Letting in all the light without straining out any of its transparency. Christ presented divine light in tot to the whole of creation. Rare people who receive of this light and reflect in spheres of human life are called saints. As long as they keep reflecting it at the cost of self they remain transparent. Quite a few start off on this line, but divert their gaze from the Master’s face (as Peter did, walking in the waves) overweening self screening off their vision. They lose their saintly aura by and by. Exceptions are rare – like Parumala Thirumeni and Pampady Thirumeni.
Pampady Kuriakose Mar Gregorious Thirumeni ignites some boyhood memories in me. A faint feather touch of divine peace that descended on me when young, very young, remains fresh in me. I used to go to Pampady Dayara once in two or three weeks with my mother. All through the small hours my mother would be slogging in the kitchen, of course after her long hours of prayer, preparing everything for the whole family for the day. She would call me up by 4 or 4.30. We would have a refreshing bath in the stream that rolled by our compound and would be off to Pothenpuram by about 5 a.m. Trudging five to six kilometres we reach Pothenpuram dayara in time for the matins (early morning mass). After Qurbana we would go to the dayara parlour to kiss Thirumeni’s hand. Thirumeni would lay his hand on my head and pray before giving me biscuits and fruits. Some of the sights and sounds still remain green. The soft chanting that seeped into the soul, the angelic smile of Thirumeni that stuck in he heart and mind. All worries and burdens vanish in Thirumeni’s presence. It is beyond words to express; beyond logic to explain.
Five traits of Thirumeni’s nobility remain inspiring:
1. The Yogi who crossed all the four steps of prayer
2. Love boundless, all embracing
3. Epitome of non- attachment
4. In and beyond history
5. Affliction a channel of grace
1. The Yogi who crossed all the four steps of prayer
a) Presenting personal daily needs
b) Presenting daily needs of others
c) Beseeching for identification with God
d) Intercession for the whole creation
The ultimate end of prayer for Thirumeni was the vision of the whole universe partaking of divine splendour, moving according to the divine design (joining in the cosmic dance as the Hindu concept would have it), impelled by divine grace. As much for one’s own spiritual fulfilment, beseeching for the same experience for the whole humanity, wherever they are in, whatever predicament, lends an inalienable flavour to a saint’s endless channels for God-realization and therefore, extends beyond the door of death. This unique prayer- experience of Thirumeni still leads hordes of believers to the door of divine grace.
2. Love boundless,all embracing
Thirumeni’s life held out a noble message that proper human relationship would brook of no barriers – of caste, creed or social standing. Among the many who touched him and the many more whom he touched had no distinction segregating them. Rich or poor, powerful or weak, influential or significant.
Creeds and faith pronouncements owing allegiance to divinity in different names would make humanity any less sweet, he showed. Madathil Asan and family were just one link in that long golden chain. Selfish interests make segregations necessary. When they seek and find masks of acceptability and decency they become vicious. It is the presence of people who don’t give themselves up to such selfish pursuits that keeps humanity still sane in he face of rampant communalism and fundamentalism.
3.Epitome of non- attachment
A hermit primarily has to be non attached. The concept of ‘Nishkaama’ or ‘anaashakti’ in Indian tradition implies this. If there is one true example of non- attachment practiced in all aspects of life, that is but Pampady Thirumeni.
This doesn’t mean being totally un-emotional. Nor does it mean giving the impression that one has nothing of one’s own so that he can feely use anything common as his own and for himself. Love, sincerity and earnestness to share, mark the life of one who does not count anything as one’s own but considers everyone and everything vitally relate to him. Not mine own, but mine all the same, being part of a God-centered common humanity was Thirumeni’s view of life.
Non- attachment is far from indifference or inaction but expression of love, compassion and sincerity in every aspect of life.
4.In and beyond history
‘History signifies a universal order within a time frame. Being in history he transcended history by hitching his spiritual wagon to a universe of God’s eternal design. The eternal and temporal coalesced in worship because moments shared in meditation with the angelic hosts in the company of saints and blessed departed souls would strengthen him to live his day to day life of fulfilment. It was one such moment, when Thirumeni, the by-word for humility, started chanting, ‘Or father’ in a Qurbana solemnised by Patriarch Bava. When we join in the prayers and chants of our fore-fathers along with the hordes of witness around it, it is not a selfish satisfaction that we feel but the ineffable joy that the holy spirit has enabled us to be part of an unceasing worship.
5.Affliction a channel of grace
Tenets of eastern theology have always been a corrective force against the modern revivalist teaching that blessing of God ensures absence of pain and suffering. Based on the words and experiences of Christ, his apostles and the generations of the church fathers, Eastern theology has always maintained that affliction, indeed, is a channel of divine grace. We experience grace in suffering not in the absence of it. Pampady Thirumeni’s life at every stage exemplified this incontrovertible truth. He believed that it was only on the solid foundation of affliction willingly endured could the steps towards God, realization like meditation, fasting, Qurbana and genuflexion be well and truly laid.
To sum up, the essence of transparency which characterised the life of Pampady Thirumeni was prayer, human relations. non attachment, acceptance of suffering and the ability to override the temporal for the timeless.