Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Oct 13, 2011

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: The Purpose Of Life? - Cathedral Man Don Justo

Don Justo's Cathedral in Madrid
Curtsy Wikipedia
When we look back at our life and question ourselves... where we are going, what are we doing and what this life is all about... etc, we don’t really have a clear cut answer. We rationalize, we wonder and sometimes we doubt if we are doing anything at all. Or we are just hollow and empty shell trying to fill our existence with possessions, belongings, ideologies, beliefs etc. Then you come across some people, who go beyond all this, and dedicate their whole life into something as simple as making a full-fledged cathedral, out of junk, working alone for almost 60 years... which stands at 131 Feet (40 Mts) tall in the suburbs of Madrid, Spain.

My younger brother Animesh with Don Justo, in his
Recently, my younger brother Animesh was travelling to Spain with his friends, he came across this amazing person and his creation of life time. His experience of meeting with Don Justo left a great impression on him and his thoughts, which I am using to write this story with bits and pieces from a BBC news coverage done by Sarah Rainsford, to fill the gaps... click here to read the full post

This is a story of a man, who was called crazy and insulted for doing an act of faith - all his life.

Don Justo - Image curtsy BBC News
60 years ago, Don Justo decided to build cathedral out of junk, with no training and just on absolute faith, all by himself. He had no training whatsoever in building construction or even brick laying but went on his mission of making his dream come true. Every morning, he will start collecting used and broken bricks, waste construction materials, oil drums etc from the nearby factories, neighbourhood and then using them to build his Church, brick by brick, just on absolute faith. He has, since then invested his entire life, all inheritance in the project as well as the land on which this magnificent “act of faith church” stands. Now he is 90 and still going strong as every morning at 6AM he walks into the Church to work as well as giving guided tour to a steady trickle of visitors who are making this DIY church, a little famous around the world.

Don Justo says, ‘"Realising my ideal spurs me on. People today are very passive, they don't value anything. They're slaves to worldly things."

A simple man at heart Don Justo kept on referring Animesh, as brother, all the time and said he loved people from India. He has special memories about Indira Gandhi and remembered to comment on her son Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Sonia Gandhi’s love story.

Talking about his influences for starting the epic journey, he said he just felt like doing it. He had paternal land and nothing else more urgent to do... so he travelled around a lot and read about Cathedrals in Europe. Then went on designing and constructing as and when materials and thoughts came to him! He has never felt like stopping ever since and still comes daily, though his output has slowed down over the period, but never stopped.

‘"Now everybody worships me. Before they said I was crazy. Now I don't know what they say. But now, whoever comes here, since he or she didn't realize why, has the opinion that this is art. It's me the one who has to keep his feet on the ground and to measure everything with the same weight." (Video Transcript - Thanks to Jacob Insua)

So far, the town council has tolerated the illicit structure, which lures a steady trickle of visitors to the nondescript suburb. Some suspect the chaotically-constructed church will not outlast its creator.

"It's very difficult to get a license now," says Pablo Queralto, an architect working for Mejorada council. "For example the bricks don't meet minimum standards, either in themselves or the way they've been laid." But he described the eccentric edifice as an icon of the town now, unlikely to be torn down.
Part of the text Curtsy: BBC News

What are we doing with our life? 
Is there any motivating factor in our life as powerful as Don Justo’s, which will keep us going, brick by single brick creating something that will be there forever, long after we have left, as his work will? Are we still passionate about something in our life?

One of the great Indian philosopher J Krishnamurti said, ‘Passion, as state of mind, is a state of being, your inner self, that feels very strongly, highly sensitive – sensitive alike to dirt, squalor, poverty, riches; to the beauty of a tree, a bird, to the flow of water... To feel all this intensely, strongly, passion is necessary. Because without passion life becomes empty, shallow, and without much meaning. If you cannot see the beauty of a tree and love that tree, if you cannot care for it intensely, you are not living.”

So what is the purpose of your life?

Here is another beautiful talk (Shared by my brother Animesh again), which I think you should read too, as that post is complimentary to this one here....

Here I leave you with one of my Haiku on the lines of Don Justo's life

Mural on the walls of Don Justo Church

In your passion, intensity

The beauty of ‘now’

Burst’s forth in living.
Shashi @ 2011
नमः शिवाय

Om Namah Shivaya

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