Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and IRO representative for the Catholic Church, Fr Martin Sirju, shared this message to those gathered at the funeral service of the late Satnarayan Maharaj
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We the religious leaders and members of the faith communities comprising the IRO extend our sincere condolences to Mr Maharaj’s family, the Maha Sabha Board and the Hindu community on the passing of this iconic figure of Mr Satnarayan Maharaj, more popularly known to the citizens at large as ‘Sat’. Every man’s life is a checkered life, shades of light and dark. Mr Maharaj had his faults but today is not a day to dwell on his shortcomings but give God thanks for the good intentions of his heart and the bold witness of his life.
Mr Maharaj was an avid supporter of the Inter Religious Organization or the IRO. Despite his disagreements with it, he never withdrew his support for the IRO for he knew it was a necessary body in an interreligious, interracial society like our own. When he thought the IRO had lost its way he lobbied and insisted that it find its way back on the right track. He was always open to lending his premises for IRO meetings and was willing to grant the IRO temporary office lodging should they request it.
As his name implies, he was a man who sought truth and seeking the truth seemed to be his particular way of honouring the Divine Godhead. He sought truth in religion, politics, culture, education and history as best as he could. He did not always express that truth or his concerns in the most delicate manner, but he was never without an opinion and he sought to defend it with the ferocity of a Durga-like figure– brandishing his swords and aiming his arrows at his opponents. Many fell victim to his weapons and pen. He took no prisoners.
He worked hand in hand with the other religions in the area of education, fighting off government encroachments, real or apparent, against the Concordat, and affirming through the courts in a famous judgement the constitutionality of the Concordat. This was a victory for all denominational schools.
At the moment, the IRO is renewing its concern about religious education in schools, ensuring the young know what the different religions are about, eradicating misunderstanding and taboos, and helping people understand religion as it is lived here in Trinidad and Tobago. This perhaps may be Mr Maharaj’s most enduring legacy – his commitment to education. His fight to move the education of Hindus forward from the days of cowsheds in open yards to premier primary and secondary schools; to tell the Hindu story and instill pride in things Hindu. A man is nothing without a passion, without a purpose, without a cause he would die for. Mr Maharaj had a passion, a purpose and a cause.
We, the members of the IRO join the national community in mourning his passing; the nation is better because of his struggles. We pray for his eternal happiness and unity with the Eternal Creator and Lover. May he one day arrive at there place where darkness is conquered by the brilliance of light, ignorance by the beauty of truth, and death by the victory of immortality.