"…for joy that a man is born into the world"
Format: Verified Digitized
As a convert to Christianity from Hinduism, Bishop K.C. Pillai came to the Western world on a singular mission: to teach the Eastern culture of the Bible. Although Christianity is generally considered a western religion, the Bible itself was written and set in the Orient, and it must be viewed through the light of that eastern window. The Bible is filled with passages that perplex the Western mind, and yet they were readily understood by the Easterner. When the reader becomes knowledgeable of the oriental idioms, customs, and traditions of the Biblical setting, these Scriptures become clear. God called Bishop K.C. Pillai to reveal these Biblical truths he called Orientalisms. At the time of the Bishop’s early life, his native India had remained an isolated country for thousands of years. Therefore, the customs and manners of the people were still aligned with the Eastern, Biblical culture. For over twenty years, Bishop Pillai taught these Orientalisms, bringing great enlightenment to the Christian world. His crusade of imparting this light of the Eastern Culture carried him to numerous universities and seminaries, as well as every major denomination throughout the United States, England and Canada. Still today, his teachings remain the foremost authority on the rare gems of Biblical customs and culture. Bishop K.C. Pillai’s conversion to Christianity is a witness of God’s heart, as well as a lesson in one of the most significant Eastern customs found in the Bible. The Bishop was raised as a Hindu. When a Hindu child of the ruling class is born, a little salt is rubbed on the baby who is then wrapped in swaddling cloth. This custom invoked one of the oldest and strongest covenants in the Eastern world, the “salt covenant.” In this particular instance, the child was salted for a lifetime of dedication to the Hindu religion. The “salt covenant” is used in like manner throughout the Bible to seal the deepest commitment. As a result of the salt covenant it is difficult for Hindus to convert to Christianity. When they do, their family actually conducts a funeral service to symbolize that the individual is dead to their family, the community and Hinduism. Their family will carry a portrait of the “deceased” to the cemetery and bury it. Many times Bishop spoke of his “burial day” when he was disinherited by becoming a Christian; the only Hindu willing to break that covenant of salt in his community during that time. K.C. Pillai answered God’s call and served as Bishop of North Madras in the Indian Orthodox Church. Sent on a special mission to the United States, he spent the last twenty years of his life acquainting Christians with the Orientalisms of the Bible. The interest Bishop Pillai generated in the field has led to numerous further studies by other scholars in the field of manners and customs in the Bible, as well. His books and teachings continue to illuminate and inspire students of the Bible throughout the world. A solid understanding of Orientalisms is essential to “rightly dividing” the Word of truth, and Bishop K.C. Pillai’s works remain an indispensable reference.
"…for joy that a man is born into the world"
John 16:20, 21
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come:
But as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish,
for the joy that a man is born into the world.
Our Lord Jesus Christ always spoke in Eastern phraseology, "…for joy that a man is born into the world." She is not joyful just because a child is born but because a man is born. The Eastern people are very keen on sons, not that they despise their daughters. Hannah prayed to the Lord to give her a son. Eastern people pray that the first child may be a son because the son takes the place of the father in the East. If a man has no sons he adopts a son before he dies, one of his own cast, that he may act as his son legally. That is why many more adoptions take place in the East because of this cultural habit. When a woman goes into labor she has two problems - mental and physical. She worries because she is afraid the child is going to be a girl. If she has a girl, the relations between her and her husband are strained. They think it is not a good omen to have girls all the time. Therefore, unless a boy is born God's blessing is not on the family. If it is a girl they just carry a common message to the outside that it is a girl. But if it is a boy they put on a big bouquet. They distribute rice to the whole town. They give goods and clothes to hundreds of people. The whole community rejoices. If a girl is born the midwife often keeps it a secret till the mother is strong enough to take the shock for fear she might die.
It is a tremendous joy and blessing to an Oriental family to have a son. A man may give all of his wealth to God (the temple) to have one son. He may fast many days, walk miles and miles as an offering of thanksgiving for one son. He may even give much of his property, but not to give proceeds to the poor, because he as an Easterner had been trained to give to the temple. That is why Jesus told him to sell and give to the poor rather than to the temple.
Bishop K.C. Pillai, D.D.