[Diocesan Metropolitan of Madras Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Church ]

Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. Real knowledge commence when we realize our ignorance. This is the greatest divine knowledge that God is expecting that we should have. First Peter denied Jesus, next he thought he knows and eventually he confessed that he does not know. Restoration of the commision of Peter is a great scene of Christian reconciliation.


Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, happened in secret. It was a very private event. Nobody in the world had seen resurrection of Jesus, with human eyes. Roman soldiers were guarding the tomb of Jesus. But there was something marvelous happened at the dawn of the day of resurrection. A severe earthquake had occurred, an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. The keepers shivered at this sight and fell down as if dead. Some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. It was really amazing and they could not describe it. The high Priests and elders came to know that something went really wrong. They bribed and told the informers, ‘You should tell the authorities that His disciples came by night and stole Him away while you were asleep’, so that nobody should believe this resurrection story. The Gospel writer witness that this story was widely spread among the Jews till that day. They perturbed the truth as they did not really know whether somebody had carried away the body and their admonition was absolutely meaningless.

Ministry of Jesus was public, his crucifixion was open, but his resurrection was divine, privileged and mysterious. The open sepulcher of Jesus was the greatest proof that He had risen. Easter is the greatest of all Christian festivals. This is the benchmark of Christianity. With out Easter there is no Christianity, there is no faith, and there is no Gospel. The foundation of Christian faith and Christian family is that Jesus had risen.

As Peter described in his epistle, after Jesus’ death but before His first appearance, as resurrected, to the disciples, apparently He went to Hades - the abode of the dead - and preached Gospel to the spirits bounded there. In the Holy Scripture it is written: ‘By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;’ (1 Peter 3:19). People at the time of Noah were disobedient and rebellious, as the Scripture connotes it; ‘their sin was aggravated from the patience and long suffering of God’ [around 120 years], while Noah was preparing the ark. Noah was preaching and giving them a forewarning of what was coming upon them. The young people of that time, teased at Noah, as there was no sign of any rain. They all were drowned, and their spirits cast into hell, which was called a prison; but Noah and his family were saved in the ark. Jesus had set them free and then they started praising Lord and that is the great hope.

Resurrection is a new day for us. The three-fold elements of the New Testament are faith, hope and love [Charity]. As we profess that Jesus is the son of God, we are in the hope of resurrection and of a new life and thereby we love each other. Christ gave us a new commandment, not the old one and that is, we should love one another. By doing so, the world will know that we are the disciples of Lord and not otherwise. There is mutuality in love - Give and take. The source of love is not in you or me. The great foundation of love is God. He initiates in the course of time, to tie our hearts together in love. Love and light emanate only from the heaven. Love flows to us and we share same each other. There is reciprocity for love too.

Till the resurrection, all the disciples were frightened. When Jesus came amidst them, the doors and windows of the room were shut for fear of the Jews. He appeared to them and told ‘Peace be with you.’ That day he ordained them and gave them authority and instructions. "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." (John 20:23) That day, He united the heaven and earth as one unit.

The Church may be worldly as the Church is in the world; sometime the world comes to the Church. The eminent poet William Wordsworth began his most famous sonnet, “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” Apparently world is too much in the Church, but Church cannot afford to be worldly. We are in the world, but we cannot afford to be too much worldly. World is not in need of worldly ministers, preachers or teachers. But Jesus had shown us the way how to be unworldly which is eternally desirable. He had highlighted us ‘Follow me’. This is the greatest command He is giving to us, that is to imitate and follow him.

While Jesus appeared to the disciples first, Thomas was not with them. When the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen the risen Lord, he told them that unless he sees the imprint of the nails on His hands, put his finger into the wounds of the nails and put his hand into His sides where the spear was pierced, he will not believe. But our risen Lord confirmed the faith of Thomas during His second appearance. It is a very significant fact that after resurrection Jesus was not seen by all people, but He exposed himself only to the people who loved him. During His consecutive appearances, He confirmed all in their faith. Judas betrayed Jesus, hanged himself and lost his share in the ministry and could not witness the resurrection. Peter denied Jesus at the palace court of the high priest. He was very sorrowful about it, went out and wept bitterly. Once Peter denied Jesus, he was also on the verge of loosing his share in the ministry, but Jesus reinstated him to his original position and inculcated him to follow Him. The young man clothed in white garment and sat inside the sepulcher, instructed the women very specifically to inform His disciples plus Peter that Jesus of Nazareth is risen.

There was a gorgeous task involved when Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. When Simon Peter, Thomas Didymus, Nathanael, James, John and two other of his disciples were together, Peter initiated to go back for fishing and others joined with him. After they labored all the night in vein, when the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach. In spite of that they had seen the risen Jesus twice earlier; disciples did not know that it was Jesus. This retraction of the disciples were like an act of young people of the world and to this effect Jesus addressed them as Children - young ones - even though they were not that young. When they worked as per the instruction of Jesus they had a big catch. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved at heart was the first to identify Jesus. John had a lot of very affectionate memories of Jesus in his mind. He had the special privilege of leaning on Jesus’s bosom during the last supper, and hence he felt the heartbeat of Lord.

After a wonderful breakfast, Jesus called Simon Peter aside and asked him, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these. Simon replied him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." Jesus asked Peter the second time, Simon son of Jonas, do you love me more than these. Once again Simon replied the same words. Jesus asked Peter the third time the same question. Peter was grieved at this time, he started weeping and tears fell down his cheeks. However, he never spoke any single word about his denial. At this, he told something wonderful and unforgettable. Simon said to Lord, "Lord, You know everything.” Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. Real knowledge commence when we realize our ignorance. This was the greatest knowledge that Jesus was expecting that he should have. Here, Peter represents the young ones of this world. Peter humbly accepts himself that he represents the young people of the world. The adversary of the world is fond of to pronounce the favorite words that I am the master of this world and I always decide to do good only for me. Jesus’ commitment to Peter was that he will make them fishers of men.

Peter had made a confession of human life. First he denied Jesus, next he thought he knows and eventually he confessed that he does not know. To restore him to his apostleship, he repented of his abjuration of it and got renewed his commission. On the assent of Peter that Lord know everything, he was welcomed back to the Grace. This is a great scene of Christian reconciliation. This is a great scene of God’s love to share. Why Jesus came to this earth and became a human? It is to reconcile between God and man who is His creation. When we commit sin, our Lord is suffering. This is a very personal human feeling that we should nurture in our heart. Jesus is pointing his question to the soft part of our heart, “Do you love me?”. This question persistently remains with us and pointing towards our heart of heart. Peter tells this to all the young ones of this world.

[Speech delivered at Melbourne : Reported by E.S. John Australia.]
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[Matthew 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48]

By Dr. K. C. Nainan, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A

on of Man was born in a manger and brought up in a carpenter's poor home. He gathered poor and uneducated for His ministry. He was crucified and buried in a borrowed-tomb, rose on the third day and ascended to heaven. Son of Man did not come to be served; He came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people. All believers must seek, search and study the truth in the Word of God and the truth will make us free.

We all know that when the King of Heaven was incarnated as the Son of Man, He was born in meagerly and poorly equipped manger and brought up in a carpenter’s home; He started the public ministry by gathering some followers of humble origin and low social and educational standard with no religious training. He was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in a borrowed-tomb and rose on the third day; before his ascension to His Father’s home, He asked his disciples to preach and teach the good news of salvation to all mankind after being baptized and empowered with Holy Spirit. Did our Lord really envision the Church as we see and experience it today? Most of the traditional congregations have an imperial hierarchy with pope or patriarch, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons, doctrines and dogmas thickly coated with man-made rituals, rules and regulations, huge cathedrals and church buildings which have all the signs and symbols of a worldly kingdom. Let us examine from a scriptural point of view. The gospels and the writings of the apostles and disciples in the first century is our plumb line or reference point.

The Lord said, “His Kingdom does not belong to this world” John 18:36. After witnessing the miracles and wonders of Jesus, the people wanted to crown him as their king but he refused to that attempt and went off to the hills John 6:14-15. But when the Roman soldiers crowned him with a thorny crown on his head and put a purple robe on him for ridiculing as the King of Jews, the Lord did not object to that!

What did the Lord say about himself? Learn from me; I am gentle and humble in spirit Mathew 11:29-30. Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people Mark 10:45. I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:27. In the book of Isaiah our Lord is called God’s servant Isaiah 52:13

Very often the disciples of our Lord were really concerned and argued among them about the question “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God?” Mathew 18:1, Mark 9:33-34. Jesus taught them several times “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all” Mark 9:35.

Even at the table of the Lord’s Supper the disciples were discussing about the greatest in the Lord’s Kingdom! (Luke 22: 24-27). The Lord, the King of kings, rose from the table, washed and dried the feet of all disciples and told them that I have set an example for you, so that you will serve each other and it will be a blessing for you if you could practice. John 13:3-17

The Lord taught his friends and disciples that the kings of the pagans have power over their people, but this is not the way it is with you; rather the greatest one among you must be like the youngest, and the leader must be like the servant! Luke 22:24-34, Mathew 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-35. Our blessed Master showed the disciples about the worldly hierarchical attitude and behavior of the Jewish leaders and rulers, and instructed them not to follow and imitate them when they would be in charge of the church in the future. “ You must not be called ‘Teacher’, because you are all brothers of one another and have only one Teacher. You must not call anyone here on earth ‘Father’, because you have only the one Father in heaven; nor should you be called ‘Leader’, because your one and only Leader is the Messiah .The greatest one among you must be your servant, Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great” Mathew 23:1-12.What a powerful teaching it is!

Apostle Peter called himself an elder among other church elders. He Said “ do not try to rule over those who have been put in your care, but be examples to the flock” 1 Peter 5:1-3. He never claimed to be Pope or Patriarch of any particular church. In the first century-church the apostles and disciples were known as servants of God and partners working together for founding and building the churches. By the end of the first century, the servants of the Lord began to exercise authority over people and slowly clerical hierarchy began to evolve which is against the teaching of the Lord. Emperor Constantine began to share imperial power with the servants of the Lord and the church steadily and strongly established power-hungry ecclesiastical hierarchy in many churches, especially at Rome.

Christianity did not destroy paganism, it adopted, accepted and shared many rituals, icons, traditions, and practices and developed into a worldly organization as we see today in many denominations. Early churches had apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, deacons and pastors. Pastors were not distinct from bishops and elders. They were all servants of the Chief Shepherd to take care of the believers in various capacities for building the Kingdom of God on earth. It is noteworthy that the first century churches had no specially designated priests because all believers are priests and there was no sacrifice to be conducted (1Peter 2:5,9, Rev 1:6).

Hierarchy and the kind of leaderships we have today in several denominations are not scriptural. Many of the religious practices are man-made. Christianity is one of the world religions whereas our Lord never started a religion. He founded the Kingdom of God without rituals, traditions and external ceremonies.

All believers must seek, search and study the truth in the word of God and the truth will make us free from false teachings and doctrines: it could be done only with the help of the Holy Spirit given to us as a gift from heaven. Then we will realize that the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the one who humbles himself and becomes like a child (Mathew 18:4) and follows our Master Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Blessed are those who have pity on the suffering; for they will have pity from God and people. Blessed are those who forgive and forget; for they shall receive in peace to the full. Blessed are those who apologize for their shortcomings; big or small, for they shall make their enemies, friends. Blessed are those who express their gratitude, for they shall feel happy and receive more help.


19. Blessed are those who have pity on the suffering; for they will have pity from God and people.

Solomon the wise, says, "Whoever is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full." (Prov. 19:17) We find that those who have pity on the needy are loved and helped by all.

If people begin to identify themselves with one another and have pity, a lot of quarrels and wars can be avoided. In order to have pity on others, we have to identify ourselves with them. There is a story of a boy who corrected his father. The father had asked a workman to do some work in his house. The workman came very late in the night. Hence, he was not allowed to work in spite of his pleadings. He had to go out. The boy was noting this. On the way, the workman found a policeman who volunteered to plead for him. In spite of his pleadings also, the father did not allow the man to work. When they went out, the boy said to his father, "Daddy, how you would have felt, if you were in his place". The father realized his lack of sympathy. He therefore straight away and apologized. In order to have pity, we have to identify ourselves with people.

Prayer: O Lord, help us to identify ourselves with people and to have pity on them.

20. Blessed are those who forgive and forget; for they shall receive in peace to the full.

To forgive is our duty before God. St.Pul says, "Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." (Col. 3:13) "See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one anotherand to all." (1 Thes. 5:15) This is the only way to have peace of mind. The person, who does not forgive, is like the man who keeps wounds unhealed. He continues to suffer mentally. He will not get proper sleep. This may lead to physical ailments also. He will not get proper sleep. This may lead to physical ailments also. He forgets that the real way to make people love is by forgiving them. Moreover, it is our duty to forgive others as God forgives us.

Prayer: Help us O' Lord, to identify ourselves with those who hurt us, and forgive them whole-heartedly.

21. Blessed are those who apologize for their shortcomings; big or small, for they shall make their enemies, friends.

The sorrow and humility expressed in apology will create sympathy, and there will be complete reconciliation. To err is human and no one is completely free from errors. Apology is the best remedy for broken relationships.

The respectability of a person is not decreased by accepting the truth that he/she has committed a mistake. He/she is only accepting the truth that he/she is also an ordinary human being. Nobody is perfect. We go wrong some time or other. THe person who refuses to accept that he/she had gone wrong is under false prestige.

Prayer:Help os O Lord to apologize and get reconciled with those whom we have hurt.

22. Blessed are those who express their gratitude, for they shall feel happy and receive more help.

Generally speaking, the expression of gratitude is found among selfish people also. If there is anyone, who does not express gratitude, it must be because he/she is so much absorbed in selfishness. The story of the healing of the ten lepers (St. Luke 17:11-19) gives us the example of one who expressed his gratitude, while the rest nine didn't. Our Lord expressed His sorrow that the nine didn't come to give thanks. We all agree that the ingratitude of nine people wee so disgraceful and unpardonble. But do we realize that at times we also fail to offer thanks? The expression of gratitude prompts people to return this love. Should we not express our gratitude without failure?

Prayer: Grant O Lord that we may be thankful to YOU and all people, in all things.


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The suffering that leads to introspection and repentance only can guarantee sustenance and inner metamorphosis by cleansing and purifying. Sufferings cannot transform everybody’s life unless blessed from Above. The purity in the worship of God and the sincerity in looking after the brethren are the corner stones upon which one’s destiny is founded.

Mankind would have ceased to exist provided there has been no suffering for the fallen human race, the descendants of the fossil Adam, not the original one created by God. The suffering that leads to introspection and repentance only can guarantee sustenance and inner metamorphosis by cleansing and purifying. Like water that washes out the dirt of the body, the repenting tears only can cleanse the impurities of the soul. Suffering is a fire, either it consumes the impurities of life or makes total destruction of the qualities of life. Despite there were sufferings till Noah’s time due to sensual ecstasies, even begetting savages by sexual union between the sons of god and the daughters of men, they didn’t want to listen to God’s ways. It became imperative for God to exterminate the whole world, except the righteous Noah and his family, and cleanse the species for His own name’s sake. We are at the culmination of a similar catastrophe of Noah’s time (Mt.24: 37-40) as sins have multiplied beyond the horizons of our imagination by the infusion of inter-cultural, inter-religious and inter-national sub-cultural standards in every realm of social intercourse.

Sufferings cannot transform everybody’s life unless blessed from Above (Jn.3: 27). However, the passions of unearthly love and fear that derive through sufferings only can create miracles in transcending the quality of our mundane existence. Because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold (Mt.24: 12-13). “But he who endures to the end will be saved”. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom.5: 3-5). The white heat of suffering for God and righteousness cleanses the body, mind and soul, if taken in a religious sense. Thus suffering, the identical twin of man becomes a gift of God (Phi.1: 29).

It is a controversial and theological topic as old as life itself. People who don’t care to find their own inner guilt identify themselves with that of Job’s predicament. But are there many Jobs in the annals of history? Some people conjure up reasons that blame God for our foibles. Every man is an island in an ocean of viruses and bacteria, which prey upon us for their survival as man predates upon other living things. Hence infectious, chronic and contagious diseases and calamities are multifarious ingredients in the boiling cauldrons of this transient life. As man is a part and parcel of Nature, any change in the rhythm of Mother Nature will affect everything without any forewarning. The majority is of the opinion that God, the architect of fate, writes one’s destiny upon the head at the time of birth. Hope is considered as poor man’s bread, and many wait for the accomplishment of their sweet dreams, yet few of those impatient ones end their unending helplessness and hopelessness by committing suicides. We may have to console ourselves by Job’s mutterings; man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job.5: 7).

But what are the mysteries and illusions of the bygone centuries that baffle us on this issue? The majority of religions have been teaching that the effect of sins resulted out of our actions and reactions are the destiny that controls our fate. The purity in the worship of God and the sincerity in looking after the brethren are the corner stones upon which one’s destiny is founded (1.Sam.2: 25). There are sins of commissions and sins of omissions. To worship God with the purity of heart and serving man without hurting him in thought, word and deed are the sanctimonious principles laid down in our heart at the time of moulding us in the womb. Predestination is a criminal accusation of the first degree against the Creator, and a justification of our sins. Infringing upon the Divine rules invite the maladies of life, the author of which is not God but one’s own misdeeds concocted by the whisperings of the powers of darkness.

Don’t get confused by the Omniscient God’s power of foreknowledge and predestination. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempt no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death (Jas.1: 13-18), the slow demise of the soul eventually breaks down the chemical human apparatus. For the wages of sin is death (Rom.6: 23), both spiritually and physically. The temptations that come from the devil are to be confronted by the weapons of God, instead of succumbing to them. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1.Cor.10; 13; Jas.4: 7-8). The way of escape is the product of inner cleansing by wailings and sobbing. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Is.1: 18).

We have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God; the return we get is sanctification and its end, eternal life (Rom.6: 22). The basic reason for Jesus to remind the healed ones not to sin again is that sins build up a separation wall between man and God, inviting the demons to bring in all the havocs to parasite upon the weaklings. The notion for the root causes of chronic diseases are un-forgiven or mortal sins, despite modern theologians and medical professionals challenge them. “See you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you”(Jn.5: 14). The paralytic was healed by the forgiveness of his sins (Mt.9: 1-5;Mk.2; Lk.5: 20). In order to forgive our sins we must have utter faith in the Lord (Lk.18: 42; 7: 50). Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead (Jas.2). For behind every sin there is a demon (Mk.5: 9; Mt.13: 19), which takes root in our body and festers us to become a vehicle of all the seven deadly sins that convert the body as the abode of darkness (Lk.11: 33-36). This darkness (absence of celestial radiance) is the breeding ground of the devil to fetter us with psychological and physiological infirmities.

The haunted man becomes normal by expelling the devil from the body (Mt.8. 28-36; Lk.8: 2; Mk.9: 14-29). The best remedy to escape from lethal diseases seems to “be careful lest the light in you be darkness”. When the body is cleansed from this darkness, even the infectious and contagious ailments cannot touch the body because the body can recharge vital energy for the resistance of foreign bodies. The purity of the heart, mind and body only can dispense with this inner energy that is acquired for the indwelling of the H. Spirit in abundance, which expels all the intruding bodies from without. Nothing can torment us if the inner man is pure. The purity of the heart derives from the quality and chastity of our inner harmony. Unless we put a strong harness to control our mind and body, the purity of the heart remains an enigma. Life remains as an unending battle till our last breath in taming the brutish body for which the devil also has a claim.

A true Christian faces a multi- dimensional front in the battle of the unknown; it is not an easy thing to bridle the passions of the body and mind. Put to death what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which are idolatry (Col.3: 5). I pommel my body and subdue it (1.Cor.9: 27) to this effect, claims St.Paul. The Pillar Saints and some other early Fathers used to bruise their body by various means for defeating the bubbling passions of their mortal frames; very many others detached their lives by spending their time in prayers and other austere means of fasting and effective abstinences. Proximity to God brings hostility from the son of perdition who tries to eliminate the holy ones from the face of the world by their crafty and subtle devices. A righteous man thus has two obvious battlefronts, one against his own body and the other against the agents of the dark empire (Eph.6; 12; Mk.6: 4). I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and men (1.Cor.4: 9). As servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way; through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments,....(2.Cor.6: 4-10; 11: 26-33). They end up as martyrs for God by the vile works of Satan, of course by the countersignature of God due to their ripeness to be in the celestial planes.

Those who work for the devil also become mature for the martyrdom for the predator, as they don’t be given a chance by the evil one for their repentance as in the case of Judas. He repented for the betrayal, but was thwarted away by the devil that made the chief priests as Satan’s spokesmen (Mt.27). This planet is not a conducive place for extremely good and extremely bad people as they are prone to kiss their untimely death by the agents of Hades, making one group traveling upwards and the other downwards. The righteous suffers for the sake of others or by the problems made by others and earns his salvation, where as the unrighteous invites troubles for himself and others by his devilish intrigues and reaps eternal damnation, unless getting absolution by repentance. “all who desire to live a godly life in Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse , deceivers and deceived ( 2.Tim.3: 12-13; Jas.1: 12; Ps.119: 71;1.Pet.3:17). This world is a hothouse growth only for the mediocre who is best at baffling God and the underworld by oscillating between good and evil in tune with their ability to adapt themselves in vulnerable situations, which throw opportunities for the Lord and his enemies to wait and see how things would unfold in the future. God don’t punish his children with harsh sufferings, despite they are reflected as the punishments come from God (Heb.12: 1-12); the punishment is executed by the foe that waits for a chance for the inevitable retreat of God’s angels on account of ‘free will’ adorned upon man to choose between good and evil. Though Omnipotent God is, He is apparently impotent in one thing; the changing of one’s character despite His presence for help is always with him unceasingly.

The school of suffering is the best school that can educate a person provided one takes life in the right directions. The congenital tendencies, the author of which are mainly the parents, together with the background situations mould a person to give strength to wade through the rivers of bitter problems of this sojourn voyage. No one can buffet through this transitory life without tasting the bitter sides of it, though vary in degrees from person to person. It is better to toss through the adverse part of life in the beginning rather than in the evening of life, the time when it is too late to adapt or to change for the better because of the complexities and vividness of inescapable aura of our actions and reactions haunt us with. If caught up in certain corners of life, it is a Herculean task to hurl away from the invisible twists and knots that tether us there. The problems in life multiply in geometrical progression as time pass on, the wise is the one who corrects oneself in the beginning. When everything goes well, we justify all our actions and argue that God is on our side on account of our merits.

As we are thrown into the whirlpool of afflictions all of a sudden, either we curse God or identify ourselves as the scriptural hero, Job. If ill omens strike in the beginning of life, there is enough room under the shade of parents and relatives for stretching as there are no dependents or friends who become our enemies or critics unlike misfortunes hit us at a later time. Good parenting solves and equips their children for a later better life, which strengthens them to face any vicissitudes afterwards. Life is not meant to be easy in our fallen human nature. If spiritual transformation is the aim of life, we have to pass through avalanches and typhoons of life at various stages. Ideal childhood and teenage period is the moulding of our character, the silent creative period of making a sound mind in a sound body. This is the cradle of acquiring an astute and disciplined life by keeping pure our body and mind from defilements. As the unknown territory of future life is quite obscure and dark, one has to be under the implicit obedience of parents and teachers for rigorous training. The old Gurukulavasam (learning life by mastering all arts by sitting at the feet of the master) was an ideal set-up of that time, but the beauty of that difficult life vanished as the tides of time changed. One should experience at the dawn that quality of life is more important than life itself.

Due to natural calamities and furies we were only slaves of Nature, which determined the fate of our lives in the past. Man’s achievements in harnessing the inclemency of Nature are unparallel miracles that changed the destiny of Mother Nature and her children. If managed our daily life systematically and prudently, the dawn of paradise on earth is at hand. Raping Mother earth rooted out the scarcity of food materials, and man accumulated unaccountable amounts of money and luxuries which accelerated a life of surface paradise in parallel with the life of the celestials. We can fly, communicate at stellar distances and move along safely and securely and that was only a dream before the budding of technologies. Boasting as a demi-god, every one sucks the beauty of this earthly paradise planted in an alien culture by opening of Pandora’s box. Fax, emails, radio, T.V., automobiles, aeroplanes, computer blessings, remote control....are all the prototypes parallel on earth to a similar celestial life in the higher planes. Once we fancied in our reverie that having enough money to root out starvation, diseases, infant and sudden death, inequalities and exploitations of several types would solve all the problems of man.

Look at the miseries of a world that is being blessed by a pseudo angelic life, quite different from a long bygone era of the curses of a natural life. Can we now nod that man has been the real problem, not Nature? Man has evolved to be an endangered species now. God’s creation can no longer be fixed by a remote control technique, hence His imminent second coming is sure to happen at any moment. While one part of the world is dying for food due to mismanagement, war, suppression, repression, exploitation, malnutrition, chronic epidemics, the bitter fruits of the weapons of mass destructions, the rest of the world is dying by gluttony that perverts and degenerates the quality of a natural life persisted in this planet for an incalculable number of years. The lusty lifestyle of the flesh that doesn’t know the beginning and the past bought mass scale unnatural and untimely death warrants for mankind. Chronic diseases, incest, genocides and homicides, moral decadence and all other vices that came with it are the products of the diseases of the flesh which exposed and canonized an irreligious and immoral life. The effects and legalization of this animal life landed its inhabitants into a world of gluttony of sins. Tensions that generate this high life are of manifold dimensions.

Children being the property of the state, parenting is a cumbersome task as the ‘spare the rod spoils the children’ lifestyle becomes an anathema for the alien generations, the product of a sub-cultural mould of technologies and vampire style of firebrand pop cultural heroes. One can’t touch, look, chastise, train or direct anyone on the basis of Privacy Act, Equal Opportunity Creed, Anti-discrimination and so many other unheard exhortation methods. Looking, misinterpreted as stalking, is a crime, whereas divorce, extra-marital relationships, dating, fornication and any other defacto relationships are all adorable qualities of a hybrid generation. To sleep with the spouse is treated as rape, unless previous permission is obtained. Immoral traffic in sexual arena is sacrosanct, while the road traffic infringements invite heavy fines and imprisonment. A double standard life, one for the budding teenagers and another for mature teenagers onward is a dreadful hypocrisy and mockery of Divine, Natural and intrinsic laws. Don’t commit adultery and fornication at any time has been the modus operandi for the God’s species till the blooming of this pop culture.

Bringing up children in a religious weather in this adverse climate of nudity and half nakedness in every walk of life involves continuous fuming and fretting. The glimpse of the nudities of modern culture can surely deviate even lord Shiva, as it happened in the antiquity by the appearance of goddess Parvathy in her romantic moods, from his transcendental ecstasies. All the religious ways of life is dynamited blatantly by humanism and civil libertine vices that are in contravention to the moral and religious covenants. Adultery, divorce, dating, abortion, euthanasia and similar things are treated as natural and unavoidable menu of our daily life. As religions and churches embraced them as the magna carta of our life, those who question them are challenged with fierce and vehement enmity from the majority simpletons. Gay marriage and gay parenting is another facet of satanic life that is blessed by the laws of the land, paving the way for the devastation of this planet by the fiery ashes of Sodom. All these banalities are framed, regimented and tested in the system through our domestic, educational and workplace culture; anyone who they think stands against to this vampire vulture will be pampered to dust.

The educational venues are the breeding grounds of these pests, the budding teenage life is injected with such vices of all kinds find its maturity and growth along with the slow ageing. Such persons who lost their simplicity, innocence, uprightness and individuality are good for nothing, unless they turn back from the raw nudities of life that has defiled their lives. The workplace life becomes a bed of thorns unless one supports and blindly goes along with it. Tensions of marital unhappiness, coupled with raising children, workplace and social irritabilities make this sojourn life as a synonym of nether world darkness. The tensions of the high society is exclusively kept apart for the blooming darkness of Kaliyuga because a bygone natural life couldn’t dream of the curses of an industrialized and stereotyped lifestyle geared with the weapons and tools of a technological, global society.

The Devil is exorbitantly hilarious once when the family life becomes a poisoned chalice. It disseminates its venom that legalized these banalities into the entire religious and secular systems to unseen directions. No hope for anyone bailing out from this conglomerate infernal anarchy set exclusively for ‘end of days’. Our fight so far has been against the passions of the flesh in choosing between good and evil as there was no legal authority from outside to impose all the filth upon us, where as the spiritual and legal custodians have been demanding us so far to fight against the flesh and enrich our soul and social life. They helped us by law in rooting out the maladies of the flesh: fornication, adultery, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and so on. The fight at the end of the time is not only against the flesh, but are of multifarious kinds and natures. “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers, of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph.6: 10-20).

The natural sufferings, somehow, could be solved by the aid of the celestials, but how can one escape from the tumultuous agonies that are bestowed globally upon all mankind at the end of the world, as exposed in the book of Revelations. Because of writing over a decade about the imminent coming of Jesus, most of my readers may yet label me under the category of lunatic imbeciles. Such cynical accusers, despite experiencing the conflagration that consume the humanity to its ashes, cannot see the shepherd who comes like a thief and collect the flock at the dead of the night. The beloved readers, the time for long slumber on the bed of roses is running out. There is no leverage to get out of this hazy maze, only suffer despite a possible solution suggested by St.Paul in the same chapter. “Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all time in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me,....”

The adversities and challenges confronted by the Israelites in the deserts for 40 years, instead of taking the shortest route by a few years, are the similar precursory yardsticks that we face now in our pilgrimage to the Promised Land. The unfolding of the sterling quality of the king of metal is tested only under the baptism of fire. He who wears patiently the thorny crown of this life only can receive the golden crown of jewels in the Upper Plane (Jn.16: 33; Mt.5: 10-12). Therefore, the best lifestyle is the one that culminates in the martyrdom for Christ (Rev.6: 7-11), reciprocating the sacrifice He made for liberating man from the bondage of sin. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone, which no one knows except him who receives it (Rev.2: 17; 3.21).

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Alexander Marthoma was a great teacher, who took the task of teaching as very serious role. Throughout his ministry, he taught how foolish and unnecessary it is for God's love on the wrong side of the mirror of life. The greatest we can pay to Alexander Mar Thoma is to take those things seriously for which he lived: his causes and concerns, a 'middle way' in facing problems, a simple lifestyle, Bible study, edavaka mission, and evangelization.



It was again with a prophetic vision that Alexander Marthoma Valia Thirumeni helped, encouraged and advised a few of us to organize a FOCUS (For Christian Understanding and Solidarity) group seminar for the Diaspora Marthoma Christians in February 1999 at Santhigiri. Thirumeni saw the need to build the lay leadership of the Church and he was concerned about the marginalisation of a very effective and talented segment of professional people from from a 'lost generation of leaders' in our Church. Therefore, Thirumeni took special care in chairing the very first meeting of international committe of the FOCUS Movement at Diocesan Centre in New York on the day of the consecration of the Sinai Diocesan Head Quarters. Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus and Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timotheos were present at this meeting. It was at this meeting that the Metropolitan advised us to organize regular international seminars on topics of interest for the spiritual growth of the laity and for building an international network of Marthoma Diaspora communities.

Thus the fruit of his ministry and leadership are to be found in parish after parish of the Marthoma Church around the world. The participants of the FOCUS seminar from ten countries were deeply grateful to the Metropolitan for the support and encouragement that they received from Thirumeni. He was disappointed in not being able to attend the first seminar at Santhigiri in February 1999 because of his ill health. He initially wanted to host a dinner for the delegates of the seminar as a father preparing a feast for his visiting children. A representative group of foreign delegates from the seminar visited Valia Thirumeni at Poolatheen on Saturday, 13 February 1999 and presented him with a short report of the seminar and the abstract of their deliberations. Thirumeni very graciously promised to implement some of the recommendation after consulting the Synod and the Council. In spite of his poor health, Thirumeni hosted and interacted with the delegates. He stressed the need for a continuity of our efforts in organizing further seminars in future.

For many of us it was to be our last meeting with this great Metropolitan of our Church. It was indeed a very memorable experience and a very significant opportunity for the foreign participants of the seminar to feel the kindness, sincerity, concern and love of a great Metropolitan of the Church. Most of us had tears in our eyes when we did farewell to the saint. Here was a Thirumeni with his people, listening and giving comfort and hope to them: a pastor of pastors enquiring about his world-wide parishes and his people. Our prayer at the time was simply this, "May God give him strength to guide us into the new millennium." We are grateful to God for hearing our prayers.

He was also a great teacher. Thirumeni took his teaching role seriously. Once upon a time a man looked into the reverse side of a mirror and, not seeing his face and head, he becane insane. Thirumeni through his teaching was able to point out time after time, how unnecessary it was for the man to become insane by poring over the reverse side of a mirror. Throughout his ministry, he taught how foolish and unnecessary it is for God's love on the wrong side of the mirror of life. He started his career as a school teacher at the CMS high school, Kottayam before becoming a priest. Later he became the founding principal of the Marthoma College at Thiruvalla. Thirumeni understood from childhood that a religious upbringing is the only basis for good education. Such an education would help us to understand the meaning and the need to live under the 'cloud of unknowing'. "to taste and see that the Lord id good/". This would also allow us to to appreciate the 'foolish and unknowing wisdom' of St. Paul: "That all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.

But our appreciation of great men is not to praise them in this sort of memorial editions or to put them in stain glass windows or in paintings; or to name buildings after them; great men are inspiration for us to follow. The greatest we can pay to Alexander Mar Thoma is to take those things seriously for which he lived: his causes and concerns, a 'middle way' in facing problems, a simple lifestyle, Bible study, edavaka mission, and evangelization. To honour him is to hold firmly the traditions and the doctrines of the Church, to be free and confident to risk anything for the sake of the Gospel. It is to know that faith of our Church so that we can be free and is confident to risk anything for the sake of the Gospel. It is to know that faith must be taught and theology studied with intellectual integrity if people are to be spiritually fortified and the truth proclaimed to an unbelieving world. The world will only believe us when we 'live out' our Christian faith or in other words we must 'walk our faith' rather than talk about the faith of others or to get worked up in revival meetings. We are called to be part of the solution, not the problems, of the world; for which we need divine guidance. St.Paul wrote to Corinthians, that kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power. This power is the love of Christ that was fully expressed on the Cross.

For eighty seven years he walked under the divine grace on a noble path, which consisted of right-mindedness, right concentration, right view, right thought, right behavior, right speech and right lifestyle. This was indeed a noble path, which transcended the two extremes of light-hearted freewheeling liberalism and a self-torturing hardhearted fundamentalism. The third or middle ay helped him to contribute enormously to ecumenism and evangelism which was a key factor for expanding the restricted geographical, cultural and traditional boundaries of Marthoma Church into aglobal Church with unprecedented opportunities. Marthoma Christian’s throughout their history in Kerala have shown their ability for cultural innovation and integration and it is in many ways uniquely poised for such a witness through the Diaspora communities in the world scene in the 21st century. Its character as an evangelical and reforming Church, but also as a Church rooted in the deep traditions of apostolic succession and other Eastern liturgical traditions should imbue Mar Thoma Christians with a profound sense of mission in the world arena. We have now reached a critical stage in this development, because of the visionary leadership of our last three Metropolitans and other Bishops. We can no longer remain satisfied as a Church of the Pampa River Basin culture with its limitations and peculiarities. A new global village with its challenges and opportunities is a contemporary reality. Valia Thirumeni was the first Metropolitan of a truly global Mar Thoma Church.

It is important to recognize Valia Thirumeni's contributions in this silent revolutions during the last quarter of the 20th century. It was during his stewardship that we were able to buy or build many churches and even a beautiful Diocesan Center in New York for the Diocese of North America and Europe. Late Rt. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Suffragan Metropolitan, the Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostum, the present Metropolitan, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus ably assisted Valia Thirumeni during this period of the phenomenal growth of the Diaspora parishes. This task is now placed in the able hands of Coorilos Thirumeni. Thirumen's very last visit to the United States in 1998 was to dedicate the Diocesan Centre in Long Island and his people to the service of all peoples in that most powerful nation in the world. Building and nurturing a Diocese from nothing was one of the outstanding and most significant contributions of our Valia Thirumeni. Thirumeni very much appreciated and thanked many lay leaders of the Church, who had contributed to this mammoth task, a fact often forgotten by others. Metropolitan wanted the laity to continue to play a role by developing future leadership of the Church. Metropolitan wanted the laity to continue to play a role by developing future leadership of the Church. Metropolitan's life was an open book; he was a Bishop for 47 years and a Metropolitan for the last 23 years. We all knew him in our own personal ways. He also wrote a wonderful autobiography - "Daiva Kripayude Thanalil."

He was a very humble man; humility was the insignia of his personality. A few years back, at a family conference at the London Bible College in Northhood, a young man questioned Thirumeni about the theological position of a few seconds and said, "in my limited understanding, when one is under the influence of the Holy Spirit others would know it without any effort from oneself." This phrase, 'in my limited understanding' captivated this writer ever since, because they came from the head of the Marthoma Church who was supposed to know the alpha and omega of the teaching about the baptism by the Spirit. Here was a man with an unlimited understanding under the yoke of Christ's humility. A daily experience of the love of God was the secret of that winsome humility. Living under the spiritual 'cloud of unknowing' is a very meaningful expression of love of God. This is probably why Dionysius said: 'the most God-like knowledge of God is that which is known by unknowing.' It used to be a sign of humility and devotion to support one's own original ideas by citing scripture, but today it has become a way of parading one's cleverness and scholarship. Thirumeni recently quoted a triplet that he learnt in his childhood.


[Excerpt from the book 'Glimpses of Marthoma Church History' authored by Zac Vargese Kanisseril and Mathew Kallumpram.]

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Paulose Mar Gregorios lived a full life. True to his name, Gregorios, he remained ever awake. Yet such was the ambition of the agenda he set for himself, his work will have to be continued by those who share his convictions and interests. Mar Gregorios was a lover of art, architecture, and music. Above all, Mar Gregorios was a seeker after Truth.

[Late Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios is considered as one of the greatest philosopher, theologian, thinker and religious personaility of the past century after swami vivekananda. The text is based on the Profile of Late Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios and his speech in Chicago Nov, 1989 at the inaugural address of the centennial of the World Parliament of religions published by Delhi Orthodox Center.]



In the course of his life-long spiritual-intellectual quest with a social purpose, Mar Gregorios has authored a number of other books also. The Joy of Freedom (1967, 1987), The Gospel of Kingdom (1968), The Freedom of Man (1972), Freedom and Authority (1974), The Quest for Certainty (1975), Truth without Tradition (1978, Science for Sane Societies (1980), The Indian Orthodox Church: An Overview (1982), The Meaning and Nature of Diakonia (1988), A Light too Bright (1992) and A Human God (1992).

Apart from numerous periodical articles, contributions to symposia and Encyclopedias, and lectures in scores of universities worldwide, Mar Gregorios was the chief editor of the quarterlies, Star of the East (New Delhi) and Purohitan (Kottayam).

Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios lived a full life. True to his name, Gregorios, he remained ever awake. Yet such was the ambition of the agenda he set for himself, his work will have to be continued by those who share his convictions and interests. There are few countries he has not visited in his search for knowledge and friendship. The world was his neighbour. He was proficient in at least a dozen languages, modern and ancient, of Asia, Europe and Africa. He was equally at home in the East and the West, but he wanted Eastern enlightenment and the critical rationality of the West to maintain a dialectic relationship instead of the overwhelming one way flow as at present.

While he respected critical rationality, he also believed in revelation, in miracle, and in transcendence. The Orthodox tradition does not see these in conflict. He was essentially an activist for peace and justice, scholarship and contemplation being only a means to higher social and spiritual goals. he had the courage of his Christian conviction. He cherished freedom for others as much as him. He seldom compromised and always forgave. He was unmoved by calumny. He worked to a plan and had little time to waste, an impatience which sometimes would appear brusque. He knew his limitations and did not hesitate to publicly own the, as a corrective for himself and possibly others. Until the very end, he worked hard for peace and unity among Orthodox Christians in India.

Mar Gregorios was a lover of art, architecture, and music. There were, he would remind, a part of the authentic tradition of Eastern Christians. He established the Shruthi school of music at the Theological Seminary in Kottayam and started the School of Orthodox Sacred Music at the Orthodox Centre in Delhi.

Above all, Mar Gregorios was a seeker after Truth, and as he explains in an early book. The Faith of Our Fathers, truth has to be perceived in the light of tradition, which he was a lucid teacher, has to be understood in the light of sacred tradition, and not interpreted at will. It is only through the realization of truth that peace and justice, freedom and equality, the oneness of the human family and harmony between man and nature can be expected to come. Only this way, can the original concept of the word Orthodox - the right glorification of God - find expression in this world. What kept up his spirits was trusting confidence that " When the spirit of truth comes, He will lead you to the complete truth." (John 16:13)



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:



Society needs to be integrated like the organs in a body of a living being. Blood flows to all organs of the body providing what each organ needs. If there is a deficiency, all organs suffer it equally. For evolution of such a system, basic requirement needed is the willingness originated out of well awareness and a stable and moral political system.

Today Martha began the discussion with an interesting question.

Martha:Rabbi, after my brother's death, I have frequently had the thoughts of heaven and hell. I have heard people saying that we will go either to heaven or to hell according to our deeds. If it is so, this world must be a place to test our character. In fact, the prospect of going to heaven makes me happy, but the chance of being pushed to hell makes me tremble with fear. What do you think about it?

Rabbi: It is from Persians that we received the idea of heaven and hell, and it provides a good example of how people of different cultures influence one another. I hope you are familiar enough with the history to know that we were a part of the Persian Empire for about 200 years. In our history, we have had a chance to come into contact with several others such as Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks. Always it gave us a chance to learn a lot from them. But it has never been a one way affair. They too have learnt a lot from us.

Just as our ancestors compared the world to a large farm, Persians compared the world to a large building of three rooms, one upon the other--heaven at the top, hell at the bottom, and earth at the middle. Heaven is a place of perfect good and bliss, hell is a place of utter evil and misery, and earth is a place of both good and evil, as it is influenced by both heaven and hell.

This metaphor was further elaborated as follows. Heaven and hell are kingdoms, ruled by God and Satan respectively. Both kingdoms, with elaborate military power, are always at war with each other. Obviously, earth is the battleground, and the fight is mainly for human beings. Both kingdoms try their best to persuade people to join their sides. People decide to join either the forces of good or of evil, and accordingly, their souls fly either to heaven or to hell after death. But the ultimate victory will be to heaven. Sometime in the future, the kingdom of hell will be utterly destroyed by the kingdom of heaven.

This is a very useful metaphor which makes it clear that our world is a battleground of good and evil. In our day-to-day life, we frequently meet with situations in which we have to choose between good and evil, and we feel the force of the conflict within us. Such abstract things like good and evil are difficult for us to grasp. A metaphor like this serves to give them a concrete form.

The fear of hellfire and the belief in the reward of heaven can be used to encourage people to do good, and to avoid evil. However, if the fear of hell persists, it can cause a great deal of harm because fear makes our mind inactive and sick. So, fear of hell may be given in small dosage as a medicine but should not be given in overdose. Similarly, belief in the reward of heaven is useful only until people realize that something done for a reward cannot be really good.

This metaphor presents the conflict between good and evil in our world in a concrete form. However, some people make the mistake of thinking that the world is really a building of three rooms, and that there are two equal, opposing forces in the world. This idea is similar to saying that there are two Gods in the world--a good god and an evil god. Though this idea is getting popular, our ancestors would not agree with it.

We understand their view in the first three chapters of Genesis. According to our ancestors, the world is basically good because God created it good. Man, being a part of the world, is also good. Man, created in the image of God, is as free as God to choose good or evil. But, unlike God, man is in need of growth to maturity. He commits errors because of his immaturity and ignorance. All the evil we see in the world is because of this. It is nothing but a transitory phenomenon. When humankind grows to maturity, the world will once again become perfectly good as it was at the beginning. Thus according to our ancestors, history moves in a circle--it begins in good, and ends in good.

The history of humankind moves from simplicity to complexity. Thousands of years ago, when there were only a few people in the world, they had a very simple life. The world was like a Garden of Eden for them. They lived by eating fruits and by drinking water from streams. Occasionally, they might have eaten meat, too. They didn't cultivate any crops. They didn't even care to cover their naked body. It was a carefree life, and they enjoyed it. Life became more complex when their number increased, and also when they came into contact with other groups of people with different ways of behavior. Consider our own life. It is highly complex, and so we can't enjoy it. On the one hand, our life is much better than that of our ancestors--we cultivate crops, we dig wells for water, we have better dress and shelter. On the other hand, we lack something great that they had--simplicity. Ours is not a carefree life. What is the use of having everything in the world if we cannot enjoy life?

Can the humankind ever regain that lost carefree life? In fact, this has been our topic of discussion all these days. What the humankind needs is a carefree life--an enjoyable life. That is why we have discussed the basic questions of human existence. If we understand what makes our life complex, we can simplify it to some extent, and make it enjoyable.

We all thanked the rabbi for such an interesting discussion.

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