India teaches us how to search for God

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Milan, July 13, 2016: Among the more than 80 non-European countries I visited, one of those I love most is India. In 1977 I went to live for a few days in the monastery of the famous guru Father Bede Griffiths (1906-1993), the English Benedictine who for 40 years directed a prayer center on the banks of the sacred Kavery river, southern India in the State of Tamil Nadu, series of mud and straw huts with concrete floors, in a grove along the river bank.

Not far from the village of Thannirpally, there were routes to Madras and Bangalore, it was hidden among the rice paddies, coconut palm trees and the banana plantations. When a guest arrives, he is assigned a hut where he prays, studies, sleeps, contemplates the passing of life and the One who never passes. The guest will also attended church, meetings, lessons, will use the  library and refectory, in an atmosphere of serenity and spirituality.

This visit to Father Bede Griffiths, with Father Sandro Sacchi, then a missionary in India, in 1977, nearly 40 years ago. Today India too has changed, but the religious meaning of life remains strong. For example Indian newspapers, both English and local languages, have a religious column. Not to give news about the religious events, but so that every religion can express its beliefs and its responses to the facts of life.

The name of the monastery is Shantivanam, meaning “place of peace” in Tamil. Attracted by Bede Griffiths fame as a holy man politicians, academics, important people in Indian society, are drawn to the retreat centre for an annual period of prayer. The English Benedictine tells me: “In Europe we have all become a little atheist, despite being baptized, we put other things in place of God. As Christians, we have the Revelation, we delude ourselves into believing we have God at hand. As a result we lead a superficial, materialistic life. But it is not possible to know God intellectually, you have to experience Him in love, in prayer, in silence and resignation. It is an intimate life to be lived, He is an Other to be sought, loved and desired. God communicates Himself to those who seek Him with a sincere heart”.

“In India – continues Bede Griffiths – Indian gurus who have not received the Revelation seek God for life, offer prayers and sacrifices, read and meditate on sacred texts, respect the natural law, dedicate their lives to seeking God, whom they do not know . In India, the search for God is part of every day life not just for the monks. Those who are sensitive to spiritual things go on pilgrimage, do fasts and one week a year of detach themselves from worldly things. They go to a monastery to do penance, examine their conscience and  devote themselves to their relationship with God. ” He adds: “The Indian culture is very religious, even people who seem distant from God, devote some time to the search for God and prayer.”

Bede Griffiths gave me these rules of life: “God is revealed only in silence and poverty. Renounce what is superfluous, it takes away from the distractions of your life, eat less, pray more. Do not live a superficial life, ask God to help you know His face. If you live in sin and distractions, God eludes you, but if you look for Him by observing the Commandments, in prayer and in the imitation of Christ, God reveals Himself to you too”. My wish for you all this hot summer, is that you learn how to find, in our hectic days, the time needed for rest, silence and prayer that allows us to encounter God.

– asianews

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Comments

One Response to “India teaches us how to search for God”
  1. I think you missed to put the name of the autor: Fr Piero Gheddo. PIME.
    But compliments for your work.

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