RMF Summary: Week of March 19 - 25, 2012

March 19
Fw: REBIRTH: Documented Modern Scientific Evidence of Rebirth: Reinc
Murali posts: "....There were references to reincarnation in the old and New Testaments. In A. D. 325 the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, along with his mother, Helena deleted references to reincarnation contained in the Bible. The second council of Constantinople, meeting in Ad. 553, confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. Apparently, they thought this concept would weaken the growing power of the Church....

Rajiv comment: Digestors like Carl Gregg love precisely this kind of claim. Everything they digest from dharma is said to have be already in early Christianity. It was lost due to politics over centuries. So now we are merely claiming back what was ours to begin with.

Unfortunately, many people think they are doing themselves a favor by advocating this - also Jesus lived in India, Parmahansa Yogananda follower's claim that he
equated Brahman = Christ....

The point is that these ideas were marginalized in Christianity for a reason - their incompatibility with Nicene Creed. You should understand why my target is
this Creed per se. You cannot allow them to selectively import certain dharma ideas without working out the implications which topple their whole edifice of

My point here holds for karma being accepted by many americans today, yoga, sacredness of earth, etc. One cannot pick and choose a few items here and there and digest them - rendering dharma redundant and its integrity compromised.

Raj asks:
"People who hold such "sameness" views regarding reincarnation in the bible need to be first clear about: "What" reincarnates? We know it is the Atman that goes through the birth-death-cycle. We have the entire Karma-Reincarnation phenomenon fully explained in our Dharmic traditions. Do the Abrahamic traditions have anything that is equivalent of Atman? Soul is NOT Atman. Soul CANNOT reincarnate. There is nothing in there about Karma - unless we compel ourselves to find it like Theosophy/Steiner/SRF folks do.

If at all reincarnation was there in the bible as suggested, it is just one more example of a Synthetic Unity of parts borrowed/stolen from elsewhere without bothering to properly understand and integrate into some existing system....

Rajiv comment: This is why in BD and various talks I explain that atman is non-translatable and should be used as is in English. Not only does soul not reincarnate, its relationship with God differs from the atman-Brahman relationship in major schools of dharma; animals do not souls where animals have atman and even plants do."
Prashanth wonders:
"Such confidence. I am sorry but you talk as though you know for a fact the there is an atman and a soul. I can never grasp how you can know such a thing exists."

Rajiv comment: The discussion and works we are dealing with concern TRUTH-CLAIMS of various traditions. Meaning we are comparing and contrasting what X and Y
claim. I dont think you can prove ANYTHING in the realm of metaphysics using conventional notions of proof. We cannot prove karma theory or Original Sin, we cannot prove (or disprove) heaven/hell or reincarnation. But we are here to examine how they differ and what the implications are.

If you want to inquire into whether atman exists or soul exists as a philosophical inquiry, I suggest a more productive use of your time would be to enroll in a curriculum on philosophy...." 

Sameer responds:
Two remarks - firstly, the influence of Dharma on the west predates Christianity. For example, the Yogi Kalyana who accompanied Alexander on his way back, and took Samadhi in Persia, made a deep impression on the Greeks. Also, there was a Buddhist monastery in Alexandria, if I recall correctly.

Rajiv comment: Indeed I am compiling influences in various periods. The pre-Christian influences are several - Buddhists brought the first bells to the Middle east which became church bells (Jewish temples did not have bells); monkhood went from Buddhism to Christianity (again not from Judaism); and so forth. But it does not negate my claim of more recent influences, does it?...

Sameer-2: As regards westerners "merely claiming what is theirs to begin with", it must be pointed out that truth belongs to no one, it cannot be limited. Even if it is lost, it will be rediscovered. It does not belong exclusively to India either.

Rajiv comment: Nobody denies this, but what does it have to do with my thesis? But people should have the grace to acknowledge the sources they have been inspired by.

Sameer-3: The SRF view of Christ is the same as that of Yogananda and his Guru, Swami Yukteswar; it is described in Yogananda's well known autobiography. Yogananda claims to have personally communed with Christ ... these are matters which one cannot judge without personal experience. 
Rajiv comment: ...and a similar claim if often made by followers of Sri Ramakrishna citing his own words. But the interpretation of 'Christ' by these men differs from that of the Church. They simply use the term as the western equivalent of Brahman, so the equation of Christ = Brahman merely amounts to Brahman = Brahman by definition. This is a tautology, nothing more. This is precisely why I introduce history centrism as my category, because neither Parmahansa Yogananda nor Sri Ramakrishna would accept a history centric notion of Christ as being the same as Brahman. Of course you can call the truth by many names, but in the process of renaming you must not alter its meaning. That point seems to be missed in the above post.

Ramesh posts:
Milanda Panha is a famous work of Buddhist literature that was supposedly compiled in the first century BC. The work is a dialouge about the Buddhist doctrine between the Bactrian Greek King Milinda and Buddhist monk Nagasena.

Rajiv: You can download it...

Rajiv closes with:
"In chapter 2 of BD, Nicene Creed's incompatibility with dharma is explained using several points of difference, such as:

  • One life only vs. karma-reincarnation
  • everyone is inherently Original Sinner vs. we are all originally divine (i.e. Christian Good News vs Hindu Good News)
  • Infinite gap between God and man that cannot be bridged by humans and hence dependence upon historical prophets is unavoidable vs. humans beings are sat-chit-ananda & have the innate capacity to experience God here and now without recourse to any absolute, unique historical event.
  • History centrism of prophets turns into absolute dependence upon Bible + Priesthood (in Catholicism) and Bible (in Protestantism), thereby yoga,mysticism, meditaton technologies and other adhyatma vidya did not develop as paths.
  • etc.
Whether reincarnation is scientific or not, and whether it is valid or not, the purpose of the above thesis is to point out the difference wrt Nicene Creed. Too often a point from BD gets used to take off in a debate that is independent of it and hence a diversion..."

Koenraad Elst responds to Murali's original question:
"At most a handful, and never as the normative teaching. ...
Jesus goes against this hypothesis. There were all kinds of beliefs doing the rounds in the Hellenistic Middle East, and only some of these crystallized into Christianity, other were emphatically rejected.

At any rate, the belief in reincarnation is *logically* incompatible with Christianity, which sees death [as] the cardinal problem of human existence. That much it has in common with Veda, Avasta, Daoism, which all glorify a vaguely defined value called [immortality]. But typical of Christianity (much less so for Islam and even Judaism, which follows the same creation story) is that it
explains mortality as punishment for original Sin. This creates the need for salvation from sin and hence from mortality. The Christian Messiah (unlike the
original Jewish Messiah, expected to come and restore the Kingdom of David) has to save us from sin and thereby from death. So, the birth and resurrection of Jesus only make sense within a framework that defines death as the central problem of human existence. Such is not the case at all in the reincarnation doctrine, where death is ephemeral, an illusion. In Jainism, Buddhism and the crypto-Buddhism that makes up much of post-Buddhist Hinduism, death is not the problem but is in a sense the hoped-for solution; while immortality is the problem, meaning the endless return to life.

The Vedic seers, like the Hebrew sages and the Daoist "immortals", saw life as a good thing, to be cherished and prolonged. Christians partly agree, only they don't mean this life, tainted by irreducible sin, but a glorified life in
Christ, whatever that may be. But the reincarnation beliefs, or at least their Shramanic versions (contrasting with those of many tribes the world over who believe in reincarnation and welcome it, or see it as a prize to be won) see life/incarnation as a burden from which we must free ourselves....

> In A. D. 325 the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, along with his mother, Helena deleted references to reincarnation contained in the Bible.<

Conspiracy theory. The editing of the Bible was a complex process, pretty much complete before Constantine....

>The second council of Constantinople, meeting in Ad. 553, confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. Apparently, they thought this concept would weaken the growing power of the Church.....The early Church fathers had accepted the concept of reincarnation. The early Gnostics-Clement of
Alexandria, Origen, Saint Jerome, and many others -believed that they had lived before and would again (pp 35-36).<

Untrue of most, perhaps true of Origen, but rightly repudiated by the Church. If its doctrine was to make sense, the free-floating ideas of reincarnation had to
be rejected as logically incompatible. Christ's resurrection loses its [unique] and salvific charcater if we all resurect anyway through reincarnation.

....The Gospel peddlers in Kandhamal have nothing to do with a third-century heresy, they teach a religion solidly wedded to the non-belief in reincarnation.

The only possible Christian belief in reincarnation is one that also doesn't fit your polemical needs, viz. the one peddled by the Jehovah's Witnesses .... that there is no soul capable of leading a dismebodied existence. In their view, you disappear completely when you die, and Christ after his Second Coming will revive you in your physical
body so that you can live forever on this physical earth. On condition that you are among the saved ones, the others will remain dead and non-existent forever. So, the saved ones will reincarnate exactly once, after the Second Coming, and the others never.

Incidentally, the title of this thread is rather mixed up. "Modern scientific evidence of rebirth" and "reincarnation was in the Bible" are two wholly different issues. The second one is a truth claim that happens to be mostly
untrue, the first one is a call to seek the truth experimentally. Given the cornerstone value that most of you accord to the doctrine of reincarnation, it seems to me that it [should] be in your interest to invest massively in proving it scientifically. Among other things, it would blow (serious, doctrinal) Christianity away. "

Koenraad Elst responds to another question from Sameer:
"> I'm interested in what exactly Jesus about reincarnation ... can you give a reference.

Jesus, to the extent that we know him through the Gospel, never expounds on reincarnation. Hanging on the cross, speaking with the "good murderer", he assures him that they will see each other in Heaven. This may be taken literally or as a figure of speech, but it belongs in the then-common Hellenistic view of a soul surviving death and going places in the afterworld, without any hint at

In John 9:3, Jesus refuses to feed the apostles' speculation that the blind-born child was paying for its own sins or for those of its parents: "Neither he nor his parents, but through him God's works have to be revealed."

.....The Jesus you have to deal with, is the one peddled by the missionaries, streamlined into Church doctrine. And there, we see not only an absence of reincarnation belief, but compelling reasons to reject it.

There are plenty of post-Christian New-Agers and New-Agey borderline Christians who try to combine a lingering belief in a saving Jesus with a trendy belief in
reincarnation; they are our counterpart to the sameness-preaching moron Swamis. They don't do it as a strategy to mislead Hindus or so, they really mean it. But they too are mistaken: you can have reincarnation or you can have Christianity, but never both.

Innocent as they may be in their motives, they do find a place on the U-Turn curve. They are usually not the kind of people who will raise chauvinistic objections to the whole idea of borrowing Indian beliefs, but they feel that if the reincarnation doctrine is true, and if saints and seers have existed in all continents, then they must have been aware of reincarnation. Ergo, if Jesus really was (leave alone the Son of God) an exemplary wisdom teacher, then he too must have been aware of it and taught it." 

Arun shares:
"....The best work that I have found is "20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation" by Ian Stevenson, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville. It has 7 cases from
India, 3 from Sri Lanka, 2 from Brazil, 7 from native Alaskans, and 1 from Lebanon. These are supposed to be representative of 200 cases the author has investigated first hand.

As a physicist I would say that there is no evidence of means of persistence of information about the individual after death that can make it innate knowledge to the next body somewhere else.

Further, I don't think karma needs reincarnation to work. The consequences of every action visit someone or the other; and it is only our clinging to our individuality that makes us want the consequences to visit the same individual as committed the action. It also suits our notion of justice...

To try to put a metaphor around it - the tree is the One, and this I is but a leaf. This leaf is shed and another leaf grows - it is a foolish conceit that this I-leaf was reincarnated as this other leaf. We need this illusion because without it, from the common perspective, the nature of the universe seems very bleak. The connection between this leaf and that leaf and all other leaves is the tree. The consequences of this leaf is expressed in varying degrees in the other leaves."

Raghu comments:
"I am not sure where the idea of an Individuated (i.e., separate) soul arises from. Neither the Yoga Sutras ( i have more than a passing familiarity with it) nor any Buddhist sutras imply a personal soul. they do speak about the impacts of Karma. This does not need great esoteric frame works to understand. Biologically, i carry the Karma of all my ancestors (apes and beyond too as Bill Bryson says in his book); psychologically i carry all the impacts of my
parenting and growing up, sociologically i carry all the conditioning of my society. Spiritually the i can not exist if i have to discover this realm!..."

Viswa responds to Arun:
"The tree-leaf analogy is .... precisely what our dharma indicates about our relationship with the ONE. I am just a ‘leaf’ and so are others, and all belong to the ONE.

The only difference is, as our shastras indicate, we will all blend into the ONE after death. Having read his Upanishads thoroughly Tagore was one very persistent believer in this life after death. Very consistently, through his songs (especially Brahma-sangeet) and poems, he talked of his blending into the ONE after death. "

March 19
Successful event at Univ of Toronto
Yesterday's event announced in the attached invite was a great success. It was organized by some academic scholars who are amongst the best known in the field...

March 21
Review: Lanka and BI
http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2012/03/20/breaking-india-and-the-fig&#92; ht-at-unhrc-about-the-llrc-report/...

March 21
Call for papers: BEING DIFFERENT Panel at Waves, 2012
Waves 2012 will be held on July 13-15 in Univ of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. They are planning a few panels with the BD themes. A few scholars (from USA and...

March 21
BI - 'Beef is a basic Dalit food', said Kancha Ilaiah
[Rajiv comment: While the western world itself campaigns against consumption of red meat on health grounds, it exports the exact opposite to India using intermediaries like this one named in BI.]

March 22
Atrocity Literature and counteraction
Vinod shares: ....I came across an instance of atrocity literature on Facebook today, and felt compelled to respond back to my Syrian Christian friend from school ...

Jitendra responds:
"The director of this film is Evan Grae Davis. If you google ... you will see a lot of links who really he is. ...
link with his connection to christ lutheran church.

Rajiv comment: BI has a lot of material on Lutherans, including a whole chapter. They are amongst the most active in generating and spreading atrocities literature, so this factoid is just another one of hundreds...

March 22
Fw: [RISA-L LIST] Pluralism Conference cfp
... From: Franklin M.J. M.J.Franklin@...> To: risa-l@... Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:55 PM Subject: [RISA-L LIST] Pluralism... 
Rampersad posts: "Indian Pluralism and Warren Hastings’s Orientalist Regime 18-20 July 2012, University of Wales Conference Centre , Gregynog, Powys.
Plenary speakers include Dr Natasha Eaton (King’s College, London ); William Dalrymple; Professor Carl Ernst ( University of North Carolina ); Professor Daniel White ( Toronto ).
The aim of this conference is to provide a more complete and multidisciplinary picture of the amateur Orientalists of the Hastings circle and the politico-cultural significance of their work. Jones sought similitude between West and East, and part of this overarching project was to stress the compatibility of Hindu and Islamic mysticism. There was an imperialist ideological dimension here; it was a means of aligning the regime's need to appear both neo-Brahmanical and neo-Mughal....."

Rajiv comment: The bit about William Jones is the standard stuff glorifying him. Someone should point out to them the facts about Jones revealed in Breaking India in the early chapters - about how Jones was obsessed with the Biblical Noah's sons as the races of humanity and tried to fit Hindus into that Biblical schema. His project had the over riding dimension of making "new" discoveries of civilizations fit into the Bible's idea of races...

March 23
Pondicherry Uturner from Germany: a case study
Rajiv Malhotra posts:
"At the recent seminar on BD in Pondy (video yet to be uploaded), an interesting episode occurred when a German lady stood up during Q&A and said: after living in Pondy for 22 years as follower of Sri Aurobindo, she had gone back to Germany and got re-baptized as a Christian.

[this is a related video]

This was a precious moment for my research and I wanted to capture it on camera with her permission, especially since she was being very candid and explicit. She made a long statement on her experiences and reasons, which will become one of my case studies for uturns. (Somehow, the Indians at the event were embarrassed and wanted to hush up and "move on" but she and I wanted to discuss this at greater length.)

Notice how she argues that digestion is for the "higher good". I have had similar explanations given to me by many "friends of dharma" over 30 years. This included one lady in Princeton who was a very interesting uturn case on digesting dharma into "western science" and who got recognized by Templeton Foundation, and this has led Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker  to produce a highly acclaimed TV series on the cosmos that is having an impact. All Hindu cosmology is removed!

The German uturner wrote as follows:

I'm always amazed, how close Christian perception and Sri Aurobindo's vision of the perfect world are and the description of the evolving divine plan behind it all. Opposed to Advaita (at least Shankara), Islam and Buddhism both these philosophies (to avoid the word 'religion')have their aim neither in a blissful void nor in a promising paradise above, but in the realization of a new earth and a new creation, a new human race as a reflection of the Divine Himself. Different images and terminology, but the core, the 'essence' is the same. Just to mention two examples: take 'Sin' for 'Death' and 'Purgatory' for 'Sadhana', God for Love. Although one should never impose the concept of one belief or ideology on another, as Rajiv put it in his talk, the similarities are striking! .....

I entered into a profound discussion on this subject with the local priest of 'Notre Dame des Anges', Pondicherry and now here, in Tiruvannamalai, where I'm staying near the ashram, with the the priest of 'Grace and Compassion'Convent. To my surprise both of them showed great interest in my survey and comparison of Indian spiritual wisdom and Christianity and asked me to come back and continue our conversation. Fr. Savarinmuthu here had spent 4 years at the Vatican and is a doctor of theology. He told me with a cunning smile, that he had always dreamt to explore the life and spiritual wisdom of different ashrams in Tamil Nadu(in disguise of course!), but never had had the time to do so. Both priests are secretly craving for spiritual experiences and a deeper knowledge, the wisdom behind the written word, they confessed. You won't believe, the one in Pondy even admitted quite openly that he sometimes is overwhelmed by doubts(during the eucharist! Ouch!)that what he is doing and preaching is the Truth and that he is battling with contradictions inside himself and the dogma of the CC. Interesting!

 I feel deep compassion and sympathy for them, because they are pushing towards a greater Truth, yet are bound by a petrified dogma and stagnant institution. They try to remain loyal , but at the same time wish to break free. ...Anyway, I promised to come back with some books or excerpts, as they have only very little time to read. My priestly friend here would even like to study Rajiv's book. If you still have one spare copy left, he would be truely greatful!


By the way, maybe not all spiritual U-turners kick their Indian masters but try and introduce something new and more valuable into their own traditional framework of belief in order to widen and transform? Toxic spikes are the weapons of the old world I feel and not necessary at all. There is nothing to defend and nothing to fear, everything is heading for a greater aim. There is a saying 'You are what you eat' - there may occur a subtle up-lifting of the western dogma, from the ferocious tiger to the gentle beauty. Christianity will never be able to devour Indian spirituality here in India, that's for sure, as it is a silent minority. In the West, to the concern of the institutional churches, Christianity is gradually declining, giving way to the interest and followership of Indian scriptures and gurus. Indian wisdom may get twisted, misinterpreted, adapted to western thinking and slowly devoured, but it will never totally disappear: like medicine it will be digested and assimilated of the body ('tiger'), but for its (body's)good and its transformation into something NEW and 'Suprascripture'(my own new creation:). In the end the act of devouring may turn out to be an act of the Divine and nothing of the little ego, its petty fears of extinction and its national pride. .....When contrasts meet distinction doesn't necessarily have to dissolve, both elements can exist side by side, like in a child, which is the mixture of both his parents, in genes, looks and character, without his parents having to disappear.

Ravi comments:
"It is mind boggling what extreme individuality can do to a nice person's views on someone else being eaten up. At the core of the Christian message as spread historically is the idea of bypassing cultural diversity for the "one Kingdom Under God" (brilliantly articulated in BI & BD, & also by Arun Shouries detailed readings of Christian scriptures & effects).

This kind of culturing still seems to survive robustly in otherwise compassionate & intelligent westerners who think nothing a host culture being a "sacrificial lamb" for the "Greater Good" ... of their own culture, which somehow is supposed to translate to "universal good"."

Rajesh notes:
"I believe the German lady has given a great hint as to why she made the U-Turn.

She says: "What is lacking with them and most of the common clergy, no matter of which denomination, is the direct spiritual experience and the vision of the Truth, which is a fact indeed and no illusion."

Many Christians who have a difficulty personally perceiving and experiencing the Divine in Christ, look towards Dharmic traditions to teach them methods of how to touch the Divine. They want to experience also.

The lady learnt all she could with Sri Aurobindo. Then she went back to Germany and let her be re-baptized. Now as a Christian, she can superimpose her knowledge of the Divine on to Christ, and thus use the same methodology to experience Christ as she learnt for experiencing the Divine through Dharmic ways.

During all this time, she was simply learning a new perspective how to view Christ and also Dharmic "technology" on how to "reach" him! The target had remained Christ for her the whole time.

She could never manage to transfer her "loyalty" to Dharmic names for the Supreme! ...

If one were to notice this involvement of the Westerners with Dharmic spirituality, in it they will always refer to the Supreme in general using terms like "Supreme", "Divine", "Bhagwan", "Ishwar", "Paramatma", etc. All these ways to refer to Him are generic. One can always superimpose these onto Jehovah or Christ, etc later on. Moreover this imagery is not idol-worship! However what these Westerners may hesitate to touch in Hinduism with a long pole, would be Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Durga, Ram, Krishna, etc. Meditating on these images would cause them discomfort....

Rajiv comment: Rajesh has captured the uturn psychology well. I go into extensive detail in the book. The western identity is history centric. It was never abandoned even in the depth of the person's love for Hinduism, guru, India, or whatever. It was merely set aside temporarily, perhaps in the unconscious. At a later date it pops up and resurfaces and then its uturn time! Many such persons do not have a premeditated goal to return to Christianity. They are open to new ideas but the loyalty to the deeply ingrained sense of collective western history runs too deep to go away easily. Real transformation has not happened even after decades of dedication to a Hindu guru or movement.

The uturn moment is when (due to a combination of circumstances and forces which I discuss in detail) there is an internal conflict between whats been learned new from dharma versus old western ego that pulls back. In cases where the latter wins, there is the uturn..." 

Dwai responds to Rajesh:
"In response to rajesh's post, in my experience with iskconites, they have simply replaced their native abrahamic faith with a dharmic one. The tendencies and
psychoses associated with the abrahamic still exist quite strongly nonetheless..." 

Arjunshakti adds:
"I see Iskcon as a trojan horse after interacting with them since childhood. I've seen their paintings of krishna turn from Indian to European and its not surprising that they often say that Krishna was not an Indian even if he was
born there.They dont even class themselves hindus but only when they need donations or are in trouble like in Russia presently they suddenly become hindus.For years they have been trying to break away Vaishnavism away from Hinduism.They class Jesus as a great Vaishnava but attack other Gurus like Vivekanada and others." 

Ravi responds:
"While the criticisms may be valid to a point, the situation is far more complex than articulated by the personal experiences on certain aspects/people of ISKCON. Calling it a "Trojan horse" seems a bit too far, as is extrapolating from a few personal experiences to a whole movement.

It it's original thrust it seems to have gone furthermost in getting devotees/followers to dissolve their existing identities to take on the "dvija /reborn" new personality based on Vaisnava sampradaya traditions.

A movement has to be in constant interaction with the societies it lives in, & it should be more a comment on Western Universalism's attempt to digest ISKCON when we see the "traditionalists" vs the "new liberals" trying to get to lead the movement as we see now..."

Sumant comments:
"It is also quite telling how often these U-turns are followed up by an immediate commercial venture - a "project", starting a "Christian meditation" organization (which purges all references to the dharmic traditons from where these techniques were learnt), "research" that is very often (very well) funded by organizations with a Christian agenda. All of these are merely the Church in a different garb. The narrow, exclusive and divisive agenda of the Church stays intact in all such endeavours. Plus they also yield very real, material and career/commercial benefits. The spirit of sadhana, of the ego-less pursuit of self-enquiry - which is the raison d'etre of the dharmic techniques and an intensely personal pursuit - is discarded in this process and is replaced by the egoistic domination that the Church seeks, albeit in a more insidious form." 

Rajiv shares an update:
".... The German Uturn lady is now watching my various videos on YouTube and writes to me:

"Thank you Rajiv for all your interesting videos! I'm learning more about India and western & eastern spirituality through your talks than during the last 30 years of my life in and outside the different ashrams."

However, I don't expect that this will  reverse her uturn, though it could slow it down..." 

[on 'mutual respect' ]
March 23

What is a genuine religion?
Naidoo comments: I will never regard Christianity, Islam and Baha'i as genuine religions. In fact I have serious difficulties with all five religions born in the Middle East....

Rajiv responds:
BD does not want to be over-ambitious in opening a certain kind of debate. It does not want to rush ahead and foreclose opportunities. First we must get to the forums where difference can be discussed seriously and candidly.
Only then can one begin to argue whats true and false.

For now, BD merely wants to assert that truth-claims (not the same thing as truths) differ in very serious ways. Even winning our own leaders on this point is very difficult. Right here in Toronto I came across a popular interfaith
Hindu who is so full of this "sameness" stuff. Very smooth talker, nice guy, full of humor, kindness, gentle body language. But he slipped out when I explained that such interfaith positions of sameness by Hindus are one-sided
because others do not ascribe to them, and that our interfaith representatives need to undergo serious training because they are unqualified to speak for us. The large gathering at the temple applauded, but he left..."

bluecupid asks:
"If a religion says that Hindus are going to hell and that "idol worship" is shirk, how is it that Hindus can respect that religion?

Rajiv response: we have explained several times before that "mutual" respect means that if the other party wont respect us, we do not have to respect him. It is not "unconditional" respect I offer but mutual. That is why hitler, bin laden, ravana, etc do NOT deserve respect under the "MUTUAL respect" principle - because their exclusivity disrespects others." 

Surya adds:
"There is no paradox.

We cannot let people get away with 'unless you prove us wrong, yours cannot be right'.

Here is the argument, according to these people:

(1) Our truth claim is X and your truth claim is Y. 
(2) X and Y are incompatible - both cannot be true at the same time.  However, both can be false.

Logical conclusion from the above definitions of X,  Y is:  (X AND Y) is always false.

From this, it is true that X cannot be True unless Y is False.  It follows that "unless you prove us wrong, yours cannot be right".

Are these people correct then?  No, the argument is not complete.  Argument is incomplete because they are not showing a crucial but implicit premise.  They are missing a crucial premise in the argument and that crucial premise depends on who is making the argument.

If they are framing the argument, they add the implicit premise "X is True" because that is their truth-claim.   The conclusion then is "Y is False".

If you are framing the argument, you add the premise "Y is True" because that is your truth-claim.  The conclusion then is "X is False".

Each party reaches a different conclusion because they have different implicit premises, their respective truth claims.  The only thing one can say for sure is that both these truth claims cannot be true at the same time.

We both can agree that we have incompatible truth claims.  We also can agree that we cannot prove our respective truth-claims. Now, we have the choice to acknowledge this explicitly and engage each other with mutual respect.  If you hold that your Truth claim is the Truth, thus concluding that my truth claim is False, I could do the same from my end.  Claiming that your truth-claim is true without evidence is exclusivity.  This is going to keep us from engaging each other with "mutual" respect. 

This is the basis behind the concept of Mutual Respect explained in BD...." 

Shaas notes:
"Just considering the meaning of the term "religion" already distinguish "true religion" and mere superstition. Latin Re-ligare means binding back, binding back to the source

If a "religion" just talks but fails to actually give the experience of Self-realization, fails to connect to Âtmâ or Brahman, it does not deserve the name "Religion"."

Rajiv comment: Balagangadhara's book "The Heathen in his Blindness" revolved on the very point that Latin 're-ligare' is not the same thing as Christian 'religion' even though the Christians (mis)appropriated) the Latin term. So one cannot go to the Latin meaning of a term and use that to interpret a later phenomenon where it was misapplied.

Analogy: Yoga gets misappropriated to denote "Christian Yoga" where it gets a new meaning. Centuries later comes a scholar who uses the Sanskrit notion of yoga to interpret Christianity. That would be wrong." 

March 25
Atrocity literature- Important paper that disproves commonly held no
Subrahmanya shares: In this paper, the hypothesis that skewed-sex ratio in India is due to sex-selection is shown to be wrong. The authors state that 80% of the missing female's may be explained by other reasons....

March 25
Book Review from Toronto
Here is another recent book review of "Being Different"published in Toronto. ...

March 25
Re: How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries
Sumant shares:
"As a follow-up to my earlier mail, I would have thought technologists from Silicon Valley - Vinod Khosla, Vin Dham, Arun Netravalli, Gururaj Deshpande and many, many others - would be interested in helping with such a project. The original Sanskrit texts are extant, as are translations, what's needed is research by mathematicians, packaging and dissemination of these discoveries to the common man - more so to Indians themselves.
It'd be nice to hear from Rajiv on what the attitude of the Indian millionaires, particularly wealthy Indian technologists, has been towards his multi-volume project on science and technology contributions of India."

Rajiv comment: Without mentioning any names, most NRIs who made it big do not want to rock the boat by challenging western universalism, as WU is the framework they function in and in terms of which they made their billions. Most also lack the time and interest to study dharma beyond the superficial Deepak Chopra cocktail party buzz.

Those few who are interested, tend to be active in some Sangh related group. This makes them vulnerable to the foll. tendencies:
-- many are hiding their involvement in public due to Sangh disrepute and guilt-by-association;
-- most have spent their past few decades focused on serving as a satellite to India-based politics;
-- most of the funding went to build temples, about 800 large ones, costing multimillion dollars each, with minimal discourse on the topics we discuss here - many temples wont even allow such a lecture in their premises for fear of crossing the boundaries of "sameness".
-- only very recently and suddenly (thanks in large part to my writings/talks) have they become aware of school, academic, media, think tank biases in the US; and started refocusing their priorities in this direction;
-- they are inadequately educated on the issues at stake, and tend to quote third parties to impress each other, i.e. there is a lack of real kurukshetra encounters which are necessary to get trained. Mostly behind the scenes work at gatherings of "like-minded people"...
-- Nevertheless, many very dedicated individuals do exist and they are doing their best under tough circumstances. I am delighted to know several of them. But their own resources are very limited."

Another followup comment by Rajiv:
"I would add the Indian National Congress to the above list of civilizational groups entering politics. Gandhi did not want Congress to rule India after independence, and wanted it to remain a grass roots organization to rebuild Indian civilization from the villages up. It was Nehru's out-of-control ambition for personal political power that turned Congress into a substitute for British rule.

Politics is not bad or unimportant, and a nation does need good politicians and political institutions. But my point was that in addition there also need to be individuals and groups devoted to civilization that remain outside politics for a number of reasons: not getting tainted with the ups and downs inevitable in politics; not becoming subordinate to short-term political goals; not becoming turned into tools for politicians' egos..."


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