The Mystique surrounding the Turin Shroud-1

The Turin Shroud is the cloth which many believe covered the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. It is believed to be the Holy Shroud of Jesus, which many still believe is imprinted with the face & body of Christ after he was taken from the cross.
(photo: the Turin shroud via X-Ray imagery)

In 1898, an Italian archeologist cum amateur photographer named Secundo Pia took the first ever picture of the above said shroud in the "Chapel of the dukes of Savoy at Turin Cathedral. When the negative of the photo that Pia took are observed, it seemed to have produced the face of Christ. That was the beginning. The photo already got significant attention.

Only in 1931 that a proper scientific investigation was ever allowed. Guiseppe Enri, a professional photographer, meticulously captured the image on the shroud in a lengthy photographic study. And this is how the Shroud of Turin got the attention from the rest of the world.

The description one gets from the Turin Shroud:
From the description one can get from this relic is that the form of a naked 6 ft tall man who is bearded & has long hair hanging down his back & at shoulder length at his sides. His hands are barely crossed over his loins. There are indications that the figure has been tortured & crucified with the probability of the arms nailed through the wrists. The feet seems like it has been fastened by a single nail, while the sole of one foot appears to be darkened with blood. The figure appears to have been brutally pierced with a sharp object such as a spear. There are also patterns from the body that hints that it has been subjected to a hundred lashes which in those days would have been inflicted with a "scourge"- metal balls which are attached to a flail.

The hair is matted with blood. And blood is further coagulated in scratches in the forehead. Herein lies a Big question," Could this be the result of thorns placed on the head of Christ to mock the "King of the Jews"?

The flaxen shroud is about 14 ft long and 3.5 ft in width. This shroud has been treated an important find for over a century. The claim is that it once contained the remains of Christ. The only problem is that..... there are over 50 other shrouds in Europe....all making similar claims! Why is this? How many shrouds could one Jesus Christ probably have? Why are these men making such claims?What is there to be gained by this preposterous claims?

The next question is probably how did this shroud get to Turin? Why was it found specifically in Turin and not elsewhere? The shroud only depicts an image but can science further verify any evidence to validate the age of this shroud to the time that Christ was crucified? For starters, why is it that the image can only be seen via a negative photo and not by naked eyes?

(more to follow in part 2 of the Turin Shroud mystery)




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Problems of Early Christianity(by Amal Kiran (K.D.Sethna);Published by The Integral LifeFoundation, U.S.A.; Price:Rs.150.00, pp.276)In his Foreword to anothermasterpiece on a Biblical themeAmal says, “It is a fighting pieceof work”. Which piece of work ofAmal’s is not “fighting”? To chal-lenge the received opinion of any-thing in the light of Sri Aurobindo is his swadharma. Butbefore he draws his sword he arms himself sufficiently. Thenumber of books and articles he refers to shows his thorough-ness. His knowledge of the Bible in its different editions, espe-cially the Jerusalem Bible, would astound any Christian.Even apart from the issues of controversy the details heplaces before the reader are illuminating. How many Chris-tians know there is a possibility that Jesus was born not on the25th of December in the year 1 B.C. but in 7 B.C. sometimebetween March and November? It is not impossible that hewas born on the 25th of March 7 B.C. since the spring seasonbegan on that date according to ancient calendars. How manyare aware of the similarities between Augustus Caesar andJesus who were contemporaries? Even Augustus was creditedwith divine powers. In any case, together, both are responsiblefor what Europe is today. Not many account for Paul’s viewson Christ’s resurrection by the Judaic concept of Death: theJews did not believe in an immortal soul and the death of thebody was the end of life.We learn that when Jesus asked his disciple to teach hisgospel in “all the world” and “to the ends of the earth” theworld and the earth comprised of the Roman Empire and nofarther. Augustus wanted “all the world to be taxed”. Was Indiathought of by him? The Apostle Thomas, on the same groundscould not have visited India nor have been martyred at“Mailapore” (Mylapore), Madras!In recent newspapers we read about “The Shroud of Turin”being exhibited at the Abbey of Turin (Italy) from the 14th ofAugust to the 22nd of October 2000. Before expressing hisagreement with the view of scientists that the Turin Shroudcould not have been of an earlier date than the 13th Century andcould not have covered Jesus, he gives a vivid account of it andexamines from all possible points of view. One of the delight-ful essays in the volume is a discussion of the line in Luke. Itreads in the King James version, “The Kingdom of God iswithin you.” The original “entos” in Greek is also rendered“among”. Suggesting that the best rendering would be “per-vades” he points out that the meaning could be brought outwith a hyphen between “with” and “in” in the King Jamesversion.One of the main topics of discussion in the book is whetherthe Virgin-Birth of Jesus is literally true. Amal Kiran has notwo thoughts on its symbolic significance. He has the authorityof Sri Aurobindo himself to say the Avatar is derived from thehigher spiritual nature - Para Prakriti or Para Maya, the Di-vine Shakti, the Virgin Mother of all Beings. In the companionvolume “A Follower of Christ and a Disciple of Sri Aurobindo”Amal states beautifully,“I consider this doctrine (of Virgin Birth) the most beautifulcomponent of the ensemble (of many traditions), bringinginto the new religion (Christianity) the vision of God theMother... with a finer and closer approach to the Indianinsight of the Adya Shakti, the Para-Prakriti...”What he contests is the acceptance of it as a literal fact.Only two of the twenty-seven Books of the New Testamentmention it and an authority like St.Paul ignores it. Many mod-ern scholars including the well-known Roman Catholic priestand scholar Raymond Brown do not take it seriously.Closely linked with the question is if Jesus had brothersand sisters. Scholars not only claim Virgin Birth for Christ butsay that Mary remained a virgin after the Divine Birth. Argu-ing powerfully with the support from the Bible itself and ofBiblical scholars that Jesus did have brothers and sisters, thelearned author shows how Luke who mentions Virgin Birth inthe Gospel was different from the author of the Acts of theApostles. He also shows Mark, the evangelist, was differentfrom Mark, the friend of St.Paul.The other question he discusses is the time of the SecondComing of Christ, according to St.Paul. Contrary to the re-ceived opinion he demonstrates how it was expected in theFirst Century itself. The one question discussed in great detailis the nature of Jesus’ Resurrection. Did the corpse of Jesusafter crucifixion come to life? Analysing all the evidence AmalKiran, while admitting the appearance of the Lord after cruci-fixion, shows how he did not appear in the physical body thatdied on the Cross. It was in a spirit-body.Even those who differ from Amal cannot fail to admire thepainstaking work of a master-mind to whom deeper experi-ences are not strange.— K.B.Sitaramayya
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SABDA Newsletter8The MotherThe Spiritual Significance of FlowersThe Sri Aurobindo Ashram announces the publication of anew book on flowers. This set of two volumes is available inthree editions: English, French and German, as follows —The Spiritual Significance of Flowers — 81-7058-609-7La Signification Spirituelle des Fleurs — 81-7058-610-0Die Spirituelle Bedeutung der Blumen — 81-7058-611-9- The Mother462 pages. All three editions are priced at Rs.2500.00.Overseas rates: US$ 66.00 (sea mail); US$ 82.00 (air mail);US$ 73.00 (surface air lifted mail — only for buyers in theUSA, UK, Germany and Singapore)Gentle and lovely, flowers share their beauty with us and bringus a touch of eternal things. According to the Mother, eachvariety of flower has its own special quality and meaning. Byestablishing an inner contact with the flower, this meaning canbe known.“Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen to them,”the Mother said. “It is a subtle and fragrant language.”As if toprovide a key to this language, she identified the significancesof almost nine hundred flowers. In this book these flowers andtheir messages are presented in the light of her vision andexperience.This 462-page book consists of two separately bound parts.Part 1 is printed on glossy art paper, Part 2 on woodfree paper.The contents of these parts are briefly described below.PART 1. TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHSThe 324-page text of Part 1 is arranged thematically on thebasis of the Mother’s flower-significances. In each of thetwelve chapters, flowers of related significance are groupedtogether; these groups are then placed in a sequence thatdevelops the theme of the chapter.For each of the 898 flowers, the Mother’s significance is given,her comment on the significance, the botanical name of theflower, and its colour or colours. Quotations from the worksof Sri Aurobindo and the Mother accompany manysignificances as an aid to understanding them. 630 colourphotographs help to identify the flowers and bring out theirbeauty.PART 2. INDEXES, GLOSSARIES & DESCRIPTIONSThe second part is a 138-page reference volume containingindexes, glossaries, descriptions of the flowers and other in-formation. The three indexes make it possible to locate theflowers in Part 1 by the Mother’s significance, the botanicalname and the common name. The two glossaries - one ofbotanical terms, the other of philosophical and psychologicalterms - define the technical terms in the book. The largestsection, “Descriptions of the Flowers”, provides detailed de-scriptions and full botanical information about the flowers.There is also a note on the symbolism of colours.THE ORIGIN OF THE SIGNIFICANCESMother, when flowers are brought to you, how do you givethem a significance?By entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its innertruth. Then one knows what it represents.There is a mental projection when one gives a precise signifi-cance to a flower. . . . A flower does not have the equivalent ofa mental consciousness. . . . It is rather like the movement of alittle baby, neither a sensation nor a feeling, but something ofboth; it is a spontaneous movement, a very special vibration.Well, if one is in contact with this vibration, if one feels it, onereceives an impression which may be translated by a thought.This is how I give a significance to flowers and plants. There isa kind of identification with the vibration, a perception of thequality it represents.THE MOTHER
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SABDA Newsletter9The Spiritual Significance of FlowersFEATURES OF THE BOOK898 flower-significances identified by the Mother, arrangedthematically in twelve chaptersBrief quotations from the works of Sri Aurobindo and theMother630 colour photographs of the flowersIndexes, glossaries, descriptions of the flowersSize: 21.5 x 27.5cm (8 1/2 x 10 3/4"), landscape formatPaper: Part 1: 130 gsm glossy art paperPart 2: 120 gsm offset paperBinding: thread-sewn forms, hardbound in cloth; withjacket.Parts 1 and 2 bound separatelyEXAMPLES OF THE MOTHER’S SIGNIFICANCESCommon NameThe Mother’s SignificanceBougainvilleaProtectionGladiolusReceptivityHibiscusPowerIrisAristocracy of beautyIvyLasting attachmentJasminePurityOrchidAttachment to the DivinePetuniaEnthusiasmRoseLove for the DivineWater lilyWealthZinniaEndurancePRINTINGThe book is printed in Singapore at Ho PrintingSAMPLE PAGEOriginal 21.5 x 27.5 cm, photograph in colour
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SABDA Newsletter10Integral Health(By Dr. Soumitra Basu; Published bySAIIIHR, Sri Aurobindo Society,Pondicherry, Price: Rs. 75/-, pp.140)With multiple avenues in the fieldof complementary therapies openingup “The physician today is placed inan unenviable position. His decisionshave to be often based on factors be-yond his prescribing limits. He hasnot been taught what to do if his con-science conflicts with the legal sanction of euthanasia. Wouldthe withdrawing of hydration from a comatose subject to facili-tate passive euthanasia affect the physician himself?” Theseand many other problems are tackled through this simply writ-ten book.The basic approach is consciousness. As the author writes,“The difficulty in integrating the physical, social and mentaldimensions of health and then linking them with a spiritualdimension need not debar us from the pursuit. Indeed, an at-tempt to harmonize these myriad value-systems (which are nottotally independent) can only be possible if we take into ac-count a substrate to which all these value-systems can relate ina hierarchised manner.This substrate,most appropriately foundin the yogic description of consciousness, can relate to thedifferent dimensions of health. The seer-wisdom of ancientIndia considerered consciousness to be the essence of all exist-ence — a concept to which Sri Aurobindo, in recent times,gives an evolutionary perspective.”So Health is viewed as a dynamic equilibrium between theenergies acting at different planes of consciousness.These planesare universally self-existent and reflect in all living and non-living creatures as — the mental, the vital, the physical, etc.Illness is seen as a disequilibrium or disharmony that can becorrected by moving to a higher level of consciousness.This higher consciousness is inherent in the Psychic Beingwhich is the real integrative principle of the human personality— the Atman of the Indian tradition in its evolving form. Whenthe Psychic Being replaces the ego the individual has a senseof wholeness, integrity, peace and joy even in adverse situa-tions.The essence of Health (Integral Health) therefore lies inbeing aware and shifting one’s consciousness. As the Mothersays,“It is simply when one sees the disequilibrium and is capa-ble of re-establishing the equilibrium that one is cured.”“The concept of Integral Health is based on a wide andprogressive view of human life. The Mother explains themetapsychology of this view: There is an ascending evolutionin nature which goes from the stone to the plant, from the plantto the animal, from the animal to man. Because man is, for themoment, the last rung at the summit of the ascending evolution,he considers himself as the final stage in this ascension andbelieves there can be nothing on earth superior to him. In thathe is mistaken. In his physical nature he is yet almost wholly ananimal, a thinking and speaking animal, but still an animal inhis material habits and instincts. Undoubtedly, nature cannotbe satisfied with such an imperfect result; she endeavours tobring out a being who will be to man what man is to the animal,a being who will remain a man in its external form, and yetwhose consciousness will rise far above the mental and itsslavery to ignorance.”The book also discusses various modes of treatment suchas homoeopathy, Reiki, acupuncture, etc. Each has an essentialtruth-idea based on the working of the energy on either thephysical, vital or mental consciousness. Thus, modern allo-pathic medicines and their pharmacological agents could workon the gross physical level, homoeopathy and acupuncture onthe vital level of consciousness, Reiki and Pranic Healingthrough the vital physical envelope, relaxation and bio-feed-back on the physical mind and psychotherapies on the vitalmind level. Higher energies can modify, transmute and upliftthe lower energies and each therapeutic system can be used asthe starting point for moving to subtler levels.Essentially therefore, the concept and pursuit of IntegralHealth implies a growth of consciousness. Throughout thisbook Dr. Basu has quoted exhaustively from the works of SriAurobindo and the Mother, describing the various planes ofconsciousness and the concept and role of Psychic Being inIntegral Health. The attitude of Faith in relation to healing, therole of culture and society with respect to health and the role ofthe Pranic Shakti as it acts both in the individual microcosmand the macrocosm are elaborately discussed.The author has also given illustrative case studies of vari-ous patients as illustrations and a very effective glossary thatexplains the various terms and concepts that may be unknownto a reader not familiar with the works of Sri Aurobindo andthe Mother. Around 159 references are given at the end of thebook and in about 140 pages Dr. Basu portrays quite admira-bly a comprehensive approach to health and healing.— Dr. D.E. Mistry
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SABDA Newsletter11The Integral Advaitism of SriAurobindo(By Ram Shankar Misra; Pub-lished by Motilal BanarasidassPublishers Pvt.Ltd., Delhi;Price: Rs 495/-, pp.437)Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy ofintegral non-dualism as pro-pounded in his magnum opus TheLife Divine is a landmark event inour view of Reality. There havebeen many general and professional discussions about it andmany will follow in the course of time. Though the dimensionsof this opus seem to escape all our rational as well as intuitiveunderstanding of things, yet even an intellectual occupationwith it is greatly rewarding.Prof.Ram Shankar Misra’s effort in this direction is onesuch noteworthy attempt. The blurb of the work says: “SriAurobindo has developed an original system of the Vedantacalled Integral Advaitism. This book gives a systematic, thor-ough and authentic exposition of his thought.” We generallyagree to this claim.In fact we have here a fairly comprehensive and well-un-derstood exposition of the Yogi as a Philosopher. While pre-senting the metaphysics, Prof.Misra has quite pertinentlycompared this Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo with some Indianand Western systems of philosophy. In it the theory of spiritualevolution finally turns out to be not just ratiocination of thedeeper mystery of Nature and God.We have here an experien-tial foundation which also makes impeccable the Logic of theInfinite. Revelation presented to the ready intuitive mind hasthe advantage of leading it to higher grades of knowledge.When that is caught in an exposition it also becomes imme-diately valuable. “The abstract or formal reason,” says the au-thor, “has to deny the reality of one or the other aspect of theAbsolute in order to make it consistent with the laws of formallogic, which are empty of content and do not present a pictureof reality. SriAurobindo has brought this truth into clear focusthat the a priori and unconditional application of the laws offormal logic, namely, Identity, Contradiction and ExcludedMiddle to propositions which express the nature of Reality islogically unwarranted and unjustified.” (Page vii)But this Logic of the Infinite is founded on Integral Knowl-edge. Indeed that Knowledge alone can be the true ground forthe activity of dynamic consciousness itself. The system thusoffered carries on it the stamp of the knowledge of a spiritualseer, it becomes a drishtanta with the infallibility of somehigher truth of the Self. We have therefore, metaphysically,three elements of SriAurobindo’s Non-dualism: OmnipresentReality as the creator of all that is and that could be more, theLogic of the Infinite governing the process, Integral Knowl-edge as the basis of its action.The author further points out, and rightly so, that “SriAurobindo’s theory of individual and cosmic evolution andhis conception of the destiny of man do constitute novel andnotable features of his philosophy.”(x) This is a multi-strandedtheory with the urge to grow from below and with the constantpressure of higher levels bringing their powers and felicitiesinto the lower manifestation. Avatarhood is one significantaspect of the latter. This evolution is finally to effect the estab-lishment of a race whose governing consciousness shall be thecreative Truth operating in the freedom of progressive delight.There will be the race of gnostic beings.A pertinent question that arises here is: will the gnosticbeing be any different than the Avatar? The function of theAvatar is to establish a new principle of consciousness andenable evolution to grow more and more into the secret divinitythat is pressing to manifest itself with an increasing play of itshigher possibilities. Establishment of Dharma,dharmasansthapanam, has been proclaimed to be the functionof Avatarhood. In the case of the supramental Avatar it will bethe supramental Dharma that will be founded. If so, we do notunderstand the following statement of Prof.Misra:“… the Avatarenables humanity to get the light of the divine, to raise itself tohigher status, yet he does not effect any radical change in thenature and working of the universe… he does not give anyhigher and permanent principle to the universe.” (p.382) Incase we are to accept this statement then it will make the workof the supramental Avatar, for instance, meaningless. Of coursein contrast to the push given by the Avatar, the nature of thegnostic being will be always to grow here in the divine dimen-sions. The Avatar accepts the conditions of the world-igno-rance, which cannot be the case of the new race that lives everin the widening Truth-Consciousness.Is Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine a book of philosophy?In the strictest sense it is not, though it may have plenty ofphilosophy in it. It certainly cannot be put in the class of theusual Western philosophies with their heavy bias on academicrationalism. Will then Prof.Misra’s presentation possess anyprofessional validity to take the work for a serious scholasticstudy or as an exegesis of great concern? In this context wemay pertinently look into the question that has been raised byhim: “supposing that the supramental evolution does not takeplace, will it not affect the integral Advaitism of SriAurobindo?”(Page 423) In his opinion whether this evolution takes place ornot SriAurobindo’s thought-structure will still uphold the ten-ets of integral Advaitism. In other words, evolution or no evo-lution the metaphysical aspects of The Life Divine standundisputed.We are not very sure about it. In his enthusiasm to
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SABDA Newsletter12endorse and vindicate integral Advaitism the author seems tohave gone a bit too far by cutting himself off from the will thatis there behind evolutionary reality. If the Logic of the Infiniteis the foundation and if it is the natural outcome of IntegralKnowledge, then some such similar ever-growing evolution-ary manifestation is already implied in it. Otherwise the veryraison d’être of existence would get knocked off or else makethe world again meaningless and illusory.Notwithstanding these comments, we must say that Prof.Misra has done a commendable job. He is a well-known inter-preter of Indian religious and philosophical thought and hispresent work adds substantially to the understanding of deepspiritual propositions. It is also a significant contribution to thephilosophical expositions of SriAurobindo. Comparative phi-losophy as presented here can be an alert guide to approachThe Life Divine with yet another standpoint.— R.Y. DeshpandeSri Aurobindo and the NewMillennium(By R.Y.Deshpande; Published byAurobharati Trust, Pondicherry;Price: Rs.150/-, pp.340)Here is a book of the New Mil-lennium! And for the New Millen-nium! Though only a collection ofdiverse “Reviews and Reflections”written over a period of time they,together, bring before us not neces-sarily the Third Millennium on the threshold of which we arebut SriAurobindo’s Millennium of the Spirit to usher in whichthe Master and the Mother strove all their lives. It is a Millen-nium in which not merely there will be the reign of God, joyand harmony as promised in the Bible, (Rev.20,1-5) but inwhich there will be a total transformation of the physical whichmakes Death die.Few others could have brought before us what has beenand is and to be — the Preparation, the Process and the Millen-nium to be — more thoroughly than Deshpande with his as-tounding scholarship which is as wide as it is varied. He has noneed to say like Tukaram, one of whose songs he explicatessplendidly, “What I say is the ucchistha (the left-overs) of thegreat saints. What do I, a pamara (ignoramus), know?” With atotal mastery of the Master’s and the Mother’s works as ofgiants in every field, from Amartya Sen to Amal Kiran whomhe challenges with a tone of authority he covers the wholegamut of themes concerning Death, its nature, the tranformationof the physical and the Future Race. He reminds one of thegreat Tamil poet Nakkeran, whose name has recently becomepopular for reasons other than literary, who said that a mistakeis a mistake (kutram kutramthan) even if Lord Siva said it.Essays on Savitri take the preeminence because it is the“Mantra of Transformation” that will usher in the New Millen-nium. There are other essays, as indicated above, which dealwith the different aspects of the theme.The book makes it evident that he knows Sanskrit as wellas he knows his own mother-tongue. There is reason to feel heknows his French as well as he knows his English. The poemsincluded in the volume show how he has a perfect commandover both harmonies of prose and verse.The scholar speaks of “routine lapses” in the fine work ofAmal Kiran. Could others escape them?The book is a must for all aspirants.— K.B.SitaramayyaSABDA, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry - 605 002, IndiaPhone : (+91-413) 334980, 223328, 334072 Fax : (+91-413) 223328, 334836E-mail : sabda@sriaurobindoashram.orgURL: http://sabda.sriaurobindoashram.orgORDERING INFORMATIONAll payments should be sent through bank draft or money order to : SABDA, Sri Aurobindo Ashram,Pondicherry 605 002.Postage will not be charged to readers in India who order books worth Rs.200.00 or more at one time andsend the full amount in advance.For orders less than Rs.200.00 add Rs.30.00 for postage and packing.Books are sent by registered post immediately on receipt of the order.

Κανένας said...

http://apolloniustyaneus.blogspot.gr/2013/12/turin-shroud-proof-or-doom-for.html

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