Appasamy, Aiyadurai Jesudasen
- (1891-1975)Indian Protestant leader and bishopAiyadurai Jesudasen Appasamy was born on September 3, 1891. He grew up in India, but received his college education in America and the United Kingdom (1915-22). He wrote his Oxford doctoral dissertation on "The Mysticism of the Fourth Gospel and Its Relation to Hindu Bhakti Literature." Bhakti is the devotional approach to the Hindu deities, commonly known in the West from its centrality to the Hare Krishna Movement (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness). Appasamy created what amounted to a commentary of the Gospel of John using many citations to the Tamil-speaking poets of southern India. Appasamy believed that there was a direct and fruitful connection between the teachings of the biblical Gospel of John and the bhakti tradition that could serve as a basis of conversation and some reconciliation between Indian Christianity and the Hindu community. While at Oxford, he met his countryman Sadhu Sundar Singh, with whom he shared an appreciation of Indian religious literature.Appasamy returned to India in 1922. In 1929, he published the first of several books developing themes from his doctoral dissertation, Christianity as Bhakti Marga, followed three years later with What Is Moksha? Moksha is an Indian term roughly defined as liberation. He tried to explain how sin and karma are related, and how Christ releases/liberates the believer from both.In 1947, the Church of South India was created by the merger of the Anglicans, the Wesleyan (British) Methodists, and the South India United Church (continuing the Presbyterian and Congre-gationalist missionary efforts). Three years later, following a quarter of a century as a leading Anglican priest, Appasamy was elected bishop and called to serve the Coimbatore Diocese. He died on May 2, 1975.While most remembered for his appropriation of bhakti insights, Appapamy was strongly influenced in that direction by Sundar Singh, about whom he wrote two books.See also India.Further reading:■ A. J. Appasamy, Christianity as Bhakti Marga: A Study in the Mysticism of the Johannine Writings. (London: Macmillan, 1927);, A Bishop's Story (Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1969); , The Johannine Doctrine of Life: A Study of Christian and Indian Thought (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1934)■ Sundar Singh: A Biography (London: Lutterworth Press, 1958)■ B. H. Streeter and A. J. Appasamy. The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh: A Study in Mysticism on Practical Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1921).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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