Jestin Thomas Punnassery
Gefördert seit: Januar 2020
Having completed my high school in 1999, I joined St John’s Province, (Bijnor), of the CMI congregation, which has its members engaged in various missionary apostolates in the mission regions of North India. I became a professed member of the congregation in 2004 and was ordained a priest in 2013. I spent all my 15 year-long formative years in various mission regions of North India. I graduated in Philosophy from our Mission Philosophate, Darsana Institute of Philosophy, Wardha, Maharashtra in 2006 and did my Bachelor’s in Arts from Christ University, Bengaluru in 2010 and I did my Bachelor’s in Theology from our Mission Theologate, Samanvaya, Bhopal in 2013. After my ordination, I served as the assistant rector in our Minor Seminary for two years, during which I was also secretary to Fr Provincial (2014-2016). Later, I joined Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, for the Licentiate in Philosophy (2016-2018). I also served as assistant parish priest in St. Mary’s Church for one year during my Licentiate programme. Then I joined on the teaching staff at Darsana Institute of Philosophy, Wardha, where the young missionaries are given training.
A christian interpretation of Madhvācārya: It is through the steadfast devotion to God (bhakti) that one receives God’s grace (prasāda) and it is the Divine grace that liberates (mukti) one from bondage (bandha). Thus, Madhva’s ātman (individual self) embarks on a Christian journey from bhakti to mukti through prasāda. In this time of religious fanaticism, ghar wapsi, Hindutva and so on, Madhva gives us a platform where we can all meet together as there are many common points between Vaiṣṇavism and Christianity, at the same time without yielding in important and essential points of our convictions. If taken in true spirit it will open a way for dialogue with each other giving due respect to the respective faiths and not looking down upon the other with contempt, which, in turn will make this world a better place to live in harmony.
I have already secured Licentiate in Philosophy from India. Until now all my studies were done in India. Hence, I hope studying abroad will help me to have a wider and global vision and a knowledge about the other cultures, too. This will help me to have a dialogue with different cultures. Indologists, like Max Mueller, opened the portals of the West to India. The people like him contributed to the growth of Indology and introduced Indian philosophy to the western mind. I believe my studies here will give me an open-mindedness. I do believe that it is going to be a good opportunity to explore and widen my understanding. I hope to avail the proximity of experienced and scholarly professors and the magnificent library there.