Scripture Ref:
"And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
(Hebrew 6:11-12)

The epistle of Hebrews does not mention of it's author, except for a reference in Hebrews 3:7, that the Holy Spirit speaks. There are vivid arguments among Biblical Scholars regarding authorship of this Book. Pauline Authorship is the oldest and widest held and as it was confirmed by early Church fathers like Mar Athanasius, St. John Chrysostum, Golden tongue Mar Ivanios etc., the Christian traditions attribute this epistle to St. Paul.

It is an interesting thing to note about the audience to whom this book was addressed. During the early church, with the proselytization work, many people believed in Jesus Christ and came to Christianity both from the Jewish and heathen traditions. The book was probably written to Jewish Christians who were very enthusiastic during the early time and might have been considering to retract from their new faith and returning to the Jewish Synagogue, may be due to the external pressure and compulsion. To this effect, faith of many had cooled down or got paralyzed. The author seeks to strengthen and reawaken these believers in the truth.

[Paradoxically we hear from media that there is a tumbling block in India also in the name of new laws in many of our States. Recently in our neighboring state of Madras many Christians converted back to their original religion. This type of re-conversion are being persuaded and blessed by the authorities.]

This effect of backsliding of the enlightened people is more being revealed in Chapter 6.

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
(Hebrews 6:4-6)

In single sentence we can see the motivation of writing the epistle that to make confident; 'But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.' This waning from our original faith leads us to a pitfall. Our spiritual slackness or our spiritual indifference leads us only to destruction. But we are not in the group who are backsliding and falling away to devastation, but we should be in the group of the faithful who receive salvation. It is a God given privilege, not based on our merit but purely on His Grace.

There are three main themes the writer needs to highlight through his letter:


Show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end of our life:
There is no season, no time or stage of life, when we may be discharged from the duty of diligence. The Christian should live forever with full assurance of hope.

The modern spirituality is expressed in three different ways:

  1. Seasonal Spirituality:
    Spirituality of many people arose only during some seasons like, Christmas, Easter, Passion Week, Lent period etc. This may be good for a starting.
  2. Occasional Spirituality.
    Some people express their spiritual needs only certain occasions in their life like birthday, wedding anniversary, examination time etc.
  3. Incidental Spirituality.
    This is the spirituality expressed during Desease, problem, difficulties etc. This may also be good for a starting. Psalmist says "It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes." (Psalm 119:71) This spiritual enthusiasm we should maintain always till last breath of our life. This is what Paul exhorted.


We should not be slothful, sluggish or lazy:
To do away from our sluggishness we should have a disciplined life of principle. Principles and laziness are of two extreme ends. Not to pray sometime, but there should be a time for prayer. Not to pray in any manner, but to pray as it is needed. We should go for worship sometime at some where but worship appropriately to the true spirit with full mind.


We should imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises:
Paul exhorts us to imitate certain people. 'Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.' By these words we are advised to imitate life and habits of Jesus, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our foremost effort; therefore, be to emulate the life of Jesus Christ. We are not the first traveler in the path. There are many who had traveled in the path with dignity, sense of honor, and self esteem. We are urged to imitate those who inherited the promises through their faith and patience. They moved, proved and braved. They moved through this way in graciousness, proved its importance and achieved the strength of it. Paul inculcate us follow them. While living in this world itself, how they could inherit the promises? They had certain principles, values and moral integrity in their life. They lived with some principles and they lived for some principles. It was their nobility. Not only they lived with the values and virtues of the Kingdom, but also they lived for it. It was the tenets and principles of the Kingdom of God, they upholded and preserved in all sectors of their life till the end of their life.

We can also inherit these promises. They didn’t sacrifice their principles for the temporal benefits. Paul compares the life of a Christian as a race. Let us run this race that is set before us with patience and integrity. Let us refer two biblical characters in this respect. Esau was elder to Jacob, but the name of Jacob is always pronounced first through out the scripture. Our heavenly aspirations are spoken of as bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the same epistle of Hebrews we read the reason for this priority. It is mentioned about Esau as a profane person who sold his birthright for one morsel of meat. As per the worldview, Jacob is seen to be unethical to put forward a condition to his famished brother to give food to quench his hunger. But we learn from the book of Genesis that it was not the reason that Esau is deprived of the linage among our Patriarchs. "And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" With this notion Esau despised his birthright. In order to satisfy a temporal bodily need he disposed of his inheritance. We all got a renewed life in Christ as our inheritance. This great rebirth by Grace through Christ, we should not despise of, for our temporal, physical or carnal needs. Guilt of Esau was that he lessened his status given by God without realizing its responsibility, honor and nobility. It caused for the fall and devastation of Esau.

The one, who got values and have the insight of our status in front of God, will never go astray from his principles. We see the greatness of the child Daniel in this context. King Nebuchadnezzar had appointed four Jew boys who were unblemished, handsome and skillful in all wisdom. King ordered for the meat and wine for these children from the King's table. But Daniel took a strong decision in his mind that he will not defile himself with the king's meat, nor with the wine the King drank. Daniel had chosen to avoid everything which will corrupt his purity and requested the prince of eunuchs to this effect. The conviction and courage of child Daniel is well demonstrated here. We have to imitate Daniel.

The Christian witness of Jesus Christ could aptly be accomplished at the place wherever we are, it may be our workplace, home or worshipping place. In a recent article the author had well pointed out, the drawback of Indian Christians for their mission is that they could not make Jesus an influencing factor in their life; on the contrary, they want to influence Jesus for their material benefits.

[Devotional Message given at St. Gregorios Church, Philadelphia, USA]
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In various Christian denominations, women are treated differently. In some churches, men and women are equally treated in the field of administration as well as religious activities. There are many denominations where men are exclusively appointed for ministerial and religious duties. In Orthodox Churches, women cannot even go to the alter though mother of our Lord Jesus is highly honored and venerated! It is a very sad situation and a kind of discrimination in the name of the Lord and Word of God.

In the creation story, woman was created from the man, bone of bone, flesh of flesh of man for companionship and fellowship so that man leaves his parents and is united with his wife (Genesis 2.21-24). No subjugation, slavery or submission to the husband was meant. As a consequence of disobedience to the God, penalty of submission to the husband was imposed on Eve and her daughters, until the arrival of the promised Savior. All through the history, women in all civilizations were treated badly and unequally with discrimination. For example, many Jewish men used to pray each morning “ God, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a Slave or a Woman”. In Greek and Roman societies, conditions of women were very pathetic and miserable.

Sin entered into mankind through virgin Eve and salvation came through Virgin Mary. Our Savior Jesus Christ came to wipe out the power of sin, death and the penalty of the curse through His sacrificial death on Calvary and to elevate our humanity from the fallen state to the lost freedom and righteousness of our first parents. According to Apostle Paul “ there is no difference between men and women; we are all one in union with Christ Jesus (Galatians 3.26-28). When we search and study in the life and ministry of our Lord, it is clearly seen that women played a very important part.

Our Lord was born as the son of a human virgin mother. For the first time, He revealed himself as the Messiah to a sinful Samaritan woman who preached the good news of her salvation to the people of her town. When a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus for the ordained punishment of stoning to death, He saved her compassionately and wisely from the crowd. Our Lord had several female disciples and followers. Some of them financially supported and gave shelter to Him and His friends. When a group of mothers took their children to be blessed, the disciples tried to prevent them, but the Lord came to rescue the mothers. A widow put only two little coins as her offering, which was highly honored and praised by the Lord. When Mary of Bethany anointed the Master with precious perfume, His male disciples objected, but He approved and said that her story will be told wherever Gospel would be proclaimed! Out of three miracles of raising the dead back to life, two were done for the comfort and consolation of women.

On His way to Calvary, it was the women who cried for the Lord. During the crucifixion and suffering, several women closely stayed with Him while all the male disciples but John left Him. From the Cross the Lord gave comfort to His mother. After the resurrection, the glorified Savior first appeared to a woman, Mary Magdalene. What an honor and privilege to all women he bestowed! Mary was the first missionary of the resurrected Savior. Without resurrection Christian gospel is meaningless. On the day of Pentecost the gift of Holy Spirit was poured out to all men and women who were present. Before Pentecost Mother Mary and Elizabeth were filled with Holy Spirit. The Good Lord treated women without any discrimination and restored them to the glorious state of Garden of Eden.

There is a strong record in the history of early church where women were very active until Judaization began to creep in with its hierarchical and pompous leadership of men, which probably is responsible for the discrimination of women all through the centuries. It is a sad and pathetic state among the believers. Four daughters of Philip the Evangelist were preachers of Good News. Lydia was the first convert to Christianity in Europe as recorded in the Acts (Acts 16.15-16) and Apostle Paul and his friends stayed with her family. Homes of several women like Mary, the mother of John Mark, Nympha,Priscilla and Aquila were house churches for many early believers.

Of course, the Lord did not include any woman among the twelve apostles, who were selected to do the hard and dangerous work of preaching the gospel among people who were not friendly. They were like lambs among wolves. The Lord loved the women so much that He did not want them to be exposed to unbearable dangers and persecutions. Women are always more vulnerable than men in any fieldwork of missions. We are aware of some of the sayings of Apostle Paul and Peter in their epistles regarding the role of women in the church. They need to be interpreted in the proper context of time, educational, social and religious backgrounds of the early church.

Today our women are well educated in all phases and fields of human activities and many of them are very capable of doing efficiently all the work men can do. Our women need to be supported and encouraged to do Lord’s work in every phase of Christian ministry if they want to. Treat them as the Lord treated them in His ministry without any discrimination .Let us not forget the prophet Joel’s prophesy for the last days (Acts 2.1-17), sons and daughters, both men and women will proclaim my message, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. After all, when we reach heaven, there are no gender differences and we will be like angels of heaven as the Lord taught us so. Let there be no positions or places in every denomination where our women cannot be accepted!

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The Holy Bible says in Psalms Chapter 127:3 “Children are a gift from God. They are a real blessing to a family”. Children are the blessing which God gives to the couple whom He has united. With the birth of a child a couple’s life becomes complete.

Bringing up children in America under traditional indian values, rituals and customs in a modest and friendly atmosphere solely depends on the parent. There are a lot of distractions in and around. The TV media, Music Maniacs, friends influences spoil a child. The upbringing mainly depends on the parents, it’s not the school or the government’s responsibility.

Christian parents are facing tremendous obstacles when attempting to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Especially in America, where you can find various types of cultures. Good education, friends your children choose are major factors which makes up the child’s character. Developing their tastes, religious beliefs, cultural roots, family backgrounds is the parents responsibility. The society they live in, their school also affects the growth of a child. Disciplining a child, is important. There is no use in crying over spilt milk. When they are young and under your control is the best time to discipline them. Not when they are mature and in college. By this time, they are beyond your control. Having their own views, ideas and ways of looking at things. Proverbs - Chapter 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him s careful to discipline him.” Good children never neglect their parents commands and teachings, they keep their words always in their hearts.

Proverbs Chapter 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” If a child is trained when he is young, he will never forget it, even when he is old. So Parents should start telling their children about God when they are young itself, try to have family prayers together, try to spend time with your children, sing songs with your kids, share stories from the Bible. Buy them a Children’s Bible. Bring them to church regularly. Send them to Sunday school. Children sometimes ask tough questions like “Who is God?” Give them simple answers and be honest.

Sometimes work load causes lot of stress for parents. Especially parents working and studying just to meet ends, they don’t get much time to be with the children. They don’t have time for anything, those times they should pray and ask God to help them to be a good parent. Ask God to help you control your anger, shouting and hitting. Not to forget that that child is a gift from God. “Lord help me to be a good parent. Grant me peace. Teach me to say sorry, forgive and begin over again. Help me to say “No” to those things that keep me from spending time with my child. Lord, give us your peace that we may rest in you. Give us a good new day tomorrow.” Amen.

Parents want happy, well adjusted and successful children! Are children like these accidental or can we make well behaved and well adjusted children a certainity? Successful parents are:

  1. Not perfect
  2. Personally Involved
  3. Praying & Studying
  4. Refusing & delegate
  5. Taking personal charge

If a child is rude, inconsiderate and selfish, he’s like that because he was trained in that way. If a child is a lazy and sloppy or is disrespectful and a troublemaker, he has been trained in that way. Parents do not intentionally train their children to reflect these negative characteristics. Yet it is easy to train a child in these undesirable behavior patterns because they reinforce his natural inclinations. Raising Polite, obedient and cheerful children always makes a proud parent.

How Parents can repond?

It is clearly evident that christian parents are faced with an extremely difficult task in trying to raise their children biblically in this type of hostile environment. How we are to raise our children to know & understand the absolute truth of God.

Parents can follow certain principles.

  1. Parents must assume responsibility for raising their children.
  2. There must be a total transformation of our minds from a secular to biblical world view.
  3. There must be consistency between our words and actions.
  4. Parents must not compartmentalize life into the spiritual and the secular.

Christian parents have a difficult assignment of attempting to pass the christian faith from their hearts to the hearts of the children.

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Human identity has the basic coordinates of matter and consciousness. The concept of identity is meaningless in respect of a disembodied spirit. The danger in a materialistic definition of identity is that it obscures the universe of mystery at the center of human personality.

Identity can be defined positively or negatively. A person may experience his identity in terms of who he is. Alternately, he may define his identity in terms of who he is not. A Hindu, for instance, is one who lives by the Vedic vision of life. Alternately, he is one who is not a Muslim, or a Christian or the practitioner of any other religion. In the latter instance, a person’s Hindu identity need not involve any fidelity to the spiritual essence of Hinduism. The negative definition of religious identity breeds conflictual relationships among religions. As a rule, those who are communally inclined are the ones who know or respect the spirituality of their religion the least.

Human identity has two basic coordinates: matter and consciousness. The concept of identity is meaningless in respect of a disembodied spirit. Also, a dead body -all matter and no consciousness- has no identity, except the identity of a corpse. In terms of existence, matter is local and particular; whereas human consciousness is universal. The wholeness of human identity depends on the harmony of the local and universal. When identity is defined purely in material and local terms, it tends to precipitate conflict and alienation.

Karl Marx’s critique of capitalistic culture -that it “things” human beings-is relevant valid here. Materialism ascribes exclusive validity to matter. “Matter alone matters” is the creed of materialism. Within such an outlook, identity tends to be equated with the material dimensions of a person’s life. This aggravates covetousness; for identity is a matter not so much of being, as of having. The “having mode” of identity narrows the distinction between person and possession. You are what you have; and in order to be, you must have as much as you can. The covetousness this implies and aggravates is cancerous to human identity. Covetousness narrows consciousness.

The danger in a materialistic definition of identity is that it obscures the universe of mystery at the center of human personality. It is this core of mystery that serves as the bulwark against manipulation and exploitation by external forces, including systems and centers of power. This inner core is also the seat of spiritual values such as love, compassion, truth, justice, selfless service, and so on. It is from this source that the counterbalancing pull against self-centeredness stems and stabilizes human nature. Without this, we forfeit the ability to recognize others as our fellow human beings. Given the spiritual truth that a bond of spiritual kinship intertwines the whole of humankind, the reductive definition of the identity of others undermines one’s own identity. As a result, identity assumes a source of conflict. The realization of one’s identity seems to require the suppression of the identity of others. It breeds a compulsion to demonize ‘otherness’.

Because human identity comprises not only matter but also consciousness, spirituality is basic to humanity. Spirituality implies both an indwelling and transcendence of the material order. It is through the medium of matter that the material order is to be transcended. That which is to be transcended is also the medium for its transcendence. To jump and rise above the surface of the earth, for instance, one has to stand on the earth. But the impetus to transcend the material order is not innate in matter. It is the function of consciousness, which is spiritual. God is pure consciousness. Divine consciousness, being perfect, has the capacity to transform the material order. While this is a possibility in us, it is never an assured certainty in any human being. That is because consciousness is neither pure nor perfect in human beings.

The function of spirituality is to awaken and purify consciousness through communion with God. The enlarged or liberated consciousness that results from this is meant to engage the world at large in love, justice and compassion. God is the universe of human freedom. The liberation that spirituality effects is the liberation from the narrow prison of reductive consciousness that distorts our understandings and perverts our responses. The sign of authentic spirituality is the eagerness to intuit and earth the universal in the local as well as to transform the local so as to reveal the divine light latent in every part of creation.

The spiritual problem in the materialistic definition of identity is the idolatry of the local and territorial. This awakens what is mean and low in human nature. Without exception, the perpetration of injustice, cruelty and discrimination has been preceded by the propagandist distortion of the identity of intended victims. This necessarily caricatures the nature of God as well. God is distorted into an item of communal ownership. God, who is acknowledged to be the omnipresent Creator and Sustainer of the whole of creation, is misunderstood as a petty and partisan Being, whose concerns are limited to a particular sect or community. This is the pseudo-theological cauldron in which sectarian sentiments are brewed. Every communal project is an insult to the identity of God. God as God can never be an alibi for hate and aggression. For Ayodhya to be turned into a theatre of communal conflict, for instance, it is necessary that the identity of Lord Ram and the idea of the temple be projected in unspiritual terms.

Embedded though we are in the local, our immortal longings transcend time and space. We are the confluence of the local and the global. We are “glocal”. This has been the intuition of every spiritually awakened person. In the wake of materialism, however, the lamp of universality hidden under the bushel of material particularity began to dim, intensifying the darkness of divisive identities. In such a state, the more we progress materially, the more intolerant and destructive we tend to be.

That being the case, it is a matter of grave concern that the ‘tyranny of the local’ prospers in the global village, as we know it today. Globalization as a mere economic and cultural construct, without a commensurate spiritual underpinning, is a matter of concern. In the absence of a spiritual definition of human identity and global reality, globalization has paved the way for Euro-American ethnocentrism, which is being projected as the new world order. In such a context, world peace tends to be understood as the acceptance of American over-lordship by the rest of the world.

Surely, the time has come for engaging seriously the prospect of global citizenship, without which globalization will remain an exercise in dishonesty. But, it is equally certain that the framework for globalizing identities does not exist in globalization per se. Spirituality is the only authentically universal phenomenon we have ever known. It is a scary prospect, especially for non-western societies, that globalization remains defiant of the discipline of spirituality and pursues its skewed economic and commercial agenda ruthlessly. Today it has become a spiritual imperative to redeem the idea of a global village through a commitment to global brotherhood and neighbourhood. A global village in which humankind continues to be fragmented along national, cultural, religious, ethnic, and ideological divides is a grotesque gimmick or a mendacious myth.

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[Paper presented by Prof. George Menachery at the IX South India Numismatic Society Conference, Kanyakumari]


Indigenous advances in archaeology, numismatics, anthropology, epigraphy, geography, geology, ocean studies, art, architecture, anthropology, culture etc. in recent years have shed considerable new light on the early literature of India in an astonishing manner and the views held by many western scholars, both sincere and prejudiced, have been once and for all discredited and disproved time and again in the present century.

This paper is presented here because numismatics proved extremely useful in researching certain 1st Century BC/AD events that allegedly took place in various parts of India and because the writer considered it advantageous to have the opinion of the experienced scholars attending this seminar on certain facts and lines of thought not hitherto sufficiently well-pursued, and which could greatly benefit from their added attention. And considering further the brief span of time for the presentation of papers, the discussion has now been restricted to only one of the aspects viz. Numismatics at the service of the historian of early Indian History in studying the veracity of certain 2nd/3rd century works, a number of ancient Indian folksongs, and certain strong traditions prevalent in various parts of the country.

Researches conducted in connection with the preparation of The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India (esp. Vol.II ), The Indian Church History Classics (esp. Vol.I i.e. The Nazranies ), and the setting up of various exhibitions and museums during a period spanning more than three decades and the writer’s both long and brief association and long or short dialogues with great scholars in the field of numismatics, Indian Ocean studies, cartography, archaeology, history etc. and his attendance at the meetings of the Numismatics Society of Tamil Nadu, the Epigraphical Society of India, the Place Names Society of India, the various Academies, and of this august body etc. have been of immense benefit in these and similar studies. It is hoped however that after carrying coal it would not be discovered at the end of the day that it has all been to Newcastle.


A 2nd century AD work in Syriac, many poems by Ephraem (3rd/4th century), many folksongs in South India, a historical narrative committed to writing some five hundred years ago in Kerala, timehonoured traditions prevalent in many parts of India speak of the arrival, travels, and activities of a visitor from around Alexandria in India in the First Century A D. The crediblity of this ‘Thomas legend,’ as described in Kerala-Mylapore tradition, in the Song of Thomas Rambhan, in the Margam Kali songs etc., and in the Acts of Judas Thomas has been vehemently questioned and denied by the vast majority of western scholars during the major part of the 19th century. It has been said and with quite some truth that this vehemence was at least partially due to the fact that many westerners refused to believe that their own present religion, though originally from the East, had arrived in another country, that too a ‘pagan’ and ‘idolatrous’ country like India many centuries before it had come to their own motherlands in Europe. Whatever the truth of this one thing is certain: these western scholars left no stone unturned in their attempts to disprove the Indian ‘legend’ about the travels of the Alexandrian visitor Thomas.


Among the strongest arguments used were:

  1. There is no king of the name Gondaphares (as mentioned in the 2nd C. Acts) in Indian history, none of his coins had ever been discovered, no Vamshavali of Indian kings mentions such a name etc.
  2. It is not possible to associate the specific places, routes etc. mentioned in the Acts, traditions, songs, and narratives with first century contacts with the west. These are the only two objections we are dealing with here and analysing in the light of numismaticstudies and developments in the subcontinent.


A most dramatic discovery in the field of numismatics in India effected a magical change in the understanding of this whole story. This was as a result of the excavations made both to the east and west of the river Indus. Long before any coins or inscriptions of Gondaphares had been discovered, the name of the king was familiar to the western world in connexion with the visit of Thomas in India. In the several texts of these apocryphal books the king’s name appears variously as Gudnaphar, Gundafor, Gundaphorus, and Goundaphorus. His brother Gad’s name also is mentioned there. Yet those names were totally unknown to history until large numbers of coins of this King were discovered. On his coins it appears , in Karoshti, as Guduphara or, occasionally, Godapharna; in Greek, as Undopheros, Undopherros or Gondopherros, which apparently represent local pronunciations of the Persian Vindapharna ‘The Winner of Glory’.

The Greek rulers of the Punjab were ultimately overcome by the Saka tribes of central Asia...They established principalities at Mathura, Taxila, and elsewhere. We are here concerned with one of these Persian Princes, known to the Greeks as Gondopharnes, who was in 50 A.D. succeeded by Pacores. His kingdom comprised Taxila, Sistan, Sind, Southern and Western Punjab, the NWFP, Southern Afghanistan, and probably part of the Parthian dominions west of Sistan. Hence he could be considered both as an Indian king and as a Parthian. [cf. Farquhar, North India, I.C.H.C. v. I, p. 313 ff.; Sir John Marshall, A Guide to Taxila, 4th Edn., Cambridge University Press, 1960. For photographs of some Gondophares coins, see Medlycott, India and the Apostle Thomas, London, 1905 , or in ICHC I p.191, or STCEI I Montage inside front cover, and A Guide to Taxila, plate III (18).]

From the time of the discovery of these coins there has been hardly any scholar who doubted the North Indian visits of Thomas, even among those who continued to have reservations about the person’s south Indian sojourn. However this accidental discovery made the western scholars attack the credibility of Thomas’ south Indian visits much more vehemently and even venomously. But here also numismatic discoveries shed some much needed scientific light to these critics’ chagrin.


In 1847 a most fascinating discovery of Roman coins was reported from Kottayam near Kannur (British Malabar), yet another evidence for the existence of a great deal of trade between Kerala and the west in the first centuries B.C./A.D. The purity of the gold, one of the reasons for the acceptability of Roman coins all over the then known world, attracted the notice of the jewellers, and the wealthier natives who had purchased them melted them down for ornaments. Almost the whole of the massive hoard was lost irretrievably in this way. However, 51 coins believed to be from this hoard are included in Catalogue No. 2 of the Madras Museum by Edgar Thurston(1894). These belong to the issues of Augustus (10), Tiberius (4), Caligula(4), Claudius (15), Nero(13), and Ant. Pius(5).


The next significant and properly documented discovery of Roman coins in Kerala was from Iyyal, very near Palayoor (Palura, Palaiyur, Palayoor) in the Trichur District, the location of one of the seven Malabar or west coast churches the founding of which is traditionally and in the Rambhan song attributed to St. Thomas. In an earthern jar discovered by Tharayil Karuppan Krishnan there were 34 punch-marked coins, 12 Roman gold coins, and 71 Roman silver coins. The entire hoard was acquired by the Arch. Dept. of the erstwhile Cochin State, and were at the Trichur Arch. Museum and have recently been tranferred to the Numismatic Study Centre, Nedumangadu. The hoard covers a period between 123 B.C. and 117 A.D. The denarii are from the periods of the Republic, Octavian & Agustus BC 27 - AD 14, Tiberius AD 14 - 37, Claudius 41 - 54, and Nero 54 - 68. The aureii belong to the issue of Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and Trajan. (Classified and pubd., P.L.Gupta, 1965, Early Coins of Kerala, Dept. of Arch.,Trivandmum. ) Touching these coins one has the exhilarating feeling that some of these might have been in the pouch or Madisheela or purse of Thomas on his way to or from Palayoor. Photos: in Gupta (op.cit.); Menachery, Kodungalloor City of St. Thomas, Kodungalloor, 1987, p.47;alias, Kodungallur : The Cradle of Christianity in Inda, 2000; and in SATHYAMURTHY, Catalogue of Roman Gold Coins, Dept. of Arch., Kerala, Trivandrum, 1992. Description also in MENACHERY, Pallikkalakalum Mattum, (Malayalam), Trichur, 1984 repr. from the Express July 1978.)


During the last decade, in September 1983, when workers were digging in the compound of Smt. Madhavi Amma, wife of Pazhuparambil Vasu of Valuvally near N. Parur a few miles from Kodungallur (both Parur and Kodungalloor are sites of churches founded by the apostle of Christ), a pot or pots containing reportedly two thousand coins was discovered. Before Madhavi Amma came to know of it many coins had found their way to the various toddy and arrack shops of the area. When this writer visited the spot in one or two days’ time many more coins had disappeared. By the time Police investigations were thoroughly and systematically completed many more coins had vanished. Finally the Arch. dept. could acquire from the District Collector an even smaller number, a paltry 252 coins. These are now at the Numismatic Study Centre, Nedumangadu. Most of the coins are mint-fresh and include coins from Nero to Antonius Pius with representations from the issues of all emperors in between. All these coins have been published now (1992) by the Arch. Dept., by Dr. Satyamoorthy, with detailed classifications and photographs of the O.& R. sides.


In this connection it may be interesting to note that the Kerala Archaeology Dept. and the Geology Dept. of the Govt. of India functioning at Trivandrum together held a consultation recently under the inspiration of the ‘cultural secretary’ Dr. Babu Paul to decide on a programme to investigate the gold and gold coins that might lie buried at the Kodungalloor harbour from the beginning of at least the first century B.C., and to chart a scheme to salvage such material lost in Kodungallur on the Malabar coast of the Arabian Sea. In any case the numismatic findings and studies have added much strength to the credibility of the Thomas story as they provide strong and tangible proof of the considerable intercourse that existed between Kerala and Alexandria / Rome in the first century B.C. ./ A.D. especially from the middle of the first century A.D. and as these findings are mostly in the vicinity of the Thomas churches.

A word about Kodungallur and its special relationship to the Syrian Churches of Kerala and another word about the special relationship that has existed between gold and India in general and gold and Kerala in particular especially the Palayur-Kodungallur-Parur belt may not be out of place here.


The city of Kodungalloor, known variously by Muziris, Shinkli, Cranganore and by many another name (K.P.P. Menon lists more than a dozen names for Kodungalluur from Al Biruni, 970 A.D. to Assemani, 1510) down the centuries, stood at the meeting-place of different trade routes connecting the East with the West and the North with the South.These trade-routes, which carried the bulk of the traffic passing by sea between India and foreign parts, played an all important part in the history of Cranganore. While the monsoon route connected Muziris directly across the Arabian Sea with cities in the west (e.g. Alexandria, Aden), the west coastal route gave its ships ready access to the Indus (leading to Taxila / Gandhara) and Ctesiphon by land and beyond to Ormuz and Mesopotamia. A third route, hugging the coast of east Asia linked the coastal capital of the imperial Cheras with the mouth of the Ganges and with China. We need not here dwell on the importance of Kodungalloor or Maliankara or Malankara as the first landing place of Apostle Thomas on this coast.


The PERIPLUS has this remark : "There are imported here in the first place a great quantity of coin...". The Roman could, it is believed make a profit on the sale of gold coin in India, perhaps because these were not only used as currency but also for ornament as is evidenced by the fact that many gold coins found in Kerala have been pierced through to make necklaces. (Also see THOMAS P.J., Roman Trade Centres in Malabar , Kerala Society Papers, II, p. 260 ; James Hough, The History of Christianity in India , I, p.28.). Recently Doug Smith wrote me:"... I have noted that an inordinately high percentage of Roman coins and copies of Roman coins found in India have holes. many seem to have two holes at the top suggesting they might have been sewn to a fabric as decoration. Trade with India as an intermediate for China was active in the period you mention. Rome wanted silk and paid in gold and silver. One of the earlier pages on my site showed a silver coin that I believe to have been made in India probably after the debasement of Nero (c64 AD) copying a coin of Tiberius which was popular in India due to its consistently good metal. I have seen a dozen of these from this same pair of dies. The copy was made looking at an off center original which was missing some legend. The cutter had no idea what to put in the missing space so he left it blank. I would be interested in hearing if any of these coins were found in the Kerala hoard." "It should not escape notice that gold and silver, after circulating in every quarter of the globe, come at length to be absorbed in Hindustan", Sir George BIRDWOOD, p.101. Herodotus tells us that India is the wealthiest and most populous country on earth. As Sir George has again remarked, "The entire record of the intercourse bewtween countries of the west and India from the very earliest times to the present day may be said to be the story of the struggle for the Indian trade". "As is well known Columbus was on the lookout for Kerala pepper when he stumbled on America. It was pepper that brought Vasco da Gama to Malabar," P.THOMAS, in Christians and Christianity in India and Pakistan, London, 1954, pp. 6,7.

Even today India is the world’s biggest importer of gold. Eventoday gold fetches a higher price in India and especially Kerala. Kerala’s Calicut airport at Karippur accounts for the largest import of gold in India, it along with its environs also accounts for the largest quantity of smuggled gold.


Visitors present here from outside the state and outside the country, especially the fairer half, may enjoy a visit to the Jewellery shops in Trichur, Ernakulam, and Kottayam for some of the best craftsmanship in gold anywhere in the world. It won’t be an accident if you find most of the best known gold shops are run by Nazranies or Christians from the Kodungallur-Palayur belt, mostly from the Trichur area. The names of Syrian families like Alappatt, Chemmannur, Chettupuzha, Chirakkakkaren, Chiriyankandath, Josco, Thottan, Palathingal, Chiriankandath, etc. are well known to gold connoisseurs all over Kerala and outside it. This 2000 year old tradition in gold makes Trichur near the Cheran’s Royal city Kodungallur the Gold Capital of Kerala, with its hundreds of reputed jewellery shops, and this also has helped it to be considered even today the Cultural Capital of the State.


A further point of difficulty in reconciling the Kerala tradition concerning St. Thomas was this: While the sea provided excellent means of transportation to travellers from the Malabar or west coast to the Malabar or east coast and vice versa by rounding the cape, especially to strangers unaccustomed to the hardships of land travel from coast to coast in the risky terrain of the Ghats and forests, Thomas is invariably described in Kerala tradition as crossing between the Arabian sea coast and the coast of the Bay of Bengal by land, and apparently doing so with considerable ease. But Indian Ocean studies have conclusively proved that in the first centuries it was very risky for ships, especially foreign ships, to round Cape Comorin, on account of the rough and unpredictable waters. And now it is amply clear that the three lands of the Cheras, Cholas, and the Pandyas were connected by excellent roads. This is proved beyond doubt from the constant journeys made by the Sangham poets and poetesses as described in the Purananoor and Akananoor and even the Pathittupattu.


But the most arresting evidence for this inland traffic between the southern kingdoms is provided by numismatics. Discovery of Roman coins have been reported in Pollachi (1805), Karur (1806), Coimbatore (1817), Vellalur (1841). Even today chance Roman coins are being picked up in the route between ancient Muziris and Karur and between Karur and the east coast. Every annual meeting of the various numismatic societies bring some new discoveries of this field to light. The large number of Chera coins even today found in the riverbed at Karur and environs must be seen to be believed. This permanently put to rest any doubts one might have had about the accuracy and authenticity of the Kerala Tradition concerning the Apostle’s journeys. The fact that the saint is usually represented in Kerala and Tamilnadu as carrying a lance or thrishoolam instead of the traditional Mattom or set-square may indicate not only the martyrdom but the usual appearance of the man much travelled in the dangerous land of snakes and tigers.

What is most astonishing about the researches into the historicity of f.i. Thoma’s Indian visits is the agreement of newly discovered data almost without exception with details known earlier. It gladdens the heart of the student when it is found that whenever a bit of new, authentic knowledge, is forthcoming that concerns the matter it has a tendency to invariably fall into place in the jig-saw puzzle and to untie the tangle of uncertainties. This comment will be appropriate if made again at the end of the a study of recent advances made in fields other than numismatics also, such as Archaeology, Geology, Geography, Ocean studies, Epigraphy, Anthropology, Art, Architecture, Culture, etc. into which we are not entering now for lack of time.

[Prof. George Menachery is the Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. He was teaching university classes for thirty years and gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication.]

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“To be or not to be” has been the question for God with regard to the conquest of His archenemy at a strike since the creation of man in His own image and likeness. Man created with the crown of free will has been at the top in the scale of creation. A Righteous Judge who adorned man with free will has the pre- knowledge but no predestination of him. He won’t test or tempt man with sufferings, where as He finds always pleasure in man’s celestial happiness. Man is the toolmaker of his own future. The Devil, not God, imported Death and the impending havoc to God’s species in the Garden of Eden. A slow to anger God waits patiently like the prodigal son’s father for the return of His son into the fold of the eternal bliss (Lk.13: 6-9). Despite the Holy Trinity is inseparable, the three persons in the Trinitarian God has apparent special roles in Their manifestations to the creation during the course of 3 epochs stretching over a period of 7,000 years, as the Son of God (Jesus) stands in between the old and new testament periods in carving out the salvation of mankind.

It is a puzzling mystery the reason for creating Adam only as a sample creation for replenishing the earth that was once inhabited by a myriad of God’s angels worshipping Him till their fall. Why didn’t He create Eve or a dozen of complementing partners at the same time for the procreation in a mass scale? It is apparently true for God to take a hide and seek policy to neutralize the cunning devices of His enemy, and move forward cautiously before being thwarted away from the accomplishment of His plan. Seeing that Adam survived the test by not eating the forbidden fruit, the Devil might have invented the plan of enticing Adam with a bionic woman (Devi), the light hearted way of presenting it as the feminine gender of the devil by deleting the alphabet ‘l’ from the word devil, of the astral plane as happened later by the birth of giants by the sexual union of the heavenly beings with the daughters of men (Gen.6). God must have felt at that juncture, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen.2: 18-21), and created Eve from the bone of his bone and blood of his blood (by carving out the flesh and bone from the vicinity of the heart), the seat of all finer feelings and love, so as to cement their affinity and bond for ever.

The creation of Eve was a ploy or self-defense for God, yet proved to be no solution for the problem. He exalted His shield (self-defense), Eve by making her as the mother of the second Adam. The crafty enemy lured the female one into his net by devious means of coaxing her to eat the fruit, which opened her eyes to glimpse the chasm between good and evil, between the evil and good angels. It was a temporary defeat for the Almighty and He had to find out some other means of snatching away His beloved ones from the tentacles of the abysmal Death. It was a hefty task for God to liberate the hijacked ones from the snare of the rebels by avoiding the fall of even a hair of His children. Everything would land in a miserable defeat had His powerful enemy smelt the Creator’s plans in advance. Thus His each step in the rescue mission was a gig jaw puzzle along the path of the cumbersome and most difficult task.

The devil’s vendetta continued by hijacking Cain to his side and the subsequent procreation of giants by the union of heavenly (astral) angels and the daughters of men. God had no other means of defending Himself from the pernicious foe other than destroying the slaves of the wicked generations, except the righteous Noah and his children, by a great deluge. The tower of Babel was built as a safeguard by the devil’s insinuation in the event of another great flood rained from the heavens. The reign of confusion sent by God by the origin of different languages again retreated the crooked enemy to its defeat for the time being. The destruction of Jerusalem Temple and His earthly kingdom by the Babylonian king were clear victory for the dark powers. The hands of the evil one has been haunting mankind from the fall of Eden to date with temporary retreats to God and the devil from time to time.

Jesus’ Passivity:People enslaved by the miseries hatched by the devil had been waiting for centuries as promised for the birth of a Redeemer or Prajaparthy. In order to hide His identity from the devil, Jesus had to adopt a mean and low life style, which, however, confused the abysmal plotter to his defeat. It was not easy for Him to keep His Heavenly glory and maintain an earthly low profile life. Had the devil smelt explicitly that Jesus was the Son of God he wouldn’t have tempted and paved the way for the bleeding death of Jesus, the panacea for the salvation of mankind. To exemplify in the Heavenly majesty He took His birth unnoticed by the devil in the cave and to confuse the adversary He shared His bed in the manger together with the sheep. 64,000 innocent lads butchered at the hands of ruthless Herod were the heralding martyrs for escaping of the Lord and His parents from the cruel ruler.

The savior resisted all the temptations in the wilderness as an ordinary Jew and escaped from His identity by quoting from the commandments and Mosaic creed. In all throughout His public ministry, other than during His prosecution times in a veiled manner, He disclosed His identity directly only for 3 or 4 times, probably at the time when the devil was away from Him. He made them embroiled by using figurative language or by other retorting methods. It is said that there was a post mortem court hearing in Hades, presided by Beelzebub after the salvation mission was accomplished successfully. The president in charge of the court interrogated the cronies for the reasons for not able to decide the divinity of Jesus when a worm-eaten Lazarus was raised from the dead. Their answer was that they were all amazed by the unnatural event, but were puzzled by the weeping and shedding tears by the Lord like an ordinary man.

Being a zealous Jew, he did not give any support to fight against the Caesar in their attempt to establish a Jewish nation; instead He gave tax to the conqueror. He was living and moving with harlots and the downtrodden by questioning the Creed and claiming to be a hero greater than their Father Abraham. He and His disciples trampled over the Sabbath rules without fasting and prayer. They only attributed a kind of lunatic genius in Him. All such apparent duplicities of character and multiplicities of personalities were mainly to expose their hypocrisies and at the same time present himself as an abnormal person associating with Beelzebub, so that the agents of the nether world might get confused and puzzled. He appeared as a unique Savior of mankind only to the faithful believers. He had to carry the sins of humanity by fighting against His own people and find an escape from the net set out by the satanic forces. He lived among the poor, ignorant and criminal fishermen and tax cheaters by questioning all the over fermented doctrines of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. He tricked and confused all the demonic forces and lived an innocent and obscure life. Even John the Baptist who anointed Him as the Son of the Most High was baffled by the authenticity of Divinity in Him.

Hearing from others that Jesus was mentally imbalanced, his relatives came to seize him back home (Mk.3: 21) for a quiet life, the failure of which compelled his brothers to drive Him out of their vicinity (Jn.7: 1-9), for they did not believe in Him. A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mk.6: 4). St.Paul also got this realization after having gone through all the sufferings and betrayals. God has exhibited us apostles last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake.... (1.Cor.4: 9-10). Thinking that He would set up an earthly kingdom in the splendor and majesty of King David’s, His Apostles were fighting to grab the covetable positions of His empire (Mk.10: 28-45; 9:33-37). The religious authorities were hunting him every moment to get rid of Him; Herod and the Roman rulers had an eye on His actions and reactions. The Prince of the demons was sifting through everything what He was doing, so as to judge whether He was the Savior of mankind. He could not unlock his burdens to anyone: neither to the relatives, nor to the disciples, nor to the religious hierarchies, nor to the rulers of the land, nor to the devoted mother so as to conceal His mission from the devil.

The devil could not afford to kill Him for mankind’s salvation resulting in their total defeat in the battle. Consequently, He had to face alone multi- faced fronts in His battle against the virulent foe. It is alarmingly meaningful by his cry, Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head...Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead (Mt.8: 20-22). Listen, pedestrian Christians and charismatic ringleaders, with particular reference to the Hollywood healers, who galvanize the spiritual holocausts of millions and millions of derailed minds, that carrying the daily cross for the Savior is the bread and butter of our survival here and an eternal glory in the life yet to be bloomed. The life style that challenges the infernal enemy invites miseries and wailings that of out of proportion (Mk.13; 13;Heb.11; 38).

Passivity of God the Holy Spirit:God’s third epoch on earth is an amalgam of multi-dimensional forces in varying frequencies, depths, heights and volumes. As this solar system at the end of the day is meant for a whirlpool of infernal fire ( 10-13), God allowed this planet to be unleashed for the diabolic rule of His enemy (Rev.13: 11-18) just before he is bent to his knees. The H.Spirit is the Bride and the Comforter who broods over the church for the guidance of the believers for salvation.

St.Paul wailed and sobbed by seeing this vision in advance. I know after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them (Acts.20: 28-30). The birth of Islam and crusades took a different turn in the propagation of the ministry. The virgin birth, resurrection, ascension and the second coming of Christ have become mere joking myths for theologians and self-claimed redeemed ones who are waiting to be transplanted in the fresh soil of New Jerusalem. Every religious sect guarantees free passage to Paradise provided their blood is shed for the propagation of a different species of faith by unleashing the blood of his infidel brethren. The blood that shed by the first World War, together with that of the fourth empire, the Marxist proletarianism of Soviet Russia- (the bastion of saints and seers once)- of prophet Daniel’s vision, sent heat waves to the church for embracing the liberation theology and transmitting the spirit of the same to the next stage for the evolution of human bombs for a global annihilation of God’s earthly race. Only pure love can win hearts, not weapons of mass destruction.

We dynamited the nucleus of the chaste faith, consequently the Mosaic commandments and the Creed, too. The abortion of sacrosanct faith and values cut the root of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The disobedience that coaxed us for the misinterpretation of the word of God, as done by Eve by the union of the evil one, hurled us into the garden of forbidden fruits, we gulp them voraciously under the delusion that they are the fruits from the Tree of Life. The Bible is a treasure of unfathomable mysteries of various subtle planes of Heaven. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart...(Heb.4; 12; Is.34: 16). The word of God is pregnant with macrocosmic oceans imprinted in coded language; the deciphering of the same can be done only with the spark of cosmic electricity. To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven (Mk.4: 11-12).

The whirlpool of a universal apostasy is swirling over the Body of Christ everywhere; the grieving of the H.Spirit is the ritual of our routine spirituality. The first commandment is totally prodded over and all other commandments are written off consequently. Our routine normal life will continue like in the days of Noah (Mt.24; 38-39) till the last moment. A loving God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rains on the just and on the unjust (Mt.5: 45). God’s dilemma is immensely inexplicable in letting his followers know about His descent specifically because the enemy will trample upon the scheme of salvation by knowing of it. In spite of the confusion and puzzle caused by the cataclysmical changes, terrorism, wars, bloodshed, famine, drought, and plagues, people curse the name of God who controls these calamities, and they do not repent and give Him glory (Rev.16: 9). Knowing that he has only a short time (Rev.12: 12), the devil will come with all his furies to subjugate the whole world. Smelling something at the time of Jesus’ first coming, he insinuated Herod to take the census of his followers and later butchered all the lads of below the age of 2, a similar pattern of census will recur at His second coming also by imprinting the beast’s seal, no. 666 upon his subjects (Rev.13: 18).

Whether the leaf falls on the prickles or vice-versa, it is the leaf that has to suffer for the eventual rupture. The devil has nothing to lose other than accepting the defeat, which he expects likely to happen one day, but the defeat of the Lord is certified if mankind is not redeemed and restored in the celestial Abode with Him. God, therefore, plays a passive role for 7,000 years for weeds and good seeds to grow together, with out confronting the enemy directly, in order to salvage the salvation of humanity by His omnipotence. Knowing the weaknesses and frailties of the flesh, He gave us innumerable chances and longer periods of time with the aid of judges, kings, prophets, the sacrifice of the Lamb and apostles for our spiritual metamorphosis. He is waiting till the separation of the weeds and wheat at the harvest after 7 millennia, the time when the weeds and their sower are all hurled into the sulphurous lake of fire (Rev.20: 11-15).

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The puritanical religious stereotype that seems to be always angry with the environment in which he or she lives, gives the impression that happiness is to be found in another time and in another place, they have negative vibes about enjoyments in life. Suffering seems to be part of their religious makeup. There is certain seriousness to their piety and spirituality. They very seldom let go and have a real laugh. These sorts of attitudes have sharp clear cut edges: correct and incorrect; secular and sacred; purity and impurity; wisdom and folly. They tend to operate within well defined demarcation lines and often see things as black and white. But there is a lighter side to religious life; this is not an easy concept to appreciate. Jesus often responded to the serious questions of the Scribes and Pharisees by rendering a story or two, the one about the speck in the neighbours eye is down-right funny. Exchanging jokes and dialogues are often helpful to drop the mask and face realities of life.

Today we highlight and salute the large donations to churches and charities by wealthy individuals. But watching how a poor widow put two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny into the temple collection box, Jesus commented: “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others”(Mark 12: 43). This is against the capitalist principles in which generosity is usually associated with surplus. But Jesus has an upside down way of looking at things, and He sees things differently. Two monks were standing at a river bank wondering how to cross the river, then came a beautiful young lady wanting to cross the river as well, the elderly monk had no problem in assisting and carrying the young lady across the river, but the younger monk kept nagging the older one, the rest of their journey, about the vows of celibacy and in the inappropriateness of his action. Then the older one said to the younger one: “I left the young lady at the river bank as soon as I crossed it, a long time back, but you are still carrying her with you.” The younger one responded in his impetuosity, “You are crazy.” This crazy wisdom should become part and parcel of everyday theology of life, Ecclesiastes advised his readers to enjoy what they have worked for because enjoyment is also God’s gift. Ecclesiastes was absolutely switched on this theology of having a time for everything: “He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing.”(Ecclesiastes 3: 4).

There was a tradition of holy fools in the traditional orthodoxy. St. Paul wrote about becoming ‘fools for Christ’. St. Francis was thought to be a bit mad by his contemporaries. We probably need a sense humour to appreciate what people say and do in the name of religion. Laughter can remove all sorts of inhibitions and create levelling attitude which is important in spirituality. It has the power to unite what appear to be opposites. When people laugh their guts out after Metropolitan Chrysostom’s jokes, all his audience irrespective of their background are equally vulnerable before him to accept a very serious theological point or a very simple practical aspect of living together as brothers and sisters under divine grace. This is what I call the crazy wisdom in religious life. Tagore had an answer to those people who claimed extraordinary things on behalf of our creator: “I boasted among men that I had known you. They see your pictures in all works of mine. They come and ask me, “Who is he?” I know not how to answer them. I say, “Indeed, I cannot tell,” They blame me and they go away in scorn. And you sit there smiling.” One needs a kind of crazy wisdom to understand these truths and identity false prophets of our times; they come in all shapes and sizes.

The story about the seven sons of the Jewish high priest Seeva described in Acts has a very familiar tone to what Tagore was describing (Acts 19:11-15). Some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to copy Paul’s ministry. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” The seven sons of Seeva were trying to do this magic on a possessed man when the evil spirit talked back: “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you- who are you?” Then the possessed man went berserk, jumped the fake exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as fast as they could. We should be aware of this danger in our claims and counter claims on talking or taking action on behalf of our creator.

There is another expression of this crazy wisdom in the approach an appreciation of simple people to their God and protector. The clearest expression of this faith can be seen in the prayer of Mathen, a peasant from Kerala, India, who every night after a hard day’s toil tumbled down to his bed and before dropping off he used to say, “ see that Mathen is stretching out before thee.” Don Camillo, the Catholic priest; Peppone, the communist mayor of the Po River Valley of Italy, and all the other characters of Giovani Guareschi’s stories were born out of this crazy religious wisdom. Don Camillo’s conversations with God were utter delights, full of wisdom and humour. Later in life when Giovani became famous through his Don Camillo stories he used to hear the village folks of his river valley saying: “He grows more absurd every year.” To this Giovani responded: “It is not true, because I was absurd from the very beginning. Thanks be to God.” Charity and humility are part of this crazy wisdom tradition of religious life. People wear masks to present different sides of their personalities to different people because pretence is always easier than authentic living. Giovani told authentic everyday stories about people that he knew which had a touch of crazy wisdom of simple religious life.

Religious life has three key aspects: knowing God, devotion and contemplation and finally, strengthening the inner spiritual life in communion with God. Attention to all these parts is important in building a spiritual life under the divine grace. Religious scholars through systematic studies acquire great knowledge about God and religions using reason and logic. This knowledge is very valuable, but may not have any spiritual content in it. Some scholars who have acquired this bookish knowledge turn it into pride and arrogance, or for acquiring position of importance. They more often do not use it for the glory of God and benefit fellow human beings. St. Paul talks about such knowledge ‘puffing up’ to create a swelled head to force it on others. This is the kind of knowledge Saul of Tarsus had under Gamaliel’s tutoring. But as we see later in St. Paul’s’ ministry, our Lord through love and grace would turn this religious zealot’s unsavoury knowledge into true wisdom, and his cold reasoning into a burning and all consuming love, through the gift of the Holy spirit.

The second part of religious life is devotion and contemplation. This is what common people do, without any great scholarship; they turn to a God at the time of their need. Biblical scholarship is not essential for knowing God. People feel experience and comfort in turning to God although they cannot say exactly what it is. It is a gift, favour and grace of God and from it springs many benefits for their spiritual growth. This devotion and contemplation help them to put great trust in God’s goodness and mercy; it help them to think about Christ’s passion; it help them to praise God for the generosity of his gifts. This is the kind of experience that David speaks in the Psalms when he says: ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Ps. 34:8). In this stage of religious life people will want to spend more time in quiet prayer and contemplation and they feel themselves moved and they gather their strength from God. The guidance for this comes from the Psalmist, ‘Be still and Know that I am God’ (Ps. 46: 10). St. Paul provides a perfect illustration of this stage in his religious life. It is only after three years after his conversion he appears to make his first visit as a Christian to Jerusalem. He was driven into solitude to face the facts of his conversion, the death of his old self and the birth of a new one, and discover the will of God for his ministry to the Gentiles. This period of self conquest through the grace of God was essential for developing a mature ministry. The signature of this ministry is in his letter to Philippians (4.13): ‘I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me’. These conditions included chronic ill health, scourging, stoning, poverty, imprisonment, perils in the land and the sea and struggle with false prophets and preachers. This tremendous personal testimony is a valid proof of God and man working together for creating His Kingdom on earth. But devotion and contemplation provides the strength to face all conditions of life, because our God is a God for all seasons.

The third aspect of the religious life is the inner spiritual life. It is this inner spiritual life which made St. Paul to write: “It is no longer I who live, Christ lives in me.” Constant communion with indwelling Christ is the very essence of religious life. This understanding may seem to be crazy wisdom to many, but ultimate reality of a spiritual odyssey. St. Paul is overwhelmed by God’s love and his soul becomes one with God in that inner intimate relationship. These three aspects are important in our religious life, and beside these there is nothing else. Most of our difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realising them as parts of our whole being. If our everyday life is centred on our selfish needs, we cannot expect that our spiritual life can be built separately on another spiritually protected environment. However, there is no need to have a conflict once we have the experience of an indwelling Christ. This helps us to be in situations where he wants us to be; not the opportunities and situations we fancied for ourselves. We need to develop a sense of humour and a crazy wisdom to appreciate these spiritual realities of life. The paradox of the cross, finding strength from weakness and victory from defeat; the fact that the liberation theology stands for the loser’s of this world, and the centrality of grace are all different aspects of a crazy wisdom which is beyond all understanding.

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Many faithful across the globe since generations after generations believe that St. Joseph had taken the infant Jesus and his mother St. Mary into Egypt. As recorded in St. Matthew 2: 13-14 “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be you there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt”.

The Christians of Egypt often assemble near an old sycamore tree, which is commonly known as St. Mary’s tree, in one old city in suburb of Cairo, during the Christmas season every year and they do have prayers and meditations on a systematic way. The faithful touches and kisses the tree without the leaves, with great thrill and enthusiasm. Spinsters go around the tree for 7 times in the expectation and hope to get good husbands and the young married ladies also go around the tree to get the blessing of having children. They usually bite the outer skin of the stem and branches and chew it for some time under firm belief that such an act would grant them their wish, Now 15 centers are honored as pilgrimage centers, where it is believed that St. Joseph had stayed with infant Lord Jesus and His mother, St. Mary. The spot, which is mentioned above, where the St. Mary’s tree is seen, is one among the 15 only. There are Churches or Asrams in these places as monument of the stay of Lord infant Jesus with His mother and caretaker, St. Joseph.

The caretaker of St. Mary’s tree introduces himself as ‘Uncle Abraham’. Uncle Abraham once claimed that once there was an attempt to cut the tree but the attempt was withdrawn as blood wooed from the first cut of the axe. It is said that St. Joseph had reached the place called ‘Farma’ for the first time, which is on the boarder of the present Egypt. It is believed that they had stayed at the place presently known as ‘Hamam’, which is close to Sagsig, 120 kilometers north of modern Cairo city. In Arabic language, Hamam means to take bath.

It is traditionally believed that when they reached this place, Mother Mary longed to have little water to wash infant Jesus and immediately they saw au unusual stream sprouting from the ground with sweet water. We could watch floods of faithful moving together to this place these days. It is believed that they traveled towards west through the banks of river Nile and on their way ahead they took rest under a ‘Matharia’ tree. It is believed that they stayed at the Valley called Vadi-al-Natrool in the desert about 120 kilometers north west of Cairo. Now there are four Asrams of great respect and honor. Then only they traveled towards southern side of Egypt. From there they moved towards the old Cairo and spend months together in a cave in disguise. This cave is still as in the original conditions, under the St. Sergious Church, constructed in the 5th century AD. The entry to the cave is forbidden due to security reasons, but a number of faithful bravely go down and deposit the papers on which their names/requirements are written carefully inside the cave.

Another tradition is about the boat journey of St. Joseph with Lord Jesus and his mother. The journey had originated from the old small port called ‘Maadi’ A very big church is there which is being visited by thousands of pilgrims always especially during these days. A step made of local bricks said to be used by them is retained still in high respect as a monument. It is believed that the boat voyage reached them in ‘samalout’ which is 220 kilometers south of Cairo.

It is widely believed that when a huge piece of rock was about to fall on the boat during their journey ahead, St. Mary cried in loud voice and infant Jesus touched the rock and immediately the movement of the rock was stopped. Egyptians wide believe that the mark of palm of our Lord is still visible on the rock. This mountain is now known as “Palm Mountain”. For an average Egyptian Christian Christmas means a pilgrimage to all these centers.

The Holy Bible says, (St. Matthew 2: 19-20) When Herod was dead, behold, an angel of God appeared in dream to Joseph in Egypt. Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

And accordingly St. Joseph came back to Israel with infant Lord Jesus and his mother, St. Mary.

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St. Paul is regarded as the Lord of the Apostles and we remember him during every Holy Eucharist by reading one of his lessons. The following is a brief summary of his life based on Holy Bible and I hope it will stimulate the readers to read more about him and follow the foot steps of St Paul by visiting the places where he served as an Apostle of our living Lord, Jesus Christ. I have done this and words cannot express fully my reverence and respect for this true Saint.

When we first meet him in the Book of Acts (7:58-8:1) it is as Saul; and later, Acts 13:9 describes him as "Saul, who is also called Paul." As a Jew he bore the name of Israel's first king (1 Samuel 9:2, 17); but as a free citizen of the Empire, he also bore a Roman name. Many Jews of this period in history had two names, one Semitic and the other Greek or Roman. A child of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:22), Paul proudly identified himself as an "Israelite" and a "Hebrew born of Hebrews, as to the law a Pharisee" (Philippians 3:5) "extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers" who excelled his peers "in Judaism" (Galatians 1:14). But he was also proud to be "a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city" (Acts 21:39). Tarsus was a Hellenized city, famous for its university, gymnasium, theatre, art school and gymnasium. It became the capital of the province of Cilicia during Pompey's reorganization of Roman Asia Minor in 66 BC. Later on, Mark Antony - famous as Cleopatra's lover - granted freedom and Roman citizenship to the people of Tarsus. In an age when most of the people living within the boundaries of the Pax Romana were slaves, Paul was born a free citizen of the Empire.

St. Paul was "educated strictly according to the law of our fathers" at the rabbinical school conducted in Jerusalem by the great rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, "a teacher of the law respected by all the people" (Acts 5:34). Although Gamaliel is depicted in the New Testament as lenient towards Christians (Acts 5:33-39), his disciple Saul was active in the earliest persecutions of Christianity and attended the stoning of St. Stephen the deacon and first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58). Paul "persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women" (Acts 22:4).

Intent on exterminating the new faith, Paul sought to travel to Damascus to undertake the persecution of Christians there. It was during his trip from Jerusalem to Damascus in Syria that his life would take a crucial turn when he encountered the risen Jesus in a vision of light that left him temporarily blind. This experience was revolutionary, caused a complete transformation and redirection of his life. As a result of this "revelation" (Galatians 1:12), Saul, the bloodthirsty persecutor of Christianity converted to the faith he once hated, was baptized by Ananias and received into the Church of Damascus, the very community he had set out to suppress (Acts 9:10-31). From this moment on, he became a "slave of Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:1) and in that slavery discovered "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Luke recounts this Damascus experience three times in the Book of Acts: once in the narrative, Acts 9:3-19; and twice, in speeches, before a crowd in Jerusalem (22:6-16) and before Festus and King Agrippa (26:12-18). "Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any that belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."

"While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon, I saw a great light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that suddenly shone around me and my companions. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' I answered, asking, 'Who are you, Lord?' The Lord answered, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet! I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you to serve and testify to the things you have seen. I will rescue you from your people and the Gentiles - to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of their sins and a place among those who are being made holy by faith in Me." This vision of the glory of God - what later theologians and saints will call the uncreated light - is the call by which Paul becomes the Apostle to the Gentiles, the greatest missionary in the history of Christianity. It is through his missionary efforts that Christianity, originally a sect of Judaism, becomes a world religion.

After his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and baptism at the hands of Ananias, Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians that he "went away at once into Arabia," spending time in the desert wastes before returning to Damascus, where he remained for three years (1:17-18). By the time of his return to Damascus, the essentials of his teaching were crystal clear: God's promise to Abraham has been fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus. The risen Jesus is the climax of history for He is both the Messiah, the Christ, and "the power and wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24). Teaching in the synagogues in Damascus that Jesus "is the Son of God," his preaching proved so controversial that there were plots to kill him. He escaped Damascus by being lowered over the city walls in a basket at night (Acts 9:19-25). Three years after his conversion, Paul journeyed to Jerusalem to meet with Peter and stayed with him for fifteen days. "But I did not see any other apostle except James, the Lord's brother" (Galatians 1:18-19). In Acts 9:26-30 Luke describes the suspicion with which the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem greeted Paul and that it was Barnabas who secured Paul's acceptance. From Jerusalem, Paul returned to Syria and ultimately went to its capital, Antioch, the third city in the empire after Rome itself and Alexandria in Egypt.

It had been in Antioch of Syria that followers of the Way had first been called Christians (Acts 11:26) and it was this community that would commission Paul and Barnabas as missionaries (Acts 13:1-3). Luke organizes Paul's missionary activity into three segments or journeys. Paul's missionary journeys cover roughly 46-58AD, the most active years of his life, as he evangelized Greece and Asia Minor. Paul's first missionary journey is recounted by Luke in Acts 13:3-14:28 and lasted for three years, probably from 46 to 49AD. However, Paul's message created controversy wherever he went. Initially preaching and teaching in the synagogues of the various cities they visited, it was in Antioch of Pisidia that the conflict led Paul and Barnabas to declare that they were now "turning to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46). This decision, to preach not only to the Jews but to all peoples, marks a decisive turning point in the history of Christianity. From that moment on the message of Jesus, the crucified yet risen Messiah, was clearly open to everyone and this was understood by Paul and Barnabas to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures (Acts 13:47-48). God had "opened the door of faith for the Gentiles" (Acts 14:27). But it was in Antioch of Pisidia that Paul and Barnabas soon found themselves in conflict with other teachers in the Church, "believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees" (Acts 15:5), men "from Judea" who were teaching that "unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1). When this leads to "no small dissension and debate, Paul, Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem" to consult "the apostles and presbyters" about the status of Gentile converts and whether or not it was necessary for them to conform to the Mosaic covenant (Acts 15:1-5). This visit leads to the council of Jerusalem (circa 49-50AD). This council was to be a paradigmatic event in the life of the Church, the pattern for ecumenical councils yet to be called in the centuries to come. At this council there was "much debate" as Paul and Barnabas presented their Gospel before the assembled community, which included "James, Peter and John" who were "acknowledged" as "leaders" and "pillars" of the Church (Galatians 2:1-10). According to Acts 15:6-21, it was Peter's voice that carried the day in favor of Paul and Barnabas. But it was James, speaking on behalf of all, who announced the decision of the council: circumcision is not obligatory for salvation.

After the council of Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas go their separate ways: Barnabas taking John Mark and sailing to Cyprus, Paul choosing Silas and traveling throughout Syria and Cilicia "strengthening the churches" (Acts 15:36-41). In the decade to come, Paul was to embark on two more missionary journeys, the second one from 50 to 53AD and the third and final missionary journey lasting six years, from 53 to 59 AD. During these journeys Paul would travel throughout the ancient Mediterranean world, preaching and teaching, establishing new churches everywhere he went. His Letters leave a trail of churches founded and/or nurtured by him: Ephesus, Corinth, Thessaloniki, Philippi. He preached in Athens and was to die in Rome, the intellectual and political centers of the Empire. Paul's letters are the oldest Christian documents that we have. Most modern scholars believe that Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians is the first book of the New Testament to be written, sometime in 52AD. His letters are also the largest collection of writings by any one person in the New Testament. In modern Bibles, they are placed in order of their length, with the longest letter, that to the Romans, being first and then followed by letters to individuals (Timothy, Titus and Philemon) last. Paul's letters are exactly that: letters, occasional writings meant to deal with specific issues in the churches to which he addressed them. They are not systematic theological treatises in the modern sense. And yet, they have provided rich and deep theological insights that have never been surpassed in the Church's history.

It is during his last visit to Jerusalem "to visit James" (Acts 21:18) that Paul is arrested near the Temple after a small riot and taken by a Roman tribune before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council. Paul defends himself before the Sanhedrin by playing on the dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees and their conflict over the resurrection. After a plot to assassinate Paul is discovered, Paul's case is transferred to Antonius Felix, the procurator of Judea, who keeps him in prison for two years, expecting a bribe. When Felix's successor, Festus, arrives on the scene, Paul appeals his case to Caesar, requesting a trial in Rome by virtue of his Roman citizenship. "You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go," Festus replied (Acts 25:12). Paul's journey to Rome was to be an eventful one that included shipwreck. The Book of Acts closes with Paul under house arrest in Rome still carrying out his ministry of teaching and preaching - faithful to his Master to the end. During his thirty-year ministry as an apostle what had Paul suffered for the sake of the Gospel? Already in 2 Corinthians, Paul describes some of what he endured to preach the Good News of Jesus risen from the dead: "Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. For a night and a day I was adrift at sea. On frequent journeys, I was in danger from rivers, from bandits, from my own people, from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the wilderness, in danger at sea, in danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches" (11:24-29). Eusebius, the 4th century bishop of Caesarea who is often called the first Church historian, records that the apostle Paul was executed in Rome during the persecution of the emperor and madman, Nero. Nero's persecution of Christians lasted for four years, from 64 to 68AD. It was also during this persecution that the apostle Peter was executed. As a Roman citizen entitled to a quick death, Paul was beheaded. St. Gregory the Great, the 6th century pope, wrote that Paul's execution took place on the left bank of the Tiber River on the Via Ostiensis, the road to the port of Ostia, and is buried near the site of the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

This article is based on one of the best article on this subject I read in a Greek Orthodox publication.

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Our world today is full of racial violence, terrorism and war. War and Monopoly is the reflection of contemporary world. In this state of affair, man should find a way out and seek for ever lasting peace. God extended His peace to whole mankind on earth. The focal question is whether man is ready to recognize, comprehend and exercise this proposition of God. It is implied that permanent peace on earth will Be prevailed on the return of Jesus Christ. It is the responsibility of each human to create a compliant atmosphere for God to establish His peace on earth.

Peace in the world can be established only by embracing the tenet ‘Love thy neighbor... Love thy enemy’ in place of the worldview ‘Love thy neighbor, Hate thy enemy.’ Ponder on the effect of blessing the one who hate us and praying for guidance and forgiveness of our persecutors. This formula keeps the peace to stand of its own. The one who forgive others is forgiven by God. All are equal in the sight of God and hence we should be merciful and compassionate to all our co-beings. We should never be harsh with any God’s creation. This is also the way of our salvation. Once we are willing to help others we receive a reciprocal benevolence from others. Once we are compassionate to other we also receive compassion from others.

Another very important essential for peace is our readiness to accept our own mistakes. This cleanses our heart, eliminates our ego and it is the process of atonement. Practice of these tiny tips in our daily life can change the world to a peaceful planet where the humans would transform like innocent angels. According to the holy Bible God makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and on the unjust.

In Matthew 5:9 and Luke 6:28-31 Jesus says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you”.

So let us believe that God will never undo our good actions. And let us implement these simple deeds to make peace in the globe. May God, the Creator of every human being, help you find the real source of peace!

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Long time ago, before Christ, there was a Rabbi in ancient Judea by the name Solomon, who was very famous for his wisdom, honesty and generosity. Every Sabbath day, many youngsters, both men and women of Judea, after worshipping Yahweh, gathered in the shade of the trees of Synagogue to hear and discuss with Solomon whose wisdom they appraised as comparable to that of Wise King Solomon. Rabbi Solomon was so scholastic to answer any questions of the Youngsters with reference to the Holy Scriptures. Yohanes, Martha, Ezekiel, Esther, and Ahaz were some of the active participants of the group discussions with Rabbi. Esther, a young girl, summarized all the sweet discussions with Rabbi day to day as follows:



Martha's brother died, and we all attended the funeral. She remained at her home for several days unwilling to talk to anybody. I had to force her to come with me and join the weekly meeting. We all encouraged her to say something, and she started speaking.

Martha:Rabbi, my brother's death was a sudden shock to me, and I couldn't come out and talk to anybody. He was so healthy and active, and I don't understand how he died. It seems that no one's life is safe, and this thought fills my heart with fear. And if death is the inevitable end of existence, why should we struggle so much to exist at all?

Rabbi:I understand that your brother had been so dear to you, and we all share your grief. (After a short pause he continued) You expressed your worry and fear of death, and so I think it is a good idea to discuss that subject today.

All living beings have birth and death. Even the world has beginning and end. Everything that exists within the limits of time must have a beginning and an end. Hence, death is as natural as birth. That death will arrive is certain, only its time is uncertain.

If this is the whole truth about death, it is a very frightening truth, and it makes our existence purposeless. An existence that can be terminated at any moment without any notice--is it worth struggling for? In spite of that, there is a natural urge within us to exist and to struggle for it. Thus we find a contradiction within ourselves--between the knowledge that existence is not worth struggling for, and the natural urge to go on existing.

Perhaps, I can make this idea clearer with the help of an example. Yesterday my stomach was upset. Whatever I ate and drank I vomited. On the one hand, I wanted to eat and drink because I was very hungry and thirsty. On the other hand, I didn't want to eat or drink anything because I knew that I would vomit everything. How can I eat something if I am sure that I would vomit it? Thus I found two powerfully opposing pulls within me. I wanted to eat because of hunger, also I didn't want to eat because of my certainty that I would vomit.

We are all in a similar situation. There is a strong urge within us to exist. But the knowledge of the inevitability of death pulls us in the other direction. We must find a way to resolve this contradiction. People usually manage to resolve this contradiction by ignoring death. They just avoid thinking and talking of death. Death is one of the least used words in our everyday life. It is a very unpleasant thought and word. However, we know that we cannot avoid death just by avoiding the thought of death, or the word itself. Avoiding the thoughts of death is nothing but admitting our failure to resolve the contradiction.

Let us see how our ancestors solved the contradiction. They were aware of the inevitability of death, but they also realized that it is only a part of the truth. The world in which there is birth and death is only a part of the real world, which has no beginning or end. Therefore, the kind of existence, with birth and death, is only a part of the real existence, which is without birth or death.

In the Hymn of creation it is said that human beings were created in the image of God. An image is a representation of the reality. A representation will be similar to the original in many respects, but not entirely similar. Human beings are similar to God in their power of imagination and creativity. But they are different from God in that they are limited by time and space. As human beings exist within time limit, they have birth and death. However, God exists beyond time limit without birth or death. Thus, human beings may be defined as God who exists within the limits of time and space. If human life and divine life are one and the same, we do not really die, only we appear to die.

We see the same idea in a different way in the story of Adam and Eve. God created the first human being in a special way using two components. A human form was made with mud, and then God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils. Thus, human being is a combination of earth and God's life. The life from above meets the earth from below, and a human being is born. When they (life and earth) separate, we die. Earth goes back to the ground, and life goes back to join the creator. Thus our life and God's life are one, and so we have no death.

Martha:Do you mean that my brother is not dead?

Rabbi:Yes, that is exactly what I mean. However, we are unable to acquire more knowledge about the kind of existence he has. We have to be satisfied with the knowledge that our knowledge of the reality is partial just as our world is only a part of the real world.

Martha's face was once again bright. It was a very consoling thought for her that her brother is really alive.

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