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The Godly man who passed away like a soft cold breeze...
by Fr. Dr. Jacob Kurian
There are so many things of reminiscence about V. Rev. P.C. Yohannan Ramban, who passed away like a soft cold breeze or like a soft touch with an odoriferous flower or like a feather touch. In each and every person there is a common place which might smile or which might exchange courtesy words or which might provide a place for solid friendship. At the same time there is a narrow place also, which might be opened to offer friendship for a very few people. All cannot find an entry into the narrow place in a few of our people. But the life style of V. Rev. P.C. Yohannan enabled all that had acquaintance with the Monk to occupy the narrow space in him without the intimation of the occupants. I do remember him in this regard, as a person of the current era who scored wonderful and wondrous success. Why not only the Ministers, Metropolitans, District Collectors, D.S.P. s, Rev. Sisters, Leaders of different walks of life and the faith, but also thousands of very ordinary citizens (including the orphan boys and girls) have dedicated Respected Yohannan Rambachen in the inner temples of their vast and deep love? There is only one reason for this. The vast and deep love in him was boundless. Many of us are unable to mould our lives. In this respect, Yohannan Rambachen is honored as the 'man of the era' as such unique personalities are very rare and they appear only once or so, in an era or a long period of time. I have fond memories of respected Rambachen from my very tender age. The memory about him starts from Yohannan Semmassen (Rev. Dn.). In my young age I used to visit Pampady Dayara, walking all the four miles from our home, holding my mothers hand, during every two months time. In those days Dn. Yohannan used to guide me and my mother, to the presence of the Saintly Pampady Thirumeni have an audience and to gain blessings by placing the Saint's blessed and sanctified hands on our foreheads. As my Aunt (Father's sister) was given in marriage to a relative of the Saint, our discourses usually were too affectionate and dearly. Deacon had a great respect for my mother considering her prayer life and innocence of her mind. I have noticed Semmachen's humble devout presence near the Saint during his old age. He used to provide the needy information to the Saint with ardent love and humbleness. From those days Rambachen had an affection and care for me as a token of his respect for my mother. He retained the same for our family altogether. Saintly Pampady Thirumeni used teach "love could be exercised by giving something" and Rambachen was so particular in practicing this great lesson he learned from the Saint all along his life until the end. Rambachen's gifts, including the Photo of the Saint and the sweet treats every now and often remain in my memory with the right color and brightness. His talent of leadership was quite surprising. I have witnessed this truth when I had the opportunity to co-operate with him in certain Committees of the Institutions, initiated and nourished by him and on certain occasions, when I had been invited by him as a celebrant of the spiritual services in Pothenpuram Dayara and the affiliated Institutions. All are aware that the Rambachen's efficiency is behind the grand success he has gathered. His leadership quality was unique and significant as he used to considering the colleagues as well as the special invitees as more important and greater than himself. I am witnessing this fact as I had the opportunity to associate with him while being a member of K.G. College, Pampady, B.M.M School and Karunya Nilayam, at least for the name sake. May I submit my memories about his splendid life as flowers of tears on the basis of the Holy Bible and Indian Ascetic tradition, when and where many, who have adored the real beauty of Rambachen's blessed life from near and far, including his sincerity, humbleness, kindness, devout life, respect to teachers and elders, efficiency, vast friendship, social vision, Prophetic approaches, love towards enemies, affection and care to small children including orphans, art of conquering the hearts of the masses, self discipline, transparency in financial deals etc. 1. Elisa the disciple who gained the double portion of the soul of Elijah. The first two chapters of the second book of the Kings are petals that bear the odor of the exciting and solid 'Master-disciple relation.' An occasion when the Godly man Elijah was surrounded by a number of disciples. A time when Elisa, being the beloved of Elijah, was following his master as a shadow. Elisa was blindly following his master Elijah, when most of the disciples were interested to build up their own shelters. Elisa's friends and well wishers advised him "mind your own business; the old man might die in the near future". Elisa told them to keep mum and to leave him alone. At last Elijah asked Elisa "why are you following me like this? What I must do for you?" Elisa replied "I don't want anything personally rather than allowing me to follow you". During the last days of Elijah on earth, he tried to send back his beloved disciple by telling "get back". The disciple had grasped a truth, though the Master did not tell him. Elisa foreknew that the assumption of his master to heaven would be super natural. Elisa was really frightened about the future in the absence of his master. He built up a feeling to secure the double portion his master's soul to withstand the absence of his master's physical presence. Once he told so to his master. When the master disappeared finally from the earth accompanied by the heavenly forces, the disciple wept while beating his chest in despair. The master had to go as he had to obey the plans and schemes of his creator. >From the master who was going up and up, the shawl fell down exactly on the head of the disciple. In the desperate feeling of absence of his master he did beat the water of River Jordan cross wise and shouted "where is the God of Elijah?" Immediately the water of the river was separated into two and remained as walls, showing the dry bottom of the river. When he crossed to the other side of the river through the dry land, he felt that he had been blessed not only with the double portion of his master's soul, but also with the divine presence of his master's God with him. Fr. P.C. Yohannan, who followed Saintly Pampady Thirumeni till the Saint's demise, could build up a vast empire of mercy and compassion, innocent love, light of education, and personal relations, through the double portion of virtues and blessedness he gained from his master. Finally he became Elisa, a trustworthy disciple of the great master Elijah of Mount Tabor in Pampady. 2. A master of the great Indian Ascetic Sea tells his disciple "You are my master". In "Sea of Masters" (Guru Saagaram), the novel, which bagged the Vayalar Award in 1991, the famous Novelist Mr. O.V. Vijayan has added a story about the disciple 'Upamanyu'. The master sent Upamanyu to rear the cattle. When he returned in the evening, the master asked Upamanyu "What did you eat today?" The disciple replied "I have received alms and got satisfied from hunger and thirst". But the master reacted "you cannot enjoy the alms unless and until it is submitted to your master". On the next day when the disciple came back, he submitted the alms collected by him before the master. The disciple was seemed energetic, though he did not touch the alms submitted to the master and hence the master enquired the reason. The disciple replied "Soon after collecting the alms to be submitted to you, I have collected additional alms and consumed the same." The master responded "you have done the wrong thing. Because of your act, the local residents of the village might have become starving." On the following day, when the disciple came back, the master enquired the reason for his freshness. He said "I drank the milk of the cows". "You might have forced the calves to be starving" was the immediate response from the master. During the following days also the master and the disciple continued their question and answer. After a few days when the disciple did not return with the cattle in the evening, the master started searching them in the forest. As the disciple was observing the instructions of his master so strictly and used to consume the poisonous leaves without knowledge had lost his eye sight. And he had fallen into a dry well. When the disciple heard his master's call, he replied "I am here". When the disciple was recovered from the pit, he got back his eye sight. His teeth shined like gold. When the master heard the entire story, he realized that the eye sight and the golden color of the teeth were the presents of 'Aswini Goddess'. It was a present from the Aswini Goddess, as the disciple was so particular in not eating anything until and unless the available food was offered to his master. Then only the master told the story behind the conversion of his teeth as raw iron. In his childhood the master could not fulfill the orders of his own master and that is why his teeth was converted as that of raw iron, as a curse of the Aswini Goddess. Immediately the master told his disciple, "Disciple, You are my master". Please don't misunderstand that I have quoted this story to establish that P.C. Yohannan Rambachen was a greater person than his master, Saintly Pampady Thirumeni. No one will dare to say so and if someone might try to say so, Rambachen's soul will not forgive. There is a truth that explains the route through which Rambachen could have so many great achievements, with the blessings and prayers of Saintly Pampady Thirumeni. It is not a must to be a Metropolitan if God has to utilize any one fully. Any one, having little and essential spiritual enlightening, need not be a Monk , could be a family person also could do great and wonderful things, for the greater glory of God Almighty, than a Metropolitan or a Minister and could reap love. The burial of the mortal remains of Pampady Rambachen, on 17th September 2008, in the presence of a large crowd, first of its kind in the history of Pampady remains for ever as a proof of the above mentioned truth. The memories of that great life, again like a cold and attractive breeze.
Article by Fr. Dr. Jacob Kurian, (Vice Principal Orthodox Theological Seminary) about V.Rev. P.C. Yohannan Ramban (of blessed memory). Translation by Mr. Jose Kurien Puliyeril, Abu Dhabi. This article forms part of the latest edition of Rambachan's Biography being released on 12th October 2008 at Pampady Dayara on the occasion of the 30th Day Memorial of beloved Rambachan. Source: ICON Forum and Indian Orthodox TV ).
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