The attached invite:
for a May debate between Hinduism and Catholicism features Anantanand Rambachan representing the Hindus.
But he is the same person featured in my book Indra's Net as espousing the thesis of Neo-Hinduism, according to which modern Hinduism is:
- An artificial construction done by Vivekananda
- Is incompatible with vedanta.
- Was done by Vivekananda because of his inferiority complex from the West.
- This modern Hinduism is based on appropriating critical elements from Christianity.
- Hence it is more properly called Neo-Hinduism.
He is positioned as a leader in the academy spreading this Neo-Hinduism thesis. He is also the official (honorary) Hindu appointed by the Vatican. Can he speak for both sides?
For the record: He is probably a good human being on a personal level, and this is not any ad hominem against him personally. But his life work (from his PhD onwards) has been on this thesis that creates internal conflicts within Hinduism, especially between Shankara and Vivekananda.
I have said that such internal debates have always been there, but there is not in our best interest to go to vatican and educate them and other anti-Hindu academics on how to defeat Hinduism. Rambachan has supplied the arguments being used to undermine the legitimacy of modern hinduism.
The Washington DC Hindu leaders doing this are known to me and support my work. They ought to have organized a debate in which Hinduism is represented by someone else. Encouraging a scholar who speaks from both sides is a bad idea.
Rambachan also has said many great things about Hinduism. He criticizes evangelism, for instance. But many Jesuits also criticize proselytizing. The Good Cop face does not offset the damage done by the Bad Cop side of the same person.
These Hindu leaders are unaware of the strategy of the College of Catholic Bishops in having such "interfaith" events. The poster talkes of promoting "common interests" - but do you know what these are? It is the digestion of Hinduism.
I just want to put this on the record for people to ponder. I come across such half baked Hindu leadership all over India, USA, etc. Am I wasting my life?
Rajiv ji followed up after his India trip with this additional comment:
For an honest debate, there cannot be a conflict of interest between the debaters. Rambachan has worked for the Vatican's interfaith organization as their official Hindu face. How can he be "our" representative? Its like allowing the opposing cricket team to appoint our captain. He has been extremely cozy with Francis Clooney for decades, and now these two men will pretend they are really debating "against" each other?
Why cant the Vatican debate with me, for instance? What did Sant ji learn by watching my recent debate in Houston with a prominent Christian theologian? Was Rambachan selected based on any such prior experience in public?
Secondly, the debate Rambachan must be invited ought to be on his Neo-Hinduism thesis. Instead, this setup proposed in DC will hide that side of his work, and let his Neo-Hinduism go on. That would be a way to detract away from my Indra's Net book.
My sense is that this move is Vatican's way to protect their "Hindu asset". They want to restore his credibility among Hindus.