“1 Only a few of you, my brothers, should be teachers, bearing in mind that we shall receive a stricter judgement. 2 For we all trip up in many ways. Someone who does not trip up in speech has reached perfection and is able to keep the whole body on a tight rein. 3 Once we put a bit in the horse’s mouth, to make it do what we want, we have the whole animal under our control. 4 Or think of ships: no matter how big they are, even if a gale is driving them, they are directed by a tiny rudder wherever the whim of the helmsman decides. 5 So the tongue is only a tiny part of the body, but its boasts are great. Think how small a flame can set fire to a huge forest; 6 The tongue is a flame too. Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a whole wicked world: it infects the whole body; catching fire itself from hell, it sets fire to the whole wheel of creation. 7 Wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish of every kind can all be tamed, and have been tamed, by humans; 8 but nobody can tame the tongue — it is a pest that will not keep still, full of deadly poison. 9 We use it to bless the Lord and Father, but we also use it to curse people who are made in God’s image: 10 the blessing and curse come out of the same mouth. My brothers, this must be wrong-”
(James 3. 1-10)
The above reading is the reading taken from the Catholic Mass for today and I found it very appropriate as it refers so strongly to the importance of what we say.
Some people, at times, may look towards us as teachers even though deep down inside ourselves we dread the thought.
We dread the thought not simply because the reading above says “we shall receive a stricter judgement” but because if we are teaching something and we are wrong, then we are also leading others on the wrong path.
I like a teaching of the Buddha where he said that the student has the right to question the teacher. Only when the student has proved it himself, can he really believe.
I usually tell people, “try and see for yourself. If it does you good and you want to keep it, fine.”
Some people have begged me to write something about my life and this blog became a answer to their request.
Now in writing and looking over moments of my life, especially this voyage to India, I ask myself, “was Rolph looking for something? and if so, did he ever find it.?”
Looking at Rolph and trying to understand and maybe to explain what he was about, this anecdote comes to mind:
There is a guy going about his business when one day someone comes to him and tells him, “do you know that you have a brother, and family living in a far distant place and waiting to reveal themselves and embrace and accept you into their family? Do you know that when you find them, it will change you and make you a better person. It will make your life more meaningful. It will transform you and allow you to be even more of service to others than you can ever imagine and it will make you happy.”
And so the guy gets addresses and maps and all that’s necessary and with the support and encouragement of his friends, he sets out on the journey. Thus, all the places he goes to are clues leading him to his family. They will not rush out to meet him. It is understood that they will, at times, even hide to make it more intriguing. Our traveller has some names of people who have seen a member or two of his family but they too can not give him perfect directions, yet they can give him clues to work on.
Yesterday I read an article written by a woman called Shirly Boulay. It was wonderful reading as she mentioned three names of some very important people who were clues on the path. She wrote it so beautifully and she also had taped interviews with two of these people who I met, who became friends and mentors, even without their knowing. Of course Fr. Bede Griffiths knew somehow he was a teacher for me and many a time I sat at his doorstep in front of his hut in India and asked questions. Madame Odette Baumer who I met on several occasions (and she was the one who edited Fr. Henri Le Saux’s notes). Fr. James Murray who came to visit me in Montreal and we became friends until he went back to England and we corresponded until he passed away. Fr. Francis Acharya, who I met at his monastery in Kurusimala. Fr. Henri Le Saux was the one I did not meet but I went to the important places of his pilgrimage in India. It was kept fairly a secret until the publication of his diary, that he had a Guru. He, a Catholic priest, a man with quite a few scruples, yet he had a Hindu Swami as his Guru. Yet, I spoke to the Jesuit priest who accompanied Fr. Henri Le Saux in his last moments and he assured me and said “I wish every Catholic priest could die like that”. One of the most important places I went to, was the ashram where the Guru of Fr. Henri Le Saux lived. I will tell you about that in another place later on. In Shirly Boulay’s taped interview, she has an interview with Fr, James Murray who speaks very emotionally about Fr. Henri Le Saux who later on was named Swami Abshaiktananda and also a tape, a very excellent one which Fr. Raimundo Pannikar reveals who Swami Abshaiktananda was. I found it very moving because Fr. Raimundo Pannikar was also a friend and mentor and he was the one who told me “When you go to India, you will discover your Indian identity.” And he has also passed away. If you are particularly interested in Inter-religious meetings of this sort, I will strongly recommend you to read “The Priest and Swami”Shirly Boulay and Video (Swami Abshiktananda: an Interview with Raimundo Pannikar) I was now on my way back to Shantivanam and I went through the town of Madurai where I was told that I must visit Minakshi Temple.
It was one of the biggest temples I have ever visited. There is quite a story of how it was built and about Minakshi who was considered in Hinduism, as the wife of Shiva.
One can always go on line and search on the web and there are many videos and explanations.
I went to visit the temple early one morning and I eventually found a quiet space where I could sit and meditate. It is not always easy to find such a place as there are so many pilgrims and many prayers being chanted.
I met an Englishman who asked me to accompany him and we were going to visit one of the main sanctuaries when we were stopped and told that non Hindus were not allowed.
He was wearing jeans and on looking at him immediately one could see he was a visitor. I kinda regretted that we were together otherwise I am almost certain they would not have paid attention to me. There are many entrances to the temple and many boutiques selling flowers and incense and camphor and coco-nuts that one can buy as offerings for the priests to use.
There were also money changers. all this was to facilitate the pilgrim and also to help some people gain a livelihood. Here is a picture of the temple which gives an idea how large it is.