NASHIK, NOVEMBER 22, 2010: Pune Vidyapeeth (University) Marathi Department which is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee (2010-2011) held a Seminar cum Discussion on the Kristapurana of Fr. Thomas Stephens (1549-1619) on November 15 and November 16, 2010 at P.C. Ray Sabhagruha, Pune University. It was a joint venture of Pune Vidyappeth Marathi Department and Don Bosco, Nashik. The theme of the seminar was: “Kristapurana: A Review (Punaravalokan)”. The University Hall was filled to capacity which showed the great response from many intellectuals who gathered at Pune University from far and near, from other Universities as well as from the Colleges around.
There were eminent speakers both from the Christian as well as from Pune University side. There were others from the field of Marathi literature itself. From the Christian side the speakers and their themes of the talks were as follows: Bishop Thomas Dabre (Bishop of Pune - “Inauguration Talk”); Fr. Dr. Nelson Falcao, sdb (Main Talk of the Seminar on “Method and Principles of Inculturation and Inter-religious Dialogue in the Kristapurana”); Rev. Fr. Francis de Britto (“Bible and the Kristapurana”); Msgr. Francis Correia (“Shakespeare of the Konkan Land”); Rev. Fr. Caridade Drago, s.j. (“Indianisation in the Kristapurana); Dr. Cecilia Carvalho (“Language and Society in the Kristapurana”); Dr. Anupama Ujagare “(Kristapurana and Kristayan”). The speakers from Pune University and others were: Prof. Dr. Kalyan Kale (Ex-HOD Marathi Dept. Pune University - “Various Editions of the Kristapurana”); Prof. Dr. Sadananda More (Prof. Philosophy Department, “Kristapurana: From Hindu Point-of-view”); Prof. Dr. Dilip Dhondge (Prof. at Satana University – “Linguistic Style in the Kristapurana”).
Prof. Dr. R.G. Jadhav, Marathi Literary critic and Ex-President of Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, affirmed that the Kristapurana has been a proper response to Indian tradition and culture. He said that the Kristapurana cuts across all cultures, traditions and religions. Prof. Dr. Naganatha Kottapalle (Vice-Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathawada Vidyapeeth, Aurangabad) stated that the Kristapurana has been an invitation to openness, broad-mindedness and inter-religious dialogue. Prof. Dr. Sadananda More spoke of the Kristapurana as a Great Christian Biblical Epic which was expressed and interpreted in Hindu-Vaishnavaite tradition from the Christian Greco-Hebrew-Latin-Scholastic categories. The significant words of late Dr. S.G. Tulpule were quoted more than once: “Without sliding out even a little bit from the basic truth in the Bible, putting an Eastern garb agreeable to he Hindu mind, and that also in poetic form, on to the life of Christ, was truly a difficult task. But Stephens has done it. He has kept to the language (bhasha), conduct (vritta), ideas (kalpana), imagination of poets (kavisanketa) and all other poetic forms (kavyange) in pure Marathi. The Deity inside is that of Jesus Christ, the temple is Hindu (‘Murti Khristaci, Mandira Hinduce’), such is the arrangement of this Purana.”
The whole two-day Seminar ended on a heavenly note of Mukti-Moksha (salvation/liberation) reaching Vaikuntha (heaven). The various talks and discussion created an atmosphere of Sarva-Dharma-Samabhava (equality of all) and awakened the feeling of the personal responsibility and duty to respond faithfully and generously to Sva-Dharma (one’s own Religion) among all the participants.
Fr Robert Pen sdb