Why are Hindus Celebrating the Digestion of Hinduism? - Part 2

This is the latest in our series of blogs dealing with the problem of digestion of Hinduism, which is quite different from both inclusivism and conversion to Abrahamic faiths. For example, in Kerala, the digestion of many aspects of Hinduism in general, and the festival of Onam, in particular have been covered in the last few days. This post is part of the discussion on Phil Goldberg's 'American Veda' has been shown to be an example of this problem. You can find Part-1 of the current discussion here. However, many Hindus live in denial for a variety of reasons. You can find the first set of posts in 2012 on Goldberg's American Veda: Analysis-2 that summarizes the first set of feedback on AV is here, and Analysis-1, is the very first summary, where AV was introduced to the forum, and shows Goldberg's attempted defence of his work.

There are several other dicussions of 'digestion' in the forum that can be accessed by clicking the keyword. Another external blog that was among the very first to comment on AV is the 'Digesting Veda blog'. 

For those who want to get the full details on digestion of Hinduism, the links (total of 9 posts) provided above can be traversed in the following order:
1. Familiarize yourself with digestion activities in Kerala
2. Understand how digestion differs from both inclusivism and conversion  
3. American Veda: start with the DigestingVeda blog 
4. Then read Analysis-1 and Analysis-2
5. Read Part-1 and Part-2 of the current discussion on how American Veda is being supported by Hindu intellectuals (this one and the previous one)
6. Examine other discussions of digestion in the forum. 
7. Don't stop there! Blog, discuss and educate others about this serious problem.

In Part-2 of our current discussion below, we examine the foreword and contents of Phil Goldberg's book 'American Veda' shared in this blog, and then see how Hindu intellectuals respond to it.

Inside the 'American Veda' - celebration of uturners
Subra shares: "...  Just the first 25 pages. We can see the shoddy scholarship, the Sanskrit mistranslations being used to set the stage for digestion, the reductionism, and the justification for digestion. Once this is done, the remaining chapters celebrates one u-turner after another..."

Rajiv responds:
"Thanks for a good analysis. People who are in doubt should read the analysis:

It is sad how many so-called supporters of our cause failed to understand digestion at work, and went around proudly promoting the author. One such man called me... to say: "What if we get him to state he is against the Aryan theory and against missionaries"? I told this man he does not understand digestion. It is not about being against missionaries, being against Aryan theory, and so forth.

If a thief is taking your assets and digesting them by characterizing them as belonging to others, does it help you because he praises your home, expresses anger at some of your opponents, etc and other unrelated things.


These people among us are so STUPID and ignorant of our own history where we have seen so many westerners support us, praise us, etc precisely to dupe such IDIOTS. By now we ought to have no more fools but sadly we do.

I am confident I can get a statement from Witzel opposing missionaries. In fact he told me as such in person many years ago. But is that the issue???

Can Hinduism be rescued by a bandwagon of fools, who are easily swayed, lazy to read and understand issues, and in awe of someone supporting them with glamor.

I hope people who have promoted his works will now do penance by promoting the link above with greater enthusiasm."
Aditya has a useful suggestion:
"... Does anyone want in this group want to write an "alternative" review for AV on Amazon with a mention of "Being Different" as a book to read?

...  for someone who has [read the book], this would be one small step in the right direction."

css shares feedback from another person who disagreed that 'American Veda is digestion'. Please read the details in the forum. We only provide a gist of the arguments here:
1. He acknowledges the impact of Indian spirituality on America
2. He is not working on behalf of missionaries
3. He is not a practitioner in the Ken Wilber mould
4. Sloppy scholarship does not prove digestion

Rajiv comment: The above looks at DIRECT digestion only. Does not understand the subtlety and multi layered processes at work. This simplistic view is quiet common and hence I know my work is cut out for me.

PhilG valorizes digesters - he himself does not have to be one. Every digester has a coterie of cheerleaders supporting him, building is brand value, legitimizing him. These cheerleaders might not be smart enough to do the heavy thinking like a digester. They are his support team. PhilG is such a cheerleader. Wilber and Keating are examples of top tier digesters that PhilG celebrates. Good analogies are:

- most sepoys merely suck up to another thinker and hence build brand credibility for a major thinker and are not capable of doing this thinking themselves.

- People in Indian media are supporting X but not doing the nasty things personally that X does. Yet we oppose such media persons. They are part of the entourage of X that makes X important.

The problem .... is that he has not read Keating or Wilber, for example...What he sees is PhilG praising these folks in ways that seem reasonable. This is why incomplete knowledge is dangerous... I have separate volumes in the pipeline on each of these men, along with many others.

The history of PhilG work with me... (Read the original and complete information in the forum).

5) When the book came out I was shocked. He took all my info on the uturners and made them look like heroes. This inverts my thesis. He celebrates the process that I consider a problem...

6) ...PG's book has a couple of pages on me. I am depicted as someone who complains about uturns. He is dismissive of my complaint. He includes me to be able to say "I have already factored what Malhotra has to say". This is a tactic to dispose of a serious issue without properly dealing with it.

....point on PG criticizing missionaries is simply irrelevant. It further shows shallowness of understanding this theater. ...Witzel also opposes proselytizers, and so do most western scholars we fight - Doniger, et al. By the standards of sophisticated western scholars, proselytizing is crude, old fashion, meant for extreme right wing christianity. These folks are liberal left wing and hence anti-proselytizing.

....As I said before: People who digest from the liberal left wing side are not proselytizers or in support of them. For instance, Wilber is too sophisticated to operate at the evangelism level. Nor are any of the neuro-scientists and cognitive scientists appropriating Hindu and Buddhist ideas and practices. ... understand the complexity of liberal/leftist ideas of dharma and not try to collapse all western approaches as proselytizing. (For one thing Jews are not christians or proselytizers and yet many of them are digesters!)

It is sad that while I must invest years of rigor to get one book at a time out, there are "supporters" who cant wait. .... On limited knowledge they align themselves with the very same digesters I spend all my time investigating."


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