Universal Values of the Bible in 1010 couples and 11 melodies in Hindi

'Moolya Bible Ke', a book of poems and a CD of melodies in Hindi, in a two-in-one texture, on the universal values of the Bible, was launched in Sahitya Academy Auditorium, New Delhi, on 10 September 2016 at 16.00 hours. This auspicious ceremony was performed by Hon’ble Padma Bhooshan Professor Lokesh Chandra, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi, Government of India, who was the Chief Guest of the programme. Bishop Dr Raphy Manjaly, President, Catholic Hindi Sahitya Samiti, Allahabad, chaired the session. The programme was jointly organized by Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi, and Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi/Delhi.

The architect of the above work is Dr M. D. Thomas, who masterminded it by way of concept, research, interpretation, direction, editing and composition of the melodies. He is an academic in Literature, philosophy, art, poetry and music as well as an experienced specialist in Bible, other Scriptures, religions and Spirituality. The poetical rendering has been done by Pandit Hariram Dwivedi, who is a gifted and popular poet in Bhojpuri and Hindi. The above work is a compendium of 1010 dohaas (couplets) and of 11 musical compositions on the same.

This book is the outcome of an insightful, multi-faceted, new and trend-setting vision. First, Bible is available in thousands of languages. But, its poetical and musical edition is taking birth in Hindi, for the first time in the history of the world and is certainly a matter of singular prestige for Hindi. Second, this is not a translation of the Bible but is a thematic and systematic exposition of the selected values that emerge from the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, which form the Christian Bible in the proper sense, though it includes the entire Bible in general. That makes it worthy of being considered a 'new edition of the Bible'. Third, this poetic and musical edition of the Bible, that too as an exceptional blend of popular language and classical rhyme, stands perhaps the first in the tradition of religious Scriptures, as well. All that would amount to state that this is an original work and marks the beginning of a new tradition and culture.

Two special characteristics make this work notable. One, the poetic lines in this book are simple and they speak to the pulse of the Hindi-speaking common man. The musical compositions are based on selected Hindustani raagaas and are capable of captivating one and all. This double-sided package of poems and tunes, without a doubt, will penetrate into the general public and inculcate a value-consciousness that is beyond borders. Two, the simple and people-friendly lines and the moving melodies are profusely applied to the day-to-day lives of the people and the universal interpretation of the values, to people of all communities and affiliations. In this way, this work presents a new definition of promoting good will and harmony among people of all traditions and sections, that too in a value-based and all-inclusive fashion.

Founder Chair and Director, Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi, Dr M. D. Thomas, elaborately and warmly introduced the guests on the dais and welcomed them. He also mentioned appreciatively those persons who are intimately related to the launch of the historic work. They include Dr Gyanmani Saxena, anchor of the programme, Mr Ramanand Tiwari, publisher of the book, Prof. Vishwanath Tiwari, President of Sahitya Academy, Pt Hariram Dwivedi, poem writer of this book, and the artists of the studio. He welcomed the participants of the book launch programme, as well. Shree Ramanand Tiwari affirmed 'spreading good thoughts all over, whichever direction they may come from' as the duty of the publisher. He highlighted the book as a pioneering and powerful symbol of the shared culture of the humanity, too. Pt Hariram Dwivedi voiced gratefully the deep sentiments he experienced as he travelled with the mastermind of the book in processing the Christian values into a language that is relished even by the last man of the society.

Dr M. D. Thomas, the inventor of the whole idea, while introducing the book, highlighted his literary, poetic and musical as well as the spiritual background, which the book evolved from. He also informed the house regarding the innovative implications of the book. He said, 'the spirit of universal brotherhood' emerges from the teachings of Jesus, who presented the idea of God as father and all human beings as members of his family. Even so, the motivation for applying the spirit of 'vasudhaivakutumbakam' on values of the Bible derived from the motivating journey with the great mystic Kabeer. Bible is a world class literature and philosophy and is part of the world classics. The new venture of poetic-musical rendering of the universal values of the Bible affirms the inclusive and ever-evolving character of those values.

Dr Thomas further said that all religious Scriptures are the gift of the same Creator God and is the common cultural heritage of the human society. It is the special right of the 21st century to ensure that the communal wrap on the religious Scriptures is removed. People have to shed the outlook of 'mine and yours' and imbibe the spirit of the universal values that are inherent in all of them. A new culture of searching for truth and goodness even beyond the human-made walls has to emerge. The all-inclusive and universal spirit of the Constitution of India and the Declaration of the United Nations has to seep into the roots of the traditions and civilizations and enrich the human society towards a better tomorrow. ‘Moolya Bible Ke’ is a powerful voice of such a creative revolution.

Padma Bhooshan Professor Lokesh Chandra, while delivering his address as the Chief Guest, complimented the poetic and musical work as an original concept, an outstanding work and the launch of a new thought. At the outset, he appreciated the quality of Hindi that was being spoken from the podium then. He observed that the language of the translations of the Bible, including that of Dr Camille Bulke, is not easy for all. But, the language of ‘Moolya Bible Ke’ is so simple that even the common can easily understand and participate in it. There is a great flow in it and it is pleasing to read and listen to. Besides, it is admirable that it is made available in both poetic and musical forms and therefore it has the sense of completion as in 'Brahma Ghosh'. This flow is definitely going to travel a long way towards larger horizons as well as towards the smallest of the small persons in the society.

Prof. Lokesh stated further that value is the religion of life and it can be sustained only when it is motivated by God. This work contains the sense of ascending (aarohan) and that of celebration (samaaroh), i.e., ascending together, with an essential tuning to values. In a world of violence of diverse types, it is meritorious that this book shows up as the first one that discusses values, remaining above the customary idea of religion. This work is a commendable exposition of Christian philosophy and values. This book is also an unparalleled example of high thoughts presented in a very simple language. The book is printed in big letters and is very much reader-friendly. The printing quality of the book is also very good. This book is also full of the spirit of being Indian. In fact, from diverse angles, this work is positively a great service to Hindi, from different points of view.

Prof. Lokesh Chandra further affirmed that this book reflects a deep grounding in a multi-faceted and thought out vision. There are no limits in this book and it includes lots of insights. This work is sure to initiate a new consciousness in human minds and will commence the discussion of a new stream of thought. He expressed his wish for the innovative work to be an agent of removing the bad taste in the society and usher in the spirit of good will and harmony. He also suggested that all the lines of the book have to be converted into CDs, so that people can listen to the values of the Bible and benefit from them just by listening to them. He copiously admired and complimented the architect of this book and his colleague for the creditable contribution done to Hindi and to the human society, highlighting values through poetry and music that too inspired by and in the spirit of Kabeer.

Bishop Dr Raphy Manjaly, President, Catholic Hindi Sahitya Samiti, Allahabad, delivering the presidential address, expressed great joy on the rare combination of values, poem and music that is positioned in the tradition of the Bible. Quoting Pope John Paul II, who observed 20th century as a ‘century of tears’, he said that according to statistics, about 11 crore people got murdered in the 20th century caused by violence.There is a crucial need to change the culture of violence into a 'culture of love and peace', which, manifestly, requires an ethical consciousness. India has lots of religions in it, but there is a huge deficit of spirituality, ironically so. A religious person is not necessarily a spiritual person. In the absence of the values, religion is bound to get corrupt and remain deprived of spiritual insights. Therefore, the call of the hour is to take religion come out of places of worship and establish in workplaces in terms of ethical values.

Bishop Dr Raphy continued discussing the collapse of values, which is an oft-repeated slogan. The response to such a dismal situation is not the loss of hope, but attempting creative efforts for advancing value-consciousness, which the book launched today is a creditable example for. Like other religious Scriptures, the Bible is a large reservoir of values. There is a dire need to assimilate these values in personal and social lives. A ‘special syllabus' with universal values from the Bible and from other religious Scriptures require to be composed and included under value-education, so that the up-coming generation can imbibe values from them, in view of becoming good human beings. He also expressed his deep commitment to do all that is possible to realize the various dreams and prospects that are part of this singular literary, poetic, musical and value-based work.

Bishop Dr Raphy Manjaly said ahead that there should be a ‘sense of mission’ in life, yes, a passion to do something worthwhile in life. In fact, a religion without a mission is a question mark. It is extremely heartening and edifying to see a work like ‘Moolya Bible Ke’, which ushers in an innovative spirit and a new culture. Beyond doubt, this work is a lasting as well as an outstanding contribution to Hindi literature and value-education both. He expressed his firm hope that this work will also contribute immensely to the mission of making the human society value-based and sensitive as well as less discriminative and more harmonious. As he whole-heartedly congratulated the architect of the book and his poetic colleague, he also voiced his ardent wish to see more of such initiatives that bring to light the sublime values of life and are oriented to harmonious living and a better society for the humans to live in.

The auspices ceremony of the launch of the book went thus -- Shree Ramanad Tiwari, Publisher of the book, presented before the chief guest copies of the book, decorated with flower petals. The chief guest opened them and gave a copy each to those present on the dais, Bishop Dr Raphy Manjaly, Dr M. D. Thomas, Pt Hariram Dwivedi, Shree Ramanand Tiwari and Dr Gyanmani Saksena. In a similar fashion, the CDs were presented to the chief guest, which he opened and gave to the dignitaries present on the stage. Presenting before the audience the book and the CD separately and together was the peak moment of the launch event. The audience responded with a loud and prolonged clap of approval to the unique event they witnessed, with which 'Moolya Bible Ke' became part of the shared assets of the human society.

In the beginning of the programme, 'Asato Maa sadgamay', a song from the Vedic tradition, was played by way of invocation and everyone silently took inspiration from the same. The dignitaries were honoured by shawl being presented to them as per the Indian tradition. After the launch ceremony, a song from the CD, 'Auron se vyavhaar kee', composed by Dr M. D. Thomas in raag 'shivranjinee', was played. It could be noted that this song is the poetic form of the peak of the ethical teachings of Jesus and is known as 'golden rule', world over. People present then enjoyed the value-flavour inherent in the same.

Dr Gyanmani Saxena anchored the programme in a very systematic, professional, appealing and impressive manner. Introducing the launch event of the book and CD at the outset of the programme, she presented poetic lines that expressed the aspiration 'dil se dooree nikle' and 'khud badle aur duniyaa badle'. She underscored becoming a 'good man' rather than a 'big man'. The human society is witnessing the play of power, on the one hand and the shrinking of modesty and good sense, on the other. Consequently, co-existence is getting jammed. Such a predicament affirms anew the dire need of peace and harmony. Ultimately, life is a journey from God to God and value-consciousness is the package of provisions for the path. Religious Scriptures serve a strong foundation for the sense of value in life. Claiming to own a certain Scripture is a major blunder, since it is part of the collective property of the human society. Culling the universal values out from the religious texts and applying to day-to-day lives is the way to imprint them on the conscience of the humans, by which they will contribute to converting our earth into a family.

Dr Gyanmani said further on, in this context, the book being launched today 'Moolya Bible Ke' is of a landmark importance. Evidently, Bible is a collection of the universal values of the messianic person and teachings of Jesus Christ and it is both a world-class philosophy and literature. If it is kept restricted to merely a religious Scripture, it is bound to shrink. Till date, the Bible was in prose form. But, today it is starting a new journey and tradition in the popular form of poetry and music in Hindi and it can be justifiably called as 'new edition of the Bible'. Listening to the universal values present in them, singing them and imbibing their spirit, accompanied by the feel of poetry and music, I suppose, is right response to the same.

As a seasoned anchor, Dr Gyanmani, a scholar herself, made a beautiful garland out of the different items of the programme, in a very thought-provoking, pleasing and effective manner. She elaborately introduced the originator of the book, his poetic colleague as well as Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, during the respective places during the course of the programme. At the end of the programme she proposed a vote of thanks to the dignitaries on and off the dais. Approximately 120 prominent persons from diverse sectors of the society participated in the programme. During the refreshments, people expressed appreciation for the ground-breaking initiative that made 10 September 2016 a memorable day.