English: This is the portrait of Mother Teresa

English: This is the portrait of Mother Teresa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sainthood Could Be A Comedown For Mother T

Poor Mother Teresa. Why on earth or, rather, why in heaven ­ are they saddling her with sainthood?
The Catholic Church ­ headed by a truly enlightened Pope, who has earned the respect and admiration of millions all over the world, including many who do not belong to the religion he represents ­ is in all good faith bestowing its highest honour on the tiny nun in the white sari who founded the order of the Missionaries of Charity .All due process has been observed, all the necessary paperwork has been completed. Mother was first beatified ­ the first step toward eventual canonisation ­ and, after she was credited with performing two miracles which is the sainthood requirement, she will now become Saint Teresa, only the third Indian to be elevated to this holy stature.

In the Christian canon, saints are intermediaries, or intercessors, between humanity and the Divine Being; they are like God’s BPOs. For a mortal to be turned into a saint is indeed a great tribute.

But the soon-to-be-Saint Teresa’s many devotees might be excused a sneaky suspicion that had she been around today she might have been just a bit embarrassed by all the fuss on her account, and with the humility that was so characteristic of her could have wondered if it was really necessary .

In her down-to-earth way she might also have asked as to why a big deal was being made about the two attested miracles she is said to have performed, which qualified her sainthood. The greatest miracle that Mother embodied was the ultimate miracle of love.

“When I cleanse the wounds of a leper, I cleanse the wounds of Christ“, she said. She showed us that the human capacity to love testifies to the dormant divinity in all of us. Or, as Victor Hugo put it, “To love another is to see the face of God.“ The miracle of love does not need saintliness or the bestowal of any sublime office, for its achievement.Indeed, the ceremonial garb of such high honours and designations could prove an encumbrance to what the Greeks called agape (pronounced aga-pay), which means spiritual love, a love in which the individual ego is relinquished in order to em brace oneness with all Being.

“The canker of saints is not sinfulness but saintliness,“ said Sartre. The atheist philo sopher expressed what spiritu al masters have always known: professed and proclaimed piety is the greatest obstacle to freeing the universal Self from the prison of individuality .

This is why the supremely enlightened do not seek but shun followers who make them objects of worship, and so negate their enlightenment which lies in the surrendering of the self, not in putting it on a personalised pedestal.

As the Buddha lay dying, his acolytes begged him to bequeath a last message to them. In response, the Buddha wordlessly turned over an empty bowl, signifying the emptying out of the ego. The Buddhist stupa symbolises the emptying of the self.

The term `spiritual leader’ is a paradox, a contradiction in terms. The greater the burden of iconic identity worshippers impose on it, the more is selfless spirituality undermined.

“Do not listen to my words. Do not follow my path. You must find your own way , your own path,“ Jiddu Krishnamurti would exhort those who flocked to hear him speak. The more he urged them to forsake him, to set him free from the bonds of their adoration, the greater the devotion with which they ensnared him.

Saint Teresa? Thanks, but no thanks, is what Mother might ­ just might ­ have said in a spiritual version of award wapsi.

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