FR JEGATH GASPAR RAJ-IN PRAISE OF SHIVA – PRIEST INVESTS RS 15 MILLION, FLOATS COMPANY WORTH RS 100 CRORES

NEW WEBSITE:
www.ephesians-511.net
AUGUST 2006

IN PRAISE OF SHIVA – CATHOLIC PRIESTS INVEST Rs. 15 MILLION IN A MUSIC AUDIO,

FLOAT LIMITED COMPANY WORTH RS. 100 CRORES

 
 

“THIRUVASAGAM IN SYMPHONY”

 
 

This exposé concerns the production of a music audio in praise of the Hindu god Shiva by some Catholic priests, with the blessings of a Bishop, and the [mis]use of Catholic [Madras-Mylapore Archdiocesan and Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Commission] organizations, facilities and resources, and their man-power, for the purpose.

 
 

SUMMARY:

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, a Catholic priest, founder of Tamil Maiyam, an organisation with the stated aim of the promotion of Tamil arts, literature and culture, joins hands with Tamil maestro Ilaiyaraaja to produce a music audio of Thiruvasagam, a set of verses written by Manickavasagar, a 13th century devotee of Shiva in praise of the Hindu god.

The priest, with the blessings of Most Rev. Antony Devotta, Bishop of Tiruchirappalli, and the support of other Catholic priests, Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, Fr. Lourdu Anandam, Fr. M.A. Joe Antony S.J. [Editor of the New Leader], Fr. Joe Arun S.J. [Director of the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Loyola College campus, Chennai], and the full knowledge of Archbishop Most Rev. Malayappan Chinnappa SDB and Auxiliary Bishop Most Rev. Lawrence Pius Dorairaj of Madras-Mylapore, uses the studios, offices, communications systems, infrastructure, personnel, time [over 3 years] and money of the Church in the pursuit of his goal, with a projected budget of Rs. 1.5 crore [Rs. 15 million] towards which he has made borrowings of at least Rs. 1 crore [Rs. 10 million], much of it at an interest rate of 20%.

Fr. Jegath was an acknowledged supporter of Tamil Eelam, the separatist movement in Sri Lanka of the Tamil Tigers of the LTTE. Those connections, and his stint with Radio Veritas, Manila, gave him a popularity base which helped in his overseas visits for raising funds for Tamil Maiyam’s Thiruvasagam venture. The project has also made him popular within the Tamil Shaivaite community, particularly Brahmins, as is evidenced in the postings on the Ilaiyaraaja Fans Yahoogroups, where many Ilaiyaraaja fans and Thiruvasagam devotees come out on the side of the Catholic priest when the project runs into staggering financial losses, reported in the press at over Rs. 60 lakhs [Rs. 6 million] for the priest and his Tamil Maiyam, and disputes arise between the priest and the maestro.

Says Fr. Jegath, “At Tamil Maiyam, we went on a borrowing spree to fund the project. Our borrowings now stand at about Rs. 75,00,000, some of it at over 20 per cent interest rates.” On June 30, 2005, at the release function of the Thiruvasagam audio, he states that his debts are Rs. 1 crore.
On 25 Sep. 2005, a source close to Fr. Jegath quotes the priest as stating that his losses are Rs. 1 crore (10 million).

Some members of the fan club cry foul, support Ilaiyaraaja, but others claim that Tamil Maiyam adopted an uninformed marketing strategy despite the high profile free-ride given by the print media towards awareness, accuse Tamil Maiyam and the priest of incompetence and skimming off the money, and demand that accounts be made public. Fr. Jegath elects to “forgive” Ilaiyaraaja, and, despite the bombing of his initial foray into music, he embarks on a new musical project called “Mozart Meets India”, and floats a limited company called Goodwill Communications Ltd. with a share capital of Rs 100 crores [Rs. 1000 million] through a Church organization under the chairmanship of Bishop Most Rev. Antony Devotta of Trichy, with Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai and Fr. Lourdu Anandam, and with himself as Managing Director.

This gives rise to more speculation, and many questions, including how he has cleared [if it all he has] the massive debts that Thiruvasagam incurred, who paid most of the bills in its production from Catholic institutions, whether there has been proper acknowledgement and auditing of the donations, whether it is ethical or permissible for a Catholic priest to float a limited company ostensibly for doing business, etc. etc.

 
 

Fr. Jegath has also used the students, not a few of them Catholics, of the Loyola College, Stella Maris College, and some convent schools for campaigning and for dance and drama performances, including the Thiruvasagam release function, where obeisance was paid to Shiva. “The involvement of the Catholic Church in the project was a great service to India” says Mr. N. Ram, the editor-in-chief of The Hindu.

Fr. Jegath “assured that most of the churches and catholic organizations were in support of him in this project and he mentioned that his bishop had really appreciated him for doing this project, as inter-religious dialogue was one of the duties of a catholic priest for maintaining religious harmony”.

Fr. Jegath participates in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation programs along with the godman, and also promotes yoga through Tamil Maiyam. Catholic sound studios are used for inter-religious purposes such as the projection of spiritual music dedicated to the ‘Divine’ Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

Tamil Maiyam and Fr. Jegath insist that they are committed to the promotion of ARTS and CULTURE, but the priest himself, and all media reports stress the fact that Thiruvasagam is a SPIRITUAL endeavour.

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, who is “bothered” by “the revival of evangelism”, speaks of his “karma”,
himself accepts “Manickavasagar helped me to find my own God in Thiruvasagam”; “I salute the one that is called Siva in the south, but known as God throughout the world.” He is proud that, even though he is a Catholic priest, temples of the deities Shiva and Murugan belong to him.

The primary questions addressed to the Bishops are, therefore, if this is the calling of Catholic priests, if this is what priests and Church facilities are now expected to be dedicated to [in the name of “inter-religious harmony and dialogue” and “collaboration”], that they openly and with impunity propagate devotion to “other gods” [see First Commandment] instead of preaching the Gospel and witnessing to Jesus Christ. He teaches that ‘love is God’, which is not Scriptural.

Both Ilaiyaraaja and Fr. Jegath initially pledge that “the proceeds from the sale” will go to Trusts for traditional arts and culture and for setting up an international college of Indian music and” taking up similar projects such as composing of Devaram and Tirukkural in symphony by Tamil Maiyam”. None of this has materialised.

With the failure of the Thiruvasagam venture, Fr. Jegath turned against Ilaiyaraaja, stating that “The agreement [between us] was signed under duress as Ilaiyaraaja had total control and possession of the tracks.”

After the release of the Thiruvasagam audio, leading music experts like Dr. Vee find major flaws and even deception in the making of Thiruvasagam. Ilaiyaraaja denies that he composed Thiruvasagam as a “symphony”, and that he only used the “oratorio” form. Fr. Jegath called the Thiruvasagam rendition a “symphony”, then a “symphonic oratorio”, whereas it is neither. “Symphony” and “oratorio” are themselves two different western music forms. So, Fr. Jegath is also guilty of misleading music aficionados everywhere. They go to the media with their scientific criticisms.

This exposé provides documented information against all the above statements, and seeks to move the concerned Tamil Nadu Bishops, and the concerned Commissions of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India to investigate the matter more thoroughly, with a request that they take cognizance of the situation which has caused serious concern to the Catholic faithful, put an end to both, the anti-Catholic as well as the business activities of these priests, and make a public statement on the whole issue.

Meanwhile, this writer and others have held press conferences and given press interviews, the publication of which has elicited threats of legal action from the priest against his “detractors”.

In Sri Lanka, the Catholic Bishop of Anuradhapura, Rt. Rev. Oswald Gomis and the Bishop of Badulla, Rt. Rev. Winston Fernando had strongly objected to certain media activities of Fr. Jegath some years ago, but the priest had declined to obey their summons to come before them. We, Catholics who firmly denounce his current activities, repose our confidence in our Bishops to succeed where the Sri Lankan Bishops failed.

This writer and this Catholic ministry are not against Thiruvasagam as a Shaivaite devotion, or against Hindus, but seek to expose those leaders within the Catholic tradition like Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj who abjure their faith and calling by such activities as above which are detrimental to the Catholic Church of which we are members.

 
 

It will be helpful to first familiarise ourselves with the key players and places whose names are spelt differently in different sub-reports, as far as possible arrange chronologically, as given below.

The spelling used by this writer in his comments will be the first one in each series, identified below in
bold
font.

Thiruvasagam
Tiruvachagam, Thiruvachagam, Thiruvasakam, a collection of
Tamil devotional songs written in praise of the Hindu deity

Shiva, Siva- one of the Hindu triad of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva [‘creator’- ‘preserver’- ‘destroyer’].

G.U. Pope
Rev. George Uglow Pope, a Protestant missionary to India, translated the work into English in the early 19th Century. It was printed in Oxford with Tamil letters cast especially for this purpose.

The translation is available at
http://www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thivapop.htm
[see selected extracts further below].

Thiru mean ‘holy’ or ‘revered’; Thiru vasagam can be read as ‘holy readings’ or ‘sacred readings’.

Manickavasagar
Manikkavachagar, Manikavasagar, author of the ‘bhakti’ literature Thiruvasagam, revered as a Saivaite [Saivite= ‘of Shiva] ‘saint’, 13th century.

Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaya Raja,
Ilayaraja, Illayaraaja, Ilayarajah, Ilaiyaraja, Illaiyaraaja, music maestro, a Tamil Hindu Saivaite by faith and practice, and an ardent devotee of the Sivalinga temple at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.

Ilaiyaraaja is the stage name for Ramasamy Rasaiah, who scored music for 4,000 film songs in a career spanning three decades that also included albums, singles and a symphony score for the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

 
 

Jegath Gaspar Raj
Jegath Kaspar Raj, Jegat Gaspar Raj, Jagath Gaspar, Jagath Gaspar Raj, Jegath Casper, J. Gaspar Raj,
a Catholic priest of the diocese of Kottar, Tamil Nadu, founder and chairperson of Tamil Maiyam, who

conceived and directed the Thiruvasagam in Symphony [TIS] project. He has three Masters Degrees in theology, political science and mass communications.
He was earlier director of the Tamil service of Radio Veritas, Manila, The Philippines, probably from 1997/8-2002. In the MAKING OF THIRUVASAGAM- EAST MEETS WEST brochure, he claims that Radio Veritas Asia-Manila, of which he was the director- Tamil service, was the “station that engineered the end of the dictatorship” of Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.

He is the Programme Director of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Commission [TNBC]’s Santhome Communications Centre, Mylapore, Chennai.

The priest has floated a public limited company under the name of Goodwill Communications Limited*
from the address of the St. Thomas Building [which belongs to TNBC], and of which he is the Managing Director.

One brochure gives the address as the Nam Vazhvu building which belongs to the Madras Archdiocese.
*More later.

SOME OF FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ’S ACTIVITIES

1.
Newspaper clipping [name of publication and date not available]:

The Art of Living presents Music and Spirituality…

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar*
will speak on Music and Spirituality.

There will be a special address by Rev. Fr. J. Gaspar Raj (Coordinator ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’).

Venue: Music Academy, Chennai. Date: December 18, 2004. Time 5:45 pm.

*It is just 3 months later [see further below] that Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj shares main stage at the Music Academy with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. They seem on very familiar terms. Inter-religious dialogue?

2.
The Sri Kanaga Durga Temple Hindu Youth Council is in the process of organising a Tamil Hindu conference in London. The Chief Guest at this conference would be Rev. Fr. Jegath Casper.

The other invitees include Dr. Jeyakularajah of the LTTE‘s White Dove Organisation and Reggie of the LTTE’s Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation. The organisers of this Conference have by their action exposed their close connections to the LTTE*. http://www.epdpnews.com/news-Englishl-Archi11.html
31 May, 2003.

*Is there a link between Fr.Jegath and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE]? More, further below.

3. Tamil Maiyam is also involved in the promotion of therapies like ayurveda, and Hindu meditations like
yoga.

[See my researched articles on Ayurveda and Yoga]

Vincent Chinnadurai
a diocesan priest. He is the President of Tamil Maiyam and a Director of TNBC’s Santhome Communications Centre in Chennai.

Tamil Maiyam
an organisation founded in July 2002 by Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj. He is Managing Director.

It is located in the St. Thomas Building, Santhome Communications Centre in Mylapore, Chennai 600 004.

Tamil Maiyam is a 80-G tax- exempted charitable organization.

Both Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj and Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai operate from and reside at Tamil Maiyam, but for the Registered Office an alternative address is given, at St. Thomas Mount, Chennai 600 016, for Tamil Maiyam.

From a Tamil Maiyam pamphlet, “East Meets West – Making of Thiruvasagam”:

Its goal: “to promote Arts, Literature and Culture1 with special thrust on Research, Creative productions and Publications as well as to bring the fruits of modern science to the poor rural population and to create a platform for Tamils living in various parts of the world to interact, relate, learn and work together for the betterment of society and culture.”

1Against the oft-repeated claims [and the stated goal] of Tamil Maiyam to promote CULTURE, Catholics are asked to decide for themselves whether the Thiruvasagam project fulfils that end, or promotes SAIVAITE HINDU SPIRITUALITY.

“What we have done so far:

Tirelessly worked for three years to raise funds, organize the logistics to complete the historic Thiruvasagam- a Symphonic Oratorio project by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja…”

Lourdu AnandamMadurai’ Anandam, a diocesan priest. He is the Secretary of Tamil Maiyam. He was Secretary to the Archbishops of Madurai, Editor of Katholicu Sevai and Visiting Professor to St. Paul’s Seminary, Trichy.

Dr. Fr. Lourdu Anandam, wrote The Western Lover of the East, A Theological Enquiry into Bede Griffiths’ Contribution to Christology, 1998. The referred person is no other than Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB., founder of ashrams, and guru-acharya of Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam [see my document on CATHOLIC ASHRAMS], whom Dr. Anandam interviewed in 1991. In the book, Fr. Anandam displays a high level of awareness of the philosophies and personalities of the New Age Movement, and, in his doctoral dissertation, was perhaps the first Indian priest to examine the New Age in the context of the Indian Church and the Catholic Ashrams Movement.

M. A. Joe Antony S.J.
Jesuit priest,
Editor of the New Leader, a Catholic fortnightly from Chennai, and of Jivan, a magazine for the views of South Asian Jesuits. [See my reports on New Age and other errors in The New Leader]

Thiruvasagam in Symphony [TIS]
a music audio in praise of Shiva, a joint venture of Ilaiyaraaja and Tamil Maiyam; it uses the verses of Manickavasagar’s Thiruvasagam set to music. Note that it is always referred to as a “symphony”. Westerners and Indians come together to provide the lyrics, the vocals, and the music accompaniment.

NOTE: The controversy regarding the choice of the word ‘symphony’ to describe the production is discussed later. Leading music experts Dr. Vee and Mr. R. Venketesan expose the false claims and errors of both Ilaiyaraaja and Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj.

The jacket of the audio cassette
says “Thiruvasagam, A Classical Cross-over, composed and orchestrated by Ilaiyaraaja”.

Joe Arun a Jesuit priest. Director of the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, IDCR, Chennai. “The centre organizes a host of activities for promoting better understanding among the religions” The New Leader Oct. 1-15, 2005

The latest priest to join the bandwagon, he is project co-ordinator, with Jegath Gaspar Raj, of ‘Mozart Meets India’.

Antony Devotta
Bishop of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu.

Santhome Communications Centre
Chennai, in the St. Thomas Building, is under the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council [TNBC]’s Office for Social Communications of which the Trichy Bishop Antony Devotta is the Chairman.

The Deivathaai [Divine Mother] album released in January 2006 by Gangai Amaran, younger brother of Ilaiyaraaja, is in honour of the Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry [of whom Ilaiyaraaja is also a self-confessed devotee].

The songs of Deivathaai were projected for the media at the Santhome Communications Centre on January 9, 2006.
Three devotional numbers Ippirappil Amma, Yaar Yaro and
Om Namo Bhagavathi
were aired for the media.
Purushothaman from Aurobindo Ashram, Ganesh Swamigal from Vadagiri Ashram and Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai from Tamil Maiyam / Santhome Communications Centre spoke to the gathering at the function.

Tiruvannamalai
Thiruvannamalai, “a triangular mountain which according to myth is the tejolinga (fire lingam of Siva)where Ramana Maharshi- one of the chief inspirers of some of the founder-leaders of the Catholic Ashram Movement – lived / “one of Hinduism holiest sites as it has one of the
Panchalingas of the deity Shiva.”

Thirusulam
trishul, a three-pronged fork commonly associated with the deities Shiva and Murugan.

 
 

SOME NEWS DESPATCHES ON THE RELEASE OF THE THIRUVASAGAM AUDIO:

A SYMPHONY OF THIRUVACHAGAM

THE HINDU
http://www.tamilmm.com/news_jun1_2004_hindu.html www.tamilmm.com
June 01, 2004

THIRUVACHAGAM, The Tamil devotional literature noted for its poetic beauty, is waiting to be played in the famed music halls of the world, thanks to the symphony being composed by music director Illayaraaja.

The dream project of the music director, initiated a year ago, with an aim to enlightening the world about the cultural and spiritual ethos of south India is supported by Tamil Maiyam, which is dedicated to anthropological research and promoting arts and culture.

Gaspar Raj, founder-chairman of Tamil Maiyam and coordinator of the project, said “This is the first attempt to mediate the spirit of Indian music into Western standard classical notation format.”

Mr*. Raj, who is basically a Catholic priest,
was drawn towards the rich nuances of Thiruvachagam and the underlying concept that God is universal. When the project was offered to him, he readily accepted to help it see the light of day. “We envision this to be a masterpiece as Thiruvachagam is not just a spiritual delight2 but also a civilisational paradigm.” This is a two-hour symphonic singing with 100 chorus singers joining in for the performance in English and Tamil. Stephen Schwartz, New York-based lyricist and composer will write the lyrics in English. Mr. Illayaraaja has completed 60 per cent of the composing excerpts from Thiruvachagam and the project is scheduled to be completed in August. However, the Rs. 1.50 crore project is being delayed, due to lack of funds, Mr.* Raj said.

The proceeds from the sale will go to the Illayaraaja Trust for Traditional Arts and Culture for setting up an International College of Indian Music and taking up similar projects such as composing of Devaram and Tirukkural in symphony by Tamil Maiyam. 3 *India’s national newspaper identifies the priest as a ‘Mr.’

2Fr. Jegath himself admits that the Thiruvasagam is a SPIRITUAL
masterpiece. So does everyone else.

Recall also the meaning of ‘Thiru vasagam’. For many more confirmations, see below.

3Nothing of these promises has materialised even more than a year after the release of the music audio.

 
 

A PRIEST WITH PENCHANT FOR TIRUVASAGAM

THE HINDU March 13, 2005. EXTRACT:

At an evening of music and
spirituality
2
in the Music Academy auditorium,
a Reverend Father clad in white robes removes his shoes and walks onto the stage, past Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the Art of Living guru.

He mellifluously begins chanting verses from the Tiruvasagam composed by Saivaite saint Manickavasagar.

As the audience respond with resounding applause, Sri Sri holds the Reverend Father in warm embrace.

Meet Jegath Gaspar Raj.

Reverend Father Jegath Gaspar Raj tells Swahilya how a Catholic priest got enchanted with Tiruvasagam.

Fr. Raj’s father converted to Christianity only to marry his mother. “He died when I was seven. Had he been alive now, he wouldn’t have allowed me to become a priest,” says Fr. Raj.

He attributes the exposure to Hindu and Christian faiths to his ‘Karma’.

Born in Kanjanpuram in Kanyakumari… he was initially drawn to Marxism. The potpourri of religions gave him a universal outlook when he came to the seminary. With most of his father’s side of the family being Hindus, his passion for Tamil literature drew him to Tiruvasagam.

“I can’t stop wondering at its beauty,”
says the founder-director of Tamil Maiyam, dedicated to socio-anthropological research making no efforts to conceal his excitement when he speaks about Tiruvasagam.

He is the co-ordinator of Tiruvasagam in Symphony, a historic project undertaken by music maestro Illaiyaraaja.

“Religious wars and
the revival of evangelism did bother me,” says the priest.

“The personality of Jesus attracted me to become a priest. He brought God close to humans just like
Manickavasagar who speaks of a Lord Shiva who can feel, empathise, and get beaten up for you.

Manickavasagar helped me to find my own God in Tiruvasagam*.

The way he portrays God as light, love, breeze, and through many symbols makes the listener melt, and “just reading Tiruvasagam, whether one believes in it or not, can make an individual a better human being. … “I don’t understand why [Tiruvasagam] should be deemed Saivaite or Vaishnavite literature…
I can see my Jesus there*.”

He believes that spirituality will stabilise India for it to become a superpower. “India should spend its money and energy in this direction,” he says. *The priest equates Shiva with Jesus and finds Jesus in the Thiruvasagam!!!

 
 

FANS OF MAESTRO ILAYARAAJA, UNITE!

http://www.tamilmm.com/news_fansofmastero.html
www.tamilmm.com

…Cultural renaissance need an enlightened civil society that would nurture good and enhancing music, arts and literature. Though the present scenario is not that encouraging, instead of blaming others we wanted to quietly make a beginning. That is what has today come to be known as Thiruvasakam in Symphony by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja. It took 25 months of painful journey to complete this project. But we endured and persevered to define it as a model that may inspire others to take up similar projects in the future. We also believed that Mr. Ilaiyaraaja is a rare genius and he is capable of creating world class masterpieces and wanted to globally present him through this Thiruvasakam. One best way in my view to revive good music is to create a network of music lovers under the banner Friends for Good Music who would proactively support good music. However they will retain the freedom to decide what is good music. If this is achieved South Indian music can be liberated from the limitations of film industry and genius like Ilaiyaraaja will be firmly put on the pedestals in par with the Grand Masters like Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc. You are welcome to join this family: Friends for Good Music (FGM) Our first meeting will take place at Loyola College Campus
[a Jesuit institution] on March 20, 2005 Sunday at 4pm. We shall discuss on how we can work together…

Three entities are playing the key role in taking forward this initiative:
Tamil Maiyam,
under my guidance, ‘Ilaiyaraaja’ Yahoo Group
with the coordination of
Dr. J Vijay Venkatraman
and ‘TiS-USA’ under the direction
of
Dr. Sankar Kumar.

 
 

FRIENDS FOR GOOD MUSIC

http://www.tamilmm.com/minutes-ffgm1.htm
www.tamilmm.com
March 20, 2005

Good music in India has a tough time today due to the imprisonment of music under the locks of cinema, audio piracy and lack of initiative from the side of the audience to support good music, says
Rev Fr. Jegath Gaspar. What can change it?? Read on.. ‘Friends for Good Music’ is one such initiative by
Tamil Maiyam
to encourage good mainstream music, completely free from the clutches of cinema, that would bring in an era where composers of good music need not have any difficulty in crafting and marketing their creation.

The First Meeting of the group was held at JD Hall in
Loyola College, [a Jesuit institution] Chennai between 4 pm and 7 pm on Sunday, March 20 2005. Tamil Maiyam and
‘Ilaiyaraaja’ Yahoo Group
organized the meeting.

Though we are well informed about the literature from various nations, foreign countries do not know our literary and spiritual treasures, main reason being our lack of attempt to present them to the western world in a form that they could understand.
Rev Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj felt confident that ‘Thiruvasakam by Ilaiyaraaja would definitely fill the gap and make way for future projects like ‘Thirukkural’, ‘Thiruppaavai’
and even non-devotional literature which would not be featured in cine music.

Rev Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj narrated the efforts behind ‘Thiruvasakam by Ilaiyaraaja’ – the idea, evolution and its growth to completion now. He mentioned that they did not want to have the commercial success of the album alone in mind.
Thiruvasakam, he said, was a test that would take one so easily near God and was one of the best devotional literatures he had ever read.
Therefore, the motive of the project was to remind the youth of the availability of such literary treasures in our country and Ilaiyaraaja was quite strong in that idea.

Members of the group discussed various ideas for marketing ‘Thiruvasakam by Ilaiyaraaja’ and promotional activities that can be carried out to make it a grand success. Meeting was concluded with the following decisions…

Henceforth
‘Friends For Good Music’
will meet once in two months at
Santhome Communications Centre, 150, Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004, preferably on a Sunday. It will be a two-hour meet and while the first hour would be full of discussion, the second would be full of musical performances.

THIRUVASAGAM BY ILAIYARAAJA TO BE RELEASED ON APRIL 14, 2005

http://www.tamilmm.com/news_thiruvasagam.html
www.tamilmm.com

“When you hear the Thiruvasagam, I have no bit of a doubt that you will be transported to a place you have not heard so far,” says music maestro Ilayaraaja. In a voice charged with devotion, he was talking to media persons here today on a music project, “a task which God has given me,” — the Thiruvasagam in Symphony.

While doing “girivalam” (circumambulating the hill) in
Tiruvannamalai, his heart melted when a friend chanted the 51 verses of Thiruvasagam, the maestro said narrating a project that was conceived four years ago.

“What I am saying is no mythological story, but history,” he said giving an account of the story of a Minister in the Pandya Kingdom who had the rare opportunity of having a vision of Lord Siva, who blessed him by placing his right leg on his head and giving him the name Manickavasagar, one of the top quartet of the Saivite saints of Tamil Nadu. “That was his spiritual realisation that led to the composition of the Thiruvasagam,” Ilayaraaja said…

 
 

The whole composition “happened in 12 days,” corresponding with the last 12 days of Manickavasagar’s life.

Father Vincent Chinnadurai of Tamil Maiyam — which has produced the album to be released on April 14 — said the product, which was called `Thiruvasagam in Symphony,’ would now be called, `Thiruvasagam by Ilayaraaja.’

…Father Jegath Gaspar of Tamil Maiyam said that as Catholic priests, they have taken up this project to highlight Thiruvasagam which says that god is one — “I salute the one that is called Siva in the south, but known as God throughout the world.”

 
 

IN NORTH CHENNAI, A DYNAMO OF CULTURAL ACTIVITY

THE HINDU
http://www.tamilmm.com/ffgm2.htm
www.tamilmm.com
April 17, 2005

CHENNAI: Among the cluttered houses along Somu Chetty IV Lane at Royapuram in North Chennai, the white building housing an auditorium, a library and the Ramanujam Museum stands out… Recently the auditorium was packed to listen to
Father Jegath Gaspar Raj
speak on his pet project, Thiruvasagam in Symphony by Illaiyaraja, to the members of the
‘Illaiyaraaja’ Yahoo Group,
Friends for Good Music
and Pioneer Music School.

A question by one of the participants, Jayashree, on why there were no facilities for the people of North Chennai to listen to good music, sparked a debate on how cultural activities could be promoted in the region…

Summer camps are being held on yoga, meditation,
music, handicrafts, cookery, shadow puppetry, first aid, traffic rules, traditional games, hospitality and communication skills.

 
 

ILAYARAJA IS ON A MISSION TO POPULARISE TIRUVACHAGAM

http://www.the-week.com/25apr24/cinema_article2.htm
by V.R. Devika April 25, 2005

Tiruvachagam is the collection of songs composed by Saivite saint Manikkavachagar.

“The hymns are like fruits dipped in honey. People who do not melt on hearing the poem will not be able to enjoy any other song,” says Ilayaraja. While walking the hills at
Tiruvannamalai, he was overwhelmed when a friend chanted the 51 verses of Tiruvachagam and he thought it was time he brought it to the attention of an international audience.

Meanwhile, a group of Catholic priests of
Tamil Maiyam, an all-religion group dedicated to propagating Tamil literature and poetry, heard about Ilayaraja’s inspiration and raised a Rs 35 lakh loan to support the venture.
“We really had to toil to raise the funds,” said Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, leader of the team.

“This activism is driven by a genuine desire to promote inter-religious harmony and dialogue and to showcase Tamil culture1 to the world.”

Tiruvachagam is the greatest of south Indian Bhakti literature. For more than 500 years it has enthralled Tamil Saivites and brings tears to anyone who hears it. Lord Siva here is ekan and anekan (one and several).

According to Fr Jegath, this appeals to followers of Semitic religions. Especially the aspect of God coming down and being with men and bearing their sufferings.

The legend of Manikkavachagar, the composer of Tiruvachagam, centres on Vadhavoora, a village near Madurai, on the banks of the river Vaigai. He was the minister of a Pandiya king. The king gave him money to buy horses for the cavalry, but he used it to renovate a dilapidated temple at Thirupperunthurai, only to be tortured by the irate ruler.

It is believed that Lord Siva sent floods to punish the king and later came down as a labourer to help build an embankment to hold back the flood. Siva got a lashing for that and the effect of it was felt in the universe.

To commemorate this legend, Avani festival is celebrated every year in the month of Avani (end of August) in Madurai.

The challenge for Fr Jegath and his team is to market the album and repay the loan. “In this age of MP3 and Internet downloads we hope people will buy the original CDs and help the project,” he said.

“Mr. Stephen Schwartz, America’s most celebrated opera play writer, has written the English lyrics for our album” says Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj. “The 140-member Budapest Symphony Orchestra was chosen as it is one of the best orchestras in the world. American playwright Stephen Schwartz has written the lyrics for the English rendering. Ilayaraja himself has sung the major part along with more than 200 vocalists and instrumentalists from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Budapest and New York. Five-time Grammy award-winning sound engineer of Sony Music in New York, Richard King, has done the recording. After listening to the early recordings, Schwartz is said to have exclaimed, “A classical crossover, a stunning encounter with new reality of music.”

Ilayaraja plans to present the album to President Abdul Kalam at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on April 14 and release it in May. Ilayaraja’s singing is mellow and reminds one of his movie melodies. The oratorio follows the Tamil singing with translation.
The international chorus finishes in a crescendo ‘Om namah Sivaya’.

1Against the oft-repeated claims [and the stated goal] of Tamil Maiyam to promote CULTURE, Catholics are asked to decide for themselves whether the Thiruvasagam project fulfils that end, or promotes SAIVAITE HINDU SPIRITUALITY.

 
 

CULTURE CORE STRENGTH OF OUR LAND: MANMOHAN

THE HINDU
June 22, 2005
Ilayaraja presents Thiruvasagam symphony album to Dr. Singh in New Delhi, Photo EXTRACT: Magnum Opus: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has congratulated music director Ilayaraja for composing Thiruvasagam in symphony. The maestro accompanied among others by the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [MDMK] General Secretary Vaiko, the founder of Tamil Maiyam Jagath Gaspar Raj, and Akila Srinivasan of Shriram Investments, called on Dr. Singh in New Delhi on June 18 and presented his latest musical magnum opus to him.

 
 

ALL SET FOR LAUNCH TOMORROW

THE HINDU
http://www.hindu.com/2005/06/29/stories/2005062907960100.htm
by Ramya Kannan, June 29, 2005

EXTRACT: The fruit of joint labour of the maestro, Tamil Maiyam, musicians from three continents and donors

THE MAESTRO SPEAKS: Ilayaraja addressing a press meet in Chennai on Tuesday. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

CHENNAI: The stage is set for the launch function of Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam in Symphony on June 30 and the guest list includes the country’s top politicians, bureaucrats, mediapersons and film stars.

Thirty months in the making, Thiruvasagam in Symphony is the fruit of the joint labour of maestro Ilayaraja,
Tamil Maiyam, musicians from three continents and donors from all over the world.

The launch comes as the culmination of years of persistence, hard work and
literally, as Fr. Jegath Gaspar of Tamil Maiyam would have it, scrounging for money.

The funds for this project were raised by Tamil Maiyam, amounting to production cost of Rs. 110 lakhs. Of this, Rs. 35 lakhs came in as donations, while Rs. 75 lakhs was borrowed from individuals and banks.

The organisation hopes to make this money with cassette and CD sales alone, with the audiotape priced at Rs. 50 and the CD at Rs. 150. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Jaipal Reddy, has agreed to launch the album in Music Academy on Thursday…

 
 

A CATHOLIC PRIEST’s PASSIONATE PROJECT:TO PROMOTE ILAIYARAAJA’S THIRUVASAGAM

MYLAPORE TIMES [MT] June 25-July 1, 2005
EXTRACT:

Select verses of
Thiruvasagam,
a sacred text2… have been tuned to a western classical music form… “Love for Tamil language and the core of the sacred text2, that is universal oneness of God, brought us together in this project,” Fr. Gasper Raj told MT… “I am a true believer in Jesus. But true to the meaning of the word catholic (which means universal), I go beyond Christianity, and the texts of Thiruvasagam conveys that love is god (Anbe Sivam), and that there are many ways to reach god, which is more relevant today” says this young priest.

 
 

TAMIL MAIYAM HAILS RAJA’S MUSICAL EPIC

http://www.chennaionline.com/music/Events/2005/06thiruvasagam-chennaiwinners.asp
June 29, 2005

The founder and chairperson of Tamil Maiyam, Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, has hailed maestro Ilayaraja’s international music project, ‘Thiruvasagam by Ilayaraja’, as a vital instrument in taking the richness and greatness of Tamil classical works like Manickavasagar’s Thiruvasagam abroad and enabling people across the globe to enjoy the magnificence of Tamil music…Fr Jegath gave a preview of the musical album at the Thiruvasagam contest organised by chennaionline.com, Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam-Tamil Maiyam and MOP Vaishnav College for Women, at the MOP College in Chennai on June 25, 2005. The contest was organised for school and college students. Each student could sing or recite some verses from Manickavasagar’s Thiruvasagam for a maximum period of two minutes…

These winners will receive prizes from Ilayaraja at
a function organised by him and Tamil Maiyam
in Chennai on June 30, 2005. Fr Jegath sang some portions from the [Thiruvasagam] songs
sung by Ilayaraja. Displaying immense musical knowledge and prowess in Tamil, Fr Jegath regaled the audience with his audio preview of the songs…

[The Thiruvasagam contests were held in Kancheepuram, Coimbatore, Thiruvannamalai, Chennai, Nagercoil, Madurai and Tirukazhukundram in June. Among the judges for the contest were Sargunanathan, Oduvar, Kapaleeswarar temple, Mylapore4
according to the chennaionline report].

4
Oduvar: A person specially trained in chanting Saivite devotional texts.

The Kapaleeswarar temple in Chennai is dedicated to the deity Shiva, also known as Kabali in the Thiruvasagam poems.

 
 

PSYCHEDELIC SYMPHONY

NEW INDIAN EXPRESS June 29, 2005
EXTRACT:

“We hope to rope in maximum corporates for the CD sale,” said Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder chairman of Tamil Maiyam.

 
 

MAKING OF THIRUVASAGAM- EAST MEETS WEST
From the brochure,
EXTRACTS:

Ilaiyaraaja:
“If these songs touch your soul and you feel like saying a word of thanks, spare it to Tamil Maiyam and its key anchors, Rev. Frs. Jegath Gasper Raj, Vincent Chinnadurai and Anandam. I may get thousands of similar musical inspirations,. But not many have the conviction and commitment in order to invest time and money into reality. Tamil Maiyam did have that conviction and exemplary commitment.”

Rev. Jegath Gasper Raj:

“My friend Rev. Vincent Chinnadurai had indicated to Mr. Ilaiyaraaja that
I could convince some of the temples
and individuals
in Europe and North America to sponsor this project. Rev. Chinnadurai, Mr. Joe Mallori and myself met Mr. Ilaiyaraaja at the Prasad Studio on a July morning of 2002. We knew it would be a historic contribution to music, culture and
spirituality
2. I submitted myself willingly to the project quoting the Bible
where the Lord says, ‘If your heart believes something as good, you begin and I shall complete it’*. Grace and providence have come only through noble human beings. May God bless me to ever remember these noble souls with gratitude. My Chairman, Bishop Rev. Antony Devotta who allowed me to pursue this project for the last three years. As a true visionary he defined this project as an exemplary inter-religious effort. His Holiness the Atheenam of Dharmapuram gave the first blessing to the project and encouraged to go ahead.”

 
 

The priest also thanks TIS-USA as “our only and most enduring partner”, and “Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, the soul and life of Thiruvasagam- Symphonic oratorio. It is his concept, composition and orchestration”.

The brochure records that TIS funded the project “to a tune of over $100,000” [Rs. 50 lakhs].

The brochure also carries a letter dated June 17, 2005 from President A.P.J. Kalam congratulating the Tamil Maiyam team on the release of the Thiruvasagam symphony.

*Here the priest distorts Scripture which says, “I am confident that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6. It concerns the works of Christ, not of Jegath’s “other gods”.

The MT article [above] quotes the priest as saying that JESUS said those words!!!

 
 

THIRUVASAGAM ORATORIO A TRAILBLAZER: MINISTER www.thiruvasakaminsymphony.com

THE HINDU
http://www.hindu.com/2005/07/01/stories/2005070114131500.htm
July 01, 2005

“Ilayaraja’s bold undertaking has crossed barriers of language, nations and ethnicity”

MAESTRO’S MAGIC:
The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, S. Jaipal Reddy, releases ‘Thiruvasagam’ oratorio composed by maestro Ilayaraja (fourth from right). The others in the photograph are (from left): Peter Alphonse, Congress leader; N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu;
Jegath Gasper Raj, founder of Tamil Maiyam; Vaiko, MDMK general secretary; Balamuralikrishna, veteran Carnatic musician;
Vincent Chinnadurai, Tamil Maiyam president; and film stars Rajnikant and Kamal Hassan. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, S. Jaipal Reddy, on Thursday lauded maestro Ilayaraja’s ‘Thiruvasagam’ oratorio as being part of a “cultural crossover,” which, he said, was the unifying theme of the 21st century. Releasing the audio compact disc of `Thiruvasagam’ at the Music Academy here, Mr. Reddy said the venture represented creation and versatility. After listening to a rendition of the 20-minute oratorio, Mr. Reddy said he believed it to be the first of its kind in the country…

Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna, who received the first copy of the CD, said Ilayaraja’s `Thiruvasagam’ was a bridge between two kinds of music and it had moved him immensely. Congress leader Peter Alphonse said the album, comprising six songs, was an expression ofsecular spirituality2,” which was the need of the hour.

A DVD on the making of the album was also released and actor Kamal Hassan received the first copy from Ilayaraja’s music guru, Dakshinamurthi Swamigal. Mr. Kamal Hassan said the composition was a huge service to Tamil and it transcended the boundaries of religion, caste and geography. Film star Rajnikant recalled his meaningful relationship with the maestro for about 27 years. He lauded Ilayaraja as a musical genius, whose journey was in search of peace.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, said the ‘Thiruvasagam’ oratorio was unique as a “seamless classical crossover.” This bold undertaking had crossed the barriers of language, nations and ethnicity. It was a representation of the pluralistic character of the country. The involvement of the Catholic church in the project was a great service to India.
He appealed to fans not to resort to piracy or copying of CDs of the album.

The general secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Vaiko, who recounted the literary and spiritual significance of Thiruvasagam by Tamil saint-poet Manickavasagar, said he believed that Ilayaraja’s rendition was in character — going beyond religion and caste. “Ilayaraja’s work will last as long as there are sound waves,” he said.

Speaking at the conclusion of the event, Ilayaraja said that writing music for the work was a pleasurable experience. The project was made possible by the grace of God and “if He so destines, then I will be involved in more such works.”

The founder of Tamil Maiyam, which co-ordinated with Ilayaraja in the venture,
Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj,
said the oratorio was taken forward with financial and moral support from a number of individuals and institutions.

 
 

THIRUVASAGAM RELEASE IN INDIA AND USA

http://www.tis-usa.com/blog/2005/11/letter-from-fr-jegath.html
http://www.tis-usa.com/blog/ July 07, 2005

As the world wakes, it shall taste the spirit of our music. Our spiritual2
treasures shall reach the frontiers of earth. It had taken two years of waiting for these words to become a reality!
“Thiruvasagama classical crossover” by Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja
was
released on June 30 in a star-studded event at the Music Academy in Chennai.
The CD was released in the US, at the
“Tamizhar Thiruvizha” Annual Tamil Convention
July 2-4 in Dallas, Texas.

 
 

THIRUVASAGAM IS SIMPLY SCINTILLATING: RASIKAS
www.thiruvasakaminsymphony.com

THE HINDU http://www.thehindu.com/2005/07/09/stories/2005070900670200.htm July 09, 2005

CHENNAI: Thiruvasagam oratorio by Ilayaraja with Budapest Symphony Orchestra- the launch is over now. The storm of mind-blowing music is now sweeping the homes of Ilayaraja fans and other music lovers…

So what are the contents that make Thiruvasagam a roaring success. The almost martial start comes with the chant of “Ahu Ahu Ahu,” with ‘Poovar chenni mannan,’ set to a Vedic hymn2 chanting tune…

 
 

SONG ACROSS CULTURES
www.thiruvasakaminsymphony.com

THE HINDU Dhanya Parthasarathy July 10, 2005

http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/07/10/stories/2005071000410500.htm

Ilayaraja dared to take
the sacred verse
2 (the Thiruvasagam)
on a cross-cultural journey to transform it into a symphony. MAKING OF A BLOCKBUSTER: Ilayaraja at work with his collaborators.

 
 

It is amazing how
a set of verses on Lord Siva
composed by a minister in the Tamil Pandya kingdom has grabbed the attention of South India’s biggest film stars, a Union Minister, a Catholic priest
and a frail old man at Music Academy, Chennai, on June 30. All thanks to the man known as “king”.

Thiruvasagam in Symphony” is Raaja Sir’s (as Ilayaraja is reverentially known) biggest blockbuster. He needed the combined melody of around 300 musicians and singers for the effect…

He dared to touch a
sacred verse
2
and take it on a cross cultural journey. Now that it is finished and ready, he thinks he “needs to change it in about 200 places”. While his film songs drive some admirers nuts, that genre is no big deal for Ilayaraja. “Give me half an hour and I can finish a film.”

But when it came to the Thiruvasagam, the 62-year-old’s heart melted when he connected to Manickavasagar’s
spontaneous religious
2 experience. Ilayaraja recognised the humility of the minister who experienced God.

Thiruvasagam is recognised as the spiritual2 biography of Manickavasagar and is one of the 12 Saivite canons. The verses struck a chord in G.U. Pope, a Christian priest, who translated the work into English in the early 19th Century. It was printed in Oxford with Tamil letters cast especially for this purpose.

…the Thiruvasagam had taken more out of him [Ilaiyaraaja] than all his movies. But it had also given him much more. It had given him a philosophy and
a conviction that this would be his last birth.

An excited Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder of Tamil Maiyam, agreed to anything it would take for Ilayaraja to complete Thiruvasagam in Symphony. “At Tamil Maiyam, we went on a borrowing spree to fund the project. Our borrowings now stand at about Rs. 75,00,000, some of it at over 20 per cent interest rates,” he says. To pay it all back, they need to sell at least 2,00,000 CDs in the first three months.

Several observers point to the secularism inherent in a Christian organisation funding a project on a Hindu religious work.

“In Tamil Nadu, there’s a legacy of cultural involvement of Christians in the Hindu religion, right from the days of G.U. Pope. If we didn’t do the project, it is not Thiruvasagam’s loss, it is ours,” said Fr. Raj.

 
 

THIRUVASAGAM DOES a la POTTER IN U.S.

DECCAN CHRONICLE July 18, 2005

Affluent Indians might seek to flaunt their westernisation by queueing up for the latest release in the Harry Potter series. Their counterparts in the US have demonstrated their love for their roots by lapping up the Thiruvasagam Oratorio composed by the music genius Ilayaraja.

“On the very first day of its release, we were able to sell around 1000 CDs. In the next couple of days 4,000 CDs were sold,” said Father Jagath Gasper Raj, the Catholic priest who organized the funds
for Ilayaraja’s project.

Fr. Raj, who has returned to Chennai after participating in the US Independence Day Week celebrations in Dallas, said Indians cutting across religion were moved by the song ‘Polla Vinayey’ rendered by Ilayaraja. “Even the
non-believers*
were touched by the renderings,” he said…

Asked whether he was confident of recovering the investment in the Thiruvasagam project, Fr. Raj said in five or six months he would be in a position to realise 50 percent of the costs. “The sales may slow down a bit after that, let me see,” said the priest, who was approached by Ilayaraja after he failed to realise the funds for his dream project.

*non-believers in what? Obviously in the Hindu religion or in devotion to Shiva. So, it is again confirmed that this was a SPIRITUAL project, and not a cultural one.

Fr. Jegath’s speech
during the Thiruvasagam CD release at the [July] 2005 FETNA Tamil Convention held in Dallas [Texas, USA]. This is a must listen.
Download and Listen . Mr. Paul Pandian officially released the Thiruvasagam CD in the USA by presenting the first copy to Mr. Nachimuthu Socrates.

 
 

WHY DO WE NEED THIRUVASAGAM WHEN WE HAVE THE PSALMS?

WHY DO WE NEED THE THIRUSULAM WHEN WE HAVE THE CROSS?

The following is the English translation of the Tamil text of a pamphlet asking the above questions, distributed to the Catholic faithful on 16-10-2005 in front of the Church of Our Lady of Vailankanni [Besant Nagar, Chennai] on the eve of “The Year of Eucharist” concluding celebration presided over by Madras-Mylapore Archbishop Rev. Malayappan Chinnappa and Auxiliary Bishop Rev. Lawrence Pius:

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, the director of ‘Tamil Maiyam’ has coordinated with music director Ilayaraja in the production of the ‘Thiruvasagam’ audio cd.

Thiruvasagam is the collection of poems compiled by Manickavasagar
in praise of the Hindu god Shiva. Tamil Maiyam is an organization which is approved by the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Tamilnadu.

When we have the Psalms which exalts and praises our Lord Jesus, why do we need Thiruvasagam? Why are these priests preaching other religions’ issues when they are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Are the Catholic bishops aware of the production of this audio cd – Thiruvasagam? or do they support this?

Catholics are asking these questions.

We were able to witness
Shiva dancing with the ‘thirusulam’
for the Thiruvasagam song in a programme
organised by the Santhome Communications Center.

When Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj spoke to the audience during this programme he said that he would be supporting people in the production of many more Hindu texts into audio cds in the coming days. He also stated that he has no fear of Catholics taking this issue to the Vatican. The above statement made by Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj proves that he is working against the Catholic Church.

Should we accept Nama Shivaya instead of the Our Father? Should we accept the ‘thirusulam’ instead of the Cross?

Should Thiruvasagam replace the Psalms in our Church?

This priest is breaking the 1st Commandment by praising the Hindu god Shiva.
We strongly condemn:

The Santhome Communications Center leader Most Rev. Antony Devotta, Bishop of Trichy;

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, director of Tamil Maiyam
who coordinated the production of the audio cd Thiruvasagam by funding Rs. 1.5 crores (Rs. 15 million);

who said, as reported in The Hindu newspaper dated 13.03.2005, “I witness Jesus in Shiva”;

Fr. Vincent Chinnathurai and Fr. Madurai Anandam who supported Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj in the venture;

Fr. M. A. Joe Antony, Editor of the New Leader magazine, who wrote articles in praise of the above mentioned priests.

We request these priests to keep away from the Catholic Church.

We will fight till these priests are expelled from the Church. Let us unite to expel from the Catholic Church these priests who are trying to betray us and convert us into Hindus in the name of Indianisation.

THE FEDERATION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL, [Regn. No. 27/2006]

21 Godown Street, Chennai 600 001.Tel: 2528 1556, 2538 6454]

Do expect our new book in Tamil, “The present Tamil Catholic Church,” to be published shortly.

 
 

” ‘HAIL SHIVA’ BY CATHOLIC PRIESTSA VCD

This VCD was produced in July 2006 by ‘The Federation of The Catholic Faithful’, Chennai.

The Federation has couriered copies of the VCD to the individual Bishops of Tamil Nadu, and later spoken over the telephone to the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council [TNBC] Chairman, Archbishop of Madurai, Most Rev. Peter Fernando; the TNBC Secretary, Most Rev. Sebastianappan Singaroyan, Bishop of Salem; Most Rev. Leon Dharmaraj, Bishop of Kottar [to whose diocese Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj belongs]; Most Rev. Yvon Ambrose, Bishop of Tuticorin; and the Bishop of Trichy, Most Rev. Antony Devotta who is the Chairman for TNBC’s Office for Social Communications which includes the Santhome Communications Centre and Tamil Maiyam in Chennai.

This VCD is edited from the video recording of two programmes concerning the promotion and release of the Thiruvasagam audio. The contents of the VCD:

PART I: Date: Not available Venue: Not available

[Probably the preview of the Thiruvasagam release at the MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai, June 25, 2005.]

Stage backdrop: “Thiruvasakam in Symphony” can be seen on the screen.

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj:
I would like to share with you why I chose Thiruvasagam to be composed in symphony.

I am a Catholic priest. But, [Ennudaya appa Saivam] my father is a Saivaite [a devotee of Shiva].

A temple dedicated to Murugan, and a temple of Sivaperuman [Shiva], still belong to my family.

As there is no income from these temples, they now stand in my name even though I am a Catholic priest.

Hence, I grew up in an environment of the equality of the Hindu religion and Christianity.

I have a fondness for
music, not only for Thiruvasagam but also Thiruvampavai and Devaram, and
all the texts of the Hindu religion.

Why I chose Thiruvasagam is that
it is unique in proclaiming that there is only one god
[Shiva].

Manickavasagar had sung,
“I salute the one that is called Shiva in the south [Thennattudaya Sivane Pottri], but known as god throughout the world [Ennatavarukkum Iraiva Pottri].”

When we proclaim “Hail NAMASIVAYAM”, “Hail, NATHAN”, what more than this is required?

Over and above this, is there any necessity of any other scripture and religion? [Ithukku mel enna vedam… enna madam vendiyirukkirathu?] We must reflect on this.

Manickavasagar reveals another god who is known to you, and who attracts my heart.

[Here, he quotes an incident from Thiruvasagam where Siva feels compassion for and suffers on behalf of a poor, old woman.] Your god Shiva is shown by Manickavasagar as benevolent, and so my heart melts. Let me tell you something.

From my heart I tell you that I could make comparison with so many devotional songs of Siva by Manickavasagar…

I conclude my address by saying this.

Between God and man, there is no devotional literature that I have come across, there is no religious literature so beautiful, so inspirational, like Thiruvasagam.

Again I am stressing this with great emotion. Between God and man, there is no spiritual literature…

I am saying this again in the capacity of a Catholic priest.

If you have the confidence, we could take this new cultural and spiritual revolution to the people and experience victory.

Towards this end, I once again solicit your support.

Date: 30th June, 2005 Venue: Music Academy, Chennai

Stage backdrop: “Thiruvasagam. A Symphonic Oratorio by Ilaiyaraaja” can be seen on the screen.

This video recording is of the release function of the Thiruvasagam music audio.

Dignitaries on the dais and the main speakers: Congress politician Peter Alphonse, MDMK political leader Vaiko, Union Minister Jaipal Reddy, actors Kamal Haasan and Rajnikant, Mr. N. Ram, owner-chief editor of the national newspaper The Hindu, music director Ilaiyaraaja, Catholic priests Jegath Gaspar Raj, Vincent Chinnadurai and Lourdu Anandam, etc.

Fr. Jegath in his address states that the project has taken
30 months
to complete, and that he has made
borrowings of Rs 1 crore
[Rs. 10 million, or approximately $200,000] towards production of this Thiruvasagam audio.

He announces the next item on the agenda, ‘Irai Vanakkam’ or ‘Salute to God’.

This salute to god [Shiva] is “OM NAMASIVAYAM’5, chanted by Ilaiyaraaja’s daughter.

During the prayer,
Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj is seen standing, head bowed, eyes closed and hands joined together in devotion
[this footage is available with me from another VCD of the release function].

Fr. Jegath then invites Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai to speak, introducing him as a leader of Tamil Maiyam.

Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, wearing a cassock, then gives a presentation in support of Thiruvasagam, and one of the things he said was that Thiruvasagam disposes man favourably for devotion to God.

The next speaker is Peter Alphonse.

Peter Alphonse says, “For this beautiful composition, music maestro Ilaiyaraaja called a Vincent Chinnadurai, an Anandam, a Jegath Gaspar, and he called the Thalaivar [head] of Tamil Maiyam
Trichy Bishop Antony Devotta.

Why [one may ask]?
This question will be asked by everybody, even by Christians.

Why, it will be asked, that
an Antony Devotta, why a Jegath Gaspar, why a Vincent Chinnadurai, why an Anandam have not composed a symphony for the Bible but composed one for Thiruvasagam?” Applause.

This time and age calls for a secular spirituality without religion.” Applause. “To find God, there is no need for religion, only spirituality. This project transcends religion. Tamil Maiyam and Ilaiyaraaja joined hands to give this new news to the world“. Applause.

Fr. Jegath speaking again, refers to the
Thiruvannamalai temple, and to Ilaiyaraja’s total devotion to it.

Despite his huge financial debts of Rs. 1 crore, he says, he is very confident that Manickavasagar will not “leave his hand” [abandon him]… “This is not the last of the spiritual work that I have done…” Applause.

He introduces Mr. N. Ram to release the “symphony oratorio” album and “share his thoughts from a cross-cultural and inter-religious perspective”. Mr. N. Ram speaks:

“Bishop Antony Devotta, who I was honoured to get a letter from him- pointing out what was behind this. So we really owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. Fr. Gaspar Raj and Fr. Vincent and others of Tamil Maiyam have so magnificently taken the risk to put forward- invested in this borrowed money because they believe in this great idea and in this breakthrough, so I warmly thank them and commend them…

Fr. Jegath:
“Yes, 1 Crore borrowings and financial commitments- it’s not a very happy figure- but it does not worry us and we are not afraid…”

He thanks the Ananda Vikadan newsgroup for their advertisement support worth Rs. 15,00,000.

Now there is a dance recital,
the central figure being Siva with the trishul [thirusulam
or three-pronged fork].

Next on the agenda, the announcement of the results of the Thiruvasagam competition held earlier.

Following this, Fr. Lourdu Anandam, wearing a cassock, takes the stage.

Fr. Lourdu Anandam: He opens his presentation by repeating, like Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, Manickavasagar’s praise of Siva which is greeted with hearty applause: [“Thennatudaya Sivane Pottri, Ennatavarukkum Iraiva Pottri”]

“I salute the one that is called Siva in the south but known as God throughout the world.”

For the success of the project, he thanks Paramasivan [Shiva].

He then proceeds to eulogise Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj:

“Hereafter, when people speak of Thiruvasagam, they will also speak of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj.

At this time, some of our Christian friends will ask, ‘Is it the work of [Catholic] priests to compose music for Thiruvasagam?’ This complaint has gone to Rome!”

This statement of Fr. Lourdu Anandam is greeted with hearty applause by the assembled gathering.

The video film shows Fr. Lourdu Anandam beaming with pleasure, and all those assembled on the dais enjoying the wisecrack, with large smiles on their faces.

The statement is a public mockery, at a gathering mostly of non-Christians, of the Catholics who object to these activities by Catholic priests, and of the authority of the Bishops and of Rome.

The priest continues: “But, what do the Church Documents say?

‘The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in other religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless, often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.’
6

So, the one who adopts this and follows this, only he is a [true] Christian.”

Next, he displays
a pamphlet produced by Fr. M.A. Joe Antony S.J.,
the editor of the Chennai-based Catholic fortnightly, The New Leader7. The pamphlet is distributed to those on the dais and to the audience, and the priest asks them to take it home and read it very carefully.

Ilaiyaraaja: “A political leader speaks about spirituality, and a Catholic priest speaks about politics.” Applause. Even though he is a Catholic priest, Jegath Gaspar Raj has memorized and sung verses of Thiruvasagam which I have not
done.”

Towards the end of the video film, we see three photographs side by side, with the words,
“As these Holy Men8 bless, A Masterpiece is in the making!”

 
 

NOTES:

5With the three Catholic priests on the Executive Committee of Tamil Maiyam, there is a
MR. NAMASIVAYAM!!!!!!!!!!

6Here, Fr. Anandam incompletely quotes from Nostra Aetate, Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Vatican II, 28 October, 1965, n 2.

The protagonists of a form of liturgical inculturation that is more of Hindu-isation, and an inter-religious dialogue that denies the unicity of Jesus Christ as Saviour, Redeemer and God [Dominus Iesus, doc.] and rejects the exhortation of the Church to evangelize with the Gospel [Ecclesia in Asia, doc.], never fail to use this two sentences to justify their actions. They take great pains to obscure from their listeners the sentences that follow, which assert: “Yet she proclaims and is duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life [John 14:6]. In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself [2 Corinthians 5: 18, 19], men find the fullness of their religious life.”

7The contents of this leaflet are reproduced immediately below.

8
The Holy Men are: Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi9 of the Kancheepuram Mutt, an unknown Hindu godman, probably the Atheenam of Dharmapuram,
and the

Bishop of Trichy, Most Rev. Antony Devotta.

The set of photographs along with the slogan prominently adorns the front of a two-sided multi-coloured brochure printed by Tamil Maiyam for its fund- raising appeal. Immediately below the photograph of the Bishop is a photograph of the Bharatiya Janata Party- Hindutva leader- Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee wishing success to the TIS project!

9The Sankaracharya has been in and out of prison and the courts for over a year now, defending himself against cases that range from theft [of jewellery and the Sivalingam from a temple], assault, and murder. Some holy man!!!

 
 

Pamphlet prepared by Jesuit priest in support, defense and justification of his priest-colleagues’ venture. Distributed at the TIS release, it was displayed and its reading encouraged, by Fr. Lourdu Anandam:

A VENTURE THAT HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER CREEDS AND CULTURES

The two-sided pamphlet has the photographs of ‘Maestro Ilaya Raja’ and ‘Fr. Jagath Gaspar, Founder Trustee, Tamil Maiyam’ on the obverse. On the reverse, the identification of the author of the pamphlet:

M.A. Joe Antony, SJ
is the Editor and Publisher of the New Leader, a leading national Catholic fortnightly. He is also the editor of
Jivan10, a magazine of South Asian Jesuits and their friends and colleagues”.

Below that, “with Best Compliments, Nam Vazhvu”.
11

10Look out for a report on “NEW AGE IN ‘JIVAN’ ” to be released shortly.

11 ‘Nam Vazhvu’ is a Tamil weekly, originally started as a religious publication, but now publishes general news.
The editor is Fr. Lourdu Anandam.
Its office in the Archbishop Aruldas James Complex, belongs to the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore, and is adjacent to the Tamil Maiyam / Santhome Communications Centre building in Chennai.

Fr. M.A. Joe Antony SJ writes:

How many would know that this venture has brought together a Hindu saint of the 13th century and a Christian saint of the 16th century? For sometime everyone called it ‘Thiruvasagam in Symphony’12.

But as Ilayaraja and the producers point out, it is actually Thiruvasagam presented in the Oratorio style.

Thiruvasagam is a work of the Tamil poet-saint Manikavasagar of the 13th century. But what is an Oratorio? It is “a musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a sacred story”. Why is such a composition called an ‘Oratorio’?

Because in the beginning such compositions were performed at the Oratory (a place of prayer, chapel) of St. Philip Neri, a Christian saint of the 16th century who lived in Rome, Italy.

Dig a little deeper and you will learn that Thiruvasagam in Oratorio style has brought together the two religions in several ways. The composer is a Hindu.
The producer is a Center founded by a Catholic priest. Together they have made two cultures, two musical traditions- Carnatic music and the Western classical music- meet and shake hands.

The lyricist who came up with the equivalent English verses is a Christian. The singer is a Hindu and almost all members of the Budapest Miskole Symphony Orchestra that provided the background music should be Christians.

The inter-religious nature of this work at various levels may puzzle many Hindus and some Christians.

Hindus may ask why Ilayaraja wanted his magnum opus to be produced by ‘Tamil Maiyam’ – a center founded by Fr. Jagath Gaspar Raj, a Catholic priest.

The center’s patron is Bishop Antony Devotta of Tiruchirappalli and the two office-bearers are also priests – Frs. Vincent Chinnadurai and L. Anandam.

The surprised Christians may ask why Fr. Jagath and his two priest-friends have strained every nerve, and struggled so hard for two years to produce a C.D. that presents poems of an ancient Hindu Tamil Saivite literary work. Some might even remark that instead they should have given their time and energy to set Bible verses to music.

The maestro who seeks so often the solace of the renowned Hindu ashram in Thiruvannamalai
ignored all the well-known individual producers and companies in the field of music and chose a Catholic Centre, probably because he looked for people whom he could rely on to realize a dream he cherished for many years.

For the priests of Tamil Maiyam, this was a rare opportunity for an
inter-religious venture
that will promote understanding and amity between people of these two great religions. They hope that this would make an ancient Tamil devotional work2
accessible to today’s youth swayed by MTV and imported pop music, and to western audience that does not know of our cultural and literary heritage1.

The Catholic Church is truly catholic. It respects other religions and seeks to work closely with people of all religions in order to promote justice, peace and prosperity in our world. Starting with the Second Vatican Council that took place in the 1960s, every major assembly of Church leaders and every Pope has emphasized the need for inter-religious dialogue.

…Therefore, from the Church’s point of view, Tamil Maiyam’s initiative is a proof and symbol of its continued commitment to
inter-religious dialogue
and collaboration.

What has motivated Ilayaraja to embark on this venture is a deep religious sentiment.

In interview after interview, he keeps saying that he has completed
his life’s missionthat this is his life’s purpose- that God wanted him to do this and has prepared him for this task all these years. In this Hindu-Christian venture, Ilayaraja’s past and present merge, in order to offer a unique spiritual2 music gift
to people of all religions.

People everywhere should enthusiastically welcome this work that miraculously brings together creeds, cultures, continents and centuries.

12Everyonedid not call it ‘Thiruvasagam in Symphony’. The producers themselves named it so. Cover-ups were initiated when eminent music scholars like Dr. Vee pointed out various errors and false claims. [Details follow].

NOTES: We see that Fr. M.A. Joe Antony is solidly behind Fr. Jegath and the Thiruvasagam release. His elaborate write-up shows that he finds no problem with Catholic priests propagating devotion to Shiva, and in fact applauds it.

 
 

“MOZART MEETS INDIA”

The brochure of Tamil Maiyam advertises this music audio as “The first Indian Musical Symphony”, “presented by Tamil Maiyam, the makers of Thiruvasagam”. It claims “Overseas positioning will be as ‘The First ever Indian orchestral Symphony music’ (Thiruvasagam was the first Indian choral Symphony). We expect to sell 1 million CDs in 2 years”.

 
 

‘MOZART MEETS INDIA’ PROJECT ANNOUNCED

http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7BC3044265-898E-4443-B3F3-C3504FEFE4DA%7D&CATEGORYNAME=NAT+IONAL

Chennaionline, March 18, 2006
EXTRACT:

After successfully launching “Thiruvasagam” (Tamil literary work), ‘Tamil Maiyam,’ a Tamil Nadu-based non-profit organisation, today announced another project “Mozart Meets India”, a confluence of western classical and carnatic music. “It is certainly not fusion music. We have taken six ragas…treating it in its purity and adhering to its grammar. The western classical pieces will also maintain its grammar. The strength of carnatic music is its melody, while that of western classic is its harmony,”
‘Maiyam’ founder Jegath Gaspar Raj and Dr Joe Arun
13, project coordinator, said.

The project, expected to cost around Rs 25 lakh in production cost alone, is aimed at gaining global reach for Indian classical music, they told reporters here…The “Thiruvasagam – Symphonic Oratorio” could not serve the objective of taking Indian music global as the music was predominantly tied to Tamil lyrics.

“But Mozart Meets India will no doubt serve that lofty objective as it is an orchestral symphony,” he said.

13It is a sad fact that many Catholic priests are no more identified by the prefix “Father” to their names, more especially if they are ‘doctorates’ or Jesuits. Joe Arun is a Jesuit priest
[Director of the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Loyola College campus, Chennai]. In some news reports, Fr. Jegath is referred to as “Mr.” [see The Hindu, June 01, 2004]. Also, check out the following report:

 
 

DUO PLANS ‘MOZART MEETS INDIA’

DECCAN CHRONICLE March 19, 2006 EXTRACT:

Working with the lofty ambition of creating an orchestral symphony to attract music lovers across the globe, Tamil Maiyam, a Tamil Nadu based non-profit organisation is launching a creative music project, Mozart Meets India, a confluence of western classical and carnatic music.

“Thiruvasagam, the symphonic oratorio by Ilayaraja, our first big time music project could not serve the objective of taking Indian music international as it was predominantly tied to Tamil lyrics.

But ‘Mozart Meets India’ will attract cross-over music lovers and the youth of India,”
Maiyam founder Jegath Gaspar Raj and project coordinator Dr. Joe Arun, said.

Explaining that this was not fusion music, the duo said, “the melodic depth of Carnatic ragas will be integrated with the disciplines of Western harmony. The result will transcend genre and certainly create a soundtrack for world music lovers… we are also planning to use a string quartet from Europe for the symphony part.”

The project is expected to cost around Rs. 25 lakh. The 60-minute CD/DVDs will be released by mid-July.

On the day of the release a live performance will be held here [Chennai] and proceeds from it will go towards the “Give Life” project jointly run by the Shriram Social Welfare Trust and Tamil Maiyam,”
Mr. Raj
said.

NOTES: ‘MOZART MEETS INDIA’ is the next musical project! The reader is invite to once again look up the lofty aims of stated goals of the Tamil Maiyam and compare them with what the press reports.

That Tamil Maiyam has not recovered from the losses of the Thiruvasagam debacle is common knowledge. There is no indication that its management has learnt anything from its past errors. Yet it is being followed up by another music release. Even if such a venture is being entered into with the prospect of ploughing back the expected profits into social welfare schemes, one does not find any evidence of activity in this direction, as all information on the internet and in the print media concerns music releases.

 
 

HINDUSTAN TIMES
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1416149,00110005.htm
MARCH 20, 2006

A Broadway songwriter, Hungarian orchestra and a Grammy Award-winning sound engineer teamed up with an Indian composer to create a symphonic rendition of ninth-century* Tamil-language
devotional literature2, its producer said Wednesday. “It is not a fusion, but a crossover from the East to the West,” the
Rev. Jegat Gasper Raj, founder of the group
Tamil Maiyyam, said in Chennai…

They created an oratorio, a post-Renaissance musical form that originated in Italy, from the Thiruvasagam,
a collection of ninth-century* hymns to the Hindu god Shiva2. The composition was inspired by Handel’s Messiah, said Raj, a Christian minister. Oratorios are vocal performances, normally with a Biblical theme, and without costumes, acting or background scenery. The new composition is believed to be the first based on Hindu scriptures2

*It is 13th century, not 9th

 
 

CRITIQUES FROM A LEADING EXPERT IN INDIAN AND WESTERN MUSIC

Dr. Vee who? Asked Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj

In an article in the [Tamil] Kumudam Reporter, 30 March 2006, page 38, Fr. Jegath Gasper Raj asks who Dr. Vee is.

Dr. Vee is India’s first doctorate in cross disciplinary field in Music and Physics.

Developed India’s first music keyboard self learning package with wide print and TV media coverage.

Discovered ancient Indian pitch standard and it was very close to present International Pitch Standard.

[Published in the Journal of International Institute of Tamil Research, Taramani, Chennai, Souvenir of Pann Research Seminar, Tamil Isai Sangam, Chennai]

Discovered ancient Indian music grammar of composing music to a given lyric. [Published in Research Circle Publication in the book ‘Althusarin Chidhdhatham Mudaliya Katturaigal’]

Discovered ancient Indian Percussion Music Grammar suitable for adoption in present world music [Research paper accepted in Hawaii {US} International Conference on Arts and Humanities 2006]

Discovered Ancient Indian Music Scale in Silappathikaram. [A chapter in ‘Ancient Music Treasures – Exploration For New Music’ –AMIRC, Palavakkam, Chennai]

Discovered a new concept of ‘Music Thread’ in ancient Tamil Literature applicable to world music [A chapter in ‘Ancient Music Treasures – Exploration For New Music’ –AMIRC, Palavakkam, Chennai]

Discovered pitch problems in modern Indian Music. [A chapter in ‘Ancient Music Treasures – Exploration For New Music’ –AMIRC, Palavakkam, Chennai]

Discovered 25 sruthis in an octave, found justification for treating 22 sruthis as a consonant group and related Indian sruthis to Commas in Western Music. [A chapter in ‘Ancient Music Treasures – Exploration For New Music’ –AMIRC, Palavakkam, Chennai]

Applied Science of Music to Ancient Tamil Literature including Thirukkural to discover new musicological facts, thereby proving that commentaries in many places failed to explain music related texts in ancient Tamil Literature. [Many published articles and the book ‘Ancient Music Treasures – Exploration For New Music’ –AMIRC, Palavakkam, Chennai]

Computer-based composer of music with a debut music album ‘Let’s Go Green'[1999] involving music notes of Mozart and music notes of Carnatic Music Trinities.

Dr. Vee is Dr. Sebastian Asokapandian Veerapandian, M.Sc., M.Phil., B.L., P.G.D.J., P.G.C.S., Ph.D. (Music);

M.Sc (Physics), St. Joseph’s College, Trichy, M.Phil (Applied Physics) Regional Engineering College, Trichy, B.L Law College, Trichy, P.G.D.J (Journalism and Mass Communication), ) St. Joseph’s College, Trichy, P.G.C.S (Sociological Theories) St. Joseph’s College, Trichy, Ph.D., [Physics of Music) Music Dept of Tamil University, Thanjavur

H84/S4, TNHB Colony, 1st Seaward Road, Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041, Tel: 2442 0015

Director- Anto Music research Centre, Seashore St. Anthony’s Shrine, #38 MGR Road, Palavakkam, Chennai 600 041, Tamil Nadu. email: pann@vsnl.com
pannpandi@yahoo.co.in
pannvdrveera@gmail.com
Tel: 2449 3684, m: 98417 28285

 
 

Dr. Vee wrote:

With respect to the news ‘Mozart meets India in unique musical synthesis’ [Indo-Asian News Service– Chennai, March 20, 2006, New Indian Express 19-3-2006].
Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj
had not revealed who would be its composer, though he had claimed it as India’s first symphony
. He had called it as ‘orchestral symphony’.

Is there any ‘non orchestral symphony’ in western classical music?

His previous project also started with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony ‘. Ilayaraja had already claimed to have composed India’s first symphony in 1993. There can be only two possible conclusions.

Either Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj does not know what is symphony or he just misuses the word ‘symphony’ to get funds and market his product unaware of the damages to the ethics of music field and especially to music education in this process.

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had collaborated with Tamil Film Music Director Ilayaraja to render
Hindu Saivite musical treatise ‘Thiruvasakam’ and the project was titled ‘Thiruvasakam in symphony’. Without realizing his mistakes already committed in his Thiruvasakam project,
Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had blamed Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his project
in his press interview. [Indo-Asian News Service, Chennai, March 20, 2006, 18 March 2006 News Update Service, The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006]. No need to stress that this would hurt the sentiments of all Tamil loving people and Hindus who worship Thiruvasakam as a musical treatise.

Also he had offended the feelings of all south Indian people by stating that
Carnatic Music [South Indian Classical Music] was monotonous’
in his interview. [New Indian Express 19-3-2006].

Ilayaraja’s claim of having composed symphony for the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1993 was false and a senior western classical music teacher Mr. R. Venketesan had established it with evidences including a reply from London Royal London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Both I and the senior western classical music teacher Mr. R. Venketesan decided to restore the music reputation of India by exposing the misuse of ‘symphony’ by Rev.Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj and Ilayaraja.

Both of us addressed a press meet on 22 March 2006 at Chennai Press Club. ‘Tamil Murasu’ [22 March 2006], ‘Dinakaran ‘[23 March 2006], ‘Dinamalar’ [23 March 2006] and ‘Kumudam Reporter’ [30 March 2006] published our interview. We both have no objection to praising Illayaraja for his contribution to Indian film music. But we have a social responsibility to draw the attention of the public to
the misuse of the word ‘symphony’ by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj and Illayaraja and eradicate such claims by unscrupulous people in future. With regards, Dr.
Vee    

 
 

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s Thiruvasakam – A project with several defects. By Dr. Vee

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had produced a project that will help to teach music students all possible defects in a cross cultural project involving Western Classical Music and South Indian Classical Music.

As a producer Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had failed to do sufficient ground work including research and securing experts advice and misled Ilayaraja to do this defective project. Ilayaraja is also to be blamed for falling prey to the unethical design of Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj.

1.
Misuse of the word ‘symphony’ for getting funds and marketing the project.

This project was started with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ for soliciting funds and other support, and project support in US was entitled ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony USA -The official page for the US activities of Thiruvasakam in Symphony
[http://www.tis-usa.com/index.html]

2.
‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ was changed to ‘Thiruvasakam in Oratorio’ by Ilayaraja
in his interview to ‘Ananda Vikatan’ after the following mail to Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj on 6 Jun 2006.

 
 

LETTER FROM DR. VEE TO TAMIL MAIYAM:

To: tamilmaiyam@eth.net Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 07:30:25 +0100 (BST) Sub: Thiruvasakam in Symphony

Dr. Veerapandian wrote: Every musical form including symphony has a socio-historical background. The same historical factors were responsible for the French Revolution and the evolution of Symphony, as I had explained in one of my published articles. During the course of its history symphony had undergone changes. To retain the identity of a musical form, changes must conform to the broad contour of the form. Thiruvasakam in Symphony [The Hindu June 6, 2005] is a bold attempt by Ilaiyaraja. The result will depend on its performance in the market and review in music academic circles. I wish success to this novel attempt. 

3. The banner on the background of the stage of Music Academy in the release function prominently displayed

‘A Symphonic Oratorio by Ilayaraja’. Ilayaraja and many prominent personalities were present on the stage.

This function was telecast in TV media.

While announcing a project “Mozart meets India”, Tamil Maiyam founder Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had called his Thiruvasakam project as “Thiruvasagam – Symphonic Oratorio” [18 March 2006 News Update Service, The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006]

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had misled music students
of India that Symphonic Oratorio was a Western Musical form and Ilayaraja had employed that form to render Thiruvasakam.
Western Music does not have a musical form called ‘symphonic oratorio’.

4.
Symphony and Oratorio are two different musical forms.
Oratorio is an inferior form compared to symphony.

Oratorio is an extended musical setting of a sacred, usually non-liturgical, [religious text not used in public worship] text. Except for a greater emphasis on the chorus throughout much of its history, the forms and styles of oratorio tend to approximate to those of opera in any given period, but the normal manner of performance is without scenery, costumes or action. It is doubtful if Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s Thiruvasakam project followed the above grammar.

To retain the identity of a musical form of oratorio, changes must conform to the broad contour of the form. Otherwise it will come under the category of experimental music like Dr. Vee’s album ‘Let’s Go Green’ [1999]. Though Dr. Vee had employed Mozart’s notes, he did not use the word ‘symphony’ since the album did not conform to broad contour of the form ‘symphony’.

5. Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s music project involved two different kinds of music, Western classical and Carnatic. Western Classical and Carnatic music have different kinds of music intervals.

In Western music, keyboard and fretted instruments follow Equal Temperament. Violinists and vocalists unaccompanied by Equal Temperament instruments in Western Music may follow Just Intonation. The intervals of Carnatic Music will be different from these. Hence any music project involving Western Classical music and Carnatic music must take into account these differences and work out a compromise. Then the musicians must be trained in this scheme. Recording must start after completing these formalities. Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasakam did not seem to follow these procedures. Brochures accompanying such projects must explain these procedures. A computer based objective investigation will bring out all these shortcomings, a valuable project for music research students.

 
 

6. The next shortcoming in this project is the employment of Ilayaraja’s voice, which used to suit well for folk and film music. [eg.’Thenpandi Seemaiyele’ in ‘Nayakan’]. But his voice will not be suitable for classical music like Carnatic music.

For spiritual chanting of Thiruvasakam2, voice of experienced
Othuvars4 [A special category of persons trained in chanting Saivite devotional text] will be good. For musical rendering of Thiruvasakam, voices of well-trained and experienced Carnatic vocalists will be good. The voice of Ilayaraja does not belong to either category.

Instead of conceding to the defects in his project, Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his product. [Asian News Service– Chennai, March 20, 2006; 18 March 2006 News Update Service; The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006].

This means he had proceeded with his project without realizing the music potential of the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam and hence had used Ilayaraja’s voice for singing the Tamil lyrics thereby damaging their music richness. Without realising his mistakes, Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his project.

7. Apart from these, there are problems related to finer aspects of musical aesthetics of Western Classical Music and Carnatic Music in such projects.

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had produced a project that will help to teach music students all possible defects in a cross cultural project involving Western Classical Music and South Indian Classical Music.

Also media backed mental conditioning to praise defective music products will be a hindrance to music education in training students to identify and appreciate good music.

8. Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had recently announced a new project called ‘Mozart meets India’. He had claimed that it would be India’s first symphony. [Indo-Asian News Service– Chennai, March 20, 2006, New Indian Express 19-3-2006]. He had not revealed who would be its composer. He had called it as ‘orchestral symphony’. Is there any ‘non orchestral symphony’ in western classical music? His previous project also started with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony ‘. There can be only two possible conclusions. Either Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj does not know what is symphony or he just misuses the word ‘symphony’ to get funds and market his product unaware of the damages to the ethics of music field and especially to music education in this process.

 
 

COMPLAINT TO THE PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA

From: pannvdrveera@gmail.com To: pcids@vsnl.net Date: June 13, 2006

Dear Sir/Madam,

This is not a complaint to punish anyone but to draw your attention to the failure of the mainstream English media with respect to false claims in music.

I felt I must draw your attention to the false symphony claim
by famous music director Ilayaraja and
a very influential catholic Christian priest Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj.
[See the attached files].

With these false claims, they could receive felicitations from the Prime Minister, the President, the parliament, senior journalists like ‘The Hindu’ Ram, senior minister like Jaipal Reddy and leaders like V. Gopalsamy (MDMK) and a university honorary doctorate.

To expose the above false claim, both senior western classical music teacher Mr. R. Venketesan and I addressed a press meet on 22 March 2006 at Chennai Press Club. All Tamil magazines reporters asked probing questions. A lady reporter from The Hindu asked questions like “Why do you bother if it is symphony or not? Why do you bother about the honorary doctorate from Annamalai University that have no reputation? etc”. ‘The Hindu’ did not publish our interview.

‘Tamil Murasu’ [22 March 2006], ‘Dinakaran ‘[23 March 2006], ‘Dinamalar’ [23 March 2006] and ‘ Kumudam Reporter’ [30 March 2006] published our interview.

I mailed our press statements to The Deccan Chronicle, The New Indian Express, OutLook and The Week. I submitted a copy in person to India Today Chennai office. None of them responded. All readers of the mainstream English media will continue to believe in the false claim regarding India’s first symphony. This grave defect in the mainstream English media will bring down the music reputation of India in the world and we hope you will do something to rectify this.

With regards, Dr. Vee

RESPONSE FROM THE PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA

F.No.14/12-South/06-07-PCI         7.8.06

Dear Sir,

I am directed to refer to your e-mail letter dated 13.6.06 on the subject mentioned above and to draw your attention towards Norms 16 of Norms of Journalistic Conduct (Edition 2005) which reads as follows:-

“In the matter of writing an editorial, the editor enjoys a good deal of latitude and discretion. It is for him to choose the subject and it is also for him to use such language as he considers appropriate, provided that in writing the editorial he doesn’t transgress the law and violate the norms of journalism and editorial comments published in the newspaper should be couched in sober and dignified language.” 

In view of the above, the Council cannot compel anyone to publish or not to publish any material. However, you are requested to clarify your locus in the matter within two weeks from the date of receipt of this letter to enable the Council to proceed further in the matter.

Yours faithfully, Pradeep Bahl, Section Officer(C)

 
 

RESPONSE: From: pannvdrveera@gmail.com To:
pcids@vsnl.net
Sent: Aug 15, 2006 12:39 PM

Dear Sir, 

I beg to differ as the cited Norms 16 of Norms of Journalistic Conduct (Edition 2005) does not empower an editor to mislead the readers, reporting false ‘India’s First Symphony’ claim as genuine claim or the claim of ‘symphonic Oratorio’ (Symphony and Oratorio are two different musical forms) without proper verification. Also it will not justify a decision for not reporting the clarification from the experts whose only aim was to report the truth thereby restoring the music reputation of India as well as the reputation of the media.  

Having reported a false claim as a genuine one, it is fair and just on the part of the media to report the clarification from the experts, the failure of which will encourage the culprits to indulge in more such claims as happened in ‘India’s first Symphony’. All reputed magazines like The Hindu, The New Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, Outlook, The Week, India Today etc had erred in reporting ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony (?)’. This shortcoming in violation of the norms of journalism on the part of the editors of reputed journals, in turn, is primarily responsible for the felicitations from the President, the Prime Minister and other VIPs including a honorary doctorate from a university to the false claim  of ‘India’s First Symphony’ obviously damaging the music reputation of India. If the truth behind the claim in 1993 with respect to the false claim of ‘India’s First Symphony’ was verified before reporting, the same persons would not have attempted to repeat it in 2005 and again in 2006.  

In 2006 Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj announced a new project called ‘Mozart meets India’. He had claimed that it would be India’s first symphony. [Indo-Asian News Service – Chennai, March 20, 2006- New Indian Express 19-3-2006].

He had not revealed who would be its composer.   He had called it as ‘orchestral symphony’. Is there any ‘non orchestral symphony’ in western classical music?  

His previous 2005 project also started with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony ‘. Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj supported Ilayaraja’s claim of composing India’s first symphony in 1993 which is yet to be released.

After misusing the words symphony and ‘symphonic oratorio’ (?) in his 2005 Thiruvasakam music project, Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj started misusing ‘Mozart’ in his current project ‘Mozart meets India’ as he has admitted “The compositions do not directly correspond or relate to the creations of Mozart. The title is more allegoric as we consider Mozart the greatest composer of symphonies.”

Also he had identified it as “a global symphonic soundtrack based on six Carnatic ragas, Kapi, Sindhubhairavi, Panthuvarali, Sankarabharanam, Bilahari and Hamsanandhi,” (The Hindu- Chennai Metroplus Aug 2, 2006). Is the above mentioned word ‘symphonic’ “more allegoric” as it may not ‘ not directly correspond or relate to’ the six Carnatic ragas?

Unfortunately Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu and few Central Minister will take part in the release of Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s ‘Mozart meets India’] on 25 August 2006. [The Hindu   & Deccan Chronicle 14 August 2006.]

India is not a country deficient of music experts who could refute false claims in music and the Norms 16 of Norms of Journalistic Conduct (Edition 2005) can not be cited to justify the above shortcoming on the part of the English print media. My locus in this matter is that I am a music expert [Credentials given below] and I am interested in restoring the music reputation of India and to alert the media to practise fair and just reporting with respect to music news.  

I humbly suggest that the council, citing the case of ‘India’s First Symphony’ in my complaint,   can issue a circular to the English print media to report any claim in music only after proper verification in order to practice fair and just in their news reporting. Yours Sincerely, Dr. Vee [Attached:
Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s False Symphony Claims –FAQ]

 
 

LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA

From The Federation of The Catholic Faithful, Chennai August 10, 2006

Respected President,

On behalf of The Federation of The Catholic Faithful, we extend our warm greetings to our beloved President of India. As we come to know that the President is going to release a music album by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj, we feel it is our duty to inform the President about the unethical musical activities of Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj.

We fear that the good intentions of the office of The President to encourage music are misused by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj to escape from a pending enquiry against him by the Tamilnadu Catholic Bishop’s Council.

Also
The Press Council is enquiring into the misuse of the Print Media by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj, based on the complaint from a Music Expert, Dr. Vee who is also a member of our federation. It referred to the role of the English print media in reporting, without proper verification, false ‘India’s First Symphony’ claim as genuine claim and the claim of ‘symphonic Oratorio’ by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj (Symphony and Oratorio are two different musical forms). Also it referred to the shortcoming of the media in not reporting the clarification from the experts of music, whose aim was only to report the truth thereby restoring the music reputation of India as well as the reputation of the media.

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had already damaged the music reputation of India with false claim of using ‘Symphony’ and ‘Symphonic Oratorio’ in his Thiruvasakam project. It will be more unfortunate if the most respectable office of The President of India is involved in the release function of one music album by Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj, misusing the word ‘Symphony’ again.

The complaint to the Press Council, the response from the Press Council, and Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s False Symphony Claims – FAQ have been given below for the kind attention of The President. Yours Sincerely, C. J. Raphel, President

 
 

 
 

ONE YEAR LATER. PAST TENSE, FUTURE PERFECT

TOP-SELLER CD LOSES MONEY

http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&cat1=5&cat2=154&from=search&html=files/2005/10/23/20051023235224.htm&newsid=118362

ASIAN AGE and NEW INDIAN EXPRESS by S. Kolappan October 24, 2005 EXTRACT:

Music maestro Ilayaraja’s CD Thiruvasagam,
a Shiva-worship oratorio
done with Budapest Symphony Orchestra, has made history of sorts in Tamil Nadu by recording the highest sales in recent times, even overtaking the hugely popular music track of superstar Rajnikant’s latest hit Chandramukhi.

Ironically, the producer of the CD, Tamil Maiyam, an organization founded by a Catholic priest, Father Jagath Gaspar Raj, has not benefited at all.

Lapses in marketing have led to losses of about Rs. 62 lakhs [over Rs. 6 million]
for the organization.

“The distributor, Well Gate [sic. It is Welgate], told us that it has sold 35,000 CDs and 25,000 cassettes of the album.

I was able to mobilise around Rs. 44 lakhs through sponsorship and sales in the U.S. But the amount is nowhere near the total cost of the production, which is Rs. 1.06 crore [over Rs. 10.5 million].

As far as we are concerned it is a successful project that ended up giving us losses*,” said Father Gaspar Raj.

Many stores in Chennai said they did not get adequate stocks and credit was not allowed. Credit is normally allowed in the music business. However, anticipating good sales, marketing strategy was based on a no-credit policy. This led to a shortage when the demand was really hot. *See page 40

“Normally the distributors supply their products on credit. In the case of Thiruvasagam, we had to pay up first to get the CDs and cassettes. This is unheard of in the music business,” said G.P. Sharma of the Saraswathi Stores, one of the biggest music stores in Chennai that is owned by AVM, the famous film production company. Other shop-owners said delays in the release of cassettes also led to losses. “People in rural areas prefer cassettes to CDs and the company was unable to supply enough cassettes in time,” said an official associated with the project.

Market sources said Ilayaraja’s popularity, coupled with the pre-release media hype, ensured the success of Thiruvasagam. “At least 40 percent of the credit should go to the media,” said a musicologist.

Written by famous Shaivite saint Manickavasagar in the 8th century**, Thiruvasagam has been a great favourite among Tamils as a rendition of total surrender to Lord Shiva. **It should read as 13th century

Ilayaraja accomplished his “lifetime ambition” of composing music for the bhakti masterpiece…

 
 

FR. JEGATH BLAMES TAMIL LYRICS FOR THE FAILURE OF THIRUVASAGAM

THE HINDU News Update Service March 18, 2006

The “Thiruvasagam – Symphonic Oratorio” could not serve the objective of taking Indian music global as the music was predominantly tied to Tamil Lyrics. “But Mozart Meets India will no doubt serve that lofty objective as it is an orchestral symphony,” he [Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj] said.

HINDUSTAN TIMES – Indo-Asian News Service Chennai March 20, 2006

“Thiruvasagam could not serve the purpose of taking Indian music to international audiences as the lyrics were in Tamil,” Gaspar Raj told IANS.

NEWSTODAY V. Muthukumaran
http://www.newstodaynet.com/20mar/ss1.htm
March 20, 2006

‘Our first production, Thiruvasagam in Symphonic Oratorio though it reached out to
lot of people, especially young minds, as the music was tied to Tamil lyrics it could not take the concept to global audience,’ Gasper Raj explains.

SPECTRUM-THE TRIBUNE “Mozart meets India” Papri Sri Raman April 16, 2006

Thiruvasagam was the first production of Maiyam and the brainchild of Jegath Gaspar Raj. “Thiruvasagam could not serve the purpose of taking Indian music to international audiences as the lyrics were in Tamil,” Gaspar Raj said.

The Mozart project will be different.

Chennaionline
April 18, 2006

Thiruvasagam Symphonic Oratorio by Ilaiyaraaja- our first big time music project – could not serve the objective of taking Indian music globally as the music was predominantly tied to Tamil lyrics. But Mozart Meets India will no doubt serve that lofty objective as it is an orchestral symphony.

 
 

THE MAKING OF AN EXTRAORDINARY VERDICT

THE HINDU May 19, 2006
http://www.thehindu.com/2006/05/19/stories/2006051911291400.htm
EXTRACT:

Goodwill Communications*
carried out a series of private polls** under the direction of
Rev. Jegath Gaspar Raj and Dr. Joe Arun. Their first poll, carried out just before The Hindu-CNN-IBN pre-poll, showed the AIADMK alliance leading by more than five percentage points. Their second poll, conducted just after our pre-poll survey, showed that the DMK alliance had reversed the situation and established a lead of more than five percentage points. Their final survey, conducted a week before the polling day, predicted that the DMK-led alliance had increased its lead to more than eight percentage points. Even assuming some over-reading of the DMK alliance’s strength, the findings suggest that the contest was close at one stage — that is, before the DMK established its lead. *More on this project later

**Questions were raised about the truth of this claim as Tamil Maiyam do not have the manpower to conduct polls.

 
 

 
 

OF SYMPHONY AND SWARAS- AFTER THIRUVASAGAM, TAMIL MAIYAM OFFERS ‘MOZART MEETS INDIA’, A SYMPHONIC SOUNDTRACK BASED ON SIX CARNATIC RAGAS

THE HINDU Chitra Swaminathan August 02, 2006 EXTRACT:

…Rev. Jegath Gaspar Raj of Tamil Maiyam, a Chennai-based non-profit trust
to promote art and culture
1, belongs to this new order. After the mammoth ‘Thiruvasagam in Symphonic Oratorio’ project with maestro Ilaiyaraja, he has now come up with ‘Mozart meets India’, that blends Carnatic music with Western orchestral sounds…

Rev. Gaspar Raj, who is driven by his passion for music to take up such collaborative musical projects, aims to explore and create music that transcends genres and cultures. “But above all, we want to set up an Indian symphony orchestra. Carnatic music has the inherent strength to contribute and assimilate, and that’s what made ‘Mozart meets India’ possible. Sadly, Thiruvasagam failed to reach the targeted cross-over audience even though we got three-time Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz to do the lyrics in English and involved musicians from the 140-year old Budapest Symphony Orchestra. Despite efforts to give it a global appeal, it still had a strong Tamil flavour. But harmony being universal, we think ‘Mozart meets India’ will find a place in world music.”

…It will take some time for the album to hit the market, but if you are curious to know what the music sounds like, the ensemble will perform live at the end of the month at The Music Academy.

 
 

YET ANOTHER RAGA-SYMPHONY FUSION CDs TO BE RELEASED ON AUGUST 25

THE HINDU News Update Service
August 12, 2006
EXTRACT:

Chennai, Aug 12. (PTI): After the success of its album ‘Thiruvasagam in symphonic oratorio’ in CDs and cassettes, the Tamil Maiyam (Tamil Centre) today announced that its second venture “Mozart Meets India” would be released on August 25. The album has been defined by its producers as ‘a global soundtrack based on six Indian ragas.’

A live performance would also accompany the release of the CDs and cassettes on Aug 25, the Maiyam’s director
Father Jegath Gaspar Raj, told reporters here.

“We have kept intact the rules, the grammar, discipline and the identity of the six Carnatic ragas of Sankarabharanam, Kapi, Panthuvarali, Bilahari, Sindhu Bhairavi and Hamsananthi. It is unlike popular fusion.”

The objective of “Mozart Meets India” was to enable Indian classical music resonate globally, explore and create music that would transcend genres, cross cultures and become an attractive soundtrack for the world and make Indian classical music relevant to the modern generation, he said…

 
 

INDIAN EXPRESS News Service
http://www.indianexpress.com/iep/sunday/story/10498.html
August 13, 2006
EXTRACT:

Tamil Maiyam, a city-based non-profit trust promoting art and culture, shot to fame with its grand ambitious musical venture – the Thiruvasagam in Symphonic Oratorio. [NOTE: The press is STILL calling it a “symphonic oratorio”.]

But Thiruvasagam, with its intrinsic Tamil flavour, failed to reach the targeted crossover audience despite three-time Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz working on the lyrics in English and the 140-year-old Budapest Symphony Orchestra setting the score. Maiyam hopes that Mozart meets India would do better with its ”universal harmony”…

NOTE: FR. JEGATH CONTINUES TO BLAME TAMIL LYRICS FOR THE FAILURE OF THIRUVASAGAM

 
 

DR. VEE ON FR. JEGAT GASPAR RAJ’S FALSE SYMPHONY CLAIMS–FAQ

1. What about the claim that Ilayaraja had composed Thiruvasakam in Symphony?

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj started his Thiruvasakam project with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ for soliciting funds and other support, and project support in US was entitled ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony USA’.

The official page for the US activities of Thiruvasakam in Symphony. [http://www.tis-usa.com/index.html].

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar’s Tamil Maiyam website home page also projected his project as ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’.

All newspapers including The Hindu [June 6, 2005] praised this project as ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’. But Ilayaraja explained in his interview to Ananda Vikatan during June 2005 that he did not render Thiruvasakam in Symphony and clarified that he had employed the musical form Oratorio in the Thiruvasakam project.

It is now clear Ilayaraja did not compose Thiruvasakam in Symphony,

though many innocent buyers still believe that he had composed Thiruvasakam in Symphony due to the unethical musical marketing of Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj.

Here it is to be stated that a vocal work with orchestra cannot be titled as Symphony. A Symphony is purely a composition for instruments, and very rarely voices are added as in the case of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy) in the fourth movement. In some of Malher’s Symphonies voices are added.

2. Is there a musical form ‘Symphonic Oratorio’ in Western Music?

Western Music does not have a musical form called ‘symphonic oratorio’. Symphony and Oratorio are two different musical forms. After Ilayaraja’s Interview to Ananda Vikatan clarifying that he did not render Thiruvasakam in Symphony, Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj changed the musical form of his Thiruvasakam project from ‘Symphony’ to ‘Symphonic Oratorio’.

The banner on the background of the stage of Music Academy in the release function prominently displayed ‘A Symphonic Oratorio by Ilayaraja’. A cabinet minister of Indian govt, many prominent personalities including Ilayaraja were present on the stage. This function was telecast in TV media.

 
 

While announcing a project “Mozart meets India”, Tamil Maiyam founder Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had called his Thiruvasakam project as “Thiruvasagam – Symphonic Oratorio” [18 March 2006 News Update Service, The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006].

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj producer of the Thiruvasakam project had misled music students of India that Symphonic Oratorio was a Western Musical form and Ilayaraja had employed that form to render Thiruvasakam. After Ilayaraja denied the use of Symphony in the Thiruvasakam project, Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj added the word Symphony to Oratorio probably to market his product in an unethical way. Being a Catholic priest with music background, he should have known that Western Music does not have a musical form called ‘symphonic oratorio’.

3. What are the defects in his Thiruvasakam project?

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had produced a Thiruvasakam project that would help to teach music students all possible defects
in a cross-cultural project involving Western Classical Music and South Indian Classical Music.

As a producer he failed to do proper ground work for his project, misled Ilayaraja to undertake this defective project and misused Ilayaraja’s musical fame to gather funds and market this product cheating innocent buyers most of whom bought this product believing it to be ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’.

It is unfortunate that the President, Prime Minister and other VIPs had become victims by felicitating this project, a black mark in the history of Indian Music.

The defects are related to the confusion in the musical forms employed, music interval, wrong choice of vocalist and musical aesthetics.

Read the following if you want to know more on the defects:

You have seen above the confusion in the musical forms, Symphony, Oratorio and Symphonic Oratorio.

(i) Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s Thiruvasakam music project involved two different kinds of music, Western Classical and Carnatic. Western Classical and Carnatic music have different kinds of music intervals.

In Western music, keyboard and fretted instruments follow Equal Temperament. Violinists and vocalists unaccompanied by Equal Temperament instruments in Western Music may follow Just Intonation. The intervals of Carnatic Music will be different from these. Hence any music project involving Western Classical music and Carnatic music must take into account these differences and work out a compromise. Then the musicians must be trained in this scheme. Recording must start after completing these formalities. Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasakam did not seem to follow these procedures. Brochures accompanying such projects must explain these procedures. A computer based objective investigation will bring out all these shortcomings, a valuable project for music research students.

(ii) The next shortcoming in this project is the employment of Ilayaraja’s voice, which suits well for folk and film music. [eg. ‘Thenpandi Seemaiyele’ in ‘Nayakan’]. But his voice will not be suitable for classical music like Carnatic music.

For spiritual chanting of Thiruvasakam, voice of experienced Othuvars [A special category of persons trained in chanting Saivite devotional text] will be good. For musical rendering of Thiruvasakam, voices of well-trained and experienced Carnatic vocalists will be good. The voice of Ilayaraja does not belong to either category.

Also this project failed to follow the traditional musical way of handling the Tamil words in Thiruvasakam. Instead of conceding to the defects in his project, Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his product. [Asian News Service– Chennai, March 20, 2006; 18 March 2006 News Update Service; The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006].

This means he had proceeded with his project without realizing the music potential of the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam and hence had used Ilayaraja’s voice for singing the Tamil lyrics thereby damaging their music richness. Without realising his mistakes, Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his project.

Apart from these, there are problems related to finer aspects of musical aesthetics of Western Classical Music and Carnatic Music in such projects.

4. Why is Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj’s claim of producing India’s first symphony wrong?

Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj had recently announced a new project called ‘Mozart meets India’. He had claimed that it would be India’s first symphony. [Indo-Asian News Service
– Chennai, March 20, 2006, New Indian Express, 19-3-2006]. He had not revealed who would be its composer. He had called it as ‘orchestral symphony’.

Is there any ‘non orchestral symphony’ in western classical music?

His previous project also started with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony ‘. Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj supported Ilayaraja’s claim of composing India’s first symphony in 1993.

After misusing the words symphony and ‘symphonic oratorio’ (?), Rev. Fr. Jegat Gaspar Raj started misusing ‘Mozart’ in his current project ‘Mozart meets India’ as he has admitted “The compositions do not directly correspond or relate to the creations of Mozart. The title is more allegoric as we consider Mozart the greatest composer of symphonies.”(The Hindu- Aug 2, 2006). Also he had identified it as “a global symphonic soundtrack based on six Carnatic ragas, Kapi, Sindhubhairavi, Panthuvarali, Sankarabharanam, Bilahari and Hamsanandhi,” (The Hindu- Aug 2,2006). Is the above mentioned word ‘symphonic’ “more allegoric” as it may not ‘not directly correspond or relate to’ the six Carnatic ragas? From the above, there can be only two possible conclusions. Either Rev. Fr. Jegat Gasper Raj does not know what is symphony, or he just misuses the words ‘symphony’ and ‘Mozart’ to get funds and market his product, unaware of the damages to the ethics of the music field and especially to music education in the process.

Dr. Vee wrote an email letter “Subject: India’s First Symphony?” on August 20, 2006 to the Members of Parliament, protesting against the error of the President and Prime Minister in felicitating “Mozart meets India” as a symphony.

 
 

JEGATH GASPAR RAJ- LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM [LTTE] LINK?

RADIO VERITAS DENIES VoT LINK REPORT
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=3381
www.tamilnet.com
[TamilNet, June 03, 1999 14:54 GMT]

Officials of Radio Veritas of the Philippines categorically denied on Monday that their service had any arrangement with the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio, as was reported by TamilNet on May 23, 1999.

TamilNet accepted the report was incorrect and published a correction today.
In a letter sent to TamilNet, Radio Veritas said the report was “baseless, misleading and irresponsible.” Radio Veritas “categorically denies any such development” the letter said.
TamilNet officials said they had apologised to Radio Veritas for the error.

The TamilNet report- of Veritas co-ordinating with the VoT- was quoted in sections of the Sri Lankan press.

Father Gaspar Raj Jegath, coordinator of the radio’s Tamil service, contacted by TamilNet, said “This [report] has created unnecessary misconception among various quarters and anxiety among Catholic leaders.”

“However, it is also to be noted that none of the media which focused on this news had the journalistic courtesy to contact us,” he added. “Our radio has always rejected cultural violence, and condemned all acts of terror,” he said in reaction to press reports. “We have consistently taken an anti-war, anti violence and pro-peace approach.” “We have always sympathised with and prayed for all victims in the conflict in Sri Lanka, be they Sinhalese or Tamils” he said further. “Furthermore, we have made investments in educating people for peace,” he said. “We strive to help people face the daily problems and stress arising out of living in a conflict zone” he said. The radio receives nearly 4000 letters from listeners each month, said Veritas officials.

 
 

Media & the Tamil Struggle – UTHR(J) – a  mouthpiece of Sri Lankan government. A Response

by V. Thangavelu
http://www.tamilnation.org/media/tamil/thangavelu2.htm
Canada, 11 August 2000

UCAN is the official news agency of the Catholic Church in Asia. The news story filed by its correspondent from Colombo on August 02, 2000 quoted UTHR (J) Bulletin No.23 which
accused, inter alia, the Tamil Service of Radio Veritas as a mouthpiece for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
It further quoted the Bulletin, which accused the Catholic Church of supporting separatist Tamil rebels.

Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image… The PR technique is simple enough: minimise the human rights abuses, talk about it as a ‘complex’ two sided story, play up efforts at reform, speak of all the positive ‘modernisation’ that is going on … If possible, it is best to put these words in the mouth of some apparently ‘neutral’ group of ‘concerned citizens’, or a lofty institute with academic credentials.”  (Richard Swift, New Internationalist, in Mind Games, July 1999). This refers to the UCAN news story “Sri Lanka Human Rights Group accuses Church of supporting separatist Tamil Groups”(UCAN – August 2, 2000) In the first place this human rights group UTHR (J) is an organization which does not speak for or on behalf of the teachers of the University of Jaffna

Radio Veritas is reporting the human suffering and deprivation of close to half-a million Tamil refugees languishing in the mosquitoes infested jungles of Vanni. This is something any religious organization that believes in justice, fairness and Christian charity should do, more so Veritas an organization committed to spread the word of truth.

The accusation that Veritas is indulging in “propaganda on behalf of the rebels” is palpably false. What it really does is to expose the evils of violence and war. To my mind Veritas is standing on the side of justice in the war between good and evil! Between freedom and slavery! Between the oppressed and the oppressor!

It will be very un-Christian if Veritas is to turn a blind eye to the horrendous human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan government’s armed forces against a defenceless people. It is an insult to the intelligence, learning and intellect of the Catholic priests for the UTHR (J) to make the spurious claim that “through a handful of priests the LTTE been able to push the CHURCH to support its propaganda.”

How can the LTTE fighting the Sinhala army in the jungles of Vanni “push the CHURCH” to support its propaganda? Is the CHURCH so weak, feeble and pliant that a guerrilla group can push it around?

That will be an affront to the 2000 years old CHURCH founded by St. Peter!
I have heard Father Gaspar Raj who heads the Veritas Tamil service is going out of the way to denounce all forms of violence. It did not matter to him whether it is Tamil or Sinhala violence. Over the years, he has become a source of hope and solace to thousands of war victims, women who lost their husbands, men who lost their wives, parents who lost their sons and daughters. The thousands of letters he receive every month are proof that people do appreciate his humble services. I hope Father Gaspar Raj will ignore the mudslinging campaign to tarnish Veritas Tamil service, by some self-seeking individuals and ‘human rights groups’ like the UTHR (J). He should continue to be the voice of the voiceless and bear the cross on behalf of the oppressed people.

 
 

MAJOR FUND RAISER

The Jungle Telegraph- The Sunday Times by Aliya 24th March 2002

http://lakdiva.org/suntimes/020324/jungle.html
http://lakdiva.com/suntimes/020324/jungle.html

A major fund raising event for the LTTE has been planned by one of its acknowledged fronts, the Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organisation (or the TRRO) in New York today.

The ticket prices for the event have been advertised at $ 25, $50, $500 and $1,000.

Gaspar Raj of Radio Veritas, Philippines has been listed as the keynote speaker.

Included in the cultural events is a dance item by Miss Anitha Sivaraman, grand daughter of one time Tamil Nadu strongman, film idol and Chief Minister, M.G. Ramachandran.

The TRRO and the World Tamil Movement (WTM), which the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service says is a front of the LTTE, share the same address in Canada – 861 Broadview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4K 2PG.
Write in to :
The Sunday Times
or to
Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

 
 

THE ‘TRUTHFUL’ TAMIL RADIO – Part 2
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

http://www.tamilcanadian.com/northeastern_herald/pageview.php?ID=799&SID=135&pr_v=yes
Source: Sunday Leader Copyright 2002-2006, Northeastern Herald, e-mail: webmaster@tamilcanadian.com EXTRACT:
Radio stations like Veritas despite their scope and scale have assumed great value and importance. These radios do not have to indulge in propaganda. A simple presentation of the truth regarding developments in Sri Lanka is capable of exerting a tremendous influence in informing people. To a Sinhala dominated state that consistently tries to control and manipulate news pertaining to the oppressed Tamil minority and the brutal repressive war even the tiniest sound of truth needs to be silenced. Since it does not want to perhaps get entangled with the Catholic church it has adopted a virulent propaganda drive against the Veritas Tamil service in recent times
.

Official and unofficial propagandists of the state have been conducting a vilification campaign against the Veritas Tamil service and its youthful director on a systematic basis. The charge as usual is that the service is a Tiger propaganda outlet and that Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj its director is pro-LTTE. Fortunately for Fr. Gaspar Raj he is an Indian national and a native of Kanniyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. Had he been a Sri Lankan Tamil it would have been a simple matter to brand him as a Tiger.

Also if he was answerable to the Sri Lankan Bishops his wings may have been clipped long ago. More drastically he would have been arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act and incarcerated indefinitely without trial. So the vilification campaign goes on unabatedly. In recent times influential sections of the Catholic clergy too have climbed on to this bandwagon for undisclosed reasons.

A disturbing aspect however was the recent conduct of two Sri Lankan Bishops in relation to RVA’s Tamil service. The authority of the Catholic church is highly autonomised on a territorial basis. Each priest is answerable only to his Diocesan Bishop. As such if any Bishop has a ‘bone of contention’ to be resolved with a priest or programme of another Diocese the Protocol norm is for him to communicate with the relevant Bishop responsible. This is all the more important when it concerns the priest of a different country.

Fr. Gaspar Raj though the director of the Veritas Tamil service is an Indian national and is directly responsible only to the Arch Bishop of Madurai Arokkiyasamy. If anyone in Sri Lanka had a ‘problem’ with Fr. Gaspar Raj then the proper protocol to follow would have been to communicate directly with Arch Bishop Arokkiyasamy.

Sri Lankan Catholic Bishop of Anuradhapura, Rt. Rev. Oswald Gomis and Bishop of Badulla Rt. Rev. Winston Fernando were embroiled in a controversy over radio Veritas recently. Bishop Gomis is the general secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences while Bishop Fernando is the national director of Communications in the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka.

Both have reportedly ‘complained’ directly to the authorities in charge of Radio Veritas in Manila about the Tamil service and its director Gaspar Raj.

In a blatant breach of protocol the Sri Lankan Bishops had pressurised the Veritas authorities to summon Fr. Gaspar Raj for a meeting with them where they intended objecting to the programme. Fr. Gaspar Raj had apparently agreed as a matter of courtesy provided Tamil Catholic priests knowledgeable about the Tamil programme were allowed to be present so that any accusation by the Bishops who had no first hand knowledge of the Tamil service contents could be responded to.

The Bishops had refused to let any other Sri Lankan Tamil priest be present. Therefore Fr. Gaspar Raj had declined gracefully. It is learnt that the Bishops ‘chagrined’ over an ordinary priest’s refusal to meet with them had then adopted the correct protocol of complaining to Arch Bishop Arokkiyasamy who in turn responded to the Sri Lankan Bishops in suitable manner.

The eye of this ‘ecclesiastical’ Indo – Lankan Catholic storm Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj is a mild mannered person whose vocation is the priesthood. He has three Masters Degrees in theology, political science and mass communications. He has a natural talent and flair for broadcasting.

Although in his mid thirties Fr. Gaspar Raj’s voice has a tone and tenor that conveys the sense of a deep and sincere maturity and dedication. The easy manner in which he collects various pieces of information from accredited sources and then weaves them into a coherent analytical piece is very often brilliant. His voice and form of speaking too is very comfortably soothing to the ear and emits compassion. He sincerely believes that the Sri Lankan Tamils are an abandoned friendless lot. Being temperamentally inclined towards the underdog he feels it is his calling in life to speak out for the persecuted Tamils. It is his spiritual vocation in life. A point he emphasises over and over again is that he is NOT a Tamil Nationalist. His concern and dedication towards the Tamil plight is on a humanitarian and humane basis alone.

Fr. Gaspar Raj’s mission is motivated now by the spirit of Christian witnessing.
The recipient of thousand lakhs of letters from the time he took over Veritas in 1995, the priest has obtained a first hand insight of the Tamil problem through the testimonies of the people themselves. In fact he himself experienced the ‘Damascus effect’ that transformed Saul to Paul through a letter written by a Sri Lankan Tamil girl Sivashankari.

The man considered to be a ‘Tiger’ by his detractors was a vehement anti-LTTE personality when he assumed office in Manila. His family is from Kanniyakumari district in Tamil Nadu a bastion of the Congress leader Kamarajar.

Fr. Gaspar Raj was extremely angry at the LTTE over assassinating Rajiv Gandhi and was openly critical of that organisation. The turning point came in the form of Shivashankari’s letter that prompted him to see the other side too. Thereafter there were many letters all speaking innermost thoughts aloud. The priest changed…

 
 

SO, IS FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ AN LTTE SYMPATHIZER OR NOT?

I reproduce this report from an earlier page:

The Sri Kanaga Durga Temple Hindu Youth Council is in the process of organising a Tamil Hindu conference in London. The Chief Guest at this conference would be Rev. Fr. Jegath Casper.

The other invitees include Dr. Jeyakularajah of the LTTE‘s White Dove Organisation and Reggie of the LTTE‘s Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation. The organisers of this Conference have by their action exposed their close connections to the LTTE. Source: http://www.epdpnews.com/news-Englishl-Archi11.html
31 May, 2003.

“Knowing Father’s connection with Eelam Groups and Srilankan Diaspora”: an Ilaiyaraaja Yahoogroups member states it matter-of-factly.

Another writes: “Fr Gaspar’s background is that of Eelam’s cause” [for both references see further down].

Also check out “M. Jegath Gaspar’s article ‘Sri Lanka Arasiyal- Sila Thelivugal Thevai’ in Nam Vazhvu of July 2, 2006.

[It is a matter of coincidence that Fr. Jegath’s mentor Bishop Antony Devotta is of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. His family ran an enterprise by the name of Ceylon Bakery in Santhome, Madras that this writer’s family used to patronise.]

 
 

THE ILAIYARAAJA FAN CLUB YAHOOGROUPS ON ‘THIRUVASAGAM’

THE HUB. View Topic: THIRUVASAKAM IN SYMPHONY Hub Magazine thiruvasakam in symphony

[NOTE: ‘IR’= Ilaiyaraaja. TM= Tamil Maiyam. Fr. Jegath’s name is grossly mis-spelt in various postings]

http://www.thiruvasakaminsymphony.com/v_eng.htm#8a

Page 1. oldposts Veteran Hubber Posted: Sat Dec 25, 2004 11:29 pm    

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Post subject: thiruvasakam in symphony

Topic started by Sridhar Seetharaman

BEFORE THE THIRUVASAGAM RELEASE:
Page 2. oldposts Veteran Hubber Posted: Sat Dec 25, 2004 11:29 pm

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15&sid=9cddd72061230c94ed2b27756cdc893f

Now it is only more clear why such a delay in the release.

These fellows are only talking big money, and money is the only concern. Nothing noble or selfless as Jageth and the gang have potraited to be to this forum.

Page 5. kannansanderson Newbie Hubber Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:17 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60

Info from TIS-USA site

US$
INR


Orchestra-Hungary 58,000 2,726,000
English Lyrics Stephan Schwartz 15,000 705,000
Richard King Sony Mixing 27,000 1,269,000
Ilaiyaraaja-Travel Stay Hospitality 10,000 470,000
Chorus recording India 50,000 2,350,000
Admin Overheads 4,000 188,000
Total 164,000 7,708,000
Loans India 100,000 4,700,000
Loans USA 50,000 2,350,000
Total 150,000 7,050,000
The Tamil Maiyam web site gives a donation list totaling to Rs.10.5 lacs.
The TIS-USA site lists the names of the donors but not the amount. Hence we don’t know the total donation inflow from the USA. Sometime back Fr. Jegath mentioned a
loan of USD 100,000 for himself and USD 40,000 for Mr. Sankar Kumar.
When I thought even Rs.77 lacs is a mind-boggling sum for a 60-minute album, Fr. Jegath talks of a total expense of Rs.1.2 crores. I just don’t understand many things here. Some of the expense figures are obnoxious, to say the least. On what basis some one could have spent so much on a single album?

Page 8. jaiganes Seasoned Hubber Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:36 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=105

Father Jegath Gaspar of Tamil Maiyam said that as Catholic priests, they have taken up this project to highlight Thiruvasagam which says that god is one — “I salute the one that is called Siva in the south, but known as God throughout the world.”

Page 10.
TISK
Devoted Hubber Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 7:49 pm

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=135

Here it is! With kind permission from Dr. Vijay of IIR fan club. A bit too long! Please enjoy!
First of all, let me apologize for being a day late in posting the minutes of the First Meeting of

`Friends for Good Music’, which was held at JD Hall in Loyola College, Chennai between 4 pm and 7 pm on Sunday, March 20, 2005. The meeting was organized by Tamil Maiyam (www.tamilmm.com) and Maestro Ilaiyaraaja Fans Club (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ilaiyaraaja)….

During his reply to Mr A. Clement, a Chartered Accountant, Rev Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj
encouraged him to get presenting sponsorship from multinational companies like the one Clement mentioned, as that would virtually bring the financial load on Tamil Maiyam to a minimum. Currently, the secular organization is paying money in lakhs every month, as interest for the loans that it has incurred for producing the album. He assured that most of the churches and catholic organizations were in support of him in this project and he mentioned that his bishop had really appreciated him for doing this project, as inter-religious dialogue was one of the duties of a catholic priest for maintaining religious harmony. Therefore, there is no necessity for anybody to feel that way, he added… There was another singer in the gathering. He sang many songs which the audience had never heard, but are waiting with lots of patience in full musical appetite (as rightly pointed out by Mr Karthikeya Sundaram)! Can you guess?
Yes – it was Rev Fr Jegath Gasper Raj and the songs he sang were the ones composed and rendered by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja for `Thiruvasakam By Ilaiyaraaja’! For every song, the crowd came up with thunderous claps and we only needed more and more of it!…

Dr J Vijay Venkatraman. Founder & Moderator, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja Fans Club at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ilaiyaraaja

Page 17. kannansanderson Newbie Hubber Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 9:53 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=240

As to Fr Jegath’s comments that big companies like Sony/Universal are not interested in South Indian music, I would like to add some thing. No music company will touch a product unless they have a clarity on the target audience and target market. That too a product for which already you guys have pumped in so much money.
Lack of knowledge and planning is evident here in the way in which things happened. Of course, the attitude seem to be “after all it is other peoples money” and the supreme over confidence that once complete then this product will sell like a hot cake. And we will not only return the n number of blokes from whom loans have been taken but make enough money to do this and that etc…. In the end, you have clearly over spent far above the possible returns. Of course, the total collections and expenses details are yet to be published. But even a guesstimate must be mind boggling, I am sure. Because there were hints in some of the mails and announcements that this

initial project cost will touch Rs.1.0 crore. That is really a huge sum for a 60 minute album, if you know music business!

…The last update in your site was on 3rd Dec.
Where is the Rev. Father? Why no news man? Naturally people are concerned. Because they have paid for this project….KS

Page 20. MumbaiRamki Regular Hubber Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:11 pm

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=285

Translation of IR’s interview in Vikatan …. [Ananda Vikadan, a Tamil journal]
<Question > How was the experience of working with a christian priest (Fr. Jegath Gasper) for composing a symphony for hindu literature?


<Answer>
The Catholic Father has
huge intrest in Tamizh Literature and
devotional respect for Thiruvasagam.
By chance i mentioned to him about this idea -Its divine play that who says what and who does what !After he was ready to manage the project financially ,the one thought that flashed in my mind ” God is above all religions ‘ !

Page 25. alwarpet_andavan Seasoned Hubber Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:34 am  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=360

http://soonapaana.blogspot.com/2005/06/20-minutes-of-electric-shock.html

I bought a CD of Ilaiyaraaja Live in Italy CD before i went for the Ilaiyaraaja Fan club meet at the
Santhome Communications Center
at Luz Church road… There were three other press persons also, to cover the event. Dr. Vijay had even made a banner of our club with a portrait of the Maestro. Then came Rev Father Jegath
who gave a very clear and information-filled speech… He gave the sweet shock of the day when he announced that he was going to treat us with a sample of Thiruvasagam By Ilaiyaraaja in his modern studio. The buzz started amonst us from the moment. We switched off our mobiles, removed our footwear and stepped into the studio whose lights were soon turned off. Father told us that he would be playing the master-piece from the album, the 18-odd minute Oratorio…
One remark by a person said it all: “I don’t believe in God, as i’m an atheist, but

i just had a spiritual experience
2. That’s enough for me for a lifetime”…
Page 26. rajasaranam Senior Hubber Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:53 am  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=375

Father is very much convinced that If this project becomes a success and reaches atleast 3 lakh units in first 3 months. He can make IR give us such GEMS every 6 months…

AFTER THE THIRUVASAGAM RELEASE:

Page 31. 12bums Junior Hubber Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:06 pm  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=450

The TIS Team, especially Fr Jegath – Congrats to you. But more than that, THANK YOU! Because, I think that withoutyour efforts, I doubt, whether we would have got this gem out of Raja.
I pray, that more and more musically inclined people work with him and excavate many more gems.

 
 

NOTE: If Thiruvasagam had not bombed, we woud have been inflicted with many more such spiritual escapades.

Page 39. gopiharan Newbie Hubber

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=570

…the hummings and the chorus has completely winded me to a unknown place, i felt as if i am stepping to a place somewhere near to the vicinity of Lord Shiva. No exagerration…its is just a true feeling….the background symphony, the hummings, the vocals has put the impact that the listeners are slowly nearing to Lord’s Dharshan something similar to Tirupathi Lord Balaji’s Dharhsan…

Page 40. crvenky Junior Hubber Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:36 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=585

Gopiharan, I echo your sentiments and experience on ‘near God’ vision.
If you hear Namachivaya vazhga chorus in the middle of Polla vinayen track (especially while listening during early mornings) you will experience as if you are in Himalayas entering the abode of Shiva. You can also experience visuals like the opening sequence in Thiruvilayadal – Lord Shiva accompanied by Devas, Nandi, etc.

Page 42. sats Junior Hubber Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:01 am

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=615

…Next time when i visit shiva temple with my 2 yr old daughter it would be easy for me to tell about Manika vasagar quoting the symphony to make her understand…

Page 47. gopiharan Newbie Hubber Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:15 am

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=690

yesterday, i had been to shanti tailors, mylapore to get a CD (too late isn’t it!)….. just when i came out of the shop and
without my knowledge i turned right & looked at the Kabaleeswarar temple gopuram, the word ‘ANBE SIVAM’ conveyed it all!
Ellam Avan Seyal!!

Page 57. njv Seasoned Hubber Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:11 am  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=840

TIS will be played in Bridgewater Temple (NJ, USA) on Monday evening
(thats the “timeslot” they have for Lord shiva!!!!). One of the priest who listened to it says “Its a must to have for temples”. He rated this product very high from “religious” perspective
and he was very impressed with the first song. Efforts are on the way to play TIS in temples around NY/NJ area.

NOTE: The above postings solidly underline that Thiruvasagam is Shiva worship.

Page 59.TISK Devoted Hubber Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:51 am

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=870

The much talked about DVD is not yet out anywhere! Fr. Jegath is hopeful of getting it underway by today and an official announcement will be made at our site in the next 24 hrs.
…I am also trying to get the dance number played out by the

Stella Mary’s*
students
during the Launch in Chennai as a bonus and let me hope that it materializes.
[Stella Mary’s*: Stella Maris is a Catholic women’s college run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary]

Page 65. raja_fan Regular Hubber Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 4:19 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=960

“What Sandhya Vandhanam and Gayatri japam cannot do, Thiruvasagam by Ilayaan will!”

Believe me…You have to experiment chanting Gayatri Mantra at least for a month and then judge its power! Sandhya vandhanam / Gayathri do not belong to any particular community.

Page 67. rajdes Devoted Hubber Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:44 am

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=990

A lot of people have been raising questions “why public subscriptions for sponsoring the project? why not personal pocket of iR ?” etc. Hope the following excerpt from his Frontline magazine interview answers these people:
” Ilaiyaraaja took over again at this point: I started working on the project as early as 2000. When I approached big people for funds (I don’t want to mention any name) many could not even understand the concept or its significance. They did not realise that it would get a place in history later. They saw it only as scoring music for some devotional songs and wondered why it should be so expensive. They did not respond. More than their refusal to participate, I was hurt by the way they approached the project. Generally I do not go for such help.

About 10 years ago I undertook to construct the principal towers of the Siva temple at Thiruvannamalai and the Vaishnavite temple at Srirangam; I spent my own money for the projects. I did not collect money from others. I could have completed the Thiruvasagam project also without any financial assistance from others, but did not wish to do so. When the project was conceived, I was reminded of a remark made by the late Kanchi Senior Acharya.

He said that in the olden days, even if a king wanted to construct a temple tower, he would not do it with his own money, but collected funds from the people for the purpose. The idea was that there should be participation by the people. That was why I was keen that others should also join in this venture. Significantly, my fans have extended their help and Tamil Maiyam had taken their money only as loans to complete this project.
Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai has been the key person in coordinating the entire work and I should thank him for this.”

NOTE: It becomes evident that Thiruvasagam is not selling. Accusations are leveled, excuses are given.

Blame is apportioned. And ‘TISK’, obviously one of the co-organizers, starts pushing for fans to buy more.

Page 71. ezy0265 Junior Hubber Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:47 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1050

TISK,
also please stop urging us to buy one more CD.
We have all done our part and finally I have bought my own second copy original CD from Singapore. Even though my whole campus TLS members were waiting to buy the original, you folks were simply sitting on it and did not even bother to get it supplied to our distributors on time. Some of us got so sick of your incompetencies, that including myself we downloaded our TiS from the web. Don’t blame us!!! You people promised so much and then did such a sloppy job in marketing and promoting the product. At least you could have got the CDs to the main distributors in time……but no I have been observing you all basically “kundu sattikulla kuthure ottigal” mathiri doing a cheap and unreliable MLM scheme of marketing and that too all for free!!! Please you could have made this a blockbuster, for the amount of “free” publicity that you have got from all media forms including TV channels and radio channels. Yet without showing any figures of actual sales done so far, you are still asking the same old folks to buy more. Where is the logic and fairness in this please tell me. Buy now we should have been told exact sales figures, which we are all sure is very very good from what we have abserved and heard from friends all over.

vijayr Senior Hubber Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:08 pm 

I have always thought that TIS-USA wasnt properly acknowledged. In most interviews Fr. Gasper would talk about his own loans and not aword about the NRI contribution. I hope someone tells IR that without TIS-USA, TIS would have been just his dream and little else.

Page 75. ananth222 Junior Hubber Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:57 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1110

…actually the singer praises lord shiva… don’t know if any of you have heard this:
http://www.shaivam.org/gallery/audio/tirumurai/p_8_namaccivaya.mp3
It is shivapuranam from thiruvasakam as recited by odhuvars
4.

Most of the lines correspond to “polla vinayen” from the album.

Page 76. thumburu Devoted Hubber Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:10 am 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1125

A Vedic chant [For example, take the Gayathri mantra] has few notes that is meant to create certain spiritual vibration [Like the OM chant is akin to the primordial sound] to the listener and it is not meant to showcase any musical beauty.

Page 78. TISK Devoted Hubber Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:59 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1155

I once again request all those who have bought the CD/DVD, to BUY one more copy from us as a gift to someone else or influence one more person to buy this great album to fulfill our commitments.

crvenky Junior Hubber Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:53 am 

TIS making huge loss!

http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B215FC4D3%2DF91D%2D4425%2DBFD0%2DCE7FDF1B4031%7D&CATEGORYNAME=Chennai

TISK Devoted Hubber Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 7:31 pm  

“We are facing a loss of Rs 1 crore,” said Fr Jegath, with a smile. How he can smile when faced with such a situation, God only knows – or perhaps Manickavasagar does.
Perhaps one more person also knows it!

vijayr Senior Hubber Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:40 pm  

“Tamil Maiyam has recovered barely Rs 40 lakh against the total investment of Rs 1.40 crore,” said Fr Jegath. how? wasnt atleast 40% of the original 1.4Cr investment donated by well-wishers? Shouldnt the losses be lower? Or am I missing something?

Page 79. TISK Devoted Hubber Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:22 am 

To fecilitate our members and fans in USA and to encourage people to make use of and think of this great album as their only [?!?!] or one of the gift items during this HOLIDAY SEASON, we are pleased to inform you all that the prices of TiS album and DVD have been reduced!! Visit www.tis-usa.com for details and we request you to avail of this great opportunity and make TiS a memorable gift to your friends and families. We thank you for your continued support!

Zz Junior Hubber Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:34 am 

TISK, Its a good way of emptying your shelf….I do not know why such begging is happening always here for TIS.. I guess,
TIS will become the only album in the world which was bought and gifted the most…and people who bought it were the same set of people who took it upon themselves to promote it by just gifting it…

How much man…how much money should one pour in to buy TIS and gift it to some one who does not bother to check it himself about this good work..
See, TIS will sell with out any hype, if it has the stuff, which I guess it has in plenty…if it did not sell then assume that people did not like it and move on…Let IR move on and come up with aeven better project…That should be the spirit…rather that go around temples and this forum urging people to buy in bulk and just GIFT it away..
lets face the fact straight on its face..TIS is the only album that I knew in my known history that recieved free publicity from both Print and electronic media… and it sold to some extent because of it… topping some charts for a while..
If the actual figues are disputed by Welgate and father jegath is still suffering because of the blunder IR commited by offering it to Welgate inspite of Sony in the race is none of publics business…

Lets leave the general Public and IR’s dignity at peace atleast for some time…Lets stop this begging in the for of request to buy more….. Come on What’s the LIMIT???? I have bought 3 and spent my hard earned money..I do not repent for that but your repeated calls are disgusting.

Page 80. rajasaranam Senior Hubber Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:09 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1185

I myself sold over 50 CD’s over her in chennai and iam happy that it has in someway monetarily helped Fr. Jegath and Tamil mayyam. I appeal The US fans to buy atleast 10 CD’s from their own pockets and help TISK get out his crisis soon. $200’s wont be a big amount for those staying in US i Presume.

arjuna Devoted Hubber Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:26 am  

Guys – I know all this before itself – Some of my relatives in UK were telling me about Father’s plight! And I was wondering what on earth was all this!

Page 82. rajasaranam Senior Hubber Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:20 am

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1215

The project was conceived by Raja and eventually got hold of a Production house called
‘Tamil Mayyam’ lead by Father Jegath. The agreement was such that TM will mobilize funds for the production of the album and Raja will be involved only in scoring the music. In the beginning it was stated that it will be produced in 4 languages viz., Tamil, Hindi, English and german and the proceeds will ‘go into setting up a music college in Srilanka and Tamilnadu respectively. By and By they dropped the plan of producing in 4 languages and went for producing it only in tamil. They also dropped the plan of setting up a music college. I dont know what transpired in between and they came up saying that The profit will be shared 50-50 between IR and TM.
But any common businessman will know this part on TM was a blunder. Considering the production cost of Rs. 1.4 crores [as claimed by TM] it means that IR too has invested the same amount of money through writing scores. roughly stating – if he is worth of 50% of profit he should have invested 50% of money. This clearly shows how IR was cunning from the beggining and how TM was fooled in the whole transaction.

While Fr. was running around getting donations and pre-publication orders IR was happily involved in writing scores and recording it . TISK and other US members [some of them backed off i know] gave in their soul and money to realise this dream. I dont know whether TISK gave them the money as Donation or Pre-publication orders But the money was raised and the product was realised for market. Suddenly IR came out saying in Jan-05 that all the profits will be going into Tsunami victims rehabilitation work. This was not done. He wont do it.
The Negotiations were on and IR struck a deal with ‘Wellgate’ groups without Fr.’s consent. Now TM is left nowhere
. Knowing Father’s connection with Eelam Groups* and Srilankan Diaspora
We hoped that He will be able to wriggle himself out from this crisis. Now IR/Wellgate trangressing into Those territories too doesn’t even give a gleam of hope for TM to recover. I cant understand till now what is there in the Agreement between TM and IR. how can IR violate those clauses of 50-50 and go scotfree. *See Fr. Jegath/Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, earlier
I was holding a belief that this is an unique venture where public are involved and eventually its being done for a good cause – making reach our Tamil Literature to the world and some proceeds going to TM, a non-profit people’s organisation. But the happenings suggest people not to believe in any future ventures like this I will be happy the day i see IR getting Royally screwed by TM in court. I would strongly suggest TISK into persuading TM for suing IR/Wellgate and get back what they really deserve.

Page 84. rpattabi Newbie HubberPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:26 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1245

Sometime before there was a news item in chennaionline, titled “Thiruvasagam is a huge success considering , but
big loss when it came to money. I could not just get that article now on chennaionline. I hope some of u saw that, because it was a shocking news for me at that time. Fr. Jeg pointed out the total sale came to 40lakhs. But with the number of CDs and cassettes sold and the possible expenditure, with lot of tolerance, I could just calculate simply 70+ lakhs. I was so surprised, as it was straight forward to see that Thiruvasagam is success per monitory view also. And I immediately commented this back to the article which never appeared to my dismay. Things will be always speculative unless the responsible parties like Fr. Jeg, Raaja if necessary, Welgate, etc come up with ‘proper’ formal information.

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:05 pm 

Fr Gaspar had a chance meeting with IR out of the blue and IR told him about his dream and Jegath said we will get the funds,
”even if we have to go to hell”
14. The very statement with which Fr Gaspar made his first posting in TFM soliciting funds.
Are they in ‘hell’ now?not surprised.

Tamil Mayam was an unknown entity in this forum and following this project, suddenly they had an immediate impact among IR fans initially and later amongst the tamil people during the pre release promotion and post release glory of TIS. Who knew about them before all this, very few maybe. They have to pay royalty to IR as long as they exist as an organisation for the popularity they reaped due to this association.

app_engine Senior Hubber Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:07 pm 

All the above discussion kind of got triggered by a news on a website…

http://www.tamilcinema.com/CINENEWS/Hotnews/2005/oct/291005a.asp

It simply states that while [Fr.] Gaspar & [Fr.] Vincent
were discussing with some disti in UK (not finalized), they were shocked to learn that IR has already concluded an agreement with another disti for UK… it still doesn’t allege fraud. Where does it say that the money out of the proceeds will NOT go to TM?

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:31 pm  

Loans are taken either to get out of financial crisis or if a profit is forseen from investments from loans. In this project, the former is not the case and latter is a gamble TM and TIS-USA took and they have to face the consequences. They have to first prove that the claims of loans is authentic if they want to use it as a reason to be bailed out in a public forum. This is the first time I have heard some one taking loans for charity intentions.
To me it seemed completely out of order when TISK group appealed to people in this forum to take loans and donate for this project. Total loss of judgement (insane?)- is my take on this.
In spite of repeated pleas to come out with accounts, neither TIS-USA nor TM have come out with accounts. How much was recieved as donations? how much was recieved as corporate sponsorships prior to release? What is the true expense for producing the CD?

1.4 crores for this production does not sound true.
Hungarian symphony orchestra – easter european orchestras are cheap because many of then are cash strapped and would welcome anyone if they come with some funds. Stephen Swartz contribution of few lines is not going to cost the earth. neither is the use of studio facilities of Sony or Richard King. If am completely mistaken, then please come out with actual costs.

Page 85. kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:13 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1260

…Is there anyone who sincerely believes that either TM and TIS-USA is one day going to come out and say, stop giving us your money. We have made enough. This is a project with a bottomless pit. the more you give the more it wants!!!

Fr Gaspar’s background is that of Eelam’s cause and there are a lot of them willing to give just for this (personal experience). It is the bit about ‘going to hell’14 to achieve a purpose that strikes a wrong chord for me….

njv Seasoned Hubber Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:40 pm

The story is Fr. [Jegath Gaspar Raj] made lot of money and to avoid paying tax he is “creating” all this news. Now should we believe that. I wouldnt after talking to TISK, but so many ppl do believe.

Page 89.
vijayr Senior Hubber Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 6:26 pm  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1320

rajasaranam who has met Fr. Jegath has also said that all is not well….

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 7:40 pm

main beneficiaries in this controversy are Tamil Mayam and TIS-USA since they risk going into oblivion if they do not trumpet their contribution to TIS. So they need to keep this issue alive to get maximum ‘mileage’ out of TIS (mileage is recognition and more funds to fulfill their own agenda).
TM has made its
gains from this project, not monetarily but in terms of what they can achieve in future.

TISK is either a loser or wants more.

IR has done his bit and
if TIS survives beyond fifty years, it will carry his name and not TIS-USA or TM.

A
very similar relationship as Manikavasagar and the madurai king. Manikavasagar was given vast sum of money and was directed by the king to proceed to the east coast and procure quality horses that were being traded there. Instead Manikavasagar adopted the life of a mendicant, and spent all his wealth renovating the temple at Tirupperunturai
dedicated to Shiva. The king, upon seeing no sign of the promised horses or his esteemed chief minister, sent out emissaries in search and was enraged to hear of what had happened. Manikavasagar was admonished and condemned to be tortured. Who is more important, the king or manikavasagar?

Page 90. TISK Devoted Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:57 am  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1335

Dear all, Pl. excuse me for my silence for the last few days. I was trying to get
a message from fr.J
and finally was able to! It has since been uploaded in our site
http://www.tis-usa.com/blog/index.html.

I thank all of you for your positive and constructive feed backs and request you sincerely to leave this at this time to take its own course and help us in any way to get the remaining 2,500 CD’s with us in USA to move to close this great chapter with satisfaction to everyone concerned. Corporates with Indian CEO’s or influential people may be approached to make this as a ‘group-buy’ for their employees during the coming holiday season. If anyone knows a ‘good link’ to citibank, pl. send me a mail. This can be a valuable promotional tool for them. Any other ideas also, pl. feel free to share it here. I will be posting a detailed account info. on our site shortly. And, again, a big Thanks to all of you!

Fr. Jegath wrote…

 
 

“LETTER FROM FR. JEGATH”

http://www.tis-usa.com/blog/2005/11/letter-from-fr-jegath.html

Originally posted on Ilaiyaraaja Yahoo Groups. November 11, 2005 EXTRACT:

Dear Friends, This mail pertains to a news item that appeared in some web based magazine and sites with regard to Thiruvasagam and UK distribution rights, and the resultant confusion among the fans… I really do not know. I heard people in the film industry talking about it. However I must also admit that no overseas distribution arrangement has been agreed so far (except Malaysia and Singapore) between Tamil Maiyam and Maestro. Reasons, I don’t intend to discuss in public. (Tamil Maiyam and Ilaiyaraaja Trust are holding joint copy rights, that too only for Tamil. Tamil Maiyam doesn’t have rights for tracks or interpolation in to other languages).

 
 

The agreement was signed under duress as IR had total control and possession of the tracks. The release of the album became our foremost concern and we had to agree to sign a contract prepared by his auditor. The original contract which we had signed at the start of the project had to be given up under such a situation. The only oral agreement we had on overseas distribution was to send 8000 CDs to TIS-USA under Dr. Sankar Kumar to settle the loans they had incurred to complete this magnum opus. It is indeed hurting and a crying shame for me personally and for Tamil Maiyam that these decent people in the USA were first asked by us to help, borrow and then dumped with CDs to sell and save themselves.
Right now what I can tell you is, for
a project in which we worked for three years, invested almost 1.5 crores – much of it through loans, and moved heaven and hell14 to make it a success, – what we have received from the distribution company– Welgate so far is only Rs. 5 lakhs. But for the sponsors we would be in a gravely serious crisis. So friends if you really care help us to sell some more CDs. Again Welgate was not our choice. Our choices were either Sony or Sarigama. Both were willing to release the album and the basics of the agreement had all been negotiated when
IR insisted on Welgate. Personally I may feel betrayed, insulted or humiliated and continue to have sleepless nights about the huge remaining debts. That’s OK. After all Thiruvasagam is a great project. We all made it a success. It has touched the souls of so many. Generations will relish this masterpiece.

Thank you. God bless us all. Cordially, Rev. Jegath Gaspar Raj

14People might try to move “heaven and earth” to accomplish something. But Fr. Jegath moved heaven and HELL!

Even Hindus here find the use of the word ‘hell‘ obnoxious, and suggest that he is experiencing it now with his debts.

Fr. Jegath used the word in his very first appeal for funds in this yahoogroup, and once again in his above message.

 
 

njv Seasoned Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:18 pm 

There is nothing to talk anymore. It is very clear that IR CHEATED TM. Either he master planned it or he did it based on the other sorrounding factor. Eitherway IR cheated TM, TIS-USA. I am ashamed of myself being an IR fan.

sats Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:52 pm 

Can anything be done about this. This needs to come in magazines and newspapers , how can this be made public.

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:07 pm 

If the intention is to sell the CDs, then one can attempt to do so by not smearing someone’s character. It is pretty shameful. Since the very beginning, there has been this persistent plea for donations and funds. Wonder when this will stop, lets see if we will see the end when these CDs are sold.
Fr Jegath’s letter doesn’t give any authentic facts in terms of how much donation was recieved from people, how much was recieved in terms of sponsorship deals. neither does it give any facts on what was the initial agreement and what changed later. He still moans about personal loans and sleepless nights without giving any details about it either. The cost of production seems to increase every couple of months, now it is 1.5 crores.

The letter instead is couched in a language of ambiguity, to feed more speculations and allowing people to take sides… I wonder if in their initial agreement they were told to take personal loans, anyway, they did and that seems to be a misjudgement on their part. Well even this loans bit, it is only as true as they say, no further evidence to prove these claims.
TIS-USA were given 8000 CDs to sell and make up their investment which is very business like in approach. They may have also been given a specific time frame to complete the sales (giving them a head start). Assuming that they are able to sell them at the average rate of 10 dollars each, they will make $80000. this is approximately rupees 3000000. There are about 350 people on the donor list and at the average rate of $100 each, it makes $35000 +/- 5000 which is Rs 1400000. Speculations and more speculations. A very effective ploy in keeping interest of people alive.

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:33 pm

I did hear that TM feared that IR may withold the release of TIS like Symphony 1 and hence yielded to his wishes.
This I heard from sources close to Fr Gaspar.
This was an information that has been circulated in private circles since the release of TIS which has only come to public domain now.
You chose to believe every word of Fr Gaspar, buy I am willing to doubt his words and want clear evidence.
The fact that IR’s auditor presented a contract and Fr Gaspar had no negotiating power considering what was at stake needs to be authenticated.

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:41 pm

If TM had funded from their own funds, without recourse to public funds over a period of time, I guess TM would have had better advantage in the negotiation. It would have been clearly a case of TM commissioning IR to compose the music and they would have held total rights as producers.
Because the funds were generated through donations prospectively, TM did not have sole production rights. TIS went into public domain, where IR held the copyright as a creator and

TM became a financier and not a producer. They did try to claim to be producers in stray media reports prior to the release.

Page 92. kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:41 pm  

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1365

from what Fr Gaspar’s letter states, it appears, that TM was more keen to bend backwards to get TIS released than IR was. Looks like IR was quite happy to not release it, but
TM panicked instead of playing the waiting game. So isn’t it obvious that TM had more to gain from its release.

 
 

kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:13 pm 

I am even beginning to suspect if the letter that is supposed to have come from Fr Gaspar to Yahoo Groups is a hoax. There is nothing there to convince me that it is from him. i am quite happy to be proved wrong for a start.

Page 94. kavin Junior Hubber Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:09 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1395

A scoop, breaking news..

Initial contract between TM and IR in 2002:

Both will jointly produce and hold ownership to TIS in all its forms (speculative then itself!!). TM will invest money. IR will compose. The profits if any will go towards starting music institutions. There was a clause that both parties have to agree on distribution details.

2-3 years later, TM campaigned nationally and internationally for donations.
Yahoo group got into action and tried to mobilise funds. Not enough. TIS-USA came in. Active campaigning was launched in US. Lukewarm response from Europe. TIS-USA attained significance. It faced barriers in the form of lack of credibility. IR was asked to visit US and add credibility to the project, since till then there was no word from him about the project. He made couple of speeches stating his wish and presented it as his dream.
By mid 2004 just enough funds and logistics for Tamil version with English lyrics which was completed by the end of 2004. Decision was made to release TIS in its present form and negotiations for distribution contracts commenced.
Sony was approached. Sony asked for sufficient pre-release orders to ascertain marketability. Insufficient pre-release orders and Sony was not interested. 4 months passed. Tsunami diverted attention of people. Charity was less forthcoming for TIS obviously in the aftermath of tsunami. Saregama made an initial agreement to distribute and negotiations were on to work out the details. Release dates were fixed. Some corporate sponsorship deals came along. TM was able to recover major part of its debts. TM’s confidence in TIS had by then waned and was not hoping for anything more and was only keen to break even and reap on the credibility of having helped make TIS. Whatever Saregama offered was good enough. IR decided otherwise and rejected the deal.
The clause in the original contract came in handy for IR. His agreement was necessary for any contract that TM made over TIS!!! Major fallout between TM and IR. IR threatened to withold release of TIS (‘duress’). Time was running out since the release date was fixed. The deadlock had to be sorted out between IR and TM. Both sit down again on the negotiation table to work out a compromise. TM surrenders the original contract.
The new contract: IR will hold the intellectual copyright for TIS-current version. TM will continue to hold joint ownership with IR for its future distribution in India only. The music company which will distribute TIS in its current version in India will be chosen by IR. TM will be given CDs to recover their financial investments and the corporate sponsorships will go to TM. TIS in its current form will be jointly presented so that TM is recognised for its efforts. TM will have no say in the contract negotiations of distributors abroad. A delay in distribution by any music company will be delayed in USA so that TM has sufficient time to recover its investments from USA. (apparently IR was supremely confident of his idea of fair play and maintained his smiling cordiality through out while TM just couldn’t break through the wall)
Above are only key points more interesting clause in the contract which will become evident in the near future.
The result: TM agrees to the new contract though cries foul privately.
Both parties agree to present cordiality in public prior to its release since it is in their best interest. TM/TIS-USA launches a fresh campaign asking donors to buy CDs in bulk not just for their own listening but also as a year long gifts to their friends. Campaigns for people to pre-order giving the impression that people may not get the CD otherwise and also promises same day delivery of its release. Making of TIS DVD confusion sets in. Yahoo Group works with TM in TN and manages the stalls for sales. Surprise surprise – TM runs out of CDs delivered by the music company within couple of days of release. No such luck to TIS-USA which struggles to empty its stocks. more later…..

rajdes Devoted Hubber Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:13 am 

we have finally descended to character-analysis of public persons so I guess I can post my 2 cents (which (literally) probably was my contribution anyway!:
1. It is clear that IR held up signing the agreement or forcing his agreement on Fr Jegath and TM.

2. Why did the latter take that? According to people who know him and TiSK, it is because of total benevolence and a desire to see IR’s monumental work released. We have to believe that – though personally
I do believe that each person in the chain had their own personal agenda (if it was no more rebirths for IR, I am sure Fr Jegath had some similar gratification as motivation.

3. It is clear that Fr Jegath, TM and TIS-USA have had the gratification of playing their part in something as ‘significant’ as TiS – which is clear from Fr Jegath’s latter as well.
4. Having done all this, now they are realising that they are 10 feet deep in water.
5. I am sorry, this was predicted way back in 2003 in this very forum, in this very thread. At that time, it was just someone playing the devil’s advocate. There were clear exhortations (from what looked like mischief makers then) that “What will you do if IR cheated you in this manner- yes, exactly the manner that has been described?”
6. I am sorry to say those people were dubbed as mischief mongers and were derided as people out to defame IR and look what it has led to? Personally, my heart goes out, not even for TM but for Mr TiSK, who right before my eyes, has been hit below the belt.
7.
And I am sorry, Fr Jegath conveniently passing the buck to IR to blame for TIS-USA’s fate doesnt get much sympathy from me.
Who is he to forgive IR?
If anyone, it is TiSK who has the moral uphand in all this.

If Fr Jegath is sincere about his obligation to TiSK and TIS-USA, he has to make this issue public, raise questions about IR’s morality in Tamil Fora
(very easy to do, just pass on this site’s address to Kumudam or Vikatan – they would be happy to lap it up and out of all that churning, we can hope that truth will come out).
Why, gnani and his cohorts in small magazines would be more than willing to rake the issue up.
If he is not going to do that for TiSK, I am sorry, I dont have any sympathy for him.
8. By pre-emptively forgiving IR, Fr Jegath has given no chance for the truth to emerge. I will not take Fr Jegath’s words as the last words on this controversy – someone has to accuse IR in the public and force him to react. If he does so, based on his reactions, I will condemn/condone him. Till then for a truly objective observer (ie) who has no sort of conscious/unconscious bias for either party (no faith component – be it “IR can do no wrong” faith of the IR fanatic or “Fr Jegath cannot do any wrong” faith of the Fr Jegath acquaintances) judgement will be reserved.
Page 95. korus Regular Hubber Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:39 pm 

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1038&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=1410

rajdes,
Fr. Jegath and TISK are not saying it – but I can deduce that they are accusing IR of getting a ‘kickback’ from Wellgate.
It seems very plausible to me.
Page 96.
pro20035 Newbie Hubber Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:54 pm

http://tfmpage.mayyam.com/hub/viewtopic.php?p=258845&highlight

I have been sceptical about TIS from the beginning itself, due to a lost of reasons.
The ambitions, motives and scope were not clear. A new, but controversial thing is that involvement of fans and fan groups in funding of the project. I would like to analyse this issue from all viewpoints and try to stir a decent, rational and intelligent debate. It is not a big suprise that i have given preference to my viewpoints , since it is my posting.
First of all, what were the motives of the project and were they viable?
The official line is to take the message of thiruvasagam to the younger generation who have lost touch with their spiritual roots. Only IR can tell us what the real motive is. I dont think making thiruvasagam in symphony is any way to do that.

Second, once a project has been conceived, it has to be implemented in a professional manner.
Once the feasibily and viability of the project has been ensured, a professional approach has to be taken to take the project to its conclusion. Who dealt with this. A Father who has no experience in managing such a project and a bunch of novice fans who have no experience in a project of such scale. It was obvious from this stage, that it would be a roller coaster ride all the way.
Fund raising- This was not at all done in a professional way and i have serious misgivings about the way it was done.

I am still not sure why fans should have to fund the project. As somebody said if IR wanted to do this project for self satisfaction and ego integration of achieving his lifes purpose, he should have funded it himself.

The fund raising was done professionally by some, such as the yahoo groups, where each contributor has been listed and the entire money which has been raised been announced and then handed over to the tamil mayyam. What about the other groups. For starters, i paid more than 500 dollars for the project, which has not been listed till now. I can prove this by my receipts. I can give the list of my friends names who have had similar experiences. The tamil mayyam and other groups keep claiming about loans they incurred for the project. I am baffled by these claims.
Throughout the project, nobody said that TIS- USA are getting loans for the project. I think this is the biggest mystery in the project. We were led to believe that TIS_ USA is involved in bringing together people who were willing to donate to the project. At what stage were they involved in the sponsoring of the project. Who did they get the loans from?
Are they willing to publish the guys who gave them loans.

What is the expenditure of the project? Why did it require 1.4 crores. The expenses involved seem to be the hungarian orchestra and other foreigners used in the project. My technical knowledge in music is not adequate, but in my opinion, only POLLA VINAYEN requires a symphonic orchestra. All other songs could have been easily recorded in india. The album does not have such a staunch western classical slant, which could not have been recorded in india itself. Why go to Hungary? Only one song has childish english lyrics. Why do we have to go to New york for his lyrics.

Even myself could have written the english lyric. And why use the new york guy for sound mixing. I cant see any big necessity for that. AR Rahman and Harris Jeyaraj have incredible sound recording in their albums, which are better than TIS on any day. There is no point in keeping on whining that it costed 1.4 crores. Nobody is going to believe it, unless the exact expenses are listed. I am sure more than 50 % of the project has been funded by fans and sponsors, so u cant keep saying the budget is 1.4 crores. Does the budget include salary for IR and his trips. It would be a big surprise and disappointment if it is so.
There were inconsistences, misinformation throughout the project.

There is no time or space for listing all of them. The project date has been postponsed so many times. They were saying IR met [President ] Kalam one day and he actually meets them 2 months after that.
There were claims galore, none of which seem to have materialise, such as the claim of donation of profits tsunami victims. What happened to those?

Initially it was said that they have to go to welgate, because there were no takers. it was clearly mentioned in one of those earlier letters by father or his group that big names did not think the project is viable. Eventually it landed up on welgate.
So, who are we supposed to believe. Just because a father or some guys in US accuse IR, it doesnt automatically mean IR is guilty and it does not also mean we are going to believe it.

It is fair to ask the people involved, to give a list of all donors, including the sponsors and how much money was raised.

 
 

This will enable to find out where it went wrong. It is a big shame that the project is called a loss. No project in recent times, including movies got as much unanimous publicity as TIS got. The media and celebrites endorsed it unequivocally and the sales was unparalleled. No non film album in recent times has received so much warmth and support.

The sales record should be published to confirme if it is really a loss and if it is a loss the blame should completely fall on Tamil Mayyam and other guys who were involved who failed to use such goodwill and publicity.

The Fathers letter seems to be suggesting that IR should be adored for his music rather than for his financial dealings. I am not prepared for accepting this verdict. It has to be proved that IR has done something wrong. He may have, but equally he might not have and everybody is presumed innocent until proven guilty. For me the needle of suspicion points exactly to the opposite direction of IR. It is for these people to clarify their positions. If there are loopholes in the contract, it is the mistake of the guys who signed the contract. It is a different matter if IR has violated a contract. But if he is just doing what is in the contract, how can we blame him. It is very implicit in the fathers letter that IR is doing things according to the contract.
My conclusion, although not completely based on solid evidence, but putting together what is in public domain is that the project surprised everybody and did far better than expected. So
there is lot of money available. Sharing the spoils has become the bone of contention and everybody seems to be pointing the finger at the other person. Mere barking and expletives wont make me change my opinion. Sane and rational arguments are welcome. The whole project is a good case study for everybody who wants to know how a project should not be done.

pro20035 Newbie Hubber Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:42 pm

I paid for the project. I paid 500 dollars, which is not listed in the donors site, inspite of me querying me many times. i have the receipt to prove that i paid. and i did not copy the cd. I bought 15 cds and gifted to my friends. I am sure that lot of IR fans did the same. Still it is a wonder, why it should be a loss

 
 

FROM THE TAMIL MAIYAM WEBSITE:

Health, Eco, and Religious Tourism:

http://www.tamilmm.com/projects.html
www.tamilmm.com

For those who wish to visit Tamil Nadu for medical treatments,
Ayurveda-Siddha
and naturopathic treatment, to undergo
yoga and meditation courses
and visit religious places we provide advise, logistics and service.

Our Manager Ms. Manjula has more than 20 years of experience in this field.

Tamil Maiyam 1/45-1A Mount-Poonamallee High Road, St. Thomas Mount, Chennai – 600 016.
Tel: (44) 55873355, 25012634, 24672217, 24993314 94444 29994 Website:
www.tamilmm.com

Email: tamilmaiyam@eth.net; t_symph@yahoo.co.in ; thiruvasakam@hotmail.com ; jegath66@yahoo.co.uk

Contact Persons, Rev. Jegath Gaspar Raj Ms. Manjula

 
 

GOODWILL COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED

The publicity brochure [in Tamil] of Goodwill Communications Ltd. [GCL] promises the first-ever continuous Tamil entertainment on the small screen [TV]. It is the first television channel offering shareholdings to the general public [Read “We don’t have money for this project. We need yours.] Unit share value is Rs 100 [~ $2]. Minimum 10 shares.

Total project estimate for three years, Rs. 100 crores [Rs. 1000 million, $20 million].

The brochure promises the initial telecast by the end of the year 2005.

The proposed television channel is named
YemTV.

Apparently trying to cash in on the vulgar popularity of the MTV channel, in the manner on which they used the terms ‘symphony’ and ‘oratorio’ and the name of composer Mozart to sell first Thiruvasagam and now “Mozart meets India’,

the channel has adopted a logo which is strikingly similar to that of the original MTV.

The logo uses the letters MTV prefixed with a symbol which appears to be the stock end of a musical instrument

[guitar?] which is a combination of the letters Y and E, thus forming YEMTV which is phonetically translated into Tamil.

GCL’s ambitious plans include a 24×7 TV channel, a 24×7 FM radio channel, the making and distribution of films, daily newspapers and weekly magazines, the opening and running of colleges offering graduate and post graduate degrees in journalism and mass communications, entering into the development of software technologies, popularising the use of the internet, satellite communications, etc. etc., in short, a media empire.

Investors are assured that GCL expects profits after 20 months of operations.

The [SCC] Santhome Communications Centre[ TNBC Office of Social Communications (OSC)]’s Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] on GCL and its relationship to TNBC/OSC and the SCC was prepared after a meeting on August 7, 2005 at the SCC, in the euphoric period just five weeks after the release of the Thiruvasagam audio.

The decision makers/signatories are Bishop Antony Devotta of Trichy, Chairman of the TNBC Commission for Social Communications, Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, Secretary to the Commission and Director of SCC, Fr. Lourdu Anandam, Member of the Commission and Director of Nam Vazhvu, and Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, Managing Director of GCL.

The MOU clearly states that “the idea, concept and vision of GCL belongs and therefore
will be owned by TNBC/ Commission for Social Communications [CSC]…

TNBC/CSC will provide space for functional office to GC at the St. Thomas building owned by it. The rent will be fixed as per the actual market value. However until such time GC begins to make profit, all the rental amount will be treated as loan by the Commission, or investment in the GC company.

A functional office will be designed within Rs. 6,50,000. If more money is needed we will call for the promoters meeting and decide. GCL will use the facilities of SCC at concessional cost. The bills to SCC will be paid only after the produced programme has been marketed… GCL will undertake joint ventures with SCC.”

NOTES:

Is the Church becoming a business house? What does Scripture have to say about this house of business?

“For my house shall be called a house of prayer to all peoples” [GOD, in] ISAIAH 56:7

“But you have made it a den of thieves” [His Son Jesus, in] MARK 11:17

The [Catholic] New American Bible comments, “Jesus lays claim to it [the temple]
after cleansing it so that it might become a proper place for his teaching ministry.”

In other words, until the commerce was ejected from the temple, Jesus reckoned it as unclean.

The temple is a ‘type’ of the Church.

On the 13th of August 2006, both CNN-IBN and Headlines Today News Channels interviewed leading lay Catholics who insisted that the Church, especially in respect of its educational institutions, has become a business house. In the vicinity of where I live, Santhome, near the Cathedral Basilica of the apostle St. Thomas, many old church properties are being demolished to make way for modern buildings in which space is being rented out to banks and software companies, and the annual income from these rentals already accrues to several crores of rupees. [1 crore=10 million].

Much of this land and property belongs to the Madras-Mylapore archdiocese, but other dioceses of the State of Tamil Nadu, and also the TNBC as in the case of the SCC, are the owners of prime sites.

It is no sin for the Church to possess these lands or even to make more acquisitions. What is of concern is how they are being managed and the use to which these possessions are being put. An example of a rich and corrupt Church:

 
 

HIGH COURT REFUSES TO APPROVE LAND LEASE AGREEMENTS

150 grounds of the D’Monte Estate leased to deemed varsity chancellor
THE HINDU July 23, 2006

EXTRACT: “CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has declined to ‘sanction and approve’ two agreements proposing to lease out 150 grounds of the D’Monte estate on Boat Club Road to Sathyabama Deemed University chancellor Jeppiar for 50 years. As per the two separate Deeds of Agreement to Lease, Mr. Jeppiar was to pay a total of Rs. 75 crore besides Rs. 15,000 as monthly rent for the land to the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore.

Justice M. Chockalingam, dismissing two separate petitions from the Sole Trustee of the Estate, Arch-bishop Aruldas James, wondered how the property was sought to be leased out to Mr. Jeppiar
who was a member of the Property Committee of the estate when the agreement was signed… Mr. Jeppiar had paid an advance of Rs. 2 crore to the Trust and a bungalow had been given to him by way of security…

Sir John D’Monte, a Madras-based businessman, had extensive… properties in and around Madras. He died on May 18, 1821. He had willed that the estate comprising house, gardens and grounds be made into a Trust and should remain under the control and management of the executors of the will. As per the testament, all rents and profits received from the property should be used for charitable purposes. The control and management of the Trust and the property passed from the hands of the will’s executors to the Bishop and the Trustees appointed from time to time.”

 
 

THY ‘WILL’ BE DONE / THE LEGACY OF DE MONTE

How the last will and testament of Sir John De Monte has stirred up a controversy among the Christians in Chennai
NEW INDIAN EXPRESS G. Babu Jayakumar August 20, 2006

The Da Vinci Code can be a work of fiction. But a real-life drama unfolding in the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic church in Chennai, full of intrigue, has adequate grist to fire the imagination of any wannabe story-teller to churn out a potboiler, and will lend itself to an action film as well.

Though one act of the drama has had a seemingly happy ending recently after the scene shifted to the Madras High Court, there is no indication of the curtains coming down in the near future. For the plot keeps thickening and there is every possibility of a sequel even if it all ends well for those who dared to question the top clergy of the archdiocese and went to court against its decision.

The dispute is not over anything ecclesiastical but something as earthly as land grabbing. The bone of contention is a huge tract of prime real estate property in the heart of Chennai, which was sought to be handed over on a platter, for a song, to two businessmen, both influential members of the Roman Catholic Church.

So when the Archdiocese leased out 200 of the 212 grounds of woody premises called Bens Garden- bequeathed by John De Monte, a Portuguese merchant who lived in Madras in the early 19th century and left his fortune for religious and charitable causes- to the businessmen, many eyebrows were raised in the church followed by whispers of protest.

As the two businessmen occupied Bens Garden in the upmarket Boat Club area, the issue snowballed into a controversy.

The bid to alienate the property, estimated to be worth over Rs 600 crore [Rs. 6 billion, $120 million] now, prompted over a dozen devout Catholics to come together under the umbrella of Forum for Catholic Unity to uphold the last will and testament of De Monte.

After a five-year protracted legal wrangle, the court recently said that the Archbishop’s contentions on justifying the deal cannot be countenanced and declined to sanction and approve the agreements made in 2001 between the Archdiocese and Sathyabama Deemed University chancellor Jeppiar for leasing out 150 grounds of land in Bens Garden for Rs 37.5 crore [$7.5 million].

The Forum has now shot off letters to members of the clergy asking them to do some introspection over the affairs of the church. The Forum says, “The High Court has cast serious aspersions on the integrity of those managing the Trust. Sadder still is that the finger of accusation points unerringly at certain senior clerics whose nexus with businessmen is well known, who aggressively pursued this transaction, using all possible means at their command, and who consistently misguided the present Archbishop and his predecessor“.

The Forum also feels that the war is not over. For the other businessman, MGM Maran of MGM Diamond Beach Resorts, is still holding on to another 50 grounds of land in Bens Gardens. The Archdiocese has not yet sought the High Court’s approval for the deal it entered into with that company in January 2002 to alienate the property on 50 years lease for just Rs. 12.50 crore [$2.5 million]. It is mandatory for custodians of Trusts to seek the approval of the Court for such deals relating to Trust properties as per the Chartable and Religious Trusts Act…

However, the move to hand over 200 grounds of land in Bens Garden to the businessmen to pursue interests that are not religious or charitable was out of sync with the spirit of the bequeathal, since De Monte had made it clear that the properties cannot be sold or alienated. It also turned out to be the last straw for the concerned Catholics, who were already worried over the fact that the particular property, which at the time of the bequeathal had measured 105 acres (roughly 2100 grounds) had shrunk to 212 grounds by 1995.

Since their pleas with the Church hierarchy- from the Archbishop to the Catholic Bishops’ Council of India to the Apostolic Nuncio- to stop the Archdiocese from going ahead with the alienation plans fell on deaf ears, the Forum of Catholic Unity was formed and three of its members, L.M. Menezes a former IAS officer who retired as Secretary to the Government of India, Joseph C. Kuriacose, a retired IIT professor holding a Doctor of Science degree from Louvain, Belgium, and Harold D’Silva, a retired senior executive of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. filed a suit in the High Court in February 2002 to set right the mismanagement of the Trust properties… The convenor of the Forum, M.G. Devasahayam, a former IAS officer… also filed an affidavit in the court seeking to implead himself…

A curious twist to the case came in the form of Ian McDonald Fennhahn Cain, a resident of Houston in USA, filing a third party affidavit in the High Court praying among other things a reconstitution of the De Monte Trust, identification of all the original properties of the Trust, and also recovering the lost ones. Cain traced his lineage to De Monte and said that he was a descendant … Cain was perhaps the only person from the family competent to take up the case since he found his family’s pious and charitable intentions being subverted.

Despite all the opposition, the Archdiocese was found defending its actions and also justifying the leasing out of the land for commercial purposes. Though the court has now struck down the deal, Jeppiar is said to be still occupying the property, and the MGM group is also using the premises for business purposes.

So now the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church in Chennai have been left with a load of questions to ponder upon.

As Devashayam in his letter to the clergy asks, “Will the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore and the Catholic Church in Chennai learn a lesson from all this and set things right before it is too late? Will those who have wantonly and mischievously misled the Archbishop (past and present) and messed up matters be held accountable and punished?”

He also wonders as to what has stopped those managing the Trust from inviting proposals from major religious orders to utilise the land for socio-economic development institutions or projects for Catholics, particularly the disadvantaged as envisaged by the testator.

The land on which Stella Maris College for Women has been built is one of the properties that Sir John De Monte acquired during his illustrious life in Madras. Apart from those 256 grounds of land, he also owned 186 grounds on St. Mary’s Road at Alwarpet where the De Monte Colony is now located, a beach property at Kovalam adjacent to Fishermen’s Cove measuring 324 grounds, and of course the sprawling 105 acres [2100 grounds] premises in Boat Club area…

Among the several religious and charitable institutions started by him were: a hospital and a charity house at Luz; a church, orphanages for boys and girls, a junior seminary and a school at Kovalam, and a church at Poonamallee.

He wanted to start a hospital and charity at Kovalam on the lines of the one at Luz after his death, and left bequests for that in his will.

NOTES:

Many such properties were freely gifted to the Church by eminent Catholics. What is the Church giving back to its people who are largely dalits, and a struggling minority in a nation in which the anti-Christian Hindutva brigade is militant?

[This issue will be addressed in a future analysis of the money-driven Catholic education and health-care systems.]

It should also be kept in mind that the Church’s money belongs to her people, assimilated not only from wealthy donors and bequeathals, but also from the contributions of ‘poor widows’ [MARK 12: 41-44], and the Church is therefore answerable to her faithful in the responsible and correct use [stewardship] of her goods, keeping in mind the mandate given to her by Jesus [MATTHEW 28:19, 20].

Does anything in this exposé even vaguely hint that the concerned Bishop and priests are being faithful to that mandate?

The motto of the Santhome Communications Centre is “To proclaim the message of God’s love through media”!

Nowhere in the Goodwill Communications MOU is there even the slightest hint that the priests and the Bishop promoting this business house will use any of the invidual projects for the promotion of Christian values, for providing a forum for the expression of the Catholic faith, or as a means of evangelisation.

If the past record of the promoters is anything to go by, GCL will be a handy tool for the so-called inter-religious dialogue, and foster the spirit of syncretism and the Brahminisation of the Church in Tamil Nadu.

 
 

SANTHOME COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE

http://www.santhomecom.org/aboutus.php
www.santhomecom.org

Santhome Communications Centre is a multi-faceted institution chiefly involved in production, training and research for the media. The centre was established in 1976 by The Tamilnadu Bishops Council in Chennai, to ensure a Christian presence in media. Named after St. Thomas, the apostle who brought the Good News to India, Santhome Communication Centre is committed to promote Gospel values through media. From a humble beginning in a small room with a single staff in 1976 in Chennai, the centre today has grown tremendously serving both the church and society of Tamilnadu and beyond.

The State and Central Government of India have certified the Centre as an institution promoting Arts and Culture.

The centre is under the Chairmanship of
Rev. Bishop Anthony Devotta

Diocese of Tiruchirapalli.

The Director of the centre is
Rev. Fr. A. Vincent Chinnadurai.
director@santhomecom.org

http://www.santhomecom.org/ourresources.php
www.santhomecom.org

Two state of the art audio studios equipped with Nuendo workstations.
A linear video editing facility with high band and Beta cam equipment.

Mini Theatre: A 900 sq. ft. modern mini- theatre equipped with advanced multimedia facilities and 5.1 Surround System. Apt for holding conferences, video screening and for conducting training programmes.

Seminar Hall: A 840 sq. ft. hall suitable for holding conferences and training programmes.

Library: A library with a collection of over 1400 books related to media and communication studies.

NOTES: These Catholic facilities helped produce a music audio in worship of the deity Shiva.

 
 

These excerpts from Rev. Pope’s translation are enough to determine that Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj has worshipped the deity Shiva by singing the Thiruvasagam at public functions, and by his financing the production of the audio.

Shiva is the only God, the God of Gods, destroyer of sin, to be exclusively worshiped. The Catholic priest unconditionally surrenders himself to Shiva in mystic union with the deity.

Tiruvacakam English Translation, Commentary of Rev. G. U. Pope

http://www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thivapop.htm
http://www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thivapop1.htm

Reference Source: The Tiruvaacagam or ‘Sacred Utterances’ of the Tamil Poet, Saint and Sage Maanikka-vaacagar, Rev. G. U. Pope, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900.

Note: “civan” = Sivan, the deity Shiva. CAPITAL LETTERS as in the original. Verse nos. in brackets.

HYMN 1
(Civapuranam) Civan’s way of Old or Civan’s Course from Everlasting

Because He, Civan, within my thought abides,
By His grace alone, bowing before His feet,
With joyous thought, Civan’s ‘Ways of Old’ I’ll tell, That thus my former ‘deeds’ may wholly pass. (17-20)

HYMN II Kirttit tiru akaval CIVAN’S FAME, THE SACRED SONG OF CIVAN’S RENOWNED ACTS

In Puvalam, beauteous, sweet and gracious, He sin destroyed. (57)

To the primeval Beings He gives grace, The GOD OF GODS His sacred NAME
(122)

HYMN III Thiruvanndappahudi THE NATURE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNIVERSE

[Pope’s comment: First, we have the Lord, Pathi, Sivan, Peruman. He is the First Cause of all things; the only God. Inseparable from Himself, dwelling in Him, is His personified energy or Sakti — his bride said to be the originator, source, fountain, beginning of all emotion, action, wisdom, and grace.]

God Who wear’st black snake for girdle, hail!
(96)

Praise to Thee, our Own, waving the envenomed snake!
(106)

HYMN V Thirucathakam THE SACRED CENTO. RELIGIOUS ENTHUSIASM.

O King I
no other god save Thee I ponder, our Transcendent Good! (8)

IV. None to be worshipped but Civan

XXIX. His appearing. His body like a flower of golden hue;

our Civa-PerumAn, our Lord, OF GODS THE KING!
(115, 116)

LXII. Ecstasy.
All hail! Na-ma-ci-va-ya! Send me not forth from Thee!
All hail! Na-ma-ci-va-ya! Triumph, triumph, Hail!

(247, 248)

HYMN VII Thiruvempaavai (Cattiyai viyantatu) THE MAIDENS’ SONG OF THE DAWNING

[Pope’s comment: …There is, however, connected with the Caiva worship, it must be said, a series of rites which is sometimes called the tantric, and sometimes the Cakti system. No doubt, in connection with this, many unspeakable abominations have been, and are at times perpetrated…]

Hymn X Tiruk Kottumpi THE HUMMING BEE

V. The only god.
that earthly bonds might cease to cling,
to Him I clung! To Him, the God of all true Gods, go thou,

AND BREATHE HIS PRAISE,
O HUMMING-BEE! (18-20)

 
 

Hymn XI Tiru Tellenam THE TAMBOUR SONG or REFUGE WITH CIVAN

[Pope’s comment:
Arunachalam– The name of Rudra is scarcely ever applied to Civan in the south, yet it would seem as if the idea of Civan had been mainly developed from the Vedic Rudra, the god of Storms, the father of the Maruts, of whom so many stories are told which now are the accepted legends of Civan. It may safely be said indeed that all the Vedic Rudra’s acts and attributes are given in the modern Caiva system to Civan. One of these is connected with the legend of Arunachalam, so often referred to in Tamil Caiva poetry. According to the legend contained in the Linga Puranam, it is related that Brahma and Vishnu disputed regarding their respective claims to superiority, and thence a terrific fight arose. At this time to quiet their contention, Civan, or Mahadeva, appeared as
luminous lingam, a pillar of fire, ‘equal to a hundred final mundane configurations, without beginning, middle or end, incomparable, indescribable, undefinable.’ Hari determined to examine the source of this fiery appearance, and took the shape of a boar whose description is very wonderful. Speeding downwards for a thousand years he beheld no base at all of the lingam. Meanwhile Brahma took the form of a swan purely white and fiery eyed, with wings on every side, rapid as thought, and went upwards to see the lingam’s top; but both failed, and at length united in a hymn of praise to Civan as supreme; which so pleased the god that he offered them a boon. They asked that they might both obtain an eternal devotion for him, which was granted. ‘Thenceforward the worship of the lingam has been inaugurated in the worlds. The pedestal is Mahadevi, and the lingam itself is the visible Mahecvara.’]

VI. The Lord, Who shakes the serpent dancing round His waist,
With His Hill-partner, came to earth, made us His own

(21, 22)

XIII. Not those on earth, nor in th’ abyss, nor heavenly ones,-
To none beside, so near He drew;
He made me His! (49, 50)

XVIII. In Him my body, soul, and thought, and mind were merged.
How all myself was lost
, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (71, 72)

Hymn XII Tiru Caral THE SACRED CARAL, THE SPORT OF CIVAN’S GRACIOUS ‘ENERGY.’

His body he smears with ashes; a serpent he wears as adornment;
Poison from the sea he eats; a skull he carries
He rides a white bull that rages with anger.


[Pope’s comment:

The ashes, the serpent, the poison, the skull, and the bull are matters of praise in all Caiva poems.]

XI. Obj. Lady! what’s this ascetic rite? Sinews and bone He wears,

A bony circlet on His arm He loves to bear; behold, MY DEAR!
Ans. The way of the bony circlet hear! In the end of the age
When the two had reached their fated hour, He put it on; behold, CARALO!

XII. Obj. His garb is the skin of the forest tiger;
He eats from a skull; (41-45)

Hymn XXVII Punarchi pathu THE DECAD OF MYSTIC UNION or THE NATURE OF RELEASE

While all this earth Stood round, my service claimed, made me His own, and bade me come! His love
When shall I praise
, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (20)

Hymn XXVIII- vaazhap pathu NO JOY IN LIFE

IX. Thou’rt sin’s Destroyer, save Thy healing foot alone, THOU SEE’ST TO NOUGHT BESIDE I CLING!-
God of all gods, O Civa-puram’s King! Civan (33, 34)

NOTE: The associated sites and webpages Home > Shaiva Siddhanta > Thirumurai > thiruvasakam > www.shaivam.org
An Abode for Hindu God Shiva on the Internet
http://www.shaivam.org/index.html
Saiva Siddhantha
Home Page- NAMAHSHIVAYA. This page is intended for spreading the fragrance of SanAthana Dharma – Hinduism and Saivism in specific. Shaiva Siddhantham is the philosophy of Shaivism that has its roots in the thirumuRais along with the vedas and shiva Agamas… This site deals with this aspect of Shaivism

CONCLUSION:
THIRUVASAGAM CANNOT BE ISOLATED FROM THE WORSHIP OF SHIVA.

 
 

WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

The Tamil Maiyam brochure records that TIS-USA funded the project “to a tune of over $100,000” which works out to over Rs. 50 lakhs [see page 8]. This is much in advance of the release of the audio.

At the release ceremony, Fr. Jegath thanks just one organization, Ananda Vikadan for their advertisement support worth Rs 15 lacs [see page 11]. There must have been other such sponsorships/donations.

One Ilaiyaraaja fan writes,
“I paid more than 500 dollars for the project
which has not been listed till now. I can prove this by my receipts. I can give the list of my friends’ names who have had similar experiences. The Tamil Maiyam and other groups keep claiming about loans they incurred for the project. I am baffled by these claims…
Are they willing to publish the guys who gave them loans?” [see page 31].

Obviously there would be many other such donors, small as well as large. The Ilaiyaraaja fan accuses Tamil Maiyam of not listing some such loans, and of a lack of transparency in the accounting.

Another fan writes, “In spite of repeated pleas to come out with accounts, neither TIS-USA nor Tamil Maiyam [have] come out with accounts. How much was recieved as donations? how much was recieved as corporate sponsorships prior to release? What is the true expense for producing the CD?

1.4 crores for this production does not sound true.
This is a project with a bottomless pit. the more you give the more it wants!!!
[See page 28].

Yet another member makes this astonishing statement, “Fr. Jegath and TISK are not saying it – but I can deduce that they are accusing Ilaiyaraaja of getting a ‘kickback’ from Wellgate” [see page 31].

A member deduces that “Tamil Maiyam became a financier and not a producer” [see page 29].

Did Tamil Maiyam really suffer financial losses as is being claimed? Are the accounts available for scrutiny? Since the issue is eventually all about money, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

 
 

WHY CATHOLIC BISHOPS DID NOT GRACE THE STAR-STUDDED FUNCTION OF THE RELEASE OF THE THIRUVASAGAM AUDIO AT THE MUSIC ACADEMY ON 30 JUNE, 2005?

This is a question that is being asked, and it is difficult for this writer to give a definitive answer. But one can presume.

Presumably it is because of the protests by some lay Catholics who have been writing to and petitioning the concerned Bishops. If the Archbishop and the Auxiliary Bishop of the Madras-Mylapore diocese did not see fit to restrain Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj from his venture, and with priests, facilities and man-power of their own diocese involved in it for nearly three years, it certainly is a matter of surprise that they eventually did not attend the function.

It is a matter of even greater surprise that Bishop Antony Devotta of Trichy, the mentor of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, who was thanked by several of the speakers, and whose name and photograph appears on the related Tamil Maiyam promotion material, shied away from gracing the programme which was the culmination of the producing of a devotional audio in praise of Shiva which he had blessed, by a Catholic organisation which was under his leadership.

As in the De Monte case, can it be that pro-action by concerned Catholic laity isn’t such a waste of time after all?

 
 

LETTERS FROM THIS WRITER TO REV. ANTONY DEVOTTA, BISHOP OF TRICHY, ETC.

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 8:24 PM

Subject:
FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ

Dear Bishop Most. Rev. Antony Devotta,

I am in the stage of completing a full report on FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ’s production of Thiruvasagam, a music release in praise of the deity Shiva for which he has invested 30 months of his life as well as around Rs. 1,50,00,000 by his own admission. You may be aware that he works through Tamil Maiyam and the Archdiocesan Santhome Communications Centre in Chennai. I have just been forwarded a VCD of an audio-visual recording of the public function at which the music audio was released. The group that produced this CD is in the process of circulating it widely.

Rev. Frs. Lourdu Anandam and Vincent Chinnadurai were among the speakers at the function.

Some of the statements of the priests are highly objectionable and unacceptable to traditional Catholics.

In this CD, one of the priests has given public acknowledgement of your support to the project.

You may not be aware of this, so I am bringing it to your attention, for your comments and action, if any.

Yours obediently, Michael Prabhu

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 9:08 AM Subject: as above

Your Grace, A reminder, please, with a correction.

It is not one of the three priests, but Mr. N. Ram, owner of The Hindu newspaper who made the statement about your support for the Thiruvasagam In Symphony project.

Awaiting your response, Michael

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 9:31 AM Subject: as above

Your Grace, This is my third letter to you in two weeks.

My exposé on the Thiruvasagam music release is complete, running into over 30 pages of information.

When compiling it, I find that several people including priests have recorded
your support for the project.

Do you have any comments that I can include in my report? Michael

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 10:34 AM

Subject: GOODWILL COMMUNICATIONS / FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ 

Your Grace, After my three letters to your goodself with no response, please find herewith my summary of the 45-page report, which this ministry intends to circulate and upload on its website. Yours sincerely, Michael Prabhu

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent:
Monday, August 21, 2006 4:24 PM

Subject: FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ [ATTACHMENT: IPS SUMMARY]

KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. ………….
BISHOP OF ………..

Your Grace,

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, a priest of Kottar diocese and founder of Tamil Maiyam has produced an audio of Thiruvasagam in praise of the deity Shiva. He has done so from the TNBC’s Santhome Communications Centre, Chennai… [AS BELOW]

From:
prabhu
To:
slm_bpsingam@sancharnet.in ; bpsingam@yahoo.co.in
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 4:25 PM

Subject: FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ [ATTACHMENT: SUMMARY OF ‘IN PRAISE OF SHIVA]

KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. SEBASTIANAPPAN SINGAROYAN

BISHOP OF SALEM, SECRETARY, TAMIL NADU BISHOPS’ COUNCIL

From:
prabhu
To:
secretaryab@yahoo.co.in ; pb_peterfdo@yahoo.co.in
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 4:26 PM

Subject: FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ [ATTACHMENT: SUMMARY OF ‘IN PRAISE OF SHIVA]

KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. PETER FERNANDO

ARCHBISHOP OF MADURAI, CHAIRMAN, TAMIL NADU BISHOPS’ COUNCIL

 
 

 
 

From:
prabhu
To:
kottar_diocese@sancharnet.in
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 4:25 PM

Subject: FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ [ATTACHMENT: SUMMARY OF ‘IN PRAISE OF SHIVA]

KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. LEON A. THARMARAJ
BISHOP OF KOTTAR

Your Grace,

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj,
a priest of your diocese
and founder of Tamil Maiyam has produced an audio of Thiruvasagam in praise of the deity Shiva. He has done so from the TNBC’s Santhome Communications Centre, Chennai.

I have been informed by a lay Catholic Federation that they have sent you a VCD as evidence, spoken to you over the telephone, and also written to you in this connection, objecting to these and other activities of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj.

This ministry has completed a year-long investigation into the matter and the 50-page report is ready for print and for uploading on the ministry’s new website
www.ephesians-511.net [the contents of the old one are being transferred to the new site].

I have written four letters, including the first one which I reproduce below [From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 8:24 PM], to Most Rev. Antony Devotta, the Bishop concerned with the project, but I have received no response. 

I am attaching here a 2-page summary of my report. I look forward to your reply and support to stop this priest’s activities. Yours obediently, Michael Prabhu METAMORPHOSE CATHOLIC MINISTRIES, CHENNAI

[NOTE: NO RESPONSE RECEIVED TO ANY OF THE ABOVE LETTERS

Letters were not sent to the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese as this ministry receives no response from them].

 
 

EARLIER CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BISHOP OF TRICHY

1.
Dear Michael, Thank you very much for all your correspondence regarding the infiltration of the “New Age” group in the Church in India. As you have presented the issue to the Pro Nuncio, our three Cardinals, Bishop Dabre, Chairman of the Doctrinal Commission of the CBCI, as well as dicasteries in Rome, I am sure it is in the safe hands of all responsible people.

I am sure these eminent people will give the Church in India appropriate directions to be followed up. Meanwhile, as far as I know, I do not see any danger of this group in my diocese here. All the same, I am putting on alert all my Charismatic groups to be on the watch out. With the assurance of my prayers, Yours in Christ,

Antony Devotta [Letter ref. no. BP (08/04)02 rg. dated 13th August 2004]

2.
Dear Mr. Michael,

Thank you for your letter dated 21st August giving me some information of the ‘New Age’ situation.

Regarding meeting me over here in Tiruchy, I would like to tell you that I will not be available* on those days as I will be away for the priests retreat and immediately followed by other works outside the diocese.

Hence, kindly excuse me this time. With my regards, Yours in Christ,

+Antony Devotta [Letter ref. no. BP(08/04)03/rg. dated 30th August 2004]

*Despite the Bishop declining me a meeting, I went to Trichy and met the Bishop in his office.

3. [RESPONSE TO MY LETTER DT 1.1.2005 INFORMING THE BISHOP ABOUT THE FORTHCOMING REPORT on ASHRAMS]
				

                
			

Dear Mr. Michael Prabu,

Thank you very much for your letter of 1st January regarding Shanthivanam Ashram**. Kindly give me more specific information regarding the heresies, blasphemous and sacrilegous activities that are taking place over there. I shall make my enquiry on receiving this information from you. With kind regards, Yours in Christ,

Antony Devotta [Letter ref. BP(01/05)03 rg. dated 21 January 2005]

ASHRAMS REPORT SENT BY EMAIL ON 8 OCTOBER 2005.

4. From:
antony devotta
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 11:36 AM

Dear Mr. Michael,
Thank you very much for the information regarding the ashrams. I shall do the needful. Yours in Christ
Antony Devotta

5. From:
prabhu
To:
antony devotta
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 11:13 PM Subject: ASHRAMS REPORT

Your Grace, Kindly let me know the progress on the ASHRAMs report that I sent you, with specific reference to
Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam**. I am confident that you must have initiated some enquiry, but I am aware that the recent torrential rains and floods must have hampered movements and communications and caused immense sufferings to the people of your diocese. I understand that the Kaveri water invaded the Ashram too, as I received a couple of letters from there. Yours obediently, Michael

From:
antony devotta
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2005 4:42 PM Subject: bishop of Trichy
Dear Mr. Michael,
I have for acknowledgement your e.mail letter dated 1st December concerning you
r allegations regarding the Shantivanam Ashram**. As I already informed you I have forwarded your letter to them for explanation on certain points and am awaiting their reply.  However, I would like to tell you that
I have no obligation to send you any report and I will not send any either.  Please also note, I do not like to entertain correspondence on this any further. With kind regards, Antony Devotta
**see following page

 
 

6.
From:
prabhu
To:
antony devotta  Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:06 PM Subject: THE ASHRAMS REPORT

Your Grace, We thank you for the episcopal blessings conveyed to us in your Christmas Card.

I could not reply to your email [below] earlier as Angela and I had been on vacation and as I have also been suffering from glaucoma and then an attack of conjuctivitis. My computer had also crashed and was inoperable for early 3 weeks. Today is the first day in over 7 weeks that I am attending to the mails in my computer. 

I must say that I was really saddened and surprised to read some of the contents of your last email letter to me on the issue of the Catholic Ashrams with specific reference to Shantivanam.

While I am happy that you have asked the Ashram for clarifications, you have used the word ‘allegations’ in reference to my report. The report is however based on personal experience, corroborated by a reliable witness who accompanied me, and supported by documentation from the Ashram itself and from other ashramvasis and earlier visitors to the Ashram[s] now returned to Europe.

I do agree with you in your statement that you do not have ANY obligation to send me report. You are a high official in the Church, and I am an unrecognised layperson whose opinions and concerns can be rejected like those of most laity. But that does not deter me from continuing to do my duty as is expected of me, which I have understood from my reading of certain Vatican documents and encyclicals. The rest is up to the hierarchy. I am sorry if anything I wrote to you gave you the impression that you were obliged to report back to me. I went through my previous email and I found nothing to suggest that. I simply wrote to you in follow-up, as in an earlier letter you had asked me to submit my report to you when it was ready.

My relationship with you goes back to your seminary days when we used to stand opposite the Basilica and chat up, me about 5 years junior to you, in my school uniform, greatly impressed by seeing you in your cassock, all fired up for the priesthood. When I think of you, it is only that way. Now you are my Bishop.

I am in spiritual obedience to you, but I believe that it is my Christian duty to send you [and other Bishops] my reports. I will continue to do so, and I trust that you will change your mind and continue to write to me as you have done the past several years. I have copied below an email dated November 4, 2005 received by me from the Pontifical Council for the Laity which in fact recommends that I write to the Bishops of the concerned dioceses. I had done so, and I have received around 50 encouraging responses, from various Commissions and their Bishops, to my letters with the ASHRAM REPORT attached.

From knowing you for so many years, and sharing with you the same love and concern for Mother Church, I am confident that you will maintain correspondence with me and my ministry. I write this letter with respect. May God continue to bless you in abundance, especially with good health, as I learnt recently that you have not been keeping too well. With love and prayers, Michael

7. From:
antony devotta
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 11:20 AM

Michael Prabu Santhome Chennai. Dear Michael,
Thank you very much for your e.mail letter of 18th January.
Thank you also for your best wishes and greetings on the occasion of my 5th Episcopal anniversary
.
I do appreciate your concern and love for the Church.  I would only ask of you to be open to the Holy Spirit for his directions. God bless you and all your family members. ANTONY DEVOTTA

From:
antony devotta
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 9:35 AM Subject: thank you

8. Dear Michael Prabu
Thank you very much for your prayers and best wishes on the occasion of my birthday. I appreciate very much your thoughtfulness and love. Kindly be assured of my blessings and prayers.
God Bless you! Yours in Christ antony devotta

NOTES:

From the above correspondence, several things are evident. The Bishop can acknowledge letters if he has a mind to.

He does not seem to mind casual letters, but reacts quite differently when he is informed of serious issues where his episcopal intervention is required.

**The Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam, is located in his diocese. It is not just another ashram, but is one of the lynch-pins of the Catholic Ashram Movement and its activities are detrimental to the health of the Church in India as a whole. My NEW AGE IN THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS exposé of October 2005 raised several grave issues. The Bishop acknowledged the report, but became hostile when this writer pressed him to provide details of the progress of the enquiries assured by him. The above correspondence is self-explanatory.

This is also the first time that a Bishop has been cited in any of this ministry’s exposés. It may not be the last, because there has been no apparent intervention by the Bishops in the matter of the aberrations documented by this writer in the Ashrams report, and other issues, despite several assurances received by this ministry from the concerned Bishops.

 
 

EMAIL FROM THIS MINISTRY TO FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ / TAMIL MAIYAM

From:
prabhu
To:
t_symph@yahoo.co.in ; thiruvasakam@hotmail.com ; tamilmaiyam@eth.net ; jegath66@yahoo.co.uk ; tamil_mai2000@yahoo.co.in
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 4:23 PM Subject: Fw: THIRUVASAGAM

From:
prabhu
To:
t_symph@yahoo.co.in ; thiruvasakam@hotmail.com ; tamilmaiyam@eth.net ; jegath66@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:24 PM Subject: THIRUVASAGAM

Dear Sirs, Could you please inform me:

…The websites where I can read information on Thiruvasagam In Symphony… Regards, Prabhu
NO RESPONSE

 
 

NO RESPONSE FROM ANY CHURCH AUTHORITY

In March 2005, before the release of the Thiruvasagam audio release, Mr. Clement Selvaraj of The Federation of The Catholic Faithful had written a letter of protest to Madras-Mylapore Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence Pius. The Federation itself gave a memorandum to Madras-Mylapore Archbishop Malayappan Chinnappa after the release of the audio.

Having already couriered copies of the “Hail Shiva” VCD to all the Tamil Nadu bishops in July 2006, and as a follow up to their telephonic conversations with five Tamil Nadu bishops, the Federation gave a written complaint to the Tamil Nadu Bishop’s Council on 14th August, 2006. This complaint is mentioned in the Dinakaran Tamil newspaper, August 17, 2006.

The letters from this ministry to the concerned Bishops have been reproduced above.

 
 

“SAVE US. OUR LIVES ARE IN DANGER”

CHAOS AT THE SANTHOME COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE/ TAMIL MAIYAM

On August 4th, 2005, six employees of Santhome Communications Centre signed a three-page letter to Madurai Archbishop Peter Fernando, Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council, complaining about the unpriestly behaviour of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj and his threatening them. This was a sequel to an earlier letter of complaint dated 23rd July, 2005.

On August 9th, 2005, one of the signatories wrote a letter to Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai in the same context.

The subject matter of the letters, all written in Tamil, is “AN ENTREATY FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR LIVES“.

The six signatories make several allegations against Fr. Jegath: his use of vulgar and unparliamentary language; his giving employment to relatives and preferential treatment to them; that they are being victimised in some aspects of their financial remuneration; that the priest who has no direct authority over them ignores his superiors in the organisation and interrogates them about their complaint to the Bishops; that the priest has threatened them with legal action for defamation of his reputation; that the priest has threatened their lives and the lives of their family members even if it is after they quit the organisation; that they greatly fear for their safety and their lives, etc.

On the 24th August, 2006 following an altercation in the office with another employee [who though one of the six signatories to the letter to the Archbishop, had later defected to Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj’s camp], the employee who signed the individual letter of 9th August was arrested by the police. The complaint against him: attempted murder!

The arrested employee has put in fifteen years of service in the organisation. as against three years by the complainant. As the confrontation took place during working hours, it is evident that this is no ordinary dispute and that the complainant has the backing of some authorities, and at least that of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, for having complained against him. This amply demonstrates the vindictive and revengeful politics of this priest and the anti-Christian atmosphere in the entire organisation. It demonstrates that there is no extent to which he will not go to fulfil his threats of revenge against anyone who dares to cross his path, his “detractors” as he recently described them to the media.

 
 

LETTER TO THE CHIEF MINISTER OF TAMIL NADU

To, The Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. M. Karunanidhi August 22, 2006

SUBJECT: MOZART MEETS INDIA- AUDIO RELEASE BY FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ

Respected Sir, 

You may have seen the item on page 3 of the City Express, New Indian Express, August 18th, 2006, “‘Mozart meets India’ Gets Controversial Tune.” 

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj is a controversial priest, and several Catholic individuals and organizations are demanding enquiries into his music misrepresentations and financial activities, and have written complaint letters to the Press Council of India, to the newspapers, and to the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, demanding enquiries. 

We understand that you are to release his audio “Mozart Meets India” on the 25th of this month. It is our request that you do not do so for the reasons already given.

Please see a copy of the complaint that I have sent to our Catholic Bishops, attached for your kind perusal.  

Thanking you, Yours sincerely, Michael Prabhu

[ATTACHMENT: SUMMARY OF ‘IN PRAISE OF SHIVA]

 
 

RECENT PRESS REPORTS:

THE DAN BROWNS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN TAMIL NADU

http://www.dinamalar.com/2006may29/fpnews2.asp  

DINAMALAR [A Tamil Daily] May 29, 2006
A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THE LENGTHY ARTICLE:

The office bearers of the Federation of the Catholic Faithful claim that the Catholic clergy of Tamil Nadu are themselves as guilty as Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, in writing articles and books that denigrate Jesus Christ.

They presented evidence towards the same. Fr. Paul Leon, a professor in St. Paul’s Theological College, Trichy, who also translated the Vatican Documents into Tamil, and is a teacher of seminarians, is the author of ‘Yaar Indha Yesu?’ [‘Who is this Jesus?’], published by Vaikarai Printers [Jesuits]. He says that some of the miracles related in the Gospels may be imaginative additions, etc. The Bishop of Kottar, Leon Dharmaraj, felicitated the release of this book.

Another ‘Dan Brown’ in Tamil Nadu is Fr. Hieronymus who in a September 14, 2003 interview with Nam Vazhvu said that we do not need to believe that Jesus rose again with his former mortal body; we do not need to believe literally that God sent manna from heaven for the Israelites. Manna is a natural food obtained from a tree that grew at that time, etc.

One more Catholic Dan Brown is Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj who sees Jesus in the god Shiva of Thiruvasagam…

 
 

PRESS CONFERENCE GIVEN BY THIS MINISTRY

‘MOZART MEETS INDIA’ GETS CONTROVERSIAL TUNE

NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, August 18, 2006

Universally Mozart means music. But when “Mozart Meets India’ through an album, it certainly is no music, at least to the ears of a group of Catholics. Barely a week before Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi launches ‘Mozart Meets India’, the latest work of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, who had earlier tied up with music maestro Illayaraja for producing the celebrated Thiruvasagam in Symphonic Oratorio, the Federation of The Catholic Faithful has declared war. The detractors of the album do not want the Chief Minister to do the honours for Father Raj’s work.

The Catholic Faithful, incidentally, is the same group that had questioned the worthiness of the Thiruvasagam, which was a successful project though not financially*. The group has given a religious angle to the issue, contending that a priest must confine himself to the Church. *see page 18

Father Raj, whose Tamil Maiyam has initiated the Mozart album, defends his creative work and warns to initiate legal action against his detractors.

At a press conference in Chennai on Thursday, Vee, an advisor of The Federation of The Catholic Faithful alleged that Mozart’s name was being misused by Father Raj. “Thiruvasagam itself was first promoted as symphony and later called symphonic oratorio. In music, there can never be a composition called symphonic oratorio. Now in Mozart, they have claimed to have elements of symphony, which is not possible,” he claimed.

The Federation president C.J. Raphel and a Catholic Ministry member Michael Prabhu argued that as a priest, Father Raj must serve humanity and preach the Bible and not market music.

Father Raj countered, “Even before listening to ‘Mozart Meets India’ how could they make such an allegation? This continuous campaign against me has been on for quite some time and this time I have decided to take legal action.” According to him, ‘Mozart Meets India’ was a global soundtrack based on Carnatic ragas. A press release issued by Tamil Maiyam earlier said, “Thiruvasagam Symphonic Oratorio by Illayaraja- our first bigtime music project- could not serve the purpose of making Indian music global as the music was predominantly tied to Tamil lyrics. But ‘Mozart Meets India’ is an elevated elegance… with a creative symphonic harmony. It will attract world music lovers, cross-over music lovers. The name ‘Mozart Meets India’ is more symbolic than meaning any real adaptation from Mozart.” On Thiruvasagam, Raj clarified that they had clearly stated it had elements of symphony and oratorio. “In google search one can find many such sites on symphonic oratorio”.

 
 

NOTES:

1. The 90-minute press conference on 17th August, 2006 was attended by reporters from several English and Tamil newspapers. But this was the only report that was published. After the press meet, the Indian Express reporter went to Tamil Maiyam office to interview the priest. [So did several others, as our enquiries later confirmed].

2. The reporter Ms. Priyamvatha P. has not done justice to the various points raised during the press meet by this writer from the perspective of Catholic faith as per the contents of this exposé.

3. It is interesting to note that Fr. Jegath defended only the criticism against him from the music angle. He has not answered the charges leveled by this writer on his failing to fulfill his primary role as a Catholic priest.

4. Fr. Jegath’s admission that “the name ‘Mozart Meets India’ is more symbolic than meaning any real adaptation from Mozart” is in fact a confession by him that the use of Mozart’s name has nothing whatsoever to do with the music content of the audio. In effect, he is intentionally cheating the consumer.

5. Keeping in mind the marketing ploys and misrepresentations of Fr. Jegath’s initial foray [Thiruvasagam] into music, one did not have to listen to the music of the forthcoming release [Mozart] before criticising the title given by him.

First, the priest counted on Ilaiyaraaja’s name and fan-following by making staggering borrowings to finance a music hit and reap the financial rewards. His gambit failed. He looked around for someone or something to blame. He turned on his erstwhile friend, Ilaiyaraaja, and, in the form of a sentimental letter to the fan club, released information that his agreement with Ilaiyaraaja was signed “under duress,” as if he was the innocent victim of a conspiracy. The details of the agreements between them remain shrouded in secrecy and speculation, and there will be no more such joint ventures with Ilaiyaraaja, Hindu devotional or otherwise. Then, Fr. Jegath blamed the Tamil lyrics for its failure to sell. How else, one wonders, could he have produced a TAMIL Saivaite classic, except in the TAMIL language?

 
 

The project was first publicised as a ‘symphony’. When Ilaiyaraaja was challenged on this, he issued a denial that he had composed a symphony for Thiruvasagam. Fr. Jegath then called it a “symphonic oratorio” which was the description of the production as advertised in bold letters on the screen which served as a backdrop at the release function. Music experts denied that it was an oratorio, and protested that there is no music form as “symphonic oratorio”. They insist that the priest was misleading the public and music lovers with these impressive-sounding words which are not understood by most people. Fr. Jegath’s choice of Mozart’s name for the forthcoming music audio is believed to be yet another such gambit- the music content of the audio has nothing whatsoever to do with Mozart.

If the reader will recall [page 32] the simulation of the MTV name and logo for the priest’s proposed TV channel, it would all add up to present a very sorry picture of his trying to cash in on images with established popularity, in the hope that some of their success would rub off on him. These could also violate basic advertising ethics.

The priest repeatedly says to the press that Thiruvasagam was “a successful project though not financially”, though it remains unclear as to how losing the money borrowed from others can be termed as a success.

6. Following the press conference of August 17, this writer gave interviews to other reporters of leading Tamil dailies. One of them informed this writer that Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj has influential friends in high places in the government and in the media; and that the priest rewards reporters for writing favourably about him. We were told that this is one reason that our statements were not receiving publicity. After the interviews with us, reporters would go right over to the Tamil Maiyam office, and convey our comments to the priest; and as in the Indian Express case, get his rebuttals, and publish them.

The priest is reported to have admitted to a reporter that he even consumes alcohol, but that anything that he does is nobody’s business as long as he does it away from the public domain.

We beg to disagree with that, because as a Catholic priest, Jegath Gaspar Raj is a Catholic priest 24×7.

The same reporter informed us that their newspaper is closely monitoring certain activities of the priest which cannot be revealed at this time.

At the time of writing this report, the Tamil press is full of sensational stories with pictures of a Protestant Bishop who is involved in a money [multi-crore fraud] and sex scandal.

 
 

 
 

FALSE TEACHINGS. NEW AGE?

“LOVE IS GOD” AND OTHER STATEMENTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj talks about the “universal oneness of God”, and says that he goes “beyond Christianity” where he finds that “the texts of Thiruvasagam convey that love is god (Anbe Sivam), and that there are many ways to reach god, which is more relevant today” MYLAPORE TIMES [MT], June 25 -July 1, 2005.

His preaching that ‘god is one’ culminates in his saluting Shiva as the ‘god of the south, who is known as the god of the whole world‘. Are Catholics to understand that Shiva is Jesus Christ, that the God of the Bible is Shiva? When he states that ‘there is only one God‘, the priest means Shiva whose devotion he propagates in Thiruvasagam.

His teaching the ‘universal oneness of God’ without being admonished by his superiors underlines the secularization of the Indian Church, especially the clergy. If the priest had studied the encyclical Dominus Iesus as devotedly as he did the Thiruvasagam, he would know the Church’s teaching on the soteriological unicity of Jesus [in man’s ‘reaching God’].

When a Catholic priest, who is meant to evangelize using the Word of God, teach and defend the faith, and minister the sacraments to the faithful, has to go ‘beyond Christianity’ to pre-Christian religions, one may sincerely wonder where the Indian Church is headed.

Fr. Jegath’s religious philosophy is echoed by another ‘Catholic’- Peter Alphonse, a politician, who, at the audio release function says, “This time and age calls for a secular spirituality without religion. To find God, there is no need for religion, only spirituality. This project transcends religion,” to hearty applause after each sentence. If the priest did not contradict or correct the statements of Alphonse, does it not follow that he shares the same views?

This priest, like the priests of the Catholic Ashrams Movement, is propagating a religionless spirituality.

 
 

 
 

Are the Bishops of the Archdiocese where these activities have taken place, the Bishop who supported this project, and the Bishops of Tamil Nadu not as guilty as Fr. Jegath by virtue of their direct complicity or by their abdication of their episcopal duties in correcting the erring priest and his three companion-priests?

The English translation of Fr. Jegath’s speeches at the public functions does not do any justice to the passion with which the priest speaks in his native Tamil. His zeal has to be seen and heard to be appreciated.

This is a priest who OWNS Hindu temples, who graces functions organised by the guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who presides at programmes organized by Hindu temples, who is assured of the success of his Shiva music album because of his good contacts with the leaders of Hindu temples in the States and Europe, speaks of his ‘karma’ and works with a Shaivaite [Ilaiyaraaja] on a project which the latter believes has ensured that he will not be re-incarnated.

Is it any surprise then that he ‘finds his own god’ in the Shaivaite spirituality of the Thiruvasagam?

He misquotes the Bible, but is well versed in Hindu devotions and anti-Christian writings. [There would be nothing wrong in that if he did not regularly boast about it as in the above MT article, “He went on to read Sangam literature and the Kamba Ramayanam. He even read the works of Karl Marx and Freud.”]

In the 18 months that this writer has been following the press reports about this priest, nowhere, ever, does he witness to the Jesus Christ of the Gospels or the God of the Bible, but he tells the press that he is ‘bothered about the revival of evangelism’.

The press report him as thanking the Catholic Church for its involvement and full support in the Thiruvasagam project. How can this priest claim to speak and act for the Catholic Church in his private and anti-Christian enterprises? Is he doing so because of backing and encouragement from certain Bishops?

Do they claim to represent all Catholics?

The Bible says that GOD IS LOVE. It does not follow that the reverse is also true. As a matter of fact it isn’t.

Yet, Fr. Jegath quotes Thiruvasagam to say that LOVE IS GOD. This is a very serious matter, for a Catholic priest to teach something in direct opposition to what the Word of God says.

“Love is God” and “religionless spirituality” are NEW AGE!!!!!

 
 

“MOZART MEETS INDIA” RELEASE FUNCTION

On the 25th August, 2006, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. M. Karunanidhi released the audio at the Music Academy.

Present were Union Ministers Dayanidhi Maran [IT and Telecommunications] and Ambika Soni [Tourism and Culture]. They assured Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj every support to take his work all over the country and even outside India.

Sr. Annamma Philip FMM, Principal, Stella Maris College was one of the 12 dignitaries seated on the dais. Mr. N. Ram of The Hindu once again [as at the Thiruvasagam release] lauded Fr. Jegath and assured him of all support.

Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai also addressed the gathering. The Music Academy was far from fully occupied, and was 50% empty by the time the programme ended. Most of those present were either volunteers of Tamil Maiyam and some agencies related with the release or families of the dancers and orchestra members, and Carnatic music lovers,

Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese Archbishop Most Rev. Malayappan Chinnappa SDB was seated, not on the dais, but in the audience. He was not vested in the robes of a Bishop, and was recognized by this writer only when Fr. Jegath casually announced his presence. [His name was not printed on the expensive invitation brochure.]

NOTES:

Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj has gone from strength to strength in terms of association with the Who’s Who of the media and politics. In the space of a year he has met with the President, the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, the Chief Minister, and heads of political parties and business houses.

The Archbishop cut a very sorry figure by being ignored. One would expect the Catholic priest who was the star of the evening to honour his Bishop, but it did seem that Fr. Jegath did not need the Bishop anymore. With his influential connections, he will be a force to reckon with in future.

 
 

THE TAMIL PRESS

Dinamalar 13.06.2005 “Composing of music for Thiruvasagam is a holy work”

Dinathanthi 29.6.2005 “Thiruvasagam CD to be released tomorrow”. Photo of Fr. Jegath, Fr. Vincent and Ilaiayaraaja

Dinamalar 01.07.2005
http://www.dinamalar.com/2005july01/imp55.asp

Tamizh Murasu 22.03.06 “Complaint by experts against Ilaiyaraaja”

Dinakaran 23.03.06 “I did not produce a Symphony – Complaint against Ilaiyaraaja”

Kumudam Reporter 30.03.06 “Ilaiyaraaja Cheats!”

Dinakaran 17.08.2006 “Complaint against priest who produced Thiruvasagam in Symphony”

Picture galleries of Thiruvasagam functions
http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/gallery/events/7635.html JUNE 23, 2005
http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/gallery/Events/7696.html
JULY 01, 2005

 
 

 
 

From:
prabhu
To:
joemics@yahoo.com ; t_symph@yahoo.co.in ;
thiruvasakam@hotmail.com ; tamilmaiyam@eth.net ; jegath66@yahoo.co.uk ; tamil_mai2000@yahoo.co.in

Cc:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta ; bpsingam@yahoo.co.in ; secretaryab@yahoo.co.in ; pb_peterfdo@yahoo.co.in ; kottar_diocese@sancharnet.in ; archmsml@vsnl.com ; sushila jesudass

Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 4:32 PM Subject: FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ

SUBJECT : REV. FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ 

Dear Rev. Fr. Joseph Michael Selvaraj [Joemics],

After the ‘Mozart Meets India’ release ceremony at Music Academy on 25th August 2006 which I attended, I was distributing pamphlets outside the venue. The pamphlets concern certain activities of Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, your priest-colleague. The activities of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj are his production of the Thiruvasagam audio CD in praise of the Hindu god Shiva, and his business ventures which Catholics find most objectionable because they are not what a Catholic priest should be doing.

I could easily identify you as a Catholic priest even though you were dressed as a layperson, and though I have never seen you before. That is because of your arrogant attitude when I offered you a copy of the pamphlet.

You glared at me angrily and you said “STUPIDITY”, and walked away. I gave this pamphlet to many people, including nun sisters, performers at the programme, and even to members of Tamil Maiyam, but no one else had behaved the way that you did even though you are a Catholic priest.

Your presence there, and your behaviour indicate that you support the activities of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj.

I have nothing personal against you or any of the other priests involved, who include Fr. Joe Arun SJ., Fr. M. A. Joe Antony SJ., Fr. Lourdu Anandam, Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai and Fr. Jegath himself. However I am concerned that you are all acting against the interests of the Catholic Church of which I am a member, and hence I have written a report on the entire issue which I am submitting to the Chairman of the Doctrinal Commission of the CBCI [Catholic Bishops’ Commission of India] and to the other Bishops of the CBCI and the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council.

It was a two-page summary of this report that I was distributing outside the Music Academy, inviting people to visit my website www.ephesians-511.net and read the entire report which presently runs into 43 pages.

The report is incomplete and will be updated as events continue to unfold.

The title of the report is: IN PRAISE OF SHIVA

This ministry, which has an alternative website www.ephesians511.net [http://ephesians511.net] writes on Catholic issues concerned with New Age philosophies. It also exposes New Age and other errors being propagated by Catholics, whether they are laypersons or nuns or priests.

Yours respectfully, Michael Prabhu

COPIES TO:

MOST REV. ANTONY DEVOTTA, BISHOP OF TRICHY,

MOST REV. SEBASTIANAPPAN SINGAROYAN, BISHOP OF SALEM, SECRETARY, TAMIL NADU BISHOPS’ COUNCIL,

MOST REV. PETER FERNANDO, ARCHBISHOP OF MADURAI, CHAIRMAN, TAMIL NADU BISHOPS’ COUNCIL

MOST REV. LEON A. THARMARAJ, BISHOP OF KOTTAR of whose diocese Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj is a priest.

who have not responded to my earlier emails concerning the Thiruvasagam issue; and to

MOST REV. MALAYAPPAN CHINNAPPA, ARCHBISHOP OF MADRAS-MYLAPORE

who was present at the Music Academy ‘Mozart Meets India’ function on August 25th, 2006 

 
 

Between the 28th [evening] and 30th [morning] of August 2006, the summary of this report was emailed to all Catholic Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Co-Adjutor and Auxiliary Bishops, Diocesan administrators, a couple of Commissions of the CBCI, and the Pro Nuncio- about 175 in all.

 
 

From:
prabhu
To:
trichidio@eth.net ; antony devotta ; bpsingam@yahoo.co.in ; secretaryab@yahoo.co.in ; pb_peterfdo@yahoo.co.in ; kottar_diocese@sancharnet.in ; ngc_antomike@sancharnet.in ; archmsml@vsnl.com ; sushila jesudass ; slm_bpsingam@sancharnet.in
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:35 PM

Subject: CATHOLIC PRIEST FR. JEGATH GASPAR RAJ PRODUCES MUSIC AUDIO CD IN PRAISE OF SHIVA

KIND ATTENTION:

SELECTED MEMBER BISHOPS OF THE TAMIL NADU BISHOPS’ COUNCIL- MADRAS-MYLAPORE, TIRUCHIRAPPALLI, MADURAI, SALEM and KOTTAR

Dear Reverend Archbishops and Bishops,

For your kind attention please. This ministry has written to you on this subject earlier with no response.

Copies have been marked to the CBCI governing body and commissions.

The details of the summary below are in the report on the website



Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India

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