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USA UK and Malta News
20/10/2007 - 21:23

EditoWeb NeWs India: 'Sanyas' lessons for Christian clergy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the Anglican Church may shun Yoga, in Kerala the Syro-Malabar church - regarded as the oldest in the country - has decided to embrace the Hindu tradition of sanyas. This and other cultural aspects like bhajans are becoming a part of new curriculum for training the Christian clergy in the church.



‘‘Priests have to work in the Indian milieu. So it’s necessary that they learn about India’s strong spiritual foundations like the Gurukul system, Sanyas, and Varnashram’’ church spokesman Paul Thelekat told TOI. The curriculum, which is called the ‘Charter for priestly formation in the Syro-Malabar church’, has been reformed and promulgated and is going to be applied in every seminary, he said.

‘‘We were taught the basics of Indian philosophical systems as part of theory,’’ says Thelekat, but now there’s focus on practical learning.

The clerical curriculum includes an introduction to Hinduism. Although the usual training is given by Indologists, of late seminaries are being advised to take direct assistance of sanyasis, to prepare students for ascetic life. ‘‘Undoubtedly, there are a lot of good ideas in the Indic way of life which we must incorporate and use. Priests must imbibe the rich Indian traditions and be open to new ideas,’’ said Thelekat.

But then why all this fuss about Yoga in the UK? ‘‘That’s absolute nonsense. Even we were taught Yoga during our training. It’s a method by which you can recollect yourself. I do it everyday. It’s good not only for the body but also for the mind,’’ said the priest.

Early this year, a church was opened at Pariman in Kollam district with Jesus seated in padmasana and was called ‘Jagat Jyoti Man-dir’. While the church calls this Indianisation, critics are wary of all the changes, suspecting it to be an attempt to confuse people.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com


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