Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 38 November 10, 2011

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Psalm 139:12
Table of Contents
This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Nov 13)
Sermons for This Sunday (Nov 13)
This week, the Holy Church starts the journey towards Christmas. The church has been sanctified and dedicated. It is time for the advent - waiting for the incarnated God.

From this week to Christmas, the lectionary goes over the significant events leading to the Jesus' birth:

  • Annunciation to Zacharias
  • Annunciation to Mary
  • St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth
  • Birth of John the Baptist
  • Annunciation to St. Joseph
  • Genealogy of Jesus.  and finally
  • The birth of Jesus

As we go through these, we will be amazed at how God plans things, even small details, and how they are executed. We learn how different people reacts differently to similar events. For example, how Zacharias, Mary and Joseph responded to the message from angel Gabriel. We will be especially impressed the way Mary handled it and why God picked her for the highest honor - being the mother of God. This will be a great journey.

This week's passage deals with annunciation to Zacharias. This passage is very rich. It teaches us lot of things. For example:

  • God keeps his promises
  • God answers prayers
  • How not to respond when God answers prayers
  • Don't make God mad
  • God as a master planner
  • God does things His own way. etc. etc.

Malankara World provides numerous bible commentaries, bible analyses, sermons/homilies, etc. that enables us to study and meditate these different aspects of this week's lectionary passage. You can access them all at:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the Annunciation to Zachariah Sunday

We want you to turn your attention now to an often neglected side of this story, viz., God as a promise keeper.

God - the Promise Keeper

Bible is full of promises and covenants. There is a promise on virtually every page of the bible. There are promises about nearly every aspect of life as well as about what happens after life. Bible has recorded thousands and thousands of promises God has made. There are promises to Israel, promises to kings and prophets, promises to the church, and promises to us.

Dr. Evereck Storms counted all the promises recorded in the bible. He has found 8,810 promises. Almost 8000 of those were from God to man. Books like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel have over 1000 promises each. Almost every verse in Psalm 37 contains a promise.

In spite of the sheer number of promises made by God, He always keeps His promises. He always does what He says. He always fulfills what He promises. This week's Gospel reading is about one such promise and how God fulfills it. The scripture is from Luke chapter, verses 5 to 25.

Interestingly, this week's passage begins with what appears to be a promise that was not kept by God.

Luke 1:5 "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth."

When we read this passage, it appears, in the outset, that God has not kept one of His promises.

God promised in Genesis 49:10 that the scepter would not depart from Judah until the Messiah comes. This meant that the authority to rule Israel would always be with Judah until Christ comes. But here, in verse 5, Luke seems to indicate that Herod was ruling. Herod was not of the tribe of Judah – Herod was not even an Israelite. Yet, he was referred to as "The King of the Jews."

According to Genesis 49:10, the royal line would rise from the tribe of Judah. Judah will always have the royal authority until the Messiah comes. This was what happened originally. But as we know by reading the story of Israelites in the Old Testament, over time, because of sin and disobedience, the Israelites lose more and more of the power to rule themselves. Finally, all that was left of the ruling power in Israel was the authority of the Sanhedrin. The scepter had not yet fully departed from Judah, but the only thread they had left was the power and authority of the Sanhedrin.

In the year when Prophet Gabriel visits Zachariah, the Roman Procurator Caponius took away their (Israelites') last shred of ruling power. Consequently, the Jews alive at that time felt that God's Word had failed. They thought that one of God's promises failed.

In 7 AD, one of these teachers wrote, "Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come." (Babylonian Talmud, 4,37). Amazingly, when this was written in 7 A.D. an young boy of about 12 years old (assuming Jesus was born in 5 B.C. – Life Application, p. 1636) was marveling some of these teachers at the Temple in Jerusalem with his wisdom.

At about the time when they were bemoaning the fact that God's Word had failed them, and they had been rejected by God, there was God's Word in the flesh standing right before them, showing them that rather than rejecting them, God himself had come to deliver them. God's Word had not failed. It had been perfectly fulfilled!! God keeps His promises.

This week the church begins the preparations for celebrating the advent season. The series of bible readings in the coming weeks will culminate in the arrival of the son of God on Christmas Day. It will fulfill the promise made by God about the arrival of messiah.

This week's Gospel reading tells us how God plans to deliver his promise. The arrival of John the Baptist was the first step in this elaborate plan. And God uses Zacharias to execute that phase of the plan. The plan and its execution is detailed in this week's scripture reading.

God also uses this occasion to answer the prayers of Zacharias.

Luke 1:13 'But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard."'

If you were following Malankara World, one of our continuing themes had been about prayers and how God answers our prayers. Zachariah and Elizabeth had been praying for a child for a long time. They had given up praying thinking that it is now too late for them to have a child.

How can we know that Zacharias stopped praying?

Angel Gabriel comes and tells Zachariah that his prayer had been heard. (Luke 1:13)

If Zachariah had been still praying for the child, he would have jumped up and down glorifying God for answering his prayer. That would have been the normal human reaction. What did Zacharias actually do when he heard from Gabriel? He asks Gabriel:

Luke 1:18 'And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."'

This is about the worst response we can give when God answers our prayers. Zachariah doubts God. He does not believe God can deliver!! He questions God. Some way to show gratitude!

He is saying, "Well, I hear what you're saying Angel Gabriel, but I don't think it can happen."

Zachariah then tries to give God a lesson in biology and procreation (in case he does not know!)! Zacharias, perhaps, did not remember how God delivered the promise to Abraham and what age Sara was when she conceived.

It is obvious that Zacharias had stopped praying for a child long ago and gave up on the idea of being a parent. We don't know how long, but it may have been ten or fifteen years since he had prayed for a child.

He had given up on God. He had thought his prayers for a child were not being heard, or had been ignored.

The angel tells him that his prayers HAD been heard, and that God was now going to answer.

If you recall from Malankara World discussions on prayer, God always answers prayers. There are three ways God answers prayers: yes, no, or wait. In this case the God's response was, "wait". Now God is ready to answer the prayers of Zacharias couple! Amazing, isn't it?

Why did God wait so long to answer the prayer of Zacharias and Elizabeth? Perhaps God had something better in store for them than they ever imagined! They were simply praying for a child. But God didn't want to give them just any child. He wanted to give them John the Baptist. Who was John the Baptist? Jesus said about John the Baptist in Luke 7:28. Jesus said that John was the greatest person to be born of a woman up to that time. Think about that!

The delay in responding to the prayers of Zacharias wasn't because God didn't hear their prayers. It wasn't because they were sinning. It was because God had something in store for them beyond anything they could ask or imagine. They would become the parents of John the Baptist who would prepare the way for Jesus Christ. They had waited and waited and waited, and God had finally answered, in His own time, and in His own amazing way!

When we are frustrated thinking that our prayers are not answered, it is good to think of the prayers of Zacharias and how God answered it.

Persistence in prayer is very important. Sometimes we feel that in spite of our repeated prayers, it seems like God never heard, or that God was ignoring us, or that God was telling us "no." Maybe we've stopped praying. Maybe we've stopped believing. Maybe we've stopped hoping. Listen to Gabriel, "God has heard your prayer." He will answer, in His time. And even if you have stopped praying, even if you have stopped believing. 2 Timothy 2:13 says that even when we are faithless, he remains faithful. God has something better in mind for us than we can ask or imagine, and He is simply waiting for His timing to make it happen. It may be tomorrow, it may be next week, it may be 10 years from now. We may even have to wait until we get to heaven!! We need to trust God and take the attitude, "Thy will be done."

Persistence in prayer is a pre-requisite for answered prayers.

This passage also gives us another lesson as to how God responds to our prayer.

Although Zachariah has stopped praying for a child and has made God angry by doubting him when Gabriel announces to Zachariah that his prayers are answered, God does not give up on him. He did not say, "OK Zachariah, you do not believe. Forget it!" God is a forgiving God. He goes ahead with his plans to deliver his promises and answering his prayers.

But doubting God or lack of faith may have severe consequences. Look at what happened to Zacharias:

Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."

Zacharias wanted a sign and he sure got one.

Doubting God is always a "dumb" thing to do. Zacharias doubted and God makes him dumb. He became unable to speak. But God still delivered. God also delivered to Abraham in spite of the doubts of Sara. God delivers his promises.

We may be disciplined a bit for our unbelief like Zacharias was here, but God does what He wants whether we believe Him or not.

Luke 1:24-25 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."

God delivered. He always keeps his promises. He kept his promises to Israel (a messiah). He kept his promises to Zacharias. In causing Elizabeth to become pregnant in her old age, God removed her shame of barrenness.

One of the greatest promises in the Bible which God has given to each of us is that, like Elizabeth, He will take away our reproach and our greatest shame. It does not matter what we had done in the past. If we confess our sins, partake in the Holy Qurbana and take His body and blood, we will be saved.

God's greatest promise is that anyone who believes in Jesus for everlasting life, receives it (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). God offers us the free gift of everlasting life which cannot be lost. We can have this gift simply by believing in Jesus. This is God’s greatest promise, which He will keep, because God is the greatest promise keeper.

Adapted and excerpted from 'God: The Ultimate Promise Keeper' by Jeremy Myers

This Week's Features

The Chemistry of Love

By Napoleon Hill

Recognize that love and affection constitute the finest medicines for both your body and your soul. Love changes the entire chemistry of the body and conditions it for the expression of a positive mental attitude. And love also extends the space you may occupy in the hearts of your fellowmen. And in this connection it is important to remember that while love is free, the best way to receive it is to give it.

Keep a daily diary of your good deeds in behalf of others, and never let the sun set on a single day without recording some act of human kindness. The benefits of this habit will be cumulative and eventually it will give you domain over great spaces in the hearts of your fellowmen. And remember: One good deed each day will keep old man gloom away.

For every favor or benefit you receive give an equal benefit to others. The law of increasing returns will operate in your favor and eventually . . . perhaps very soon . . . it will give you the capacity to get everything you are entitled to receive. A positive mental attitude must have a two-way highway on which to travel, or it will cease to function.

Source: PMA Science of Success Course

How to Stop Difficult People from Zapping Your Energy and Happiness

by Brian Vaszily

What zaps your energy and happiness more powerfully and rapidly than anything else is your reaction to difficult people.

Notice I didn't say difficult people are responsible for zapping your energy and happiness. Only you are in control of you. You do have a choice in how you respond.

With that in mind, here is a simple, powerful and transformative – that is, intense – experience for you, in two steps.

For the first step, on computer, paper, or at least in your mind, make a list of the people you would define as difficult who you routinely correspond with or who impact your life.

This can include those in your professional and personal world, and those in the public eye, who rub you the wrong way, who make your skin crawl, or who -- if you didn’t believe in kindness and compassion or at least in avoiding jail -- you’d flat out enjoy punching in the nose.

Surely a few people spring right to mind.

Create this list of people you don’t like, and then consider each person on it in this regard:

What is it about this person that is worth emulating?

Instead of focusing on their disagreeable qualities and actions, that is, for each person on your list shift your perspective to what their best qualities are … more particularly, to the one, two or more aspects of their character that YOU could learn from and perhaps use more of.

Perseverance? Discipline? A happy-go-lucky attitude?

Everyone has something worth emulating. Everyone. Though certain people may deserve to be fired, jailed, or impeached, even they have qualities that are worth appreciating and emulating.

It is our reactionary egos that are prone to completely trash those who seem to have a negative influence in some way on us. Our egos are primitive; if somebody strokes them, that somebody is good, and if somebody kicks them, that somebody is bad.

This lingering reaction creates the notion of “dislike,” or hate, which blocks our eyes, mind and heart from focusing on anything but the negative. But by focusing on the negative in anyone – “I really don’t like that person” -- we are doing by far the most damage to ourselves.

Honing in on what we don’t like in people (or in situations for that matter) won’t change them, but it does make our lives considerably less peaceful and sucks away our energy and happiness. It becomes a habit that perpetuates the self-damage. Plus it makes us considerably less attractive to others.

This is not a call to tolerate being taken advantage of or abused by “people we don’t like,” of course; if changes need to occur to avoid those circumstances then by all means do what is ethical to make those changes.

But it IS a call not to let those people – really, your own ego – pull you down into discord and disharmony where you don’t deserve to be.

The key, then, is to try to focus on what is worth appreciating and emulating in the less-than-your-favorite-people people – even if (especially if) they are your “opponent,” such as in or on court – versus letting your ego, your emotional reactions, rule.

So the first step is to get your practice by making that list of people you don’t like and considering each person from that angle.

And then the second step is to extend that practice to daily life.

The next time you encounter someone who seems to be doing the opposite of their part to make your life fabulous -- in person, on TV., in your head -- instead of focusing on what makes them such a lousy human being, focus on what it is about this person that is worth emulating.

Keep striving to do this until, typically two to three weeks in, it becomes a habit you don’t even need to think about.

You will be quite surprised at how this shift in your perspective reduces your overall anxiety, increases your energy and enables you to achieve more ... and achieve it happily.

Note: Studies Show 3 to 1 is Ideal Ratio for Happiness

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

Lesson 12: The Secret of believing 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.]

Lesson 12: "Have faith in God" Or The Secret of believing Prayer

"Jesus, answering, said unto them, Have faith in God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what He saith cometh to pass; he shall have it. Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them." - Mark 11:22-24

The power to believe a promise depends entirely, but only, on faith in the promiser.

The promise of answer to prayer which formed our yesterday's lesson is one of the most wonderful in all Scripture. In how many hearts it has raised the question: How ever can I attain the faith that knows that it receives all it asks?

It is this question our Lord would answer today. Ere He gave that wonderful promise to His disciples, He spoke another word, in which He points out where the faith in the answer to prayer takes its rise, and ever finds its strength. Have Faith In God: this word precedes the other, Have faith in the promise of an answer to prayer. The power to believe a promise depends entirely, but only, on faith in the promiser. Trust in the person begets trust in his word.

This connection between faith in God and faith in His promise will become clear to us if we think what faith really is.

It is only where we live and associate with God in personal, loving intercourse, where God Himself is all to us, where our whole being is continually opened up and exposed to the mighty influences that are at work where His Holy Presence is revealed, that the capacity will be developed for believing that He gives whatsoever we ask.

This connection between faith in God and faith in His promise will become clear to us if we think what faith really is. It is often compared to the hand or the mouth, by which we take and appropriate what is offered to us. But it is of importance that we should understand that faith is also the ear by which I hear what is promised, the eye by which I see what is offered me. On this the power to take depends.

The value of the promise depends on the promiser...

I must hear the person who gives me the promise: the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe. I must see him: in the light of his eye and countenance all fear as to my right to take passes away. The value of the promise depends on the promiser: it is on my knowledge of what the promiser is that faith in the promise depends.

It is for this reason that Jesus gives that wonderful prayer-promise. First He says, Have Faith In God. That is, let thine eye be open to the Living God, and gaze on Him, seeing Him who is Invisible.

So believing God is just looking to God and what He is, allowing Him to reveal His presence, giving Him time and yielding the whole being to take in the full impression of what He is as God...

It is through the eye that I yield myself to the influence of what is before me; I just allow it to enter, to exert its influence, to leave its impression upon my mind. So believing God is just looking to God and what He is, allowing Him to reveal His presence, giving Him time and yielding the whole being to take in the full impression of what He is as God, the soul opened up to receive and rejoice in the overshadowing of His love.

Yes, faith is the eye to which God shows what He is and does: through faith the light of His presence and the workings of His mighty power stream into the soul. As that which I see lives in me, so by faith God lives in me too.

Read the rest of the lesson in Malankara World

Previous Lessons (Archive)
Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Satan's Strategy

by A. W.  Tozer

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. --Ephesians 6:13

Now I do not think that Satan much cares to destroy us Christians physically. The soldier dead in battle who died performing some deed of heroism is not a great loss to the army but may rather be an object of pride to his country. On the other hand the soldier who cannot or will not fight but runs away at the sound of the first enemy gun is a shame to his family and a disgrace to his nation. So a Christian who dies in the faith represents no irreparable loss to the forces of righteousness on earth and certainly no victory for the devil. But when whole regiments of professed believers are too timid to fight and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ.

The devil's master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically (though there may be some special situations where physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. God knows. He is a child wearing with considerable self-consciousness the harness of the warrior; he is a sick eaglet that can never mount up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey and sits with a waxy smile trying to get what pleasure he can from sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked by the way. That Incredible Christian, 72.

"Oh God, may I never be 'a harmless enough thing,' 'a child wearing...the harness of the warrior,' 'a sick eaglet,' 'a spent pilgrim.' Give me grace to fight valiantly. Amen."

Source: Insight for Leaders [A.W. Tozer Devotional], November 03, 2011

Love, Love, and More Love

By Tom Cunningham

Of the ten basic motives that inspire all human action, love is probably the most powerful. More has been accomplished by people motivated by love for mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children than any of the other motives.

It is very common to see athletes, musicians, and business people purchase beautiful houses for their parents when they make it big. I recently read about Gene Simmons, the famous bass player and singer for the band KISS, and his devotion and love for his mother, a Nazi concentration camp survivor who brought up her kids as a single mother. Famous, and not so famous, people recognize the love their parents gave them and the sacrifices they made to get them to where they are and want to ensure their parents never want for anything again.

Love for their wives has often been cited as the reason for the success of many men. Napoleon Hill wrote numerous times about the impact that the wives of the people he researched had on their success. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison had tremendously supportive wives and this propelled them to tremendous success, despite the many difficulties each of these men faced. John Wooden, the famous basketball coach, is well known for his love of his wife Nellie. Anybody studying John Wooden's success will soon learn the importance of his wife Nellie to that success. I think of the story that Zig Ziglar tells of his friend Bernie Lofchick. Bernie became a wealthy, successful, business person because his son David was born with Cerebral Palsy. Bernie and his wife did everything they possibly could to make sure their son David had as normal a life as he could. Part of doing everything possible was earning an above average income to pay for the extensive therapy his son would need throughout his life.

The motive of love can also help people endure tough situations for long periods of time. I think about single mothers who often work tirelessly and still manage to impact their children positively to become contributing citizens of the world. I think of parents who endure jobs they do not like so that their kids will have the best life they can possibly give them. I think of people who experience physical disabilities and challenges in their lives and their spouses make adjustments to their lifestyle and dreams to lovingly care for them.

Think of the person you love the most in this world and who you would do the most for. If you were to find out that person would die in one year and suffer in the process, unless you earned say, $20,000 more in the next 12 months than you did in the previous 12 months, would you earn the additional $20,000? Would you sleep less? Would you watch television less? Would you waste less time? I believe that, if your love is strong enough, anyone could do it.

Think of the people in your life that you love the most. Think of the needs they have. Think about how you could help them with those needs, big and small. Bringing happiness, joy, and comfort to loved ones can motivate you more than anything else in life to do what you need to do.

[Editor's Note: Tom is a Senior Research Director for George Media, publisher of The Canadian Business Journal. You can find out more about Tom at ]

Remember the Love

by Veronica Hay

These last few days have been for me, a dark night of the soul. Every belief I held, every truth I thought I knew and every answer I had, have all been shattered.

And even though I was surrounded by people, I felt alone, abandoned and afraid.

And yet, through all of it, I also felt higher, as though someone or something were carrying me, lifting me, loving me.

And so this time instead of running from the pain, despair and confusion, I embraced it and what happened surprised me. The pain, despair and confusion became my doorway to freedom. All sorts of insights and inspirations flooded into my consciousness. It was as though I had access to a different time and place and was able to see with new eyes.

I have been searching for the truth all of my life in so many places. I thought there was only one truth and that I came here to find that truth and that if I went to enough seminars and took enough courses and read enough books and did enough affirmations that somehow I would find it.

Enough, enough, enough already! It was never enough. I was never enough. And now I have found myself in this place and I realized that...

No one can tell you what your truth is or how to get there. They can only soften the path a little. But if you are awake and alive, there will come a time when you will have to examine your own heart.

During this time, I thought often of Mother Teresa and what a powerful woman she was, yet without the arrogance that one often finds in powerful people. She was able to command large amounts of money from everywhere and yet she was so humble. She didn't need to be the best at anything, she just needed to BE. Simple and profound. She touched countless lives and changed the world one person at a time.

I have an act of kindness section on one of my websites and for the last 7 years have been putting acts of kindness suggestions on one of my daily pages. This morning as I was thinking of Mother Teresa again, I sat down to my computer and these words flowed from my fingertips and onto the screen.

Whatever you do today, remember ONE thing.

That in the end, all that really matters is the Love!
Did you seek it?
Did you find it?
But most importantly - DID YOU GIVE IT?

Remember the LOVE!

And then I knew that was the truth I was looking for. Remember the LOVE. Often in our quest for bigger and better things, we forget why we came here in the first place. When my father died and I was sitting on his doorstep outside waiting for the limo to arrive to take me to his funeral, this was never more apparent. There stood his beautiful house and car in silence. He would never walk up those stairs and open that door again or sit behind that wheel. But I could feel his presence. He was much bigger than all of those things. His love was there forever. It didn't die with him. The only thing we take with us when we leave this place is the love and it doesn't matter if we die with a slim body and a fat bank account. All that matters is the love.

In remembering this, I came to know my truth. Perhaps we don't come here to learn, perhaps we come here to teach. And the secret to success is in the love. Then I recalled a story I heard about a woman who hated her job and was living a joyless life of struggle. Her heart was closed in pain, anger and resentment. She was working as a cleaning lady. One day the old woman she worked for put on some music on the stereo. It was music that she and her late husband used to dance to. She was missing her mate terribly and longing for the gentle touch of another soul. The old woman asked the cleaning lady if she would dance with her. The cleaning lady was a bit taken aback at first but agreed to do so. And then something miraculous happened.

In opening her arms to the old woman, she also opened her heart and the tears and the love began to flow. She let the love in and in that precious moment that love lifted her spirit and transformed her life. Right after this incident the cleaning lady's business started to take off, she got so many calls she had to hire a huge staff to accommodate everyone and her company grew by leaps and bounds. The struggle disappeared and everything that she had been trying to make happen came to her effortlessly, once her heart had been opened.

In remembering this story, I knew that I had found my truth. The secret to success and the secret to life is in the love. Once I knew that, I knew everything.

[Editor's Note: Veronica Hay is an inspirational writer. She provides inspirational support and resources to help you live a richer life. Visit her website at: or email her at:]

Health Tip: Smell of Jasmine 'as Calming as Valium'
The sweet smell of jasmine is as good as valium at calming the nerves with none of the side effects, according to new research.

They tested hundreds of fragrances to determine their effect on GABA receptors in humans and mice and found jasmine increased the GABA effect by more than five times and acted as strongly as sedatives, sleeping pills and relaxants which can cause depression, dizziness, hypotension, muscle weakness and impaired coordination.

Laboratory tests found the fragrance and its chemical substitute dramatically calmed mice when their cage was filled with it, causing them to cease all activity and sit quietly in a corner.

When the air was breathed in the scent molecules went from the lungs into the blood and were then transmitted to the brain.

Brain scans showed the effect on a chemical called GABA on nerve cells was enhanced by the fragrances and helped soothe, relieve anxiety and promote rest.

Professor Hanns Hatt said the results published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy".

His team also hope that by changing the chemical structure of the scent molecules, they can achieve even stronger effects.

Prof Hatt, of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, said: "We have discovered a new class of GABA receptor modulator which can be administered parentally and through the respiratory air.

"Applications in sedation, anxiety, excitement and aggression relieving treatment and sleep induction therapy are all imaginable."

Jasmine is a type of essential oil widely used in aromatherapy, which was pioneered by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. It is thought to offer various healing effects.

Inhaling jasmine oil molecules is said to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions.

Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system.

Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Jasmine oil is often touted as a natural remedy for stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms. It is also said to act as an aphrodisiac.

The name Jasmine is derived from the Persian yasmin which means "a gift from God" so named because of the intense fragrance of the blooms.

There are over 300 species of the plant that occur mainly in the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, although a few are found in countries with cold winters. The scent rising off the petals is sweet and intoxicating.

Jasmine is found in more than 83% of all women's scents and 33% of men's.

More than five million flowers must be gathered to produce one kilo of what is known as "pure jasmine absolute". As a result, much of the jasmine used in perfume is a chemical approximation.


Read more health tips in Malankara World Health Section

Cafe - Recipe: How to Roast The Perfect Turkey for the Holidays
[Editor's Note: In a few weeks, it will be Thanksgiving. In order to help you with your holiday preparations, we will be featuring tips for preparing holiday meals. If you want to share your tips, suggestions, recipes, etc., please send them to the Editor of Malankara World at ]

Turkey and all the trimmings are the traditional choices for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in the majority of American homes.

Whether you try a new recipe or use a traditional turkey recipe, the questions frequently asked are:

  • “How should I roast the turkey? ”
  • “Should the turkey be covered with foil? ”
  • “What is the correct temperature to roast a turkey? ”
  • “Should I use a cooking bag? ”

The National Turkey Federation recommends turkey be roasted by the Open Pan method in a preheated 325 degree F oven until the internal temperature, as registered on a meat thermometer, reaches 180 degrees F in the thigh or 170 degrees F in the breast. Sherrie Rosenblatt, director of public relations for NTF says, “The open pan dry heat cooking method is the easiest and most reliable of all cooking methods and results in a juicy, tender, flavorful golden brown turkey.”

In addition the National Turkey Federation makes the following recommendations when cooking turkey:

  1. Do not roast the turkey in a oven temperature lower than 325 degrees F Poultry should be roasted at 325 degrees F or higher to avoid potential food safety problems.
  2. Do not roast the turkey in a brown paper grocery bag. Present day grocery bags may be made of recycled materials and are not considered safe for food preparation.
  3. Do use a meat thermometer to determine the correct degree of doneness.

Read the rest of the article in Holistic Living

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Humor: My Evil Brother Was A Saint…
There were two evil brothers. They were rich and used their money to keep their ways from the public eye. They even attended the same church and looked to be perfect Christians.

Then, their pastor retired and a new one was hired. Not only could he see right through the brothers' deception, but he also spoke well and true, and the church started to swell in numbers.

A fundraising campaign was started to build a new assembly.

All of a sudden, one of the brothers died. The remaining brother sought out the new pastor the day before the funeral and handed him a check for the amount needed to finish paying for the new building.

"I have only one condition," he said. "At his funeral, you must say my brother was a saint."

The pastor gave his word and deposited the check.

The next day at the funeral, the pastor did not hold back. "He was an evil man," he said. "He cheated on his wife and abused his family." After going on in this vein for a small time, he concluded with, "But, compared to his brother, he was a saint."

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