Beauty is most religious when it is most simple and naturelike.
The child should be introduced to worship in nature’s outdoors and later accompany his parents to public houses of religious assembly which are at least as materially attractive and artistically beautiful as the home in which he is daily domiciled.
The above are two quotes from the Urantia Book. Appreciation of beauty is a God given quality that we have. By developing this innate quality of beauty appreciation makes us love nature, love our fellow beings and finally love God, who is the Supreme Creator of all these.
Ranchi is my present city of residence. I came to this city a few months ago. This city has many unique features. It is the capital of the Jharkhand State of India, which was established nearly a decade ago comprising mostly of the areas known as the Chhota Nagpur region, from previously established states of West Bengal and Bihar. The region is essentially a plateau which is about 2800 feat above sea level with plains all around at a lower altitude of 900-1000 ft. Ranchi is a naturally airconditioned elevated plain area with a cool wet weather almost through out the year. No wonder the European missionaries found this place as the ideal work ground with the establishment of the British India.
Ranchi has certain unique features. The urbanized Ranchi has all the modern amenities and is a vibrant city with a metro culture with a population nearing 2 Million. The city air connected to Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Patna, Bangalore, etc and has a number of very good hotels, non-star to five star.
The Jharkhand natives belong to a number of different tribal sects, all having their own unique dialects and cultures. Nearly 20 percent of these tribals are Christians belonging to various church denominations. Another 20 percent are Muslims and the rest majority follow the Hindu system of religious practices. The Roman Catholic Church has a big following here with a number of convents, convent schools and educational institutions run by the priests and the nuns. One of the cardinals of the R C church is now a tribal christian from Jharkhand with his HQ at Ranchi.
Due to the unique geography of this place, Ranchi has a number of beautiful water falls and unique fona and flora within a radius of 30-40 km from Ranchi city. The history, culture and geography of Ranchi ideally should have made this place one of the prime centres of culture and tourism of India.
Unfortunately, this has not happened that way due to the decades of partisan neglect of this area by the Central and State governments after the Nehruvian era which eventually culminated in to violent extremism of communist splinter groups collectively now known as the Naxals.
When the new state of Jharkhand was created, it should have brought much prosperity to this mineral and naturally gifted region. But the presence of the armed groups here and there have created a fear among the commom citizens that the majority of the people avoid venturing out to enjoy these natural areas which are so near to them.
Presently the state government seems to have realized this and is making all out efforts to promote tourism.
The Jharkhand State Tourism Development Corporation and a Private Group 'Wheels Travels' have now dared to challenge the extremist threat and promote site seeing trips to the citizens. Due to the fear, the response is initially luke warm.
I took this opportunity to avail their services. Myself, my wife Lizy, my colleague Mr Patnaik, his wife and daughter took their services this week end. So a few days ago ( ie on 26-11-2011) we went on a day's site seeing trip with Wheels Travels of Ranchi. It was indeed a wonderful and to some extent and adventurous trip. I give in this page some of the photographs taken during this day long site seeing trip.
If you are interested please read about our experiences and my commentary on the trip given below in this page.
Dasham Falls of Ranchi- a distant view
The Dasham Falls is a beautiful waterfalls very near to Ranchi city. The fall is well approachable by road and lies a few kilometers away from the Ranchi-Tatanagar highway. This fall is about 144 ft high and the gorge is made well approachable by the tourism department with non-slippery tiled steps and many view galleries. Except for the fear incited by the Naxallites, the visit to this place is a really enjoyable one. The natural beauty enhanced by the additional man-made make up is pleasant and enjoyable.
It is me (Rajan C Mathew) in front of the Belgium Church built a century ago in the tribal belt around Ranchi.
How unreasonable that you should not worship God because the limitations of human nature and the handicaps of your material creation make it impossible for you to see him. Between you and God there is a tremendous distance (physical space) to be traversed. There likewise exists a great gulf of spiritual differential which must be bridged; but notwithstanding all that physically and spiritually separates you from the Paradise personal presence of God, stop and ponder the solemn fact that God lives within you; he has in his own way already bridged the gulf. He has sent of himself, his spirit, to live in you and to toil with you as you pursue your eternal universe career. [The Urantia Book 2:5.6]
Engraved stone slabs resembling tomb stones in front of the church.
Stone engravings erected depicting important historical statements in front of the Church. This type of stones are commonly found in this area. These engravings are relatively new and give good study material for students of later day tribal history of Jharkhand.
View of the Church from the far end of the compound.
To enjoy privilege without abuse is a mark of high civilization (the Urantia Book). Enjoy the natural beauty of Ranchi's tribal environment, but refrain from abusing it.
Enjoying the cool breeze and the Sight of the Fall !
Society cannot offer equal rights to all, but it can promise to administer the varying rights of each with fairness and equity. It is the business and duty of society to provide the child of nature with a fair and peaceful opportunity to pursue self-maintenance, participate in self-perpetuation, while at the same time enjoying some measure of self-gratification, the sum of all three constituting human happiness. (the Urantia Book 70:9.17)
Hirani Falls-Ranchi (Below)
Let man enjoy himself; let the human race find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary mankind explore all forms of legitimate self-gratification, the fruits of the long upward biologic struggle. Man has well earned some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But look you well to the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution of self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a fatal price if they bring about the collapse of marriage, the decadence of family life, and the destruction of the home — man’s supreme evolutionary acquirement and civilization’s only hope of survival. (the Urantia Book 84:8.6)
Century Old Belgian Church of Ranchi Tribal Area
It is unimaginable now to believe that christian missionaries from Europe, that too from Belgium, came to this place some 25 km away from the present Ranchi city, some time in the latter half of 19th century and built this beautiful church in the midst of the strange tribal settlements of Chhota Nagpur area of India!
My wife Mrs Saramma Rajan at the Belgian Church.
The concept of the personality of Deity facilitates fellowship; it favors intelligent worship; it promotes refreshing trustfulness. Interactions can be had between nonpersonal things, but not fellowship. The fellowship relation of father and son, as between God and man, cannot be enjoyed unless both are persons. Only personalities can commune with each other, albeit this personal communion may be greatly facilitated by the presence of just such an impersonal entity as the Thought Adjuster. [The Urantia Book 1:7.1]
Wheels Travels Winger Van parked at the Church Compound.
By seeing this church compound, can you imagine that it is located in an isolated tribal area ? The church now is attended by tribal christians coming from various locations not normally accessed and seen by the urbanites of Ranchi or India . The tribals are all from different sects and speak different languages. There are three R C priests belonging to three different tribal sects ministering this church and the separate schools located in the campus for tribal girls and boys.
View of Dasham Falls-Ranchi from a distance
The right to property is not absolute; it is purely social. But all government, law, order, civil rights, social liberties, conventions, peace, and happiness, as they are enjoyed by modern peoples, have grown up around the private ownership of property. (the Urantia Book 69:9.17)
Dasham Falls Ranchi-Another View !
No government can long endure if it fails to provide for the right to enjoy personal property in some form. Man craves the right to use, control, bestow, sell, lease, and bequeath his personal property. (the Urantia Book 71:2.14)
View of Hirani Falls from the Lower Point
Someday man should learn how to enjoy liberty without license, nourishment without gluttony, and pleasure without debauchery (excessive immoral activities). Self-control is a better human policy of behavior regulation than is extreme self-denial.(the Urantia Book 89:3.7)
Our Van surrounded by armed police vehicles at Hirani Falls
If you enjoy the flowers, shrubs, and trees of Urantia (earth), then will you feast your eyes upon the botanical beauty and the floral grandeur of the supernal gardens of Edentia (one of the heavenly worlds which is not an evolutionary planet, but specially designed and created by the Creators)-the Urantia Book 43:6.8
The existence of beauty implies the presence of appreciative creature mind just as certainly as the fact of progressive evolution indicates the dominance of the Supreme Mind.
More about Our Beauty Appreciation Trip around Ranchi on 26th Nov 2011
The tour promoter, Mr P K Choudhary, an eminent engineer and business man of this region himself came along with us as the tour guide. The day which we selected for our trip-26-11-11 faced the naxal threat as the Naxallites called for a strike. Though no one fall in line with their strike calls in the city, in the interior roads that was not the case. There exists the threat of the Naxal violence and an eerie silence on account of this threat.
But our dynamic humanitarian tour promoter Mr Chaudhary cheered us up and we decided to move on. Half way we faced the first road block, not by the Naxallites, but by the police. The police would not allow us to proceed further.
Our Winger Van was made to stand on the empty road with a Police Station building on the one side, now fortified as a mini fort with a combat outlook with sand bags placed here and there and automatic and non automatic gun barrels pointing menacingly towards our vehicle from many holes made on the brick walls of the building. With curiosity and bit fear we watched the heads of the jawans poping up here and there on the first floor balcony of their fort building, their so-called combat hide out!
There was a verbal signal which commanded Mr Choudhary inside the building and we waited inside the vehicle anxiously for about half an hour.
To our relief, we saw a jubiliant Mr Choudhary coming out smiling. We also found some activities of a police contingent, fully armed getting ready on their jeep. Mr Choudhary told us that the armed police vehicle will be now our pilot. He had some how informed the higher ups and an order followed from the top for giving us armed protection.
The naxallites are known to be specially unkind to the police and there have been so many incidences of them blowing up police vehicles. Now our only fear was that. The armed police vehicle going ahead of us was indeed our safety concern.
Another 10-15 km drive, we reached the next police station picket on the road with the fortified police station on one side. Here the message was already there and within minutes three armed police jeeps began to move with us- two in front and one at the back. We were all going to the Hirani falls and shortly we all reached the falls.
The tourism department had spend money to make many arrangements for the visitors. But no tourists on that day, except we five and the dozen armed police men. The police commandoes took positions here and there till we finished seeing the falls.
This elaborate pecaution, I was told by one of the officers, was because this place was one of core action stage of the Naxallites and they cannot be trusted, especially on this day- the day they declared a strike in protest of their national leader Kishanji getting killed in the neighbouring state of West Bengal in police action!
We moved on from there and the police did came along for some distance and went away beyond their area of jurisdiction. Further we decided to visit a few more places and Mr Choudhary gave us the confidence and the guidance.
We visited the Panchghagh, small wide river fall area with widely spread river sand and scenic beauty, an ideal place for picnic. We then moved on to visit a remotely located church in the tribal area, which was built by the missionaries from Belgium way back in the late 19th century. The church was an isolated modern European style church standing all alone in a green and seemingly isolated place with no human residences visible nearby. There was a tribal missionary school and a small post office located in the church compound. We talked to the highly educated roman catholic priests belonging who hailed from the tribes of the area. I was greatly impressed by the dedication of these priests who are providing great services of the tribal children with quality education-nearly thousand tribal children, boys and girls, are studying here. The sunday service in the church is attended by over 250 tribal christians, I was told.
To locate the church, which was located some seven kilometers away from the state high way, we had to take the guidance of a willing local tribal man, without which it was almost impossible for us. There was an asphalted single lane road, mostly with damaged surface and nearly a kilometer length in the slopes had only lose stones on the surface. It being the case now, we were just wondering the situation in the 19th century when the European missionaries came here and ventured in making this big church of modern arichitecture here in this tribal forest area of east central India.
Later in the day we drove on to visit the Dasham Falls. It indeed is a beatiful water fall. You need to see it to enjoy its natural beauty. The place has been beautifully facelifted by the Jharkhand government for the convenience of the visitors. As of now very few visitors come to the place due to fear of the Naxallites. But I personally feel that people from Ranchi should consider visiting this place regularly. It is hardly any distance from ranchi city and the road approach is very good. For those are still fearful, the Wheels Travels of Mr Choudhary is a very good alternative. [Mr Chaudhury can be contacted on 91-943114250]