties, and He wants us to find Him there. This is how Solomon put it “For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”(Wis 13:5). The first revelation of God is in the creation it is clear for us.

Today it is a great challenge for us to preserve nature and to keep it alive. Because it has been polluted and maltreated in different ways out of our ignorance. Let us be aware that it is our own responsibility to keep nature safe and clean.  Nature will always be a part of our lives . It's up to us to make the environment clean and safe for future generation. Imagine a world without Nature . Without trees. Clouds . Season . Snow . Green grass . Beautiful flowers and everything that nature is. What would the meaning of life be? Nature is very important for us because  humans have needed to survive and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials, for shelter, and even natural cycles such us climate and nutrients etc. We have to  use this wonderful gift of God to unveil the revelation of God in nature. When we love nature we come to know that we are the co creators who have to keep nature safe and make this nature a place for others to see God’s  revelation here and now in this world. As we participate in the creation let us rejoice at every moment of our life, manifesting Gods love for us in nature. 

 

Shanti Shanti Shanti

 

With Prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 

 



REMEMBERING FR BEDE GRIFFITHS


 
ON THE 112th ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH 17TH DECEMBER 2018



Peace and Joy to all

Today we remember the birth anniversary of Fr. Bede.

As we are preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas we reflect on one of his letters on Renunciation which began the night of his conversion, before his monastic commitment.

He wrote: I have been telling Mary that my prayer has undergone a revolution through my discovery of the meaning of sin. Of course, I have known it in general before, but this has been a deep, interior experience renewed from day to day. It will take a long time for it to sink in, but I do believe it is what I have been seeking. I have always felt an obstacle between myself and my deepest being, and I am sure that the obstacle is pride. I feel that Jung’s psychology and oriental methods of prayer tend to make me overlook this fundamental matter of personal sin. This seems to be the essential work of Christian prayer. For sin is the offence against God in the sense  that it is an offence against the ultimate law of being. It seems to me that it touches the depths of one’s soul. Only when we have realized this deep, interior sin and repented of it with all our will, can our interior being be open to God. Then God is experienced as love, reaching down into the depths of our being and drawing us to itself. This again seems to be a peculiarly Christian experience - God is known as absolutely other than ourselves, giving himself gratuitously to us, more deeply present to us than we are to ourselves, but still absolutely other. It is a union of love - two really distinct beings united in one. But one must keep one’s mind on the reality of one’s personal sin. One must recall the incidents of rebellion, selfassertion, self-will etc. which have occurred in the past and recognize one’s sin and repent. It must be a completely personal act of acknowledgement and reparation. One must realize that pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust and sloth are perpetually active in us and only the grace of God can save us at any moment. This may not mean as much to you as it does to me, but it has to become an interior experience, a grace which needs to be renewed day by day, until the hard shell of pride begins to be worn through. I feel sure that this is the obstruction which keeps one back all the time. Isn’t your desire to be above everything all the time probably due to this? The way lies in exactly the opposite direction. One has to learn to place oneself below everyone and everything. The inmost centre of the soul is the lowest point of our being: it is where we become nothing and God everything. But to reach it one has to go back and back, beyond each point of self-assertion by which the wall of pride has been built up, until one reaches childhood, - then beyond that, because there is sin latent in childhood, until one realizes that there is no good in oneself, and that every particle of good comes not from ourselves but from God, and that it is only by grace that we do not pervert every good thing we find in ourselves.B.G letter to Mary Allen 11/1/53.

Let us take up the inspiration of fr. Bede’s life and his message on this day and make our Christmas very special.

Om Shanti ShantiShanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick



CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM FR DORATHICK
     


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam

A Happy and blessed Christmas to each one of you. My prayer for each of you this year is that you may be touched and renewed by the message of joy and hope which this special season brings. 

Christmas is a joyous season for all. The very word ‘Christmas’ brings joy and brings out real goodness, in our hearts. It is the feast which touches the hearts like no other feasts. To live Christ is a celebration of God’s regard for this world and our flesh. God became so close to each of us by taking the form of a simple human child in flesh and blood. When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children (Gal 4: 4-5). We all become the children of God. God became human. The greatest moment of human history is when God became man. Incarnation is when divinity bent low over us in love to lift us up Himself. The mystery of the Incarnation empowers us. It teaches us the virtues that generate life and compassionate love. God in Jesus becomes a servant God who washes the feet of his disciples. He identifies himself with every human suffering and complete self gifting love for us.

 Christmas is the bridging of two realities reminding us that God is not just the God of heaven but Lord and Creator of the universe. The Incarnation is not just to save the world, but to bless the world, to bless being human, to sanction being human, to join us in our humanness. Jesus invites us to come to him as a child.  When we look around, and see the children in their many Christmas presentations, that excitement and thrill goes a long way in helping to lay aside, even for a moment, the realities of daily struggle. For children, all the experiences of life are new and thrilling adventures. They take them in and take them on willingly and eagerly. Adults will do well to adopt this attitude of childlike innocence at Christmas, and allow the gift of this sacred birth we celebrate a chance to fill us with peace! joy! and love!

In this Christmas, we open the door of our heart to receive Christ in us.  It is the result of an encounter between two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet us and a human heart. Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh capable of love despite our weakness. I come to realize that I am truly a new creation: I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy. Jesus’ coming made it possible to reconnect ourselves with God and with each other. He gave us the tools to break the barriers of separation and division. He wants us to be one family living as brothers and sisters. Obviously, we have a long way to go. There is still division, hatred and discrimination. We are called to overcome the temptation of isolating ourselves from our families or fostering division among God’s people. We are more alike than we are different. We must find and affirm what we have in common rather than what is different. Christ is our peace. He broke the barriers of hostility that kept us apart. “The pleasure of belonging to one another leads to seeing life as a common project, putting the other’s happiness ahead of my own”  (Amoris Laetitia #220).  May the New-born Lord touch the heart of every one and abide in the soul of every human being, so that He blesses and enlightens all of us together with the radiance of the Star of Bethlehem. May He grant us a blessed New Year of salvation illumined by the light of the knowledge of God. Such that the forthcoming Year 2019 may be filled with mutual love, peace and harmony, we invoke upon all of you the blessing and grace of the Holy Night of Christmas, joyfully exclaiming from our heart: GOD'S PEACE – CHRIST IS BORN! INDEED HE IS BORN!

Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room for silence at this time, to hear the voice of Love.”      Pope Francis

Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick

    



MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK RAJAN FOR THE

45th death Anniversary of  Swami Abhishiktananda
7th December 2018


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam ,

Peace and Joy to all

As we are in the advent season, preparing our self joyfully to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. Today we remember the death anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda. Swami Abhishitanada immersed himself into God experience in himself and He gives us a better understanding to know Christ on this day to prepare our hearts to receive Christ.

In his final illness he had experienced “an inner apocalypse”, “an awakening beyond all myths and symbols” (Baumer-Despeigne, 1983, 327-328), returning him to one of his favourite Upanishadic verses (of which we can find echoes in many mystical works of both East and West): I know him, that great Purusha, Of the colour of the sun, Beyond all darkness. He who has known him goes beyond death. There is no other way. (Svetasvatara Upanishad, III.8.) The knowledge (vidya) of Christ is identical with what the Upanishads call divine knowledge (brahmavidya). It comprises the whole of God’s self manifestation in time, and is one with his eternal self-manifestation. Step by step I descended into what seemed to me to be successive depths of my true self—my being (sat), my awareness of being (cit), and my joy in being (ananda). Finally nothing was left but he himself, the Only One, infinitely alone, Being, Awareness and Bliss, Saccidananda (Abhishiktananda, 1984: 172).

On this day we contemplate and let’s all be inspired by his life and total dedication for the love of God!

Let Swami Abhishiktanda’s Spirit and his wisdom live forever and ever in us.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti….

Fr. Dorathick


   


MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK RAJAN FOR THE

61ST DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF FR. JULES MONCHANIN

10TH OCTOBER 2018



Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Peace and joy be with you all

Today as we are celebrating the 61 death anniversary of our beloved Fr. Jules Monchanin. On this day we contemplate on his own words, a strong conviction and faith in God which made a great transformation in his life. He is a great inspiration for us today.

He wrote to his mother "… God has transplanted me… I want to sink myself into this silence, to be only adoration and praise. I have said goodbye to the west and I have come to an unknown land. I am filled with praise for this land that God has chosen for me. I don’t have any idea what I will do, but I have faith in Spirit. How I wish that from my life and from my death, a contemplative life in the Trinity might be born which will assume, purify and transfigure all the thought, all the art and all the millennia of India’s experience!.... I know, I feel, that nothing must be rushed, and I am waiting in patience, for my thought lives almost always in the future."

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With prayers

Fr.Dorathick





30th August 2018 - 108th Birth Anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda


Peace and Joy be with you

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam,

As we are celebrating the 108th birth anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda - The number 108 is a very important number in Indian culture, Hindu and Buddhist traditions too give it great importance. The number 108 is 1+0+8 =9, and number 9 is related with God. That is why, traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads always leading towards a God experience or union with God. 
Today we are called to remember Swami Abhishikananda's life and vision and the God experience in our life today “…To realize the mystery of God in the deepest recesses of our heart, beyond all thought, all imagination, beyond every possible manifestation of His glory. God is indeed present in every one of His signs, and yet He remains for ever beyond all signs, beyond everything through which He manifests His Presence, beyond everything in the mental or material world….Everything through which God reveals Himself to us is a summons to go further, to go beyond.”*(Prayer, pp.50-51) "All that we know or think we know of God is false. There is only one thing to know of God—and that transcends the understanding, it takes place at the sources of being—namely, that this knowledge is a total commitment. It is in the abandonment of reliance on yourself that you know God, existentially. That is faith and brahmavidya (the knowledge of Brahman)."*
(Ascent to the Depth of the Heart p.500)
To have a deeper understanding and to grow towards God is a call on this beautiful occasion and gives us an invitation to be in union with God in our own life.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick


* "The Message of Swami Abhishiktananda - Selected Quotations" http://www.abhishiktananda.org.in/html/message-of-swami-abhishiktananda.php




The Vocation of Being an Oblate is a Call to Holiness in Today’s World



Peace and Joy be with you all

Dear Oblates and friends of Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam

Today we live in a world which is rapidly changing and we are busy with lots of work, busy schedules etc. Despite all our busy schedules we have to remember that we are all spiritual beings as well as social beings and are called to grow in holiness and share our love towards God and our neighbor. Holiness is a gift that is offered to everyone, no one is excluded; it constitutes the distinctive character of every Christian. To be saints, Pope Francis said, “we do not necessarily have to be bishops, priests or Religious”, or like those who are able to “detach themselves from ordinary matters, to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer”.

In today’s World the Oblate ship will help us to remind and help us to grow towards holiness. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. You will find everything you need to grow towards holiness. The very meaning of the word oblate is for the service of God and neighbor by our life. Oblates are not vowed members of the Benedictine Order. But they are committed by their oblation to a community and seek to adopt its spirit and share its charism. Benedictine Oblate life is primarily a spiritual life. The key to this life is found in the Rule of St. Benedict: "That God may be glorified in all things" (RB 57:9). For the oblate, "all things" encompasses prayer, work, studies, recreation, family, friends and even enemies.

The Oblates of Shantivanam build on the foundation of prayer, study, work that characterizes Shantivanam in its Benedictine Camaldolese tradition as their way of realizing the Divine Mystery as love uniting the world. The oblate truly seeks God in every aspect of life.  Oblates of Shantivanam have to know and revere traditions other than their own and respect all who seek God. Work for the Unity of mankind, promoting inter- religious dialogue and inter religious harmony and to know the Spiritual Vision and mission of Shantivanam is to live a life of the fullness of the love of God and fullness of the love of neighbor. It is also a call to be a peace maker following the exhortation of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God.” 

Pope Francis beautifully ends his apostolic exhortation on holiness document proposing five great expressions of love for God and neighbor: Perseverance, patience and meekness. For example, he laments that Christians use verbal violence on the internet, or that media is an outlet for defaming and slandering others. Joy and a sense of humor. Boldness and passion to encounter others in community. In constant prayers. It is precisely by living with love and by offering our Christian witness in the daily occupations that we are called to become the children of God. It is an invitation to share his joy, to live and to offer joyfully every moment of our life, making it become at the same time a gift of love for the people around us.


"I extend my warm greeting and wishes to all the Oblates and friends. I look forward to meeting them in Shantivanam soon."
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
God Bless you with love and prayers
Fr. Dorathick





 

 

Make a free website with Yola