RMF Summary: Week of December 19 - 25, 2011

December 19
2009 discussion on Kashmir at Harvard - attended by Angana Chatterji
In light of the recent dismissal of Angana Chatterji, who Rajiv did highlight in BI, I wanted to look into some of the company she kept. No surprises that... 

December 19
How to help/volunteer
I am constantly getting advice, offers of help, etc. from well meaning persons. So we have added a tab at the web site to guide those who are serious. Please visit:


By referring people to this tab, I hope to save time repeating the kinds of help we can use and the levels of commitment we would expect to make it worthwhile.

Hoping to hear from genuinely committed persons.

December 20
Question for Mr. Malhotra on the Strategy for Purva Paksha with Abra
Arun asks: This is a question I have for you with regards to the pUrva pakSA you talk about in your videos and of course, in the book Being Different.

I was wondering what the long term benefits are for us as Hindus to do pUrvA pakSA with Abrahamics other than becoming knowledgeable in their mindset, philosophies, and framework(s) from which they operate on/in?

For example, the necessity to be knowledgeable enough to debate a Christian, Jew, or Muslim requires a certain amount of study of their religions. Is the goal of doing this to "learn the enemy" so to speak? Meaning, are you suggesting
that Hindus, although have identified those who are hostile to us and our way of life, become well-versed in the ways of the Abrahamics in order to defeat them at various levels; academically, through debate, scholarship etc.?

Rajiv's response:
"...1. Western thought has colonized us, including gurus, and so-called leaders of Hinduism in society and politics, education, politics. When you reverse the gaze at the west to understand what the differences are, it can result in de-colonizing us. One becomes self conscious of how one has been colonized without even knowing it. For instance, in chapter 5, understanding the different between secularism and sapeksha-dharma can have a big impact. Refusing to translate dharma as religion, atman as soul, shakti as Holy Spirit, etc. - each of these transformations in an individual can be a watershed event in their lives. We live and think more authentically.

2. Reversing the gaze to identify differences is a methodology to resist being digested. As I said in my TV interview on the last day of my India trip (still waiting for the DVD to arrive), we are either being different or being digested.

3. Once we understand the other on our own terms, we are less in awe of them. Mimicry can stop. This is required to become a great civilization on the world stage as many Indians aspire. You cannot be a great civilization merely with material progress and remaining confused/misinformed about one's sense of selfhood.

4. Gurus who specialize in teaching westerners will benefit from purva paksha because it will inform them of the pre-conditioning such westerners bring. This preconditioning (such as history-centrism) must be addressed explicitly or else there will be uturns and nasty outcomes as we often see."

bluecupid comments:
"There is the type of Westerner who takes to Eastern Dharmic Traditions in one form or another, NOT influenced by "Judeo-Christian values" but influenced by:

1. Liberalism
2. Secularism
3. Feminism
4. The Sexual Revolution"

Rajiv's response: 
... I have more research on these types than on Christians because American liberals lack the self consciousness of being biased, whereas the radical Christian is quite blatant about it.

Kindly read my earlier book "Breaking India" for numerous examples of how the American liberal/left is undermining Indian civilization and its sense of unity.

In the above category of liberals (that you advocate) are: Martha Nussbaum, Lisa McLean, Angana Chaterjee, Sugata Bose and his girlfriend Ayesha Jalal, and hundreds of others. Every US university has them in South Asian studies, English, religious studies, history, etc. I run into them at the South Asian Conferences at Berkeley and Madison where over 500 papers are presented by such folks annually...

I have many writings in the pipeline on such folks. Ken Wilber being a big shot among them. Wilber is super UTurn hero, as are Joseph Campbell, Eliade, and a host of other "liberals".

Western liberalism is the deceptive version of chauvinism - after you scratch the surface, as happened in your case with little effort, which is what makes you interesting for us. "

Chandramouli shares some feedback from another forum:
"One more very interesting comment from other forum relating to Tiger Vs Deer:

"To put it in Rajiv Mlahotra's terms The Abramhamic Tiger has digested the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and even the Enlightenment deer and thus remains a tiger still, not a deer." Or in Old Testament terms it has put on a multi-colored coat
in order to appeal to different fools.

Rajiv's response to Chandramouli:
Has that other forum watched my recent videos, read the book - to get the deeper picture? 

Carpentier responds to Rajiv:
"Let us not put Eliade or Joseph Campbell on the U-turn boat. Their works consist in highlighting and bringing out the mythical, cosmological aspects of the Western traditional cultures in order to reconnect with the Perennial Philosophy. Everyone must work on the truth from the departure point of his own civilisation by rediscovering its roots and its hidden meaning.

Rajiv's response: 
Both these characters definitely ARE prominent uturners. I am
glad Come expressed his support for them, as I want to provoke puncture this kind of aura of people like Campbell (and many others glorified in "American Veda" type of works). You can add Jung to this list and many other lineages of so-called "western" pioneers who were unfair in hiding their Indian sources in order to be seen as "original" thinkers.

In the case of Campbell, people in India praise what they see as his love for Indian spirituality. But he lived many years in Esalen where he facilitated many uturns. Read his book "Baksheesh and Brahman", written after he had finished his
mining expedition to appropriate Indian things, and in it the whole tradition is depicted as a form of corruption by brahmins to dupe the masses....

... The fact that people today dont see these as uturns is precisely what makes that work so important.

Such "bridge builders" were biased and served as the stomachs of the digestive system. The whole Perennial Philosophy is merely stage-2 of the uturn."

Mrithak asks Rajiv:
"I was wondering your view on Rudolph Steiner as my wife is a Waldorf school teacher. Steiner is very sympathetic towards Indian traditions in his works such as " how to know higher worlds" and even has incorparated the Guru-kula model of
having the same teacher for all subjects till 8th grade. Interestingly Steiner says that he has a "Guru" but won't reveal the name of his Guru.

Rajiv response: Rudolph Steiner is an important uturner. After J. Krishnamurty was selected to head the Theosophists, Steiner quit the movement because he wanted that post. Till then, he had learned a lot from Indian sources, as did most Theosophists. He wrote a fairly ok interpretation of Gita, etc.

Steiner then started his own anthropomorphism movement. This was initially a sort of half-way place combining Hinduism and Christianity - the way most uturns begin. As it evolved, it got more and more distant from Hinduism.

I would say he was in the same league as Carl Jung - (1) learned from Hinduism; (2) then used it to construct his own hybrid of Christianity and Hinduism; (3) gradually after the founder's death the movement distanced from the Indian
sources and became increasingly neo-Christian. ....

Today, both these movements are among the "new" and "liberal" thought that is seen as a part of the development of western thought. In other words, they have used dharma to reinvent Christianity. There remain some Indian terminology and many ideas are borrowed as is clear. BUT THEIR LEADERS TODAY DO NOT WANT TO BE TOLD THIS PUBLICLY, OR AT LEAST THEY WILL NOT LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

I approached the Steiner people to get them interested to do a project explicitly on "Indian influences on Rudolph Steiner and his education system." Informally they accept "some influences" but do not want to emphasize this aspect.

Similar influences also exist in the case of Montessori and her famous school system. She spent many years in India as a shelter during World War 2, and thats where she wrote some of her important works on education. She had good relations with Gandhi, Ramana Maharshi, and various others. But try asking the headquarters of the Montessori system to celebrate the "Hindu education system's influences".

I have been around the block engaging dozens of such groups since the 1990s. In fact the Theosophy folks in Adyar, Tamil Nadu show no interest to celebrate their appropriations of Hindu thought."

Kirit comments:
"What a revealing yet sad fact to know for a person like me who has held Montessori in high esteem for many reasons including having had owned a Montessori school, and who has studied Jung as a psychotherapist, while being ignorant about direct Hindu influences in their work. ..."

Rajiv's response:
... My interest in the appropriation of education per se started when in the 1990s I saw a course at Princeton Univ called "the history of universities". The textbook had zero mention of Nalanda/Taxishala or any other Indian center of learning. It was all about Alexandria, Greece, Europe and the West. I approached the professor and suggested that he include the history of ancient universities in India. His predictable response said things like: "I am unaware of any such Indian universities", "there is no reliable source on this", "we want to stay away from rightwing chauvinistic claims", etc.

Luckily, I found in the Princeton library a 3 volume history of Nalanda written by a western scholar, using sources from visiting Chinese and other students who had written of their experiences at Nalanda after returning back to their home
countries. Even after I showed this "source" material, the prof was unwilling to include anything about India, giving the excuse that he was "unqualified" to teach such a complex matter without first spending a lot of time to study it for

... then I came across an entirely different and very CONTEMPORARY example of a MAJOR educational movement in the west that (according to official accounts)
owes its origins to one man living in Europe (now in his 90s). This methodology of learning has become extremely mainstream and is spreading like wild fire. But the smoking gun came when I happened to meet a western woman by chance at a talk on uturn i was giving in a university. She told me that she had an interesting "example" of uturn to bring to my attention. What transpired was amazing .... What resulted is now a solid chapter on this particular case study, which clearly establishes the Indian origins of something very modern and of relevance today.

Meanwhile, a friend's wife teaching at the Princeton Waldorf school (a system started by Steiner using what he regarded as "his own" theory of education) related some incidents that happened in the school. They were teaching many India/Hindu techniques but never acknowledging the source or any links at all with dharma. After I gave her some background and encouraged her to open the subject, she approached the head of school, but was told in direct words that "Hinduism could not be introduced into the curriculum or mentioned as a source" - even though Steiner himself was heavily influenced by dharma.

... one man who claimed to be "bridging" the east-west was a Steinerite. He was some senior official in an organization that researches and promotes Steiner's philosophy called anthropomorphism. He was speaking "on behalf of" hindu/buddhist thought - often these folks who are middlemen in the appropriation serve as proxies representing dharma in ways that are remarkably authentic if the audience is sophisticated.

... From their research output I discovered how very
cleverly they were replacing all references to Sanskrit terms, dharmic paradigms, and turning this into "new western thought" by so-called pioneers like Steiner and many others, and/or "old western thought" that could combine
Hellenistic (Greek) and Hebraic (Judeo-Christian) thinkers.

Indian civ was being digested into the belly of the west. ... So even before coming to Maria Montessori's Indian influences, there is a whole history of how Indian education has become digested into the west.

... a group with centers across USA that has started spreading Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of education after removing Indian sources (or turning them into a small footnote of "minor influence").

.... Just in case you imagine that there is a support base for my work, you are sadly mistaken. 99% of the "support" offered is either a waste of precious time, or else it ends up being someone with self-serving agendas that only make things
worse. Our tradition today simply lacks the mechanisms for consistent support for original research that has the potential for being a game changer. Its too much filled with politics, pettiness, short-term "whats in it for me"..."

Venkata.. responds to bluecupid:
"The word 'liberal' in the US context and perhaps in the European context too, seems to have taken a meaning of its own ...  I have found many of them art Hindu-haters too... It is not clear ( at least to me) why persons in the West influenced by the four thought processes by Bluecupid below, should wish to take to Dharmic traditions.

1. Liberalism
2. Secularism
3. Feminism
4. The Sexual Revolution

Perhaps if we go in to this phenomenon deeper we may come tofind why people get disappointed or take a U turn or become uncomfortable in the 'culture' but not in the philosophy of Indian society."

Rajiv response:
In Uturn I examine the psychological, political and social
forces at work on these people. Many of them ran away from something in the west, rather than specifically towards dharma for positive reasons. When the fad appeal wore off they made uturns. But they got transformed by the journey, hence they had a need to digest what they had learnt into their own western framework.

Gurus have failed to uproot the western fixations in order to clear the soil of its preconditions, and then plant the new knowledge. Buddhists do this re-conditioning more systematically, hence they have fewer uturns (although they
have them as well).

The process known as "conversion" is precisely to remove past conditioning and axioms, in order to properly plant new ones. Hindu gurus have been reluctant and even afraid to convert. So the new knowledge gets added without first cleaning the vessel from the old contaminants. This fails to be sustainable when the old/new civilizational assumptions are inherently incompatible as BD shows." 

bluecupid responds:
"Rajiv and I deal with 2 different sets of "liberals". I'm not mixing it up with Christians or academics. The people I deal with are "liberal minded" non-academic folk who practice yoga or partake in one or many forms of Eastern traditions, often on a surface level but sometimes going deeper. They are nice, open-minded people who are not interested in joining any organized religious cult."

Rajiv response: 
It is precisely these "nice and open minded" persons I did research on at dozens of yoga centers, meditation centers etc. Yes they are "nice", but within the safe boundaries of their comfort zone as "westerners". This zone assumes a sense of american exceptionalism. Try contesting "western
Universalism" - they will continue being "nice" but will not call back even though they will show interest. You have a limited experience of american liberals, and that too untested by provoking the safety net. ...."

December 20
Philosophical & Theological difference
Reading BD now.  Rajiv  has very beautifully shown the irreconcilable philosophical differences (Original Sin vs 'Amartasya putraha' ,  Salvation through...

Rajiv comments on a followup on "Savior"
The term "Savior" in Christianity is clearly defined and does NOT apply to Krishna. Savior and Salvation in Christianity are
very explicitly defined as means to escape from Original Sin, a condition that does not exist in any dharma philosophy.

Koti mistakes Savior/Salvation as any appeal to a Personal Supreme Being, (Krishna in this case). My book clearly explains the personal notion of Supreme Being as an important part of dharma (for those who prefer it). Puja and bhakti
ARE forms of sadhana.

His post above makes it seem that sadhana excludes bhakti, which is untrue. To discuss bhakti, he brings in "Savior" - a colonized idea the result of translating Krishna = Savior..."

December 20
Feed back on BI on a well informed and respected parlimentarian
This is the feedback I received from a member of the parliament here to whom I had presented a book a few months back: Dear Karthi I thought I should let you...

December 21 

By liberal I don't mean any type of political affiliation but simply "liberal minded" or open minded.

Rajiv's response: 
"... I am NOT limiting myself in my
study of americans to the christian or political kind. Bluecupid does not seem to read responses. I INCLUDE those whose "self image" fits the above idea of being liberal.

Are you aware of cognitive science studies at Harvard on a new condition they call "implicit bias"? See:
https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/background/faqs.html They found that liberals whose self definition was that they did not have racial bias were in fact racially biased unconsciously. The technique they developed is to gain insight into your unconscious level. White students in liberal places like Yale had the highest level of white preference. Asians ironically also had white preference but not as much. Blacks did not have white preference.

My own technique has been to use "dialogue with provocation" - take the liberals to the foundations of american exceptionalism and start taking that axiom apart one brick at a time. Unless you try this yourself (which requires considerable
theoretical study and empirical work) you will not know that such a syndrome even exists."

December 22
Re: ISKCON, Rajiv's forum
Yogesh: Mr. Malhotra does not separate Christianity and Jewism, he uses the concatenated term Judeo-Christian tradition.

Rajiv's response: 
Actually I use several terms depending on the specific context:
Judaism, Christianity, Judeo-Christianity, Abrahamic religions, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. Each is distinct and cannot be collapsed into one. Judeo-Christianity is a broad American term (not used in Europe) referring to biblical traditions in general. ... Finally, your use of the term "Jewism" is unfortunate - Jews do not refer to themselves by that term. The right term is Judaism.

(Rajiv: The person writing the post below is threatened by my  positions on difference between Hinduism and Christianity. He espouses how Hinduism can be digested into Christianity by mapping every aspect of into some Christian substitute.
That this mindset is a major movement in India and in USA ... I have color coded his words as follows:
  • Yellow highlight where he tries to map digest (map) Hinduism into Christian doctrine;
  • Blue highlight where he makes general assumptions of sameness without basis or substantiation (a common approach of most modern Hindus and Indians in general); and
  • Green highlight where he insinuates that I am unqualified without having done his homework on me.

December 23
My response to a Christian wanting to DIGEST Hinduism into Christian
Vishwamitr wrote:
... There are organisations and institutions which are making effort to make this world a Vasudeva Kutumbam. OneSource of all creation. It all would begin with the hypothesis one starts with.  If you have seen the works of Dr. Zakir Naik his study starts with the point of view of finding the union or similarity in all religions be it Hinduism, Islam or Christianity

There are various organisations and institutions in the Christian community too who are workingtowards finding the unison of all.

Our point of view is various and we cannot get the complete picture of the centre point because we are limited resources to perceive the unlimited....  

What is the theological authority of Mr. Mark Tully or that matter Mr. Rajiv Malhotra in-terms of Hindu Philosophical study or Christian Study.  Have they invested time and energy to study, Comparative religion under and expert guidance under both the schools of thought.  Then only do they become an authority.

And an intelligent wise man will always use his expertise to build a bridge.

The Visnu concept is referred to Holy Spirit and not to Shakthi.  The Bible starts with a verse saying the:

The Spirit of The Lord was floating on the waters before creation.  It is identical to the Maha Vishnu depiction before creation/present Sri. RAnganathaform.

And so on. 

In Bangalore, Dharmaram College and Ashram in Mysore are doing deep study apart from various organisation to build a bridge to find that ONE SOURCE of all creation who has spread its loving arms through various philosophical thoughts. 

In any sampradaya of Hinduism of Vaishnavism or Shaktam or Shivaism the Almighty is approached in that form. And there cannot be 2 Sources of this whole creation.
The Almighty of the Hinduism or Christian or Islam or whatever path one choose cannot be two. 

Here the SEARCH is THE TRUTH : ONE SOURCE of WHOLE COSMOS and how we can get people together : call it Sri. RAma Rajyam or Your Kingdom come on Earth as in Heaven.....it is here not else where that we are trying to establish Heaven and well being based on love which is THE SOURCE.  Any other motive is full of subjective and limitations and does not evolve to the pinnacle of understanding. 

Rajiv's response:
As far as the green elements go, he has not done any examination of my background in this field to be able to make such a sweeping assessment.....The yellow elements are entirely arbitrary and self serving mappings of Hindu ideas,symbols and personalities into the Christian history-centric dogma. He would need to read my book to understand why these mapping are false. Just because he has an organization behind this (and there are several such groups making this mindset mainstream) does not make the arguments legitimate. He is engaged in the process of digesting Hinduism into Christianity in the name of building unity. ....
The blue elements (generic assumptions for digestion) are mentioned without any analysis or substantiation. Vasudeva Kutumbakam says we are all one family. But all family members are not the same. Even the kauravs and pandavs were one family. The devas and asuras are one family as well. In our ordinary families there are many types of individuals,with different gunas, different aptitudes and characters, each having an individual svabhava and prarabdha. So being a family does not make us identical clones. That would violate the principle of diversity inherent in the cosmos.
Also, who says that " an intelligent wise man will always use his expertise tobuild a bridge"? The bridge can be for this Christian to come to me and become a Hindu, or the other way around. He proposes the latter kind of bridge, i.e. a synthesis in which Christian history-centrism stays intact. In my dialog with Mark Tully it becomes clear that neither side is willing to sacrifice his principle tenets to join the other side. ... I give the example of how Jesus is seen differently in Islam than in Christianity and why neither side can afford to compromise on this because it would completely undermine its own legitimacy.Since the truth is one, they say, why cant these views be merged into one? Likewise, the return of Jesus depends on restoring the Temple of David, but at that location there is now a mosque from which Mohammad went to paradise. So how is my interlocutor going to find the "one truth" that will satisfy both sides without compromising either.

Meanwhile Priya bowls a no ball (sorry for the cricketing analogy):
... being a Hindu myself I have one simple questionfor you:  Hindus believe in re-incarnation,right??...So, you being a Hindu, should also believe in it. So, dear Rajiv, how do you expect me to believe that, you, in one of your past lives, were not bornin a "non-Hindu" household??...Can you guarantee that, in your past lives, you were born "only in a Hindu household"???......Can you guarantee that, you, in a past life, were not "abc" Christian priest or "xyz" non-Hindu person??...

The very basic foundation of your theory - your Hindu faith, is built on the gradual evolution of the "individual atma"until IT realizes IT'S true nature and finally merges into ITSELF.

Hence your argument is faulty....Hence disproved."

Rajiv response:
Priya's logic is flawed. An animal does not know the Newtonian laws of gravitation. Does that mean the gravitation laws don't apply to the animal? Clearly not. Priya is mixing belief with whether natural laws apply. Whether you believe in these laws or not makes no difference to whether they apply.

Whether the Christian (i.e. in my previous birth potentially) believed in reincarnation or not won't change the fact that it still applicable in his case. I could have been an ignorant man in a prior birth, misguided by Christian dogma - but my belief would not determine the laws of karma-reincarnation I was subject to. So in my past birth as Christian I would be subject to karma-reincarnation even though I was taught otherwise by the church.

Christians also agree that those who dont believe in original sin, redemption, heaven/hell are still subject to these. The same way, Hindus claim their ideas apply as laws of the cosmos whether you believe in them or not. Laws are independent of belief.

Priya is too fixated on "belief determines what appliesto you". This is a Christian belief-centrism, and it is unscientific as shown above. "

Mathulla responds:
.. Here you name belief as natural laws. This will not work. Karma-reincarnation is not a natural law like Gravitational Laws. It is a faith only. Same way Christian Original sin, redemption heaven/hell etc a belief only at this moment. Nothing is proved here to call them natural laws. Of this two beliefs only one is true. Both can't be true. I can believe one or the other. That belief will not change the truth about which is right. So it is your choice to search for the truth and believe what you want to believe.

Rajiv's response: 
I agree with this.

What we are dealing with is NOT truth but truth-claim, i.e. someone's claim of the truth. All my claims as a Hindu are truth-claims, and so are all your claims as a Christian. Karma-reincarnation is a truth-claim I have; and original sin, virgin birth and redemption are your truth-claims.

So the point I made was that each truth-claim is a claim that it is the natural law, in that it is claimed to apply to everyone regardless of the person's belief. To explain what I mean: Christians claim original sin, heaven/hell etc apply to everyone including those who dont believe in them. In other words, I
cannot opt out of being a born sinner just because as a Hindu I dont believe in it. Thats the Christian truth-claim. Likewise, the point I made to the lady was simply that my Hindu truth-claim of reincarnation applies even to Christians
although they dont believe it.

So, back to her point (which she pompously declared had "falsified my position):Karma-reincarnation as a truth-claim applied to me even in my prior lives when I was a Christian or Muslim or atheist or whatever.

The falsity in her assumption is her statement that since I could have been a Christian in a prior life the karma-reincarnation would not have applied, hence she announced a contradiction.

I hope this clarifies a few points:

1) All faiths make truth-claims, not axiom-free truths.
2) Each of these systems tends to have evolved to be internally consistent, more or less.
3) X may not believe in Y's truth-claims, but according to Y his truth-claims still apply to X.
4) Given this state of affairs, I advocate mutual respect between faiths. ..."

Ravi shares some valuable feedback:
This refers to Rajiv's last statement "BD tries to take on this well entrenched mentality amongst us. Many Americans who are digesting or praising it do so naively and without malice - they need to be educated by BD as to why its wrong."

I just got back from an interfaith discussion, where I went armed with the Being Different book. Suffice to say that for westerners (Christians & Jews) & muslims, secure in the defence mechanisms of their respective religions/traditions, they are comfortable in describing "this is us", it is left to the Hindus to try & be intelligible to them, leading to much of the gross oversimplifications & wrong mapping the book talks about.

In my supplementaries to the answers given by the Hindu rep who asked me to help out with the answers, I did make the key points that are so well highlighted in the book-

One question was " are there false prophets & gurus, and if so, how do you recognize them?". In all the confused talk mixing up gurus with prophets (with the rep of Islam uncompromisingly stating that essentially "Mohd is the final prophet, and the once before are all there in the Koran, period."), it was left to me to add that both the terms, as well as the actual processes involved, come from fundamentally different cultures & worldviews. I also took the opportunity to add that we need to be able to live with people/cultures that have irreconciliable differences with us, understand these differences, appreciate the differences respectfully, and then we can talk about living together happily etc.

... Another instance of well intentioned people appropriating dharmic concepts into their own local identities as Christians, since that is culturally what they are most comfortable with. The plus side is, they are progressively loosening the hold of Abrahamic Theology/Cosmology on westerners, but the minus side certainly is the Digestion issue Rajiv's book is framing so well .... what is left of the source tradition that is unique & relevant? The gatekeepers of Abrahamic traditions certainly are not relaxing their guard on their Monopolistic Theologies, nor are they relenting on the Marketing via Prosyletization etc......."

Carpentier comments:
There is no doubt that the Christian Churches (and Muslim Ulema) are all interested in gaining converts ... On the other hand, we should also take into account sincere Christians who, as I have said in various lectures, want to see their tradition as a "parampara" or "sampradaya" within the Sanathana Dharma. That for them is the only way to reconcile their faith with the Cosmic Metaphysics carried by Hinduism, short of "converting" to it, which is always an artificial and somewhat artificial attempt. I may quote for instance Fr. Michael Fernandes who wrote that Indian Christians should replace Middle Eastern icons and stories from the Bible with indigenous figures and myths from the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. That is a sincere and effective way of assimilating into the Dharma.

Rajiv's response: 
.... above is a common one among many liberal Christians especially Indian ones. It is also the view that prevails in stage 2 of UTurns. In theory this is a good view, but here are some caveats and issues:

1) If X (Christianity in this case) is to be assimilated into Y (Hinduism), there are certain facets of X that need to be REMOVED - just like removing the poison bags of a snake before it can be domesticated. I worked for 15 years
addressing the question from many well meaning Christian friends: "What will it take to make you happy that we are genuine in adopting dharma and will never UTurn?" In large part this book is the result of this inquiry. Here is my answer: Understand each of the four major DIFFERENCES pointed out in BD and reject (yes, REJECT) the Western side if your goal is to genuinely adopt the dharma. The two sides are INCOMPATIBLE - thats the whole argument in the book. A
concrete and simple example is the first difference (the topic of chapter 2). This is about history-centrism. The Christian should reject what I have described in detail as history-centrism. You cannot drag in the historical uniqueness of Jesus, the imperative of original sin, the mandate of virgin birth (to exempt Jesus from being a born sinner) and the clinching argument that he died for all our sins so that's the only path to salvation.

2) Please watch my video with Mark Tully carefully. He is among the most Hindu-friendly westerners one will find. Yet, despite all his efforts at emphasizing sameness, in the end he SIMPLY CANNOT ACCEPT the core Hindu ideas because the price will be to betray his Anglican Church. This video should be used for training our gurus, lost/confused secularized Hindus, as well as westerners aspiring to be "both at the same time".

4) At the institutional level, the church needs to abandon its history-centrism for the same reasons cited above for individuals. Otherwise, the best it can offer is tolerance, and not mutual respect - explained in chapter 1.

4) All interfaith dialogues from the dharmic side should adopt this new strategy, and abandon the nonsense about celebrating when westerners adopt a few Hindu symbols, principles, etc., WITHOUT REMOVING THE HISTORY-CENTRISM.

5) When dharma gets mixed into a history-centric ideology, the result is the digestion of the dharma. The goat is digested in the belly of the tiger. ....

6) While Jews do not evangelise, their history-centrism is based on blood lines of chosen tribes. That form of history centrism causes their uturns back into claiming membership into the bloodline.

7) Finally, the western secular variety of history-centrism does not use the axioms of Judeo-Christianity. But it is founded on the Hegelian notions of the "West" as the engine of development/progress - a racist argument as shown in
chapters 3 and 6 of BD. The whole Western Enlightenment movement (and now the postmodernism) are criticized in BD are based on Western Exceptionalism."

Koti comments:
There is nothing wrong in cherry picking, if the intention is for personal upliftment and not for annihilation (of validity) of other faiths or for destruction or distortion of unique-distinct features of each faith.

Rajiv response: 
If the dharmic leaders are strong (which it is not the case
today and that's the whole point), the cherry picking by others will not adversely impact our own authenticity and the transmission of this to future generations
. But once the cherry picked parts get digested into the powerful host, i.e. western universalism, they get re-exported back to India (as Deepak Chopra, various global gurus of the new age, ayurveda patented as western products, etc.) the acceptance of this by Indians is a form of mental colonialism. My project is not to stop others from cherry picking, because I have no power (or right) to do that. Rather, it is to re-ignite the dharmic source in a renaissance. So the purva paksha of the west is a ploy (upaya) to lead to a better understanding of our own selfhood. 

Sameer comments:
Physics does not belong to anybody (although we do acknowledge the role of Newton). Similarly, Dharma is universal, although we should acknowledge the role of Patanjali, Adi Shankara and the Buddha.

Now, there can be a difference of opinion about what the term "Christianity" means. Some people who call themselves Christians may feel that the original teachings of Jesus were in harmony with those of Adi Shankara, Buddha et al. They may feel that the Nicene creed, which was adopted several centuries after the time of Jesus, is actually contrary to his original intent. This may not be mainstream Christianity (as yet), but it is a growing segment.
There is nothing wrong with this, as long as there is no appropriation without acknowledgment, and there is honesty about how mainstream doctrinal Christianity differs from Dharma.

Rajiv's response: 
I recommend that you read chapter 2 of BD to get deeper into this issue.

One must set aside terms like "Hindu" and "Christian" for this. It is the (1) history-centrism that is incompatible with (2) notions like karma, reincarnation, satchitananda as self, tat-tvam asi, etc. So its perfectly ok for a Christian to abandon 1 and adopt 2. Many persons do this and I have examined them. In fact I have a book coming out that deals with the top 10 christian thinkers who did precisely this.

The question is whether this is "Christianity" any more. The term then is misleading and needs to get qualified. To deal with this predicament many western former christians have defined a new identity called SBNR (Spiritual But NOT Religious)....

As long as the person is merely adding new exotic stuff without removing the old baggage, they tend to be happy. But there comes a stage later in life when the person has advanced enough to face the dilemmas of contradictions...."

Manas posts:
"The dharmaram college that the person refers to is a Christian seminary that is very active in devising methods for digesting Hinduism into Christianity. Along with the very liberal appropriation of Hindu symbolism and Sanskrit terms, they are even active in mapping Hindu festivals like Diwali as some form of Christianity. For example: "*Deepavali *(05 November): Brothers of E-Section have organized a beautiful display of lights in front of the Chapel after the Prayer Service." More information in their website: http://www.dharmaram.in/

Unless I am mistaken, this same group of Christians also publish a "journal" perfidiously named as "Journal of Dharma", which very regularly (and insidiously) explores themes for digesting Hindu mores into Christianity. Even some Hindu gurus (including some from Ramakrishna Mission) have been co-opted by them to further their agenda, as some articles in that "journal" reveal..." 

Ganesh adds to Manas' information:
"That he has mentioned Dharmaram college, Bangalore, as doing a deep study in an effort to build a bridge, in itself is complete suspect. DharmaRam college (http://www.dvk.in/) is a Syro-Malabar Christian college (http://www.dvk.in/aboutus.aspx) in the heart of Bangalore city which has openly taken over Hindu words like Dharma, Ram, Vidya, Kshetram et al. for showing sameness on your face only to tell that all these paths lead you to Jesus (see their vision statement)" 

Amritasyaputra shares some (gory) feedback:
"Dear Mr. Mathulla, Thank you for your request. I am "happy" that you, at least, accept the historic fact of killing millions of women, termed "witches".

Now regarding the killing of competing christian sects: The following are wars against christians!!!! Just because they believed in Jesus in a different way... (you can imagine how the "non-believers" were dealt with).To "refresh your memory", I would like to refer you to the work of german historian K.-H. Deschner who wrote "The Criminal History of Christianity" in 9 (nine) volumes.

Albigenser (Cathars)
From Wikipedia: ...The crusader army under the Pope...The Cathars spent much of 1209 fending off the crusaders. The leader of the crusaders, Simon de Montfort, resorted to primitive psychological warfare. He ordered his troops to gouge out the eyes of 100 prisoners,...."

December 24
the maoist-evangelist link
This is my view & theory also - the evangelist/Maoist link. The evangelist depend on the Maoist for the violence to soften their targets & the Maoist depend on...

Rajiv's comment:
Yes, this nexus is the center of the story in Breaking India. I call this the Good Cop/Bad Cop strategy - one plays the game of helping while the other uses the opportunity to attack.

Renu responds:
This comment is so very correct and poignant too. Once I spent 3 weeks lecturing in the North East with Vivekananda Kendara workers and it is easy to see the rifts and violence being created by Missionaries in that region, among people who are so very innocent!

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