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 Blooming Stars

The Path to Holiness – 5

            Today in Kerala, the most literate society in India, where I currently spend most of my time, the condition of women with regard to freedom is truly pathetic. Their evil condition is exceeded only by the sheer unawareness of some of the most educated women that I know. I am reminded of the familiar story of the emaciated country dog struggling for food and choosing freedom, and letting go of the good life of the city dog noticing the mark of the collar used to chain him. I am aware of quite a few African American families in the USA continuing to stay in slavery even after the emancipation proclamation in 1863 because of the insecurity, uncertainty, and hardships they were unwilling to face. I know of women who after years of physical violence and psychological trauma file a case as a last resort, and are pressured even by their families to withdraw the case through blackmail, punitive measures, and other physical and psychological threats.

            Even the police officer who might register such a case is accused of colluding with the abused victim, insinuating that he and the victim have some possible sexual connection. A 17-year old girl was killed by her father in St. Louis, USA, a few years ago for falling in love with a non-Muslim boy. We are all familiar with the “honor” killings that take place in India and some Middle Eastern countries. I know Catholic teachers in Catholic schools in USA would not speak their mind out for fear of losing their job. I do not want to single out Catholics. This is also the case with other religions. Freedom is very fragile indeed. Why freedom is stressed so much? Because freedom is inextricably tied to holiness.

            All martyrs are truly martyrs of freedom; martyrs of religions are considered to be saints. If we want to have a holy world, we need to have a free world. Holiness is directly correlated to freedom. I must also note here that the whole concept of religious vows, especially obedience, is in question. There is certainly a place for religious commitment. We need to re-instate our world in the pristine freedom that God has given. We need to deprogram ourselves in every area where freedom is a captive of rituals, dogmas, belief systems. Religions can help people become holy only if they are willing to thoroughly purge themselves of out-dated and unhealthy practices, rituals, dogmas, and beliefs that diminish God-given freedom. Once we can arrive at the necessary attributes of an ideal being, holiness naturally flows


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