Mijn toespraak voor de Kirati tijdens hun grote bijeenkomst in Larumba op 4 december 2022 ter ere van de 69-ste verjaardag van hun geestelijke leider, goeroe Atmanada Lingden.
Most respected Atmananda guru,
Members of the Kirati committee,
This very special day I want to congratulate the guru with his birthday. All of us, we hope that we may enjoy ourselves in his presence for many years again, to be able to profit from his wisdom and spiritual leadership. May peace and wisdom be in our hearts and thoughts this day. May our beloved guru, together with his wife and his beloved ones, enjoy every part of this day and be happy together with all of us, who are celebrating his birthday.
The Kirati community, and specially the community living in Mangsebung, is an example of peaceful life. This shows the importance of the Kirati movement and the teachings of their guru. Every time that I have arrived in Mangsebung, since the year 2003, this has impressed me. I am convinced that this movement should play a more important role in Nepal, and even outside its geographical boundaries, in proclaiming its message of peace and the dignity of human life. In this world we are confronted with many atrocities, wars, and crimes. That worries us. But we know one thing: Only changed hearts can change those evils in society.
Together with the Kirati Movement, I believe strongly, that only a good and healthy religious teaching will be able to change hatred into love, and violence into respect for all people. And there is much more that we have in common. I mention:
- The faith in one God, the Creator of everything that exists.
- The old history of human mankind. Many names of the first leaders of mankind and many of their stories are shared together by Kirati and Christians.
- The importance of faith and religion for the quality of personal life.
- Acceptance of everyone, not regarding race, religion, or nation.
All of us, however, we may ask ourselves the question: How to experience inner freedom? Even if we may enjoy political and social freedom in our days, our soul may suffer, and we may feel bound by many invisible powers. If our soul is not free, we are not. And if there is no inner peace, how ever to proclaim peace to all those around? Most of our problems find their origin not in the world around us, but in our own heart. Is there a way to deal with those inner problems?
At this point I should explain something from my understanding of truth. Those inner problems, feelings of failure, a bad conscience, fear for future, and the unrest of our soul, are a sign of what we call: sin. The essence of sin is not doing wrong things. It is the attitude that leads us toward doing something wrong, be it great, be it small, be it visible for others, be it invisible for others. But this desire to follow a wrong path, wounds every human being. Is there a way to be healed from the scars made by sin in our soul?
You, Kirati, are a monotheistic people since ages. So were the Jewish people, the first known monotheistic religion in human history. But someone may profess a religion, it is not sure that this will influence his way of thinking or his lifestyle. A person may profess a certain truth with his mouth, and nevertheless live in darkness. It is like someone who has a torch, hidden in his house. Light is available, but he cannot find the torch in the darkness of the night. Truth is in his house, but he does not profit from it, and stays in darkness.
This was about the situation of the Jewish people when Jesus appeared in their midst. They were professing ages-old wisdom. But they had changed it into laws and obligations, forgetting that the essence of religion is to set people free, and not covering them under a load of laws. So, Jesus started to preach again the liberation of the soul. He told people, that salvation is the essence, and not bowing oneself under heavy laws. Honoring the eternal God is not doing things for Him, but at the first place to receive His free gift of salvation. Jesus wanted to bring his people back to their own religious origin.
One day He said something astonishing. “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Bible, Matthew’s Gospel 11: 28-30) This shows us, that Jesus does not look to outward things. People are not visibly weary, burdened, and full of unrest. That’s what they hide for others. But Jesus looks at the heart of people and sees what others don’t see. Isn’t it true that many problems are hidden in our lives? But where to go? Nobody seems to be able to help us. But Jesus says that he can do it.
He compares the one who takes his refuge with Him with an ox. You know how farmers work when they want to plough their fields. If the ground is heavy, they may need two oxen. One is experienced, but the younger one is usually not. But when the two work together, the unexperienced ox will follow the older one. They both took the yoke upon them, but most of the work in the beginning is done by the experienced ox. In this comparison, Jesus says: “You may be unexperienced and think that the task is too heavy for you. But when you take my yoke upon you, I will show you how to do it. Do not worry. It will be easy for you.
What exactly will become easy for us? Life itself! With Jesus as our Helper unrest will flee from our soul and burdens will become light. That’s His promise. What to do to receive this gift? Only one thing. “Come to Me,” is his invitation. Not physically. We do not need to move our legs. When Jesus uses these words, it means: “Have faith in me! Open your heart for Me.” Het wants us to start a relation with Him, the Master of our soul. And this will bring peace and rest for us. Because He, the Creator, can create what seems to be impossible for us. We are unable. He is able!
I told you that all these internal problems show the power of sin in us. Sin, finally, is not what we do, but the tendency to do wrong. The one who does wrong, is leaving the path of life and light. The most alerting meaning of the word ‘sin’ in the Bible is: missing one’s life goal. That is dramatic. We all are heading forward, but the one who misses the mark, may arrive at the conclusion, that his life has been in vain. Is there a solution for us, to get rid of sin? There are hidden depths in our soul. There are things that we do not want to think about. We certainly will not talk about it with anyone. This creates unrest and an inner warfare. We are not able to stop it. Is there an end to all this?
If we have no inner peace, it becomes difficult – if not impossible – to proclaim peace to others. We feel uneasy to talk about it. But where to find it? Sin acts as a hidden, negative power, and threatens to destroy us.
Jesus is the only one able to forgive our sins. So often he told people: “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those, who did not understand the Godly nature of Jesus, were blaming Him, when He spoke about forgiveness. “Who can forgive sins…?” But Jesus is able. He came to this earth, to liberate people from evil, devil and sin. That was His final and overall mission. His last words on the cross have been: “It is finished.” But at that time these were exactly the words used when a bill was paid. So, you may understand these words as: “The price for your sin has been paid. Now you are free.”
That gives us, human beings, a deep sense of fulfillment. It chases away the unrest of our soul. If we receive these words by faith, we know where we are heading. We are heading from darkness to Light, guided by the Lord. This is true for all of us, who have faith.
One time I have experienced a miracle for the Kirati. Let me tell you the story. A social organization in my country, the Netherlands, had promised to build a hospital in Larumba. But after a few months, they annulled their promise. I was desperate. Where to get this very huge amount from? I did not want to disappoint the Kirati people and our beloved guru. But I had no idea where to find such a huge amount. I was desperate, in fact, and prayed to God. Till today I do not understand what happened. I approached a good and wealthy man, but I hardly knew him at that time. He saw my distress and said immediately: “I will pay”. Me, a rather poor man, living the simple life of a religious guru, poor and pure, did not believe my ears. I see it as a sign from God. Never and never again I have received such a huge amount… God hears our prayers!
In a time that people believed in one God, but without knowing how to get in touch with Him, Jesus proclaimed: “By Me!” He brought salvation, joy, and peace back to the people. That is what we need as well. That is what we should aim for. All of us.
Now, my friends, you might expect me to add yet something else. You may think, this man is a Christian, so he will tell us: “You have to join a church.” But that is what I will not tell you. When Jesus was walking around in the Middle East, 2000 years ago, there was no church. But there were believers. Thousands and thousands. They had found forgiveness and peace by Him. The church came later, to help the believers to follow the right path. The church is a means, God (Jesus) is our Goal. The Kirati Movement might be your means, that is my deep hope. Faith is not dependent on a church. It depends on you, helped, and guided by Jesus.
But if we, together, will be able to sustain our faith, what in that case is a church good for? That is my desire, that all of us will be full of faith. Religions compete sometimes, as if life is a football game, and people are the points to be won. But people are no points. And my religion is not a kind of a religious sport’s club. I want to show you a way, a direction, that you can follow together. I proclaim the original message of Jesus, sometimes even forgotten in churches. A message of salvation by faith in Him. This is a life changing power, available for all of us. And, just as Jesus did, I tell you, that all of this is available for you as you are. No conditions. The one who shows genuine faith, will receive all this.
By telling you so, I do not bring a completely unknown message. This same message has been proclaimed by Phalgunanda and Iman Singh Semjong in the fifties of last century!
The most famous message of Jesus is for sure the ‘Sermon on the mount.’ In this sermon He says, among many other things: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” That is for you, if you want to accept it.
The most famous prayer of Jesus is called: “The Lord’s prayer.” That is part of the Sermon on the mount. (Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 5 – 7). There you read something very important: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” We, ourselves, we must forgive others if we want to receive forgiveness. But how? It seems nearly impossible to us to be kind to others who have done wrong to us. But let me tell you, the first to forgive is God. Only the person who receives the forgiveness of Jesus, will be able to forgive others.
That is what we may call the ‘law of Jesus’. He gives peace – and then only we may restore peace on earth. He forgives, and we follow him. He gives spiritual power, and only then we may do whatever seemed to be impossible for us for so long…
I hope that the whole earth will hear this message. It is an encouragement for all of us. This message should not be hidden inside the walls of church buildings. This message is universal in its nature.
When hope, joy and peace are restored in our souls, we become a mighty movement of peace together, bringing to this world what is so much needed: peace, understanding and human dignity. I invite you to be part of this spiritual movement. Without religion, a nation has no soul. Without a religion, human beings become like lost children, wandering around. May our understanding and our religion be filled with peace and forgiveness, to find the good path ourselves and to guide millions and millions on it.
I end my speech on this remarkable day with one cry from my heart: Come to Jesus and find peace! Talk about it together. Take a stand, together. Receive peace inside. Pray for it. Make and expand peace outside. We are called to be a blessing in this world. Celebrate today the guru’s birthday. Celebrate life. Celebrate your vocation in this world!