Thursday 25 November 2010

The wind that blows through me

D.H. Lawrence, “Song of a Man who Has Come Through”:

Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the fine, fine wind that takes it course through the chaos of the world....[1]



[1] Lawrence, cited in Peter de Rosa, Not I, Not I, But the Wind that Blows Through Me (Niles, Ill.: Argus, 1975) 9-10.

Monday 22 November 2010

Fr Robert Pen promoted to Reader at Divyadaan

Fr Mauro Mantovani, SDB, Dean of Philosophy, Universita' Pontificia Salesiana, Rome, has just given us the news that Fr Robert Pen, Principal, Divyadaan, has been promoted to the rank of Reader.

'Reader' (professore straordinario) is the second rank, the first being Lecturer and the third Professor (professore ordinario).

Fr Robert can now hold the chair of Semiotics; so far he was 'given care' of it.

Warm congratulations to Fr Robert on this promotion.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Don't pray...

An ancient pagan, who in pagandom was renowned and praised for his wisdom, sailed on the same ship with a wicked man. When the ship was in distress the wicked man lifted up his voice in prayer, but the wise man said to him: "Keep quiet, my friend; if heaven discovers that you are on board, the ship will go under."

The story seems to be from S. Kierkegaard, Edifying Discourses, I:74 (SV 4:58), cited in Parables of Kierkegaard, ed. Thomas C. Oden (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978) 12.

Don't do that, darling

Have you heard of the story of the little girl who was sucking a lolly on the top of a bus and rubbing it now and again against the fur coat of the lady in front of her? Her mother said, 'Don't do that, darling, you'll get hairs all over your lolly.'

Monday 8 November 2010

Without Why

"The rose is without why, it blooms because it blooms. It pays no attention to itself, asks not whether it is seen." 

Die Rose ist ohne Warum.
Sie blühet, weil sie blühet.
Sie achtet nicht ihrer selbst,
fragt nicht, ob man sie siehet.

The original German is found in the Work "Cherubinischer Wandersmann Buch 1, 289:

Die Ros' ist ohn warumb
sie blühet weil sie blühet 
Sie achtt nicht jhrer selbst
fragt nicht ob man sie sihet.


Silesius, 17th century mystical poet meditating on Meister Eckhart's notion of living without reason or purpose, in his poem "Without Why." Heidegger uses Silesius' poem to make his point that Being is play, that it not an answer to the question 'why'. (See Joseph Mathew, In Search of the Divine: New Essays in Philosophical Theology (Bharananganam: Jeevan Books & Vidyabhavan Publications, 2010)

More about Ludvik

Savio Silveira has asked me to write a note about Bro Ludvik Zabret for SDB West.

I remember of course that we would invariably ask him about his escape from Yugoslavia, and his first reaction was to get angry. "Stupid fellows, why you want to ask about that?" Then a pause. Then he would start his story, in bits and pieces. I don't remember the details any more, but I think as a young man he escaped into Italy after some use of violence, which he was either ashamed of or else found too dangerous to talk about (we must remember that Yugoslavia continued to be Yugoslavia for many years that Ludvik was in India. The dissolution took place only very recently).

I have the impression that Ludvik had already made his novitiate and profession when this happened. I think I recall him telling us that the Rector and council of the aspirantate had decided to send him away. The Rector called him and told him to go. But Ludvik simply told him he would not go. And he stuck on, made his novitiate, and professed as a Salesian Brother.

From Italy he seems to have volunteered for the Indian missions, and was sent to the Southern Province, to what became the Madras Province. At some time he was assigned to an unfruitful waste of a huge piece of land at Uriyurkuppam, which he then transformed into Our Lady's garden: Sagayathottam. He had made 'super-8' movies of the transformation, and used to show them to us in the days when we still had 8mm and 16mm movie projectors. So besides being an agriculturist (I am a 'farmer', man), Ludvik was also a communications man, though I think he would have thought dimly about joining associations of communicators.

Ludvik brought several of his workers from Sagayathottam to Sulcorna, and if Sulcorna is what it is today, it is thanks to the hard work and creativity of Ludvik and his group of dedicated workers from Tamil Nadu. Several of us still remember the damming of the river at various places, the low 'bridge' over the river (much later paralleled by the 'high' bridge), the unique irrigation system, the large well dug a little away from the river to take advantage of the ground water all year round, the abundant pineapples and the wonderful pineapple wine, the chickoos as large as cricket balls, the endless plantations of cashew trees, the large mangoes, and the fields of sugarcane.

Of course Ludvik was a hunter. He had to be a hunter. And he had his hunting stories: the huge female wild boar that he had disturbed, and that almost gored him to death; the many golden maned Indian bisons, some of them still adorning the walls of the old residence at Sulcorna....

But marketing expert he was not. His forte was growing things, and growing them in abundance. Marketing - he had the disadvantage of his white skin. I am told that he had to let go of his produce, both at Margao and later at Nashik, at throwaway prices. People would simply not buy from him, and wait for him to get fed up, by evening, dump his produce, and return home.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

BA and MA philosophy at IGNOU

Not many know that IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi) now offers a BA and an MA course in philosophy.

Examinations are in June and December every year. About 1000 students are already enrolled in the two programs, making this, from what I have heard, the largest single unit for number of students in IGNOU.

The course notes are plentiful, and several of a very good academic standard. The two courses were worked out under the aegis of the CBCI Chair at IGNOU, which has Dr Gracious Thomas in charge (he is actually HoD of the Social Work School). The courses are listed under SOITS (School of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies) of IGNOU, and were worked out under the direction and hard work of Dr George Panthanmackel.

Youth Bible Companion 2011

Claretian Publications has brought out a handsome pocket size volume with the title Youth Bible Companion 2011, in collaboration with Tej-Prasarini, Don Bosco Communications, Matunga, Mumbai. Very attractive, and handy - about half the size of the Bible Diaries that Claretian and St Pauls have been bringing out. The reflections are by a number of people, including Brian Moras, Christopher George, Edison Fernandes, Glenford Lowe, Godfrey D'Souza, Isaac Arackaparambil, Joaquim Fernandes, Kenneth Pereira, Lawrence D'Souza, Louis Kumpiluvelil, Ralin De Souza, Valerian Pereira, and Wilfred D'Souza.

Price not given.

Congratulations to Claretian and to Joaquim Fernandes of Tej!

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