Is the traditional Hindu way good enough? – Koenraad Elst

Swami Dayananda with Israeli rabbis in Delhi.

Dr. Koenraad Elst“The good thing about being an outsider is that, while one may not see what goes on inside the black box of Hindu society, one can see the input and output all the better. From the outside, it seems that Hindus are not dead yet, but are losing ground all the time. So, from my vantage point, I can see very clearly that there is no reason for the smugness emanating from Vijaya Rajiva’s article.” – Dr. Koenraad Elst

Hindus and outsiders

Prof. Vijaya Rajiva thinks that I as an outsider cannot really help the Hindus. So far, so good: if Hindus don’t help themselves, there is indeed no outsider who can save them. However, she also says (indeed it is her chief message) that Hindus don’t need outsiders because the traditional Hindu way is good enough. But is it?

A diagnosis of the Hindu situation

Yes, the traditional Hindu way has some remarkable achievements to its credit, no one should deny that. The very existence of a Hindu civilization after more than a thousand years of Islamic battering and a few centuries of European colonization is indeed not so evident. Hindus have fought, and there was something invincible in the Hindu social structure.

However, the losses were also staggering. A part of the Hindu biomass, i.e. Hindu people, went over to the Islamic enemy. They secured an Islamic territory in 1947 as well as legal, constitutional and de facto privileges in the Indian republic. Christianity tried several strategies to win converts, at first rather unsuccessfully, but now with increasing results. At last, the climate is right, with a defenceless Hindu society offering little resistance against the conversion wave.

Meanwhile, the world has changed. As I have argued in my article about missionary anti-racism, the Christian Churches and the missionary apparatus have adapted admirably, crossing the floor all the way from association with colonial racism to a Dalit-Dravidianist discourse which borrows from anti-racism. They have many successes to show for it. Though the Indian Churches have cooperated with the governmental goal of reproductive self-restriction, they have still made demographic gains, with the reality being far more impressive than the official figures, which are already impressive enough.

Indian Islam too, for all its looking back to a medieval prophet, has adapted sufficiently to make and consolidate its gains. After winning a separate territory in 1947, it gained a promising foothold in the Indian Republic, secured a partisan anti-Hindu section of the Hindus (“secularism”), made the media and academia toe an anti-Hindu line, and gained enormously in numbers both through a consistently high birthrate and through immigration.

Hinduism, by contrast, is losing constantly. It is fragmented along caste and ethnic lines (worsened by the “secularist” regime) but also along ideological lines, chiefly secular against Hindu activist. It is divided against itself. There is a Hindu nationalist movement, but it is warped by the “Western” nationalist viewpoint and deliberately unable to wage the ideological struggle against Hindu society’s non-Hindu besiegers. Its recent help to the people from the Northeast is commendable, but proves also how formidable the problems inside India have become. Traditional Hinduism is losing its grip even among nominal Hindus, who learn the government version of culture and history in their schools and watch TV-programmes on stations owned by foreign or Indian (but either way anti-Hindu) magnates. That is why the Hindu historian Sita Ram Goel concluded his diagnosis with the observation that the death of Hinduism is no longer unthinkable.

There is very little sign of Hindu forces adapting themselves to the new realities. A few individuals show a remarkable sense of initiative, like Swami Dayananda Saraswati (who patronized the Jerusalem declaration), Subramaniam Swamy (the convert to Hindu nationalism), Prof. Yashwant Pathak (convener of the Elders’ conferences) or Swami Vigyananda (VHP general secretary); but over-all, this seems too little. The main representative of the Hindus in politics, the BJP, has completely abandoned its Hindu agenda, showing not just the weakness of character of people in the party concerned, but the weakness of the Hindu spirit to which they respond. The Hindu masses haven’t got a clue, though they react healthily whenever they have to deal with hostile subversion or violence. They long for leaders, but most leaders disappoint them. Hindus are mostly stuck in the past, and I interpret Vijaya Rajiva’s article as a defence of this tendency to live in the past.

The good thing about being an outsider is that, while one may not see what goes on inside the black box of Hindu society, one can see the input and output all the better. From the outside, it seems that Hindus are not dead yet, but are losing ground all the time. So, from my vantage point, I can see very clearly that there is no reason for the smugness emanating from Vijaya Rajiva’s article. One can argue about the methods proposed by “alarmists” like N.S. Rajaram or Ashok Chowgule, but their diagnosis that threats to India and to Hindu society are looming large, is only realistic. One does not have to be a foreigner to see what those Indians see, but suffice it to say that in our own way, we can see it too.


The Professor thinks that I am not in a position to say that the Vedas are apaurusheya, “impersonal”, often interpreted as “supernatural”, “of divine origin”, because there I would not be talking about my own heartfelt tradition. Well, exactly. That is indeed a point on which I have waged many discussions with internet Hindus. Let me reword my considered opinion a bit differently. I am in a position to say: no, the Vedas are not divinely revealed. This is not the viewpoint of “Western” or “Orientalist” scholarship, it is the Vedas themselves that say so: they are composed by human seers who address the gods.

The Vedic hymns naturally contain in passing many data about the age and region in which they were composed, as well as the genealogy and the circumstances of their composers. The gods figure in them in the second or the third person, the seers in the first. Bhargo devasya dhimahi, “let us meditate on the god’s effulgence”, or Tryambakan yajamahe, “Let us worship the three-eyed one”, or Agnim ile, “I praise the fire”, all have the human seers as their subject, the gods as their object.

This is in sharp contrast with the Quran or the Ten Commandments, which are deemed to be revealed by God through his conduit, the prophet.

What Vijaya Rajiva represents, is the Hindu tradition, which over the millennia has come to differ considerably from the Vedic inspiration. Hindu tradition has turned the Vedas from a human composition into a divine revelation, the seers and poets into prophets. In fact, it has turned the Vedas into a kind of Quran. It is unclear whether this is cause or consequence, but the Hindu mentality seems to have evolved since the Vedic period. Whereas an unencumbered outsider sees the greatness of the Vedic poets as creators, Hindu tradition reduces them to conduits of the gods.

Or worse even, to conduits of the single monotheist God, who created the timeless Vedas along with the world. If that’s what the Vedas said, we wouldn’t have bothered to give up the Bible, for it says much the same thing.

Post-Vedic Hinduism

In particular, the introduction of the notion of “liberation” or “enlightenment” (absent in the Vedas) created an absolute, a steep inequality between people deemed enlightened and the rest of us.

Hence the veneration of gurus, see e.g. the “Vedic” (but in fact Puranic, medieval) mantra in which the guru is equaled to Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara. Rama never venerated his guru Vasishtha as a quasi-god.

Another novelty is the belief in reincarnation. It is not in the Vedas, no matter how internet Hindus look for it there. The Upanishadic Brahmins Uddalaka and Shvetaketu came to know about it from a Kshatriya (not coincidentally the caste to which the later Buddha and Mahavira belonged), and explicitly acknowledged it as a novelty, not implicated in the central Upanishadic doctrine of the Self or in the liberation from the false identification of the Self with the non-Self. In recent centuries and today, most Hindus are crypto-Buddhists to whom reincarnation is a central belief and liberation is even defined as the escape through meditation from the cycle of rebirths. That is not the original Upanishadic view. I have seen many internet Hindus get angry for my making these factual observations, but hey, that’s what scripture itself says. It just goes to show how tradition may differ
from real history as laid down in the Vedas.

This is not to say that reincarnation is untrue. Post-Christian Westerners with their matter-of-fact approach have investigated testimonies of reincarnation (spontaneous testimonies by children, provoked testimonies by adults in regression trance, and Tibetan tulkus) and are inclined to conclude in favour of reincarnation. Incidentally, they found no proof of the concomitant Hindu-Buddhist doctrine of karma in the sense of reward or punishment for deeds from a past life, a doctrine unknown to other reincarnation believers. But reincarnation may be a fact, and those much-maligned Westerners would not say: “I believe in reincarnation because Lord Buddha or the Shastras tell me so”, but: “I believe in reincarnation because research findings confirm this hypothesis”.

This is also not to deny that the belief in reincarnation is old. It certainly existed in Vedic times, indeed it existed before the Amerindians left Northeast-Asia for America, so that they could take it with them. But those who composed the Vedas did not hold this belief, in fact they had a ritual for the dead in which they pointed to a specific part of the heavens where the deceased went. In the European world, the belief in an afterlife (Valhalla) coexisted with the belief in reincarnation (taught by the Druids, or in Virgil’s Aeneis). Others, who contributed to the non-Vedic part of Hinduism, may have held this belief, and later it was accepted by the successors of the Vedic seers. Hinduism is a confluence of Vedic and non-Vedic traditions, just as the Paurava Vedic tribe coexisted with other tribes, and just as the Vedic Sanskrit language coexisted with other Indo-Aryan, other Indo-European and totally other languages.

Another example of how Westerners may see what Hindus don’t, was given to me by a reviewer of my 1997 book BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence. Like Vijaya Rajiva, he hoped to be delivered from those non-Hindu busybodies trying to defend Hinduism. Apart from myself, he also directed his ire against David Frawley, namely for writing in his autobiography that he was a self-taught Sanskritist who had read the Vedas all by himself. In the reviewer’s opinion, Frawley should have been initiated into the Vedas by a recognized Vedacharya. Well, then he would have studied the Vedas through the eyes of Hindu tradition, which captures and transforms the message of the Vedic seers, whereas now, he accepted the face-to-face encounter with the Vedic seers themselves. It has not kept him from becoming far more Hindu than myself, but I note that to some Hindus, he has remained an outsider nonetheless.

So, a Westerner, or indeed a globalist, may miss certain things, but conversely, they see things which Hindu nationalists fail to see. That is why I am not apologizing for being an outsider.

Hindu survival

However, I have no quarrel with Hindu tradition. For me, everyone is free to practice religion as he likes (within the usual confines of morality). There may be something to living Hinduism which I cannot feel, and what I do see and feel is already glorious enough. So, by all means, go ahead with it. Only, I am curious to know what those traditional methods of survival are. Among them is certainly the continuation of Hinduism as a living religion. In that sense, I have no quarrel with Hindus forgetting about politics and taking part in religious activities such as rituals and festivals.

It’s just that I think this is not enough to survive. Many people have practised their religion but turned out to be no match for the “asuric forces”. So, on top of continuing Hindu tradition, I’d like to see what strategies are being deployed to outwit these asuric forces. Don’t tell the details to an outsider like me, but then at least show me the results. Show me how the Hindu percentage in India is increasing again. Show me your victories.

 Dr. Koenraad Elst distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and eager to dissent. He studied at the Catholic University of Leuven, obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. After a research stay at Benares Hindu University he did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu nationalism, for which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. As an independent researcher he has earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like Islam, multiculturalism and the secular state.

24 Responses

  1. @Dr.Rajiva,

    Nope I’m not comparing Bible and the Vedas at all at the intellectual platform. Bible is way too inferior to stand against the Vedas. All I’m saying is that we should never focus only on the Vedic Agamic tradition and treat that as a milestone of our survival. There is no point in having the Vedas if there is no social structure to support it. This is why an entire class of people were created just to chant them in those days. Luckily there are still a small group of people who follow it strictly. But we can’t count on them for long term survival, and it’s our responsibility to protect and nurture them. As Dr. NSR pointed out, the biggest blunder that the Buddhists did, by having only the spiritual class was the fundamental reason for all the miseries that they faced over the two millenniums, including the current threats from China.

    It’s very important that we start focusing on the kshatriya (politics and military) part of Hinduism too right now. Our leaders significantly lack that. The fate of Kerala and the North East should not be repeated elsewhere. Yoga and Vedas are becoming big jokes in the modern world. The West is working hard to de-hinduize both. It’s a pity that even our modern Gurus are not aware of such things and fall prey to the stupid “ONE GOD” propaganda by the West.

    More importantly Hindus have become dumb. They themselves are not aware of their dharma. We still treat temples as churches, Vedas as Bible, worship as prayer etc etc. These are blunders we continue to do even today, partly due to the corruption of our educational system. It’s high time we should start looking at Hinduism from a Hindu perspective and not from a missionary point of view.

    In my opinion the only reason that Hinduism could survive up to this point is only because of our strong social structure (jaathi & varna). This setup was the one which helped us to carry forward even the Vedic Agamic tradition. But the family system is slowly being destroyed by inheriting western life styles. A Hindu was never a state property in our tradition. We have a far better layered structure in the society than the West.

    Sometimes I feel that the West has a better understanding of our civilization than ourselves. It’s high time for Hindus to wake up and realize the threat before it’s too late. We should no longer be proud for being tolerant. This is a weakness which was cleverly exploited by West since Gandhian days.


  2. A misrepresentation of my articles. Certainly the kshatriya spirit must be built up. However, that cannot be done by attacking the Hindu Agama tradition, nor can it be done by those who are non Hindus who do not understand the tried and tested methods, which involve MANY strategies.

    Please check out the excellent critique of Elst (and other Hindu sympathisers) by MD Srinivas from the Centre for Policy Studies.


  3. @ Rajan. Please do not compare the Veda and the Bible as sources of religiosity. Hindus consider the Veda as apaurusheya (not of human origin) and they do not try to shove it down the throats of people of other faiths. Followers of the Bible, on the other hand, believe that the Bible is the word of God and they try to shove it down others’ throats. That God, ofcourse, is also THEIR God and one who revealed himself only to THEIR prophets.

    I have written about this One Godism, plus the importance of preserving the Veda- Agama tradition, plus my most recent article
    ‘ A Critical Examination of Shri Aurobindo’s Secrets of the Veda’.

    All these articles are at Simply type in Vijaya Rajiva and you will access the archives of my articles.


  4. Very good article. Two or three points in it need to be explained vis-a-vis SRG, RS, Voice of India and their POOR relationship with the Sangh Parivar.

    Most important the article is to-the-point and uses acceptable, inoffensive language to critique Dr. Elst while making its strong points against him and David Frawley. This is very much appreciated.


  5. Thank you cnm for the excellent article by Shri MD Srinivasan! IS might consider reproducing it on Bharata Bharati.


  6. Excellent response as usual from Dr. NSR. May I just fine tune your following statement a bit from

    “Agamas and purity of Vedic rituals will not save it”


    “Agamas and purity of Vedic rituals alone will not save it”

    The problem with people like Dr. Vijaya is that they approach Hinduism with a Christian mindset and try to doctrinize it like the Bible by sensationalizing just one portion of it for eg. the Vedas. Hinduism has to be viewed holistically. By saying this i’m in no way trivializing the Vedas but all I’m trying to say is that Vedas were positioned at a very higher level. The Hindu society was not just formed of Vedic Rishis alone. It consisted of people from all classes within the society and each class contributed equally to the well being of the society. This is probably why our Rishis created different Varnas and designated people from each Varna with distinct responsibilities and messages of the Vedas were intertwined into the dharmas of each varna.This is how the crux of Vedas were taught to the common man in those days. Today we’ve over-hyped the Vedas and literally made it into a Bible like thing by printing pocket editions of the same and even conduct crash courses on Vedas, eventually commercializing it which is exactly the strategy that our modern Gurus are also following.


  7. Here is an article by Shri MD Srinivasan of Centre for policy studies, Chennai. It pertains to the present article and the articles that gave rise to animosity if I can say so among Hindu Intellectuals. Link


    It is Madhava Vidyaranya , who belonged to the Sringeri Mutt. He wrote the Sankara Digvijayam. He helped in founding the Vijayanagara empire and reconverted Hakka and Bukka from Islam. He had another younger brother called Syapa a scholar in RigVeda. Madhavcharyya you are referring to is from the Dvaitic school, whose pundits perform rituals very rigorously. Madhavacharayyas commentary on Mahabharata is very good and the only one acharyya who has written such a commentary.


  9. Thank you for the clarification Anonymous. You spell your name with an upper case A.
    anonymous, is lower case. Also, I was puzzled by the second one’s position which is quite different from yours.

    At any rate, I liked your devastating attack on Rajaram and Malhotra for attacking traditional Hinduism. Heavens knows we have enough enemies from the asuric side, without our own speaking against Hinduism. In fact, Dr. Rajaram, as if to underscore his opposition has sent a new email (this time to me and some others). I respect his work as a philosopher of science and have written strongly in support of those projects. I have criticised those who tried to belittle that project. But I think he is at sea where traditional Hinduism is concerned.

    IS is right. Since there are so many anonymouses writing perhaps you could add a fake name and call yourself Anonymous TH (those letters standing for Traditional Hinduism).

    The small case anonymous can add anonymous social reformer, or some such label, because his strengths seem to be in social reform and even his reading of history seems to be from that particular perspective.

    Of course, he also seems to be a friend/sympathiser of Elst, and this comes out clearly in his defence of Elst.

    On a slightly lighter note: I have studied some Carnatic music and was listening to the immortal GNB. What a voice, what an artist!

    Likewise, a young Bhagavatar called TSN Krishnan at the Chembai Sangeetholsavam 2011. Also Prince Rama Varma’s rendition of his famous ancestor’s Deva Deva Kalayami.

    It occurred to me that the asuric forces will never win! The gods won’t let, if only to protect Carnatic music !

    You see this is the perspective that someone like Elst cannot have, for obvious reasons. But so it seems also Dr. R! Otherwise he cannot possibly attack Agama!


  10. I am concerned about the defence of Hindu civilization while those who speak in the name of ‘tradition’ don’t seem to to see beyond preservation in a form they consider ‘pure’. But purity is in the eye of the beholder.

    700 years ago, when the first wave of Islamic onslaught threatened to finish Hindu society, Madhavachary (Vidyaranya), told his younger brother Sayana: “Set aside your works and commentaries — and go to Pampa-kshetra (modern Hampi) on the Tungabhadra. That is where we are needed.”

    We are at a similar point today. No civilization can survive without kshatra-bala. Lack of a kshatra tradition finished off Buddhism in Eastern India (now stronghold of Islam) and Central Asia. Gandhi-Nehruism has placed Hinduism in the same position. Agamas and purity of Vedic rituals will not save it. They cannot protect themselves let alone protect others.

    Every invader seeks to emasculate subject people by destroying kshatra. Muslims did it, the British did it, but the British also gave Hindus the opportunity to regain their kshatra spirit. But this is what Gandhi and Nehru tried to undermine in the name of ahimsa. (I am working on an article on this.)

    India has a professional army of high quality, but no kshatra in its political class, which is made up mainly of unscrupulous baniya spirit.

    What Hinduism needs is revival of the kshatra spirit, not revivalism through ancient ritual practices — or disputes about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. There will never be a shortage of such spirits.


  11. Yes, you are right on this point Anonymous2. There are two or three anonymous-es posting on this web site. The earlier one Dr. Rajiva is referring to is not you.

    It would be much better if each anonymous commentator chose a pseudonym or used initials when posting comments. They then establish an Internet identity that becomes known and trusted. An Internet identity with an icon of choice can be created at and comes in very useful when posting comments on various web sites.

    Anonymous posts as “anonymous” only have about 48% credibility. If a commentator wishes to be taken seriously, he or she should assume an Internet identity of choice and consistently post under that identity always using the same email address (which can be created for the purpose) as it is the address that identifies the poster’s icon.

    The commentator then has a real Internet identity that fully protects his real world identity.


  12. Vijaya,

    “anonymous, I liked your devastating attack on Rajaram and Malhotra for attacking traditional Hinduism.”

    There were multiple “anonymous” persons responding to that article where Rajaram openly turned on Hindu religoin.
    The “anonymous” you appear to describe is me (there’s no way you can confirm this of course, but it’s the truth). And I’m not the same as the “anonymous” on this page.


  13. anonymous, the Hindu at the Hindu Conference was not gloating but he was making a key point : Hindus have to stand on their own two feet. Centuries of barbarian invasions and colonial rule have left secular Hindus with the Macaulay’s children syndrome. But the central Veda Agama tradition is still intact and has always been.

    In such a context Dr. Elst is setting up a straw man and attacking it.
    For two reasons : 1. he has not understood the tries and tested methods precisely because he is a non Hindu, 2. he has not been catching up with all the current work going on by Hindus.

    I have already explained my point of view and I recommend that you go back and read my articles starting with Non Hindus when they defend Hindus . . . .

    Re: the Briahadishwara, good for that Boga !


  14. The Tanjavur Big Temple is officially an ASI monument and not a traditionally functioning Shiva temple under the HR & CE Dept. (as far as I know; I may be corrected on this point). The ASI permits pujas to go on but I suspect no prana pratishta has been done for decades — it should be done every 12 years — as the ASI doesn’t want the temple building ‘damaged’ by traditional worship. So the Big Temple is an official GOI tourist attraction and I am surprised that the temple officials had the gumption to refuse entry to the bishops because they were in their cassocks. Normally anybody can enter and tourist guides take foreign groups in who are always inappropriately dressed (foreign tourists in India always think they are at the beach and dress accordingly). This is not a good policy because the Big Temple sanctum is built joining right on to the main hall (if I remember correctly) so there is not any distance between the Lingam, which is very large, and the tourists. They are separated by a railing only. Usually tourists are kept at a good distance from the deity in the temple sanctum in South India temples.

    There is a good article by Sadhu Rangarajan on Raja Raja Chola I and the Brihadeeswar Temple at

    Of course Raja Raja wasn’t a secularist and was not concerned about religious harmony because it was not an issue during his reign (not up with Raja Raja’s history; there may have been an issue between Shaivites and Jains which went on for some time in Tamil Nadu, but not between Hindus and Abrahamists).

    And the bishop isn’t a secularist either, so why is he patting us on the back for an attitude he himself does not have?

    What we do know is that there is no record of Christianity in Tamil Nadu during his period, 10th-11th centuries, which is important information because the Dravidian-ists, supported by the Indian Church, claim Christianity had a good following in Tamil Nadu then and contributed to the theology of Tamil Shaivism (which it didn’t of course).


  15. Karmakhand is as difficult as Gnana Yoga, Karmakhand (the Agamas as you say) is very difficult for the westerner to understand and even perform. Even many Hindus falter in this. The whole idea of Elst is to ” Savdhan” (Be alert) the Hindus. Just see how the envoy of Vatican tried to equate secularism with Brihadeshwara temple. What does he mean by this? This is the intrusion which Elst is writing about and IS has been cautioning. Just travel back in time and Imagine the Vatican intrusion in Mylapore Siva temple. If IS had not written this so much in detail, one would have not known the facts. One has to maintain Karmakhand (for which Hindu temples have to decontrolled from the govt), because Karmakhand even in villages is expensive. It is easy to write about Karmakhand, but the physical and mental effort is mind boggling. At same time if caution is thrown to the wind about intrusions which could result in reduction of Karmakhand, then we have to take these warnings seriously. About Hindus being rich in the past is because we did not have the West to copy, so we had our own system and richness was there. Now we cannot gloat over the past, but heed to warnings.


  16. anonymous, I liked your devastating attack on Rajaram and Malhotra for attacking traditional Hinduism. But this comment shows a certain lack of focus which is a typical. Sure, Danino did some good work on the Aryan Invasion theory, so did Elst, as far as I can remember (although he seemed to agree with Taglieri). And Gautier is okay. But the major lifting was done by Indic scholars. Let us not forget that. And while we should be courteous to ‘foreign’ interventions and welcome them, the situation has to be decided on a case by case basis. Because they did some good work on the Aryan invasion theory does not mean we have to listen with bated breath as they engage in Hindu bashing (I am speaking of Elst, not the other two).

    Elst has taken a bit of a turn in focussing on Hindus being a defeated people. And your first comment is right. Why now Dr. Elst, you ask. There is a contradiction in saying that India is okay because of the people celebrating festivals etc. and NOW saying that they are a defeated people.

    Re: warnings about Islam because of the European example. I take that with a grain of salt. Elst, I am afraid, has become obsessive with the Hindu-as-incompetent theme. That has been the point of my article. He is so because he has not understood our tried and tested methods. I don’t agree with the Radhakrishnan criticism that he is a crusader fighting Islam on Indian soil. But neither is his current pessimism warranted. There is a curious contradiction throughout.

    I agree with your social criticisms about wastage. But re: the Hindu Economic summit. The person who made that comment that he was the richest man because he is a Hindu, must surely have said it because he was pointing to the fact that Hindus (prior to the barbarian invasions and colonial rule) were among the richest in the world. India’s contribution to the world’s GDP was very high. India was prosperous. I recall seeing a video of Dr. Swamy making a speech there. He raised many interesting points and he also exhorted the Hindu businessmen to invest in India. The theme was Hindu. It was therefore natural to use the word ‘Hindu’ in a positive sense.

    And as far as I could see, the entire Conference was run very efficiently.

    I also recall that people like Professor Vaidyanathan of the IIM (Bangalore) was present at this Conference. His work is excellent and is germane to the question of a Hindu economics at the present time.

    But to return to the question of Elst not quite understanding the Hindu tried and tested methods, I rest my case.



    “The king who built the temple remained a symbol of secularism and communal harmony.” said the Vatican envoy. Is it so!!! IS , Raja Raja was an ardent Siva Bhakt. The response to the New Indian express report by Boga is on dot with the comments or did the responder read the Hindu report and write this. The Hindu has censored the non-admittance of the envoy thru the main gate news. Editorial hypocrisy.

    Earlier, he was directed by the temple officials to use the side entrance. An official on condition of anonymity explained, “We allow people of all religions when they are not in their religious attire. However, the envoy was in his religious attire.”

    IBNLive has reported the denial of entry.



    Big temple symbol of religious integrity, says Vatican envoy

    Earlier, he was directed by the temple officials to use the side entrance. An official on condition of anonymity explained, “We allow people of all religions when they are not in their religious attire. However, the envoy was in his religious attire.”

    a response to this article, IS

    Yes by making this secular statement, soon in near future there would suddenly appear a cross inside the premises and missionary will start claiming this as their miracle church and occupy the temple
    Posted by boga at 09/09/2012 12:48


  19. “I feel it is not that he being Hindu , he is pessimistic,” , Please read as “I feel because he is non- Hindu , he is pessimistic”


  20. The diaspora of the other side , the Hindus is not as strong as the diaspora you have mentioned. True to some extent. Lets leave the diaspora. Just look at the rich Indians in India itself . Are they doing enough. I feel no. There is a concern now and it is being done in a very slow trickle. But one aspect I completely agree with Dr Elst, is the showing off of the wealth created. Here is Elst himself on this, “I am the richest man in the world – because I am a Hindu”, said a Mister Alpesh Patel from Oxford. At a time when so many poor Hindus succumb to the lure of conversion to Christianity, the statement seemed unduly triumphalistic” in This observation by Elst I have seen with many rich Hindus. This is very like the Tamil saying ” Aarpaan Paush Kanda Madhiri”. Why boast? Why have senseless wealth spending for a marriage ceremony. The arguement is that, you marry only once, so spend. Well, why don’t they set an example by marrying once, in a less ostentatious manner. You should see the food wasted and thrown away into garbage after a marriage ceremony. Even Goddess Annapurna will not pardon this. Even NRI ‘s are like this. NRIs should become “NOW REQUIRED INDIAN” AND not the other “NOT REQUIRED INDIAN”. You can replace Indian with Hindu. One can go on and on but I feel your last statement “Dr. Elst’s articles are NOW treating Hindus as a defeated people, as if the story has already ended. And this pessimism arises in the last analysis precisely because he is not a Hindu” is written on an emotional plane. Elst clearly says, “Hinduism is alive and kicking. So, I am not all that pessimistic about the future. You simply have to do what it takes” . I feel it is not that he being non-Hindu, he is pessimistic, but he is surely fed up with the methods of the missionaries and as Europe is confronting Islam, he is cautioning Hindus in his own way. There is Francois Gautier who lives in India and he writes a lot, who keeps on saying Arise Arjuna and is doing his bit for culture in Pune. Then you have the intellect of Micheal Danino who has written very well on the genetics of Aryan debate in which he demolishes the Aryan invasion myth with references from the text of Stephen Oppeinheimers work. Elst, Gautier, and Danino and even the editor of this web site may be westerners, but definitely they are doing their bit like the proverbial soldier in small Hindu Kingdoms of the yore who used to ride on a horse before the village was attacked by another king and caution the people with ” Khabardhar!!! ( Be attentive) Hoshiyar ( Be smart)!!! Aap ko Khatra hai” (You are being threatened)” . Please do not take soldiers in the literal sense , metaphorically, they are wordy soldiers.


  21. As usual your writing is eminently sensible and to the point. Will the vaisya community now doing very well both in India and in the diaspora do their bit? Sometimes they do (not the Ambanis!) but in the diaspora especially, their contributions financially and otherwise to the homeland is mitigated by the tendency to attack traditional Hinduism. This is their fatal flaw. Your rightly ask: is the traditional Hinduism not good enough NOW, Dr. Elst? For some inexplicable reason IS removed the qualifiers [IS did not ADD the qualifier when he created the title. – IS]. No matter, he (Elst) has acknowledged even in this article that there is something in the Hindu social structure that has endured.

    Shri Ashok Chowgle was being neutral. Dr. R, of course, you dealt with along with that other diasporan who attacks traditional Hinduism. The problem with Dr. R’s reply earlier was that he immediately rushed to the conclusion that there was racism in the criticism against Elst. And then he went off tangent by attacking Agama.

    He is not a vaisya I believe. But like the earlier Kshatriya betrayals, followed by Brahmin surrender the common theme now is the attack on traditional acharyas, maths, mathams etc. under the false argument that they are no longer good enough. A kshatriya’s dharma (spiritual kshatriya or otherwise) is the defence of the traditional acharyas, the mathams and the Veda Agama. Let the vaisyas do their dharmic duty of creating wealth and then taking on the task of governance in both the distribution of wealth and the building of the country.

    If this could be dealt with by the advocates themselves it would be helpful. Hinduism is both Veda and Agama. That is the burden of my recent writings, the latest being ‘A Critical Examination of Shri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda‘ ( Predictably, in a reply at another site, a respondent did not understand that and assumed that the interpretation of Vedic/Upanishadic universalism is the defining feature of Hinduism. The burden of my articles was precisely that the Vedic Agama universalism existed in the Vedic vision already. Aurobindo does not admit that . . . .

    The strength of the Vedic Agamic tradition can be pictorially captured by the rock like strength of the great Hindu temples . . . .

    In my opinion Dr. Elst’s articles are NOW treating Hindus as a defeated people, as if the story has already ended. And this pessimism arises in the last analysis precisely because he is not a Hindu.


  22. Dr. Elst did not leave out the “now” in the article’s title.

    Dr. Elst’s articles have no titles when they are received by the editor.

    The title of the article was created by the editor. He did consider adding “today” to the title, to read “Is the traditional Hindu way good enough today?” But for whatever reason, he did not add the needed qualifier in the title.


  23. Before concluding on “Is the traditional Hindu way good enough?” one has to analyse the evolution of Hinduism through the ages. It would be be good to restrict this comment from the time of Buddha and Mahavira and not go back to the epics. Both were Kshatriyas and renounced their karma and lost their guna to become an ascetic and thus created their own followers. Then their followers created their own versions of Ramayana and Mahabharat (except the followers of Mahavira called Lord Krishna as co brother of Neminatha, a Jain Tirthankara) which resulted in the controversial AK Ramanujam text on umpteen Ramayanas. One commonality throughout this giving up Kshatriyadom by Buddha and Mahavira has resulted in the blurred view of the warrior class by their followers. So the Kshatriya class has always been under duress from time immemorial. The reasons for the disillusion by these two Kshatriyas is blamed by many commentators on the Brahmins for whom Sanskrit was the written and spoken language. Thus evolved Pali and Ardhamaghdi which unfortunately got wiped out probably due to the advent of Islam in India.(Nalanda, a centre of learning was destroyed by n 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by [11] the fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk; [12] Throughout Indian history, one can see the Kshatriya decline or like Ashoka a Kshatriya, renounce Kshatryaism to embrace Buddhism. It has always been first the Kshatriya to renounce his Karma and Guna and then of course instead of being a Go-Brahamana (protector of Brahmins), the Kshatriya turned ascetics have made the Brahmana also their followers.

    The advent of Islam made the Kshatriya panic and the creations of Jaichands among the Kshatriyas made them more vulnerable to weakness. Meanwhile the Christian missionaries made inroads into India targetting the Brahmins, which has been written by Jacob De Rover, another Belgian ( looks like Belgians have taken a decisive decision to analyse Hinduism) as ” The contemporary stereotypes about Brahmins and the story about Brahminism also originate in Christian theology.” in So the first two in the varnashram have had their challenge from Islam and Christianity, and it was from the third varna Vaisya (trading community) an Indian had to rise to lead India into freedom (Gandhi). Gandhi had a many weaknesses. He used his Vaisya tact, but made the Kshatriya characteristic weak. The first two among the varnas, the Brahmin and the Kshatriya have become weak. The Vaisya is going strong. Many Indian (Hindu) businessmen have been successful in their enterprise in India and overseas. It is time for this varna to work hard for Hinduism (and not build mansions like the Ambanis surrounded by slums) and aid the fourth varna the working class by getting into the sewa mode. This third varna can do wonders for Hinduism.

    Konrad Elst, traditons as you once wrote at can be kept alive as in

    “The first thing Hindus have to do, is to know themselves”
    “The greatest thing about Hinduism for all its adherents are its festivals. As long as people celebrate these, the religion will exist”
    “And judging by this criterion, Hinduism is alive and kicking. So, I am not all that pessimistic about the future. You simply have to do what it takes…”

    So “Is the traditional Hindu way good enough?” Why did you miss “now” after enough?


  24. This reply by Dr. Elst is charmingly and disarmingly written, but is again a good illustration of what I meant by saying that a non-Hindu cannot fully relate to the Hindu ethos. One or two points since he goes all over the place to make his point that Hindus are a defeated people.

    1. First and foremost, yes the Hindu tradition developed by declaring the Vedas as apaurusheya (not of human origin) but not in the same way as the Abrahamic Bible which declares the word of God (one Godism). And then the unmanifest Brahman of the Upanishads focuses on the origin of this apaurusheya, and together the Veda-Upanishad burst into/develop into the Agama. History and eternity.

    Veda Agama, not the mighty fortress of Brahmanism, the creature of Monier Williams’s imagination! This reality is probably not accessible to a non-Hindu, hence the pessimism emanating from Dr. Elst that Hindus are a defeated people.

    This topic is too complex and profound to write about in a reply. Indeed it has already been written about in the Hindu tradition over the millenia. It has been written about, sung about, thought about, lived about. Today, contemporary Hindus like myself can only pick up on this miracle. I recommend both that Dr. Elst immerse himself in that tradition (not skim over the surface!) and read my own articles in Vijayvaani, the latest being ‘ A Critical Examination of Shri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda’. Already I have received compliments from very critical (!) sources that they are pleased with the reopening of a debate in such creative terms. Hindus have been doing this sort of thing for ages, and no doubt will continue. I am not doing anything new or spectacular. There is nothing new under the Hindu sun.

    And it is not a question of revealing ‘details’…. Do you believe in Ganesha as the breaker of obstacles Dr. Elst? Of course not, and so you expect us to be replicas of yourself and your European tradition, is it not? Or, as some friendly Hindu converts do, a piece of the Hindu action is picked up and dilated upon. No problem with that, the more the merrier!

    And like the story of the blind men and the elephant, each non-Hindu imagines that his piece of the action is the whole!

    2. Re: political observations, these are too diffuse to be taken up here, as you presented them.

    3. Re: show one success. There are many, too glorious to be mentioned in a few lines. Do we need to? They are all over the place.

    And the miracle ? That the last of the great ancient civilisations is still standing!

    Smugness on the part of Hindus for saying this? To an outsider, yes, that is how it seems.

    Concluding observation: Dr. Elst is too much a man in a hurry. The show is not over Dr. Elst, until the fat lady sings!


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