Sunday, July 6, 2008

Three Sermons

Today I happened to hear three sermons. One in the Annanagar Mar Thoma Church by Rev. Joseph Chacko and another by Mr.Y. Biju, Thiruvalluvar Hostel secretary and BD student of Gurukul, in the house of one of the neighbours of Gurukul, Dr. P.K. Joy. The third one was in Gurukul Chapel by Dr. Adella Paul.

What interested me in Joseph Chacko Achen's sermon has been the unusual introduction to the sermon, narrating the spirituality of the Hindu pilgrims who go to Sabarimala. He explained the significance of the "Irumudikkettu" which the pilgrims carry when they go to the mountain shrine of Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala. Irumudikkettu is a two pronged head gear in which the swamis (the devotees) carry coconut, ghee and other pooja (worship)materials. They will break the coconuts before Lord Ayyappa and ghee will be poured upon the idol. The significance of the Irumudikkettu, as it has been explained to Achen by one senior Hindu swami, is that the two bundles the pilgrims caary on their head are of different sizes, one is big and another is small. The big bundle represents the sins of people (of course the concept of sin is quite different from the Christian teachings, and for them it is more or less actions of ignorance, agnana, rather than deliberate defying of God's will). The samll one represents the punya (virutous acts of people). The pilgrims take both to the Lord Ayyapaa and offer them and come back as new persons carrying back only the prasadam (sweets blessed by Ayyappa), in order to start a new chapter of life with God. I found the interpretation very meaningful and significant to the spiritual life of Christians. I would write later about another story which is told by Achen to explain the silly character of St. Peter.

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