RMF Summary: Week of November 28 - December 4, 2011

November 28
A Raja reading "Breaking India" in Tihar Jail
This infamous leader of the Dravidianist party (DMK), has started transforming from "seasoned politician into philosopher," says this article. It states: "His...

November 28
India/China compete for Buddhism's Soft Power
Rajiv Malhotra: I have personally lobbied Indian leaders over this for many years, and Infinity Foundation funded numerous programs that India's govt refused to sponsor (including under the BJP leader M.M. Joshi). For example, the 2005 Sanskrit World Conf in Bangkok which I co-chaired with the Thai Crown Princess. Now it seems India is re-claiming the status as the home of Buddhism because China started to make the claim. Karan Singh is calling this his top priority, but his approach is politically driven by domestic vote bank politics. It is reactive rather than visionary - like the typical politician's.

November 28

Pak Defense site posts BEING DIFFERENT review
They have re-posted the review that appeared in Biz India - see url below. So BD is on their radar. ...

November 28
Shrinivas Tilak's discussion on BEING DIFFERENT at Univ. of Mumbai e
Please find as attachment a copy of Dr. Shrinivas Tilak's presentation at WAVES Mumbai meeting....

November 28
Religion News Service Press Release: New Book Challenges Western Uni
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here ...

December 2
Announcement of major event: My book discussion with Francis Clooney
The following press release was sent out by Bal Ram Singh. The event will be televised and streamed live on the internet. I do not yet know the url, but I will...

December 3
Review of BEING DIFFERENT in India's largest Hindi daily newspaper
The review below by Prof. Girishwar Mishra (who chaired my talk at Univ. of Delhi) has appeared in India's leading Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar, December 3,...
Also see this thread.
December 4
Rajiv Malhotra's U-turn theory - How the West appropriates Indian cu
I am posting this talk given by Rajiv in Univ of Delhi 5 years, for those keen to know more about his U-Turn theory. [Rajiv: Thanks for doing this. I have...

December 4
Article on BD in Dainik Jagran, another major Hindi daily
Please see attached article in Hindi....


RMF Summary: Week of November 21 - 27, 2011

November 22
Vert successful book events in Coimbatore
We have had 3 events in this city. 1) Amrit university - run by Amma, the famous hugging guru. There were 500 students and faculty and the q&a was excellent....

November 22
Book Review: Being Different - An Indian Challenge to Western Univer
*Book Review: Being Different - An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism* http://www.bizindia.net/news/News.asp?newsID=680&catID=65 Book Review: Being...

This is a very interesting post. Too bad it did not get more attention (perhaps due to BD ideas still be understood by readers). It appears that Sardar Patel's idea of "secularism" was based on Dharmic Integral unity, whereas Nehru's was based on Western Synthetic Unity [and a foolish DU prof appears to celebrates this !!].
November 27
Secularism & Being Different
Ravi shares:
"In interview excerpt attached below answer by DU prof Neerja Singh showcases the confusion in the modern Indian intellectual mind regarding secularism. Sardar Patels' inbuilt Dharmic unitive notion of secularism is being contrasted with the "imported but scientific" secularism of Nehru, and both are judged as equal.

To clarify this confusion, the Being Different book, in Ch3, clearly compares & contrasts the synthetic unity that Western philosophers cobble together, with the unity via first-principles that is built into the dharmic socio-religio-philosophic structure. (Western secularism is basically born out of contextual expediency where the Church's wings were clipped and it was removed from it's historical position of absolute power). See below excerpt:

BD:"..   Integral unity means that ultimately only the whole exists; the parts that make up the whole have but a relative existence. (For a more technical discussion of this complex point, see Appendix A.) The metaphor that has been used to illustrate the nature of this unity is of a smile in relation to a face: A smile cannot exist separately from the face; it is dependent and contingent on the face. However, the face has an independent existence, whether it smiles or not. ...

Synthetic unity starts with parts that exist separately from one another. For example, the parts of an automobile exist separately until they are assembled into a single vehicle. Similarly, in classical physics the cosmos is viewed as an assemblage of separate elementary particles. The problem then becomes how to make them cohere by outside forces (rather than seeking a coherence that is inherent). Given this starting point, it is no accident that Judeo-Christian religious practices such as prayer or obedience are focused outside of the self, because the self, according to these traditions, is independent and separate from others. The way to overcome this essential separateness is to find ways to bond with the other..."

Interview segment:

How would you describe their (Nehru & Patel's) ideas of secularism? Were there differences in perception of the idea of secularism too?

Patel was thoroughly secular, as secular as Nehru was. The difference was that Nehru believed in scientific secularism, that is, he did not give importance or preference to any one particular religion in secularism.

But for Patel the root of secularism lay in Indian traditions, in Bhakti tradition. Just like Kabir, who was also secular, right? Patel never disjointed religion out of secularism. His ideas, idioms, metaphors, and language, were all deeply rooted in the Indian tradition. But both were equally secular.

Nehru was able to articulate his views in a larger frame because of his worldly exposure; that was also his advantage he could put things in the perspective of world history. There was an aura of intellectualism attached to Nehru; he was multi-dimensional, whereas Patel was single mindedly focused on the consolidation of the princely states.

Patel's advantage was that he was very focused and was a realist. Nehru was never perceived to be identified by any one ethnic or religious group, caste; he was considered to be close to all social, religious, caste and cultural groups. Patel was identified closely with Gujarat.

Full interview."


RMF Summary: Week of November 14 - 20, 2011

November 15
Shashi Tharoor tweets
Rakesh shares:

"Some disturbing tweets from MP, Shashi Tharoor. This is exactly what Rajiv refers to in BI in much detail as well as in Being Different. Tweets below;

Shashi Tharoor Fascinating 2see Indianization of Christianity 1st hand. Many Kerala Hindu symbols&rituals (eg aarti) incorporated in worship. Xian kirtans!

Shashi Tharoor Festival's songs,dances, costumes& trappings are totally local &services are in Malayalam. Indigenization is clearly the key2 universality.

This Indianization of Christinaity, as Tharoor calls it, is nothing but a guise for proselytisation..."

Priyadarsi responds:
"The other model is Protestant proselytisation in North-East where converted tribal population takes to western costumes, lifestyle, drinking and music at the expense of their own cultural moorings. Religious conversion thus entails a cultural conversion as well. Is that model - of the two- more preferable because it is easily identifiable? ...."

Rajiv's comment: 
"...An open, explicit threat is better for us as we know
where we stand. Also it does not distort our culture for our own folks whereas the inculturation gets re-exported to those who are still within dharma and start blurring the distinctions.

This is the reason for writing BEING DIFFERENT. Tonight is a large function with 2000 people in coimbatore for this book as well as the tamil edition of Breaking India. Swami dayananda Saraswati had me give an hour long talk to his Vedanta students doing a residence 3 year course in his ashram at Anaikati, who loved it and there was a nice exchange afterwards. Half his class are non-Indians. I hope
the videos got captured well." 

November 15
My 2 cents towards BEING DIFFERENT
(This post is not about the promotion of my blog and readers may ignore all other content in the link). Respectfully, ...

November 17 
An old by Muslim Scholar Ali Mazrui on Western Universalism
Devendra shares:
"Here is a 10-year old essay (rather a talk) by Ali Mazrui, an UK-based African Muslim scholar that has similar breadth of ideas as Rajivji's "Being Different".

This essay also needs careful rebuttal as it imagines a world with only Muslims and the West, ignoring contributions by all others, Hindus and Buddhists."

Rajiv response: 
"I disagree that it has a similar breadth of ideas. It is not a
dharmic gaze as mine is very explicitly. His is typical post colonial scholarship of which there is a vast genre. My book explains why I find postcolonialists insufficient and a problem: They use western secular theories to critique the west, i.e. it amounts to a wstern self-critique. So a whole lineage of Indians in postcolonial studies have written hundreds of such books. But they lack understanding of dharma metaphysics so its not a purva paksha from a dharmic lens. They are mimicking what many leftist westerners like Noam Chomsky (who serves as one of their idols) has already written.

So its anti-western, often mixed with a tingle of pro-Palestine and anti-Israel/US politics. But where's the dharmic metaphysics in it? Ironically, such Indians are anti-Hindu to the core. What metaphysical ground do they stand on from which to gaze at the west?"
November 17
Short blurb on one point made in BD
http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5600575 <http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5600575>...


RMF Summary: Week of December 22 - 28, 2012

December 25
Christmas origins -- digested others What better time to scrutinise Christianity&#39;s insatiable and insidious digestion of pre-Christian festivals to come up with Christmas (please see the... 

December 25
The urgency of religio-diversity
perialistpig.blogspot.in/2012/12/conquering-religions.html The map on that page speaks volumes....

This is an important discussion which we summarized in some detail last week. We continue the discussion here.
December 26 (continuing from December 16)
Important video: My debate/panel with Hindu American youth on identi
com/watch?v=cpZPvFvzNlc This is an important video to watch. I am glad the lady representing Brahma Kumaris preached the standard "sameness";...

Prashant comments:
".. one can see what a pitiful identify crisis even our so-called educated Indians are going through. It is also noteworthy that we have so many various organizations (i refuse to call them Paramparās, as they have no traditional backing) such as Brahma Kumāri, who cater to the same trite notion of 'one-ness'. I myself have seen Hindus use Māyā as an excuse to negate their worldly responsibilities toward dharma.

There are two orders of reality spoken of in our Shāstras, one is the absolute order of reality, which we call Satyam, where as Rajiv ji correctly stated, no duality exists whatsoever. The second is the relative/transactional order of reality, which we call Mithyā,
which is sustained by Satyam, and yet within Mithyā all transactions take place- including dharma/adharma,...etc..."

Arun posts:
"The dilemma is a bit clearer. If tVedanta has universal applicability, we should find glimpses of insight outside the Hindu sphere, even if Hindus are the ones who pursued this doctrine to perfection. Or else, Vedanta is just another one of competing truth-claims. If we assert the former, we open the door to "Christian Vedanta" - after all, we have inferred that Jesus had some Vedantic insight. This route thus opens the door to both Vedanta for everyone (good) and for Vedanta to be digested (bad!)..." 

Rajiv responds:
"...Lets say I take the first route, with the following critical enhancement:

I add certain "poison pills" to my universal Vedanta. A poison pill is defined as an ingredient which when swallowed by the Christian theologian will undermine his theology.

For example: (1) anti- history centrism, such as Nicene Creed, (2) affirmation of reincarnation, (3) affirmation of certain mantras that cannot be substituted with anything else - these are poison pills because if the christian swallows them he wont remain christian in the conventional sense.

Vivekananda did not have poison pills included in his formulation, at least not so emphatically and explicitly, and not as ingredients that are mandatory; his ingredients seemed to be optional....

To prevent against the other party removing the poison pill and digesting what remains, I must imbed the poison pill in a manner that cannot be removed. It is not an option. Dharma is NOT to be presented as a buffet or a flea-market where you can randomly pick what you like and reject the rest.


Reverse digestion: My formulation of universal dharma will domesticate Judeo-Christianity if they try to swallow the dharma. Here is how it works: I have explained the metaphor of the tiger and the deer to show how digestion works. I will be explaining a third kind of creature: the porcupine. It cant be swallowed by the tiger because it has poison covered quills which will kill the tiger if swallowed. So the porcupine is not like the vulnerable deer. Yet the porcupine is not a predator like the tiger. It has what may be considered defensive offense: "I dont harm you, but you will get destroyed if you harm me." This complies with ahimsa and mutual respect. " 

Alex questions:
"... Not all "Christians" believe in Nicene Creed, the infallibility of the Bible, Creation myth etc., yet they remain as christians because they were born in that faith and see no need to change into any other new faith since all the tenets of a new faith may also not be fully in agreement with their intellectual understanding of what religion and spirituality should be, which is to strive towards one's own understanding of the purpose of one's life and its obligation to the peace and welfare of the planet and its inhabitants, both human and all other forms of life as well as the so-called inanimate parts of this earth and its atmosphere.

As you know, I greatly admire your work and the pioneering work that you are doing. I hope that I am right in assuming that you too are aware that neither Hindus or peoples of other faiths like Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, etc., believe 100 percent in everything that their respective religion preach. .."

Rajiv's response:

"The above argument is typical of the anti-essentialism kind of
argument, one that is over used and bookish. Such arguments try to say that the identities or categories being used by the opponent are not perfectly defined, that there are exceptions to these categories, and the boundaries are blurred. Hence, the argument tries to undermine the worthiness of the opponent's thesis. Postmodernists use this argument a lot.

BD gives my response to this postmodernist argument. In effect, such arguments serve to maintain the status quo which happens to be in favor of one side over the other.
When blacks critique white supremacy one can say that the same
problems also apply to some blacks. When women try to fight gender bias, they get told that some women also have the same problem
. Whenever any kind of group tries to make its case one should expect to hear such an argument. If we back off, the status quo remains, which is why postmodernist thought has worsened the prejudices, not solved them.

Specifically regarding christians and Nicene creed: Yes, many christians do not believe that and one can therefore give each individual christian the following choice:

- Reject the Nicene Creed and history centrism.

- In which case you are fine, but then you must be explicit ....

- You must not be able to deny the other religions the legitimacy of their deities, their narratives, etc.
In other words, Christian exclusivity ends.

- Such a person must challenge the relevance of the historical Jesus on the grounds that similar generic teachings are already found in other faiths such as Hinduism.

Hence it is christianity that gets digested into generic spirituality.

- Evangelism is to be opposed by such a person on the basis that it is causing harm to others and brings nothing of value.

I welcome such christians provided they are clear, sincere, public and firm on these points.

My experience is that typically such postures are insincere and a game to deflect the pressure away. Deep down there is a fixation for Jesus' uniqueness, which in turn is rooted in history centrism, ....

Venkat responds to Alex:
"We are specifically interested only in those Christians whose actions affects Hindus -- say the Church, the evangelists, missionaries etc. ... Now the question is do those Christians in the former category believe in the "Nicene Creed, the infallibility of the Bible, Creation myth etc." ? If so then, that needs to be critiqued" 

Alex responds to Venkat:
"... thank you for your forthright clarification but also point out that I have always been in the forefront of criticizing the proselytizers of all monotheistic faiths, particularly Christian evangelists and fundamentalists.

But, millions like me are not "fringe/lay believers" as you characterize them. They are human beings with no ill will towards any one of any faith, nor are they concerned about converting anyone else or be converted by anyone else. Frankly, for individuals like me, human kindness, civility and mutual respect are more important than the articulations of the merits or any religion over another..."

Rajiv's comment: 

"Alex is ... especially vocal against Christian proselytizing. His support has been very important over the years. I met him at Swami Dayananda Saraswati's ashram in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, where he attends Vedanta classes. ...  we must acknowledge and appreciate individuals like Alex who have stuck their necks out for us many times publicly."

Prahalad shares Alex's review of BD.

Rohit reviews the survey cited by Alex:
"Even though categories are not separated clearly, the last category is well-demarcated.   The last category is the only one which says "Jesus is not essential to salvation." 

Based on the definition of the last category, it is safe to say that the remaining 79% Christians in other categories carry this essential history-centric belief.  That belief is the crux of Nicene creed - rest of the creed builds to that belief. (Only son of God can bring salvation to others.  No human cam do this.  Because he was raised from dead, he must be divine, son of God as he claimed.) Thus, a large majority (79%) support the essential dogma of Nicene creed..."
Sreedhar asks a straight question:
" If the Brahma Kumari lady feels that doctrine of "oneness" obviates the need for an identity, then why have an organization/collective called the 
Brahma Kumaris!

After all, everything is universal! Why not be without an identity?"
December 26
Queen Elizabeth's History Centric Spech
I received the following message from someone not on this list - I have invited him to join. This seems interesting: Subject: History-centric-
ism's re: chat...



RMF Summary: Week of November 7 - 13, 2011

November 8
BEING DIFFERENT debate last evening in Univ. of Delhi
There were 3 opponents stacked against me - sociologist, psychologist, political scientist. They were from JNU, Delhi U, CSDS. It was a very exciting event.

It was "attack mode" throughout the talks of two of them. I was then given a chance to give my response in the end. About 250 students attended. I felt they supported me and many came afterwards to talk to me and stay in touch.

I told the opponents that given the very short time allocated to me to respond (much less than their time to talk) I would only give overall points in response. But we must continue the debate in the interest of expanding everyone's knowledge, so I said that I wanted to set up some online mechanism where I would post my detailed response to them, and they would be able to post their rejoinders - sort of like the debate I held
with Vijay Prashad many years ago that some of you might recall. I asked students who wanted to know more about my response to write down their email addresses so they could also participate. Iam glad to say that over 200 students gave their email addresses to me.

So we have the makings of the potential for an exciting debate with Indian social sciences people - hopefully in a mutually respectful style. Fortunately, I had asked that the event be videotaoed, and it was, and that I receive the DVD which I hope to in a few days. ..."

Pradip's question to Rajiv and response:
I just wondered if there were any "gotcha" attempts made during the debates and how you handled them.

Rajiv response: 
two of the discussants were gotcha from start to finish, one
explicit but the other trying to pretend to be "nuanced". But I thoroughly relished the opportunity to give it back and more than that the huge support from the students. Maybe they hate their profs but have no choice in order to do
well in exams etc.

 Rajiv response to another commentator

 Atually the JNU prof of Political science was very much saying things in line with my uturn theory, and he was glad to hear me give a synopsis of my work and my next book on it. He was not at all a problem, and in fact very resonant. We
could work together.

The CSDS sociologist has "tracked" me for a decade and I have had prior encounters but her criticisms were mainy behind my back and fuzzy. Now I have a clear, crisp 20 minute position paper by her on video - great for my purva
paksha of her.

The D.U psych prof was embarassed in front of his own class as the students applauded heavily after each of my rejoinders to him.

We must NOT abandon the students at these kinds of institutions - only the professors are the problems and they are desperate to replicate their mindset into the next gen.

Another response to Desikan:
While one does not feel like asking you to stretch yourself indefinitely, one
does hope that at some early future date you will be able to train a limited
number of Indian (not Indian American) students carefully selected to become
effective academics in India to take your message further in this country along
with whatever else they are able to acquire from others locally.

Rajiv response:

Like many obvious ideas, this one is an old one that has been
tried unsuccesfully many times.

A recent example is that after i gave a talk to some very enthusiastic diaspora youth at a camp there was enormous esire to help me. But as in 90% of the cases with indians, there is a big gap between such talk and delivery. One woman made a clear statement that she will volunteer to do what I had suggested be done, namely, to make a 45 minute Powerpoint slide prsentation for Breaking India. This would then used to train others to give talks on it rather than me. I took quality time from busy schedule to explain the whole idea to this person. It was promised by her to be done in a month. That was back in March/April. Nothing has happened since. I called several times and wrote emails to follow up, and was always given assurance that it was just a bit late. The person then "disappeared" from the scene, presumably embarassed at her failure, but lacking the integrity to say it to me so I dont wait.

There are numerous such stories on how our folks love to talk to feel importance. Some probably are sincere, but under estimate what is entailed. They have no experience n actually doing such serious stuff. I was also promised by 2 separate individuals that they would develop a 25-50 page summary of the book. Nothing got done.

There is also a syndrome that these "volunteers" are basically wanting to build up their own ego and status by "appropriating" what they can with minimum effort. This enables them to look smarter than the rest of the fools at most of these meetings of our "like minded leaders" - you know what I mean. They want to do quick surface cream skimming of what they can learn from me, and the talk of
wanting to help me is just plain bullshit to get me to pour out lots of ideas and spend time.

The corruption in Indians is so pervasive that it is more than financial corruption, but also a whole lack of work ethics and ethics in general. I find our so-called activists and other bombastic people among the most unreliable ones when it comes to hard delivery. Unless there is a high visibility for them in the process with little sacrifice.

On the other hand, here in India I have come across man persons who are delivering solid events for me at great cost of time, money etc for themselves. This is heartening. These are individuals I have never met before and they found
me rather than the other way around. 

November 8 
Rajiv Malhotra: Q&A on his book Being Different found on Arise India
*I liked the Following Q & A uploaded here on book Being Different: http://www.ariseindiaforum.org/being-different-q-a/* Rajiv Malhotra: Q&A on his book Being...

November 9
Wickileaks: US interventions in Dalit matters
The article below shows how deep and intense the US gov interest is in tracking and taking a policy position on dalit issues. Ever since the Congress party...

November 11

BEING DIFFERENT to become textbook in University of Delhi
I just received word from a US based supporter, Mr. Shiv Gupta, that he has sent us the funds to gift 60 copies to Univ. of Delhi library. This was the missing...


RMF Summary: Week of October 31 - November 6, 2011

October 31
Times of India article on BEING DIFFERENT
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spirituality/vintage-wisdo\ m/Order-chaos-and-creation/articleshow/10552328.cms ... 

November 1
Re: Indians' greater comfort with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity
Venkat posts: Ref: Indians' greater comfort with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, improvisation, blurred boundaries, inter-connectedness

This is the reason why there are more Indians in MNC leadership position and also in Obama administration compared to the Chinese and Japanese (who have been in the US for a longer period of time).

India May Be the Ideal CEO Training Ground - TIME

"The Indians are the friendly and familiar faces of Asia," says Ader. "They think in English, they're used to multinationals in their country, they're very adaptive, and they're supremely confident." The subcontinent has been global for centuries, having endured, and absorbed, waves of foreign colonizers, from the Mughals to the British. Practiced traders and migrants, Indians have impressive transnational networks. "The earth is full of Indians," wrote Salman Rushdie. "We get everywhere." Unlike, say, a Swede or a German, an Indian executive is raised in a multiethnic, multifaith, multilingual
society, one nearly as diverse as the modern global marketplace..."

November 2
Journal if ICPR Review of Invading the Sacred
This review of my earlier book, *Invading the Sacred*, has appeard in India's most prestitious and academically influential journal of philosophy. Please read...

November 3
Relevent to chpt 5 of BEING DIFFERENT: The trouble with Sanskrit tra
Two interesting comments below . The article has to do with current controversy over AK Ramanujam's essay on Ramayana.


The trouble with Sanskrit being translated by westerners is that it lacks experience of the Indianness or Santanness. In the 19th and 20th century, pandits were hired and texts were translated. The colonisers knew their language and the Santanpandits knew Sanskrit. Now , the pandits clearly did not know language of colonisers. Then what would you get for translation in English. All skewed work. I have been in
Hare Krishna movement for 35 yrs, from a western background. I feel you have to live in India and all funding should be done in India to delineate the texts. It is only in India where you still have persons who speak, write and chant Sanskrit very correctly.

Sanskrit is the only language which has a ” sadas” which approximately means “Debate with an audience”. In no language you have a ‘sadas”. Here the ugly competition of academics is totally missing. Hence there is no bias.
I have attended such debates in India. They are marvellous and absolutely no hatred is there, which comes out prominently in an academic atmosphere. It would be good if pandits are funded to do research in India rather than give it to westerners, who just hold the pulpits of academics for funding , which is to sensationalise and survive with enlarged egos. The beauty of Vedic texts is that no sage
was bothered for credit, whereas acdemics are always bothered about credit..."

....Ramanujan, poor fellow, in the article complained of here, was merely discharging his duty to Pollock whose witless remarks on the Ramayana have to be seen to be believed. (vide

Pollock, of course, is a Padma Shri and gets money from Infosys and so on. The odd thing about both Witzel and Pollock (Wendy O’Doniger is just bat-shit crazy) is that their reliance on a historicist hermeneutics privileges one particular sacerdotal caste. Pollock in his ‘language of Gods and men’ makes statements utterly devoid of logic. He presents evidence against himself and, without even noticing
the contradiction, goes on to make ridiculous claims. No Hindu, of whatever caste- including Sanskrit speaking Kannadiga Mathurs- make such claims....

BNA responds:
"Some of the worst and crude translation of a bunch of Cigar smoking alcoholic Western scholars
lead to equating their own behavior to justify them with Vedic living.

"Madhu" was translated as alcohol in stead of Honey. Fruit juices also became "Wine" for them;

The brown liquid the priest were drinking, that worked like a stimulant.
They forget to read that this comes with adding hot water to a leaf that was green and yellow dried to dark brown
to get that brown liquid stimulant is "Tea" abundant in Himalayas and not Wine - that they drank before and after havans.
Coffee is not native to India, but tea is."
November 3
Prof. John Hobson's review of BEING DIFFERENT
Reviewer: John M. Hobson, author of The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Professor of Politics and International...

November 6
Article validating the Breaking India thesis
http://www.samachar.com/Pakistan-and-Chinas-proxy-war-against-India-llfb\ Klgdhab.html?utm_source=top25_most_read&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=sama\

November 6
TOI comments- Breaking india and Tamil Nadu nuclear plant
In the below article ... the comment which has garnered most "agree&quot; mentions Rajiv's Breaking India. The sixt comment by a different reader also...

November 6
Re: BEING DIFFERENT to become textbook in University of Delhi-- fant
Fantastic! This is the most important develiopment. I hope others will soon follow. N.S. Rajaram...


RMF Summary: Week of October 24 - 30, 2011

Toward the end of this post is a riveting discussion on "free enterprise". There is a Dharmic approach to this enterprise that is original to India, appears to be organic in the way it came up, is pro-environment, and provides a viable (almost surely better) alternative to the "right wing or left-wing" economic models employed in the west.

October 24
{Breaking India} Vishal Mangalwadi: India’s Pat Robertson
Excerpted with permission from Malhotra, Rajiv and Aravindan Neelakandan, "Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines,&quot; Amaryllis...

October 25
Inculturation - Christuva Brahmana Seva Samithy
http://thammayya.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/christuva-brahmana-seva-samithy/ Recently read this blog.Another example of Inculturation as explained in "Breaking...

October 25
Similar books or those against which BEING DIFFERENT argues
Similar books or those against which BEING DIFFERENT argues Below is a list of comparable titles in this area, of varying degrees of relevance and value. With...

October 26
Prof. Al Collins review of BEING DIFFERENT
Reviewer: Al Collins, Ph.D., former core faculty, California Institute of Integral Studies. In 1957, Mircea Elaide wrote that "Western culture will be in...

October 26
Dr. Shrinivas Tilak's review of BEING DIFFERENT
Reviewer: Shrinivas Tilak, PhD, historyof religions, an independent researcher based in Montreal In Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western...

October 26
My Q&A with an American journalist on BEING DIFFERENT
Foll. are the responses sent to a written set of questions from someone in American media. We shall wait to see what finally appears, but I felt that this Q&A...

October 27
My response to Steve Farmer w.r.t. Angana Chatterjee
Dear Steve Farmer, you have made a false allegation below that I offered 100K to CIIS to get rid of Angana C or anyone else from her job. The CIIS president...

October 27
Dr. Satya Narayan Das' review of BEING DIFFERENT
Reviewer: Dr. Satya Narayan Das, Founder of Jiva Institute of Vedic Studies, Vrindavan Many Indian spiritual leaders, lacking a profound knowledge of their own...

October 29
Bhakti Vikas Swami (ISKCON): review of BEING DIFFERENT
Reviewer: Bhakti Vikas Swami, Vaishnav scholar and ISKCON sannyasi, author of twelve books All Things Must Pass -- so sung George Harrison on a megahit album..

October 29
Jati economics and free enterprise
Rajiv Malhotra: Those who have read the works of Prof. Vaidyanathan (IIM-B) will appreciate that free market was not the invention of the west. It was european colonialism that closed what had previously been free trade and free markets. They did this to control markets and come pout on top. Jatis functioned without state controls, and were free to negotiate with each other according to norms mutually agreed upon. Many of them still do so today and are thriving as a result.

Chinese are making the claim that free enterprise is consistent with Confucian thought. Why are Indians scared of free market as some "American" thing? One day these folks might think of yoga as an imported american thing!!!

Of course, there are many kinds of free markets - those that plunder the ecosystem are not dharma compliant, for instance. But I do not subscribe to the view that a dharmic renaissance would be one that cannot take advantage of modern science, technology, free markets and so forth. Its an alternative approach to globalization, not an ideology of.

Pooja responds:
"" a dharmic renaissance would be one that cannot take
advantage of modern science, technology, free markets and so forth"

Isn't this more along the lines of christian teachings ? I have not seen it in any of the major Hindu "scriptures" as a part of Hindu/Sanatan Dharm. This is not what the Vedas say, neither does Bhagwatgita say thay anywhere, that I have read it. All of them have encouraged the use of science & technology for
prosperity, but have also listed the downside of over-dependence on them to the point of denying the importance of life. Over mining, over consumption, etc.
have been pointed out & the consequences too have been pointed out."

Rajiv's response: 
I disagree that Vedas are counter to science.

In fact, in my new book there is a lot written on why science and dharma never went to war against each other and why Christianity has had (and still has) war with science. The Biblical metaphysics (called Hebraic) has never been fully
reconciled with Hellenism (based on reason). But dharma has not rejected reason or science. After all, Indians have a great history of scientific achievements since ancient times - volumes have been written on this including Infinity
Foundation's own 20-vol series of which 8 are available now).

If you quoted me more than just the sentence above, I DO say that damaging the environment is against dharma. But your statement that somehow we must see modern science and Vedic civilization as opposites is not true." 

Rakesh adds:
"I believe, with the discovery of new world ( the real promised land ), the Scarcity driven Abrahamic top down control civilization has met a new geographical context that has led to an irreconciliable tension- between the economic reality of openness to immigration to improve capital productivity in a resource rich United States and the compulsion to minimize difference anxiety by converting all of them to Christianity

With a Hindu ethos, the need for a single ideology would be much lower and a multi party system would have resulted in the USA. Abrahamic religious ethos, is behind the stalemate today, where each party is the GOD and the other the Devil ?

I also believe war torn, land deprived Abrahamic ethos, extracted more out of resources, higher productivity- so my view is not one-sided But the tensions between Helenic democracy and Judeo Christian top down centralization characterizes American foriegn policy- even if Helenistic at
home, judeo christian in its preference for top down totalitarian regimes such as China compared to chaotic India ..."

Rajiv's comment:
I am glad Rakesh has been reading BEING DIFFERENT as he noted earlier, and making these points on difference. Indeed, BD gives the differences in dharmic approaches and these could be extrapolated further to develop a dharmic free market world - quite different than western capitalism.

Please note that enterprise in dharma is not "bonded" or "controlled", but free." 

Venkat responds:
"I am familiar with Prof. Vaidyanathan's immensely valuable work. But the traditional Indian system was not Free Market. I use the term Free Market in the same sense as its  proponents use: a system of commerce without state
intervention and a system that is only constrained by the agreement between the transacting parties. In a Free Market system anyone is free to start any business anywhere provided the consumers of the services they offer exist. JÄti
institutions transacting business was by no means Free Market since jÄtis were often debarred from competing with other jÄtis especially when such competition jeopardized livelihoods. If members of a certain jÄti or varána violated this norm and took up professions that were considered the preserve of another jÄti or varána then those individuals were excommunicated."

Rajiv response:
Your description of jatis is right. But non-competes were by mutual consent, not imposed from above. I spent time living with fishermen jatis in Nagapatinam district after the tsunami where we sponsored building a strategic youth hostel (by AIM For Seva) for victims' kids - in the shadow of the famous massive cathedral. I studied their fishing non-compete practices. Each jati specializes in some kind of fish and hence a certain kind of boat and net, and hence where they go to sea varies. They dont interfere with the fishing variety of the other jati.

This is not counter to free market. Call it cartel-like arrangement, perhaps. Or just a mutual agreement of non interference in order to specialize and maximize the total benefit rather than cutting each other. Ditto for marketing the fish. Men went to catch the fish while women were the marketers. They too had their territories and practices neatly divided.

I dont use free market in the limited western sense. To me the contrast is with top-down central authoritarian rule. it starts with roman imperialism combined with Christian Church being the top boss and controlling everything. In medeival
times the Knights Templar became one of the first multinational corps (though mostly in europe) controlling manufacturing and trade. This later served as a model for the British East India company, which CLOSED THE PRE-EXISTING FREE MARKET OCEAN TRADE. Thus the modern MNC was born.

I dont like the idea that free marketing be gifted as a western invention. i dont like people being told that its an either/or choice between dharma and modernity/science/free-market/prosperity.  The reason smritis are rewritten and kept separate from shruti (whereas in the abrahamic religions they got collapsed into one book) is precisely to allow dharma to evolve. So just as the chinese claim Confucian Modernity, I am working on ideas of Dharmic Modernity - not a contradictory term." 

George adds:
"... in the Anglo-Saxon model practiced by the USA and its European cronies, it is applicable only to people and places approved by them, and goods and services from other places deemed unfavorable to them are restricted on various pretexts like "child labor", "bad quality", "unauthorized nuclear research", whatever. The farming subsidy is also part of this restrictive trade practice. So, actually, the "free trade" mooted by the West is a despicable practice that should be rejected by dharmic people. Innovate, not imitate!
In India, I know for sure that the fishermen of the sea could fish only in the sea and the fishermen of the backwaters/rivers could fish only in their own territory. They don't even inter-marry. Though these inter-jati conventions were not written down, they were inviolable laws at a time. And in case of inter-jati disputes, the Raja was the mediating authority. However the Raja had no right in intra-jati disputes."
Carpentier adds:
"The Varnasrama code of trade and economic activity had its western medieval equivalents in the system of guilds, corporations and sodalities which were analogous to jatis and were linked by pacts of complementariness, solidarity and
interdependence which protected them against State encroachment. One of the first acts of the "Liberal" , banker-driven French revolution was to ban all those guilds and decide that every individual was solely submitted to the government and had not other means of association for self-protection. That was the origin of the modern capitalist or socialist state."

Rajiv response: 
"I agree with this assessment. The top-down events in Europe that "every individual was solely submitted to the government and had not other means of association for self-protection" is where dharma traditions have a chance to
make a difference in the type of free market that emerges.

According to Vaidyanathan's statistics, well over 90% of India's work force are self-employed, making it the largest number of individual entrepreneurs in the world. This is a very different type of free market than one with large scale corporate entities under heavy government regulations.

I am opposed to corruption, but I differentiate that from many aspects of the black economy where people simply dont want to fall under the gov't controlled economy - thats a free market indian style that has not yet succumbed to western style controls." 

Senthil provides a wonderful perspective:
"The context in which the term "Free" is interpreted is different w.r.t to western and indian (dharmic) scenario.

In west, the free market is the one where any one is free to enter and corner any amount of market share. The best performing entity (company) becomes the winner, and it doesnt matter, how many lost their business, or how many even lost their life.

In Indic Scenario, Free market is the one, where the constituents of the market are free to trade, without interference from external forces (economic & physical). Its NOT free for all. In part, i agree with KV, that there is no
free market in india.

Let us look at the name of different Vyshya community, and the region they came from. In Tamilnadu, the Choliya Chetty, Kongu Chetty, Pandya Chetty are indications, that they are the vyshyas for their respective dhesam. Within each dhesam, there are vyshyas for different products. For eg, among kongu chetty, there are Ennai Chettiyar (For trading Oil), Uppiliya Chettiyar (for trading Salt) are still existing.

Same with Devanga Chetty, Gomathi Chetty etc. I dont know much about North Indian Vyshyas. But my point, is that Many Vyshya communities are associated with one of the ancient 56 Dhesams, as we see from the examples i gave above.  (And this is the unexplored secret of Indian jathis)

So a king protects the vyshyas of his dhesam, from alien economic invasion. NOT just vyshyas, but protects every other jaathi in doing their profession without any interference or invasion from others. We need to see Indian Dharmic Free Market as localised, ethical Trading.

In one perspective, the term market in indic sense refers to a specific place where different products ( or particular product) are traded. We call it as "Sandhai" in tamil.

However, from the western perspective, a market is defined based on selling potential. ie, they see entire India as a market. ( Please correct me if i am wrong)

Next, the use of Gold as currency is another factor in the existence of Dharmic Free Market. No one can manipulate Gold, and its value is universal across the world. The British East India Company, tried to persuade Shivaji to accept
their currency, but Shivaji refused, and demanded they trade in gold.

The fallacy of Western Freemarket can be understood, if we study the way in  which British East India Company, monopolised different trade in India. For example, salt was produced in Gujarat and traded to Bengal. To control this, the
Company erected a 4000 KM long Live Fence, from orissa to Kashmir, which is called Great Hedge of India. This is still largely unknown among indian historians and intellectuals, and recently Rox Maxhom, from University of London Library, rediscovered about this and published a book in 2001. For more details, pls refer the wikipedia article.  " 

October 29
BEING DIFFERENT - Prof. V.V. Raman's review
This review is pending publication in print journals, and meanwhile Prof. Raman will be posting it online at various sites.

RMF Summary: Week of October 17 - 23, 2011

October 17
Raj Rajarathnam and his LTTE connections
More detailed analysis of Raj Rajarathnam & his LTTE links in this wordpress. http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/raj-rajaratnam-as-a-kinda-tiger/ Hari Om...

October 17
The Catholic experiment to make yoga popular

October 17

Bipinchandra Pal on India and Clash of Civilizations (1923)
Bipinchandra Pal on India and Clash of Civilizations (1923) http://kalchiron.blogspot.com/2010/11/bipinchandra-pal-on-india-and-clash-of.html...

October 19
NDTV We the people - Kancha Illaiah talks about Dalit panthers, Dali
This is the first time I hear in a national news channel where Kancha Illaiah is talking about Black panthers vs Dalit panthers, Dalitistan(renaming UP as it...

October 19
India's Casteist Church and Dalit Christians - 24 points
Please visit the link for more such articles http://devapriyaji.activeboard.com/t38197015/dalit-christian-frauds/?r=798322s Note: This article was published by...

October 23
The Jesuit Swamis of India
This is a old post that appeared in Time Magazine with the title "Religion: The Jesuit Swamis of India" on Monday, Apr. 23, 1973. Read more:...

October 23
Clarification on Anju Bhargava
In Breaking India (chapter 15) there is a section critical of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom's biased treatment of India, and especially Hinduism. This was the first ever published report analyzing that institution from India's perspective, and recently a few other persons have written summaries from the book in their own blogs. The chapter goes on to show that under the Obama administration things have not changed, as that body remains under the control of rightwing evangelists. It points out that a new organization specifically set up by Obama to represent religious diversity made recommendations that were drafted by these same rightwing Christian evangelists, right under the nose of the Hindu representative. This representative was Anju Bhargava who served for one year and whose term expired in early 2010. I expressed my disappointment at her complicity in not speaking up formally and publicly against such US initiatives. I did make clear that she had not caused the problems though she went along. I want to clarify certain points on this.
Anju has become very upset and gone to various persons complaining that my criticism has caused "divisiveness". Behind my back, she even asked at least one prominent leader to cancel my talk at a recent major event where I was featured as a prominent speaker. (But her petition was refused, and this leader reaffirmed his full support for me and my book, and asked me to speak at the event as planned.)
I have thought over this matter and one civic leader whom I respect has asked that we make peace in the spirit of broader cooperation. I have decided to make peace with Anju on terms based on principles of truth and harmony.
Anju's main issue with me is that my stance has adversely impacted her Seva project. Here, I wish to clarify that Anju's Seva project is unrelated to my issue of evangelists in India and the US government's tacit support for them. Seva (charity, service, compassion, philanthropy, etc.) is a key part of our tradition. Most mandirs in the US already are engaged in seva of their own initiative. I don't see anything wrong in someone surveying such initiatives to place them under a banner in order to gain visibility for the tradition. So the seva initiative by Anju is good. I don't want people to avoid her seva project on my account - you must evaluate her project on its own merits.
On the issue of US interventions in India via evangelism or other means: That's the core issue in Breaking India and my position gets strengthened as more evidence pours in. The book has shaken up many people and its Tamil edition is finally at the printer. A Hindi edition is being translated and will take a whole year to get ready. So my position on that particular issue stands. I merely want to decouple it from Anju's Seva work, and wish her the very best of success.
My hope is that in future, anyone who represents our community in some official capacity will become very well informed of our major concerns, will set up a  broad advisory committee to consult with on all issues being addressed in the official capacity, and will speak with courage officially even when it is an unpopular stand. As an American minority community we need leaders who will speak up against those causing problems. That will remain my litmus test on leadership....
.....Anju has clarified that she did indeed speak up at the inter-religious council when she was a member. I have acknowledged this in the book. It is not that she didn't try. My issue has been different.

When I got a chance to review the draft that the evangelists had come up with, I wrote a detailed point by point rejoinder and sent it to Anju. I tried to press her to put such a formal statement of dissension on the record and then make it public to add pressure. The council ought to have been told, "this is how my community feels about whats being done here, and as their representative I must put this complaint as my position on the record." People representing a constituency often do this to be faithful to those they represent. They stick their neck out for something that is critical to the constituency. Even in many Supreme Court decisions a minority statement on the record has merit because it asserts a principled disagreement with the decision being passed.

As I wrote, the lesson learned is that a leader representing us in some official body should set up an advisory committee and consult them all along. In this instance I am unaware of any such committee. I was given the draft resolution after World Vision et al had been busily writing the draft for most of the year (why Anju did not bring this up to me earlier beats me)....

Manas asks:
"Without making any comment on Ms. Bhargava, I would like to point out that one of her associates from her seva organization, Ms. Saumya Arya Haas has given credence to a malicious report by the FOIL group (of which Angana Chatterji, who finds mention in BI, is a prominent member) against Indian and Hindu interests in a public post in huff pro. More: here

I was appalled to see that someone who claims to work for Hindu interests sided with those who seek to dismantle our country and civilization. It is understandable that people would wish to not publicly associate themselves with the Hindutva movement since it has been so badly maligned through sustained and organized calumny. But to take the side of people who are consummately against Hindu and Indian interests, and that too in a public forum..."

Rajiv's response:
The above is someone's independent view which I cannot verify or refute. I dont want to restart another round of anger from her as I am way too busy with more important things right now - like organizing what now turns out to be 14 events in India in November for my new book. ..."
Patanjali shares:
"The Caribbean Hindu Community also must be represented in all advisory Hindu committee. We are a formidable group in America, and we have many unique concerns about conversion and other issues in the Caribbean and America. I met Anju at a function in New Jersey a few years ago and told her I was from the Caribbean Hindu community. She was not interested in our conversation and walked away. This was not the first time I had a bad experience with this type of behavior. I don't know who elected these Hindus to represent our community."
October 23
Illiteracy about Hinduism
Koenraad Elst posts:
"On the Religion in South Asia list, a forum for Indologist members of the American Academy of Religion [AAR], an American professor generally sympathetic to Hinduism makes the following observation in a discussion on the notion of "Hindu theology":

> Whatever case, the lack of a forum for people who practice Hinduism to teach and write constructively about Hinduism is clearly something that Hindus need to create for themselves by producing first rate Hindu theological literature (which must include a meta-reflective discourse on what "Hindu theology" means in a Western context, as
Purusottama suggested).<

> One reason Hinduism is so far behind in establishing the category "Hindu theology" is that Hindus living in Europe and America have done nothing substantial to make sure their traditions are preserved. With a few exceptions, one can say that Hindus' ability to articulate their traditions in the contemporary West is dismal. Other religious traditions have done a better job of creating a space for learned
theological reflection on tradition and modernity, and as a result they have many situations in which they can "do theology."<

To be sure, I know exceptions to this "dismal" rule, a few Hindus (mostly not professional scholars of Hindu religion or related) who do perform well when challenged to represent "the" Hindu viewpoint on a given topic. But by and large, the above observation is impeccable. In most cases, Hindus claiming/asked to speak for Hinduism only represent a narrow segment of Hindu tradition, e.g.
the Arya Samajis (and some others under their influence) who confidently answer monotheist polemicists that Hinduism, contrary to appearances, is not polytheistic at all, thus delegitimizing the vast majority of Hindu practices
from the Mirta & Varuna hymns and the Sarvadevah hymns of the Rg-Veda on down. Two years ago I did a presentation at Balu's Rethinking Religion in India conference (of which I just missed the follow-up session in Pardobice, Czech
Republic, this week) comparing British school textbooks of Hinduism, issued by ISKCON, VHP, Vivekananda centre et al. I found my apprehensions confirmed: they all distort the basic concepts and doctrines of what they present as Hinduism in the direction of their own specific positions. And those were group efforts well thought through by people who at least tried to make it look scholarly,
historically accurate and impartisan; it gets far worse with amateurs, who bore their interlocutors with platitudes like "the wise call the one with many names" (misinterpreted as monotheism) and "vasudhaiva kutumbakam", as if these are the invariable essence to which Hinduism can be reduced.

Most Christians and most Muslims have received some training in the over-all story of their religion, they are like modern people who turn on the TV and get the news from the capital. Most Hindus, by contrast, are like premodern
villagers who only get the story circulating in their own village,...

When I compare Dutch TV's Hindu and Muslim programmes, well, there's just no comparison. ...

....The Muslim programm is for adults, the Hindu programme is at school level.

The catechism-type programmes are always within the confines of the particular tradition of the Hindustani-Surinamese (originally Bhojpuri) immigrant community, Rama-devotional, Tulsidas-centred, unaware of difference in Hinduism through time and space. That would be perfectly normal in a village setting back in Bhojpur, but in a modern context where Hindus are often addressed as
Hindus-in-general, where they meet different schools of Hinduism and are faced with different outsider conceptions/expectations about Hinduism, that just isn't
good enough.

Hindus tend to be illiterate about Hinduism-in-general. That may not be a hindrance to leading a good life, but in the modern dialog of religions, it is a real handicap."

N. S. Rajaram comments:
"There is a lot of truth in this. This is on the other hand an
occupational hazards of pluralism."
George responds:
"All opinions sounded here are true concerns. Hindus are not equipped to negotiate the evil in our midst. In this regard, without mentioning the Hindus, William James had mentioned this problem in his The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. This explains partially why Buddhism is more at ease in the ex-Christian world.

Theology, unlike philosophy, is alien to Hinduism. True religion and true philosophy cannot differ, according to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, which I endorse. For Hindus, theology was unnecessary so far and in my opinion, it still is for the whole of humankind. The god concept is secondary in all aspects. What is necessary for Hindus is to burn to cinders the so-called theology of the Judeo-Christian thought. This Christian theology in actuality is pure sophistry. The flaw is fundamental. Muslims are part and parcel of it, so it cannot sustain itself alone without the Abrahamic baggage."
Venkat comments:
"I am in agreement with what Shri. George has stated below even though I understand the concern that Dr. Elst has brought up. It is true that the Hindus are not in a position to articulate their position and that is primarily because they are completely untrained in their own darshanas, sampradayas, and samskaras. This has largely been true in the last few decades. But I think one should be cognizant of the real issues here.
Firstly, some traditional Hindus do articulate their framework very well and are exceptionally knowledgeable about their own sampradayas. A couple of examples would be the Advaita Vedanta list or the Sri Vaishnavism list. These groups are made up of practitioners and a large number of younger people who are well trained and well read about their own sampradaya and are also very well educated and articulate. An area where they have not done well is in taing their message across to the western audience or in dealing with Abrahamic religions as purva paksha. I think that is one area of improvement they should consider.
Secondly, some activist Hindus pose a certain danger to Hinduism which they may not recognize. They are often very keen to present Hinduism in the western mould - both the Christian mould and the western value system mould. ...At some stage, Hindus should get ready to take on the very edifice of Abrahamic-western civilization, deconstruct it rationally, and present Hindu traditions as an alternative instead of seeking recognition and acceptance within the western-Abrahamic framework. Shri. Malhotra's Being Different lays the foundation for such an approach.
This would mean that there never would be a Hindu theology but there should be a serious and widespread attempt to articulate the traditional Hindu position (not the misguided harmonizing attempts) and fearlessly contrast it against the western paradigms. For example, Jayanta Bhatta's Nyaya Manjari as the framework using which to present a Hindu tradition and evaluate the western-Abrahamic worldview against it."
Ram shares a link:
"Came across an article in tamil by the writer Jeyamohan, where he refutes the charge being propagated now by the church and the dravidian parties (dravidar kazhagam etc), commies that hinduism has destroyed the village deities.

He mentions that ten years before in St.Xavier college of Palayamkottai a conference was held by Fr.Jeyapathi on the topic 'People's Gods' for ten days, where such ideas were more emphasized. one person who asked about the status of
the village deities in cultures taken away by desert bloc religions was expelled during that meeting. Jeyamohan gives an excellent insight on how hinduism is a collective ideology and how it accumulates all the deities as tributaries and grows as a major river."

Rajiv's comment: 
In my new book there is a section called "Forest and Desert
Civilizations" in which i explain this key difference. Vedic civilization originated in forest geography while the Abrahamic religions originated in desert tribes. The influence of geography on peoples' psychology gets examined. This section was drastically reduced because of "editorial inputs". In fact it used to be a whole chapter, and even before that, the working title of my book was "Forest and Desert Civilizations". It went through many working titles before the final one." 
Vishal adds:
"As to the comments below, I agree whole-heartedly. We here in Minnesota are developing a 13 year curriculum (from Kindergarten to Adult) to teach multi-facted and yet a definitive, non confusing version of Hindu Dharma from a modern perspective. We just came out with a Beta version of the Kindergarten workbook. Knowing that KG kids do not read full sentences, and that they parents are quite ignorance about our Dharma anyway, it is meant to be a guide for parents and teachers to read out to kids and derive morals that are appropriate to and relevant to KG level kids. The parents will perhaps (and perhaps need to) learn more than their kids, while being able to transmit the correct message to their kids.

I'd be glad to email (write to me offline) an ecopy for review. The book will be kept copyright free and will be eventually online... " 
Senthil comments:
"1. There are NO practicing Hindus, because, Hinduism cannot be practiced. As per Supreme Court Definition, a Hindu is the one who is NOT a jew, NOT a christian, and NOT a muslim. Can any one practice a religion, which does not have its own independant identity?

2. Adhi sankara classified diverse sets of customs and practices in to 6 mathams. But he kept the philosophical discourse outside these sanmathams.  Customs and traditions of sanmathams are for common people, while the
philosophies (advaita, dwaita & vishistadvaita) are for the learned.. (please correct me, if i am wrong).

What is being done today is a vague attempt to define the Hindu identity, by mixing everything, including the budhism and jainism. Can such thing be called a religion? Yet, most of the people here are obsessed with hindu identity.

3. The actual traditions and customs that can be practiced in our life are the sanmathams.. the smartha tradition, shaiva tradition, vaishnava tradition, has definite and unambigous customs to follow, and corresponding religious practices
and scriptures. .."
Rajiv's response:
"The above kinds of issues are what I churned for years and wrote BEING DIFFERENT. Kindly approach my new book with an open mind on all these issues. Rather than defining a positive direct identity as is often being attempted, I look for differences from what we are NOT. Here I use the west as foil for contrast. So a very new approach to identity comes about in which the various kinds of dharmas share key commonalities. This shows how all the internal differences can be accommodated without abandoning the notion of a common identity." 
Ganesh posts:
""There is a false sense of insecurity existing among most of us, that relying on shaiva and vaishnava identity will divide us.. (as though we are all united earlier).. They fail to understand that, both shaivites and vaishnavite worship both shiva and vishnu, and it is the preference of god that makes the difference.

For eg, our kula guru belongs to adhi saiva sect, but in his siva pooja, he worships vishnu too, and has vishnu deity in his pooja room"

Best example for this is the Shloka "Shuklam Baradharam Vishnum, Shashivarnam Chatrubhujam, Prasanna Vadanam Dyaayet, Sarva VignopaShantaye"

Sadly, the axe and knife if out by those who want to take egoistic stance on this. Shaivites claim this to be invocation to Bhagawan Vinayaka. Vaishnavites refute saying this is invocation is to Maha Vishnu.

I doubt this was how our great sages and seers wanted it to be. ..."

Rajiv's comment: 
In chapter 3 of BEING DIFFERENT I go into all this under the concept of Integral Unity. This idea is in contrast to the west's notion of unity that I characterize as Synthetic Unity. When a lens of synthetic unity gets applied, the integral unity seems broken into "parts", and these are found to be in mutual tension, and turned into caricatures. So the starting point in dealing with this should be to get a thorough grounding in the difference between integral unity and synthetic unity.

Carpentier notes:
"I am of two minds about the value of "proper" well argued theological systems. They end up creating dogmas and hierarchies, building limits and soon become outdated. Perhaps the Sanathana Dharma is better off, by remaining
pluri-systematic and non-dogmatic. Why should Hinduims imitate Abrahamic messianic religions? In the end the latter become the victims of their own constructions..".

Rajiv disagrees:
"... Our tradition has a strong learned component. I dont like this common argument that goes: Since west misused materialism let us abandon all material pursuits. Or since others messed up their intellectual tradition, lets abandon ours. The Brits said (and foolish gullible Indians accepted) that material wealth like the kohinoor was not good for the so-called "spiritual east".

My new book explains how our intellectual tradition is on solid ground without suffering the same issues as the west. This is why purva paksha gazing at the west is the central methodology used.

I look for specific ingredients in western theology that causes problems, not discarding any and every theology.

In a category where west is deficient (e.g. theology here), it is fashionable to say let everyone else also abandon that category. why? our theology deserves to be evaluated on its own merit."

George comments:
"The one objection I have is the actual critique of the purva paksha, in this case the Christian theology. In my opinion, there is no need to counter-pose a Hindu theology to critique the purva paksha or to find a foothold in arguments as suggested by the "American professor sympathetic to Hinduism", because Christian theology has a basic flaw, which has to do with the basic premises it is built on. So, pointing out the basic flaw is enough to disqualify theology as a valid argument. Theology is pure sophistry and very peculiar to Christians. To construct a theology for Hindus to critique purva puksha or to make a stand in debates is not only unnecessary but would amount to condescension or worse, aping the West (this is where I agree with Carpentier) and in the process also bestow an undeserving intellectual credential to Christian theology. It actually deserves to be incinerated for its intellectual worth" 

Vijaya Rajiva responds to George:
"... Adi Sankara's method is the quintessential purva paksha and it created a Hindu system subsequently called Advaita Vedanta (Monism, as distinct from monotheism). Sri Sankara, ofcourse was debating Nagarjuna's Madhyamika philosophy. The difference between Brahman(Sankara) and Sunya (Nagarjuna) is one of the distinguishing criteria of Hinduism. Western scholars have tried to assimilate Sankara with dependent co origination (Buddhism).

My point here is that Rajiv's method is crucial to his undertaking which is outlinging what Being Different is. In that sense he is not creating a Hindu theology. This is not to say that he is a great mystic in the way that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or Ramana Maharshi were and they were followers of Sankara.

I found watching his video at the Oberoi Conference which positions his work gives you an idea of what to expect from the book."

followup thread
Fw: Fw: [RajivMalhotraDiscussion] Re: Illiteracy about Hinduism
Vijaya Rajiva: Short reply to Carpentier : the danger that you pose is there, but only if for a reader who is non Hindu. As you rightly point out, Hinduism is by its very nature non dogmatic. Take Adi Sankara's Brahma Sutras. You cannot get anything more abstract than the argumentation there and yet he was also amystic as in that other famous work Saundarya Lahiri. His modern disciple Ramkarishna Paramahamsa spoke both about the Nirguna Brahman (Formless) and Saguna (with form) and so on. Or Ramana Maharshi etc.

The above being the case Rajiv's book ( I am freely speculating here, since I have not yet read it) will move easily in both dimensions (no matter even in a small degree since I am not presuming to place him alongside of Adi Sankara and
others) and avoid the pitfall of a dogmatic theology. This is my hope and expectation.

Politically it is important that the book appear, the sooner the better. At a time when India threatens to be overtaken by Bollywood values and other asuric political forces, a constant Hindu resurgence is crucial.
Vijaya Rajiva adds:
"I wish to comment on 3 of RVN's insightful remarks on Dr.Elst, Rajiv's new book, and the need for Hindus to pull together.

1....Since I have not as yet read the book I cannot comment further further on the book itself, except to say that I watched Rajiv's video at the Oberoi Conference in the summer and am convinced that I will not be wasting my time reading the book.

However, I also want to add this: there may be many who have attempted a similar project in the vernaculars and these are not easily accessible to the diaspora. There are probably also some in English also.

That is the richness and variety of the country's cultural achievement, the density which is there and is often unsung and unknown, but nevertheless there. I had the privilege of recently interacting with some fine Hindu scholars also.

2. On the question of Dr. Elst and the Belgian tv shows etc. Dr. Elst is an outstanding scholar and is understandably impatient with the high school level standard of these shows. My own response is that these levels are also
important. Adi Sankara himself did distinguish between the learned seekers of Brahma Vidya and the popular aspirants thereof. Neverthless, he considered all the levels important, from the least to the highest. And this he expressed in
his inimical way by stressing Sri Vidya, Saundarya Lahiri, the devotional aspects of popular Hinduism and the need for an action oriented Hinduism. This aspect no doubt influenced Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and others.

3. RVN is right in saying that Hindu scholars should be diplomatic in their disagreements within their own community, no matter how aggressive they can be with external opponents. The door should be kept open so that a quick and meaningful unity can be established. "
Rajiv's response:
This is a wild supposition. Not good enough for a scholar. She is comparing one unknown (my book which she has not read) with an imagined book by some imagined writer. What kind of rigor is that? Also, this does nothing to spread knowledge, which is whats needed. 

There were several other illuminating comments that can be read in the original thread.