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Tms september issue 2016(1)


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TMS June 2016 issue
The Mustard Seed is a secular journal of creative faith, begun over 25 years ago in India. It has been passed from editor to editor who has kept it going unbroken, on faith. We self- publish only thanks to contributions from readers. The Mustard Seed is free and available to all, by post and online. We have no sponsors or subscription fees or postage fees, no advertisements.
We welcome reader experiences and writings to share with our little community.
TMS is published quarterly.

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Tms september issue 2016(1)

  1. 1. May-June-July 2016 Vol 27 - No.13 The world over, we are all celebrating the canonization of Mother Theresa, our very own Saint, from our very own Kolkata. This beautiful, humble nun showered miracles every day on the most forgotten people in the world. Her compassion, her love and her big, big heart that embraced their suffering and brought them dignity is one of Life's greatmiracles. Back home, I have been experiencing smaller miracles and have been awed and humbledby them.Smallthingsandbigthings,changesandnew chaptersinmylifehave onlymademedeeplygratefulforallthemiraclesthatIhavebeenblessedwith. Thanks to The Mustard Seed, I reconnected with a very dear old teacher, who was a nun in training, teaching us Moral Science in class VII. Teacher Susanna Maria, as she was known, was an inspiration to me. She taught us to pray humbly and with thought, not race through the litany. She was a zoology graduate who had grown up in Kenya, a land she loved dearly. She wanted to be a vet, but chose to be a nun and serve the poor.Today she has fulfilled her dream and is caring for so many girls who need her, back in her convent in Kenya. We lost touch years ago until another Salesian Sister whom I connected with right here at TMS helped me get in touch with her. How wonderful is that?! It is that time of the year when my favourite deity visits the nation. Ganpathy is ready to go back to his abode and many of us, while sad to see Him leave, are relieved the noise and chaos will be over. This makes me wonder why we confuse being devout with overt displays of devotion. I wish everyone all the blessings of Lord Ganesha, and may He vanquishallyourobstacles. We are also celebrating Eid in the same week, and a doubly holy time it has been for India.Wewish everyoneEidMubarakandthepeaceandhappinessofEidtoall. The power of people praying together is strong. Last week a teenage boy lingered in a coma after an accident. People of all faiths and beliefs came together, offering their prayers for Angad. Prayers, energy, reiki, pranic healing, tarot: the intention was from the heart and these precious prayers brought comfort to the bereaved parents who lost theirson. On a sadder note, I have attended so many funerals this year, reflecting with much sadness over lives lived and lost. All I can say is that Life itself is a miracle! Every day we wake up to is a miracle. We should be grateful and live each day without any regrets, without any rancour or sorrow. Reach out to people, dare to dream, try something new andfaceeachdaywithcourage....And liveyourown personalmiracle! MIRACLES Raadhika Dosa D'Cruz
  2. 2. My dearRaadhika, Thank you ever so much for printing this article written by me in THE MUSTARD SEED on the cinema ” New Majestic Talkies” with all the photographs. I cannot find words to thank. It means such a lot to our whole family. Noshir Marfatia HiTMS, I read your magazine recently at a doctor's clinic. I read almost each and every story in two visits to the doctor. I felt that the need to go to the doctor was actually a good thing since I was introduced to this great magazine of yours. So I wrote to congratulate TMS for achieving such high quality in terms of contentandthesimplicityofit. Kangkan Goswami Wow! It is really you! Dear Raadhika, how are you?You are up to good things I can see!Thanks so much for sending The Mustard Seed, yes it is so small but so powerful it brought us in touch with each other after so many years.It is nice bringing people together to share their faith and thoughts with openness of mindandheart.God bless. Sr. Susan Fernandes Nairobi, Kenya I happened to see your journal 'The Mustard Seed' which has drawn my attention. It seems to be a rich treasure. Thank you very much. May the Good Lord continue to bless your goodwork. Sr. Mary Rodrigues, Holy Cross Convent, Tuticorin Wish you all the best in your forthcomingissues. Keep up the high standard of the magazine and the good work that you are doing for free social service. Very appreciable, Kusum Gokarn Note from Editor :Apologies for the long interval between issues. Thank you to everyone who generously replenished our coffers so that we couldprintthisissue!
  3. 3. GURU DWARA Beautiful hands that breathe blessing, Gentle hands that glow graciousness; Curvaceous hands that caress curiosity, Sensuous hands that stir symphony; Delicate hands that dream desire; Lithesome hands that lure love, Tapering hands that tantalize thought, Pure hands that provoke poesy. Kusum Gokarn HANDS Ritika Narang Tikoo
  5. 5. 5 diseases find their home, this way or that, if one has not been looking after the body well, which is to say, making healthy choices starting early in life, it is most probable that there are going to be some reluctant guests inside the body, past 60 for sure. However, despite the worst, it is never too late to pick up on a topic that brings laughter and smiles to our lips. In fact, the joy of life is in small and playful things we treasure in our memory and which when recalled bring us joyinthepresent. The occasion may be anything, sad or bad, loving memories are forever, and just like everything else in life, they are always waiting in the wings to jump out and fill our conscious mind, as happy memories,hereandnow. The sutradhar/thread of happy moments, always tie our lives, securely, intercepted occasionally by other challenges of life. And at the right moment, they surely come back to make ourjourneysmuchlighterandhappier. Thanks to Tobee and Spottu, long gone physically from my life, but brought back to memory by dear Rajada, the stress level has far reduced, because, those two have filled my memory with boundless joy of loving and giving, unconditionally. JuliaDutta ALL THINGS SMALLAND PLAYFUL There was a time I was tutoring 5 year olds. And believe me, those were the most rewarding and fulfilling, happening and exciting moments that I've had. You could never predict what was comingnext! Exams were looming, which was a stressful time for me, as I'm sure many of you have experienced. And this particular day, we were learning our opposites. With fingers crossed and after an exhausting practice session, we began our review. It was simply stating the opposite of a word and using them in asentenceasanexample. The following was the ensuing conversation- Me - "Can you give me the opposite of tallaccompaniedwithasentence?" Student - "Short. I am tall and he is short." Me - "Very good! Now the opposite of highis..." Student - "Low! The ceiling is high and thefloorislow." A high-five later - Me - "Now who can givemetheoppositeof"dark"? Student - "Light! When it's dark out we mustturnonthelight!" Fair enough! I could heave a huge sigh ofrelief.... And hereisthecincher!! That is hubby dearest and me after that lesson! Me-"Whatistheoppositeofthin?" In a New York minute - out popped the answer! Holdyourbreathforthisone.... Student - "Fat! You are fat and we are thin!" A pat on the back to me for getting through that with a straight face and withtheutmostpatience. Mind you, I didn't hand out any candy orstickersafterthatsession ...... Jen Mathew
  7. 7. many opportunities as he needs to fail, inorderforhimtosucceed. Not a very easy feat, in this competitive, trophy-ladenculture. A culture where we are so sensitive about not 'damaging' our kids, that we insist on 'trophysizing' everything they do. Gee! My son has a bigger collection of medals and little trophies that he has collected over his short 7 years, than my decades of toiling and sweating through several'higher'institutionsoflearning! In this culture, we have come to define success as 'the avoidance of failure at all costs'. And that is what we are passing ontoourchildren. In our mistaken definition of a 'good parent', we have embraced this notion that good parenting is equal to protecting our children from all harm, including – heaven forbid -the slim possibility that they might fail. By not allowing our children to fail, we are failing our children. By shielding them from temporary pain, we are making them permanent quitters. We seem to have forgotten that without struggle, there can be never be any progress. That our children need to go through embarrassing moments, so they can developthegiftofempathy. We need to let our children fail, so that theycansucceed.How? Let them go back to school with unfinished assignments, because you will not remind them to do their homework. Let them show up in school without their homework books and face the consequences, because you are done putting their books back in their bags forthem. Let them (and you too!) live with the discomfort of a smelly room until they figure where that smell is coming from, and clean out the left-over pizza they 'forgot'. Let them come home after a long tiring trip, and find their rooms as messy as theyleftthem. Let them carry to school that weird looking project that took them the whole weekend to put together – a box- house whose walls keep caving in – because, like my grandma friend says, it is not the end result, but the effort, that counts.And because next time they will try harder to make their project more perfect and learn great lessons in the process. Oh! And this is a hard one for me. Let them go back to school with sentences that are wrongly constructed and wrongly spelt! (I need to remember that I'mnottheonebeingtested…Sigh). Letthemcoloroutsidethelines. Let them write the D with the 'stomach' facingup. You see, teachers have gone through specialized training to help the kids in a systematic way to learn how to write a D. And to color within the lines. Training which you haven't been through. Let the teacher do their work, so you can in turn do your job as a parent. And this one is for mums – let your children fall off their bikes – it is the onlywaytheywilllearn! And for the daddies. Go easy on your kids. Let them know failure is acceptable. Why? Because – “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Your job as a good parent is to walk with them. Not over failure. Not around failure.Butthroughtheirfailure. Totheotherend.
  8. 8. The Official Roald Dahl Day is celebrated every year on his birthday on the13thofSeptember. The author is remembered as one of the greatest story tellers of all time, whose fantastical adventures inspired generations of children. His books have sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages around theworld. Although known primarily for his children's books, Dahl also published a number of short stories and two novels aimed at adults. His writing career spanned sixty years and has led to a numberofsuccessfulfilmadaptations. Here are some of his most inspiring quotes which can be applied to adult life... 1.OnTV “So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.” – Charlie and the ChocolateFactory 2.Onbeards "What a lot of hairy-faced men there are aroundnowadays!"–TheTwits 3.Onselfesteemand confidence “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – TheTwits 4.Onrelationships “Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.” – Danny the ChampionoftheWorld 5.Oncareersuccess “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazyit'sunbelievable...”-Matilda 6.Onhow tobehaveinmeetings “I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.” – Fantastic Mr Fox 7.Onhobbies “I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – MyUncleOswald 8.Onbeingsingle “'Here it is,' Nigel said.' Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs FFI, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs LTY. That spells difficulty.' 'How perfectly ridiculous!' snorted Miss Trunchbull. 'Why are all these women married?'” – Matilda 9.Onpolitics “Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.” –Matilda 10.Onhow toliveagood life “Life is more fun if you play games.” - MyUncleOswald 11.OnTwitter “Obscurity is never a virtue.” – Roald Dahl himself 12.Onlove “It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody lovesyou.” –TheWitches ROALD DAHL DAY The heart that gives, gathers. - Tao Te Chung
  9. 9. Not all of us will live to 'a ripe old age', but many of us might. There are two ways of viewing life, and two distinct ways ofviewingoldage. One is the materialistic way. We are just the body—a collection of some billion molecules of matter—and when we die, that is the end of us. Accordingly, for materialists', life has no real or ultimate purpose, or, if one has to find a purpose to live for in order to remain sane, it is to 'enjoy'—to maximize the stimulation of thefivesenses asfaraspossible. The second way is spiritual. Accordingly, we are spirit beings or souls that happen inhabit physical bodies temporarily. When our time comes to an end, our bodies go back to the earth while our spirit or soul lives on. For religious or spiritually-minded people, life has an ultimate purpose— the development or realisation of the true nature of the spirit or soul, in relationtoGod. These two distinct and mutually contradictory views of life give rise to two very different ways of handling old age. * * * * * In his 80s, X may not be a self- confessed atheist. He may even claim to believe in God. Yet, God and religion hardly play any role in his life. For all practical purposes, X's 'god' is the club he haunts and his beer buddies. He thinks. “Why not make merry while the sun stillshines?” Z is an 84 year-old grandmother.All day she is after her grand- children, caring for them as if they were babies. She irons their clothes, packs their school- bags, makes their breakfast, walks them to the bus.. When they are home, she constantly heckles them: “Do this!” “Don'tdothat!”Itneverends. Z says. “With them, I have something to do, to keep busy with.” She dreads the daytheywillleavehome. In his late 70s,Tspends most of his time watching TV. He is hooked to a news channels that specializes in sensational debates, making him aggressive and negative. “It's important to know what's happening in the world,” he says in his defence, even though he doesn't care to know what's happening in the lives of his own children. He also grumbles about his neighbours with malicious delight. For X, Z and T, old age is a terrible burden they are forced to put up with. They lack a higher purpose to live for. Time, for them, is something to be 'passed' somehow or the other. They feartheywouldsimplylosetheirminds. * * * * * In contrast are people for whom life is not just 'time-pass', but a God-given opportunity for their spiritual development. They think of old age as a blessing from God, each moment a valuable treasure to be carefully spent in order to please God and do God's Will. For such people, old age is an opportunity, rather than a burden. It provides them the opportunity to strengthen their relationship with God, through prayer, meditation and reflection, and to seek forgiveness and makeamendsfortheirpastwrongs. * * * * * S is a 90 year-old religious scholar. He continues to be super-active writing articles and books, delivering discourses and attending interfaith conferences. He regularly meets people, listens to their problems and provides them spiritual guidance. Promoting God-consciousness is his mission In her late 60s, Pis a retired teacher. She identifies herself as a 'spiritual OLD AGE : BURDEN OR BLESSING?
  10. 10. universalist', appreciating the goodness in all religions. Her day is punctuated with prayers at regular hours, and she spends much time reading spiritual books. “I also do my household chores, like cleaning and cooking, and I consider these to be service to God,” she says. “I love chatting with God. I try to think of Him when I am at work. I love seeing Him everywhere around me—in a plant, in a bird, in a fellow human, in the breeze. I love singing songs toHim.” R is in his mid-80s. Twice a week, he volunteers at a charitable hospital. He is part of a group that gets together once a week to cook food for the poor. “Serving God's creatures is a way to serve God,” he explains. “Given my age and state, I try to avail of every opportunity I get to serve God. When I go to the park, I take bread to feed the dogs or birds, and if I see a thirsty animal or a plant, I help relieve its thirst,”hesays. “I led a very sinful life,” R explains. “God has enabled me to live so long, and so I'd like to use this time He has blessed me with by trying to make up for all my wrongs. I hope God will accept my offering. This is what gives memeaningandjoy.” * * * * * Like any other phase in life, old age can a burden or a blessing. It all depends on what you want to make of your life and whatyouseeasitspurpose. Roshan Shah It is well past sunset and the moonless night is quite dark. But typical of city ambience, the bright street lights allow me to observe the surroundings with fair amount of clarity. I saw him from quite a distance and my eyes were stuck on him. Not that he had anything to attract even a second look – bedraggled clothes, floppy old slippers, 2-3 day stubble on his chin, and unkempt hair. What made me stare at him was his immaculate face-cut, his chiseled features, the brightness in his eyes and a carefree gait that was oblivious to surroundings and other people. His complexion and demeanor convinced me that he had seen better days – much better days. I could only make wild guesses what could have brought him to thisvagabondstate. At first glance he seemed in his own world and focused on himself. I could have been excused if I had discarded him as an alcoholic or drug addict. But as he came close I saw the pain in his eyes. His withdrawal from the world was obviously forced on him. Leaving a deep impact on me, he crossed my path and was gone into the darkness. I was left with my musing and with many unanswered questions. There are so many failures and outcastes like him, who appear fleetingly and disappear into dark corners of society – and no one cares. They may never find a lover, a close friend, or a mentor. They may trudge their lonely paths till they are too tired to go on. And then what happens to them? No oneknows orcares. If we claim to be “humans”, the superior or chosen race, how can we allow our own kind to become outcasts? How can we raise ourselves to a higher plane when we leave behind us those who have fallen by the wayside, perhaps for nofaultoftheirs? Dr.AliKhwaja,Counsellor OUTCASTS We‛re outcasts only ‘cause we choose to dream.
  11. 11. "Admit it. You aren't like them. You're not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather's awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” TimothyLeary ADMIT IT
  12. 12. Dear Mother Theresa, Since you are now in Heaven (Pope Francis told us with great conviction yesterday on the occasion of your canonization amidst the splendours of St.Peter's Square in Rome) I can open my heart to you as a younger brother. When he announced that he and many millions around the world felt more comfortable calling you Mother Theresa rather than Saint Theresa, it brought tears to my eyes and smiles to many of your Sisters, distinctive in their blue and white saris. For them and for many others, not excluding the millions who, like me, knew you in Kolkata for the better half of the last century, you will always be “Mother”. It became very clear to me yesterday that we do not love you for your glamour. You were never glamorous! It was your deeds that won us over. My first introduction to you was in New Delhi through a dying man whom I met in one of your Homes. I couldn't communicate with him in any language (I think he spoke Telugu), but for many minutes I squatted by his mattress on the floor and gripped his hand, and when I felt him return my grip I felt a closeness to him that no eloquence of words on his part or on mine could ever have produced. That, Mother, was your great gift to me and many others. You were not looking for publicity, for money, for power, but the simplicity of your works struck an indelible chord. A year later when I met you in Calcutta, as it was then called, you asked me on one occasion to give you a lift to the airport because you were in a big hurry to catch the plane. On our drive through the traffic of the city you suddenly asked to stop the car because you saw a man lying unattended on the side of the road. “How impractical”, I
  13. 13. thought, but stopped the car all the same and a few minutes later you re-entered the car and reading my thoughts said that the most important thing is to assist those in distress. That is why you were criticized for opening Homes where no medical help could be given to the dying, because you believed that it was more important for people to die in dignity. The French TV commentator at your Canonization yesterday was more awed by the blue and white cotton sari that was so much in evidence in St.Peter's than by the magnificence of the prelates' vestments. He mentioned that you had given up the traditional habit of the Loretto nuns, and well before the great changes of Vatican Two, you adopted the sari which was the lay dress of the people of India. So much I knew, but I was not aware that you chose the style of sari that is worn by the lower caste poor. What a powerful message for our caste-ridden country which was so well represented on the world stage in Rome! I know I often fail to live up to the example of your life, and forget your message of loving service, but I remember your favourite hymn and whenever I hear it sung I always think of you: Make me a channel of your peace Where there is hatred let me bring your love, Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord, And where there's doubt true faith in You Patrick De Souza 5th September, 2016, Geneva
  14. 14. MIRACLE EDITION: GOD OF THE SKY I wrote this three years ago while I was working as a Catholic volunteer in the Philippines. We had another miracle today. I'm not sure how I feel about miracles. Asking for them makes me realize just how little faith I really have. But then receiving one shows me that God is willing to work with the little faith I do have. This afternoon we drove to Isla Bonita, the squatters' community we worked with, for our usual Saturday afternoon kid's catechism lesson. As we arrived the skies grew darker, and drops of rain began coming down. This had happened the last time as well and we had to cut the lesson short because the rain was so loud we couldn't hear each other. "We really need to change the time of our catechism lesson," I thought. Still, we were here now, so we would just go ahead and do it. There were about ten kids in the little centre that we use for our activities there. The centre is acoveredpavilion,withopensides. Sammy, one of our volunteers, began the lesson for the day which was 'God Made the Land, Sea and Sky'. The lesson included the story of Moses parting the Red Sea and was about God's power over creation. As we began, the sky got even darker and the rain began to pour down. There was so much rain that even though we were in the middle of the pavilion, as far away from the sides as we could get, we were getting sprayed with rain. The kids shivered. We could hardly hear each other over the rain drumming down on thetinroof. "Shouldn't we just go home?" I thought. ButIdidn'tsayanything. Sammy introduced the lesson and then said, "God is the one who made the land, sea and sky. He has power over them all. He is very powerful. So we're goingtoaskHim...” "Oh, no," Ithought. "We're going to ask him to stop the rain so we can have our lesson," he continued. “Doyoubelievehecanstoptherain?” "Yes!" shoutedthekids. “Thenlet'spraytogether!” Oh, no. I was not excited about this.The rain had JUST started. It was pouring down, so much so that I was wondering whether people's homes would be flooded again, or if they would have to rescue the baby piglets again (Thursday night bible study fun). Usually when it starts raining like that, it can rain for hours. It's not like my hometown where it starts and stops and drizzles a little in between. This was not one of those 'it's kinda possible, this could go either way, so let's pray that it happens' kind of prayers. Itwas aridiculous,impossibleprayer. What would it do to these kids' faith when we asked for something so specifically, so clearly, and it didn't happen? But then I thought... Why am I so sure it won't happen? Do I believe that God is real and that He DOES have control over the clouds and theskiesandtherain?Hmm.Yes. Why wouldn't he do a miracle that would show the kids that He was real, and that He really did have power over the land, sea and sky, and that He could hear us and was capable of answering us?Hadn'tHesentmiraclesinthepast? Into my mind flashed some of the miracles our volunteers have experienced when they asked in faith- Mr. Frank, our founder, had years ago in Mexico prayed for rain during a
  15. 15. GANESHANI (STREE GANESHA) Susanna D Revati Malati Art by Revati Malati drought, and the rain came. More recently, the Alvarezes in Mexico prayed for rain in Mexico and have been having their prayers answered with flooded streets. So if God could provide rain, couldn't He take it away? Who bettertoask? I closed my eyes with the kids, and with all the faith I could muster (mustard seed-size is sufficient) prayed, "Yes, Lord,Ibelieve!Lettherainstop!” I kept watching the sheets of rain, and visualized it stopping, sun coming out. My ears were tuned for any change in thetempo. As Sammy ended the prayer.... YES, THE RAIN LET UP! Our prayer was answered within moments! It continued raining for a little while, but it was much less. We could easily hear each other, and our lesson was able to continue complete with special effects from God to drive the point home. By the end of the lesson, the rain had totally stopped andthesky hadlightened. What can I say? God is cool. I love workingforHim.
  16. 16. People are often unreasonable and self- centred. Forgive them, anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway. Give the world the best that you have and it may not be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and themanyway. - Mother Theresa It hurts not to be heard and not to be seen, butit'smoredeadlynottoseeandhear. - Mark Nepo, poet In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things notmeantforyou. - Buddha The Mustard Seed as usual comes to you free of charge. However, your generosity keeps us going. Our print run is 2000 copies, distributed across India and abroad. Cheques/MO/DD to be drawn in the name of ‘Radhika Dossa’ only. If you have a friend who would like to receive The Mustard Seed regularly, free of cost, please send in his/her name and address. If you would like to help Save Paper by accepting online issues of TMS, kindly let us know your email address. Email us at Postal address: Raadhika Dosa D’Cruz, #33 St. Patrick's Town, Solapur Road , Hadapsar , Pune 411013 Designed & Printed by : Siddhivinayak Enterprises & Services-9822080294