12 January 2012
Christianity being a millenarian ideology aims at world
dominion, at least since the time it established its headquarters in Rome in the early
centuries after Christ. Former Canadian Protestant and now a Smarta Dashnami
sanyasi, Swami Devananda Saraswati alias Ishwar Sharan, perceptively deems it
to be a continuation of the Roman Empire under
another name. Not too long ago, late Pope John Paul II asserted that the
current mission of the Church was to spread Christianity in Asia in the third
millennium, having conquered Europe in the first millennium and the Americas in the
already a White Christian majority continent, and Africa largely converted and
badly brutalized, and the entire Muslim world under the White Man’s heel, India remains
one of the few major civilisational hurdles left to conquer. It is no
coincidence that India is a
necessary staging post for any military action against China and Russia!
It follows that Hindus in India will be making a grievous
mistake if they buy into a motivated propaganda that the Church is not
interested in converting the Hindu pagans and harvesting their souls, and
rather cares for a genuine inter-faith dialogue in order to understand the
Hindu dharmic spectrum better. Nothing could be further from the truth. What is
undeniable is that as much of South East Asia has been christianised, India alone
among major nations remains largely unconverted, and her living civilisation
poses a constant challenge to the descendants of St. Peter.
has hitherto withstood the missionary assault because of the devotion of the
ordinary citizen, especially the denizens of villages and tribal hamlets, to
their ancestral faith as represented by the grama devatas, kula
devatas and sthana devatas who form a protective shield around
their devotees and save them from harm. Then, there are the great gods in the
larger temples and peeths and pilgrimages which gird the whole
country in a protective grid, along with the spiritual strength and leadership
of the traditional acharyas, gurus, mathams, and so on.
But the danger is by no means over and may be said to have increased in the light of new invasive techniques constantly put out by the church, massive funding by western Christian nations using conversions to control the populations in former colonies, and the recruitment of willing accomplices from the target nations and societies in order to make inroads therein.
There is also, thanks to the complicity of the secular
state, much missionary-driven violence in remote tribal areas, such as the
north eastern and eastern India
(an issue we shall not dwell upon in this article).
The church has always moved in a planned manner. In 1539,
the Society of Jesus was set up by St. Ignatius of Loyola to establish Catholicism
all over the world, by any means. Hindu India suffered the Goa Inquisition
(1560) under the auspices of St. Francis Xavier. The latter was a founding
member of the Jesuit order and initiator of the Inquisition in 1545. Italian
Jesuit priest Roberto di Nobili, the first Jesuit to come to India, arrived in Goa
in 1605 and then settled down in Tamil Nadu in 1606. He claimed to be a scholar
of Tamil and openly raged against Hindu paganism.
In recent years, the Vatican has sent the high-ranking Cardinal Jean Louis Pierre Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to India to engage with various Hindu religious leaders and sectarian denominations. The idea, of course, is to find the chinks in the Hindu armour and pierce the Hindu resistance to conversions (see articles by Thamizhchelvan, links below).
On the intellectual plane, contemporary Jesuits are
attempting to woo the Hindu elite in India and those of western
nationality, as part of a refinement of strategy. Their favourite method today
is a process known as Inculturation (see Thamizhchelvan), which is
really the innovation of Roberto di Nobili; it involves borrowing native
cultural habits and practices and insinuating oneself into the local culture,
with the ultimate aim of swallowing it whole at a future date. As an example,
di Nobili would wear saffron robes instead of white and use Hindu words to
describe Christian rituals, etc.
But the cutting edge of missionary activity today is
the Hindu-Christian dialogue. This is essentially just a variant of
Interreligious Dialogue, but its purpose is inexplicable from the Hindu point
of view. (The word Hindu is being used as a generic term for native-born faiths
such as Jain and Sikh dharma).
An important corollary of this exchange is the remarkably
high standard of scholarship that Jesuits maintain in their own faith as also
in rival traditions. This is precisely what makes the dialogue extremely
unequal and unproductive for Hindus as the leaders who participate in the
exchanges may have a mastery over their own religious texts, but completely
lack an understanding of the Church as a political entitywith a political
agenda. Hence they are unable to proffer arguments regarding the illegitimacy
of conversions and world dominion by a single faith. They are also innocent of
the synergy between the Vatican-Protestant
Churches and the Western
Christian neo-colonial agenda unravelling in many parts of the globe today.
Rev. Francis Xavier Clooney, currently professor at the Harvard Divinity
School, is a highly accomplished
Jesuit scholar of comparative religion; he has successfully disarmed a number
of Hindus in India and America with
his knowledge of Tamil and the bhakti tradition of Tamil Hindus. Of
course, his priority is the conversion of pagan Hindus to Catholicism. To this
end, he has steeped himself in the process of inculturation and drawn many
intellectual Hindus into his interfaith orbit.
Speaking to a small audience at the premises of an American university late last year, Dr. Clooney displayed considerable intellectual finesse, stating that in the past Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda had attempted a critical look at the West from a Hindu perspective, but post-colonial authors like Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goyal had politicized the Hindu Christian relationship. In other words, he skillfully denigrated authentic Hindu scholars who made resistance to Christian conversions the keynote of their scholarship! His (Hindu) audience did not demur.
In essence, Dr Clooney was asserting the ‘right’ to validate
or delegitimize Hindu scholars who critiqued the Church – he approved those who
posed no threat and sought cooption into the West-dominated world order, and
demonized those whose intellectual armour was more acute. By inference he
claimed the right to undermine Hindu nationalism on Hindu bhumi and
among Hindus who are now the citizens of western countries, mainly America. That
this critical point went uncontested – perhaps was not even understood – by his
co-panelists and audience underlines the writer’s contention that Hindus have
no intellectual, political or strategic advantage to derive from inter-faith
dialogue, and need not engage in it.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva, a political philosopher who has taught at
a Canadian university, believes that there is no merit in dialogue that does
not have the ultimate goal of vanquishing the opponent. The ancient Hindu
intellectual / spiritual tool of purva paksha, for instance, involves a
rigorous and unflinching critique the opponent, and was used by Adi Sankara
to defeat, and not to accommodate, the enemy. This is a three-fold
process, Dr Rajiva says, wherein the philosopher outlines the adversary’s
position; strongly refutes the adversary’s position; and finally, states his
Adi Sankara’s digvijaya tour of India, she points out, repudiated the Mimamsa School
and Buddhism, and led to the creation of Advaita Vedanta; it ensured the
survival and continuation of Hinduism in India.
Contemporary Hindu scholars possibly lack this skill, and
the traditional acharyas do not utilize their knowledge to teach bhaktas how to
decimate the enemies of the Hindu tradition. The globe-trotting sanyasis with
White disciples are unduly accommodating of Christianity, beginning with the
famous Yogananda Paramhans; they are also uncommonly harsh with Hindus who
complain of the dangers of conversion and even malign them in various forums,
as the writer has personally experienced.
Modern Hindus with foreign nationality are doubtless
influenced by the compulsions of living on non-natal soils; they seek to
accommodate the ‘enemy’ tradition as they need its indulgence to retain
whatever they can of their natal faith and culture. Inevitably they experience
a cultural swamping, and as the ground slips away under their feet, they
respond with concessions and compromises, and an ephemeral search for a ‘middle
ground’ between the utterly alien faiths.
And in order to cover their shame, they use bluster to
insist that there is an entity called a Global Hindu Community which they
represent and which gives them the right to speak for and adjudicate on behalf
of Hindus all over the world, specifically the dharmabhumi of Bharat.
This writer and colleague Radha Rajan have vigorously rebutted such pretensions
over the years.
The Global (read American) Hindus of Indian origin are
clever enough to understand that they, and their globe-trotting sanyasi patrons
/ fellow travellers, are providing savvy Christians with the opportunity to
penetrate Hindu society in India and pervert its institutions. But they are too
intoxicated by the limelight to retreat. We may leave them to their
distractions, as anything they do cannot influence Hindu tradition within India.
Our fight is to ensure the scuttling of further
Christian-Hindu / Jain / Sikh dialogue that serves no native interest and can
only end in Hindu disempowerment. Christians like Reverend Clooney are driven
by the mission to convert the world, especially a resisting pagan civilisation
Hindus have no worldwide spiritual-cum-political mission of conquest and must
remain focused on resisting missionary activity. Hindus have no reason to
engage in inter-faith dialogue, which is a futile and destructive activity from
their point of view.
Highlighting the fact that India remains high on the Papal Millennium Agenda, Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed Major Archbishop George Alencherry, head of the Syro Malabar Church in Kerala, as one of the Vatican’s 22 new Cardinals. He is the 11th Indian and fourth Syro Malabar prelate to become a Cardinal; the investiture will take place on Feb. 18 in Rome.