A Life Of

Learning, Relating and Gratitude

With Linesh Sheth


About Fernando

I met Fernando Garcia(fernando120750@gmail.com) around 1980 when he came on a mission to spread Silo's message in India. I was deeply influenced by his sense of commitment, faith in Humanist doctrine, his interest in people, his attentive listening habits, his quick learning abilities and by the way he gave contemplative response to every situation. For me he was an incarnate of Silo, in flesh and blood. (Ref:- www.silo.net)

I lived and was surrounded by common people who had nothing to teach about higher dimensions of life. They did not know if there was a higher dimension of life at all. The only higher force for them was the concept of God. This concept was given to them by their religion, by tradition or by belief. The relationship with the concept of God involved fear, punishment, asking help, being protected etc. I could not see in them any depth of character. They had no ideals to live for. I could not see in them any non-negotiable values they stood for in life, nor was there no any firmness in approach to life.

against this, Fernando was completely a new character and a contrast. I had found in him a higher reference for life to learn from and be oriented towards what makes the life meaningful. I could see in him clear values and stand in front of daily situations of life. his behavior and simplicity matched his way of living.

I met Fernando with reference to Humanist Movement. In my association with him i could know the deeper meaning of Silo's teachings, and its practical applicability in daily life. I could grasp from these teachings how to make a sense out of whatever we did. All this was covered by the doctrine of Humanist Movement. The teaching imbibed by us during discussions, meetings, seminars and retreats.

Fernando had been prolific, insightful and very precise in giving new perspective to the points we discussed during events. He makes you see things in a new and meaningful way. His simplicity and very unassuming ways do not allow one to understand his depth of his character. He has been an amazing teacher, orientor and a guide for life. The members of Humanist Movement in India gave him a momento etched on a wooden plaque by laser. That plaque synthesized the common feeling of the people who came in contact with him for years. I feel it appropriate to include copy of that plaque as a separate attachment. (Included)*

His book Humanism in India (humanistnailesh@hotmail.com)is a testimony of his deep study, penchant for authenticity and a synthesis of human landscape through which humanism passed through in India in different eras of its history.

It has been not just a great privilege to work with him, it is been a blessing to be in his association for over three decades.

When I asked, Fernando about essence of his stand on life, he said:

I think that, no matter how “great” our “I” may be, it will always have limitations.

Therefore, real greatness can only be achieved by placing our limited “I” at the service of what is truly boundless and impersonal in nature.

To achieve it, we should have at least a glimpse of what that “That” is.

In case we don’t have such a glimpse, we may still advance by intuition, placing our humble “I” at the service of something greater beyond it.

Thus, many people do it all the time in the name of, for instance, “our family,” “our country,” “humanity,” etc.

They mostly make a mistake when they do it as a self-affirmation against others;

when they believe that the good of some should be at the expense of others.

They also make a mistake when they do it while expecting some sort of reward for their service.

However, all mistakes can be overcome and move forward and upward.

How association with Fernando affected my life

Fernando arrived in India around 1980. At that time i was just introduced to Silo's thoughts in Humanist Movement. I volunteered in its different activities because i liked the people, the spirit and selflessness of the whole approach.

It was during 1981, when Silo addressed a public meeting comprising of 10000 people at Chowpatty beach in Mumbai, on 1st November 1981, that i had the opportunity to work closely with him in planning the event, spreading the Silo's message of Humanism and inspiring people to come to the event.

I had the privilege to work with Fernando along with many other committed volunteers. I could distinctly feel an inner obligation to follow what i was inspired with. The main reason was that i was in daily association with a man whom i liked. I respected the human values he stood for. Secretly i liked him as a model of life. Here was a man who was inspiring me to change my old pattern of behavior. That behavior was random, and directionless in its way of thinking.

Perhaps, in my heart, i was looking for a man who was not a Guru, whom traditionally i had to obey. I was also not looking for a teacher from whom i could learn, nor i was in search of a mythical model i would worship. Really, i did not know what kind of model i was seeking.

Gradually it dawned upon me that i was looking for friendliness of a friend, a sort of a GPS (Global Positioning System) of life, a sort of a navigation system of living, in which i could locate where i was and how to go where i wanted to reach. Later i knew that in spiritual life, the GPS was represented by an "orientor". I saw that i was not alone in what i felt. There were hundreds who felt, more or less in different ways, the same way that i was feeling.

In this way i could see Fernando as a reference for life. Soon i found, following the teachings he spread, that i was myself becoming, in a way, a reference in my family and in my surrounding in knowing how to live, direct and follow the path of light.

One particular aspect that had a very deep influence on my comprehension of how to understand what happens inside me was Fernando's explanations, in different moments of my dialogues with him, about the internal states, as referred by Silo in chapter Nineteen(XIX)of the book, Inner Look. In those days, Fernando explained the chapter in its original version to me, as analogous to Kabbalah's Tree Of Life. The vivid description of the passages he explained influenced me so much that i later became, more or less, a student of Kabbalah by studying various books and explanations on Kabbalah in great detail. Even today, Kabbalah personally acts with me like my inner GPS(Global Positioning System). I have been able to change, shift and transform my inner states very often by following what was explained then.

Years have passed by since i met Fernando. Today he has grown from a young orientor to a guide of Silo's message. So also, i have been continuously improving myself to be a unwavering reference among the people who know me. Today i am 78. I look back upon my association with Fernando with a tremendous amount of gratitude, love and respect for coming and touching my life.

Linesh Sheth