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

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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





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


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



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





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


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"

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



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