Sunday, 30 May 2010

Hail to the Trinity

Today is the feast of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity.

Appropriately enough, yesterday Swami Shilananda sang (atrociously, but still) Vande Saccidanandam, a very beautiful and rather well-known hymn to the Holy Trinity composed by the Bengali convert, Brahmobandhab Upadhyaya. Sat = Being, Cit = Consciousness-Knowledge, Ananda = Bliss; a very good approximation for the Father, the Source of All, the Son, the Word, and the Spirit who is Joy and gives Joy. (Note that the Father is called Paramesvara, highest Lord, but not Brahman. The Son is called Sabda, Word.) Despite subaltern sensitivities, it is impossible not to appreciate the beauty of this hymn!

I reproduce here the text and translation of this wonderful hymn which draws on all the riches of the Vedas and Upanisads that Brahmobandhab knew so well. (The English translation here is mine, quite literal; a freer and in that sense better translation is given further below.)

Vande saccidānandam vande vande saccidānandam vande!
Bhogī-lāncita-yogī-vāncita carama-padam
Vande vande
Vande saccidānandam vande vande saccidānandam vande

Hail, Being-Consciousness-Bliss!
Our highest refuge, shunned by the satiated, sought by the renouncers

Parama-purāṇa-parāt param
Trisaṅga-śuddham asaṅga-buddham dūrvedam, vande!  // (1)

Greater than the Great of the purāṇas [sacred stories]
Fullness, wholeness, transcendence, immanence
Threefold purity, simple knowledge, infinite wisdom, hail!

Pitṛ-savitṛ paramesam ajam/
Bhava-vṛkṣa-bījam abījam/
akhila-kāraṇam īkṣaṇa-srijana govindam vande!  // (2)

Father, Sun, God all-highest, unbegotten
Seedless seed of the tree of life
Cause of all, all-seeing creator, shepherd, hail!

Anāhata-śabdam anantam
pitṛ-svarūpa-cinmaya-rūpa sumukundam vande!  // (3)

Eternal unutterable word
Person begotten, great and good
Of the substance of the Father, of the form of consciousness, good Saviour, hail!

Saccidor melana-saraṇam
Subhāsvaśitānanda-ghanam /
Pāvana-javana vaṇi-vadana jīvanadām vande!  // (4)

From Being and Consciousness proceeding
Full blessing, fullness of joy,
Sanctifier, Revealer of the Word, Giver of Life, hail!

Another English translation, from John A.T. Robinson, Truth is Two-Eyed, p. 139:

I bow to Him who is Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
I bow to Him whom worldly minds loathe,
Whom pure minds yearn for,
The Supreme Abode.

He is the Supreme, the Ancient of days, the Transcendent,
Invisible Plenitude, Immanent yet above all things,
Three-fold relation, pure, unrelated,
Knowledge beyond knowledge.

The Father, Sun, Supreme Lord, unborn,
The seedless Seed of the tree of becoming,
The Cause of all, Creator, Providence,
Lord of the universe.

The infinite and perfect Word,
The Supreme Person begotten,
Sharing in the Father’s nature, Conscious by essence,
Giver of true Salvation.
He who proceeds from Being and Consciousness,
Replete with the breath of perfect bliss,
The Purifier, the Swift, the Revealer of the Word,
The Life-giver.

Thank you and welcome

Sr Rita, FMA left for her new assignment (Bandra, Mumbai) this morning.

Sr Flora, UMI left for Chaibasa a couple of days ago.

Sr Maria Jose, UMI will be leaving soon.

Fr Edison Fernandes left for Pune on 26 May. Fr Wyman is also on transfer and will be leaving soon. Fr Valerian has shifted from Divyadaan to STI. Fr Vinod is officially still at STI for half a year, but will probably be more out than in, seeing that he is substituting others, etc.

Bro Leon Cruz Ratinam made his perpetual profession on 24 May 2010, and will proceed to Pune for his theological studies. We are proud of Leon: he is from our parish, and some will remember that he volunteered his services as sacristan for 3 years before joining the Salesians.

A great big thanks to these and all the others who are on transfer. Thank you, dear sisters and fathers, for your presence in our parish and your ministry.

In the meantime we welcome a whole new group: Sr Florie D'Mello, FMA, who returns to our parish; Fr Felix Fernandes who has also been here before; the Capuchin fathers and brothers.

I am sure I have missed out a whole lot of people: could someone please help?


Fr Nelson is away at home for holidays, and will be back by 3 or 4 June. Fr Diego is also out till about the same date. In the meantime, the painting of the parish and residence is going on. The church, however, will not be inconvenienced, seeing that it has already been painted some months ago.

Youth outing to Sinnar

A few youngsters from the youth group (Sheona, Nihil, Sushma and Suraj) went to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, for an outing yesterday (29 May 2010). Swami Shilananda, SJ (Peter Julia, Spanish by birth) runs this ashram (has been running it the last 20 years or so). He was earlier at Panchavati, and used to be a familiar figure in and around Nashik. Swamiji shared about his life, his mission, the ashram, his worries about who would take over the ashram (he is 85 now). He has been cycling to the Himalayas (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri), and to Goa. After a stroke 4 years ago, he is not able to cycle anymore. Explaining the positive attitude of the Church towards other religions, and the seeds of the Word that they contained, he quoted the famous Upanisadic hymn, and challenged the youngsters to move from the Unreal to the Real, from Darkness to Light, from Death to Immortality. The allure of secularism! 

Swami looked well, despite his ill health of some years ago. The place is quite dry right now, at the height of summer, but still charming: I spotted a ghorpad creeping into the cavities in the pond, and a lovely multicoloured bird which was possibly a woodpecker (he had made 2 lovely round holes in a dead tree trunk). The place is even more wonderful after the rains. We ought to make time to visit it then. Swami welcomes families and groups, and it would be a good idea for small groups from the parish to pay him a visit now and then. It could also serve as some sort of recollection and prayer moment. 

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Youth Outing

The youth will be going for an outing on Saturday, 29 May 2010, to Swami Shilananda's ashram, Sinnar. The departure is at 0730 hrs. Each one is expected to carry their own lunch.

For those coming in the parish jeep, the charge is Rs 100 per head. For those getting their own vehicles, the charge is Rs 50 p.h.

Swami Shilananda is a Spanish Jesuit who lives in an ashram in Sinnar, called Sanjivan Ashram, which he has practically built with his own hands. He is well over 80, and certainly one of the historic figures of the Nashik church. It would be good for our youth, and even our parishioners, to meet him and listen to him.

Farewell for Bro Johnson

The youth of our parish met at 0930 hours yesterday, to practise for the coming Sunday's singing, and more importantly to bid farewell to Bro Johnson Bhuriya. Sharol said a few words of thanks and appreciation to Johnson, and then Johnson replied, welcoming the youth to Dakor where he is being posted.


Sabrina Fernandes and John Pereira got married at DB church on Saturday, at 1000 hours. Sabrina used to be an active member of our youth group years ago, and she also taught for a while in DB school. Congratulations Sabrina and John!

In the previous week we had another wedding at DB church: Tina and ??

On the coming Sunday, there will be a wedding in Satpur.


Yesterday was a day of professions. In the morning Srs Sajan Gaikwad and Reshma Rosario made their first vows in the FMA congregation during the Eucharist at 0800 hours, SHTC. In the evening, during the 0630 Eucharist, 14 novices made their first vows in the Salesian Congregation, at the hands of Fr Michael Fernandes, provincial. Congratulations, dear sisters and brothers! And to those of you who have been lending a helping hand in the parish, thank you! You have done a great job!

Our warmest congratulations also to Sr Anelfreda, Novice Mistress FMA, and Fr Solomon, Novice Master SDB.

And congrats to the parishioners who took a great deal of trouble to sing at the FMA eucharist. The singing at the evening eucharist was seen to by Frs Vinod and Edison.

I was happy to see a few of our youngsters and youth at these occasions. It would be great to get more...

Monday, 17 May 2010

Johnson and Neville

Bros Johnson Bhuriya and Neville D'Souza are in Lonavla making their retreat. They will be back here in Nashik very briefly, on 23-24 May, so that we can say bye to them.

There is some plan for the youth to wish Johnson on 24 May, at around 1030 hours.

The Satpur youth have already given a farewell to Neville.

The sick

Victoria Fernandes, Jackson's sister, underwent a major operation recently. She is back at home now, slowly recovering.

Mrs Gaikwad also is not well.

Mr Babykutty, Mrs Sable, Mrs Jacklin Francis, Mrs Thelma Rebello, and Alita Hill are recovering.

Prayers for all these parishioners.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

New Capuchin house in our parish

The Capuchin Fathers blessed their new formation house, Capuchin Ashram, situated in a corner of the STI campus. Bishop Lourdes Daniel blessed the house and presided at the Eucharist, at 1715 hours today. Several parishioners, Salesians, and a large number of Capuchins and their friends participated.

There will be 9 young Capuchins frequenting the BPh classes at Divyadaan in the coming year, and 1 young Capuchin priest doing the MPh course too.

Welcome dear Fathers and Brothers!

Feast of Mary Mazzarello

A very happy feast of Mary Mazzarello to all our Salesian Sisters of the campus!

Several of us joined the Eucharist in the morning at SHTC, presided by Fr Vally, and followed by breakfast.