Date of Release 28.3.2012
SOME PURVA PAKSHA OF CRITICISM!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‟.
“ENAKKUTH THIRUVAIMOZHI MIGAVUM PIDIKKUM”
- 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