Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 42 December 8, 2011

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Proverbs 12:28
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.

Matthew 24:35
Table of Contents
Editor's Note
During this advent season, we need to contemplate on the incarnation of God as human being. During the previous weeks, we have heard beautiful poetry from Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth on the arrival of Messiah on inspiration by Holy Spirit.

The question that came to my mind several times in the past was why God has to be born as a fully human being to redeem the world. Can He do that from heaven without having to pay the big price he did with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the only begotten son of God?

Then one priest explained to me that with an illustration. Suppose you want to do something to a flock of wayward ants. You cannot do that while you are a man. The ants cannot grasp what you are trying to tell them. To change ants, you have to be an ant. Beautiful, isn't it? I came across the following illustration by Vince Gerhardy from 'God Has a Word for You' that is even better to explain the importance of the incarnation:

The President as a Mouse

This may sound ridiculous but it gives us an idea of what it means when we say God became human and made his dwelling among us. Imagine the most powerful and prestigious person in the world, let's say the president of the United States, of his own free-will becomes a mouse – small, furry, insignificant, and extremely helpless and vulnerable. He chooses to become a mouse because he wants to live among all other mice. He leaves the White House, and the prestige and honor that go with his office. He becomes a mouse in order to help all other mice.

You see, there are mousetraps in kitchens all around the world. The people who own these kitchens are determined to kill every last mouse. And one after another the mice are killed. The President shouts at the mice until he is hoarse to warn them of the danger and shoos them away but the smelly cheese on the deadly mousetraps is just too inviting. And so the most powerful man in the world happily becomes a mouse because he loves all mice and wants to do something to save them.

In a similar way and in a more radical way the all-powerful and eternal God has chosen to plunge himself into the arena of human life as you and I live it, and take on the flesh and bones of our humanity.

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Dec 11)
Sermons for This Sunday (Dec 11)
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the Sunday of the Revelation to Joseph
This Week's Features

The Harvest of Love

by Helen Keller

"Christmas is the harvest time of love. Souls are drawn to other souls. All that we have read and thought and hoped comes to fruition at this happy time. Our spirits are astir. We feel within us a strong desire to serve. A strange, subtle force, a new kindness animates man and child. A new spirit is growing in us. No longer are we content to relieve pain, to sweeten sorrow, to give the crust of charity. We dare to give friendship, service, the equal loaf of bread and love."

Peace, power and purpose. "The light shines in the darkness…"

In these very busy days of preparation, may His peace, His power and His purpose dwell in our hearts.

Advent: Time to Listen

Barbara Brown Taylor tells about the day W. H. Auden read some of his poetry at Princeton . The hall was packed with hundreds of students and faculty. They had come to hear "the great one." But when Auden (then an old man) began to read, his voice was so soft that even the microphone couldn't pick him up. So people began whispering to their neighbor: "What did he say?" And those who thought they had heard a part of what he'd said, whispered back the part they'd heard - or what they remembered from a prior reading of Auden, triggered (in that moment) by what they thought they'd heard. While others, not quite hearing - and not quite knowing - guessed at what he was saying. And pretty soon, the whispers drowned out the poet.

Which, if you ask me, is what sometimes happens in our churches, else why would there be so much interest in the word of God, yet so little clarity about the word of God? Unless, of course, we all whisper better than we listen.

Sometimes I wish God would scream. Or shout. At least raise his voice. Getting in my face, as it were. As to why God doesn't, I have no answer. I wish I did.
What I do know is what I just read. That God came to the world (with the barest hint of a whisper) in the form of a child. A speechless child.

Source: William A. Ritter, Collected Sermons

Featured This Week: Christmas - When Ordinary People Have Extraordinary Encounters With God

by Rev. Jeffrey T. Howard

Scripture: St. Matthew 1: 18-25

Christmas is a wonderful time, unless, of course, you really need a messiah. I know many of you are facing difficulties in your lives. You have been diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Your mortgage payment is due and you have no money in the bank. You are facing the loss of your independence. At times like these, celebrations seem inappropriate. You need a messiah to save you. Others of you are dealing with the effects of sin. The abuse of drugs and alcohol has taken its toll. Words you wish you had never said destroyed a relationship. You are ashamed of your behavior. You need a messiah to forgive you. And some of you are experiencing grief this time of year because a loved one is not here to share the holiday with you. You need a messiah to comfort you during this time of grief and loss.

There was a man named Joseph who really needed a messiah. Joseph was a good man. He listened to the rabbi carefully when scripture was taught. He kept the Sabbath. He went to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. He always tried to do the right thing. But one day his life came crashing down around him when he found out that his finance was pregnant with someone else's baby. We can only imagine the emotional trauma he experienced and the intensity of his feeling of anger and grief. He was afraid of the great shame that would cover himself and his family. When he was finally reconciled to the fact that the relationship was over, exhausted, he finally went to sleep.

Matthew tells us that while Joseph was sleeping he dreamed about a messenger from God. This angel reminded Joseph that he was a descendant of David. But he should not fear to take Mary as his wife because the child she was carrying was not from another man but from God, the Holy Spirit. The child Mary was carrying was the messiah. But this messiah was not the child of Joseph, the descendant of David. Our expectation was that the messiah would be descended from David. Now when the messiah is born he is not from David's line at all. Later, Saint Luke will show that Mary too was a descendant of David, but this is beside the point here. In Matthew, Joseph is the son of David, but he is not the Christ, and the Christ is not the son of Joseph, son of David.

The prophets of the Old Testament were all very clear on this. As Samuel had said many years before Israel did not need a king because God was their king. Isaiah made this very clear when he called the coming messiah Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We have been expecting a messiah from the Davidic dynasty. But the real messiah was God himself, born as a small baby.

No earthly messiah could come to heal us when we are sick, repair our broken relationships, find us when we are lost, save us when we are in trouble, bind up our wounds, battle the giants facing us, forgive our sins, and comfort us as we grieve. No child of David could bring about a kingdom of justice and righteousness so that the world could live a peace. Only God can do these things. And the good news of Christmas is that God has come.

When the angel spoke to Joseph he announced that the child to be born on Christmas was not the son of Joseph, the son of David, but this child would be the son of God. So what we celebrate on Christmas is not the coming of a messiah, a king, but the coming of God into the world. We are celebrating the birth of Immanuel, God with us. This is really good news because it means that God is neither distant nor uncaring. Rather God loves us so much that God wanted to be with us and to experience what we experience, to feel what we feel. God wanted to die for us so that our sins would be forgiven. Yahweh, the LORD God of Israel saves us from our sins. Yahweh saves us. Yahweh saves us. Yahweh shua. Yahweh shua. Ya shua. Ya shua. Ja shua, Jesus, Jesus. The child that is born tonight is Yahweh who saves us from our sins, Jesus.

So the anointed one, the messiah, the Christ that we have been waiting for has come, but not in the way we expected. We thought that the messiah would be a descendant of David and would rule as king. Instead we find that the Christ is really God Incarnate, God in the flesh, a human being, like you and I. Our wait is over and we can rejoice because the messiah has come and is named Jesus.

When Joseph woke up from the dream he knew exactly what he had to do. As always, he was obedient to God. He married Mary and named their son Jesus. He protected Jesus from King Herod by hiding his family in Egypt. And he brought the young Jesus back to Nazareth when he would grow and prepare himself for ministry. So Joseph fulfilled his role in the biblical drama. We don't know what happened to him after that. All we know was that he was a carpenter and had a large family. From all accounts he was just an ordinary person who had an extraordinary encounter with God.

That is what happens at Christmas, ordinary people have extraordinary encounters with God. You should expect tonight that your encounter with Jesus will have extraordinary effects on you. Whatever problems are facing you, Christ has come to help. Whatever evil you have done in the past, Christ has come to forgive you and restore you to proper relationship with God. And if you are grieving over the loss of loved one, or a job, or health, of something else, Christ has come to comfort you. This is the good news and the great gift from God at Christmas.

Note: Excerpted from a sermon. Full sermon can be read in Malankara World.

Book: 'With Christ In the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray

Lesson 16: The Power of Persevering Prayer
[Editor's Note: Here is this week's lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray. This book is a very important reference book on intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly. Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us. This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you have missed the earlier lessons, please read them in Malankara World.]

"And He spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint. . . . And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry to Him day and night, and He is long-suffering over them? I say unto you, that He will avenge them speedily."
- Luke 18:1, 6-8

...the power of believing prayer is simply irresistible; real faith can never be disappointed.

Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need of persevering prayer is one of the greatest. That the Lord, who is so loving and longing to bless, should have to be supplicated time after time, sometimes year after year, before the answer comes, we cannot easily understand. It is also one of the greatest practical difficulties in the exercise of believing prayer. When, after persevering supplication, our prayer remains unanswered, it is often easiest for our slothful flesh, and it has all the appearance of pious submission, to think that we must now cease praying, because God may have His secret reason for withholding His answer to our request.

It is by faith alone that the difficulty is overcome. When once faith has taken its stand upon God's word, and the Name of Jesus, and has yielded itself to the leading of the Spirit to seek God's will and honor alone in its prayer, it need not be discouraged by delay. It knows from Scripture that the power of believing prayer is simply irresistible; real faith can never be disappointed.

It knows that it has to do not with human thoughts or possibilities, but with the word of the living God.

It knows how, just as water, to exercise the irresistible power it can have, must be gathered up and accumulated, until the stream can come down in full force, there must often be a heaping up of prayer, until God sees that the measure is full, and the answer comes. It knows how, just as the ploughman has to take his ten thousand steps, and sow his ten thousand seeds, each one a part of the preparation for the final harvest, so there is a need-be for oft-repeated persevering prayer, all working out some desired blessing.

It knows for certain that not a single believing prayer can fail of its effect in heaven, but has its influence, and is treasured up to work out an answer in due time to him who persevereth to the end. It knows that it has to do not with human thoughts or possibilities, but with the word of the living God. And so even as Abraham through so many years 'in hope believed against hope,' and then 'through faith and patience inherited the promise,' it counts that the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation, waiting and hasting unto the coming of its Lord to fulfill His promise.

'He is long-suffering over them; He will avenge them speedily.'

To enable us, when the answer to our prayer does not come at once, to combine quiet patience and joyful confidence in our persevering prayer, we must specially try to understand the two words in which our Lord sets forth the character and conduct, not of the unjust judge, but of our God and Father towards those whom He allows to cry day and night to Him: 'He is long-suffering over them; He will avenge them speedily.'

He will avenge them speedily, the Master says. The blessing is all prepared; He is not only willing but most anxious to give them what they ask; everlasting love burns with the longing desire to reveal itself fully to its beloved, and to satisfy their needs. God will not delay one moment longer than is absolutely necessary; He will do all in His power to hasten and speed the answer. Read the rest of the lesson in Malankara World.

Previous Lessons (Archive)
Our Prayers Must Conform to God's Purpose

by John W. Ritenbaugh

(14) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15

A common—but only partly correct—idea about prayer is that its purpose is to get things from God and to change His mind regarding the course of events. As John says, if we ask according to His will, He hears, but it is in the other part where misunderstanding lies.

Answer this: Is our idea of God nothing more than that of a greater human parent? Perhaps few will admit to this, but it is nonetheless a reality. God the Father undoubtedly relates to us like a parent, and Jesus tells us to think of Him and address Him as our Father. So far, so good.

Now we must ask: What should a Father be like? We run into trouble here because all our examples of fathers are human, and every human father has been deficient in many ways. We are now dealing with a flawless Father, perfect in every way. He is eternal, perfect in wisdom, knows the end from the beginning, has unimaginable power, and does absolutely everything out of love. He does everything for the perfection and completion of His purpose, whether for us individually or for what He is working out universally.

We need to consider Isaiah 40:13-14 in relation to prayer:

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

Now we must add a few thoughts from Psalm 139:1-7:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Considering these scriptures, is there anything—anything!—we can tell Him that He does not already know? Is there anything about our lives that He has not already thoroughly considered in light of what He wants to produce for our good? All too often our attitude in prayer about something emphasizes what we feel is our or somebody else's need rather than focusing on God's will. Which is more important: what this perfect, great God considers from His perspective or what we desire from our position of nearly blind ignorance of what is really needed?

Jesus says in Matthew 6:8:

"Therefore do not be like [the hypocrites]. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."

This verse leads into the model prayer, indicating that we should not pray with the idea that we are bringing something new to God. It also introduces the thought that the purpose of prayer is not to overcome God's reluctance to answer and give but rather to lay hold of His willingness to help us toward His perspective, the fulfillment of His purpose, and into His Kingdom. The overall emphasis in our requests, then, must be inclined toward His purpose and will.

Source: The Berean, Dec 3 2011

Searching for Christmas

One Christmas night, Our Lord came down into a modern city to see what people were doing.

Everyone was celebrating "Happy Holidays!"
Christ met a policeman directing traffic and asked: "What does 'Happy Holidays' mean?"
The policeman eyed Him suspiciously. "Where are you from?"
"From Bethlehem."
"Bethlehem," Our Lord repeated.
"Oh…Don't you know it's a holiday for kids?"
"What is the origin of the holiday?" Our Lord asked.
"Look, you ask too many questions. Can't you see I'm busy?

At the Restaurant

Next, Christ paused by a restaurant advertising "Christmas Party—$50.00." Ladies and gentlemen in elegant attire were entering. He stepped inside. Nice tables covered with white linen and lighted Christmas candles were arranged in rows.

A woman, seeing Our Lord, complained loudly: "You let beggars in here?!" The waiter rushed over to Him. "What are you doing in here?" he demanded. "Go beg on the street!"

Christ studied the young man. "If you only knew what I am 'begging’ for…," He started to reply, but He was shoved out as the woman playing the piano sang, "Peace on earth and mercy mild."

At School

Outside, Christ allowed Himself to be swept along by the throng that flowed like a river between stores. He saw toys everywhere, but rarely a Nativity scene. He then found Himself near a large school playground. Above the gate was a sign: "Christmas Party for Children." Our Lord went in. There were hundreds of children inside, receiving toys. As they noisily ran and tumbled, important looking women hurried about. Neither a Nativity scene nor a crucifix could be seen. Nobody mentioned the Child Jesus.

As Christ stood there, a feeling of isolation grew in His heart. He felt like a trespasser. Finally, He approached a young boy whose arms overflowed with toys. "Do you love the Child Jesus who gave you so many nice toys?" Our Lord asked the little boy.
The boy stared at Him, puzzled: "What Child Jesus?"
"Don’t you know Him?"

The headmaster rushed over. "What did this man say to you?" she frantically asked the boy. Learning what Our Lord had asked and whose Name He had dared mention, her eyes glared at Our Lord and she snarled, "You need to leave -- now!"

Christ left and again walked through the streets, passing innumerable places where His creatures celebrated Christmas without knowing why.

In the Home

Weary, He came to a neglected suburb. A building with tiny lights caught His eye. Approaching one of the windows, He saw His own image displayed on the wall. His eyes brightened when He noticed a simple but attractively arranged crèche. Just then, the door opened and a boy came out. The boy stopped abruptly at the sight of the man shivering in the darkness. Icy gusts blew around them. "Sir, you could freeze out here! You need to get out of the cold."

"I am quite cold," answered Our Lord. "Come in, then. We have a good fire going."

Our Lord entered. Near the fireplace, children gathered around a young priest. As the fire crackled, the priest told the children about the infinite grandeur and glory hidden within the little figure of the Child Jesus. He paused the moment Our Lord entered the room. "Come in! You look cold! Please, warm yourself here."

The children promptly offered the newcomer a place close to the fire.

"Have you had anything to eat? Joseph, go ask your mother to prepare something hot for this gentleman."

Christ’s gaze rested on them, one by one, as if He were memorizing every little face. Above all, He gazed at the young priest. "Are you alone, my friend?" asked the priest kindly. "Yes."

All eyes turned curiously on the Stranger, waiting. Christ did not speak. Very slowly, regally, Jesus’ hand moved. He extended it over their heads, as if reaching beyond the humble cottages of that poor suburb, and encompassing the city whose miseries He had witnessed, he exclaimed, "Misereor super turbas!" (I have pity on these people!) Then, slowly, before their astonished eyes, He disappeared.

"It was He!" cried one of the boys. The priest nodded solemnly. "Yes, it was."

Merry Christmas!

Source: TFP Student Action

Read more stories, articles, devotionals, sermons, etc. on Christmas in Malankara World Christmas Supplement

Surviving the Holidays
For all the promise of joy, peace and harmony that comes with the holiday season, the reality for millions of people is that the season is anything but a celebration. For many, it's a reminder of lost loved ones, personal disappointments and dreams left unfulfilled.

But for life coach Teri Johnson, whose personal journey through an imperfect life now inspires others to reach for the lives they've always wanted, the negative "nevers" of the disappointing hand life may have dealt you is where the healing starts. By confronting a never-ending and unproductive cycle of negativity, the elusive joy of the holiday season can be found not just now but every day of the year, says Johnson, author of the newly released book, Overcoming the Nevers (

"You never thought you'd get divorced, but you did. You never dreamed you would find yourself in an abusive relationship, but you are. You never thought you would need to lose 200 pounds, but you do. And you never thought you'd be 45 years old without a job, losing your home and drowning in debt, but you are," says Johnson.

"We start to believe lies about ourselves, such as "I'm not good enough" or "I'm undeserving." We escape our pain and these toxic feelings into unhealthy behaviors and addictions. There is freedom from the struggle; there is hope in discovering the truth; there is a way to fall in love with who we are to experience a joy-filled season, and more importantly a joy-filled life."

Johnson's tools for overcoming the "nevers" that drag many down during the holiday season are:


Do you have the strength to make the changes necessary to turn a situation around through an attitude of acceptance? Or will you remain powerless, remain in the state of non-acceptance and let everything around you dictate how you feel? The journey starts with accepting that you can't change others, but you do have power over your own life.


What we surrender ourselves to ultimately becomes our god, what we turn to or upon which we rely. The question then is: What are we surrendered to? Is it something firm, solid and long-lasting or something that hurts us in the end?


Hold tight to your unique gifts and talents to enrich your own life and impact the lives of those around you. Build on what you're good at, what makes you special and what makes you feel good about yourself.


Confronting the truth about who we are deep inside helps us overcome our painful past and discover the basis for those "nevers."


Until we accept love for ourselves from God, from others and towards others, the healing will not begin. Embracing love is an ongoing process that starts with learning to like yourself and with a willingness to accept your imperfections.

Johnson advises that the process of confronting internal struggles and the "nevers" of life isn't easy, but no treatment program, no diet and no New Year's resolution can be successful without breaking down the essence of individual struggles and making the necessary adjustments to attain the life you deserve.

"If the life you are living is full of unacceptable and disappointing things and you don't want to spend another year like this, the only thing holding you back right now is your own confusion, self-doubt and anger," she says.

"You don't have to keep doing what you're doing or feeling what you're feeling, but you do need to come to terms with yourself and surrender yourself to faith that there is a better way."

About Teri Johnson

Teri Johnson is a writer, speaker and personal growth expert who is the founder and President of Keeping it Personal. Having struggled with alcohol addiction and destructive habits herself, the Minnesota native turned her own experiences in overcoming obstacles to personal fulfillment into a client-focused service that has transformed the lives of many.

Enrich Your World

by Wes Hopper

"We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world." Woodrow Wilson

Most people that I know go off to work in the morning to make a living.

That's what I did for many years.

Parts of it were quite fun and very rewarding, and a lot of it was not.

When I look back now I can clearly see that the rewarding times were when I was making a difference in the world.

The other times I was just making a living.

Most of us just stumble on to that discovery. "Hey, there is a difference and I can feel it!"

But once we know the difference, we can set out to do it deliberately.

One thing to know is that making a difference doesn't require you to change the whole world.

No, just make a difference where you are! That's where the world gets changed, anyway. Right where the world changer is.

With a clear sense of purpose and a vision for what you want, you can change your corner of the world.

Maybe it'll spread, maybe it won't. It's not your job to worry about that.

On December 1st, 56 years ago a black woman named Rosa Parks changed her corner of the world when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man.

She was arrested. But she had a vision and a purpose. She wanted to change the rules for black people in her community. She ended up changing the whole country.

Just make a difference right where you are. How big it gets is not your worry.

Health Tip: The Testosterone (Hormone) To Your Heart's Rescue

by Al Sears, MD

I wrote my first book The "T" Factor in 2000. In it, I described testosterone as the king of hormones, and showed how not having enough can be deadly, but having more of it can help you live longer and better.

It's only taken conventional medicine 12 years, but they're finally starting to realize what I've been saying all this time. I just read a new study where researchers show that not having enough testosterone can be deadly for your heart.

They looked at almost 4,000 thousand people and followed them for over five years. Those who had the least free testosterone were 71% more likely to die from heart disease than those who had the most. 1

In fact, in a brand-new review of other studies by the prestigious journal Nature, researchers showed that people with heart disease have significantly lower testosterone than healthy people. 2

That doesn't mean low testosterone causes heart disease. But what it does show is that letting your testosterone levels drop as you age can be a disaster for your heart.

I've helped thousands of patients avoid this situation by using a few simple, natural methods to bring their testosterone back to where it should be. Today I'm going to show you how I do it.

But first, let me answer the obvious question. Now that we know low testosterone is associated with heart disease, does raising testosterone make the risk go away?

They did a double blind, placebo-controlled study – the gold standard of research – to answer that question. Researchers looked at five groups of animals. In four of them, they stopped the animals' ability to make testosterone. One group was left with normal testosterone.

They then tried to give the animals heart disease by feeding them the same diet that gives humans heart disease. In the four groups, two got testosterone, one got a nutrient that raises testosterone naturally, and the other got a placebo.

Researchers were shocked at the results. The animals that got a placebo developed heart disease. The other groups were protected. 3

In a study that looked at other studies about raising testosterone, the authors write that all the evidence supports the benefits of raising low testosterone. 4

Testosterone has a positive effect on your cardiovascular system by working its magic in a few different ways. It helps prevent internal blood clotting, 5 increases blood flow to the heart6 and gives you better endothelial function,7 helping blood pressure. Continue reading the full article in Malankara World

Read more health tips in Malankara World Health Section

Opening of the New Arabian Gulf (UAE) Chapter of Medical Mission
The opening ceremony of the medical mission/ SEUSOMM chapter in the Arabian Gulf region is scheduled for February 16 and 17, 2012 at Fujairah, UAE, by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, our beloved Holy Father and Patriarch, in conjunction with the consecration of the newly built St. Peter's Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. HB Baselios Thomas I, Catholicos, HE Mor Mathews Ivanios, HE Mor Coorilose Geevarghese and HE Mor Issac Ostatheos are expected to be present at the inauguration. Fujairah is in the outskirts of Dubai.

Read more about the Medical Mission and the new Chapter opening in Malankara World

About Malankara World
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