Hindu-Christian Dialogue and the Second Front against Dharma – Vijaya Rajiva

Rajiv Malhotra & Nithy the TantricFriends, admirers and camp followers are well advised to be cautious with so-called Tantric Hindu gurus of Nityananda fame, and desist from uncritical adulation. We have seen how over reaching oneself in Dharma is a clear and ever-present danger, not merely to the individual but also the Hindu Samaj. Author and writer Rajiv Malhotra quite recently defended this person both in writing and videos.* Had the man merely worn white (like Osho and his followers) he could have gotten away with his misdemeanours. The ochre robes of a Hindu sannyasin are only worn after a solemn ceremony known as Viraja homa. The individual receives diksha from a saint or guru of unimpeachable spiritual attainment and usually from a known sampradaya. One also recalls accounts of the [informal] ceremony of the Paramahamsa handing the ochre robe to the young men who came by his cot, with Naren (the future Vivekananda) receiving it directly from his hands. The sannyasin is thereafter expected to lead an exemplary life.

The present writer has written about the second front against Dharma, where the individual (wittingly or unwittingly) sets himself up as an alternative to the traditional acharyas and gurus of Hinduism. Mr. Malhotra’s book Being Different could easily be presented as an interesting adventure of ideas which any one is entitled to, not only a Hindu author/writer. But to utilise the publicity gained from presentations of the book, to set up an alternative to the wisdom and learning of the traditional acharyas is a grave mistake. This process may be unintentional but it is a warning sign to the Hindu Samaj. The present writer has written about this problem (‘The Second Front and Dharma’)

Here, not only is the writer deceiving himself but is misleading the Hindu Samaj (it would seem), especially the youth of India. There might be some marginal utility for the Hindu youth in the diaspora, although even here a better way to go would be to present the arguments about the book as debating points with a view to self clarification before proceeding to the dialogue/debate with non-Hindu adversaries. The basic methodology of the book is flawed because the Purva Paksha is limited to the ‘gaze’ at the adversary’s view point not to its defeat. The reader must be reminded that the ancient Hindu science of debate Tarka Shastra, included a three-fold Purva Paksha:

  1. The statement of the adversary’s position
  2. The Kandan, which is the refutation of the adversary’s position
  3. Siddhanth, which is the statement of one’s own position

Fr. Francis Clooney, SJIf the Refutation is missing then the entire exercise is flawed from the viewpoint of dealing with the adversary, in this case the Christian adversary, specifically in Malhotra’s public statements, the Jesuit scholar and professor of Divinity, Francis Xavier Clooney of Harvard University. One can extrapolate from the flawed methodology of the book to Mr. Malhotra’s general inability to take up a strong stance against Hindu Christian dialogue, which to date has not been in the Hindu interest. Not only is the Christian side unconvinced, but the entire exercise becomes a camouflage for ongoing proselytisation, which is clearly visible in India. In fact, Malhotra’s public statements (see his blog in Huffington Post on 12/27/11 ‘Difference with Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu Christian Dialogue‘) show a clear trail. Malhotra is wooing the enemy. It is not surprising then that he embraces Hindu Christian dialogue as his new mission in life. There is also clear evidence that Malhotra is not trained for such encounters as the present writer has pointed out in the article ‘How not to engage in Hindu Christian Dialogue’.  This article is based on the surprising video of a so-called dialogue/discussion with Clooney at the University of Massachussetts, Dartmouth (USA). The article demonstrates that Malhotra is no match for the learned and savvy Jesuit.

A quote from Malhotra in the Huffington Post blog is also quite revealing :

“One such dialogue has been with Father Francis Clooney, a noted Jesuit theologian and a leading professor of Religion at Harvard. Clooney not only took a good deal of time in 2010 to read through my entire manuscript and write me his useful comments, he and I have also responded to each other’s public talks over the years and argued online….”

One of the earliest critics of Hindu Christian Dialogue, Sita Ram Goel has correctly diagnosed the situation:

Pope Paul VI“We have also something to say about ‘dialogue’ which has become the most famous as well as the most frequent word in current Christian parlance. The Second Vatican Council is supposed to have made a radical departure from the earlier Christian stand vis-a-vis other religions. ‘The Catholic Church,’ says a proclamation, Nostra Aetate, dated October 28, 1965, ‘rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions (Hinduism and Buddhism). She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which although differing in many ways from her own teachings, often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. Yet she proclaims and is duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and life…. ‘”

This is quoted from Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents edited by Austin Flannery, O.P., St. Paul Publications, Bombay 1983, p. 668. Quoted in the Preface to the First Edition of Sita Ram Goel’s book History of Hindu Christian Encounters, 1996.

The reader can keep in mind that Dr. Clooney is still a Jesuit, no matter his polite and diplomatic manner. He does not come with the word  ‘conversion’ blazoned on his forehead. Neverthless, all his activities are directed to the spread of the Christian doctrine.

Nothing has changed since Sita Ram Goel wrote, despite the Church’s diplomatic overtures. Conversion activity goes on apace in India. The Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati has unambiguously stated that there cannot be interfaith dialogue unless conversion activity stopes. In fact, as writer Tamizhchelvan has pointed out on several occasions the nefarious activities have only increased after the start of interfaith dialogue. The interfaith dialoguers have not stopped the inroads by the Church into the Hindu Samaj :

  1. Stop the evangelisation and conversions
  2. Stop the mushrooming of Christian NGOs
  3. Stop the construction of Prayers and Churches near our Temples
  4. Stop the Church from acquiring huge lands and properties
  5. Stop the menace of Inculturation
  6. Stop the flow of foreign money

(Tamizhchelvan’s articles may be read in Bharata Bharati)

Hindus under siege! Hence, while the Hindu elite may entertain themselves with pretty pictures and fancy arguments of writers, the Hindu Samaj is covertly (and sometimes overtly) being encroached upon. In a recent article against interfaith dialogue scholar and writer Dr. Gautam Sen has observed that Hindus are in a struggle for survival (‘Hindus under siege and fate of the Republic’).

The aam admi Hindu and the traditional acharyas, gurus and mathas have been the backbone of Hindu civilisation. Weakening them and finally destroying them has been the ancient dream of the Church. That it will not happen is owing to the devotion of the aam admi to their ancestral religion and the spiritual strength and leadership of the traditional acharyas, gurus and mathas (as pointed out by Sandhya Jain in her article ‘Hindu Christian Dialogue: What’s in it for Hindus?’). It is obligatory for diasporic Hindus not to weaken them in the face of the onslaught by the asuric forces. Personal ambition and vanity cannot become the issue.

The Nithyananda Defense Team was made up of Rajiv Malhotra, Aravindan Neelakandan, Swami Jyotirmayananda, V. Sundaram, S. Kalyanaraman & G.P. Srinivasan. Some of the advocates of the Sex Swami made vicious attacks on Radha Rajan, Sandhya Jain & Ishwar Sharan for criticising the self-styled guru’s indefensible conduct. See the article Nithyananda’s Defense Team: Sexist, Racist & Xenophobic (this note added by editor).

» Dr. Vijaya Rajiva taught Political Philosophy for several years and served for several years on the part-time faculty of a Canadian university and is now retired. She lives in Canada with her husband who is also an academic. Her current interests after retirement are in Indian history, culture and politics. She has written on Dharmic issues for such publications as Haindava Keralam. Her academic training is in Literature (B.A. Hons., M.Litt., University of Madras, India), Philosophy (M.A., University of Madras, India), Political Science (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), Political Economy & History (Ph.D. in Humanities, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada). She was a Danforth Indian Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, U.S.A. and has also taught at a college in Canada.

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