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Spiritual connection

Mangalyam thanthunanena Mamajeevana mangalam

Say: Jesus I love you And I need you, Come into my heart now

THESE ARE not hymns being chanted by a temple priest, nor are these part of the Sunday sermon in a church. These are some of the short message service (SMS) text messages that are doing the rounds these days.

The people who circulate the SMSs are neither religious fanatics nor conservative believers. They are the software yuppies and the college student next door.

SMS craze

From the time SMS services were launched, they have captured the imagination of the people, especially the Generation X, like no other technology has.

Whether to say a `hi!', forward X-rated jokes, pay bills, order pizzas, and in certain cases, even notify a divorce, SMS is being used for just about anything.

Spiritual connection

It was just a matter of time before they invaded the religious domain. But what is unusual about such spiritual messages is that have many takers, a chunk of whom are the youth.

Are the spiritual SMSs just a fad or do they provide solace amid the frenetic pace of life?

Peace and solace

Minu Thomas, junior research fellow at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, says she experiences relief when she reads such messages. "I forward them to my friends so that they too can experience a similar feeling," Minu says.

Says Sajana Sudheer, a student of music at the Government Women's College: "I don't think twice before forwarding such messages to my friends as it makes me feel much better."

Fear psychosis

But then you will find doubting Thomases everywhere. One such person is Joju Kainady, B.Tech. student at SET, Pappanamcode. "However snobbish they may be, most people are god-fearing," argues Joju. He feels that fear psychosis is what makes these SMSs popular.

Perhaps it is this "fear psychosis" that is being targeted by Arjun, a computer student at Tandem, and Arun Mahesh, an IIM aspirant studying at T.I.M.E.

For Arjun, these SMSs are pranks that he loves to play on his friends. "I forward all such SMSs to my friends in the hope that at least five of them will take these messages seriously, forward them and lose their money. As for me, I have free SMS facility," he says mischievously.

Hot favourites

The extent to which these spiritual SMSs have become a rage can be gauged from the fact that Arun receives around 20 SMSs daily, of which at least five are spiritual ones.

Even among SMSs, there are favourites. It is the SMS featuring cherubic elephant-headed Ganesha, god of fortune, which prompts Arun and his friends to click the `send' button.

Online sites

There are many sites such as rediffmail.com, indiatimes.com and spiceindia.com that facilitate the downloading of spiritual SMSs.

The messages available on them are religion-specific. That hardly is the case with SMS senders though. As Sajana says, "I just forward the SMSs, be it about Jesus Christ or Lord Ganesha."

There are some SMS recipients such as 25-year old Abhilash Nair, software engineer at Technopark, and Sonu Sudhakar of Mar Ivanios College who simply take to heart what the messages have to offer in terms of peace and spirituality, but do not bother to forward it.

And who can deny that when the chips are down, an SSMS that reads `God I love u... Say this prayer... U can experience a miracle within you' acts as a balm for frayed nerves.

Even as the Catholic Church says no to confession through SMS and the Western Wall in Jerusalem accepts prayers through SMS, one thing is for sure - SMSs are here to stay and make their foray into newer territories.

P. K. GEORGE

Photo: S. Gopakumar

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