- Religion and Philosophy
The Pure Life Society, Malaysia. Truth Alone Triumphs.
The Logo of the Pure Life Society
Dedication To Mother Mangalam
What is so special about the Pure Life Society that prompted me to write about it here? After all, in a small country called Malaysia, the Pure Life Society is just one of the so many orgaizations that offer humanitarian services for the underprivileged and the needy. Two main reasons for me to want to write about the Pure Life Society.
The first is, I want to dedicate this article as a birthday present to its current President, Mother Mangalam, the life force of the Pure Life Society, who celebrated her 88th birthday recently, this year 2014, on 17 May. May the blessings of the Universal Force be upon you, Mother Mangalam, and may you continue to maintain excellent health to helm the Pure Life Society for many many years to come. More about Mother Mangalam later. And the second reason for writing this article is my great respect for the Pure Life Society and for Mother Mangalam whom I had the honor to associate with when I was the Hon. Treasurer of the Pure Life Society in the 80s.
The Pure Life Society in Malaysia was initiated in 1948 by an Indian spiritual master by the name of Swami Satyananda, and formally registered on 15 July 1950, which incidentally was the birthday of the master. The Pure Life Society is very closely associated with these two outstanding spiritual personalities. When Swami Satyananda passed away in 1961, Mother Mangalam was entrusted the task of managing the Pure Life Society. And presently, Mother Mangalam is still energetically overseeing the affairs of the Pure Life Society, spanning a period of 53 years and still counting.
The Pure Life Society Building
Truth Alone Triumphs
The motto of the Pure Life Society conveys the message of the spiritual founder. It proclaims “Truth Alone Triumphs”. In the mind of the spiritual founder, there is only “One God, One World, One Race”. The Pure Life Society embraces the universality of all the great religions of the world, purity, goodwill and service. With these universal values in mind, Swami Satyananda set about establishing the various facilities within the compound of the Pure Life Society. The two most visible establishments were the school and the home for orphans and underprivileged children. The other facilities were a printing press, a library, a motor mechanic workshop, a clinic, and a bakery. Within the spirit of universal spiritual values, the Temple of the Universal Spirit was built on the hilltop of the Pure Life Society premises. The Temple is a physical symbol of the universal values of life and the universality of the love for all fellowmen. With spirituality being the main thrust of the Pure Life Society, it has brought peoples of different faiths to work together under the banner of “One God, One World, One Race”. Thus we have “INSaF” under the aegis of the Pure Life Society. “INSaF” is the acronym for Inter-faith Spiritual Fellowship, which has participation from leaders of different faiths, with the spirit of “Unity In Diversity”. In fact the most important mission of the Pure Life Society is to “promote the study and practice of righteousness (Dharma) and mystical communion (Yoga) in their purest form as propounded by the great teachers of the world and the study of comparative theology and philosophy in their widest form”.
The Pure Life Society also publishes a half-yearly magazine called “Dharma” (Truth or Righteousness) consisting of compilation of its current activities and articles devoted to “Universal religion, righteousness and culture”.
Swami Satyananda : A Life Of Purity, Service And Spirituality
The founder of the Pure Life Society was Swami Satyananda (Ph.D) who was born on 15 July, 1909 in Sri Lanka. His parents brought him to Malaysia (then known as Malaya) but unfortunately both his parents died when Swami Satyananda was very young. Swami Satyananda was spiritually inclined. After quitting government service, he went to India to become a disciple of a spiritual guru, and also formally studied religion, philosophy, Sanskrit and Tamil, and graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy. Swami Satyananda was a pioneer in advocating universal spiritual values, and was very well versed with the teachings of the great religious teachers. He would often have spiritual dialogues with the various religious leaders of his time. One of these spiritual leaders was one Rev. Dom John Main (1926-1982), a Benedictine monk. Father John Main was so impressed by the Swami’s spiritual stature, that he decided to learn meditation from the Swami. From there, WCCM was originated. WCCM is “World Community for Christian Meditation”, a worldwide organization teaching the Swami’s method of meditation.
Swami Satyananda lived as a monk. During the war years (Second World War) he spent time in Singapore and Malaya helping the poor, orphans and displaced children. It was during this period that Sister Mangalam became his assistant. Sister Mangalam is now lovingly being addressed as Mother Mangalam. The Pure Life Society was formed by Swamiji with the aim of promoting multiracial and multireligious understanding through lectures, forums and programs. Ever since its formation, the Pure Life Society has been promoting friendly dialogue and understanding amongst the various religious groups.
Tombstone of Swami's Grave
Mother Mangalam : Keeping The Legacy Alive
Mother Mangalam left Singapore in 1948 and headed north for Malaya as a 22 year old idealist. She was trained as a teacher and spent her spare time assisting her spiritual mentor, Swami Satyananda in his welfare work. And as they said, “the rest is history”.
Mention the name Pure Life Society; and the name, Mother Mangalam will immediately come to life. The Pure Life Society is synonymous with Mother Mangalam, although she always insists that the Pure Life Society is larger than Mother Mangalam. Mother Mangalam , the indefatigable icon of the Pure Life Society, has been the life force of the Pure Life Society for the past 53 years, and still counting. Once you step inside the premises of the Pure Life Society, you will not miss the diminutive lady, always in immaculate white attire. She is Mother Mangalam in person, an embodiment of purity, serenity and compassion.
Mother Mangalam has touched the lives of thousands of underprivileged children who passed through the doors of Pure Life Society orphanage home. Mother Mangalam is no stranger to every strata of society, from the royalties, politicians, academicians, professionals, celebrities, spiritual teachers and the common persons on the streets. As always, Mother Mangalam will humbly reiterate, “Every time the name PLS comes up, people tend to associate me with it, and I don’t like it. I’ve got a team of people!”
Change Is The Only Constant
Everything changes. Today 16 October, 2014 I received the latest issue of the Pure Life publication magazine, "Dharma". This time it was not in the standard "Readers' Digest" format, which members have been so used to over all these years. Although the small format was old in design, the magazine was very convenient to carry around, and a good companion especially while waiting for your appointment.
The new magazine now comes in a bigger format and in color too! Well, we got to keep up with the times, I suppose. Take a look at the photo below.
Pure Life Society Publication "Dharma" Magazines
Mother Mangalam with my wife (center)
Physical Manifestation Of Spiritual Persons
This is just my personal passing thought which I like to share here.
It is my personal observation that purity manifests through physical appearance. I have come across many persons who were kind and peaceful, who never seemed to age as much physically. Two very eminent persons bear this testimony of my observation. One was my revered spiritual teacher, and the other, of course my dear Mother Mangalam. It is my observation that when the mind and heart are pure, the physical appearance does not age much. I have known Mother Mangalam for over 30 years, and as far as I can figure out, she has not aged that much in her physical appearance from the first day I met her and her present self. Take a look at the photo on the right. I took that photo when I first visited Mother Mangalam in 1986.
As for me, I have lost all my hair! LOL!!
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A Visit To The Pure Life Society (Mother Mangalam @ 4.55)
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