Friday, March 30, 2012



The real issue is the state and morale of the defense forces, not the leaked letter or petty politics. Fifty years ago, demoralization and neglect of the armed forces by Nehru and Krishna Menon led to national humiliation in the 1962 China war.


Navaratna Rajaram 

 “History does not repeat itself,” it is famously said, “but fools repeat history.” Philosopher-poet George Santayana put it slightly differently when he wrote— “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” To those old enough to remember the events leading to India’s humiliation in 1962—and both Manmohan Singh and A.K. Antony are old enough—these famous quotes have a familiar ring in our own time, especially in the controversy over the army chief General V.K. Singh’s difficulties with the government.

More than fifty years ago, in 1959 to be exact, General Thimmayya, the savior of Kashmir had handed his resignation to Prime Minister Nehru protesting Defense Minister V.K. Krishna Menon's refusal to consider his plans for preparing the Army for the forthcoming Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. Nehru refused to accept it and persuaded him to withdraw his resignation. However, little action was taken on Thimmayya's recommendations and he soon retired. When Thimmayya’s term as army chief ended, Nehru and Menon ignored Thimmayya’s recommendation to make General Thorat the army chief, preferring to appoint Pran Nath Thapar. Where Thorat was known as a ‘fighting general’ in the mould of Patton and Rommel, Thapar was known to be politically well connected, related to Nehru by marriage. (He was the uncle of historian Romila Thapar and TV journalist Karan Thapar’s father.)

Thanks to Nehru's family connections, another political general Brij Mohan Kaul was appointed commander of the Indian forces in the vital northeast sector. Kaul was to earn eternal infamy by running away from the battlefield to get himself admitted to a Delhi hospital when the Chinese attacked in 1962. Nehru and Menon had no interest in national defense. They saw their positions not as guardians of India but a platform for projecting and preaching their utopian ideas to the world. Above all they, especially Nehru wanted to impress Westerners.

In 1948, he ignored Thimmayya’s advice and took Kashmir to the United Nations. At the same time he rejected General Cariappa’s advice to develop the infrastructure in the northeast. He listened instesd to the advice of a British missionary called Verrier Elwin who said that the northeast should be kept primitive to preserve tribal cultures. Elwin pretended to be interested in tribal welfare, but it was only a pretext to exploit them, especially the young girls. He married and divorced at least two tribal girls much younger than himself. He was a Nehru favorite!

It is not widely known that India was offered a permanent seat in the Security Council when the United Nations was formed. Nehru rejected it insisting that Mao’s China should be given the seat before India. Even when China occupied Tibet in 1950, which was then independent with close ties to India, Nehru ignored the danger and spent his time over the Korean War. Menon even defended the Chinese action claiming that it would never attack India!

(Personal sidelight: I heard the following story from the famous astrologer the late B.V. Raman whom I used to know quite well though I don’t follow astrology. In spite of their ‘rationalist’ exterior, both Menon and Nehru used to consult him— Menon directly, but Nehru surreptitiously through his emissary the late Gulzarilal Nanda. Dr. Raman predicted that Menon would soon lose his cabinet position and also China would attack India. Menon dismissed him saying, “You may be right about my losing my position, but China will never attack India because we are both socialist countries.” Is this also not a form of superstition? For the record, China later had border wars with both the Soviet Union and Vietnam.)

Coming to the specifics over the controversy involving the army chief V.K. Singh, he has done a great service to the nation by exposing the corruption. What else should he have done? Keep quiet while pocketing the money? Also, the army chief’s leaked letter to the PM has highlighted serious deficiencies in defense preparedness. Should this also be kept hidden from the public just to protect incompetent and dishonest officials and politicians? Going back fifty years, when the Sino-Indian war started, it was found that our soldiers in the Himalayas didn’t even have winter clothing. There were many non-combat deaths due to frostbite and cold but Nehru and Menon had neglected basic needs. Should we not learn from that sad history? Some vested interests have been targeting General V.K. Singh for months. First it was his date of birth which should have been an internal matter, and now this. Why? Because, General Singh is known to be very strict; and totally against corruption and irregularities. This comes in the way of people interested in making money in defense contracts. They want him out of the way as soon as possible.

Krishna Menon is widely regarded as a Communist ideologue disinterested in money matters. This ignores the fact that Menon presided over the first scam of Independent India. While serving as Indian High Commissioner in London, he ignored established government procedures to sign a deal worth Rs 80 lakh—then an enormous amount—with a foreign firm for the purchase of army jeeps. While most of the money was paid up front, only about 150 jeeps were delivered even though the contract was for many times more. (Each jeep cost the government more than Rs 53,000, which was at least ten times the market value.) But Prime Minister Nehru forced the government to accept them. In the face of the scandal, Nehru inducted Menon into the cabinet, who soon became the second most powerful minister after Nehru. Because the amounts involved in defense contracts are so large kickbacks and corruption have always been part of defense procurement in all countries.

With the coming of Rajiv Gandhi it was taken to a new level. The Bofors paradigm:  The Bofors scam in which the Gandhi family and Sonia Gandhi’s close friend and business associate Ottavio Quattrocchi enriched themselves beyond their wildest dreams marks a watershed in modern India. The corruption was not without precedent, and the scale was to be surpassed in our time. But what Bofors represents is a shift in the way Indian politicians and bureaucrats began to look at defense needs. It was no longer to protect the nation, but a mammoth procurement bazaar in which huge profits can be made through kickbacks and commissions. So beginning with the Gandhi-Quattrocchi partnership, more attention was given to procurement and spending than analyzing defense needs.

With notable exceptions like Dr. Abdul Kalam and the late Raja Ramanna (a nuclear physicists), there was little discussion about defense policy, much less strategy or doctrine. Politicians and bureaucrats couldn’t care less about military strategy or defense needs as long as opportunities existed for kickbacks in defense procurements. This factor should be kept in mind as we look at the outrage expressed by politicians over General V.K. Singh’s revelation that he was offered a large bribe to approve substandard army vehicles. It is a sign of this state of affairs that even today India has no military doctrine.

Does anyone recall a debate in the parliament over military doctrine or strategy? The media is no different. For all the hoopla over Gen Singh’s revelation and the leaked letter, the media is talking more about the scam than its implications for national security. It is no different with the politicians. During the recent elections, did Rahul Gandhi or anyone else talk about security or threats to the nation? Did anyone in the media raise it? All we saw were family exhibits— Rahul in his beard, Priyanka (without one), her husband until finally her little children. Excerpts from the letter from the army chief V.K. Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have appeared in newspapers. The letter raised serious questions about important matters relating to national defense.

The PM apparently ignored the army chief’s, and possibly the Defense Minister’s concerns. Knowing the strict protocol followed in the army, one can be certain that Defense Minister Antony was fully aware of Gen Singh’s letter and had approved it. This suggests that the leak was probably deliberate, and came from the defense ministry frustrated at the Prime Minister’s indifference with regard to national security. We are constantly being told that Dr. Manmohan Singh is personally honest though he is presiding over the most corrupt government in modern Indian history. What good is personal honesty when public officials under him are allowed to plunder and loot?

After all it was this ‘personally honest man’ who allowed the swindler Ottavio Quattrocchi to get away with his loot. Above all, he has neglected national security. There is no greater duty than preserving the nation’s freedom. The PM Manmohan Singh may not worry about it, but more than 2000 years ago, the greater thinker Kautilya reminded his king of his duty. Here are excerpts of a letter written by Kautilya to Emperor Chandragupta. I am grateful to Sri Krishan Kak for bringing it to my attention. The wording may not be exact, but still contains enough wisdom for the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister to read and benefit from. (Their masters in 10 Janpath would benefit too, but they lack the literacy to read it, let alone appreciate its perennial wisdom.) Kautilya discretely but firmly reminded the king that his safety and security as well as of his empire depend on the trust and sacrifice of his soldiers.

“The Mauryan soldier does not the Royal treasuries enrich nor the Royal granaries fill. He does not carry out trade and commerce nor produce scholars, littérateurs, artistes, artisans, sculptors, architects, craftsmen, doctors and administrators. He does not build roads and ramparts nor dig wells and reservoirs. He does not do any of this directly. “The soldier only and merely ensures that the tax, tribute and revenue collectors travel forth and return safely; that the farmer tills, harvests, stores and markets his produce unafraid of pillage; that the trader, merchant and financier function and travel across the length and breadth of the realm unmolested; that the savant, sculptor, maestro and mentor create works of art, literature, philosophy and astrology in quietitude; that the architect designs and builds his Vaastus without tension; that the tutor and the priest teach and preach in peace; that the rishis meditate in wordless silence; that the doctor invents cures and medicines undisturbed; that the mason and bricklayer work unhindered; that the mother and the wife go about their chores and bring up children in harmony and tranquility; that the cattle graze freely without being lifted or stolen.

“Pataliputra reposes each night in peaceful comfort, O King, secure in the belief that the distant borders of Magadha are inviolate and the interiors are safe and secure, thanks only to the Mauryan Army standing vigil with naked swords and eyes peeled for action, day and night, in weather fair and foul, all eight praharas (round the clock), quite unmindful of personal discomfort and hardship, all through the year, year after year. “While the citizenry of the State contributes to see that the State prospers and flourishes, the soldier guarantees it continues to EXIST as a State! To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: please, therefore, see to it, on your own, that the soldier continuously gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants, for he is not likely to ask for them himself.” Then Kautilya, known also as Chanakya gave his king this blunt warning: “The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King!”

If the Indian state has been reduced to this condition, its people don’t deserve to be defended by soldiers willing to lay their lives down for the country. Why fight and defend a government and a people who don’t care for them?

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Social Engineering, Social Reform and Protecting the Vedic Heritage


Dr. Vijaya Rajiva


The recent move of the Congress led government of Kerala to hire 50 trained non Brahmanic temple priests has to be viewed with some caution. On the face of it the move can be lauded as social reform. But it can also be part of a social engineering process that aims to attack Hindu religious traditions in toto, moving in planned fashion from one target to the next. The Hindu Samaj must treat each of these moves on a case by case basis. Of the 50 candidates some candidates no doubt will be sincere and in earnest and some will be there for economic reasons (also acceptable since they are valid reasons) and at least a few will be stooges of the government and the Devaswom Board, which is largely staffed by anti Hindu individuals (often with misleading Hindu names!). In 2007 the Minister for Devaswom affairs was a member of the Communist Party (CPM). These newly hired priests will function under the directions of this self same government, now a Congress led one, but essentially also anti Hindu. A principled stand alone taken in favour of non Brahmanic priests can be counter-productive and the Hindu Samaj should be alert to the politics of social engineering.

The Devaswom as a body that managed temple affairs came into existence as early as the 17th century in Kerala. There was a proliferation of them and it was only in the early 19th century under the Maharani Regent Gowri Parvati Bayi (1815-1829) that a royal decree was passed forming a Devaswom Board and most of the temples were brought under its control. This marked a shift from private groupings/families exercising control over the temples to that of state power vested in the royal family.

However, the last ruler His Highness Shri Chitira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma (1931-1949)was concerned that the Dewaswom Board should remain a Hindu organisation that would serve Hindu interests in the matter of temple administration and welfare. Therefore, in 1949 when he signed the instrument of Accession to the Indian Union he signed in a Covenant that would protect the Board from unneccessary interference from both state and central governments in independent India. The Board by this Covenant would remain with 3 members who were clearly Hindu and their term would be for 4 years. This was incorporated into The Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act of 1950 by which the state government would manage temple affairs via the Devaswom Board. Hence, both by law and convention the Board members would be sworn in as Hindus. Needless to say, the successive governments did not follow this rule except as a formality since Communist members could not actually be Hindus simultaneously given their ideology. And in the case of Congress governments the Hindu names often concealed allegiance to the 'secularism' of the Congress party, especially after the rise to power of the Italian Catholic, Sonia Gandhi at the centre in 1998.

In 2007 emboldened by political events on the national scene, the secular LDF Kerala Government received permission from the Central government to change the composition of the Devaswom Board. The number 3 was changed to 5 incorporating a member from the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe (so called ) and a woman, ostensibly to promote social reform.

There was a dual purpose here. Under the rubric of social change and in order to secure a vote bank from the Non Brahmanic groups the Kerala government tried to extend its already existing control over Hindu institutions.This control had previously been given to them by the misguided fathers of the Indian Constitution which was clearly discriminatory towards the Hindus, since the other religious groups (Muslims and Christians) were left untouched. The Kerala government's policy was to further extend control over the Hindu temples and one of the ploys was to throw the temples open to non Hindus and later the training of non Brahmans to become temple priests. In 2007 social groups like the NSS (Nair Service Society, not particularly known for any Hindutva leanings) objected. In regard to the first move it was defeated and in regards to the second move the so called reform went forward, even though in 2010 the NSS and other organisations (mainly Hindu) objected.

Here again the anti Hindu government throws as much as it can against the Hindus with the hope that some of it will stick, even if some do not. Throwing open Hindu temples to non Hindus IS CLEARLY NOT THE SAME as opening the temples to all Hindus. The Temple Entry Proclamation by the Maharajah Chittira Thirunal in 1936 was the right way to go for Hindus. But here the situation is different. Churches and mosques are primarily places for the faithful to congregate and offer prayer, whereas the Hindu temple is where the consecrated deity resides, the consecration accompanied by deep Vedic ritual. It follows that non Hindus who do not accept this tradition cannot be given free entry to what is considered a hallowed place. The Hindu temple is not a park or tourist site or museum where the general public can freely wander about. It is a place of worship where the consecrated deity is housed. Those who ardently desire to enter can easily return to the Hindu fold by undergoing a shuddhi ceremony. The recent ones conducted by Agniveer are good examples of tasteful, short and meaningful ceremonies. Thereafter the individual accepts the sanctity of the Vedas and the presence of the consecrated deity housed in the temple.

The present writer has raised an alarm in two previous articles and pointed out that the aim of the motley crew of deracinated Hindus, Macaulayites, Congresswallahs and the axis of Communists- Islamists - Churchists has always been to defeat Hinduism by various ploys.1&2

This has been the ancient dream of the Christian West and is being touted by deracinated Hindus. It is understandable that someone like Arundhati Roy (a non Hindu) can hide behind the rubric of her questionable Leftism ( it is reported that she built a large luxury bungalow on notified tribal land !) to fulminate against the Brahmanic Hindu State. Like Monier Williams the identification of Hinduism with Brahmanism is a non starter. Neverthless, the Hindu Samaj should be extremely vigilant. The phrase ' the mighty fortress of Brahmanism' was first put forward by Monier Williams (author of Sanskrit English Dictionary, 1899). His exact quote is :

" When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahmanism are encircled, undermined and finally stormed by the soldiers of the cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete " (Modern India and Indians, p.247).

In his ignorance this colonialist had set up a straw man called Brahmanism. His Macaulayist followers and other elements have followed suit. It is Hinduism with its Vedic heritage that is their real target, the word 'Brahmanism' being only a catchy logo. This Vedic heritage is an ongoing project which all members of the Hindu Samaj have upheld, from the aam admi to the acharyas, gurus, temples, mathams etc. The Vedas set up a dedicated priesthood that would carry out the rituals of prayer and devotion to the terrestrial, atmospheric, and cosmic forces envisaged as gods and goddesses. It is the Hindu belief that these powers are present in the land, from north to south and east to west. Temples big, medium and small also housed these powers.

The priests were responsible for carrying out the ritual worship of these powers. The Vedic rituals were carried out in the open, under the sky. With the building of temples in the post Vedic age the temple priests continued the Vedic worship in various parts of the subcontinent, preserving the INTEGRITY of the rituals. Hence, the Kerala temple priests are in this THANTRIC tradition. They are expected to follow certain well laid down rules and procedures for the rituals. They are initiated and trained by an authentic and qualified Acharya who has deep knowledge of the scriptures and familiarity with thantric worship which consists both of mantras and mudras.

The Hindu belief is that the deity in the temple (already consecrated by deep ritual) is invoked during the ritual ceremonies.
It follows therefore, that the temple priest is expected to be a devout Hindu, with knowledge of scripture and tradition. With a non Hindu government it is doubtful whether the choice of candidates for the temple priesthood has been conducted rigorously and with transparency. If not, then the ignoble motive is clearly to make a dent in the hitherto undefeated traditions of Hindu worship. Preserving the Vedic heritage means upholding Hindu polytheism and murti worship, as opposed to the dogmas of the monotheistic faith, with their ONE god and the attendant persecution of non believers, and their history of violence and conquest.

1.' The Mighty Fortress of Brahmanism' (in www.haindavakeralam;; Sookta-sumana;
2. ' Temple Priests and Preserving the Vedic Heritage' (

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy & History).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012





Date of Release 28.3.2012

Picture of the Book by Fr. Clooney

Both, Rajiv Malhotra and his critics are not familiar with Clooney’s works as seen from the Bibliography published in “Being Different”. and in the critiques published so far.It is strange that Professor Clooney is not referring to his own specializations anywhere in the video debate or dialogue he had with Rajiv Malhotra, nor does Rajiv Malhotra make a mention of this vocation or avocation of Jesuit priest and scholar-professor, member of Society of Jesus (SJ), leaving it open for frenzied speculation. Why is Clooney maintaining an air of mystery?

I am not surprised that the critics and the criticized travel in the same boat. They jumped into the fray by one blurb of Professor Francis Xavier Clooney. The praise by other eminent professors do not attract any attention, but the praise of one particular Religious Scholar and Professor of Divinity, has seen many critics, like Professor Vijaya Rajiva, (professor of political philosophy and who was earlier among supporters of Rajiv Malhotra), have now started criticizing Rajiv Malhotra for hobnobbing with Prof.Clooney. Prof. Vijaya Rajiva, Writer Thamizhchelvan, Sandhya Jain, (New Delhi based owner of website Vijayavani, and eminent columnist), and Radha Rajan (Chennai based owner of Vigil website and animal activist), and other ‘staunch’ Hindus posted their views on Haindava Keralam website and also in Vijayavani website.

There were many views expressed by Cpt. Balakrishnan and some others. There was also a rebuttal response by Dr. Koenraad Elst that was vigorous and supported Rajiv Malhotra fully, and blamed “lazy Hindus.”

[What I wanted to tell him was,it is not Hindus that are lazy, but they do not have the luxury of time and money that the institution like Vatican provides for its full time seminarians to plagiarize Hindu sacred books and Holy Grantham [ Hindu Sacred Scriptures.]

Both the critics and the defenders were off the mark when they condemned Rajiv Malhotra and Francis Clooney together, for Purva paksha. They are technically wrong when they say Rajiv Malhotra hobnobbed with a Professor who is “photocopying” from “Vaishnavism” and “Hinduism‟.

- Dr.Francis Xavier Clooney. SJ, (Kumudam. November 16, 1992). 1
(Translation: “I like Thiruvaimozhi very much”)

Dr. Francis Xavier Clooney SJ, professor of Divinity at Harvard University, has spent a lifetime in understanding Tamil Srivaishnavism. Kumudam is a widely circulated Tamil weekly in 1992, considered a significant organ of mass media in Tamilnadu. It carried his picture on the cover page. The cover page tells “Revered Christian father from America writes in Tamil”. Rev.Clooney is holding a graphite slate, used by school children to hone in their writing skills, by writing with a chalk. On that Clooney had written “Enakkuth Thiruvaimozhi migavum Pidikkum”. In the pages inside FX Clooney was seen discussing shockingly with one of the most respected holy persons, of Srivaishnavism Agnihotram Ramanuja Thatachari, who was an Astana vidwan, and who was held in very high esteem by the then Paramacharya of the Kanchi Mutt. The mutt had conferred upon him, many honorary titles, for his brilliance in the vidwad-sabhas (debates) organized by the mutt all over India, for his long association with the mutt. (FX Clooney In his own words: “For more than thirty years I have been reflecting on Hindu traditions”.)

Reading through the Super-Script

Dr. Francis Xavier Clooney has written his book with a superscript, “The Truth, the way, the Life”; and subscript, “Christian”, (Capital C),”Commentary (capital C) on the three Holy Mantras of the Srivaishnava Hindus.” It would be easily seen as a brazen attempt to copy the algorithm of Srivaishnavism and rewrite code the code of the Nicene Creed and thereby save Christianity. What is considered the most holy by Srivaishnava Hindus have been tampered with by the Superscript, “The Truth, The way, the life”, [a quotation taken from the New Testament Gospel of St.John 14.6) where Jesus says “I am the Truth, the way the life” [Peeters, Belgium, 2008.] And, the subscript goes one step further by offering "a Christian Commentary on the three holiest mantras of Srivaishnavas".

These are time tested mantras, almost all Acharyas have written commentaries on these holy mantras, and these mantras ought to be taken with special Diksha called Panchasamskara. He has been inducting elements of Vedic-Astika-Tamil-Srivaishnavism, into his comparative study openly in his book, apart from the texts of Vedanta Desika, which are alien to Christianity. FX Clooney is ambitious and intrusive, as a comparative religious writer who is like the deux machina of the Greek Drama (divine intervention), by is putting himself in the role of the intervener, sent by the divine (though he does not say it) for changing the DNA (though he does it) of the Semitic creed by analyzing the DNA of each religion specifically and place them side by side, like a genetically modified cotton grown on a plot,, near a cotton raising field where naturally grown cotton seeds having been planted that could lead to pollution of natural plants by the GM seeds that will lead to plant infertility and destruction of the native grown variety and pave the way for a disaster. This is the pathetic malady of modern proto-type new Christianity in the making.

”In The Truth, the way, the life, I return most directly to the practice that is my deepest intellectual commitment-reading texts, spending a long time with just a single classic, and reflecting on what can be learned by contemporary readers from a powerful text and the cultivated habit of reading it,” Professor Clooney writes further, “Professor Catherine Corneille’s invitation to contribute to her new series, Christian Commentaries on Non-Christian Texts, gave me the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with the Rahasyatrayasara, itself a prolonged reading of three holy mantras, and to spell out in detail what I have learned from Vedanta Desika’s reading of the three holy mantras of his tradition. Though aware of the riches of other Srivaishnava authors whose work must also be honored- Sri Pillai Lokacharya, for instance, stands at the fore- this was the opportunity to read Desika at length and in detail; perhaps other occasions will allow me to explore the Srivaishnava tradition still more broadly, and try to write from my reading in a way that is helpful to other readers as well; in this case my audience is primarily Christian, though hopefully not exclusively so.” (Pg.1, Preface. “I AM THE TRUTH, THE WAY THE LIFE”.) The ulterior message is he is spreading the Gospel. in a schlorly way without telling that he is doing it.Prof. Francis Xavier Clooney writes with great zeal. IN HIS OWN WORDS “FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS I HAVE BEEN REFLECTING ON HINDU TRADITIONS”. He says “I have done the best I could in the writing of the Mantras and Desika’s commentary and yet, of course, the more I have delved into the tradition, the more I have become aware of how much more there is to learn, and how little beginning I have made in this learning. He acknowledges the list of teachers mentioned by Vedanta Desika in his preface. Vedanta Desika himself prefaces the 32 chapters of his Essence with a preface entitled “The essence of the lineage of Teachers”, in which he emphasizes that it is imperative to begin teaching –or writing-only after due acknowledgement of and reverence for one’s teachers. He is very clear about his limitations and commitment. “For reasons of opportunity, time and religious commitment I could not sit with a Srivaishnava teacher for a thorough study of the essence, but I did at every turn consult the commentaries listed in my Bibliography, from the early Sarasvadini of Sri Vedanta Ramanuja, and Sri Gopala Desika, and Sri Sri Rangasankopa yatindramahadesika, and the classic of the era, the Saravistaram of Uttamur T. Viraraghavacharya. Critics and radicals on the periphery who are talking loud about purva paksha, should come out clean and answer whether, they have read, or at least heard of these sacred works before? Leave alone mastering them briefly, should they not at least be familiar with these before they venture to criticize Rajiv Malhotra for utilizing Prof.Clooney’s endorsement for his book “Being Different‟? I found it an anomaly: my cursory glance at the writings of all the critics shows that all that they have is a void, in spite of calling themselves 100% Hindus. Does it mean that I am endorsing Clooney’s methods? A Definite No.

One must have undergone Srivaishnava pancha samskaras before taking to reciting the Dvaya mantras or studying the Rahasyagranthas. But Clooney has violated this base line.He says “In the Spirit of Desika’s admonition that we remember our teachers with gratitude when taking up something so precious as the mantras, I, a latter day Ekalavya, dedicate, this volume to the great teachers of our era, such as Sri Uttamur T. Viraraghavacharya, and his predecessors, all the way back to Desika and his teachers as well”.

It is not known, whether Uttamur T. Viraraghavacharya, would like the comparison that Clooney made of himself “with a latter day Ekalavya” (?) and whether his master demanded his thumb, it should be clarified by Prof. Clooney.

- Notes –

1. Kumudam. November 16, 1992.
2. Page 3 preface, “The Truth, the way, the Life”; Peeters

Sunday, March 25, 2012


'Macaulay, not the traditional acharyas, created India's brown sahibs'


Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

The video of author and writer Rajiv Malhotra's talk in Bangalore ' Identifying the Elements of Heritage of Development in India' at The Institute of Social and Economic Change, Feb. 24,2012) shows a continuation of his agenda against Hinduism's traditional acharyas, whom he has castigated previously and now once again for not studying Western and non Hindu thought. At this talk (during the question and answer period) he goes a step further and claims that it is the traditional acharyas who created India's brown sahibs by nor providing a critique of western thought! His reasoning went thus: why did they not study and refute a Hegel or a Kant? It is this lapse that has created the present generation of brown sahibs alienated from their Hindu roots, so he pronounced.

This statement from someone who is relatively well informed is surprising. By now, most educated Indians are aware that it is Lord Macaulay's minutes of 1835 that turned Hindu education on its head and imposed British education on India. Since then colonised Indians have become the last of the Englishmen in their mental makeup and even in their lifestyles. Why then does Malhotra a seemingly well read and well informed Hindu from the diaspora repeat this misinformation during the question and answer hour following the talk?

The present writer has pointed out in previous articles that there is a threefold agenda that has characterised Shri Malhotra's trajectory in the last few years:
(1) the astonishing defence of Nityananda,
(2) the u turn to interfaith dialogue,
(3) the usurpation of the role of the traditional acharyas of Hinduism.
While number one has been quietly (hopefully) shelved, Mr. Malhotra persists with numbers 2 & 3. The present writer believes that there are three reasons for this. First, Mr. Malhotra is an autodidact and therefore is overwhelmed by his own achievements (a frequent weakness of some autodidacts, though not all). Hence, he has not fully understood that there are several scholars in India who are currently doing excellent work in the topics that Mr. Malhotra has mentioned in the talk in Bangalore. It is the political situation that prevents any action being taken to incorporate their suggestions in the educational curriculum. Equally, he seems unaware that the traditional acharyas are doing an excellent job of expounding the traditional knowledge of the Hindu scriptures. Distracting them from this serious task in order that they may read a Hegel or Kant is the most absurd suggestion any thinking Hindu can make.

That work of reading Hegel and Kant and rebutting their arguments should be undertaken by academics, scholars, free lancers like Malhotra, not the traditional acharyas who have been the backbone of Hindu civilisation since time immemorial and will continue to be so. They must be left alone to continue their work. Wisely, many of them who have been approached by Malhotra, have rejected him. And well they should!

The second reason is that Shri Malhotra is not fully focussed on whatever task he has taken upon himself (and this task is not yet clear). A variety of topics are listed at the speech: environment, reclaiming India's originality in the sciences, sustainable development, studying and reacting to non Hindu thought etc.
In other words, his reach has exceeded his grasp and the one liners and pronouncements are not based on a solid consistent line of thinking. The turbulence is all too evident. First, there is the publication of Breaking India, where he and his co author Aravindan Neelkandan detailed the dangers facing Indian amongst which is the Inculturation from the Christian Church. Then he speaks of devoting his life to Hindu Christian dialogue with the self same malafide sources(the Huffington Post blog), an INTERNAL CONTRADICTION in his thinking (about which the present writer has previously written)And now he is into various other projects which are not linked by a consistent vision.

By contrast, the acharyas know what they are doing. Take for instance the example of the Kerala Nambudiris who have maintained the Vedic traditions over several centuries with due diligence and devotion. They have not attempted to engage in any interfaith dialogue or travel abroad. Hindus owe it to them for the preservation of the ancient Vedic culture and traditions The recent death of scholar Fritz Stahl(who videographed the Athirathram ritual) has highlighted the performance in 2011 of the Athirathram, undertaken with scrupulous attention to every minutiae of the Fire Ritual from Vedic times. It has been noted that since the rise of Buddhism in India, many parts of India abandoned the Athirathram. Only the Kerala Nambudiris preserved this invaluable heritage. Hence, the Hindu Samaj must be extremely cautious in Malhotra's various prescriptions for what he sees are the limitations of the acharya tradition. Indeed, it is questionable whether his advice will even benefit the modern youth of India. Is this another version of FDI in retail ? One cannot lecture the youth to return to their heritage, even while hitting out at one of the pillars of the Hindu heritage .

The third reason is Shri Malhotra's blithe rejection of 'politics', especially the politics of interfaith dialogue. He is deeply mired in the 'politics' of his own rejection of politics. Many writers have pointed out that the interfaith dialogue as it stands, is a fraudulent process. It is the Church's most recent method of duping unsuspecting Hindus. Unless and until Hindus set the terms of the discussion/dialogue, they appear as guests at various such occasions and are persuaded to accept the host's point of view. And therefore until the proper conditions are met, the politics of interfaith dialogue will obstruct Hindus.

Is there a second front against Dharma being pursued by enthusiasts and their camp followers, to weaken and ultimately defeat the pillars of Hindu tradition of whom the traditional acharyas are an important pillar? The Hindu Samaj must be alert to such a possibility.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian universtiy. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Literature, Political Economy & History).

Saturday, March 17, 2012


March 13, 2012

Anti-Hindu attitude of the UPA Government led by Sonia Gandhi, their blind appeasement of the Muslims in India, torture and arrests of Hindu saints and leaders and the multi-billion dollar scams of its key ministers in government - all these factors contributed heavily to the humiliating defeat of The Dynasty this month in the Utter Pradesh state elections.

Now the details:
1. Sonia Gandhi’s insidious attempt to draft the “Communal Violence Bill 2011” with help of the Islamists and Leftists was clearly viewed by the country’s large Hindu population as malicious in content and designed to destroy the Hinduism in India .
2. Home Minister P. Chidambaram had openly equated the dangerous Islamic terrorism in country with the patriotic efforts of Hindu groups, which he labeled the “Saffron terrorism” or “Hindu terrorism.” Such mindless efforts from the government side deeply antagonized the one billion Hindus who had quietly decided to get even at the election time.
3. The openly undemocratic and blatantly highhanded crushing of the Baba Ramdev’s peaceful protest at Delhi’s Ram Leela grounds with a brutal force of 5000 Delhi policemen on orders of the Congress Party leaders had angered many Hindus. The arrest and tortures of patriotic Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Colonel Purohit, Swami Aseemanand and others had convinced the Hindu leaders to take action and get rid of the perpetrators of the injustice. UPA Government’s obstinate refusal to come up with a fair and effective Lokpal Bill for catching corrupt politicians in country also added fuel to the fire.
4. The UPA government is so terribly frightened of the Islamic terrorism in country that it dare not take any strong action against. Additionally, it has ignored the sufferings of seven lakh Kashmiri Hindus and overlooked their genocide, ethnic cleansing and expulsion from the land of their ancestors.
5. Hindu girls are kidnapped everyday not only in Pakistan but also in India and are converted to Islam. They are then forcibly married to Muslim men and the Congress Party government watches it all shamelessly. Minority Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh are already living in a state of Islamic subjugation and savagery. In December last year, 250 Hindus had left their homes and hearths in Pakistan and sought asylum in India .
6. On the top of that, the UPA government’s sinister attempt to arbitrarily increase the quota of government jobs for Muslims taking away a share of OBC has angered the Hindu Society. In order to appease the Muslims for votes, the government avoids taking action on Afzal Guru who was ordered to be hanged by Supreme Court of India for his heinous crime of attacking the nation’s Parliament in 2001. All these crimes against the country made Hindus very unhappy.
7. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi is known to nurse a deep hatred against the Hindus. He considers the patriotic, peaceful and law abiding Hindus to be more dangerous for India than the internationally known Pakistani terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The young crown prince is reported to have told the United States ambassador Timothy Roemer that the growth of 'radicalized Hindu groups' could pose a bigger threat to the country.
8. Under the UPA dispensation, the term secularism has turned into an euphemism for Hindu-bashing and Muslim-appeasement. Even though the country’s Hindu population is over 83%, Hindus are treated as the second class citizens and their voice is gagged.
9. Thank goodness that the great men like Baba Ramdev, Dr. Subramanian Swamy and the freedom-fighter Anna Hazare are currently playing a big role in exposing the corruption in high places. They have taken up the important task of educating the masses and bringing back the billions of dollars of Indian money stashed in the foreign and Swiss accounts.
10. -The Congress party leaders like Digvijay Singh, Salman Khurshid, Rahul Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi are busy protecting the criminals in government and covering their sins. These people have proved to be ineffective and totally uninspiring to the masses. They probably believe that just by doing the Bhashan-bazi (giving lectures), they would be able to fool the country’s voters.
With the huge electoral loss of the Sonia-Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party in the UP elections, an old popular Bollywood song has once again come alive, “jhumka gira re Bareli ke bazar mein.” It points out that the Dynasty has lost in a big way in the market place of Rai Bareli where their party was badly routed even though the region was their stronghold in the past.
We believe, in the upcoming national elections of year 2014, the world will witness the spectacle of rapid and inexorable rout of Sonia Gandhi and her cronies. In those elections, the corrupt ruling politicians and their buddies will suffer cataclysmic consequences for their egregious violations of Hindu Human Rights.


Narendra Modi on TIME's Cover

The world wakes up to India's next Leader! ‘Modi Means Business: But Can He Lead India' says the cover of TIME Magazine's Asian edition.

An American weekly news magazine published since 1923, TIME is the world's largest circulation news weekly with a readership of 25 million, of which 20 million are in the US. Its latest edition puts Modi in the erstwhile company of past Indian greats like Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi – who also adorned its cover.

Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat; has transformed Gujarat into a developmental success story appreciated the world over! TIME endorses this 10-year-long journey of progress - of the state becoming "India's most industrialized and business-friendly territory". It further identifies the drivers of this success as "good planning – exactly what so much of India lacks", and a leader with the "ability to get things done".

Appreciating how Gujarat has "largely escaped the land conflicts and petty corruption that often paralyze growth elsewhere in the nation", the article talks of how "Modi has set about revamping the State's economy" leveraging on Gujarat's natural advantages. Amongst the State's many strengths that the article mentions, is Gujarat's being the only state in India where both big businesses and small farmers can expect 24 hours uninterrupted power supply - with "the premium rates paid by big business used to subsidize rural electrification." Further examples include the establishment of a "streamlined bureaucracy", as well as the State's emergence as an Auto-hub over the last 10 years – with Gujarat's auto industry growing "from one modest plant to an expected capacity of 700,000 cars in 2014".

Praising Narendra Modi the person as well, TIME highlights how unlike many other politicians, "Modi doesn't put his faith on display", having no religious icons in his office – which instead has only statues of his hero, Swami Vivekananda. It further points out how "in a country where nepotism and dynastic politics are the norm, Modi's family is invisible."

TIME acknowledges the public perception of Modi being seen as a "firm, no-nonsense leader who will set the nation on a course of development that might finally put it on par with China". Maybe it's about time, the Indian Media takes a cue from America's TIME – giving credit where it is due, and recognizing the winds of change as they flow by ...

Listed below are sections from the article, copied verbatim:

"What's certain is that during his 10 years in power in Gujarat, the state has become India's most industrialized and business-friendly territory, having largely escaped the land conflicts and petty corruption that often paralyze growth elsewhere in the nation."

"Gujarat's $85 billion economy may not be the largest in India, but it has prospered without the benefit of natural resources, fertile farmland, a big population center like Mumbai or a lucrative high-tech hub like Bangalore. Gujarat's success, even Modi's detractors acknowledge, is a result of good planning — exactly what so much of India lacks."

"But when others think of someone who can bring India out of the mire of chronic corruption and inefficiency — of a firm, no-nonsense leader who will set the nation on a course of development that might finally put it on par with China — they think of Modi."

"Modi has set about revamping the state's economy by attracting high-value manufacturing companies, whose bosses are now among his staunchest backers."

"Modi took Gujarat's natural advantages — its long coastline, nonunionized labor force and a developable land bank of thousands of acres — and added the streamlined bureaucracy and reliable electricity supply that big industry craves. Today Gujarat is the only state in India where both big businesses and small farmers can expect an uninterrupted power supply for nearly 24 hours a day, with the premium rates paid by big business used to subsidize rural electrification."

"In 10 years, Gujarat's auto industry has grown from one modest plant to an expected capacity of 700,000 cars in 2014, including billion-dollar investments announced last year by Ford and Peugeot. "It is not luck," Modi says. "It's a carefully devised process.""

"His ability to get things done is in stark contrast to the Congress-led central government in New Delhi."

"In a recent opinion poll by the magazine India Today, 24% of those surveyed thought Modi should be the next Prime Minister; Rahul Gandhi polled 17%."

"his successes at the state level — two re-elections with solid majorities and an unmatched record on economic growth

"Unlike many Indian politicians, though, Modi doesn't put his faith on display. There are no religious icons in his office; the only adornments are two statues of his hero, the philosopher Swami Vivekananda."

"In a country where nepotism and dynastic politics are the norm, Modi's family (he is the middle child of nine siblings) is invisible. One younger brother works in the state government but "he has never come to my office in the last 10 years," Modi says. "This is the discipline in my family, and I feel proud of it."



Column by NS Rajaram –

Essence of Hinduism is spiritual freedom. It has no dogma or concept of heresy. Defending and nurturing spiritual freedom is the ideal that sustains India as a nation. India is the sacred land for those who revere this freedom. The first point to note is that the word ‘Hinduism’, like ‘India’ is of foreign origin. For people living outside India, especially in the Middle East, a Hindu is anyone who lives in India— which they see as the land beyond the Sindhu (Indus) River. In countries as far apart as Iran and Turkey, they refer to India as ‘Hindustan’ and to Indians as Hindus. They see it as a nationality and not a religion.

Further, Hinduism cannot be viewed as religion deriving its authority from a book or the teachings of a founder. The appropriate term for what we now call Hinduism is ‘Sanatana Dharma’. It is not a creed like Christianity or Islam, but a code of conduct and a value system that has spiritual freedom as its core. Any pathway or spiritual vision that accepts the spiritual freedom of others may be considered part of Sanatana Dharma. As Sri Aurobindo described it, Sanatana Dharma is also the basis of Indian nationalism.

Hinduism is anadi (beginning-less) and apaurusheya (has no human as authority)

Hinduism is anadi (without beginning) and apaurusheya (non-human in origin)

The basis of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the quest for cosmic truth, just as the quest for physical truth is the domain of science. The earliest record of this quest is the Rigveda. It is the record of ancient sages who by whatever means tried to learn the truth about the universe, in relation to Man’s place in the cosmos. They saw nature — including all living and non-living things — as part of the same cosmic equation. This search has no historical beginning. This is not to say that the Rigveda always existed as a literary work. It means that we cannot point to a particular time or person in history and say: “Before this man spoke, the Rigveda did not exist.” On the other hand, we can say this about Christianity and Islam, because they are historical religions.

This brings up another important facet of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism: it is apaurusheya, which means it is not originate in any man (purusha). That is to say it has no historical founder like Christianity has Jesus and Islam has Prophet Muhammad. We can say that Jesus is the purusha of Christianity while Muhammad is the purusha of Islam. These religions cannot exist without their founders. Christianity and Islam are therefore paurusheya. Hinduism has no such purusha on whose authority it exists.

Hinduism is apaurusheya in a deeper sense also, which brings it close to science, and brings its spiritual quest close to the scientific method. In paurusheya religions, the word of the purusha (the founder) — be it Jesus or Muhammad — must be accepted without question. This gives rise to an enforcing authority known as the clergy to ensure that no one deviates from the ‘true path’ as shown by the founder, but in reality as enforced by the human representative who claims to be the true spokesman of the purusha. This naturally leads to men exercising political power in the name of God. This is what we call theocracy. The authority is the scripture, which is said to represent the word of God as conveyed through his medium or the purusha. As I shall soon explain, in this scheme, the medium invariably becomes more important than God. For example, it is Jesus not his God that defines Christianity.

Hinduism on the other hand leaves the individual free from any religious authority. If any work is considered great, it is because of the message and not the messenger. Similarly, a teacher is considered great because of the greatness of the teaching. For example, Vishwamitra is considered a great sage because of the greatness of the Gayatri Mantra, which he enunciated. If someone else than Vishwamitra had given us the Gayatri Mantra, it would still be considered great because of its message. It is the same with Krishna and the Gita. It is the message of the Gita that has led to people reveringKrishna as a great teacher. Also, a Hindu is free to question or reject any part or all of a religious work.

It is different with revealed religions like Christianity and Islam: Jesus and Muhammad are invoked as authority to justify teachings that sometimes cannot be justified on their own merit. No such authority exists in Hinduism: the teaching must stand or fall on its own merit. This is what makes it apaurusheya. Cosmic truths existed before the arrival of Vishwamitra andKrishna. These sages, who first expressed them, were historical persons but the truth of their message is eternal and always existed.

This feature— of focusing on the message and its truth rather than the authority of the messenger brings Sanatana Dharma close to science and the scientific method. In science also, a principle or a theory must stand or fall on its own merit and not on the authority of anyone. If Newton and Einstein are considered great scientists, it is because of the validity of their scientific theories. In that sense, science is also apaurusheya. Gravitation and Relativity are eternal laws of nature that existed long before Newton and Einstein. These are cosmic laws that happened to be discovered by scientific sages Newton and Einstein. Their greatness lies in the fact that they discovered and revealed great scientific truths. But no one invokes Newton or Einstein as authority to ‘prove’ the truth of laws of nature. They stand on their own merit. The same is true of the Gita and the Gayatri Mantra.

Hinduism recognizes the freedom of the individual. It recognizes no prophet’s claim as the possessor of the ‘only’ truth or the ‘only’ way.

This is probably the greatest difference between Sanatana Dharma and revealed religions like Christianity and Islam. I can illustrate this with the help of a recent proclamation by the Vatican. In a just released document titled “Declaration of Lord Jesus” the Vatican proclaims non-Christians to be in a “gravely deficient situation” and that even non-Catholic churches have “defects” because they do not acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. This of course means that the Vatican refuses to acknowledge the spiritual right of others (including Hindus) to their beliefs and practices. This consigns non-Christians to hell, and the only way they can save themselves is by becoming Catholics, by submitting to the Pope.

It is worth noting that this statement has nothing to do with God, or even noble conduct. A Hindu who lives a life of virtue is still consigned to hell because he refuses to acknowledge Jesus as the only savior and the Pope as his representative on earth. The same is true of Islam: one must submit to Prophet Muhammad as the last, in effect the only prophet, to be saved. Belief in God means nothing without belief in Christ as the savior or Muhammad as the Last Prophet.

One who believes in God but does not accept Jesus or Muhammad as intermediary is still considered a non-believer and therefore a sinner. They simply do not tolerate pluralism. This is what makes both Christianity and Islam exclusive. The rejection of this formulation is also what makes Hinduism pluralistic and tolerant.

From this it is clear that what governs a revealed religion is not God but the founder who claims to be God’s intermediary. (The clergy acting in the founder’s name becomes the enforcing authority or the thought police.) A believer is one who accepts the intermediary as the savior. God is irrelevant. He is even dispensable but not the intermediary. Hinduism recognizes no intermediary as the exclusive messenger of God. In fact the Rigveda itself says: ‘ekam sat, vipra bahuda vadanti,’ meaning “cosmic truth is one, but the wise express it in many ways.” The contrast between exclusivism and pluralism becomes clear when we compare the following statements byKrishna and Jesus Christ.

Krishna of the Bhagavadgita says: “All creatures great and small— I am equal to all. I hate none nor have I any favorites… He that worships other gods with devotion, worships me.”

This means that Krishna has no favorites and accepts all forms of worship— even worship of other deities. But revealed religions like Christianity and Islam could not exist without favorites or intermediaries like the Prophet or the Son of God. The Bible says that God is jealous. Reflecting the ‘jealous God’ of the Bible, the chosen intermediary is also jealous. This is reflected in both the Bible and the Koran. “He that is not with me is against me,” says Jesus of the Bible (Matthew 12.30) . So a devotee cannot know God, but can only go through the intermediary who jealously guards his exclusive access to God.

Hinduism is the exact opposite of this. Anyone can know God and no jealous intermediary blocks his way. And the Hindu tradition has methods like yoga and meditation to facilitate one to reach God. Further, this spiritual freedom extends even to atheism. One can be an agnostic oven an atheist and still claim to be a Hindu.

In addition, there is nothing to stop a Hindu from revering Jesus as the Son of God or Muhammad as a Prophet. In contrast, a Christian or a Muslim revering Rama or Krishna as an avatar would be rejected as a heretic. This is also what makes Christianity and Islam exclusive, and Hinduism pluralistic and inclusive.

From this it is also clear why revealed religions always claim to be monotheistic: One God allows only One Intermediary. So every monotheistic religion also tends to be monopolistic. It also requires a thought police to enforce this belief system, just as every earthly dictator does. So they invariably become theocratic political systems. In contrast, in Hinduism, God is internal to the seeker. As a result each seeker has his or his own version of God. Different traditions like Dvaita, Advaita and others represent different pathways. They exercise no authority and there is no clergy to enforce.

Hinduism and spiritual freedom

So the single most important theme of Hinduism is the freedom of the spirit. Just as science insists on freedom in exploring the physical world, Sanatana Dharma embodies freedom in the exploration of the spiritual realm. There are no dogmas or prophets — or their agents — to block the way. This allows Hinduism, like science, to grow and evolve with time. Dogmatic religions on the other hand are frozen in time. (In fact, a good deal of the effort by the priesthood in Islam and Christianity is to ensure that the original teachings do not become corrupted due to change.)

This freedom of spirit is most concisely expressed in the famous Gayatri Mantra, which prays: dhiyo yo nah pracodayat— which means, “Inspire our intellect.” So the greatest prayer in Hinduism is for clarity of thinking. It does not ask anyone to accept anything on blind faith in a prophet or any other agent of God. Teachers in Hinduism are only guides who suggest pathways. They have no authority. The seeker has to find his or her own way, with the help of guides if needed.

In the light of this, ‘conversion’ to Hinduism entails accepting a way of looking at the world and not simply changing faith and adopting a new mode of worship. Above all it means acknowledging spiritual freedom and rejecting exclusivism. It is like accepting the scientific method, which also is a way of looking at the world. It cannot be done by force or with promises of profit. Learning about Sanatana Dharma can be done in several ways. By studying various works like the Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita, with the guidance of a teacher, or by studying the lives of sages and heroes in the epics and the Puranas. It may also be gained through personal experience by meditation and yoga. But ultimately, every Hindu must place truth and knowledge above faith. There is no dogma. This is why people who are initiated into Hinduism are made to recite the Gayatri Mantra, which is an assertion of this spirit of intellectual freedom.

As a result, it is a very great error to say that all religions say the same thing. They emphatically do not. When Krishna says, “Those who worship other gods with devotion worship me,” and Jesus says, “He that is not with me is against me,” they are not saying the same thing. A Hindu is one who holds on to this belief system and code founded on the right of everyone to spiritual freedom, while Christianity and Islam reject and even punish this freedom. The method of worship and the deity or deities one may choose to worship are secondary as long one acknowledges everyone’s right to this freedom and is prepared to defend it. So the only enemies of Sanatana Dharma are those that oppose spiritual freedom. Protecting and nurturing Sanatana Dharma and the society founded on it is the responsibility of Hindu nationalism. Spiritual freedom is a right that carries with the responsibility of defending it.

Dr. NS Rajaram is Contributing Editor of Folks Magazine.

Also, see

Friday, March 16, 2012


'The mighty fortress of Brahmanism'


Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

'The mighty fortress of Brahmanism' is the phrase used by Monier Williams (author of the Sanskrit English Dictionary, 1899) to describe Hinduism. It is a mix of ignorance, hatred, fascination, racism and the desire to overcome this religion by an ignorant colonialist of the 19th century, but it sums up the general ignorance of the Christian West concerning Hinduism, very much like the seven blind men who tried to describe an elephant by touching one part of the animal and claiming that the particular part was indeed the elephant !The exact quote from Monier Williams is :

" When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahmanism are encircled, undermined & finally stormed by the soldiers of the cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete" ( Modern India and Indians, p.247).

His compatriot Max Mueller the Indologist saw the Rig Veda as the root of all the problems that needed to be resolved (in a private letter to his wife). Macaulay destroyed Hindu education in 1835 by replacing it with English education. He had confidently predicted that the Indians would in 30 years abandon their 'paganism.' Alas, for him, this did not happen. As early as the 12th century the Pope had been setting up councils to learn Indian languages so that the 'pagans', the 'infidels' could be converted to the true faith, Christianity.

The mission to destroy Hinduism would not/could not/ will not succeed simply because of their lack of understanding of the religion. It was not 'Brahmanism'. Even today, writers like Arundhati Roy mistakenly speak about the Brahmanic Hindu state. It is not Brahmanism, but the entire religious and social structure of Hinduism that originated with the Vedas and continued down the millenia. Its innate strengths could not be analysed or defeated. It was also held up by the aam admi Hindu and the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths. Thousands of Hindus lost their lives defending the sacred sites whether it was Somnath or the Ram temple at Ayodhya since 150 B.C. when the greek king Menander destroyed it. Hundreds of Hindus continue to lose their lives in Bangla Desh and Pakistan. Many brave the hostile atmosphere to continue to go to Amarnath and so on.As observed once by Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst there is a constant ongoing low level violence against Hindus through out India, which is not reported by the liberal media, which, however jumps up and down if even a single member of the minority communities is affected. Even P.N. Benjamin of the Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue ( a confirmed Christian by his own statements) has stated that the violence against the Christian community in Karnataka is exaggerated. It is rare and on a very small scale. Hindus have seldom initiated violence, it has in almost all instances been retaliatory. He was also talking about the incidents in Kandamahal when Swami Lakshmananda, the 80 year old Hindu sant was killed for having resisted the conversion activity of the Church in that region.

We are not talking about the barbarian invasions. Those are in a category by themselves.Attempts have been made since the time of the Nestorian Christians (7th & 8th centuries)who destroyed Hindu temples or the cruelty, murder and mayhem of the Goa Inquisition of the 17th century or the first Vatican Council in the 17th century which planned to destroy Hinduism. Journalist Kanchan Gupta has called for an apology from the Church, but none has been forthcoming and indeed the Church in India went ballistic when the topic was mentioned. Then came the Inculturationists (starting with Robert de Nobili in the 17th century)who tried to infiltrate the society by devious means and thus subvert the social and religious order, a process that still goes on under euphemistic titles such as interfaith dialogue (the present writer has written about this in previous articles). It has never been made clear as to why there should be an olive branch style dialogue from the Hindu side. There is lofty rhetoric such as 'understanding,' respect' etc. but again it is not clear why a tradition that has tolerated, even welcomed religious/ ethic groups into the country should tie themselves up in knots with such words and engage with a tradition that has been known for its conquest and violence. Then there is the covert and overt conversion activity by the Church and evangelists through force, fraud and bribery.Then there are the attempts by social groups and political groups to overcome Hinduism in various devious ways, but they too are not entirely successful.

The most recent assaults against the 'mighty fortress'(so called) is the encroachment by the state on Hindu temples and their jurisdiction. This began noticeably with the ascent to power of an Italian Catholic at the Centre. This too is an ongoing process, with temple lands being brazenly stolen as happened under Chief MinisterYS Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. Only the action by the Sadhu community stopped further incursions in Tirupati and so on. Last year witnessed the attempt to appropriate the wealth of the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum under the rubric of legalisms. The immense wealth generated by the Sabarimala pilgrimage goes into the pockets of bureaucrats. The allied forces of the Communist- Congress- Islamic- Christian forces in Kerala are now seeking to further use state power to remove the traditional priests in temples from their jobs and replace them with their candidates. The ploy is to claim that this is being done in the interests of social justice. This claim must be seriously investigated.

On this occasion Hindu politicians have alas assisted in the enterprise in the mistaken notion that training non Brahmin priests is the right way to go. In principle this sounds good but extreme caution has to be exercised in proceeding with this project. This was first attempted in Tamil Nadu under the DMK regime and now is being experimented with in Kerala. The way to empower the non Brahmanic community (in the opinion of the present writer) is to provide them with economic prosperity, not throw out the existing Brahmin priests onto the streets. Careless meddling with temples is fraught with danger. The writer Tamizhchelvan has provided an incisive commentary on what happened in Tamil Nadu with the priests (archagas). He has provided some interesting statistics also.

" This 'All Caste Archagas' concept is a Christian ploy. They did the same in Tamil Nadu during the previous DMK regime, which passed a bill framing the 'All Caste Archagas Act'. That was a well crafted political stunt by the DMK regime in the name of 'social justice' (whatever that means).

We have different types of Temples in Tamil Nadu. They are the Agama Temples, Non-Agama Temples, Community Temples and Village Temples. The Agama Temples are the ancient ones which are built as per Agama Shastras and where the rituals are also conducted as per the Agama rules. Here the Sivacharyas (from Siva temples) and Bhattacharyas (from Vishnu temples) have been serving as traditional Archagas for centuries. The non Agama temples are those which are not built as per Agama Shastras and the Agama Shastras are not so strictly followed. The community temples are the ones built and owned by the various communities (castes) who mostly employ their own people as Poojaris. Some have opted for Brahmin poojaris. The Village Temples are mostly manned by Poojaris from the SC, BC, and MBC categories.

"Barring the Agama Temples, in all other temples we have archagas from all castes employed for ages. "

(Comment on 'Swargeeya Madhavji's dream comes to reality' Haindava Keralam, 14/03/2012)

In that context, while social evils such as Untouchability (which scholars have placed as originating around three hundred years before the Christian era) can and is being eradicated, the preservation of ancient Hindu rituals by groups that are trained in carrying them out must be protected, and not treated as part of 'social reform'. MIXING UP the two enterprises is a sure recipe for disaster and will only please those elements in India who would like to see the end of Hinduism. Deracinated and secular Hindus must learn to distinguish between legitimate social reform and the endless ploys devised to destroy Hinduism.

Perhaps this requires that post colonial Hindus who have for so long been indoctrinated by the likes of Monier Williams, Max Mueller and Macaulay revisit the Vedas and the entire Hindu tradition. What has held the country together is Hinduism, not the mighty fortress of Brahmanism of Monier Williams's distorted imagination.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training has been in Philosophy, Literature, Political Science, Political Economy & History).

Thursday, March 15, 2012


'Frank Morales's Jesus Video'


Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

The U turn that Dr. Frank Morales took in glorifying the historical Jesus (2 part video in 2008) caused some consternation in the Hindu Samaj. The present writer wrote about it in two articles ' From Sanatana Dharma to Jesus' and 'The Enemy at the Gates' (both articles can be read in kalyan97blogspot, & Bharata Bharati). Dr. Frank Morales, a brilliant and erudite Hindu of European descent (he is described as of European descent, specifically Spanish and Italian in some of the biographical sketches about him) started an unusual career of endorsing Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), especially in his 2005 article ' A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism' where he took to task the Indian neo Vedantins who since the 19th century in India, tried to water down the central message of Hinduism by placating the white sahibs and holding forth that all religions are the same. They tried to present this as the traditional attitude of Hinduism. Not so, says Morales, the acharyas of Hinduism have roundly debated and defeated the non Hindu religions as being inferior to Hinduism. In Dr. Morales's own view Hinduism is a unique religion and is superior to others. The reader is referred to his extremely interesting and provocative article(mentioned above).

A brief sketch of his life and achievements to date may be useful. At the very young age of 14 he visited a Hindu temple and was struck by the devotional aspects of theistic Hinduism. In 1986 he was ordained as a spiritual teacher (acharya) by a famous Vaishnavite acharya who had been the guru of Sri Prabhudpada the founder of ISKON. His academic career can be briefly summed up:

B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the Loyola University of Chicago (1994)
M. A. from the same place in South Asian Languages and Literature(1999)
Ph.d from the University of Wisconsin in South Asian Languages & Religion (2002).

In 2010 his doctoral dissertation was published as The Vedic Way of Knowing God .

He is now known as Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya and was the resident acharya of the Hindu temple at Nebraska (2007-2009).
He is also the founding head of International Sanatana Dharma Society. He has published numerous articles and books . He has been endorsed by some leading North American exponents of Hinduism such as Dr. David Frawley (aka Vamadeva Shastri). In 2005 he wrote the article ' A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism' (as mentioned above), which brought him immediately to the Hindu Samaj's attention.

Then in 2008 he produced the 2 part video on Jesus the Dharma Master, in which he glorifies the historical Jesus as a great Dharma Master, obviously alongside of the Hindu Rishis. The present writer and other Hindus noticed the contradiction in his trajectory. His claim that these talks (captured in the videos) were for Christians whom he hoped to bring around to Sanatana Dharma sounds hollow. This is indeed somewhat of a questionable argument and can only be verified if follow up studies were done as to whether these listeners returned to the Church (as the Church gladly hoped) or they went on to take up Sanatana Dharma . As a strategy it is not helpful to the Hindu Samaj, which is already under attack from evangelical and Catholic Christianity, both in the scale of conversions(especially in the homeland of Hinduism) and in the ongoing process of Inculturation, a process by which the Church insinuates itself into local culture and traditions with a view to eventually overcoming them.

The present writer is of the opinion that Dr. Morales is an Inculturator (with due respect) of a refined and not so easily recognisable category, partly because he does not believe himself to be so, and seems to be in earnest in his expositions of Hinduism, and mainly because of the appropriation of the Vedic heritage and the Vaishnava tradition. He can be placed alongside of Dr. Francis Xavier Clooney, the Jesuit priest and scholar who teaches at Harvard university. The latter is a polite and well spoken individual who is also a scholar in Hindu Vaishnavism ; neverthless he is a committed Jesuit for whom the Vatican's message that Jesus Christ is the final saviour and that Christ's message is to be actively propagated cannot be abandoned. Frank Morales at first glance is somewhat different in that he has been initiated into Vaishnavite Hinduism by no less a personage than the acharya mentioned above.

Furthermore he has never been a Catholic (according to his own statements). And judged from the honours bestowed on him by some sections (not all) of the Hindu diaspora, he seems to be well on his way to being a confirmed Hindu.

But does all this add up to negate the idea of his being an Inculturator in the time honoured Caatholic tradition since the 17th century when Robert de Nobili insinuated himself into Hindu culture in order to better carry out his design of spreading the Gospel ? Perhaps Dr. Morales's work can be better understood in the context of three well known Inculturators Bede Griffiths, Swami Abhishiktananda (original name Henri le Saux) and Raimon Pannikkar.

Bede Griffiths (1906-1993)who settled permanently in India was born Richard Griffiths and took the name of Swami Dayananda. He was a British born Benedictine monk who lived in ashrams in South India and became a noted yogi (so his biographical accounts tell us). He became a leading thinker in the development of the dialogue between Christianity and Hindusim. He was also part of the Christian Ashram movement. For all practical purposes he became an Indian Christian. Neverthless, his goal had always been the Christianisation of India and indeed the whole world ! He was therefore a devout Christian with an agenda. In an interview he gave a year before his death, in response to a question from the interviewer as to how Christian spirituality will renew itself, this is what he had to say :

". . . . . I think the way I see it is the Gospel came out of Palestine into the Roman empire, and all our Christian spirituality is the result of this meeting of the Gospel from Jesus and the Apostles with the spiritual tradition of Greece and Rome, particularly Platonism. Nearly all the Fathers, both Greek and Latin, were Platonists, and Plato gave mystical understanding which sort of consolidated the Christian vision, and then Aristotle came later, and St. Thomas Aquinas made his great synthesis using Aristotle, but still, you know, preserving the Platonic Augustinian tradition of mysticism, and particularly Dionysius the Areopagite, the great Christian mystic. So I would say the Christian Church, the Catholic Church, so far has built up its mystical contemplative tradition on the Gospel interpreted in the light of a Platonic philosophy and experience. And now we are challenged to interpret Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, Sufism, of the whole oriental tradition, and to me THAT'S THE WORK OF THE NEXT THOUSAND YEARS." (emphasis added by the present writer).

Hindu readers will recall the eerie echo of all this in the visit of Pope John Paul to India where the pontiff openly said in the third millenium India (and Asia) will be the focus of Christian evangelisation !

Henri le Saux (1910-1973) was a Benedictine monk who took the name of Abhishiktananda and lived his entire adult life in India, and set up the Catholic ashram Shantivanam in 1950 in Tamil Nadu. Here, he adopted the local rituals and traditions while performing the Catholic mass. He and his followers adopted the sannyasa robes, became vegetarians and lived a simple life. His spiritual journey included an intense engagement with Advaita Vedanta and his diaries reflect his anguish at having to give up his Christina faith. In the end, however, he returned to his Christian faith and made Christ the central figure of mystical experiences which included the union of the soul with the Trinity. As with Bede Griffiths he made mysticism into the common ground with Hinduism and Christianity, but emphasised the superior role of the Christian experience in mysticism. The Trinity experience is different and superior to the Vedantic experience of Atman-Brahman.

Likewise, his friend Raimon Panikkar, the Roman Catholic priest (1918-2010) and scholar of comparative religion, was greatly involved in that aspect of Vedanta which could be bent to his Christian agenda. His writings include such works as 'The Unknown Christ of Hinduism (1964). He was also an advocate of Hindu Christian dialogue ( at this stage one wonders why any self respecting Hindu would be enticed into the garden of interfaith dialogue !).

Hence, whether the entry point is Vaishnavite Hinduism(Francis Xavier Clooney) or Advaita (Bede Griffiths, Raimon Panikkar, Abhishiktananda) their commonality is that in the end their refined Inculturation serves the purpose of the Christianisation of India, even if it takes another thousand years ! Ofcourse, Hindus living in India know that this is an ongoing process, and the frenetic conversion activity is all too visible on a daily basis because of the coercion, bribery and superior funds coming from abroad. Needless to say, the northeastern provinces have fallen to the conversion process.

What is curious is that the above account reveals that all 4 of the figures are either engaged in Vaishanavism or Advaita. They have no time or interest in the Hinduism of the aam admi or the traditional acharyas, both of which are Vedic in origin. Hindu polytheism and the worship of murtis (idols) cannot be wished away. The creation of a sanitised Rishi tradition is a travesty of the Vedic heritage for the Hindus, a heritage which is both Sruti and Smriti. The Christian Inculturators can never accept the polytheism of Hindu worship and the worship of murtis. Their sanitised version of the Sruti, the Vedas, is also a truncated version of the same. The Rig Veda is an invocation of the terrestrial, atmospheric and cosmic deities and cannot be forced into the procrustean bed of Abrahamic monotheism. All the Vedic rituals preserved from that time (as in the Adirathram of the Kerala Nambudiris to cite one example) are the worship of those powers, in this case Agni.

What can be said of the above 4 figures can also be said of Frank Morales, with due respect. The globalisation of Hinduism and the curious detaching of it from the living history and traditions of Hinduism and refining the Vedas to the point of their obliteration in some universal Divine message, the abandoning of the gods and goddesses of the Vedas in favour of a universal something euphemistically called the Divine, smacks of the bringing in by the back door the monotheistic faith of the Abrahamic religions, their one god. Indeed Abhishiktanandas's refinement of this union of the Trinity must be carefully read to understand that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are both one and yet many.

In addition, the so called 'theism' of the Hindu Vaishnavite tradition lends itself easily to distortions. Both Krishna and Krishna Consciousness can be manipulated by those with an agenda. And it must be pointed out that Frank Morales ends his Jesus videos with Jai Krishna ! Readers who have read the interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Prabhupada will remember that the Swami seemingly rejects the avatars of Hinduism. Krishna is not an avatar. He is the supreme Godhead. Here again, the nuances of the Swami's interpretations can easily be distorted to form the basis of a reintroduction of the Jesus figure into the Hindu pantheon. And Krishna Consciousness can also be easily inculturated into the worship of the Trinity.

Frank Morales is also curiously averse to using the word Hinduism. His explanation is that the word is not found in any of the traditional scriptures. While no Hindu could object to the use of Sanatana Dharma (the eternal Dharma) the lack of grounding in the history of the subcontinent is not to be encouraged. The Sindhu river's name was changed to Hindu because the Persian invaders could not readily pronounce the word and changed it to Hindu. And the British changed it to the greek Indus. All this is well known.

However, what has been neglected until recently in this narrative is that a mighty river was called the Sarasvati in Vedic times. The Rig Veda mentions it at least 78 times. The river disappeared owing to techtonic shifts after the Vedic period. Contemporary Indic scholars and researches in the field have discovered through satellite photography the remains of a dried up river bed flowing from north to south and has identified it as the Sarasvati river. Hence, the name now for the Indus valley civilisation is the Sindhu Sarasvati civilisation.

Hindus should not be shy of holding on to the word 'Hinduism' and the historical and sociological associations which are being ironed out in the globalisation of Hinduism. The Hindu Samaj should take note of this new trend.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training has been in Philosophy, Literature, Political Science, Political Economy & History).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


On Wed, Mar 7, 2012

' Dr. Frank Morales' u turn'

Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

In an astonishingly vituperative article titled 'In Defence of Sanatana Dharma : Spotlighting an unknown bigot' Dr. Frank Morales who is also President of the International Sanatana Dharma Society' displays an unusual anger for someone who claims to be a sincere seeker in Sanatana Dharma. The occasion for this somewhat bizarre display were the articles by the present writer on what seemed to be his u turn from his early article on Hinduism to his later video(in 2 parts) on Jesus the Dharma Master, where he glorifies Jesus. It may interest Dr. Morales that many Hindus were surprised by these two videos (See this writer's ' From Sanatana Dharma to Jesus' and 'The Enemy at the Gates', both articles in &

Not all Hindus subscribe to the theory of Jesus being of divine origin or that indeed he is an exceptionally great individual or that he was even a historical figure. Dr. Morales cites the case of Mahatma Gandhi who he claims (inaccurately) did endorse Jesus in the entirety of the Church's claims for him, and therefore, is with Morales in his glorification of Jesus. Gandhiji did say that the sermon on the mount went straight to his heart, but he did not agree that Jesus was the only son of God and he did not agree that he was even an avatar. Anyone who is familiar with Gandhij's life and writings, knows that he vehemently rejected the Church's attempts at conversion. In his own personal life he rejected firmly and politely many advances made by his Christian friends to shed his 'paganism'. A well known early example is the episode in South Africa, where Gandhiji had gone in 1893, and where his Christian friend tried to pull the Tulasi beads off his neck saying that it was superstition. Gandhiji's reply was : it may be superstition to you but they were placed around my neck by my mother before I left for England . . . . ."

Hence, apart from a general admiration for the figure of Jesus, none of the Hindu gurus enumerated by Dr. Morales (Prabhupada, Ramakrishna, et al ) went out of their way to exalt Jesus in the way that Dr. Morales does in his videos. It would also be helpful for skeptical Hindus (skeptical of Morales' mission) to know whether there has been a follow up study of the people of the proselytising faiths that attended his satsang during the talk he gave on Jesus the Dharma Master (captured in the videos) returned to their Christian fold and how many actually started on a different path altogether. Morales claims that these talks were undertaken to bring those people to Sanatana Dharma.

It is well known that the Churches are no longer as well attended as in early years and this gives great concern to the Church dignitaries of all denominations. They would be extremely happy if the Morales talks brought them back to the Christian fold.If any of the listeners to the talks took his glorification of Jesus seriously they should indeed return to their own churches and worship this glorious figure ! The Church should thank Morales for this.

What appears to be Dr. Morales's u turn from his early committment to Sanatana Dharma to the new phase of Jesus worship illustrates one aspect of the globalisation of Hinduism. On the one hand, there is some satisfaction that the Vedic heritage is being talked about to larger audiences (as Morales does) but on the other hand there is the question of the rehabilitation of Christian figures into the Hindu consciousness, something that the missionary educational system along with colonial rule had already inculcated amongst Hindus.

Today, the contemporary Hindu prides himself /herself on being 'secular' and tolerant of other religions, precisely because of the myth that Hinduism says all religions are equal (something that Dr. Morales firmly rejected in his early article on Hinduism ). To further reinforce that colonial/missionary trend by bringing Jesus in by the back door, does appear, with all due respect, to be a u turn. Dr. Morales can get as agitated as he wants with criticism of his methods, but this happens to be the stark reality in the Indian subcontinent.

It is in doing this u turn that Dr. Morales displays a remarkable lack of historical/political perspective. Whether this is owing to the excessive enthusiasm of a 'convert' to Hinduism or something else is difficult to ascertain. But at first glance, his Jesus videos strike many as being an aspect of the phenomenon of Inculturation, which started as early as the 17th century with Robert de Nobili and continues to this day in the work of prominent Catholics such as Dr. Francis Xavier Clooney of Harvard University. The present writer has written about this in other articles, in conjunction with what again appears to be a sudden u turn towards Hindu Christian dialogue by author and writer Rajiv Malhotra, where much ground was conceded with very little returns.

It is gratifying to note that Frank Morales by his own statements is still very much a seeker in Sanatana Dharma. One can only hope that he acquires some more political savvy if he is truly to help the Hindu Samaj. In his international mission, such as it is, he has forgotten that the Hindu Samaj is under siege. His further possibly well meant efforts do not help if they bring Jesus in by the back door. He may wish to reconsider his strategy.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Literature, Political Science, Political Economy & History).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012




Dr. Seshachalam Dutta

Rajiv Malhotra’s argument that Hinduism is Dharma and not a religion is untenable. Hinduism is a religion with its own epistemology, soteriology, and philosophy. Dharma is the code of life as elaborated by scriptures. (dharati lokaaniti dharmah.) Also "Dhiyateevaajanyriti dharmah. Dharmo dharayati prajaah." In the context of religious life of Hindus, it refers to code of life in accordance with the scriptures, but not independent of religion. The term Hindu religion was always used by many Hindu leaders from Tilak and Aurobindo to Radhakrishnan and Gandhi. Of late it became Talmudic and trivial exercise of dwelling on the correctness of the translation of Sanskrit words into English to describe Hinduism; for instance debating whether caste is a correct word for Jaati, Varna or Kula and whether Dharma is different from Religion and Atma is different from soul!!! Everyone knows what caste (which as viewed by many is ripping the society) means without going to its etymology. Every culture, not just Hindus, from ancient times had and has its own Dharma which precedes the advent of religions. Here again the Vedic definition "Dhaaranaat Dharmamicchaahu” translated that which abides the society is, therefore, called Dharma because it is 'worn' (abided) by people... It is the tradition which abides the society without which it will disintegrate. Father’s love for son abides the sons respect for father. That came before advent of Biblical saying "Honor thy Father and Mother." As early as in Babylonian times Hammurabi codified that what is natural into law that a son who raises his hand against his father shall be put to death. That was the Dharma shastra of Babylonia. A son who is so ungrateful is not worth sparing. Tradition either codified into law or not is predicated upon Dharma. In India Sanatana Dharma preceded all religions and is accepted by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. Religion is subsidiary to Dharma which comprises of religion also. Hence substituting Dharma for religion is invalid and the phrase Dharmic- Religions adds to further confusion, for there are no Adharmic religions. Satya (truthfulness) is another example of universal Dharma (Vishwa Dharma). Hindu Dharma emphasizews Ahimsa -satyam-asteyam-brahmacharyam-asangraham. Once this ancient Dharma is accepted by the society, it is voluntarily accepted by people, but in special cases can also be enforced by law. For instance no societal order in any culture would have existed without abiding the principle of truthfulness. The Bible says: Thou shall not take Gods name in vain. Here the limit is set as people routinely speak (white) lies as telling a woman how beautiful she is. Will Rogers remarked that the Politicians wonder why anybody tells the truth. In principle one should not tell a lie, but to tell a lie under oath is a felony. It is not an issue of religion whether one believes in Bible or God, one cannot CONDUCT business if every one tells lies at all times, so law sets the limit to enforce a MINIMUM of morality. So Malhotra's assertion that Dharma was never enforced as legal code in ancient India is patently false.

Most egregious misinterpretation of Hindu Dharma presented by the author is that the principle of right and wrong is fixed and enshrined in Universal principles for the Westerner and it is flexible and situational for Hindus, advocating moral relativism. Here the author is groping to invent differences where none exist. To exemplify how Hindus deal "pragmatically" with right in particular circumstances, he cites, among others, the example of unjust killing of Drona against all the canons of the war in Mahabharata War. The episode states that Dharma Raja was made to tell half a lie to sound as though Drona's son was killed. He forgets to mention that the moment the lie was uttered, Dharma Raja's chariot which was traveling a few inches above ground sank down. The act was against all canons of Dharma. The author had no proper understanding of the Mahabharata War. It was ordained by God Krishna to end the age of Dwapara reckoning Kaliyuga. Krishna says in Mahabharata "kalosmin lokakshaya vrutpravrutto, lokasamhartumiha pravruttaha" Meaning "I have started to destroy this population." He further says that Arjuna was only an instrument for the destruction in order to auger the new era of Kaliyuga. YET the scripture clearly emphasizes the inexorable law of consequences of action called Karma phalas. This is illustrated in the death of Krishna struck by the arrow of a hunter. He tried to console the hunter by telling him that it was the inescapable result of past Karma. All the acts of Adharma in Mahabharata were portending the end of that era and beginning of a new one. Malhotra had a terrible misunderstanding in interpreting Hindu morality as based on "ends justify the means" however immoral, adharmic or anti-dharmic. (Editor's note: Thus Malhotra has disregarded the larger context of Mahabharata.)

There are other errors of facts and uncritical interpretation of facts in this book. I will enumerate only a few in the interest of space. Quoting Bertrand Russell that Karl Marx has the foundation of Christianity for his thinking, Marx, like all other public minded, had his hopes and speculated on them as he said that proletarian revolution would succeed in Industrial countries like Britain. He was wrong. It was in the agrarian countries like Russia and China that communist revolutions came to prevail. Russell attributed this kind of hope to theism: but Marx was known to be an avowed atheist.

When the non Hindus refer to the miracles performed by Krishna, they characterize them as MYTH, or a part of Hindu mythology. When Jesus revives a dead man, it is a miracle for them and it is some kind of scientific theology and not mythology. For a Christian it is offensive to call such miracles a mythology. The author of BD accepts that all Hindu miracles are mythology and endorses a pejorative term to describe Hindu belief in miracles. He failed to reverse his gaze in this instance and fails to find that in the past 200 years academic theologians questioned the historicity of Jesus. He failed to give the credit it to David Strauss, John Remsburg, Bruno Bauer, Paul- Louis Couchoud and other scholars of "Jesus mythology." Once Jesus myth is accepted, there is no history centrism for Christianity. He implies that Indians do not have any sense of time and History, ignoring shakas (Vikram shaka), ages like Kali Yuga and Manvantaras and Kalpas.

First person who drew the attention of the Western world to the fact that Hindus would not accept the dogma or doctrine of Sin was Swami Vivekananda, who brought it out in the beginning of his very first lecture in Chicago. He also in other lectures pointed out that there was recognition of polytheism inherent in Bible citing statements like “thou shalt have no God beside me for I am a jealous God”.

His idea of Western freedom and the concept of Eastern freedom is a muddle. According to him, Hindus have freedom of choosing Diety (ishta devata) and Swadharma. Here again he is wrong. Swadharma is not a choice, it is predetermined. As in the scriptural admonition Svadharmam nidhanam Shreyah, paradharmo bhayavahah (GITA 3-35 ALSO 18-43). The author makes his own theology. The Westerners, according to him, driven by desire for “infinite expansion in a finite” are lead to colonization. He is not cognizant of needless wars by Ashvamedha Yagnyas and historical fact that Srilanka was repeatedly occupied by Pandya kings. Later Rajaraja Rajendra Chola occupied the entire Simhala. Also Ishvakus of Ayodhya occupied Tibet and called it Trivishtapa. In modern times Ranjit Singh’s empire extended to Iran.

Science always has to overcome the tyranny of religion. While the coexistence was apparent in physical sciences, the intensified conflict came to surface in biological sciences, especially during last 150 years after advent of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The author ignores this in his narrative by citing the religiosity of Newton, a physical scientist who did not face the problems like Copernicus and Galileo did. He calls the schism between science and religion as "superficial" in the West. BUT THE TERM SCHISM APPLIES FOR A SPLIT IN RELIGION, AND SCIENCE WAS NEVER PART OF RELIGION. THAT SAID, NEWTON’S BELIEF IN GOD DOES NOT MAKE SCIENCE A PART OF RELIGION!

Time is always linear even though there are cyclic events like seasons in a year. There is no difference in Western and Eastern thinking in this. He also uses meaningless expressions like practice of “self evolution and embodied knowing” contrasting with revelation. Did not Buddha get revelation in Gaya? Order and chaos as different between East and West he says, giving another meaningless example of Khumbha Mela. How is it different from Haaj festival at Kaaba?

Malhotra's narrow perspective on Hindu theology. Hindu theology in this book was reduced to some transcendental, occult practice apart from main stream practice of Hinduism. The author says, “even if all historical records are lost, historical memory erased, and every holy site destroyed, the ultimate truth could be recovered by ordinary humans through spiritual practices” (emphasis added).

Really? By ordinary humans?. WHICH IS the ultimate truth THAT can be discovered ? The book further goes on, “Anyone in this life has the potential for achieving in this very life, the state of satchidananda. Anyone may explore and discover autonomously the meaning of our existence.” Is this THE essence of Hinduism, the goal of satchidananda? The promise of spiritual moonshine sounds like the sermon of Nityananda. But this is not mainstream Hinduism. Bhakti (devotion) and prapatti (surrender to God) are the main practices in the Hindu worship of God. The author has complete misunderstanding of the term unity with God. In contrast to Malhotra's "anyone can have self-realization" stand -- Bhagavat Gita says;

Manushyanaan sahasreshu kaschityadati siddhaye
Yatatamapi siddhaanaam kaschinmaam vetthi tattwatah
(Gita Chapter 7-3)
Bhagavaan Krishna says: Among the thousands some rare one strives for self realization and among those who succeed only a rare one realizes My true nature.

Further, He says after several lives or rebirths only one can attains the true knowledge of Brahman that every thing is pervaded by God.

Bahunaam janmanaa mante jnanavan maam prapadyate Vasudeva sarvamiti sa mahaatmaa sa durlabhah. Gita 7-19

The bulk of Hindu population follows the path of Bhakti and Prapatti, by nine ways of worshiping God (Nava-vidhaa Bhakti), and therefore, they have temples built. Of course, there are enough dollar earning Tantriks and Yogis PEDDLING short cuts to direct touch with God.

To say that "Rama and Krishna are mythical characters" is no different than admitting that Hindus are idolaters. Ramayana and Mahabharata are itihasas (facts so heard). Valmiki, the great epic writer wrote Ramayana taking what has been believed as ancient history and embellished it with literary flare to produce a great epic. The narrative of the same facts can be structured into an epic depending on the ability of author as Tulsidas in Hindi and Kamban in Tamil. The narrative may be different; but the underlying facts should remain unaltered. Hindus accepted these as sacred works for three or more millennia. This is in contrast with the great English writer's work, "Paradise Lost" by John Milton, who was jailed for altering the narrative of the story of Adam and Eve. It is worth remembering the words of Samuel Johnson, the literary redactor if not dictator of English language. He remarked commenting on the achievement of Milton in composition of Paradise lost, "history must supply the writer with the rudiments of narration, which he must improve and exalt by a nobler art, must animate with dramatic energy, and diversity of retrospection and anticipation .” That was the artistic achievement of Valmiki, Tulsidas, Kamban. In addition they were totally immersed in the devotion of Rama and total surrender to their Lord. Millions worship Bhagvaan Rama and many pray every day and often the word Rama is on their lips till the last breath. Did not Mahatma Gandhi breath last saying –HEY RAM? To say that Rama is only a Myth and some kind of a Bhavana is offensive to countless Hindus of present and past generations of antiquity and portrays darkest ignorance.

On globalization, the author accuses West of 500 years of exploitation and cultural misappropriation. Here again he is short on economic history of India. Globalization immensely benefited India, Malhotra himself is the product of globalization. Like any economic competition, success depends on several factors. When India had upper hand, she acquired wealth and prosperity by globalization. Vijayanagara Empire was so prosperous by foreign trade, it was the only Hindu empire in the south which maintained standing armies. Currently China and India have advanced economically by globalization. Arguing that eating with fork and spoon, an example given by the author, as cultural misappropriation is truly silly. How would one eat ice-cream without a spoon? Lick with fingers? Use of silver at dining is modernity, neither Western nor Christian. Even Samuel Huntington would agree.


The real debate FOR 21ST CENTURY IS either to search for the differences or focus on commonalities in the world culture. VHP talks about Vishwa Dharma, V.S. NAIPAUL talked about the world progressing toward Universal culture and Gandhiji spoke of Sermon on the Mount and Bhgavat Gita on the same pulpit taking best of both cultures. There is Christian Universalism, Muslim Universalism, nondenominational Universalism based on scientific humanism advanced by Julian Huxley and especially Carl Marx who based it on the philosophy of Epicurus. But there is no "Western Universalism" as Malhotra keeps drumming. When Hindus talk of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or advocate Krunvanto pruThvIRARyam, or vishwamaaryam it is Hindu Universalism.

There is much work to be done for the uplift of Hindu Society. It is appropriate to emphasize their uniqueness in inculcating pride in the Hindu children. But with others, they need to seek commonality. So we say E Pluribus Unum and not to go on and endlessly debate how different we are. The attitude of Jews is very instructive in this regard. They never tried to debate, for instance, that there is no Hell in their religion in contrast with Christianity! By keeping their distinct identity and conforming to the universal culture of humanity, they survived for 2000 years in hostile cultures. Moses Mendelssohn, regarded as German Socrates was once asked to convert to Christianity. He replied, "why should I leave the true religion?" Sadly all his children, except one and their grand children converted to Christianity. Some of them became great celebrities in Germany. Neither conversion nor great recognition saved them from Nazis. My humble advice to Hindu activists is not to go around debating how great our religion (Dharma?) is. They should remember Enoch Powell, whom British Prime Minister called a Parliamentary Leper, learned Hindi and became familiar with Hindu traditions, and then campaigned to kick out all Indians from Great Britain! Don’t try to educate your adversaries. In a debate between a Hindu sadhu (Sri Sri Ravishankar I learn), a Muslim debater opened with a line “what your God (Vishnu?) can do with four hands which he cannot do with two?” In such debate Hindus are thrown off balance into defense. Fr. Clooney cannot explain why Jesus called out to his Father in Heaven “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! E’li, E’-li, la’-ma, sa-bach’thani --(Mathew 27-46) He would rather debate why Kali has blood in her mouth!!


How do I respect an evangelist who tells me that I go to Hell if I do not accept Jesus as the only way and redeemer, and I will burn in eternal inferno? The author has to explain his position as how he expects a Hindu to respect an evangelical position -tolerate, may be, as we have to live as neighbors on this little planet.

In summary, the book has been commended by knowledgeable Hindu scholars in the U.S. as judged only by the cover DESPITE THEOLOGICAL CONFABULATIONS, ERRONEOUS HISTORY AND CONTORTED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. But the book should not be judged by cover only; obviously JNU in Delhi has done precisely that by making it a required reading for Masters degree in Psychology, again judging the book "Being Different" by its cover only!

From: Seshachalam Dutta