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 Blooming Stars

Theological Harmony -2

            By theological harmony I mean a theology based on the belief that we are all sons and daughters of the one and only God. It is a harmonious theology developed from the point of view and belief system revealed by a prophet or evolved from nature that holds that the one God for the one humanity has many religions. Each religion with its own unique belief system and distinctive doctrines and dogmas, rituals and practices charts out a pathway to God. While pathways may be different, the destination is the same: the one God who is the author of creation and everything that there is, and who is the Father and Mother of us all, however that Being is described and understood by diverse religions. This theology - the human speculations of God – has a minimum common program whereby all cooperate, respect one another, and live in understanding and tolerance in full freedom. The four essential components of theological harmony are utter sincerity, truth as one perceives it to be, and one’s duly formed conscience, and freedom to exercise one’s choices in harmony with one’s on being grounded in one’s convictions.

            Keeping this theological harmony as a background and take off point, Shantisadan Siddashram (Peace haven Center for Realization) in 20 Acres, Pottenkad, in the outskirts of Munnar, India where I reside, has developed a harmonious medley of statues by the junction of the main road and the entrance to the ashram. This is one attempt to live the theological harmony in practice through creative artistic conception born from spiritual dialogue and depiction within certain limitations of historical persons. No idolatry is intended or practiced. The statues so far finished are:

• Panchabhutheshwaran (Christ) or Kartav (The Lord of the Universe) around the age of 27 at the center in deep meditation. Typically it stands for Chrestos the Greek word meaning the Anointed of God or Abhishikta. He is depicted in Kerala style. He presents himself as completely surrendering to God, his Father and our Father. Through his total surrendering he does God’s will and channels grace to humanity.

• Mahatma Gandhi in his 50’s: He modeled life for humanity through Ahimsa (non-violence) conceived as perfect love.

• Sri Narayana Guru in his 60’s: A very subdued smile is evinced. He is a world teacher (Loka Guru) who in modern times proclaimed one God, one religion, and one race for humans.

• Mother Theresa in her 70’s: Full of compassion in utter surrender to Christ, serves humanity in unconditional love.

• The Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well at the age of 27 in Kerala attire of her time. In the Kerala style of 200 hundred years ago, she is a voluptuous bare-breasted beauty trying to seduce Christ gets seduced in turn by Christ with his powerful message for the Kingdom, and covers her breasts in a hurry in great awe and reverence. She gets a glance of the Vishwa Roopam (the Divine Face) of Christ foretold in the Hebrew scripture. An outcaste of the time, she has resemblance to the Chandala Bhikshuki (the low-caste beggar woman) of Kumaran Asan, a great poet of Kerala.

• Buddhan in his 30’s, just after enlightenment. Full of mercy and compassion, he begins to preach Ahimsa (non-violence) to humanity.

• Sree Shankaracharya: He organized Hinduism.As the greatest proponent of Advaita (non-duality) philosophy, he identified jivatma (individual soul)with the Paramatma (the Supreme Soul).He considered everyone in the world to be a manifestation of God; and that Brahman (God) and Atman (individual soul) are one and the same(Aham Brahmasmi: I am Brahman). His Shatka Nirvanam, six verses that contain the essence of Advaitafor liberation, wherein each one of us is depicted as pure blissful consciousness (Chidananda Rupah Shivoham) is really soul-filling.Steeped as he was in a demonic caste system, he was freed from it through a special apparition of God Sivaas a Chandala with four dogs challenging the irrational system.

            The other statues planned are Vivekananda, Thommacharyar (St. Thomas), and Ayyan Kali, and possibly Nelson Mandela depending on space and funds. These persons also have greatly contributed to humanity. All these statues representing persons from diverse paths can give us a glimpse of theological harmony, friendship among religions (Sarva Matha Sauhrudam), and Unity of Humanity (Sarva Loka Aikyam).May we all live in love, peace, and harmony!


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