By: Dr. Vijaya Rajiva February 5, 2012
Protecting the ordinary Hindu and the Traditional Acharya
The aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths have been and are the backbone of Hindu civilisation. Protecting them is the responsibility of the Hindu elite, especially the Hindu intellectuals. This duty had been discharged in earlier times, with the labours of the Swami Vivekananda generation(in the 19th century) and in our times by vigilant Hindus, Hindu organisations and publications. Unfortunately, the same is not true of the new fangled methods of 'dialogue' which show a dismal record of retreat and capitulation before the enemy so to speak, especially the Catholic Church and its allies in the evangelical movement. The goal of this generic Church as it has been rightly called, has always been the single minded aim of the conversion of the Hindu population, a process which started systematically with the Goa Inquisition of 1560 when a variety of methods were used, including, torture murder and mayhem to convert the local population and destroy their ancestral faith. This process has been written about by several authors, the most well known being Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goyal. The latter's many works include The History of Hindu Christian Encounters (1996). Sita Ram Goyal passed away in 2003, but the work has been carried on by other writers such as Swami Devananda Sarasvati, Radha Rajan, Sandhya Jain, Tamizhchelvan, Viren Parekh, to name the best known of the recent writers on the subject.
For a brief most recent survey of the trajectory of the Church's changing tactics including its tactics of Inculturation the reader is referred to Sandhya Jain's article ' Inter-faith Dialogue, What's in it for Hindus ?' For an historical survey the above writers are good sources. One can also include the book Breaking India by authors Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan (2011). The above is not a comprehensive list of works but it will help the reader to understand how and why the latest tactic of Inter Religious Dialogue is a manifestation of the process of Inculturation by the Church to infiltrate Hindu culture and subvert it by co opting Hindu intellectuals in the process. The present writer has written several articles on the topic .
Ordinary Hindus continue to practise their faith in ongoing fashion. This has been well expressed by Sandhya Jain in her above mentioned article :
"India has hitherto withstood the missionary assault because of the devotion of the ordinary citizen, especially the denizens of villages and tribal belts, to their ancestral faith as represented by the grama devatas, kula devatas and sthana devatas who form a protective shield around their devotees and save them from harm. Then, there are the great gods in the larger temples and peeths and pilgrimages which gird the whole country in a protective grid, along with the spiritual strength and leadership of the traditional acharyas, gurus, mathams and so on. "
('Inter-faith Dialogue : What's in it for Hindus ?', Bharata Bharati, January 12, 2012)
The traditional acharyas are not expected to know their Shakespeare and Milton or the Bible and scriptures of non Dharmic faiths. They do their job of maintaining their existing Hindu traditions very well. To distract them from their main task which is the expounding, explication and propagation of the Hindu scriptures and the maintenance of the rituals of the tradition is unconscionable. It might well be that there may be some traditional acharyas who are also versed in non Dharmic religions, but this is an accidental phenomenon and should not be the criterion to judge whether the former are doing their task adequately.
It is the responsibility of the Hindu intellectual to engage, only if NECESSARY, in the task of interacting with non Dharmic faiths and the present record of producing coffee table books does not bode well for the new fangled method of 'dialogue' which the Church has imposed on Hindu India. There cannot be any two opinions that it is THEIR considered strategy of drawing Hindu intellectuals into the orbit of Inculturation and thereby accomplishing both that specific task as well distracting Hindu intellectuals who are prone to imagine that their adventure of ideas is somehow a world shaking event. At best, it might keep the well heeled upper classes satisfied that something is being done for Hindu India, and /or that it demonstrates how well informed Hindus are about their faith. It might even provide some educational value to the upper classes who are increasingly getting distanced from their ancestral faith. But it cannot and never will be a substitute for the Hindu's continuing daily practice of his/her faith and the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths. To attempt to do that is a sign of hubris.
And these are the targets of the Church, not the Hindu intellectuals, who may fondly imagine that their self importance has been validated and vindicated by invitations to Dialogue, since after all important representatives of the Church have conferred their blessings on these projects.
And to continue to believe that this is so, is in reality, a danger to the Hindu Samaj. The Church merely toys with these intellectuals in the interests of its larger agenda.
Since the method of 'dialogue' is essentially part of Church strategy, there is only one way left for Hindu intellectuals and that is to reject the fraudulent dialogue outright. The rejection of globalisation in the Indian economy is being advocated in the realm of Economic Nationalism by able advocates of the same. Precisely that same approach is required at the intellectual level. And just as the Ecomomic Nationalists have a well argued and well presented agenda, likewise the Hindu intellectual must resist the siren call of globalisation and develop a well thought out scheme of meeting the 'enemy at the gates' so to speak. A contemporary scholar has, after the recent debacle in dialogue, suggested that a growing team of well educated, well prepared Hindu scholars and intellectuals can engage with the enemy in aggressive fashion, knocking down their pretensions at theological and religious superiority vis a vis the Dharmic faiths, while at the same time develop Hindu Siddhanth . This would be in line with the Hindu tradition of Purva Paksha, for which the REFUTATION of the adversary's arguments is central to the whole project.
Such an ever expanding project ( a non fraudulent one) requires team effort and the participants must surely be team players. It also requires vigilance in not entering arenas without adequate preparation and indeed not entering them at all, if not NECCESSARY. It was the writer Tamizhchelvan who memorably said that there was no need to create artificial battlefields. As he pointed out in a comment to an article in Haindava Keralam : since the start of interfaith dialogue there has been no benefit to the Hindu Samaj. In fact, there has been a dramatic increase since the start of interfaith dialogue in evangelisation and conversion, the mushrooming of Christian NGos (working against Hindu interests), the construction of prayer houses and churches next to temples, the acquisition of huge lands and properties, the menace of Inculturation and the increasing flow of foreign funds to these dubious organisations (The detailed comment can be viewed in the comment section of 'Purva Paksha and the Siren Call of Hindu Christian Dialogue, Haindava Keralam, 27/12/2011).
Hence, it is important for any new initiative for aggressive interfaith dialogue not only to be able to meet the adversary fully armed and fully prepared (metaphorically speaking), it is incumbent on these non fraudulent dialoguers to keep their ears close to the ground. There is absolutely no need to wade into a morass, to walk into something set up by the adversary. It is pertinent to remember Sita Ram Goyal's words:
" The non- Christian religions have persevered on their own, their truths, their social life and culture throughout these long centuries; they certainly do not stand in need of help from an apparatus which has tried its utmost to uproot them. The stark truth seems to be the other way around ; it is the Church of Christ which is seeking desperately the help of non-Christian religions in order to save whatever little is left of its superstitions. That is the meaning of the "dialogue" for which Christian theologians and missionaries are crying now-a- days. The "dialogue" does not seem to be a sincere attempt at reconciliation; on the contrary, it is only a strategy for survival on the part of Christianity."
(Preface to the First Edition, 'The History of Hindu Christian Encounters' 1996)
Therefore, there are two dangers that the new dialoguers need to avoid : create artificial battlefields and make their project an elitist one, while ignoring and downgrading the aam admi Hindu and the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths. Should they not heed these dangers they will be repeating the mistakes of the last two decades whereby they have been unable to stop the following dangers to the Hindu Samaj (which Tamizhchelvan has listed in his detailed comment mentioned above). They will be unable to:
1. Stop evangelisation and conversions
2. Stop the mushrooming of Christian NGOs that work against Hindu interests
3. Stop the construction of Prayer halls and Churches near temples
4. Stop the Church from acquiring huge lands and properties
5. Stop the menace of Inculturation
6.Stop the flow of foreign money
If these dangers are not heeded then once again we will have a project that merely entertains the Hindu intellectual elite and will not benefit the Hindu Samaj. It will become another round of distraction from the central goal of protecting the aam admi Hindu and the traditonal acharyas, gurus and maths, whose very existence has frustrated the goal of asuric forces down the centuries to defeat Hindu civilisation.
(Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy & History).