BEATEN PATH, LONELY TRAVELLERS A Journey into ‘ the Other’
Dr. Vincent Sekhar, S.J.
Personality, a bundle of Experiences
My home town is Madurai, the great temple city in South India. I must have spent more time in the temple premises than in my parish church. The statues, the images of gods and goddesses, gigantic pillars and roofs, the temple elephant, camel, and the bull, they all attracted me, evoked a sense of awe, beauty, and good feeling in me. The morning Suprabhatam, devotional song and kummi dance, any number of temple car processions with auspicious instrumental music, concerts that follwed every festive occasion… all of them created in me a spiritual, divine milieu. But I grew up as a Catholic in a family of business class, not much bothered about regularity in sacramental life.
Fortunately, my familiarity with the Hindu milieu did not clash with the way I grew up as a Jesuit with its own charism and structures. The Jesuit Society nurtured in me a freedom, hard to find outside. My friends recognized in me a natural talent and inclination for South Indian Classical music (quite new to Christian/Church music until then), especially the Hindu devotionals. It inspired me to compose church hymns similar in its flavour to any Hindu devotional song. It was again quite natural for me to be inclined to Indology, which normally Jesuit Scholastic would detest for fear of Sanskrit! I changed track from Physics to Sanskrit. The two years of PG (in a Brahmin milieu) gave me further grip in Hindu Philosophy, Religion, and Sanskrit Literature. I extended my relationship with the families of my classmates, participated in their house functions. In theology, I was trying to re-read Christian concepts and themes such as the Trinity, the Kingdom of God, the Holy Sacrifice, and the like. to make sense to any orthodox, educated Hindu. Issues related to the Theology of religions, Interreligious Dialogue, and Inculturation were hot topics for discussion in the...