Rajiv Malhotra’s endorsement of Hindu-Christian dialogue – Vijaya Rajiva

Dr. Rajiva Vijaya“The present writer believes that the way to go is to reinforce the aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, rather than undermining them by subtle methods and often openly downgrading them in various ways.” – Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

Rajiv MalhotraIn an article in Huffington Post, author and writer Rajiv Malhotra repeats his interpretation of the ancient Hindu method of Purva Paksha as looking at various religions,especially Christianity and Western thought with respect, while maintaining differences (“Difference With Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue”). While religious leaders have traditionally maintained the posture that all religions are similar, Mr. Malhotra argues for the differences, while maintaining respect for each other’s world view. As one continues to read the article the reader realises that Malhotra is not actually saying anything new. In fact, his concluding statement is that there is a Divine One and its various manifestations are “lila.” This well written, charming essay is worth a first read, if only so that Hindus can understand where the author is going with his claims of a new kind of Hindu-Christian dialogue.

In previous articles the present writer has pointed out that Malhotra’s use of the ancient Hindu method of argument, Purva Paksha, is a truncated one, which stops short of “defeating” the adversary’s positions, and in fact aims at appeasing the adversary. Adi Shankara’s Digvijay tours of India (where he used Purva Paksha) were aimed at defeating the enemy in argument, not in appeasing him/her. Malhotra’s use of the word “dialogue” (a Platonic one) is also misleading. Socrates, in the Platonic Dialogues, aims at peeling off the layers of ignorance of his adversary’s arguments and arriving at what he believes to be the truth (See “Rajiv Malhotra & Francis Clooney: The siren song of interfaith dialogue”) . While Mr. Malhotra is entitled to his own interpretations, they become misleading for Hindus, when they are projected as the way to approach a clear and present danger, the predatory proselytising agenda of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, SJInterfaith dialogue became the fashion in North American universities some years ago and some unsuspecting Hindus were caught in this net. Now, the new phrase is “Hindu-Christian Dialogue”. In the Huffington Post article  Mr. Malhotra readily admits that he has been corresponding with Jesuit priest and scholar Francis Xavier Clooney, who is also a Professor of Divinity at Harvard University (USA) and that since 2010 this Jesuit scholar has been reading and commenting on Malhotra’s new book Being Different. This seemingly cosy relationship was replicated in the recent talk at Harvard university and which the present writer has critiqued in an article “Rajiv Malhotra & Francis Clooney: Just friends or best friends?”. Malhotra being an autodidact needed to consult with Clooney, in addition to his committment to interfaith dialogue. The far more experienced and well-trained Clooney had no difficulty in flattering Malhotra into thinking that he was a superior and updated version of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati and Swami Vivekananda! This alone should have sent out alarm signals to Malhotra but that did not appear to be the case. A Hindu who cannot see the Greek who comes bearing gifts, is showing the height of naivete in thinking that a ‘dialogue’ with this person is beneficial for Hindus.

Adi SankaracharyaThe present writer believes that the way to go is to reinforce the aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, rather than undermining them by subtle methods and often openly downgrading them in various ways. They have been the backbone of our civilisation. We tinker with them at our own peril. Protecting them and preserving them is the task for contemporary Hindus. This can and should be accompanied by a determined effort to “defeat” the enemy, rather than accommodate him/her. Some writers have argued that Hindus are being exposed on a daily basis to Western ideas and so why not be prepared for this onslaught by further exposure? In the opinion of the present writer this is a mistaken strategy, because it invites a new kind of Macaulayism. Macaulay effected his strategy of enslaving Hindus to Western thought by fiat. Malhotra and Clooney have adopted a different strategy, that of Hindu Christian Dialogue, in which the Hindu is programmed into thinking that he or she is obligated to engage with the adversary, in the interests of some “higher” cause.

There has been some speculation as to why the author of Breaking India has moved into a new phase. Whatever his motives, base or noble, what is required is a firm rejection of his new agenda by Hindus.

» Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy and History.

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