RMF Summary: Week of April 9 - 15, 2012

April 9
Should we offer 'mutual respect' to a 'bad' ideology
Analogy: Suppose we offer a million dollars to some bad person, on the condition that he must kill himself. A naive criticism would be that we are giving money to a bad person. But a proper understanding would be different: In order to claim the money, he has to first kill himself, and then the dead person is simply unable to make any claim. So its a good offer to make.

Similarly, the mutual caveat in 'mutual respect' must be understood properly. If accepted by the other side, it forces the demise of the exclusivity clause of that ideology - because the exclusivity clause compels them to regard all others as false religions and not worthy of respect. There is a domino effect if they accept the offer - without exclusivity the entire logic falls apart. So we are not 'giving away' respect to someone who does not deserve it. We are forcing their demise if they accept it, and we are forcing them to admit their arrogance if they cannot accept it.

For many years, I have been asked in numerous talks: Why would you respect bin laden, hitler, etc? My answer in talks and writings has been consistent: Because such a person cannot respect others, he will not get our respect; the respect being offered demands reciprocity. It is not unconditional respect. The word 'mutual' is not extraneous; it makes all the difference.

It was Swami Dayananda Saraswati's stoke of genius to offer Cardinal Ratzinger (the present Pope Benedictine) 'mutual respect' instead of 'tolerance' in the UN Millennium Summit of 2000. BD's chapter 1 explains what happened as a result. It gave swamiji the moral high ground and put the Vatican in a corner. It exposed their hypocrisy....

My reason for this post is that despite many attempts to explain this point as a strategic ploy, I sometimes get 'critiques' sent to me by those who just dont get it.....

Anil responds:
"Actually I used to think about Mutual Respect as Rajiv ji puts it but found it does not work in reality - the [evangelist] missionary respects the other pluralistic view but he expects respect for his view to convert that view in the same mutual understanding - so he says he respects the Hindu universality and its need not to convert anyone but please respect mine to convert you. This is Mutual Respect."

Rajiv comments on the under-preparedness of the average debating Hindu and the tendency to underestimate the opponent's skill level:
Mutual respect has to be explained deeper than mere talk. Such an evangelist posture is disrespect camouflaged as respect, just to fool Hindus who are unable to debate. I love taking on such persons in debate. Hindu leaders who cant do this run away, which has not helped, as it shows fear to the youth.

Once you open the debate on mutual respect, be prepared to take it all the way into history centrism and its nasty implications. Be prepared to take that further into synthetic unity and the history of the West in that way of seeing things, and so forth. In other words, dont start a debate you have not had enough experience engaging in at many levels; otherwise you will deplete your arguments quickly and then make a fool of yourself. 99% of the Hindus involved in public representation are unschooled and inadequately read in the subject. They want quick visibility but are unqualified.

 Pradip shares an experience in the U.S:
"... we rented a church auditorium for celebration.The next week many church members came to know that we had moorties of our deities during the celebration there,
were totally displeased, and decided not to rent the lace to us again.Thus unhappy, the church had a long talk over it with our organizer... [she was] saying to them that all
gods are equal, so she couldn't comprehend the  unhappiness of the church members.The church leader told her if she believed all gods are same, then, she should convert to christianity and join his church.She was flummoxed. ...

Rajiv comment: "If all gods are same, then you must convert to christianity": This is simply an illogical conclusion. Never fear such fools - just call out
their foolishness.

btw: I dont agree that all deities are the same - they refer to distinct intelligences that comprise the Supreme Being. Sort of like departments of a complex entity, though this analogy is reductionist. Each does give access to the entirety, so they are not isolated, separated; but they are distinct accesses points. The notion of ishta-devata is wonderful, giving you "equal value" with "distinct access"."

Sreekumar adds:
""Ekam sat vipra bahudavadanti". Different people approach or access the absolute (Ekam, not one but absolute), differently. As you wrote, there are different
access points.

Rajiv comment: There are different access points but not all of them lead to the same place. Contrary to the popular saying, not all rivers lead to the ocean: some rivers end up in the Dead Sea.

But I can still respect the other person (who is heading towards the dead sea) despite knowing that his ideology is misleading him - as long as it is his private life only, and does not effect me."

anon asks:
"I often wonder how debate might be useful when engaging with individuals who are clearly deficient in rationality?

In this particular case it seems like a classic case of as rajiv pointed out -- "foolishness" plain and simple. Would a meaningful dialog be possible in such a case?

It would be more beneficial for communities to rally, raise funds and build establishments of reasonable sizes (proportional to size of funds raised)?...."

Rajiv comment: These are not mutually exclusive activities. Both are needed because the pursuit of one does not exempt you from addressing the other. ... given our dharma's sociopolitical condition today .... we cannot run away from all other people. We cannot refuse to work with others in our professions and isolate our kids from others' influence (unless you want to join the Amish community). So the issue of how to engage others in mainstream forums (schools, universities, media talk shows, public policy forums, etc.) does not go away. .....Bottom line: The above is an emotional, not rational approach, hence not practical. It WILL get you a big applause at the next gathering of Hindu activists." 

Sameer asks:
"Consider an ideology which you regard as wrong and misguided, but which does "respect" your own ideology.

Can you "respect" that other ideology? If you freely express your belief that they are wrong, would you still be respecting them?

Rajiv comment: This is a great question: Can I have mutual respect for someone who I know to be wrong? Is the other person's 'knowledge of truth' a necessary condition for him to be respected?

First of all, our ancestors practiced purva paksha even with opponents who they knew to be wrong. If they had refused to engage in respectful debate with those they considered ideologically flawed, there would not have been any debates at all. They would have been of the same caliber as the tribal warriors of the Middle East desert. Respectful debate does not mean I must agree with you. I can
argue against you, and yet we can respect each other for having different worldviews. Respecting the other does NOT mean I accept his faith for myself. I practice my faith without imposing upon him and he must practice his faith while respecting me.

Secondly, lets separate PRIVATE belief in ideology from PUBLIC conduct. Whatever private ideology you subscribe to, I can still respect you and your right to
hold that ideology. It is your own private life ... Reciprocity means that you do not attempt to interfere with my private ideology, hence you cannot try to convert me.

My attack is on those with exclusivity claims. I cannot be guilty of having my own ideological exclusivity claims which all others must accept in order to deserve my respect." 

Koti comments:
"Good analogy. Pope can not respect Hinduism and remain a Pope. That is blasphemy. Swami Dayananda can respect Christianity and can still not violate Hinduism. Pope can only respect Swami as individual and with hope that he will embrace (not just respect) Christianity and reject Hinduism." 

April 9
Exclusivism eloquently demonstrated in 5 minutes
Surya posts: Exclusivism eloquently demonstrated in 5 minutes. David Platt on Universalism, Rob Bell, Love Wins, Heaven and Hell  (youtube video)

April 10 
Re: in India Greek philosophers
Surya responds to an earlier post from last week:... Maria Wirth wrote: " ... interview with the Woodstock School Principal Dr. Long about education in the Pioneer. He talks about the philosophical...

Thanks for bringing up this important issue to the forum.  I will proceed with one very reasonable assumption that Long is a Christian.

I will start with a discussion of the method argumentation required here.

Recently, when I went to buy a car, the eager dealer walked me through the aisles to show his large inventory.  He paused for a moment next to two cars and asked, "Which do you want to buy?  The red car? Or the blue car?"

As a smart buyer, I may say neither and dodge being forced into buying one of those two cars. As a smarter buyer, I would say that this is not an EITHER-OR situation.  A car is a bundle of features.  I do not have to pick between two bundles posed to me.  If I am smart, I can put together the right bundle that suits me.

Someone asked me recently whether I am a Conservative or a Liberal.   I explained that this is a poorly posed choice.  What if I am a financial conservative but a social liberal?  Why do you  have to bundle everything conservative into one artificial bundle and everything liberal into another artificial bundle and then force the issue on me as an "either or" situation?

Understanding this argument is very important if we have to stop artificially bundled concepts being imported into India under the guise of religion and bring along culturally subversive behaviors and attitudes into the country that way.  Suddenly, these culturally subversive ideas are legitimized by bundling.

To strike down all philosophical thought of Indian origin blindly and trying to supplant it with Western philosophical thought just because it came artificially bundled with Christianity is anti -cultural, and anti-national behavior.  The above argument offered by a Christian teacher in India,  quoted above, is exactly that: anti-cultural and anti-national.  You are forcing Indians to denounce Indians ideas or things and replace them with Western ideas or things just because they come bundled with Christianity.

Following Christianity in India does not have to mean that you jettison everything Indian and replace it with what comes bundled with Christianity imported from West.  If it meant that, then Christianity is anti-cultural and anti-national.

Now, the alert BD reader quickly raises an objection that this argument will lead to encouraging inculturation. 

Indeed.  We need to consider both arguments together.

The well-laid argument then is a two-sided coin.  Essence of this coin is "DO NOT make artificial or synthetic bundles".

Artificial bundling is disingenuous.  It can slip into culturally subversive attitudes and behaviors.  Artificial bundling is synthetic unity.

....In a recent article on this forum, Ram wrote that Christianity should be stripped down to its own contributions.  He is right on.   He is saying NO to synthetic bundles. "

April 10
A stellar example of Western Universalism
Dear all, I've been familiar with the writings of Lawrence Auster (a Conservative traditionalist Catholic) for quite some time. He is an extremely erudite and...

April 10
NY Times - Digesting Yoga into Islam  
Nikudi posts: Here is an article from today's NY Times about Yoga and Islam. Yoga's Hindu roots are being clearly stripped out in order to make it "acceptable" to Muslims. The Imam who advocates such approach clearly says that if the Sanskrit benedictions are left out, Yoga can be more appealing to Muslims...."

Bhattacharya posts:
"Aside from its content, the tone of the article is notable for promoting digestion. Read this passage, invoking an undefined 'American conception' of yoga:

"For many immersed in a culture where vinyasa yoga is more readily associated with a New York Sports Club than a Hindu temple, the origin matters little. And for some of the devout living here, the American conception has overridden the beliefs with which they were raised."

.... reminded me of an older NYTimes article, in which Yoga digestion was discussed in a similar, matter-of-fact manner, almost a 'how-to guide' for Yoga digestion.
I reproduce the earlier article below. It's rife with disturbing examples of Yoga digestion, but pay special attention to the writer's tone. And look for the section describing how Shal-OM replaces Om, very similar to the line I quoted from the more recent piece. Oddly, it seems NYTimes likes to print this type of article every few months or so:
....  " TO 'om' or not to 'om': For those who teach yoga in schools, that is a question that arises with regularity.The little syllable, often intoned by yoga students at the beginning and end of class, signifies different things to different people. But with its spiritual connotations, it is a potential tripwire for school administrators and parents, along with 'namaste' and other Sanskrit words, chanting and hands in the prayer position...." 

Ravi: Of the many comments this article has (111 & counting), one stood out for me as a classic example of Western/abrahaimc Universalist exclusivist

"...As an observant Jew I am not comfortable performing sun salutations or invoking the names of Hindu deities any more than I would kneel in a church. But take out the references to hinduism & I can participate.

Religion isn't a buffet table for people to sample. For many people of faith seemingly innocuous practices from other cultures do conflict with their beliefs. I applaud the yoga instructors in this article for finding ways to
accommodate their students. "

So it appears that Religion" is'nt a buffet table, meaning Abrahamic ones, but "cultures" are, so that the item called "yoga" can be evaluated by itself, &
reshaped willy nilly....

Renu: The problem is that majority of us Hindus were brought up with the idea of sharing knowledge freely as that keeps it going and getting better. It is in recent years of Patent and copyright laws, that are causing a lot of
distress; these ignorant persons are super hungry to own and make money; want to own even trees, plants and things given by Bhagavaan. So there has to be a way to stop thru an international law any such digestion. ....what we need is a mass movement towards an understanding among majority of people that they need to take their lives in their own hands not leave to Churches who go around converting and Jihaading in the name of god/allah or what ever.

Pradip: The comment section following the article has several interesting comments. one that I liked is: "yoga, when practised regularly, will eventually make you revolt against monotheist intolerance, and thus endanger
your religion. buyers beware."

Poonam: Personally, after supporting that yoga is for everyone & not just Hindus, & that it has nothing to do with Hinduism, I have, as I grew older, & more knowledgable & wiser, have come to understand that Yoga IS A FORM OF HINDU WORSHIP. It is the process of preparing the body, the consciousness & the Atma of a Hindu to move on to the path of Nirvan/Moksh/or returning to Parabrahm. How can anyone do the yoga without the Sanskrit chants? each chant of the Yog is designed to generate the vibes & sounds that The chanting of the word jesus or mohammad or yaweh or allah does not produce the same effect. The chants practiced in Yoga are different from those that are used in the pooja
pranali & practice. The vibrations & the effects of the different sounds is a "scientifically measurable" entity. The moden day scientists are committing piracy by not testing it & then cutting it off from the roots.

Rajiv comment: Please read in BD my critique of Baba Ramdev for his stand that Aum can be replaced by Allah, Amen, etc. BD has a lot on the non-translatability
of mantras as vibrations, each with a distinct effect beyond its mental/conceptual meaning.

Virender: Instead of complaining that others are taking over YOGA, How many of us have taken concrete steps to claim that YOGA is Hindu spiritual and physical practice ? How many of us educated our Kids, friends or made public efforts to let world know YOGA is ours. It remind me of my mother who used to say it's the weak who complain not the strong ones. Let's be "Khstryias" and
start campaigns worldwide [ Does't matter how small or where] to educate the world of Hindu assets including Yoga. Otherwise lets thanks west/Muslim for making Yoga popular on world platform.

Krishna: Asanas can be considered as exercises. yoga can be taken as breathing exercise. As long as  physically,emotionally and mentally if yoga
helps one irrespective of religion can freely practice it. When Muslims have so much of resistance to use Sanskrit words,I don't know how so many Hindus and
particularly Bollywood people use the word Inshallah so frequently. Is it for fashion or they mean God or Bhagwan in general or do they actually mean Allah.

bluecupid shares:
Originally from Mumbai, this Muslim-Canadian yoga teacher writes her perspective on Yoga, Islam and identity;

April 11

Digestion of Vedic mantras
Gross misappropriation and digestion of vedic mantras http://www.churchofindia.org/maniiyer.htm...

April 11
The Intolerance of Tolerance
Surya posts: In his article on Huffington post titled "Tolerance Isn't Good Enough: The Need for Mutual Respect In Interfaith Relations", Rajivji wrote: Begin Quote: .....
In BD, Rajivji explains how the notion of tolerance is not free of intolerance and why it should  pave way for mutual respect.  

There are others who say the same thing with the opposite intent.  There are cases where some come out and admit that they cannot even stand tolerance.  Their intolerance is so steeped that they find tolerance itself intolerable.  

See the video below: (would like to see good responses to this video)

April 12
Arjunshakti responds:
"...These indians still live in the british raj even if they are getting knighted in some cheap beach in malta"

Rajiv comment: I know other Indians in New Jersey who are bloating over being "knighted by Malta" or some other Church subsidiary with a dark history. The new "knights" now are a bunch of brown dunces who want to buy (with newly made money) a seat at the white man's table. Its that simple, an inferiority complex. The Indian media, pop culture and elite circles in the metros are glamorizing
this. Thats the trend."

Surya: The West has for long mastered the value of soft power. The East has for long fallen for it. The use of gun salute to indicate relative power and respect during the colonial rule in India is a well known tactic. Rulers competed with each by offering favors and ceding powers to get more guns to salute them.  Difference anxiety from below (explained in BD, pages 25-36) is formalized and
entrenched in the society with this tactic; all rulers tacitly conceded that the 101 gun salute to the British Emperor makes the Emperor far superior to them since they were entitled to the 21 or fewer gun salute.

Knighthood conferred is similar. Similarity is that the one conferring the "status" is offering a valueless trinket or token in return for taking something valuable at the expense of the one conferred with the "status"..."

Karthik adds:
"The thing to recognize is that Western soft power is completely dependent on the global acceptance of Western universalism as a foundation. This is why Rajiv (and the rest of us) will face massive opposition in our task of challenging Western universalism: the effect is to knock over the pedestal and undermine the entire edifice of Western soft power. This represents a much deeper threat to Western hegemony, at all levels, than simply opposing missionary activity etc...."

April 13
UTurn prevention: Is there a Hindu equivalent of baptism?
Saxena asks: 
Just finished watching the Pondy event vids.

It would be interesting to find out from the German U-turner (and others) what their course of action would have been if the Aurobindo Ashram (and other dharmic traditional schools) required their equivalent of baptism in order to allow her to participate in their social life the way the church does.....

Rajiv comment: The strategy in BD is to use difference to create the desired effect. Example: Negate things like Nicene Creed without which they cannot be Christian - the German lady confirms when I ask her whether she believes in Nicene Creed. Using difference, undermine that which allows the DNA of the predator to function. For yoga based organizations like Sri Aurobindo, this
means explaining that history centrism is a grand nama-rupa which blocks progress in yoga. So Nicene Creed as nama-rupa runs counter to the teachings of
Sri A. This would achieve your goal to renounce "everything that goes contrary". Use chapter 2 to show that history centrism runs counter to Sri A's Integral
Yoga. Then show that Nicene Creed is the worst kind of history centrism. This forces the choice between mutually contradictory ideological positions. Gurus must learn this when teaching westerners.

April 14
Virginia Tech & Oikos University Massacres: Difference Anxiety the Root Cause?
Subra shares a blog post:
"An examination of the April 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the April 2012 Oikos university shootings shows disturbing commonalities that suggest a probable root
cause of 'Difference Anxiety' ...

... Chapter 1: "Difference: Anxiety or Mutual Respect" that among other things, notes that rather than ignoring or trying to erase differences, they must be recognized and

The above two examples indicate that failing to respect differences can result in DA that may not be effectively manageable via prescription medication or "just praying", and can in the worst case, lead to violent problems in the

April 14
Western digestion of ideas and philosophy.
Chocka asks: Is this one form of 'digestion'?
Rajiv comment: I would say so. He translates and maps many nontranslatables into common words in english. This means we no longer need to refer to Brahma, Vishnu, Maya, etc as these are replaced by simple ideas in popular culture. This type of writing and speaking is fashionable now and the trend is getting worse.

If you critique this, they will come back with arguments like: truth is one; ultimate reality is one; etc. This is false logic I have critiqued many times - I call it Moron Smriti. It is an App that has been downloaded to nearly all Indians.

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