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Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. IX No. 4 October - December 2006
News Update | Articles | Researchers
New Arrivals | Mails & Emails
Peace to people on Earth
By Father Felix Raj, SJ
Let me start with my personal Christmas greetings to you. May the Divine Child
Jesus bless you and fill you with peace and joy. I assure you of my prayers for
Christmas. The word can be bifurcated into Christ plus Mass, meaning Christ
among the masses. Christ was born as one among us. John, one of the beloved
apostles of Jesus, begins his gospel in the following words: In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He created all
things. In him was life, and the life was the light of humankind. And the light
shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it… He is the true
light, who gives light to everyone. The Word became flesh and took up residence
among us. We saw his glory - full of grace and truth (John 1: 1-14).
St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, has a beautiful
contemplation in his manual, the Spiritual Exercises on the Incarnation. "Three
Divine Persons look down upon the whole expanse of the earth, filled with human
beings (in great diversity in dress and action, some are white, some black, some
at peace and some at war; some weeping, some laughing; some well, some sick;
some being born and some dying; and so on). Since they see all nations in great
blindness and distress, and that people are descending into hell, they decree in
their eternity that the Second Person of the Godhead should become man to save
and show the way to the human race. So when the fullness of time came, they sent
the Angel Gabriel to Mary in the small town of Nazareth asking her to be the
mother of Jesus" (Spiritual Exercises: Nos: 102-109).
"Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to
King David’s town, Bethlehem in Judea to be enrolled in the census. While they
were there, Mary gave birth to a son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid
him in a manger since there was no accommodation in the inn. On the eighth day
they named him Jesus" (Luke 2:1-7). In the manger we encounter the
communion with the human.
The birth of Jesus is God’s own revelation. It is an event heralding universal
peace and joy. As the Narada Bhakti-Sutra (V.5) rightly says, "at the birth of
a divine person, the ancestors rejoice, the gods dance in joy, and the world
gets a saviour". In Christ’s birth God revealed His love as He revealed it in
creation. Christmas reminds us of the truth that God loves us. The Baby in
Bethlehem’s manger was a gift, a gift from the Loving God. This gift brought
good tidings of great joy to all. Despite the considerable and increasing
commercialization of Christmas today, when celebrated meaningfully, Christmas
becomes an event that gives birth to love, peace and joy in our life.
The first ones to hear the news of Jesus’ birth were the shepherds who were
guarding over their sheep during the night. An angel of God appeared to them and
said: " I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.
Today in the town of David, a Saviour is born for you". God chose first the
humble and the poor to receive the good news. "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
the kingdom of heaven is theirs; blessed are the pure of heart, they shall see
God", Jesus had said in his Sermon on the Mount. (Gospel of Matthew 5:3-10).
"There came some wise men to Jerusalem from the East to do homage to the divine
child. They rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Falling down they adored him and
opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and
myrrh…"(Matthew 2:1-12). Jesus is for all. His birth takes place in every human
heart that is pure. His message of love and service is universal. That is why he
told his disciples: ‘Go out into all nations and preach the good news of God’s
reign. I am with you till the end of time’.
Gurudeb Rabindranath has touchingly and beautifully brought out this aspect of
divine encounter in human life in his songs: "This is my delight, thus to wait
and watch at the wayside where shadow chases light and the rain comes in the
wake of the summer. Messengers, with tidings from unknown skies, greet me and
speed along the road. My heart is glad within, and the breath of the passing
breeze is sweet".
"Have you not heard his silent steps? He comes, comes, ever comes. Every moment
and every age, every day and every night he comes, comes, ever comes. I
surrendered my mind without struggle to the maze of shadows and songs".
"At last, when I woke from my slumber and opened my eyes, I saw thee standing by
me, flooding my sleep with thy smile. How I had feared that the path was long
and wearisome, and the struggle to reach thee was hard! You came down from your
throne and stood at my cottage door".
Christians believe in a Trinity, in other words, a communitarian God.
Trinitarianism is the theory of the nature of God that in one divine essence
there exist three divine persons (personae). When one reads that there are three
persons in the Godhead the word "person" should be understood in its archaic
sense and not in the contemporary sense, the center or core of personality.
There are not three separate personalities in the Godhead. God is neither a
person nor three persons. For us, a person is an individual agent, a conscious
center of memory and choice, of action, reflection and decision. But when we say
there are, in God, ‘three persons’, we do not mean that God has, as it were,
three minds, three memories, three wills" (Nicholas Lash 1993:32).
Brahmabhanda Upadyay has explained the Trinitarian dimension very well in his
writings. He believed that Jesus was divine and human. ‘He was the Logos, the
divine word, the eternal Image of the Father, who by his incarnation revealed
the humanity of God and divinity of man’.
"The infinite, eternal God who cognizes his own Self reproduced in thought, is
the Father; and the same God who is the begotten Image of divinity, who
acknowledges the Father in reason, is the Logos, the Son. This is the mystery of
the timeless Word-colloquy, which sweetens the divine bosom and fills it with
joy ineffable. The eternal, intellectual act of divine generation and the
correspondence which binds the Father and his Logos Image in the Spirit of Love
completes the life of God and makes it self-sufficient…"
Upadhyay adopted the vision of Saccidananda as expressive of the Christian
doctrine of God as Trinity. God the Father is the Sat – Being, the Son is the
Cit – Consciousness or intelligence, and the Spirit is Ananda – Joy, fulfillment.
This vision comes through a beautiful Sanskrit hymn, Vande Saccidanandam Vande,
which he composed and is today widely sung in Christian Churches all over India.
According to Upadhyay, Jesus Christ is a universal Teacher. He is, in the words
of St. Paul " all things to all people". Jesus Christ has given to humankind by
his Incarnation the most complete possible revelation of the nature and
character of God. He unfolds the mystery of God’s inner life. The foremost is
his divinity. He claims to be the incarnate divinity suffering in his union with
An important message of Christmas is that of joyous giving. The Story of Santa
Claus explains this dimension of Christmas. It is centered on the message of
love and giving. The more we give the more we receive. God loves those who love
not themselves but others. The spirit of Christmas makes every person
other-centered, in other words, people-centered. Jesus said: "There is no
greater love than to lay down one’s life for his fellow beings" (John 15:13).
Sixteen hundred years ago, there was a man called Nicholas in Patara, a town on
Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Because he was very fond of children and was kind
and generous to them, they came to think of him as their dear friend and their
beloved saint. So it was that after a time the wonderful things he did were
woven into a beautiful legend. Santa means Saint and Claus stands for Nicholas,
and that is how he came to be known as Santa Claus.
In Santa Claus’s own town, Patara lived a nobleman who had three daughters. He
was very poor, so poor that one day he was on the point of sending his daughters
out to beg for food from his neighbors. Nicholas heard of the trouble the poor
man was in, and made up his mind to help him secretly. So he went to the man’s
house at night, and as the moon shone out from behind a cloud, he saw an open
window into which he threw a bag of gold, and with this timely gift the father
was able to provide for his eldest daughter so that she could be married.
On another night Santa Claus set off with another bag of gold, and threw it in
at the window, so the second daughter was provided for. But by this time, the
father had grown eager to discover who the mysterious visitor could be, and next
night he kept on the lookout. Then for the third time Santa Claus came with a
bag of gold upon his back and pitched it in at the window. The old man at once
recognized his fellow townsman, and falling on his knees, cried out "Oh!
Nicholas, servant of God, why seek to hide yourself?" Love and service to the
humanity is the spirit of Christmas.
May the divine child bless India and shower on us his peace and harmony.
The Divine Embrace: Christ and Ramakrishna
By Father Felix Raj, SJ
Christmas was closely connected to Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples. The
Ramakrishna Mission celebrates Christmas in a profound manner in all its
centers. Ramakrishna spent his whole life seeking God in many different paths.
By his encounter with Christ, he enables us to see him in a new way. "In 1873,
Ramakrishna met Shambhu Charan Mallik, a Christian priest who read the Bible to
him and spoke to him of Jesus. One day Ramakrishna visited Mallik’s garden
house, which was adjacent to the Dakshineswar temple. In his living room, there
was a picture of the Madonna and the Child Jesus sitting on her lap. While
Ramakrishna was gazing at the picture, he saw that the figures of the mother and
child were shining and rays of light were coming forth from them and entering
For the next three days Ramakrishna was absorbed in the thought of Jesus, and at
the end of the third day, while walking in the Panchavati, he had a vision of an
extraordinary looking person with a beautiful face and large eyes of uncommon
brilliance with his gaze intently fixed on him. As he pondered who this stranger
could be, the person drew near and a voice from within said: "This is Jesus
Christ, the great yogi, the loving Son of God, who was one with his Father and
who shed his blood and suffered for the salvation of humankind! "Jesus then
embraced Ramakrishna and merged into his body" (God Lived with Them, p.15). Sri
Ramakrishna was convinced that Jesus Christ was the Incarnation of God.
On 23 December 1885, when Sashi (Swami Ramakrishnananda) and Sarat (Swami
Saradananda) met Sri Ramakrishna, the Master answered their queries with
passages from the New Testament and recognized them as his own who belonged to
his inner circle. He revealed that Sashi and Sarat were among the followers of
Jesus in their previous birth. In his younger days, Swami Ramakrishnanada sought
higher knowledge from the Bible. He had a tremendous love for Christ. During his
last days, he became inspired whenever he spoke of Christ. He would often relate
how Sri Ramakrishna had regarded him as Christ’s disciple in his previous life.
After Sri Ramakrishna’s departure, his disciples continued to cultivate the
"Jesus State". Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) and eight other disciples visited
Antpur, the birthplace of Swami Premananda, on 24 December 1886. On that night,
around an open fire, Narendra narrated the life of Jesus to all of them,
beginning from the Immaculate Conception to the resurrection of Jesus,
emphasizing at every turn the life of renunciation that Jesus lived. He spoke
about Christ’s love and self-sacrifice for the good of humanity. He introduced
them to the apostolic mission of St. Paul and other apostles of Jesus. And in an
inspired voice, he exhorted them to be apostles themselves to carry out the
mission of love and renunciation. When they came out of their recollection, they
realized that it was the eve of Christmas.
On 24 December 1892, Swami Vivekananda went to Kanyakumari and meditated in
Mother Kumari’s temple with the sense of Jesus Consciousness. During his prayer,
he hit upon a plan for the future, a plan to give back to the nation its lost
individuality and raise the masses… For Swami Vivekananda, Christ dons the
earthly cloak. He bodies forth the creation of His own time, and casts a
far-flung glance into the yet unborn to bring it into existence. He reveals
Himself to each one according to his or her power of receptivity. The words of
Jesus, "What does it profit a person if he gains the whole world and losses his
life?" (Matthew 16:26) echoes in everyone’s heart.
An important message of Christmas is that of love and self-giving. The more we
give the more we receive. It is not in having more but in being more that we
find peace and joy. God loves those who love not themselves but their neigbour.
Jesus’ important commandment was to "love one another as I have loved you". The
spirit of Christmas makes every person other-centered, that is people centered.
Jesus proclaimed: "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his
friends" (John 15:13).
What Christmas means to me. Christmas is a time for me to go back to my roots.
It is returning to my childhood and so it is nostalgic. I bask in the comfort of
Christmas. There have been times when I have attended the midnight mass at St.
Thomas Basilica in Madras first as curiosity and then to pray, during my school
days in Rosary Matriculation School, run by Franciscan Sisters. Christmas to me
is having large helpings of plum cakes. It is a time to visit Churches to see
It is a time to listen to Christmas Carols and hymns. Each of the songs moves me
for different reasons. "Oh! come let us adore thee" fills my heart with
devotion, while there are others which move me to tears or joy. The whole bunch
of songs is permeated inextricably to my very existence. Attending the midnight
mass has become a ritual with me. This Christmas, I’ll be in New Delhi and
intend to attend the mid-night mass in the chapel of Convent of Jesus and Mary.
Christmas is a time for exchanging the message of love preached by Jesus Christ.
It is a time for partying. It is a time to repeat "Hail Mary" a number of times
to seek the blessing of Virgin Mary for my entire family.
Jesuit Education: A Means for Social Transformation
Education is one of the primary engines of social change, and more so higher
education, as it brings about a change in our thinking patterns. Social change
is a concept that implies shift or transformation taking place in society due to
deliberate efforts, or by reaction to a process.
Jesuit educational institutions have remarkably contributed in all the fields,
such as: modern language, geography, history, astronomy, philosophy, theology,
medicine, law, print-media and every branch of science and technology - nothing
is taboo in Jesuit education. These institutions lay a considerable stress on
character formation and discipline combined with the development of freedom. It
also aims at the continual drive towards self-improvement, by stretching talents
and abilities in every field.
Jesuit education has become the driving force behind the struggle for social
justice. Many good pioneering steps have been taken by the Jesuits to bring
about social transformation. It aims at reducing the gaps between haves and
have-nots. The Jesuits’ manage several social and technical centers, which are
committed to the economic empowerment of the poorer section in our society. By
imparting value education these institutions have become instrumental in
creating social-conscience about rights and privileges of citizens; have thrown
some valuable insights on blind belief, child marriage, dowry system,
fundamentalism, terrorism, patriotism, and on the importance of ecology-
Samanta Kumar Parichha, Santiniketan
year, the students of the Commerce Department in St. Xavier’s College started a
project called Prayas. The current 1st year students are continuing
their effort. The BBA Department and the newly established Evening B.Com
Department joined Prayas. Currently about 157 children are being educated in
three villages - Panduah, Gurap and Jhantipahari. Students of this college
regularly go to these villages and teach the children English, Arithmetic,
The above is a small, yet effective example of social transformation initiated
by the Jesuits in India. Just imagine if all the colleges of the country could
adopt one village and nurture that one- what scales can be achieved?
The Jesuit Mantra is called AMDG, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, for the Greater Glory
of God. This principle determines the educational significance rendered by the
Jesuits in India and abroad.
Mainak Banerjee, B.Com, 3rd Year, St. Xavier’s College
Jesuit educated boys are always preferred in comparison to others. Because these
boys are responsible and committed. They give top priority to honesty and even
sacrifice opportunities to help the poor and downtrodden, It is the Jesuit
system of education which ensures social work and social upliftment while
continuing to impart the basic and core subjects to the students as per the
guidelines of the Universities.
Prashant Shah, B.Com, St. Xavier’s College
Perhaps quality education has been the hallmark of the Jesuits. Social analysts
assert that education is the most important tool for empowerment. The Jesuits
realized this and introduced a system of elementary education which is
acceptable to all. The Jesuit educationists did not discard the traditional
system but synthesized the western ideas with the oriental system. Making this
new form of education available to the marginalized is also a strong reason for
its wide acceptance.
Jesuit scholars believe that education is not confined to academics alone. It
stresses on personality development and motivation. They strive to form a body
of youth who are dedicated and ready to serve the society, thus becoming means
of social transformation. By educating almost 300, 000 students from various
backgrounds, the Jesuit education aims at making its own contribution towards
transforming the present day social scenario.
Patrick Anthony, B. Com., St. Xavier’s College
Jesuits have put their best effort in educating the young minds because it is
only through education that one can channelize one’s mind properly. What is
considered of paramount importance in Jesuit schools is the integral formation
of the young. They dream of a better, harmonized and peaceful world and so do
not believe in limits, for limits only exist in the souls of those who do not
The Jesuit Fathers’ initiative, commitment and sacrifice can never be forgotten.
They have completely different maxims of life, each moment of it dedicated to
the betterment of students. Probably their minds are frequently haunted by
elevated thoughts like – ‘A long life may not be enough, but a good life is long
enough’. Probably it was for these noble men, that it is said—"Goodness is an
imaginary aspect of eternity. It is transparent like water and air, only when it
runs out it becomes noticeable" The Jesuits do really know how to transform the
Shireen Anwar Hassain, St. Xavier’s School, Burdwan.
Education itself is a means of social transformation. Jesuit education in the
present world has a significant place for social and cultural transformation. It
has a outlook from the education initiated by the welfare states. Since the
Jesuit Educational institutions are organized by the Jesuit priests, they put
emphasis on the moral, ethical, spiritual and intellectual development of the
pupils. Jesuit education is now a wonderful means of social transformation, not
in a particular nation but in the entire human Society.
Rajdeep Chanda, St.
Xavier’s School, Haldia
True education is that which apart from the development of intellectual and
psychological dimension of the young student, aims at the all-round development
of the human person. The kind of transformation that Jesuit education aims at,
rests on FOUR PILLARS: Social, Intellectual, spiritual and personal. The Jesuit
education aims at making its own contribution towards a radical transformation
of present day social conditions, so that the possibility of living a fully
human existence may be opened before all.
Jishnu Samanta, St. Xavier’s School,
Researchers at the Goethals
Mr. Sandeep Kumar Yadav, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.
Mr. Avinash, Sikaria, Kolkata, on Management.
Mr. Udayan Namboodiry, New Delhi, on St. Xavier’s College History.
Ms. Neha Parasramka, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, on Travel Literature and
Representation of India
Br. Joseph Pulikal, SJ, Kolkata on Brahmabandhab Upadhyay
A Christian Dialogical Theology: The Contribution of Swami Abhishikta Nanda, by
Yesurathnam Regunta, Punthi Pustak, Kolkata, 2006
Buddha and Christ: Images of Wholeness by Elinor Robert, China, 2000.
Buddha and the Spread of Buddhism in India and Abroad, by Dr. Mahendra Mittal
and Prof. S. R. Bhatt, Originals, Delhi, 2002.
Christianity and Tribes in India, by Ravi Bhushan Pandey, Academic Excellence,
Echoes from old Calcutta, by H. E. Busteed, Rupa and Co, New Delhi
Father of Tunisia Habib Bourgaiba., by Anju Bali Pandey, Vista International
Publishing House Delhi, India 2005
Gandhi Philosophy and the New World Order, by Bourai Himanshu, Abhijeet
Publications, Delhi, 2004
God without Religion, by Saranam Sankara, Edition India, Kerala, 2005
Great Women of India, by K.S Bhalla, Kalpaz Publications, Delhi, 2006
Kolkata To be young was Paradise, by H. A. Barari, Gyan Publishing House, New
Minorities in Indian Social System, Vol. I by Joseph Benjamin, Gyan Publishing
House, New Delhi, 2006
Minorities in Indian Social System, Vol. II by Joseph Benjamin, Gyan Publishing
House, New Delhi, 2006
Mysticism in Shaivism and Christianity ed. Bettina Baumer, D. K. Printworld (p)
Ltd New Delhi, 2006
Profiles of Indian Prime Ministers, by Manisha, Mittal Publications, New Delhi,
Punjab, Yadav, K. C. Hope India publications Haryana 2003
Religious Fundamentalism and Human Rights, by Umesh Bhatt, Vista International
Publishing House; Delhi, 2005
Swami, Vivekananda, by Miglani, K. L. Hope India Publishing, Haryana 2004
The Anglo-Indians of Calcutta, by Debi Bharti and Nandan Anshu Prokash, Prashik,
The Jesus Dynasty, James. D. Tabor, Harper Element, London, 2006
The People and Culture of Bengal, Vol I - Part I by Annapurna Chattopadhyaya,
Firma KLM. Private Limited Kolkata 2002
The People and Culture of Bengal, Vol I -Part II by Annapurna Chattopadhyaya,
Firma KLM. Private Limited, Kolkata, 2002
The People and Culture of Bengal, Vol II Part I by Annapurna Chattopadhyaya,
Firma KLM. Private Limited, Kolkata, 2002
The Secular Face of Hinduism, by Joseph, V., Satya Manthan Sanstha, Varanasi,
Vedic Concept of Biosphere by Dr. C. P. Trivedi, Originals, Delhi 2006
Mails & Emails
I am currently planning a research trip to India in the fall 2007 during my
upcoming sabbatical, with a significant portion of my time to be spent in Kolkata. I would very much appreciate any information you could offer about my
research. I am particularly interested in early-nineteenth-century periodicals
as well as Jesuit and other missionary writings on Hinduism.
Daniel E. White,
University of Toronto.
Thank you for the copy of the Goethal’s News. I enjoy the articles very much.
Greetings from the IMS Generalate. Thank you very much for sending us the
Goethals News. It is very useful and informative.
Fr Joseph Satyanand IMS
I am doing research on History of Sports in India. Recently, while searching an
old English title of early 18th Century, I have come to know your outstanding
stock of old shikar books. I would remain obliged forever if you allow me to get
access to your library. I would be happy to become a member of the library.
Dr. Sudipta Mitra, Kolkata
This Library is a Gold-mine for all. Thank you.
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, St. Xavier’s, 30 Mother Teresa
Sarani, Kolkata-700 016, India.
Tel: 0091-33-2280 1919; email: email@example.com
Director: Dr. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Staff: Mr. Sunil Mondol and Debu Mondal.