Monday, September 21, 2009

True Visionaries

Reading the arguments and counter arguments in response to pareltank's post, I knew I had to share this.

Whenever I visit an instituition run by priests or nuns, I have this habit of visiting their chapel. Most of these chapels are very simple, with a light glowing and a Bible and a few prayer books here and there. Being day time, there would hardly be anyone and I get to spend some serene moments just being there.

A few months back, I had to take a cousin of mine for her admission interview to Christ University, Bangalore. We came to know that students had to face the interview on their own and it would take a few hours. So off I went in search of the chapel. I had always seen the Dharmaram church from Hosur Road and both the college and this partiuclar church being inside the same campus, decided to visit it. The walkway from the college buildings to the Dharmaram campus itself is so peaceful. Surrounded by huge trees and plants and shrubs wild with flowers all around, a pond complete with a tree house and absolutely not one human being around, I was transported to another world. The church or chapel itself was slightly bigger than the normal ones and as usual, I sat on one of the benches and started one of my usual conversations with God. My eyes started wandering slowly taking in the surroundings and drifted to the mosaic on the altar wall. Seeing the shape of a snake on the same wall where the Holy Eucharist was kept, I was suddenly jolted out of my content state. It was then that I noticed the pictures that made up the beautiful mosaic on the wall. The pictures were the symbols of almost all the religions in the world- the 'Aum', picture of Mecca, Star of David -were a few that I could recognize and amongst them was this snake, which was supposed to be the symbol of sin according to Christian faith. Remember, this is a church inside a college teaching Christian faith, preparing their priests for tomorrow.

These instituitions are run by the CMI fathers who are well known in the educational field in South India, particularly in Kerala. My son used to go to a school run by them in Kochi and every year the school day began with a prayer session which included first a reading from 'The Bhagvad Gita', then from 'The Holy Quran' and finally from 'The Holy Bible'. I had always thought that this gave the right message to the kids that even though they are in a Christian instituition no one religion can be deemed to be better than the other.

I was mentioning these incidents to a colleague who studied in Christ University and he told me about another incident. The Principal of Christ was invited to the Convocation ceremony at St.John's Medical College which is another Catholic instituition. The prayer started invoking the name of Jesus. He made them stop it midway and had them pray to 'God' instead, whom everyone in the audience could relate to!

Maybe what we need are more visionaries like them!


  1. This is indeed illustrating that all paths lead to one! Lovely post Bindu :)

    N yeah, we do need many more like them :)

  2. Beautiful post Bindu! I have studied in Christian schools too, we had Moral Science and we were encouraged to pray to God before we slept... we also had lessons in our History book about all religions.
    I love the message here, that no one religion can be deemed to be better than the other.

  3. that was a wonderful reading, bindu. thanks for sharing some good, heartwarming incidents :)

    i have visited the dharmaram church when i was a kid, but at that time i didnt pay much attention. i feel great that the principal was brave enough to interrupt the prayer to pave the right way.

  4. @ Swaram - Thanks, we definitely need more like them.

    @ IHM - Thanks, but sad to see even the old good Christian schools have started becoming parochial these days

    @rocksea - Can you imagine a catholic priest saying this?

    @ Stoic - Thanks