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Goethals News Bulletin
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 your well-being.

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 divine 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 human nature.

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.

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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 his heart.

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).

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Christmas

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 the nativity.

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.
Tapati Chowdhurie

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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- sanitation-health.
Samanta Kumar Parichha, Santiniketan

Last 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, Painting etc.

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 dream!

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 World.
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, Haldia

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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

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New Arrivals

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, Delhi, 2005.

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 Delhi 2006

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, 2004

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, Kolkata, 2006

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, 2002.

Vedic Concept of Biosphere by Dr. C. P. Trivedi, Originals, Delhi 2006

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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.
Sally Stewart

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
(Superior General).

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.
Sandeep Yadav

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Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, St. Xavier’s, 30 Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata-700 016, India.
Tel: 0091-33-2280 1919; email: goethals@vsnl.com  Web-site: www.goethals.in 
Director: Dr. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Staff: Mr. Sunil Mondol and Debu Mondal.

 

 
 

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