Sages of the New Covenant
When Christianity was introduced in India by Apostle Thomas, he retained the cultural identity among the Thomasine Christians.But when Christianity was once again introduced to India in a big way by the European missionaries, it posed a threat to the cultural identity of the people of India.
"Dr E Stanley Jones found Indian ashrams a suitable indigenous forum for reflection and utilized Hindu philosophy and culture for presenting the gospel."
- Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church (page 393) by
William A. Dyrness, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen & Juan Francisco Martinez
Third World Missionary Conference at Tambaram in December 1938, which sowed the seeds for forming the World Council of Churches gave greater emphasis on the indigenisation of the Christian Missions. During the plenary, the whole gathering passed a resolution that in future young missionaries from the West might be sent to an Indian Ashram for preliminary testing and training, before being sent out to work on their own.
After the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858, the British East India Company consolidated its position and the British Queen Victoria became the Empress of India with the "Proclamation Durbar of Delhi” on January1, 1877. Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation guaranteed impartial protection of the law for all the people of different Faiths and no interference with their religious practices, the mayhem that prevailed after the exile of Bahadur Shah Zafar, in India Christianity was assuming a status of the Religion of the Oppressor. But the love of Christ never failed to attract people like Bhavani Charan Banerjee, who was with the Gwalior Maharaja’s army fighting the British. This guru of Brahmo Samaj took baptism in 1888 at Hyderabad, Sindh. But he never wanted his name to give him a Christian identity that would make him unreachable to the mass; hence, he translated his Christian name: Theophilus (friend of God) as Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya. He was convinced that one could be a Christian in religion and a Hindu (Indian) in his way of life. He came to Calcutta in 1900 and set-up a small ashram in a house with a few of his disciples from Sindh province. He could be considered the founding father of the Indian Christian Ashram Movement. This ‘Christian Counter-movement’ of Brahmabandhab, earned the good will of Indian leaders like Keshub Chanda Sen, and Rabindranath Tagore, who strongly supported the secular nature of India.
To get to know more about the evolution of Ashram Movement in India, please read the paper published by Dr Ravikumar Stephen J (Swami Sthevnanda) during the formation of the National Network of Lay Theologians in India, United Theological College, Bengaluru. This article is published in the Religion & Society Magazine (ISSN 0034-3951) Vol. 55 No. 1&2 (March/June 2010). The following is the PDF version of the file for FREE download:
Karunaiyananthar Ashram is a spiritual retreat center established to realize the dharma of Jesus Christ. The Ashram is built on the banks of the river Cauvery in a coconut grove with a quiet and peaceful environment conducive to study, worship and meditation. It is located 8 miles away from Thanjavur town on the way to Kallani water reservoir at the outskirts of the Thirupanthuruthi village. The Ashram is surrounded by many villages where people are in need of education and health care.
The Ashram serves as the center for inter-religious dialogue and service. People from different religious tradition meet on the last Sunday of every month to listen to the religious discourse presented by the experts of various religious sects and denominations. Besides, the Ashram. in conjunction with Rotary club, Gandhian society, Thiruvarul Peravai (an inter-religious organization) and Red Cross conducts eye camps, medical camps, blood donation and charitable services. The Ashram also serves as a conference center for various religious groups and governmental agencies to conduct seminars and trainings. Christian worship is conducted in Indian style.
Communicate Christ and his teachings to the Hindus and disciple them to follow Christ within their cultural context without converting them to western Christianity.
It is to inspire all people to follow Christ in developing a deeper relationship with God and people and to bring peace and harmony between various religious and caste groups by creating spiritual environment for religious dialogue and philanthropic services.
One God, One World and One People
To serve the spiritual, mental, physical and social welfare of the public by relieving fear, guilt, frustration, worry, hate and anger from people through teaching, counseling, meditation and prayer; by imparting proper education which focuses on the development of the moral, intellectual, physical and social faculties in children through schools; by promoting public health, hygiene, and well-being through medical relief services and hygienic restaurants and cooking classes; by establishing orphanages, old people homes, domestic crises centers, alcohol recovery programs and recreation centers, by publishing literature on religion, health, education and other fields of knowledge that promote the objectives of the Ashram.
Please visit the ashram with prior appointment. To visit contact:
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Sages of the New Covenant