RMF Summary: Week of December 10 - 16, 2012

December 11
Have you interacted with Indian Christian Theologians in India
Dear Mr. Malhotra: I wonder if you have engaged Indian Christian theologians either in India or outside the same way you have interacted with Caucasian Christian theologians.
Can you elaborate on your interactions with them?
Rajiv's response:
"Please see my debate with the Indian Christian pastor held at Princeton University:

Make sure you see all the videos to get a good impression of what happened, and why these folks ran away. The attendees felt that their canned positions (taught by their seminaries) did not hold, up which frustrated them.  "
(This is yet another occasion where the opposition runs away without completing the debate with Rajiv).
Arun adds:
"As a follow-up, please read this essay in the Infinity Foundation website,It is about Svadhyaya, by Makarand Paranjpe. These kinds of efforts, like Svadhyaya, Ekal Vidyalaya movement, that are the
answer to the gentleman in the "unfortunate incident" piece of the video."

December 12 (continuing thread from December 4)
Hinduism: The ultimate anti-fragile
The above is an interesting and innovative use of BD's thesis. Clearly, the... 
Subra responds:
1. thanks for taking the time to respond. The Hindu society offered mutual respect, but the reception from the other side ranged from tolerating to outright rejection. hence temporary.

2. Since u mentioned Jinnah, here's a related hypothesis. Take Pakistan. There is a case to be made that a main reason Pakistan has not totally collapsed despite the incredible pressures they are subject to is because of the residual 'anti-fragile DNA' of Dharmic integral unity they retain, not their new-found Islamic history-centrism or western secularism. Every major split, be it in Baluchistan or East Pakistan is a crack in their fragile synthetic unity forcibly superimposed on original IU. Even today, we can see the sporadic attempts there to use the Bandhu principle to regrow what was lost, even if unconsciously (via Hindu dance, music, etc). If this hypothesis is true, the violent extermination of the Dharmic culture in East & west pakistan will result in a loss of this precious DNA and considerably weaken the bonds in their society."

December 14 (New Thread)
Maria posts:
"Recently I met an American pastor (Presbyterian) who mentioned an interesting incident:
some church in US, (I believe it was Baptist) had declared that Jews dont have the grace of God because they dont believe in Jesus. His own Church called for a meeting and there they made a declaration that Jews have direct access to God and dont need to go via Jesus. It came in the local newspaper. In his town there are a few Jewish families. He was called by the most prominent of the Jews, usually an amiable fellow. When he reached his shop, the pastor got blasted: Who do you think you people are? You have no business to make a declaration like this. We know we have direct access to God, we dont need your certificate. The pastor told me that actually he thought the Jews would be pleased nothing of this sort.

It made me think about the Hindu approach. I feel it has to be on many levels. The academic one is no doubt very important, and also is a street response, when one meets Christians or priests in India. Not everyone is an intellectual and some solid self-confidence regarding Hinduism may put proselytizers in place.  In my own way, whenever I meet Christians, for example auto/ taxi driver, I ask them not to believe when Christians tell him that Hinduism is bad. And I surprise them by telling, that I consider it the best of all..."   

December 14
Devendra shares an update on another upcoming milestone:
"As some of you may know,Hindi version of Shri Rajiv Malhotra's pioneer book,'Being Different' will be published in a few months. The English version was a best seller,and has churned thought process of readers who delved into this treatise that contains many original and thought-provoking ideas,which came after a long research and 'manthan' process of almost two decades.

Here is the help I am requesting from you (actually,you will be helping your own culture and tradition with your constructive help):

1. What will be the most fitting title in Hindi for 'Being Different' - An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism".
2. What can you do to make the Hindi version of Being Different one of the best Hindi books ever published. Please indicate -
    a. The number of copies you will buy.
    b. Endorsements for the book from prominent people you can obtain (by the end of January, 2013)
    c. Publicity launch you can organize in your town - if you live in Bharat. Later on, we will also need people to organize lecture tours of Shri Malhotra in USA and Canada to promote and sell the   Hindi version. Shri Malhotra speaks very well in Hindi.

Please also start writing and informing others about this ground-breaking book being published in Hindi. Your help will go a long way in popularising and establishing the ideas of this modern-day Vivekananda to help save our civilization. This book offers the best defence of our culture,and if we can expose Bhartiya population to the ideas contain in the book,the pseudo-secularism and stockholm syndrome will be replaced with genuine pride and trust in our own civilization."
[RMF Moderator's Note: Ideas/leads on "Being Different" Hindi Version, like the enthusiastic response below, should in future be sent directly to Devendra Singh ji at devendra60@... .]  
There were many responses with various titles suggested. Please visit the thread, and post your own preference there! It is a celebration.

December 15 (New Post)
Please read Rajiv's blog on FirstPost (an Indian blog). This is the 3rd blog on FirstPost. This one reiterates Rajiv's demands  for rhetorical changes in inter-faith dialogue. Ironically, Condoleezza Rice seems to have picked up the "mutual respect" terminology, though we are unsure she appreciate all the implications. For words can precede behavior and nothing less than respect (as opposed to tolerance) should suffice for Hindus participating in inter-faith meetings.

Surya responds:
" Such egalitarian thinking of Swami Vivekananda is often wasted on Christian apologists (for example, Ravi Zacharias) who essentially argue that falsehood cannot claim for mutual respect along with truth.  They argue as follows:

Claim 1: All religions have truth claims which are exclusive.  Even ultra-inclusive Bahai faith excludes the exclusivists.
Argument: For any religion to have a claim of distinctness, it needs to have truth claims in it that is incompatible with the other religion that it is compared to.  If it did not, it would merely be a subset.

Claim 2: Since religions have truth claims which make them mutually incompatible, therefore at most one of them can be true. In fact, it is even logically possible that all of them are false.
Argument: law of excluded-middle

Claim 3:  Only Christianity is the true religion.
Argument: Historical evidence shows that Jesus resurrected after crucifixion.  This is proof for his divinity.  Christianity is the only religion that can offer proof for its truth claims.  Therefore, those claims are true.  Therefore, Christianity is a true religion.

From claims 2 and 3, all other religions are false.  One cannot be required to accept false claims. Thus, Christian position of exclusivism is justified with evidence.  Why should they show respect for claims that oppose the truth?

Unless comments of Swami Vivekananda are backed up with an argument that invalidates the argument above, the idea of mutual respect will have no reception on the other side.."

Maria adds:
"Surya, You are right that egalitarian thinking is wasted on Christian fundamentalists, who stick to the fundamentals, but less and less people are enamoured by these fundamentals, and thats where Hindus can have influence. The Time article quotes some fundamentalists, but also asks Is Bell's Christianity "less judgmental, more fluid, open to questioning
the most ancient of assumptions” on an inexorable rise? And ends on a positive note with a quote of Bell: something new is in the air.
... And nowadays, where physics has gone so far as to imply that history has no standing in absolute truth, what prevents Hindus/ Indian tradition to claim that they are the only ones who do not depend on historical figures but on enquiry,
analysis and intuitive insight by persons who have purified their means of perception and who show how others can come to the same experience and therefore have the best approach/ chance to discover what is really true about us and the universe.."

December 16 (New Thread)
Pt Ravi Shankar Interview
tvikhanas posts:
"... The American interviewer asks when he
thinks we will see genuine "world music". Pt Ravi Shankar responds by saying he will not comprise the purity of his tradition and instead of one world music would like to see rich variety.

Only a competent and confident person can respond this way. Lesser persons would hide behind vague generalities to avoid exposing their ignorance or confronting the issues..."


Rajiv's response:
"An important point is made above. I was planning to write a
eulogy of Pt. Ravi Shankar emphasizing that he was the quintessential non-digestible Indian. Due to my own backlog of work,I could not do so. ... My concern (and prediction) is that after his death we will see sitar digested into a subset of western string instruments. What will also be lost will be raga, as that form will get reduced to normative/orderly music in the Western sense. I allude to raga differences in the Order and Chaos chapter. Because Ravi Shankar embodied the improvisation principle of raga, he was not digestible into western music. After him, I doubt there is another personality with this clarity and courage. Ravi Shankar did not care that Beatles were far more famous and rich in money than he; he insisted that they comply as his students with all the traditions of Indian music - no drugs, no smoking, remove shoes, no alcohol, touch guru's feet before the class, sarasvati vandana, etc.  "

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