New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Throughout her life Mother Teresa served the poorest of the poor, seeking the face of Jesus in everyone she met regardless of creed. On the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of religious, tomorrow, August 26, Hindu priest Swami Shantatamanda tells AsiaNews about his meeting with Mother Teresa. Member of the Rama Krishna Mission, a Hindu philanthropic organization, the priest worked for years with the Missionaries of Charity and promotes interfaith dialogue through aid to the needy.
Can you recall your first encounter with Mother Teresa?
My first encounter with Mother Teresa has been about 15 years ago. At that time a wealthy British Hindu, chose to donate all his wealth to the Rama Krishna Mission, which involves all Hindu priests in Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity. The sum was made out to both organisations, but the taxes were too high to pay, so Mother Teresa of Calcutta came to our home to decide with me what to do. On that occasion she said: " Let whole amount of the wealth go to your organisation and then divide the amount in half." We accepted her advice. Indeed, the Rama Krishna Mission was already present in Britain and this would bring in tax relief.
Once collected the money, I went to the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta to Mother Teresa, to deliver what she deserved. While giving her the money she said: “brother, whatever you do for yourself, please do for us too.” I was touched by these words of Mother Teresa. Then she hand over me a small paper written on it with inspired words written by her own hand. I have still treasured it. I was also impressed by her simplicity and service.
Is there a difference in the concept of service between Hindus and Christians?
In all religious traditions, who serves the weakest does so to make the world a better place, as shown by Mother Teresa. We as Hindu priests and members of the Rama Krishna Mission, we serve to help people and ourselves. Mother Teresa did this throughout her life. All of us should follow her example, especially in love and in helping the poorest people.
Do you still have contact with the Missionaries of Charity?
Yes we want to expand our network of interfaith dialogue with the Missionaries of Charity and the Church, to set our relationship on a common ground. We invite the Missionaries of Charity and other religious orders, bishops and priests to visit our association, to find together a way that aids the development of society and promote harmony among religions.