Thursday, December 3, 2015

Anger is not your enemy

Don’t try to destroy your anger, transform it into constructive energy, writes THICH NHAT HANH.

To sit is not enough. We have to be at the same time.To be what? To be is to be a something, you cannot be a nothing.To eat, you have to eat something, you cannot just

eat nothing.To be aware is to be aware of something.To be angry is to be angry at something. So to be is to be something, and that something is what is going on: in your body, in your mind, in your feelings, and in the world.

While sitting, you sit and you are. You are what? You are the breathing. Not only the one who breathes —you are the breathing and the smiling.

It is like a television set of one million channels.When you turn the breathing on, you are the breathing. When you turn the irritation on, you are the irritation.You are one with it. Irritation and breathing are not things outside of you.You contemplate them in them, because you are one with them. If I have a feeling of anger, how would I meditate on that? How would I deal with it, as a Buddhist, or as an intelligent person? I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight, to have surgery in order to remove it. I know that anger is me, and I am anger. Nonduality not two. I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence. Because anger is me, I have to tend my anger as I would tend a younger brother or sister, with love, with care, because I myself am anger, I am in it, I am it. In Buddhism we do not consider anger, hatred, greed as enemies we have to fight, to destroy, to annihilate. If we annihilate anger, we annihilate ourselves. Dealing with anger in that way would be like transforming yourself into a battlefield, tearing yourself into parts, one part taking the side of Buddha, and one part taking the side of Mara. If you struggle in that way, you do violence to yourself. If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others.When we ge angry, we have to produce awareness: “I am angry. Anger is in me. I am anger.”That is the first thing to do.

In the case of a minor irritation, the recognition of the presence of the irritation, along with a smile and a few breaths will usually be enough to transform the irritation into something more positive, like forgiveness, understanding, and love. Irritation is a destructive energy. We cannot destroy the more constructive energy.

Forgiveness is a constructive energy. Understanding is a constructive energy. Suppose you are in the desert, and you only have one glass of muddy water.

You have to transform the muddy water into clear water to drink, you cannot just throw it away. So you let it settle for a while, and clear water will appear. In the same way, we have to convert anger into some kind of energy that is more constructive, because anger is you.Without anger, you have nothing left.That is the work of meditation.

I give the example of a big brother who gets angry at his sister at first and then finds out that she has a fever, and he understands and becomes concerned, and he tries to help her. So the destructive energy of anger, because of understanding, is transformed into the energy of love.Meditation on your anger is first of all to produce awareness of anger, “I am the anger,” and then to look deeply into the nature of anger. Anger is born from ignorance, and is a strong ally of ignorance. Being Peace, Full Circle.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bhakti-Sufi Traditions: Uniting Humanity
Ram Puniyani

In contemporary times, religions’ identity is being used as cover for political agenda. Be it the terrorist violence or the sectarian nationalism in various parts of the World, religion is used to mask the underlying politics. While one was talking of separation of religion and politics many decades earlier, the times have been showing the reverse trends, more so in South Asia. Globally one came across the news that American President sent a chador [a ceremonial sheet of cloth] to the annual observation at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer. (April 2015). Later one also read (April 22, 2015) that Sonia Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpeyi, and Narendra Modi has also offered chadors at the shrine. 
Keeping the relation between state, politics and religion apart, it is interesting that some traditions within religion have appeals cutting across the religious boundaries. The Sufi and Bhakti tradition in Pakistan-India, South Asia are two such humane trends from within Islam and Hinduism respectively, which harp more on unity of humanity as a whole overcoming the sectarian divides. The saints from these traditions had appeal amongst people of different religions and they were away from the centers of power, unlike the clergy which was close ally of the rulers in medieval times. We have seen rich traditions of people like Kabir, Tukaram, Narsi Mehta, Shankar Dev, Lal Dedh, clearly from within Hindu tradition, while Nizamuddin Auliya, Moinuddin Chishti, Tajuddin Baba Auliya, Ajan Pir, Nooruddin Noorani (also known as Nund Rishi) coming from a clear Islamic Sufi tradition and Satya Pir, Ramdev Baba Pir, having a mixed lineage where Bhakti and Sufi themselves are deeply intertwined.
Sant Guru Nanak did try a conscious mixing of the two major religions of India, Hinduism and Islam. He traveled up to Mecca to learn the wisdom of Islam and went to Kashi to unravel the spiritual moral aspects of Hinduism. His first follower was Mardan and Miyan Mir was the one who was respectfully invited to lay the foundations of Golden Temple; the holy Sikh Shrine. The Guru Granth Sahib has an inclusive approach to religious wisdom and it takes the verses from Koran, couplets from Kabir and other Bhakti saints. No wonder people used to say of him ‘Baba Nanak Sant Fakir, Hindu ka Guru Musalman ka Pir’ (Saint Nanak is sant for Hindus and pir for Muslims)
In today’s scenario the global discussion has been centered round religion due to its use in political sphere. Now the renewed interest in Sufi tradition at one level is heartening. Sufism has been prominent in South Asia from last ten centuries. Word Sufi means coarse wool fabric, the type of clothes which were worn by Sufi mystics. It grew within Shiaism but over time some Sunnis also took to this sect.  It has strong streaks of mysticism and gave no importance to rituals and tried to have understanding of God by transcending the anthropomorphic understanding of Allah, looking at him more as a spiritual authority.  This is so similar to the belief held by Bhakti saints also. Many Sufi’s had pantheistic beliefs and they articulated their values in very humane way.
In the beginning the orthodox sects started persecuting them but later compromises were struck. The Sufis formed the orders of roving monks, dervishes. People of all religions in many countries frequent their shrines, this again is like Bhakti saints, who have following amongst people of different religions.
On parallel lines Bhakti is probably the most outstanding example of the subaltern trend in Indian religious history. The Bhakti saints came from different streams of society, particularly from low caste. Bhakti opposed the institutionalization of religion, tried to decentralize it, and declared that religion is a private matter. It gave respectability to the separation of state power and religion and merged the concept of God worship with the process of getting knowledge. Travails of poor people are the focus of bhakti saints’ work. Bhakti traditions gave respectability to many low castes. This tradition had inclusive approach towards Muslims as well. This tradition posed a challenge to upper caste hegemony.
Bhakti tradition opposed the rituals, hegemony of elite of society. They adopted the languages more popular with the masses. Also they talked of one God. In India in particular Hindu Muslim unity has been one of the concerns expressed by many of the saints from this tradition.
What one needs to realize is that there are various tendencies with every religion. The humane one’s as represented by Bhakti and Sufi are the ones’ which united Humanity and harped on morality-spirituality of religions. The intolerant tendencies have been usurped by political forces for their political agenda. In sub continent during the freedom movement the declining sections of society, Rajas, Nawabs, Land lords came up with Muslim and Hindu Communalism to begin with. This nationalism in the name of religion had nothing to do with morality of religions. It was use of religion’s identity for political goals.  In the national movements we had people like Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who were religious but opposed to religious nationalism.
The essence of Sufi and Bhakti tradition are reminders to us that spirituality, morality part of the religion has been undermined in the current times. The inclusive-humane nature of these traditions needs to be upheld and the divisive-exclusionary versions of religions have to be ignored for better future of humanity. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Girish Santiago Phd c/o BBN

Congratulations dear Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ for your PhD completion in Sociology under Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, Patan. Glad to know your Research Topic: “The Role of    Christian organizations in Gujarat in promoting and implementing inclusion of disabled children in educational centres”. All the best for your continuous noble service to humanity. Thanks sincerely for being our BBN mission supporter!

ફાધર ગિરીશ સંત્યાગોને પી. એચ. ડી. થયા એ નીમીત્તે  હાર્દિક શુભકામનાઓ 
 'ઊંટેશ્વરી સંમિલિતાલયમ' સંસ્થા, ઇરાણા રોડ-કડીના નિયામક ફાધર ગિરીશને હેમચંદ્રાચાર્ય ઉત્તર ગુજરાત યુનિ. પાટણ દ્વારા, સમાજ શાસ્ત્ર વિષયમાં પી. એચ. ડી.ની ડીગ્રી એનાયત કરવામાં આવી જેમના મહાનિબંધનો વિષય હતો : "વિકલાંગ બાળકોના સંમિલિત શિક્ષણમાં પ્રોત્સાહન અને અમલીકરણ માટે ગુજરાતની ખ્રિસ્તીધર્મની શૈક્ષણીક સંસ્થાઓની ભૂમિકા".
 તેઓના માર્ગદર્શક હેમચંદ્રાચાર્ય ઉત્તર ગુજરાત યુનીવર્સીટી પાટણના ભુતપૂર્વ ડિન તથા  ઈ. સી. મેમ્બર પ્રિન્સિપાલ  ડૉ. જયેશ બારોટ હતા.
 કેથોલિક સમાજના ઉત્તર ગુજરાત મિશન દ્વારા ઇસુસંઘી ફાધર ગિરીશે ખ્રિસ્તી તથા બિનસાંપ્રદાયિક જનતાની નિ:સ્વાર્થ સેવાઓ સર્વ પ્રકારના વિકલાંગની ઉન્નતી માટે ગુજરાત ખાતે સ્પેશ્યલ ઓલમ્પિકસ ભારત- ગુજરાતના ટ્રસ્ટી તથા સલાહકાર તરીકે સેવાઓ આપે છે. વળી, તેઓ રાષ્ટ્રીય અને આંતર રાષ્ટ્રીય ઇસુપંથ વિકલાંગ સસ્થાઓના કોર કમિટી મેમ્બર તથા સલાહકાર તરીકે પસંદગી પામી સેવાના કાર્યમાં પરોયેલા છે.
તેમની જન્મભુમી તમિલનાડુ પણ તેમણે  છેલ્લા 31 વર્ષથી ગુજરાતને પ્રભુ સેવા માટે કર્મભુમી બનાવી છે. ગુજરાતના અંતરિયાળ ગામડાંઓની લોકબોલી શીખીને તેઓની સાથે આત્મીયતાથી સેવક બનીને કાર્ય કરી રહ્યા છે.  મહાનીબંધમાં સમાજને સીધી સ્પર્શતી એવી વિકલાંગોના વિકાસની વાત કરેલ છે.
From Left to Right: Dr. Jayesh Barot (Guide); Dr. Gaurang Jani (Examiner from GU, Ahmedabad); 
Fr. Girish, SJ (Student); Dr. R.L. Godara (VC, HNGU - Patan)
 રેવ. ફાધર  ગિરીશ તેમના લેખો દ્વારા બી. બી. એન.માં પણ  યોગદાન આપતા રહ્યા છે.  તેઓ અવિરત સાથ સહકાર આપી સલાહકાર બની રહેલ છે.  આ શુભ ઘડીએ બી. બી. એન. તેમને હાર્દિક શુભેચ્છાઓ પાઠવે છે

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Greetings from Fr Nagin Macwan (Anand)

For last three years we have been helping out the students to fill the online forms in order to get the minority scholarship given by Indian Government. 
This year too we have opened an office to fill the forms on line at Anand.
Please, encourage the christian students to obtain this scholarship. It is meant for 11th std to Ph.d students Post Metric and Merit Cum Means Scholarships. Anand - Kheda students have got lacs of rupees in the past three years from our efforts. I hope you will pass this information to all our students. For all the conditions and requirements you can find in the web.
Thank you from Fr Nagin.

For Details log in



FROM 12.30 PM to 5.00 PM (Monday to Saturday)

1. Fr Nagin Macwan, SJ    9429927016
2. Mr Suresh Macwan       9408789549
3. Mr Makan Khristy         9376604803

Thursday, June 5, 2014


(1st June 2014) 
                                                                                   -Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
“Today we are living in a world which is growing ever “smaller” and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours.  Developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalization makes us increasingly interdependent.  Nonetheless, divisions, which are sometimes quite deep, continue to exist within our human family.  On the global level we see a scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor.  Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows.  We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us.  Our world suffers from many forms of exclusion, marginalization and poverty, to say nothing of conflicts born of a combination of economic, political, ideological, and, sadly, even religious motives.”

A powerful opening paragraph indeed from our Holy Father Pope Francis for the 48th World Communications Day which the Universal Church observes on Sunday 1st June, 2014! The theme this year is ‘Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter’. 

The message of the Pope is not merely inspiring but also challenging “the walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another”.  “A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give but also to receive.   It is very symbolic that a new Government in India takes charge in the very week that World Communications Sunday is being observed. The run-up to the elections, the campaigning, the advertisements, the media onslaught for several months were truly on a high. The paid media in the country became “cheer leaders” and “flag bearers” for a particular school of thought. The big corporates of the country justified this with terminology like ‘market savvy’, ‘branding’, ‘hard-sell’, etc. They did triumph in their aggressiveness and a fairly large portion of the credit has surely to go to the print, electronic and to social media!

It is in this context that Pope Francis minces no words when he says “whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road”. 

Pope Francis poses challenges to the Christians: to be a bruised Church which goes out to the streets “where people live and where they can be reached both effectively and affectively”. “The digital highway” he says “is one of them,  a street teeming with people, who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope.”  He questions whether the Church is capable of communicating that it is the ‘home of all’.  “We need a Church”, he emphasizes “capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts”. “We are challenged”, he continues, “to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert.”

In the context of the increasing divide that is taking place all over the world, Pope Francis hopes and prays that “our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine that gladdens hearts”. He encourages all Christians “not to be mere passer-bys on the digital highways” but to ensure that our authentic encounters help in every possible way to create a more loving, just and truthful world. “Therevolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represent a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God”.

As we in India observe ‘Communications Day’, let us truly commit ourselves to ensure that our communication too is at the service of an authentic culture of encounter.

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace and the Secretary for Social Communications of the Western Region Catholic Bishops Council)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052 Phone: 79 27455913, 66522333    Fax:  79 27489018

Ecology and Jesuit Spirituality

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered the findings of their research into the impact of climate change on 31 March. The report speaks of the urgent need to tackle the causes and adapt to the effects of global warming. There is a particularly Ignatian dimension to the care for the natural world that is required of us, says José Antonio García SJ: ‘God shows himself in the world and wishes to be met there’.

The project of caring for the earth is so crucial to the future of humankind that all traditions – humanistic, scientific or spiritual – ought to make a contribution. From this conviction, there arises the question of whether Ignatian spirituality has some distinctive inspiration to bring to the service of the environmental movement. I believe it has: the aim of this note is to explain this belief.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fr Alexis Premkumar sj abducted in Afganistan

New Delhi: 
The director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Afghanistan was abducted on Monday afternoon by a group of unidentified men from Sohadat village outside Herat, according to Jesuit Provincial of South Asia Fr Edward Mudavassery.

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, 47, was visiting a school for refugee Afghan children recently returned from Iran and Pakistan at the time of the abduction.

“There was no violence. The kidnappers just came and took the priest with them,” Fr Mudavassery told

“The Indian consulate in Herat and the Afghan security forces have been informed and a search has begun to find the priest,” he said.

Security officials in Afghanistan have interviewed a group of teachers who were with Fr Kumar at the time of his abduction, Fr Mudavassery said.

Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson for the federal External Affairs Ministry, said via a Twitter post that Indian officials in Herat were pursuing the matter with local authorities.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction, Fr Mudavassery said.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and very much concerned about the well being of [Fr Kumar].”

The kidnapping follows thwarted attack last month on the Indian consulate in Herat by four armed gunmen who were killed by consulate guards.

Jesuits work in several areas of Afghanistan and generally keep a low profile, but in Herat “we are the only Indian NGO, so we might be more visible,” Fr Mudavassery said.

“Our people have not been out much after the attack [on May 23] because there was talk of possible attacks on Indians in the region,” he added.

Fr. Kumar is a member of the Madurai Jesuit province in Tamil Nadu in southern India. He has served in Afghanistan for the last three years and has worked with JRS for more than a decade.

Fr Alexis Premkumar sj

Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan

Indian Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan 

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, SJ
New Delhi: A Jesuit from India working among refugees has been kidnapped by unknown persons from a village in Afghanistan, a note from the Provincial of South Asia on Monday said.
“Alexis Prem Kumar SJ had gone to visit a school for the returnees in Sohadat village 25 km from Herat with the teachers. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat,” said the note from Father Edward Mudavassery, Jesuit Provincial of South Asia.
The 47-year-old priest belongs to Madurai Jesuit province. The incident occurred on Monday morning, Fr Mudavassery said.
Quoting their coworker, the New Delhi-based Jesuit official said the Jesuits working in Afghanistan have informed the Governor of Herat, the National Security Office and the Indian Consulate in Herat about the kidnap. “They seem to be searching for the victim.”
One Jesuit priest Fr Orville is currently at the Indian Consulate to speed up the matter, the note says.
JRS regional director Fr Stanislaus Fernandes has cancelled his trip to Europe and is returning from Mumbai late this evening to follow up the case.
“May I request your prayers for the safe return of Prem Kumar SJ,” Fr Mudavassery requested.
Fr Kumar has been working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) for more than a decade.

Fr Kumar joined the Society of Jesus in 1988. He had worked with Sri Lanka refugees in Tamil Nadu for six years. He has been working in Afghanistan for the past four years. He is now the JRS Country Director for Afghanistan.