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Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (3rd Bin)
<b>Tha Hoax Of Vasudhaiva kuTumbakam I - Hitopadesha</b>

If a survey of the saMskR^ita verses most quoted in the modern times were undertaken, the following would certainly secure the top rank:

ayaM nijaH paroveti gaNanA laghu-chetasAm
udAra charitAnAM tu vasudhaiva kuTumbhakam ||

“'This is my own and that a stranger' – is the calculation of the narrow-minded,
For the magnanimous-hearts however, the entire earth is but a family”

Along with its short form 'vasudhaiva kuTumbakam', this shloka somehow finds a massive popularity among the modern Hindus. Of late though, the secular variety seems to have developed quite a fetish for it and the verse has gained a rhetorical note. Apparently it offers them an aesthetic emblem of multiculturalism and universalism, as well as an authority of yore to denounce the nationalistic thought as narrow-minded. Even the most saMskR^ita-phobic ones therefore can be seen reciting this shloka on every sundry occasion.

Thanks to the rhetoric, the traditional Hindus too seem to have taken to this shloka like a duck to the water. vasudhaiva kuTumbakam is often cited by them as an evidence of how ancient Hindu-s had set for themselves (and for generations thereafter) the principles of an unconditional universal brotherhood. It has been generally taken for granted by them that VK is an unquestionable value, a traditional nIti recommended by wise ancestors of how to deal with the world.

VK has also become an unchallenged cornerstone of India's official policy-making in the last six decades, and has been officially proclaimed so on several occasions since independence. No wonder then, that as a symbolic reflection, VK has been literally inscribed in stone, on the walls of the India’s Parliament House.

However, this prominence to VK in the modern public discourse springs from a superficial or even a perverted understanding. If we study the original sources which recited it in the first place, it becomes amazingly apparent that its application in the matters of policy is a height of ignorance and squarely flawed. That is precisely the objective of this note in which we shall glean through the original sources, recognize the contexts in which the ancient Hindu-s uttered VK, and most importantly, validate whether it was meant by them as a recommendation.

Contrary to the popular myths, the verse is neither located in R^igveda nor in mahAbhArata, neither in manusmR^iti nor in the purANa-s. Thus far, we have seen the verse in the following saMskR^ita sources: hitopadesha, pa~nchatantra, certain compendiums of chANakya and bhaR^trihari, mahA-upaniShadam, certain recensions of vikrama-charita, and finally in the works of the great kAshmIraka poet bhaTTa udbhaTa. While there might be additional sources of the verse as well, which we might identify in future, here we shall make an excursion into these texts identified so far, and understand the proper contexts and true purport of VK in each occurrence.

vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in hitopadesha

That this verse comes to us from the massive web of tales called hitopadesha, this I accidentally learnt while reading the preface of Mahadevi Varma's collection of autobiographical essays called “Mera Parivar” (My Family). The towering modern-Hindi poetess was a lover of animals and had in her home a curious gathering of different creatures which is what she described as her family in this book. The preface compares her family to 'vasudhaiva kuTumbakam of the creatures described in pa~nchatantra' -- although the author would have really meant hitopadesha -- and that is how I came upon pa~nchatantra and hitopadesha in search for origins of VK.

Several centuries before Friedrich Froebel proposed the ideas about educating the child through entertaining activities - kindergarten as he called it - teaching young pupils through entertainment must have been a successful practice in India. If the terse instructions are wrapped inside intriguing and memorable tales, not only are the lessons better received by the instructed, but also acquire meaningfulness and longevity of the teaching -- arguably the discovery of this principle is to the credit of ancient Hindu-s, and hitopadesha is a shining evidence of the same. It was compiled by nArAyaNa paNDita in roughly 5th century of the CE either in pATaliputra or in Bengal, as a textbook for two young princes who being hard at studies were dropouts from the conventional schooling.

Organized into four chapters, hitopadesha is a fascinating loop of one tale inside the other which itself is inside the other tale – going all the way back up to the kathAmukha or the face-tale. Vasudhaiva kuTumbakam makes its sole appearance in its first chapter known as mitra-lAbhaH ('Gaining of Friends'). A mouse named hiraNyaka relates to his friend laghu-patanaka the Crow, a story about another Crow, the Deer and ksudrabuddhi the Jackal, and inside this story ksudrabuddhi the Jackal would recite VK as a reaction after hearing from this Crow another story known as 'jaradgava the Vulture and dIrghakarNa the Cat'.

Encapsulated in this intriguing way within three layers of fables is this important message about VK that nArAyaNa paNDita the great teacher of politics relayed to his pupils. To understand the context in which VK is quoted and more importantly the instruction of the teacher about it, let us enjoy these two stories: one in which the VK is uttered; and another in response to which it is uttered. Reproduced in the following paragraphs are both of these in a condensed form.

The Crow, the Deer and ksudrabuddhi the Jackal

“Long long ago, in the champakavaTI forest of magadha, there lived two friends - a Deer called chitrA~Nga and a Crow named subuddhi. It so happened that a Jackal named kshudra-buddhi, (the proposer of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam, as we shall soon see), was passing by and his eyes caught hold of the healthy Deer as he was grazing nearby. The lust to devour him immediately arose in the Jackal's mind, but knowing Deer to be too swift in a chase, he decided to fall back on his cunning – to win first the confidence of the Deer. The VK-preacher therefore approached the Deer, saluted him, and introduced himself as a lonely newcomer with friendly intentions, and proposed a friendship and brotherhood with the Deer. The naive Deer fell for the sweet words of kshudra-buddhi, and not knowing his true intentions, invited him to his own dwellings.

So, they started towards the Deer’s place, and on their way sitting on the branches of a champaka tree was Deer’s old and wise friend subuddhi the Crow. Seeing them passing by, the Crow asked the Deer, 'O chitrA~Nga, who is this second fellow with you? ' 'A Jackal, my new friend', answered the Deer. To this, the Crow asked: 'But, do you know him well enough? One should never extend friendship and shelter to anyone without knowing their real nature and intentions, learning the history of their ilk and giving them a test of time.' The Deer lightly shrugged this aside, saying, 'But this Jackal is very friendly'.

Seeing his friend in delusions, the Crow began relating to him a story about how jaradgava a Vulture was killed by unwisely trusting an impostor (that story reproduced later below). He warned the Deer against trusting the Jackal without learning more about him.

So far the Jackal had kept quite, and it is at this juncture that he opened his argument with the famous shloka of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam, demanding the Deer to not be of a narrow mind by considering the Crow a friend and himself an alien. The vasudhaiva-kuTumbakam discourse successfully put to rest all doubts that had arisen in the Deer’s mind, and dismissing the Crow’s wise council he went ahead in bringing the VK-preacher into his home.”

The remainder of the story can be summed up in two sentences. The cunning VK-reciting Jackal started dwelling with the naive Deer, and as soon as the opportunity arose, pushed him into a deadly trap. However before he could kill the Deer, our wise hero subuddhi the Crow devised a clever trick by which not only the Deer was rescued but also the VK-reciting Jackal was slain.

So that is the context in which VK is recorded in the hitopadesha by the great paNDita of politics nArAyaNa, and he is unambiguously clear about its application when he assigns this shloka to come from a brotherhood-preaching shrewd subversionist. It gives a clear warning against blindly welcoming any idea, individual or group without due diligence of studying their history, nature and intent.

However, let us also read the other story, in response to which the VK is uttered in hitopadesha, which would leave absolutely no room for any doubts in this matter of how hitopadesha treats vasudhaiva kuTumbakam:

jaradgava the Vulture and dIrghakarNa the Cat

While warning his friend against trusting the Jackal, subuddhi the Crow thus addressed the Deer:

"There, on the banks of the mighty bhAgIrathI is a cliff called gR^idharakUTa, and upon it grew a great fig-tree. In the shelter of its hollow lived an old Vulture named jaradgava, who due to old age had neither any eyesight left in his eyes nor nails in his claws. The other birds that lived on that tree were friendly to him, and out of pity used to donate from their own food small portions to him, and this way the poor fellow was passing his days. In return, jaradgava used to guard the little offspring of the birds when the parent birds were away.

One day, when the older birds were gone, a Cat called dIrghakarNa ('Long Eared') came there to make a meal out of the nestlings; and those tiny birds alarmed at seeing him, created noise that roused jaradgava from his slumber. 'Who comes there?' demanded jaradgava. Now dIrghakarNa, on noticing the big Vulture, aborted his meal plans, but as a flight was not possible he resolved to trust his destiny and to approach tactfully. 'Arya,' he responded, 'my salutes to you!' 'Who is that?' asked the Vulture. 'A Cat,' answered dIrghakarNa. 'Lay off, Cat, or I shall slay you,' shouted the Vulture. 'I am ready to die if I deserve death,' said the Cat, 'but first let me be heard.' 'OK then, tell me first your purpose of arrival.' asked jaradgava.

'I live,' melodramatically began dIrghakarNa, 'on the banks of ga~NgA, bathing daily, performing the penance of chandrAyaNa vrata, strictly being a vegetarian like a bramachArI. The birds that come there, speak very highly of you as the one firmly established in dharma and worthy of all respects. So with my curiosity greatly aroused about you, I decided to drop by Sir, to learn from you about nIti and dharma.’

‘You appear like so deep gone in learning,’ he continued, ‘and still Sir, I am surprised that your sense of dharma tells you to be ready to slay a guest! Doesn't the nIti say unambiguously about what a man’s dharma is towards his guests?’ The Cat then went on delivering an elaborate speech, quoting eloquently from the shAstra-s about the dharma and cut quite an impressive lecture on peace and non-violence.

Shrugging that onslaught of quotations from shAstra-s aside, wise jaradgava interrupted, 'Listen, I know only this, that you are a cat and the cats eat meat. Since here are young birds that I am given to protect, I warn you one last time – leave immediately.'

Upon this, dIrghakarNa intensified his drama, and touching the ground with his two claws and then his ears, invoking all the Gods, he said, 'I have overcome all the passions by practicing the chandrAyaNa vrata; I have learnt the shAstra-s; and I am a follower of the religion that is called non-violence itself. And so he went on.

Such prolonged drama of the Cat finally silenced the old Vulture, who at last allowed him to live in the hollow of the tree with himself.

With the passage of days, and having gained more confidence of the Vulture, the Cat slowly began picking the nestlings for his meal. After devouring them one by one, the cunning fellow would drop their bones near the hollow of jaradgava, who being blind did not notice it.

One day, alarmed at their children going missing, the parent birds began investigating. The shrewd cat quickly made his escape, and the birds soon discovered the bones near the hollow of jaradgava. They at once inferred that their children had been eaten away by the old Vulture in whom they had placed their trust. Thus enraged the birds swiftly executed jaradgava in no time. Although being innocent and a true well-wisher of the birds, he paid for the folly of giving shelter to the wrong kind.”

Above story is which evokes the vasudhaiva kuTumbakam from the cunning subversionist in hitopadesha.

We should be by now convinced that the ancient AchArya of politics nArAyaNa paNDita was not teaching the policy of universal and blind brotherhood to his pupils. Quite to the contrary, he is actually warning precisely against this tendency of blind application of this brotherhood in the matters of policy, as is being apparently taught and believed by the modern powers that be of India.

To be continued.... (Part II - pa~nchatantra and chANakya on VK)
Bodhi is that by you? Great post. BTW, could you help me find another post you made on a similar topic, I believe it was about role of ahimsa in statecraft.
Important post 81 on <b>"The Hoax Of Vasudhaiva kuTumbakam I - Hitopadesha"</b> by Bodhi above.

Pandyan, did you mean this post:
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jun 13 2008, 11:00 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jun 13 2008, 11:00 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->In response to Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagvad Gita By: Kalyan Viswanathan, I commented:

<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Author has exposed many of his misunderstandings both in the realm of the political history of the Indian Independance Movement as well as that of the dharmic philosophy of ahiMsA.

1. In the dhArmik philosophy, ahiMsA is a tool for individual spiritual sAdhanA, and NOT a policy of state or political leadership. ahiMsA whether listed as the second yama of the eight libs of yoga, as one of the shIla within the eight-fold path of buddha, or as one of the pa~ncha mahAbhUta in jina-darshana - ALWAYS it is a tool for the sadhana of an individual. Author would do well to show us where and in which scripture has it ever been proposed as a tool for politics or a policy of state - which would go out to lend scriptural validity of Gandhi"s half baked interpretation of ahiMsA as a political tool. If it can not be shown, then let this remain a Gandhian innovation, unapproved by Hindu scriptures and tradition. Any effort of indirectly procuring a scriptural approval, as author has tried to do, is futile.

2. Author would do well by going through shAnti parvan and anushAsana parvan - the 12th and 13th books - of mahAbhArata. Policy for state and dharma of politicians (kshatriyas) is discussed in extremely minute details by pitAmaha bhIShma with pANDava-s in general and the eldest pANDava in particular. In fact referring to the message of kR^iShNa, from the eyes of a rightful politician, bhIShma is very clear that for a political leader, rAja-dharma does invariably involve hiMsA when needed, and is in fact ahiMsA.

He re-explains from a statesman"s viewpoint what shrI kR^iShNa had already established in gItA. Soceity kind of outsources violence to those who take up rAja-dharma, and these noble kshatriyas carry out the violence, to let the soceity be non-violent. And therefore, for a political leader to have an extremist position of absolute non-violence is actually adharma, and gAndhiji stands accused of propogating that adharma. (Author kind of agreed to it at one place - but lost that thought when started talking about Gandhi)

3. Author does not seem to be aware, that this topic has been a subject of great contemplation by the second National Poet of Free India - shrI rAma dhArI siMha dinakar, who was a profound gAndhian, but also had a deep and thorough grasp on dharmic concepts - much better than his mentor Gandhi.

So dinakar"s mind, as he writes in his works, was greatly troubled when he saw the Gandhi"s (mis-)interpretaions on ahiMsA and his extremist positions on it. This struggle in his mind produced a classical poetry he penned as a book called "kurukshetra" in 1946 - the book is still considered a classic today and taught as a finest example of modern Hindi poetry in the Universities. In the end dinakar had to call himself a bad gandhian as he could not succumb to this non-violent extremism propogated by his mentor.

Allow me to present one stanza from that book:

tyaaga, tapa, bhikshaa? bahut hoon jaanataa mai bhee, magar,
tyaaga, tapa, bhikshaa viraagi yogiyon ke dharma hain;
yaaki unaki neeti, jinake haath me shaayak nahee;
yaa mrishaa paashanDa yah us kaapurush balheen kaa -
jo sadaa bhayabheet rahata yuddha se, yeh sochakar
glaanimay jeevan bahut achchha, maraNa achchaa nahee

bhIshma says:
{tyaga, tapa, bhiksha - I know about (these implements of ahiMsa) enough and more, but:
leave these for the dharma of virakta yogis alone,
or for those probably who hold not the duty-rod of the statesmen,
or these could be useful techniques for the cowards afraid of war -
who consider living an insultful life better than dying a graceful death}


kaanan me dekh asthi-punja muni-pungavo ka
daitya-vadha ka kiya praNa jab rama ne
"mati-bhrashta maanavo ke shodha ka upaaya ek
shastra hee hai?" poochhaa tha komal-manaa-vaam ne
"nahee priye, sudhar manushya sakata hai tap,
tyaag se bhee," uttar diyaa tha ghana-shyam ne,
"tapa kaa kintu, vasha chalataa nahee sadaiv,
patit-samooh kee ku-vrittiyo ke saamane"

{Beholding the mountains of bones of the sages in the forest
when Lord Rama took a vow to exterminate off all the daitya-s,
His tender left (Seeta) had thus asked: can there be -
no non-violent way of bringing these evil-minded to proper path?
Yes Darling, had replied the dark one, man can of course bring about change
through non-violent tapa and tyaaga,
but when faced with such tendencies of sin-fallen as these
that policy does not always yield the results

4. Author contradicts himself. In the beginning he rightly pointed out that soceities under buddhism entered a great decline when from a spiritual nAstika system of world-renouncing-men it spanned its scope to entire soceity thereby declining the kshatriya qualities. And that exactly is what Gandhi attempted, and arguably acheived, in our modern times too. Thanks to Gandhi, and neo-gandhians, nation and especially its political class is generally bereft of natural kshatriya qualities in accordance to rAja-dharma. Day to day events in Indian horizon attest to this.

5. Common sense has it, that extremes in the practical world are bad:
ati kA bhalA na bolanA ati kI bhalI na chUp
ati kA bhalA na barasana, ati kI bhalI na dhUp (abdur rahIm khAnakhAnA)

{too much talking is bad, so is extreme silence
too much rains are bad and so is scorching sun}

Gandhi stands accused of extremism, and his political application of extreme ahiMsA defies common sense and established wisdom.

6. When Author credits gandhi with initiative of converting the Independance Struggle to a mass popular movement - he only repeats a myth created in last several decades by Pseudo-Gandhians making Gandhi our National Idol. Was Bal Gangadhara Tilak any less popular? Much before Gandhi appeared, Tilak had already taken the movement to the masses. Same was the case with Lala Lajpat Rai whose popularity had created a solid network of patriotic groups in all towns and cities in North and West India.

7. Has author even read "bhagvad-gItA" written by MK Gandhi - which makes explicit Gandhi"s own understanding on BG? I would bet he has not, because almost every thing author says about violence being allowed in dharma etc are negated by Gandhi most explicitly. Like the neo-Gandhian pseculars of today, Gandhi himself considers the event of mahabharata war and particularly that of a kR^iShNa delivering the message of gItA an unhistoric event and only symbolic mythology. In his interpretation, the whole war stuff is referring to an internal warfare of spiritual nature and all the bloodshed is a symbolic affaire. Much like his (mis-)interpretation of Koran"s invitation of jihad to Moslem.

8. Having said all the above, I am not discrediting many a wonderful services Gandhi did to the Indian Soceity, especially for the downtrodden. I also admire his uprightness against the christian missionary activities. My scope of objections is only limited to the author equating Gita"s Message with that of Gandhi - because they are diametrically opposite. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Yes, that is the one. I need to save it. Thanks Husky.
Bodhi one of the best posts ever on this forum, please continue the next parts when u have time, maybe u should put stuff like this on a blog, it really is a great post showing what not knowing sanskrit has done to the Hindu mind, if I had known it I would have known about this by now, instead I didn't have a proper answer to the gandhian type morons always quoting this.

Anyway, just wanted to add that once this gets wide exposure, our jholawallah types may then shift to Purananuru in Sangam Tamizh literature where there is one solitary poem, that goes:

Every city is your city, everyone is your kin
Failure and prosperity do not come to you because others
have sent them! Nor do suffering and the end of suffering. . . - poem 192.
<b>The Hoax Called Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - Part 2: Panchatantra and kauTilya</b>

In the previous part, we had gleaned through hitopadesha to understand the message of an ancient AchArya of politics about ‘vasudhaiva kuTumbakam’, encapsulated in a pair of satirical fables. Far from coming as an ideal or a recommendation, the shloka there was made to come from a shrewd subversionist, the lesson being that one has to exercise discretion from unwittingly trusting such brotherhood-preachers, and that the price for befriending and sheltering the wrong kind under the influence of such unconditional brotherhood, is nothing less than self-destruction. In the present part we continue our excursion into other primary saMskR^ita sources, in particular pa~nchatantra and chANakyan literature, to understand the total meaning and context of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in pa~nchatantra</b>

While developing the textbook of hitopadesha, nArAyaNa paNDita had the benefit of referring to, besides other sources, the most widespread repository of fables ever composed on planet, the great pa~nchatantra. In the preface of hitopadesha, nArAyaNa paNDita talks of pa~nchatantra mentioning how viShNusharman a great AchArya of nIti and politics had instructed a certain young princes in the matters of policy through tales. In fact many have convincingly argued that hitopadesha is nothing but a contextualized eastern recension of southern pa~nchatantra itself.

Now, this amazing and fairly ancient work of AchArya viShNusharman, pa~nchatantra is probably the single most traveled, widespread and translated work of the ancient world, and dateable with fair certainty back to the late mauryan period, of around third century before CE. The place of its composition is a matter of debates, and varying opinions place it from Kashmir to Nepal to South India. Beyond any doubt however is that soon after its composition, it got transmitted amazingly to almost all the contemporary major civilizations. As a result, fairly ancient derivations of pa~nchatantra are found under various names in a number of languages, notably in Pehlavi and Persian, Syriac and Turkic, Greek and Latin, Hebrew and Arabic, Tibetan and Chinese. Several of the traditional fables of Europe such as those in Pilpay’s, Aesop’s, Grimm’s and of Persian-Arabic literature are indebted to pa~nchatantra for their origins.

hitopadesha not only inherited from pa~nchatantra the marvelous structure of looping tales, and plots of fables, but also various shloka-s in exact verbatim, and this includes the one of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam too. In aparIkshita-kArakam, the fifth tantra of pa~nchatantra, AchArya viShNusharman records it in a fable known as ‘siMha kAraka mUrkha brAhmaNa kathA’, and assigns VK to come from a declared fool. To understand the attitude of this nIti-text towards VK, a condensed version of that fable is presented below:

“Once upon a time there lived a group of four young brAhmaNa friends in some nondescript village. Three of these were fools, although very erudite and deep gone in learning of shAstra-s. On the other hand the fourth one was altogether lacking in shAstra-learning, but fairly intelligent.

The learned members of this group once contemplated upon the merits of moving to a city where they could put their scholarship to better use. After all, what good was all the learning if it did not yield them wealth and fame? The idea was approved unanimously and the group at once took off towards a large city at a fair journey’s distance.

While going forth on their way, the oldest of the scholar-fools expressed his opinion that it was futile for the un-erudite one to join the excursion. Although the intelligence of that fellow was not in doubt, it was useless in absence of any formal learning, he said. The second scholar-fool agreed too and suggested that the uneducated one should rather return back to their home-village.

However the third scholar-fool was more generous who reminded the party that although worthless, the fourth one was their childhood friend and therefore they ought to allow him in sharing their exploits. It is at this juncture in the story, that this third fool recites the shloka of vasudhaiva-kuTumbakam, and convinced the other two scholar-fools, to let the uneducated one remain in the party. And on they went.

Upon going a little further the travelers came upon a decaying carcass of some creature been long dead. Seeing that, the learned members immediately decided to put their learning to test by making the dead creature come alive.

The scholar-fool number-one used his knowledge in gathering and properly reassembling the skeleton according to its accurate anatomy. The number-two successfully applied his formulae in adding organs, flesh, and skin. Our VK-reciting third one then began his experiments of breathing prANa into it to finally resurrect it.

At this point the fourth fellow, the intelligent though uneducated one, interrupted them. ‘Friends, wait a minute,’ warned the intelligent one, ‘listen, this dead-body appears like that of a lion, and you people want to bring it to life. Surely, my learned friends, if you resurrect the lion, it would put our own lives into grave danger. Therefore, for the sake of our lives better let the beast remain as safely dead as it now is, and move on to our destination.’

But the VK-reciting stupid-scholar wouldn’t listen to the common-sense and the warning was shrugged aside by him.

At last seeing the scholars foolishly bent upon performing the suicidal act, the wise one at once climbed the tallest tree he could locate nearby. As anticipated, the VK-reciter successfully resurrected the lion, and no sooner did the lion come alive, it devoured all the three foolish brAhmaNa-s. Only the uneducated one, having wisely climbed the tree, escaped the sorry fate of their shAstra-knowing friends and returned home lamenting for the unnecessary and foolish ends of his mates, especially the kind-hearted but naive VK-reciting one.”

So, that is the place of vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM in pa~nchatantra.

Surely if nArAyaNa paNDita had made some rather acidic use of VK in satires of hitopadesha, viShNusharman did not display much regard for it either when he first declared this character a fool, and then had this fool recite vasudhaiva kuTumbakam. In the argument of this foolish brAhmaNa which he delivers to convince his other friends about letting the fourth friend continue in the party, quoting this shloka seems quite unnecessary or even grossly irrelevant. It does appear likely that the shloka was deliberately inserted in the dialog by viShNusharman to be made to come from a foolish character. The lesson being that un-erudite commonsense is far superior to impractical adherence to shAstrIya-learning. Furthermore, the author leaves no room for any doubt about his attitude towards VK, when he lets its preacher perish by his own stupidity, meeting the same end as that of the VK-reciting Jackal of hitopadesha who was slain by the Crow, a realist hero.

We now have ample reasons to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that both the textbooks on nIti-education - pa~nchatantra and hitopadesha - are very critical of the tendency of unconditional application of vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM in the realm of worldly matters. Their message about VK is loud and clear. One: the brotherhood-preaching that VK represents, is a popular instrument of subversion; two: gullible are often seen foolishly seized by it; and three: both are destroyed.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam and kauTilya’s artha-shAstra</b>

Both of these textbooks of nIti, pa~nchatantra and hitopadesha, transmit many popular shloka-s to their students, quoting from several original sources such as itihAsa-purANa-s and earlier nIti-literature. One of the authors whom both predominantly quote is viShNugupta aka chANakya or kauTilya. In fact, in the preface of pa~nchatantra itself, viShNusharman reverently acknowledges kauTilya as a foremost luminary of politics and humbly proposes himself to be in the same line of intellectual succession.

Having fulfilled his mission of establishing the mauryan Empire and stabilizing it as its Prime Minister, kauTilya is said to have retired to southern India where he dedicated long years in collecting and editing various extant sources on the matters of polity and economics, and compiling a unified compendium along with his own contributions as arthashAstra. As we know, in even farther ancient India, all the knowledge used to get appended into the common body of shAstra-s, and the growing size of that knowledge must have, after a point, become exceedingly hard to manage. Therefore at some point in history, we start noticing that Hindus started to divide the common shAstra-s into independent shAstra-s for each realm of life – viz. dharma-shAstra-s, artha-shAstra-s, kAma-shAstra-s etc. We even notice the emergence of shAstra for niche subjects such as nATya-shAstra for dramatics, and pAka-shAstra for cookery and so on.

kauTilya’s work should therefore be seen in this context as a window through which we can understand the political philosophy of ancient Hindus, not only of kauTilya but also of even earlier than him. Indeed, in preparing arthashAstra, he consulted all the important sources from at least five distinct schools of politics then prevailing (mAnava, bArhaspatya, aushanasa, pArAshara, and AmbhIya) and quotes in arthashAstra from the works of not less than thirteen individual authors of past whom he refers by name: bhAradvAja, vishAlAksha, pArAshara, pishuna, kauNapadanta, vAtavyAdhi, bAhudanti-putra, kAtyAyana, kaNi~Nka-bhAradvAja, dIrgha-chArAyaNa, ghoTaka-mukha, ki~njalka, and pishuna-putra. Here it is important to highlight that kauTilya has quoted the opinions of these earlier authors not only where he agreed with them, but also where he radically disagreed. Under various topics, he first quotes them, and then expresses his personal agreement or disagreement along with an explanation.

Even as the preceding paragraphs might have appeared like a digression from our subject of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam, but it was indispensable to establish first the background of kauTilya’s arthashAstra, and to show that although the various works of all of those individual authors are not extant anymore, kauTilya’s artha-shAstra alone, gives us a single source to understand the authentic political thought process of Hindus as propagated by several ancient AchAryas of nIti. Having said this, not only the verse of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam is missing in artha-shAstra, but in fact the sentiment is very incompatible with what they thought of state policy.

If unconditionally applied in the realm of statecraft as a pivotal hinge, VK manifests itself as it has done, in a state with pusillanimity and diffidence as its operating principles, and banal bhai-bhai rhetoric as its anthem. It summarily stands for a Soft State with minimalistic governance leaning towards an organized milder anarchy. And kauTilya has nothing but contempt for such a state.

Contrary to such romanticist-anarchic tendencies, kauTilya is a realist and his worldview of basic human nature and society is grounded in perceivable hard realities. He does not consider ‘brotherhood’ is the core of the state-principle but ‘Power to punish the wicked’. In the first book of artha-shAstra kauTilya states, ‘apraNIto hi matsya-nyAyam udbhAvayanti balIyAn, abalam hi grasate daNDadhara abhAve’, that (far from being a family) human society in its very basic nature is like a group of fishes in water, where mightier ones devour the weak, unless a chastising rod is exercised. And therefore the danDa, the chastising rod and power and willingness to wield it, are at the core of the statecraft. Artha is the very purpose of the society he says, by dharma that is achieved, and only daNDa sustains it.

In this worldview he is joined by bhIShma, (whom kauTilya refers as kauNapadanta), expressing the same opinion to the eldest pANdava in the sixty-seventh chapter of shAnti-parvan. Manu too takes a similar position, “yadi na pranayed rAjadanDam danDyeshvatandritaH jale matsyaniva himsyAn durbalAn balavattarAH” (MS7.20): If the state would stop un-wearisomely exercising the chastising rod on those deserving to be chastised, the wicked would kill the meek like fish do in water." So these AchArya-s are abundantly clear that if the upholders of the state absolve themselves of their primordial duty, under VK-belief or otherwise, of exercising the daNDa, then there will be no kuTumbakam but only a matsya-nyAya.

Unlike the world-a-family model, kauTilya’s arthashAstra also holds that wickedness and enemies are always going to be around and therefore a firm discretion is needed in the matters of statecraft. Identifying the enemies of the country and not hesitating to crush them relentlessly, is an essential part of the duties of statesmen to maintain a sustainable order. Just sample a few of kauTilya’s utterances: Like sandalwood does not abound every forest, like each elephant does not carry a mANikya, remember this that not everyone is a gentlemen (CND 2.9); By various means, one should protect one's own people and hurt those of the enemy (AS 14.3); My Lord, follow the rule that there should be no delay in putting down the enemy, even a very strong confederacy of the wicked people. Never be tiresome or hesitate in applying full force against them (AS 5.4).

So, I believe we can move on by saying that at least in kauTilya’s opinion, the operating guideline of statesmen holding the duty-rod of the state is not to preach the romantic anarchy of ‘vasudhaiva kuTumbakam’, but a very realistic distinction between the friend and foe, and an unhesitating suppression of the enemy is always needed for a sustainable peace in society.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in other works of kauTilya</b>

Besides artha-shAstra, there are some other collections that carry the name of chANakya, and contain hundreds of aphorisms popularly attributed to him. Some popular compendiums that carry the name of chANakya include: laghu-chANakya, vR^iddha-chANakya, chANakya-nIti-darpaNaM, chANakya-nIti-shAstra, chANakya-nIti-shataka, chANakya-rAja-nIti-shAstra, chANakyaM, chANakya-shatakaM, chANakya-nIti-vyavahAra-sAra-saMgraha, chANakya-sUtrANi, and rAja-nIti. A few in this list are published, while the most are in manuscript form in various libraries around the world.

Of the above list, the first four - laghu-chANakya, vR^iddha-chANakya, chANakya-nIti-darpaNaM, chANakya-nIti-shAstra - are certainly very widespread, as their manuscripts have been found from a diversity of places as distant as Tamilnadu and Nepal, Gujarat and Bengal, Rajasthan and Karnataka. These four therefore are fairly ancient collections containing as it seems, ‘the other’ sayings from the pen of chANakya himself. For the rest, it appears more sensible that the later composers might have added the luminary’s name to enhance the credibility and popularity of their own products.

Coming back to vasudhaiva kuTumbakam, of all the secondary collections of chANakya’s sayings, vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM is found in only one single manuscript of vR^iddha chANakya, in the Tanjore recension, in addition to a certain version of chANakya-nIti-shAstra. In all other widespread manuscripts and sources on the rest of the compendiums of chANakya’s aphorisms, VK is simply non-existent just like in artha-shAstra, suggesting a later interpolation by some scribes in these two individual manuscripts, quoting from some other sources.

Ludwig Sternbach had done a signal work in collecting and analyzing all the different sources of chANakya’s sayings to compose a unified single compendium of his authentic original aphorisms. He employed a very sound statistical technique to scrub the interpolations. Using this methodology, vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM appears to be a later interpolation coming from some other non-chANakyan source. Sternbach has also demonstrated various other aphorisms popularly thought to be chANakya to actually be coming from earlier texts like mahAbhArata, showing how those have crept into chANakya’s compendiums, suggesting interpolation.

Above all, when the authentic line of thought of kauTilya, as represented by artha-shAstra, is brought into consideration, it becomes an impossibility that he would ever recommended VK as a guideline for statecraft or a policy cornerstone for society.

Credit for that innovation is safely with the wise and talented secular politicians of modern India.

Concluding Part: The Hoax Called Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - 3: poetics, vikrama-charita and upanishada
Bodhi you should try to get these published in Dainik Jagran or some other Hindi newspaper after u translate, i think these are very good articles and your efforts in putting all this together shouldn't be wasted on some miniscule population of English knowing readers online but deserves to be much more widely known.

Only thing is, I am not aware if the various Hindi papers are anti Hindu or not, but Dainik Jagran seems balanced, so maybe they would agree to do it.
BhV, thanks for suggestion... let us see...
<b>The Hoax Called Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - 3: Vikrama, Poetics and Upanishada</b>

In the previous parts we have so far seen how ancient sources of nIti have treated the aphorism of vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM. In this concluding part, we shall survey the rest of the sources where this shloka has appeared and understand the contexts of its usage.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in vikrama-charita</b>

Very few monarchs come close to finding a comparable place in the Hindu subconscious, which even after the elapse of a millennium, the memory of legendary bhojadeva paramAra of dhArAvatI commands. Unlike others confined to the pages of history, his legacy lives on in so many ways, in urban proverbs and rural songs, in crude jokes and scholarly legends, or in massively popular folklores inspired by siMhAsana-battIsI aka dvA-triMshata-puttalikA-siMhAsanam or vikrama-charita, which to this date are the favorite of rural storytellers.

First composed probably during the rein of bhoja, or more likely shortly afterwards, vikrama-charita is an eleventh century collection of thirty-two tales in a unique framework. In its each tale, bhoja tries to ascend a throne supported by a base of thirty-two statuettes and belonging to the legendary vikramAditya. In each attempt, one of the statuettes would recite to him a story about the greatness of vikramAditya and demand bhoja whether he was up to him in virtue. Hearing the tale bhoja would silently step back from the throne in humility, until the very end of the work when he would be proclaimed entitled to the throne by the very decree of Gods, a symbolic way of the author to claim for bhoja the same pedestal in glory as that of vikramAditya the chief hero of these tales.

It is in this popular work that we find our next stop for the shloka of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam, and at last here it is seen definitely in a positive sense. There are six major recensions found of vikrama-charita: a most common southern recension, manuscripts of which are found mostly from Andhra; a metrical recension with entire text in anuShtubha meter; a prose-only brief recension; two individual jaina recensions in devanAgarI mostly from central and western India; and finally a recension of vararuchi. Then there is another popular collection of tales spawned by vikrama-charita: twenty-five vetAla fables known as vetAla pa~nchaviMshati or vetAla pachIsI, the germs of which are found in one of the 32-siMhAsana tales itself.

Among all the six recensions, VK can be sited in three, coming in three separate stories.

In the southern recension mostly in Telugu manuscripts, the shloka appears in the opening of a tale called sarvasva-dakShiNA-yaj~na-varNanam recited to bhoja by the third puttalikA named suprabhA. Here the VK shloka is a very different variant from the popular one:

ayaM nijaH paroveti vikalpo bhrAnta chetasAm
punastUdAra chittAnAM vasudhaiva kuTumbakam (VC, South, 3.1)

This tale which opens with VK is about vikramArka’s bravery in renunciation. He once decides to perform a grand ya~jna in ujjayinI, in connection of which he dispatches a brAhmaNa towards south to invite Sea-God. While Sea-God did not come, he returned the brAhmaNa with a gift of four rare magical gems for vikrama, each of which had a different magical quality. By the time this envoy returns back to ujjayinI, the yaj~na is completed and the king has donated everything he had to others. Having nothing left with him, he would ask this brAhmaNa to accept any one of those gems whichever he chose. An interesting debate would ensue between the brAhmaNa, his wife, son and daughter-in-law, about which one of the four gems should be kept. In the end they being undecided, vikrama would generously grant them all the four gems, even though he had no wealth left with himself and was in need.

In jaina recension, the shloka of VK appears in an intriguing tale known as paropakArAya-svadehAhuti-dAna, recited by suprabhA who is here the seventeenth statuette. This tale too is about the magnanimity of vikrama and his generous disposition. In this story, there is a certain ruler of an insignificant fiefdom who once overhears the praises of vikrama and inquires as to why vikrama was so great. He is told that it was because of his generosity in donations. In jealousy the ruler decides to perform his own enterprise of donations, but having not sufficient income he would think of generating wealth through tantra-prayoga. He contracts a group of sixty-four yoginI-s to perform a certain anuShThAna which every time conducted would produce for him a certain amount of gold. However each time he would have to give up his body in an arduous prayoga at the end of which the yoginI-s would resurrect him with a new body. This painful exercise was undertaken a few times while vikramAditya came to learn about it. So one day when the prayoga was on, at the right moment vikrama would appear at the scene and jump into flames. The yoginI-s would be greatly pleased and after resurrecting him, they would grant him a desired boon. The story climaxes with vikrama’s generosity, when he appeals to yoginI-s to grant wealth to the jealous ruler without having to repeatedly undergo that ordeal.

In yet another jaina recension, and a quite late one written by paNDita shubhashIla gaNi in 1437 CE, the standard shloka of VK recurs in yet another story where it represents the justice of vikrama.

In the other recensions the shloka is simply absent. VK appears this way in vikrama-charita, representing the generosity and justice of the king, and yet, not in any sense of universal brotherhood as is commonly misunderstood these days.

Incidentally, bhojadeva also composed (or commissioned) a compendium of subhAShita-s attributed to kauTilya, titled chANakya-rAjanIti-shAstra, and VK is not found in the versions we have seen so far.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in Classical Poetics</b>

Now, if the authors of various recensions of vikrama-charita decided to quote VK to highlight the magnanimity of their hero, it must have surely been a popular shloka by their time representing the sentiment of generosity. Indeed VK has appeared in all of these, explicitly in sense of a quotation.

By the time of their composition, the art of poetics in saMskR^ita literature had been transformed into a proper discipline of science. Accuracy in characterization of each emotion, appropriateness of expression, accuracy in usage of right meters for specific purposes, acceptable tolerance of liberty with grammar in poetry, how and when new words can be coined if at all - these had become commonplace knowledge among not only saMskR^ita literati but even broader elites. A few distinct, independent, and often competing schools of thought on poetic discipline had already evolved and matured such as the vaidarbha, kAshmIraka and gauDIya schools.

By this time the system of yellow-pages-like encyclopedic anthologies of subhAShita-s, the free floating, orally transmitted, public domain maxims, adages and aphorisms, had also become quite popular. Such anthologies, often called kosha-s or saMgraha-s were not only useful to common users to enhance their expression in speech, but also certainly referred by the dramatists and prose-writers such as those of vikrama-charita, to quote suitably according to the mood and situation of the context. subhAShitAvaliH of vallabhadeva is one such grand collection with thousands of such poetic phrases coming from dozens of poets, and classified under various topics. It lists the shloka of vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM as an ideal expression of audArya, the sentiment of generosity, in its following variant:

ayaM bandhuH paroveti gaNanA laghu chetasAM
pumsAmudAra chittAnAM vasudhaiva kuTumbakaM (subhAShitAvaliH, udArAH, 498)

vallabhadeva has listed VK as third in the sequence under ‘generosity’ (ironically, next to the section on niggardly misers). vallabhadeva hands us another very significant lead by assigning the authorship of this shloka to udbhaTa bhaTTa an eighth-century poet from kAshmIra, who was an important milestone in the progress of kAshmIraka brand of poetics, the development of which began with bhAmaha and completed in mammaTa.

Now let us then examine where exactly and in which context udbhaTa might have uttered this verse. Of all that is available anymore from the pen of udbhaTa, and he is said to have composed at least three major works, we are unable to find the shloka of VK. We do know through his contemporaries that he composed bhAmaha-vivaraNa a commentary on bhAmaha, kumara-sambhava a kAvya, and kAvyAlaMkAra-sAra-saMgraha, a treatise on recommended expressions and embellishments in poetry. Of these the first two are lost and not extant anymore — the first one probably falling to disuse after mammaTa had delivered the last word on the subject, and kumara-sambhava probably drowned in competition to the mahAkAvya of same title by the emperor of saMskR^ita poetry. However, his kAvyAlaMkAra-sAra-saMgraha is still extant besides other snippets of his, quoted by writers such as indurAja the teacher of savant abhinavagupta in his laghuvR^itti, or indeed like the three verses of his preserved by vallabhadeva in subhAShitAvaliH from where we came to him.

Therefore, it is entirely possible that udbhaTa might have used the shloka of VK is some works which are lost to us, although we have no means of knowing the context in which he would have used VK. But we do know that he would have been only quoting this shloka and not have been its original author as claimed by vallabhadeva, since more than a full millennium before udbhaTa, pa~nchatantra had already quoted it.

Talking of poetry and talking of vikramAditya and bhoja, another name that naturally springs up in our minds is bhartR^ihari, the maverick elder brother of vikramAditya. bhartR^ihari’s three famous volumes of a hundred shloka-s each, nIti-shatakam, vairAgya-shatakam, and shR^iMgAra-shatakam, are very widespread and commonly found. Although the contents of shataka-s vary between various versions of theirs, the sholka of VK is not found in any of these that we have seen so far except for one edition compiled by Marxist historian D.D. Kosambi. [bhartR^ihari-viracita-shatakatrayAdi-subhAShita-saMgraha, D.D.Kosambi (1948)]. However, considering the overwhelming evidence of VK being absent in a vast majority of various recensions of bhartR^ihari’s trayI, it seems more sensible to conclude that it must have been an interpolation in this single source where kosambi sighted it. Besides, as the earlier works already quote this shloka, that rules out its authorship to bhartR^ihari.

<b>vasudhaiva kuTumbakam in upaniShada</b>

So far we have seen hitopadesha and pa~nchatantra, compendiums of aphorisms of kauTilya and bhartR^ihari, Andhra and jaina recensions of vikrama-charita, encyclopedic anthology by vallabhadeva and through him the snippets of udbhaTa. Nowhere, not in the least, do the authors of any of these works ever claim to be the origin of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam. In every single instance, the verse has been explicitly quoted as a remark often appended with ‘as has been said’.

But there is one and the only one exception to this where this shloka comes as a natural, inherent and intrinsic part of the base text, and that is why we had kept that source to be examined in the end.

In the seventh adhikaraNa of the second chapter of shrI-bhAShyam, the prominent and most celebrated commentary on bramha-sUtra, AchArya rAmAnuja is critiquing the philosophies of kApAla, kAlamukha and pAshupata schools of shaiva mata-s in its thirty-sixth sUtra. There, he quotes in support of his arguments the first line of a rather less known and referred upaniShada - mahopaniShada (“eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsinnabramhA neshAnaH… sa ekAkI na ramate” MU1.1). Now this upaniShada, although not as much circulated or read as the others, is certainly not devoid of authenticity and importance. For, we also find many other classical vedAntins making references to mahopaniShada, including but not limited to yamunAchArya in puruSha-nirNaya, nArAyaNArya in tattva-nirNaya, and yAdavaprakAsha in his commentary on the bhagavadgItA, to mention but a few.

The shloka of vasudhiava-kuTumbakam, a slightly different variant of it, is to be found in this mahopaniShada as the seventy-second shloka of its sixth chapter. Here instead of ‘ayaM nijaH paroveti’, the shloka reads as ‘ayaM bandhurayaM neti’ (‘this is a friend and that one not’), while the rest of the anuShTubha remains the same.

To understand the total meaning and context of VK here, quoted below are the shloka-s 70-73 from its sixth chapter:

udAraH peshalAchAraH sarvAchArAnuvR^ittimAn
antaH-sa^Nga-parityAgI bahiH saMbhAravAniva
antarvairAgyamAdAya bahirAshonmukhehitaH
ayaM bandhurayaM neti gaNanA laghuchetasAm
udAracharitAnAm tu vasudhaiva kuTumbakam
bhAvAbhAva vinirmuktaM jarAmaraNavarjitaM
prashAnta kalanArabhyaM nIrAgaM padamAshR^aya
eSA brAmhI sthitiH svachchhA niShkAmA vigatAmayA
AdAya viharannevaM saMkaTeShu na muhyati
(mahopaniShada 6.70-73)

The above text is describing the lakShaNa and behaviour of great men who are elevated to the coveted brAmhI sthiti of spiritual realm. The above says:

“(That elevated one in brAmhI sthiti) is generous, always clean in behaviour, in accordance to the established norms of conduct, and free from all attachments in life. From inside, he has renounced everything, even though outwardly he would appear to carry out worldly duties (like any other mortal. However, unlike) the small hearts of (ordinary) people (who discriminate by) saying ‘This one is a friend and that one a stranger’ these (great men in brAmhI-sthiti) are of magnanimous hearts and embrace the entire world as their own family. They have gained liberation from all constraints of ordinary life, like old age and death; their fires (of klesha-s) have become extinguished; and in them no attachment finds any shelter (anymore). Such (Listen O best amongst the brAhmaNa-s, are those who have achieved) the status of brAmhI sthiti, the absolutely pure; that which is beyond all cravings and sufferings. Equipped with such attributes they freely roam (the earth), without knowing any calamity.”

Not a recommendation of any sort, not an ideal, certainly having nothing to do with anything outside the realm of spirituality, but simply a statement on the very nature of the bramhavAdin yogi-s of highest attainment.

Now, as we have commented earlier in this section, mahopaniShada is the only text where the shloka of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam is the natural and intrinsic part of the rest of the text, whereas in others the shloka has been quoted as an explicit quotation. We have therefore a very strong reason to comfortably believe that this upaniShada might be the original source of this shloka. We have not come across any research having tackled the question of dating mahopaniShada, as that could have helped us in this matter. However, indeed the upaniShada having VK as its integral part, and so many other texts as early as pa~nchatantra quoting it, would itself support an early date for this part of upaniShada if not whole. This is also supported by the fact that upaniShadakAra-s by very nature tend to be original except for quoting the passages of or retelling the themes from veda-s or at times from other upaniShada-s, but never from any external literature, whereas the reverse can be seen very often. At any rate, an upaniShada quoting an already popular shloaka and in a natural sense of its integral text is unimaginable.

<b>Closing Remarks</b>

We had set out on an excursion into the forest of saMskR^ita literature, to figure out where does the famed verse of vasudhaiva kuTumbakam come from, what was the sense and context in which ancient AchArya-s had uttered it, and whether they ever meant this shloka to mean a recommendation for unconditional universal brotherhood or a principle of state.

mahopaniShada (6.72) describes this as one of the lakShaNa-s of brAmhI-sthiti of highest level of spiritual progress. pa~nchatantra (5.3.37) has it come from a declared fool who is killed by his naivety, suggesting it as a symbol of impracticality. hitopadesha (1.3.71) goes a step further and not once but twice demonstrates its usage by subversionists as well as tendency of gullible to fall for it. kauTilyan compendiums don’t have VK, except for two minor recensions, and kauTilya has nothing to do with VK. Three recensions of vikrama-charita (Andhra 3.1, Jaina 17.3, Jaina-shubhashIla 6.270) quote VK to stand for generosity and justice. subhAShitAvaliH (udArAH.498) lists this as a subhAShita for its poetic value in representing kindness.

What we can deduce therefore is that when we hear the politicians of modern India vouching by VK and making it an authority, indeed an obligation, for our state and foreign policy, vasudhaiva kuTumbakam becomes nothing but a Hoax. It is of these types that our nIti texts have warned against, and we would like the reader to ask him/herself when they hear the shloka recited, whether the speaker is a bramha-yogI, or a magnanimous ruler ready to burn his own body in ya~jna, or an upholder of justice without discriminating between a son and a stranger, or an ignorant half-educated, or a charlatan, or indeed a subversionist villain.

To make the message memorable, here is an iconographic representation of the above practical wisdom carved in the ancient complex of mahAbalIpuram temple, where a charlatan cat is shown in penance and gullible mice shown drawn to him. The theme comes from a story in tamilnadu recension of pa~nchatantra.

<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 26 2008, 02:17 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 26 2008, 02:17 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->To make the message memorable, here is an iconographic representation of the above practical wisdom carved in the ancient complex of mahAbalIpuram temple, where a charlatan cat is shown in penance and gullible mice shown drawn to him. The theme comes from a story in tamilnadu recension of pa~nchatantra.
I can't see any image, but its here in this video at 50 seconds.

Thanks Bodhi for the last part, I can see the image.
Bodhi- Since you propose that the ultimate source of VK is the mahopaniShad, I started looking for evidence for its early age. Here is a preliminary overview:
Commentary on MU by sha~nkarAnanda ~1300 CEs
vetAlapa~nchavimashatikA translated into Mongolian in 1305
Commentary of rAmAnujAcharya ~1080 CEs

These are well after pa~nchatantra and derivative sources. So How old is the mahopaniShad really?
The oldest attestation I was able to locate is a double mention:
mahopaniShadaM mantram adhIyAnAn svarAnvitam |
pa~nchopaniShadair mantrair manasA dhyAyataH shuchI ||

idaṃ mahopaniShadaM chaturveda-samanvitam
sAMkhyayogakR^itaM tena pa~ncarAtrAnushabditam ||

from the nArAyaNIya section of the bhArata. So the pre-mantra-mArga pA~ncharAtra vaiShNava-s had a mahopaniShad that I suspect was the core of the text that today survives under that name. This would then mean that a such a mahopaniShad was in place before viShNusharman and could potentially have contained a version of the VK. I am investigating this more to better resolve the whole matter and will sum it up on my usual site.

mahAbhArata's reference to mahopaniShad is very interesting, and indeed that would point to the early dating of the core of this upaniShad. Eagerly awaiting your further findings about dating and genesis of MU.

"vetAlapa~nchavimashatikA translated into Mongolian in 1305". Can you please throw more light upon this? Is this mongolian text extant?
Sri Rama Jois' book in Google Books:

Legal and Constitutional History of India
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Swami Jeevan Chaitanya quits hunger strike</b>

Bhubaneswar, 22/10/08 (VISAKEO): On the request of Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Pitha Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, Swami Jeevan Chaitanya of Kendriya Marga Darshak Mandali Sadasya of VHP has quit the hunger strike that he had sat on three days before in dharna. He joined the strike to get the justice from the government regarding the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal on 23rd August night. He had announced to carry the hunger strike on till the justice is done with late Swamiji. He had demanded for the arrest of the chief conspirators behind Swamiji's slain. <b>But Swami Nischalananda Saraswati had convinced him to quit the strike as the present time never allows sacrificing himself and we have already lost a saint.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Jai.
Why kill himself and give the christoterrorists the satisfaction? Instead, these Swamis should <i>live</i> to lead more Hindus on the path of Dharma like beautiful heroic Swami Lakshmanananda did.

BTW, the entire text at that link is good to read, but the topic is the larger issue of what's been going on in Kandhamal:
<b>Swami Laxmanananda Shradhanjali Samiti warns to fuel the revolution in the rural belt</b>
It's dated 22/10/08
Victory 2:

1. http://haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?P...497&SKIN=B
<b>Karnataka Awakens - Massive Protests in Mangalore and Uduppi by Swami Lakshmanananda Homage Committee</b>

Wonderful pictures. Has a link to a video of the event as well.
And the first image appears to contain a photo of Swami Lakshmanananda <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> (I'm assuming that's him. I've otherwise not seen his likeness.)

Some excerpts (read in full at link):
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Mangalore: Respect Sentiments of Hindus - Ex-MLC Balakrishna Bhat</b>

Watch Video

Mangalore, Nov 8: Delivering the keynote address at the protest meeting organized on Friday November 7 in front of the office of the deputy commissioner here by the Dakshina Kannada district Swami Lakshmanananda Homage Committee, ex-MLC Balakrishna Bhat urged the governments to respect the sentiments of the majority Hindus. "The Hindus have awakened. They cannot tolerate continued assault on their religion by others," he claimed.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Protest in Udupi</b>

Pics: Hemanath Padubidri
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (GA)

Udupi, Nov 7: Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Homage Committee staged a protest on Friday November 7 afternoon, in front of Deputy Commissioner's office, here, urging the union government to arrest the assailants of Swami Lakshmanananda and his four disciples who were killed in Kandhmal district of Orissa on Krishnasthami day of August 23.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
See also earlier event:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Swami Laxmanananda Shradhanjali Samiti warns to fuel the revolution in the rural belt</b>
Bhubaneswar, 22/10/08 (VISAKEO): On an end of the day of mass dharna by Swami Laxmanananda Shradhanjali Samiti, it has warned to the State government to fuel and gear up the revolution in the rural belt of the Sate if their demands for arresting the real killers and conspirators behind the slain Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, is not executed by the administration. As per the declaration, on behalf of Swami laxmanananda Shradhanjali samiti many a supporters of Swamiji had joined and staged dharna in the State capital from 12th of this month.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Christoterrorists tried to murder Swami Lakshmanananda. They managed to destroy his body. But his aatma is so powerful, that his influence on Hindus is even greater and has spread even further now in his bodiless form than before. Christomaniacs, being debilitated by their mental disease (christianism/cretinism), didn't know they shouldn't have messed with Holy Hindu Heroes...
Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji
Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha

Sub: Some issues pertaining to Hindu Dharma and the Spiritual Fair at Chennai on 6 February 2009

Ref: Newspaper reports
6 February 2009

Pu. Swami ji

As you are aware, I have for several years been deeply concerned about the multiple threats to Hindu Dharma and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, which are in my view, interlinked. I have, in my own humble way, tried to inform public opinion about the nature and gravity of these threats, through every forum available to me.

It grieves me to say that in this task your perceptions and activities have diverged from what should have been a common goal and endeavour. As your current profile and actions can only compound confusion and further injure a seriously wounded Hindu civilisation that is fighting a crucial battle for survival in its own homeland, I am breaking decorum to bring my anxieties to your kind attention.

For this, I seek your forgiveness, as I am also making this letter public, both to reach a wider community of believers, as also to avoid the tragic failures of previous attempts to convey concerns over issues of critical concern to Hindu Dharma and its survival as a living, vibrant, and eternal non-monotheistic civilisation, and not a tailored-to-monotheistic-satisfaction contraption to which it is currently sought to be diminished.

Your tenure as Convener, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, has witnessed the most grievous assaults upon the Hindu Dharma in India, and far from providing leadership and solace to this injured community in the manner best exemplified by Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh some centuries ago, you have assumed the most peculiar attitudes and adopted the most unacceptable associations in public life.

From the time of Rishi Yajnavalkya, Hindu tradition has upheld the right to dissent even against the respected teachers, and this principal of ensuring that the spiritual preceptors do not depart from Dharma is most avidly endorsed and upheld by the Jaina Sampradaya to which I belong. I therefore take the liberty to boldly assert my unhappiness about certain issues.

The media has carried a photograph of a Spiritual Fair (whatever that means) to showcase the Service work of 40-odd Hindu organisations, and dancer Padma Subrahmanyam addressed the media along with Swami Mitrananda. The reports say Swami Dayananda Saraswati of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and "noted thinker" S. Gurumurthy will address the inauguration; the fair has been organised by the Chennai chapter of the Delhi-based Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony (GFCH).

Many things are amiss here, and before I address issues specific to the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, I must make a few basic points:-

r    The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha (HDAS) was set up in 2002 as an apex body to represent the collective voice of Traditional Hindu Sampradayas, Mathams, Akharas, Peethas, etc. Your national and international status derives from being Convener of this august body of Hindu Dharma.

r    Far from representing and defending the collective consciousness of the nation-wide Hindu Samaj, the HDAS under your leadership has failed even to understand the challenges Hindu society has faced in the recent past.

r    The most singular failure is the inability to properly condemn, let alone fight, the ugly conspiracy that led to the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati ji and the Bal Perivaar on cooked up murder charges.

r    Most unconscionable, however, is your persistent association on public platforms with the chartered accountant S. Gurumurthy and dancer Padma Subrahmanyam, who worked overtime to malign the Acharyas in Tamil society when this atrocity took place.

r    Shri Gurumurthy wrote a series of articles in a secular newspaper readily accessible to him to impute guilt upon the Acharyas, and even travelled to Delhi at the invitation of the BJP Think Tank (shame on Mr. Balbir Punj, MP) to tell aggrieved Hindus to 'kindly shut up because the Brahmin Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was going to prove the charges, just you wait.' Well, we have waited patiently for nearly five years, and the charges seem as pie-in-the-sky now as they seemed to us then.

r    Shri Gurumurthy even publicly announced that the Acharyas should abdicate their posts! On whose authority he said this, nobody knows, but when the Convener of the Acharya Sabha persistently hobnobs with such characters, questions must be asked about his own attitude towards Hindu Dharma and its revered Acharyas. Since private attempts to solicit answers and induce course corrections have met with rude contempt, it is time to go public.

r    Whatever her calibre as a dancer, Ms. Padma Subrahmanyam has no status on matters of Hindu Dharma. Yet it is said that you, as Convener, HDAS, sent her to represent Hindu Dharma in some bogus inter-faith dialogue with the Vatican in 2006! The veracity or otherwise of this information has been denied to us, despite persistent attempts, and is missing on the HDAS website.

r    Inter-faith dialogue, particularly negotiations that yield documents that can be said to be binding, are NOT part of your mandate as Convener of the Acharya Sabha. They are even more reprehensible when they are conducted in secret - without full-fledged discussion by all traditional mathams, peethams, Acharyas and concerned citizens within India regarding their objectives and purpose, especially if they are at all desirable, and if documents should be signed without nation-wide circulation and debate within India.

r    The Vatican meeting came to my notice in the course of a study about forced conversions in India. I was shocked to discover that not only does it accept the possibility of conversions to monotheistic faiths - a shocking divergence from the very purpose of the Acharya Sabha - but it accepts equal guilt and responsibility for sins committed by monotheistic faiths upon non-monotheistic traditions.

r    All private attempts to elicit clarifications about the circumstances and compelling reasons for thus subjugating Hindu Dharma to the Vatican have since failed, and I do hope that now you will throw some light on this subject.

r    My opposition to the Hindu-Jewish Summitry you have indulged in recently is well-known. I have also been angered by the excessive profile you permitted to non-Indian citizens - specifically American Jews and American citizens of Indian origin - on matters pertaining to Hindu Dharma.

r    Please do not try to tell me that Hindus are an international community like the Jews, Christians and Muslims. They are not. The fact that a large number of Hindus abandoned their matrubhoomi after independence - for better money alone (though some few geniuses only went for the work facilities then available abroad) - does not make us an international community.

r    As an Acharya who is well-versed in the Scriptures, moreover, you would be aware that according to the Hindu tradition, the Jambidwipa of Bharat is the only place in the world where Karmas can be expiated, and the karmic trajectory is the cornerstone of Hindu dharma. Certainly one can be a Hindu bhakta anywhere, but karmas can be worked out in Bharat Desh alone.

r    I personally believe that India has a moral responsibility and duty towards Hindu brothers sent to various colonies as indentured labour, and now settled there. In this regard I have spoken up for the Malaysian Hindus being harassed by the Islamic nation they reside in, and like many others I have noticed the deafening silence of the Acharya Sabha regarding their plight.

r    You have been equally silent about the aggression faced by Bangladeshi Hindus, who even now are suffering grievously, and have at this very moment approached me for help in their cause.

r    This solicitude cannot extend to the Hindus of America and Britain - because they did not leave the country under duress of any kind, but only out of personal greed and a deliberate dissociation from the problems of the country of their birth.

r    Worse, instigated no doubt by the governments of the countries they now belong to, they are trying to meddle in the polity, economy, and native religion of the abandoned motherland - to serve the geo-strategic interests of their new country.

r    By providing a platform to such persons, and by surreptitiously tailoring its own activities in support of their cause, the Acharya Sabha is doing a tremendous disservice to both Hindu Dharma and Bharat Desh.

r    Specific to the Jewish Summits, I will briefly say that the document signed in Delhi was prepared beforehand and had more American than Indian inputs, and the academic committee proposed had non-scholars from the Hindu side, including foreigners.

r    But the follow-up meeting in Jerusalem was really scandalous - we need to know who authorized the Acharya Sabha to tacitly agree that idol-worship is an abomination and that Hindus are not really idol-worshippers (whatever that means). Your assault upon the glorious tradition of murti-puja and all rituals and prayers associated with it, which give strength and vigour to our civilisation, calls for a personal explanation.

r    If Hindus are unacceptable to Jews because they worship the Divine in the nirguna and saguna aspects, then the Jews can go climb a tree. Certainly no Hindu Acharya can degrade or eliminate the saguna aspect of our tradition. By doing this, you have betrayed the whole Hindu civilisation across all Sampradayas, and you owe us an apology.

r    I shudder to think what concessions you are about to make to Islam in the course of your inter-faith jamborees - perhaps you are going to seek amnesty for all jihadis in Indian jails.

r    As for the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, it describes itself as an umbrella organisation of "Eastern religions." The purpose of its exhibition is supposedly to "develop a dialogue between various cultures and faiths. According to the GFCH, all faiths are valid and all civilisations are needed to keep the earth colourful."

r    The choice of the term "Eastern religions" instead of Hindu or Indian sampradayas and panthas gives the game away. This is nothing but cheap Western Christian gibberish to position Christianity as an 'Eastern" faith and use that argument to impose it upon India.

r    Even if we accept the Jordan River and its whereabouts as part of the East, it still does not make Christianity (or Judaism or Islam) an Indian faith - hence there is no legitimacy to annihilate the Hindu Dharma in its own bhoomi. Yet Acharya Sabha under your leadership seems willing to facilitate such Western Christian colonial designs upon India.

r      The very stated objective of the Spiritual Fair is flawed. To accept the falsehood that Hinduism (why use this colonial term?) is just a ritualistic and spiritual religion, and then prove (to whom?) that Hindus also serve society, is extremely disrespectful of Hindu faith and society. The Hindu tradition of service is deeply entrenched and recorded in detail by all foreign travellers in ancient times, and in fact suffered only because of the disgraceful manner in which the British Raj ruined the princely states.

r    Indeed, you may like to ponder if the hype over globalisation in recent years was not just a ruse to further 'secularise' Hindu society and disempower the traditional Bania Communities which remained the main funding avenues of all the dharmic activities that have continued in India since independence. That is the only reason why the creepy Mukesh Ambani wanted to monopolise the retail trade and throw out all the traditional shopkeepers and vegetable vendors. He has been rightly cut to size.

r    The GFCH talks about planning similar fairs for Buddhist, Jain, Muslim and Christian organisations. I am astonished that the Bauddha, Jaina and Sikh sampradayas were not represented at this fair.

r    I am even more astonished to see Hindu faith traditions equated with monotheistic Islam and Christianity, both of which have a murderous history in India and unashamedly continue their physical and political assaults upon this country, with the full backing of the foreign powers that support conversions as a foreign policy objective. 

r    The vacuous claim that all faiths are valid and needed to keep the earth colourful is actually a shameful act of disempowering Hindus who speak up and combat the cancer of conversions. If Acharya Sabha is joining the conversion club, this fact should at least be made known to the Hindu believers. If you are converting yourself into an all-religion club, then call yourself that, and move away from the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha.

Many more things agitate me, but this has already become a fairly substantial letter. I do hope that you will take this to the various sampradayas, mathams and peethas that comprise the Acharya Sabha and take the opinion of the revered Acharyas upon the issues raised, so that a wider debate is opened within the Hindu society about how best to face the myriad challenges to faith and country.

I apologize for any offence caused inadvertently, but the challenges to the nation are too grim to permit silence at this stage.

Warm regards and Namaskar

Sandhya Jain

Editor, www.vijayvaani.com
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Dear Ms. Sandhya Jain,

Your letter addressed to Swami Dayananda Saraswati has been forwarded to me and after perusing it, I feel it is necessary for me to respond, as I am deeply saddened and at the same time, upset. There are factual inaccuracies.
I write to you with an abiding spirit that through an honest dialogue, we can resolve any differences. I do so, even though I normally steer clear of these things.

At the outset you need to be aware that the entire Hindu Jewish Leadership Summit's have been my idea and it is an Initiative of The World Council of Religious Leaders in cooperation with The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and The Chief Rabbinate of Israel with the support of The American Jewish Committee. Please refer to the entire report of the 1st Summit by using this link - http://FRFnet.org/1st-Hindu-Jewish%20Summi...eport-Final.pdf. Currently we are preparing the 2nd Summit's report.

If you have any queries or mis-perceptions, please ask me. The entire has been very carefully and diligently planned with the engagement of both the Hindu and Jewish leadership with clear mandates.

Sandhya ji, it seems you have been mis-informed. Swami Dayananda is a very devout Hindu as is my good friend Balbir Punj. They have never engaged in anything that dis-credits our sacred Hindu Heritage. The have and continue to do a lot for the cause of Hindus. I can bear witness to that!

I urge you to engage in a direct conversation if you have any issues, but to write a public letter with these allegations does nobody any good. We must, each one of us, work collectively to support each other and help build greater pride in our Heritage. We have to have an effective voice commensurate with our vast numbers.

We need a lot more to protect and preserve our Dharma. This is my commitment and for this, I have dedicated my life. I am always available to any one who wishes to have a talk. 

I hope you will do more due diligence and refrain from these kind of letters. This is my humble request.

I do hope we can find ways to work together and support each other.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Bawa Jain

Bawa P. Jain
Secretary General
World Council of Religious Leaders
New York<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Dear Bawa Jain


I am astonished to receive a reply from you, to a letter not addressed to you, that too, a letter with the specific objective of keeping non-Indians and nominal Indians living abroad from meddling in the affairs of Hindu Dharma in this country.

Hence I have no interest in discussing any substantive issue of Hindu Dharma with you, but as you have taken the trouble to write to me personally, I will say a few things:

r    As a Jain whose family went abroad with late Acharya Sushil Muni ji, you will be aware that there is a traditional belief that sants who travel abroad do not serve the cause of Dharma in any meaningful way. I personally did not have such strong views at that time, but time has taught me to respect the truth at the core of such orthodoxy.

r    You have kindly revealed that the American Jewish Committee is at the back of this initiative. This supports my own understanding that Israel, like Pakistan, is only another unfortunate piece of real estate used by the Anglo-Americans to run their global empire. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, like Israeli polity, takes its cue from the US establishment, and their interest in India and Hindu Dharma exactly coincides with the American ‘love affair’ with India and its so-called desire to ‘make’ India a superpower!

r    This is underlined by the fact that the Israeli Jews were never interested in India and her problems through three fratricidal wars. Like Pakistan, they served their American masters faithfully.

r    Today, at the American instance, they have spread rapidly across India, in each and every strategic location! There are probably more Chabad Houses and other Foreign Jewish establishments in India today than Indian Jews; and young Israelis are ruining the rural areas with their rave parties! Indian intelligence is not unmindful of their presence.

r    The substance of the Hindu-Jewish Summitry does not impress me at all, and I will not discuss it with a man who lives in America, serves an international body probably linked to the disgraceful United Nations, and may even have American nationality. I had voiced my extreme anger at what was going on in New Delhi the very same day, and that is why I was ‘purged’ from certain forums - a very monotheistic behaviour, very un-Hindu and very inexcusable.

r    The time is long gone when I will accept a private conversation or correspondence on the issues raised by me. They will have to be addressed publicly – to the satisfaction of the Hindu Indians. I may mention also that I take very ill to private ‘shut-ups’, however politely or impolitely they may be worded.

r    Finally, it is of no consequence to me how you commit your life. You are completely unknown in this country. I own life is in my own country, and my perspectives are confined to my motherland.

Warm regards and thanks for writing

Sandhya Jain
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I offer my pranams at the feet of all Swamijis. The malaise runs deep. A handful of individuals, you can count them on the fingers of one hand, have this penchant for playing God. They create organizations into which you plant supplicants and acolytes and by controlling them, control a sizeable section of Hindu society. This is what happened at the time of calamity that befell Hindu Dharma when Pujya Kanchi Acharya was arrested. All important Hindu outfits remained shamefully silent and inactive because they were all controlled by a clique.

This group has a penchant for inter-faith dialogue. The intoxication of sitting at the global high table to discuss civilizational problems can deaden the intellect. Now look at where this inter-faith dialogue has led the Hindus -

Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is close to Advani and who I hear attended this terrible meeting at the Vatican called for by the World Council of Churches jointly with some arm of the Vatican, managed to get Advani to issue a statement in the wake of Hindu outrage following Swami Laxmananda's murder in Khandamal, that reconversions is as wrong as conversions.

These Abrahamic faiths invite us all for these dialogues only so that some important Hindu leader will be 'brainwashed' by dangerous Hindus to say precisely these things, or worse, enchant us with the ruse of inviting us to the global high table that we remain inactive and silent about the real dangers and war against our people who dare to say the emperor has no clothes.

This clique controls imprtant individuals in Hindu society. And so after the statue of EVR Periayr was planted in front of the Srirangam temple, I was told by one such VVIP why do I agitate myself needlessly on the issue. I must just see it as Periyar the bhaktha of the Srirangam Perumal sitting in bhakti in front of the temple.

We went to the Vatican for this dialogue and accepted the prepostrous claim that all religions are equally guilty of crimes against humanity.

We went to Jerusalem and there signed a declaration which said Hindus are not idolators. The fact is, I am an idolator, i worship idols and I dont see why a handfull of Hindus must travel all the way to Jerusalem to tell the Jews radha is NOT  an idolator.

Everytime we create an organization, we make sure we have a mulla a padri and the ubiquitous dalai lama to legitimise us simply to reassure the world that we continue to remain committed to our assimilative spirit.

These new robes of the Emperpr called Global Foundation for Civilizational Harmony (and they think it is a profound-sounding name) has 2 agendas. They will bring ordinary, decent, committed Hindu outfits to demonstrate to the world Hindus are not merely ritualistic (i am only ritualistic and I dont want Swami Mitrananda with the tennis palyer fancy head band around his head to interpret what I am and what I am not) while the more ambitious in the Foundation will do international inter-faith dialogue. And when they invited these organizations to come forward to the 'fair' (what a terrible word) the bomb will be dropped at a press meet that the Global Foundation for Civilizational Harmony which has been achieved by inviting the Archbishop of Mum bai and the Deoband Mulla to sit with them on the dias, that similar fairs will be organized by this Foundation for Muslims and Christians too!! And the tragedy several organizations and outfits which participated in the fair did not know that the organizers were going to do this for Christians and Muslims too.

I suppose the GFCH doesnt know that all the assaults against Hindus and Hindu dharma is pepetrated by astronomical amounts of money pumped into precisely these Muslims and Christian charities whcih make a show of charity but do something else altogether.

Tamil Nadu is rapidly going the Keralal way - just look around at the growing numbers of christian prayer houses, churches, mosques and dargahs coming up. And we will have this Foundation conduct this 'Fair' in Chennai for muslim and christian charities and tout it as some grand Hindu initaitive.

Tomorrow when I have to take on these NGOs and their donors these charities will turn around and say but your swamijis and your Hidu organizations have praised our work and organized this fair where we showcased all our charity!! We are simply giving them another stick to beat us with.

The problem with some people on this list is the towering arrogance to play abrahamic God - no dissent, no critique, no protest. If we dare, then they cl;ose ranks in a way they dont close ranks against our adversaries, simply to push you to the fringes of public life in the fond hope that our spirit will be broken and we will come back as cringing sycophants.They will not even talk with you when we wish to make our points legitimately. This clique silenced all references to and thwarted all attempts to discss the Kanchi Matham tragedy at the Thinkers Meet in 2006 in Bhopal.

This clique ensured that we are silenced, badmouthed, isolated, blacklisted and made invisible and mute.

Gandhi had a similar fetish. Even as jihad was let loose against Hindus in the Malabar, in Comilla, in Mymensingh, in bengal, Punjab and across the country, Gandhi went about inter-faith love and unity. The country was vivisected and the idioms and language he insisted be used for Hindu-Muslim relations has come to entrench itself in our polity.

And now successors to Gandhi will go to J&K and hug Yasin Malik, will present the enchanting picture of padri mulla and sanyasis on the same dais forgetting that the archbishop of orissa and his grand daddy in the Vatican are giving mothfuls of abuse to Hindus and India from every internatioanl forum.

Some of these new age peqce gurus had the audacity to push for the indo-US nuclear deal on American soil, no less and the same gentleman had the gall to state in an interview  published on Rediff that he wished the Hindus accused in malegaon blasts had come to him for lessons in love and peace.

Some of us are at war and this group will talk peace - to a global audience.

Swami Mitrananda made the startling statement that all faiths are valid. Now why is a Hindu sanyasi sating this to a Hindu audience? If those who wish to play inter-faith dialogue globally can succeed in getting one important Muslim mulla and one archbishop to come together with them on the dais IN INDIA and say all faiths are valid - then I will sing a pleasing sing about interfaith dialogue. But as long as it is only Hindus who make all the real and intellectual concessions, I have no use fo it and I will not be silenced about it either.

This group must stop this interfaith nonsense immediately and de-intoxicate themselves from this penchant for global track I and track II diploamcy which makes idiots of ordinary Hindus.

Radha Rajan<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Krishnan R
  To: sandhya206@
  Subject: Some facts regarding your Open letter to the Acharyas

  Dear Ms Jain,

  I have long been an admirer of your courageous and hard-hitting articles that tackle issues of oppression and persecution of Hindus in India and abroad.  However recently, I have noticed a unfortunate tendency on your part to come out with half-baked and ill-researched articles, and that deeply worries me.

  A basic tenet of journalism (made clear in the breach by your "secular" colleagues) is that one researches one's facts thoroughly, gets to the level of specific detail, reaches out to sources that can speak with insight and authority, cross-checks these statements with other sources and THEN goes public.  Not to do this amounts to an unprofessional laziness bordering on dishonesty.  Even if some sources (as you allege) are bafflingly slow or fail to respond to one's queries, using the power of the press to jump the gun and denigrate and defame them so as to retaliate for one's frustrations  is just plain wrong.  Perhaps there is more in common between you and India's "secular" journalist elites than you care to admit.

  Your scurrilous and ill-informed screed about the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha has been making the rounds of the internet and I as a Hindu, who has been long followed the Acharyas' work, cannot but respond.  While I know & revere many of the Mahatmas you impugn, I speak only for myself as a Hindu.

  One of the key ways in which you sow misinformation and confusion among Hindus is by alleging that Swami Dayananda Saraswati and the great traditional Acharyas, Mathadhipathis and Mandaleshwars who constitute the Acharya Sabha are somehow softening up Hindus for Christian conversion and proselytization.  Note that you do not present any actual evidence for this, but what riles you is simply the fact that the Acharya Sabha has entered into inter-faith dialog with various groups including the Vatican and the Jewish Rabbinate.  You then pick up a word here and a term ("eastern religions") there and allege that a deep conspiracy is at work.  You also use guilt by association (another common tactic of anti-Hindu forces). 

  Your attack is wildly meandering and all over the place, all the better perhaps to sow misinformation. In this letter I will address only a few topics- with facts, rather than speculation. If you show an honest willingness to accept your errors of fact and judgement, I would love to continue a debate with you on other issues you raise.

  Shamefully, you have chosen to broadcast rumor and innuendo, and your own admittedly unconfirmed notions,  about one of the greatest traditional Hindu teachers living today, who has worked most his life -of some 78 years- to uphold the uniqueness  of Hindu Dharma and to protect so many of the downtrodden from being preyed on by proselytizers.

  Note that the Acharya, Sri Dayananda Saraswati,   about whom you seek to sow doubt and confusion is one of the few remaining who has immersed himself in studying and teaching the Shastra- for almost 60 years now.  And until he recently became a more public figure, he has been quietly re-generating the rigorous and scholarly tradition at the heart of our Dharma by creating well-grounded teachers and scholars like himself- fulfilling his duty to the parampara.  Many who know him realize that he is that rarest of persons-a Jnani,  a Jiavan-Mukta.  But he does not claim any special divine dispensation, nor teaches a path "beyond religions" as some self-proclaimed sages do, but instead upholds the Hindu tradition that the Veda and the parampara combined with antahkarana Shuddi- are the means of liberation.   Consequently he teaches with deep commitment to and insight into the sampradaya (rather than his own clever ideas) and  has been changing lives and transforming individuals by bringing them to the Shastra and to a Dharmic/Hindu life.   It is unconscionable, that without proper inquiry, you defame as a sell-out, a scholar whose clear mind and deep honesty have to generations of students and audiences, repeatedly shown -openly and fearlessly- HOW all religions are NOT "the same", and do NOT lead to the same goal; and that to confuse Paradise-promoting, and Salvation-promoting theologies with the Sampradayas that deal with Moksa, -freedom here and now -is the greatest self-betrayal possible for anyone.

  BTW, under his guidance, co-ordination and hard work, numerous schools, hostels and hospitals and even a college or two serve the downtrodden in most states of India- again done very quietly without any drumbeat of publicity.  (this is a huge topic that we can cover later, if possible). You provide none of this background, and so deny your readers any knowledge of the kind of Hindu you wish to defame and tear down.

  Due to his total devotion to the Veda, and his willingness to work, and his compassion for all Hindus, he became moving force behind bringing together so many variegated Hindu Sampradayas, (across all Varnas and jatis) into a body called the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha (HDAS).  This is a historical achievement in itself - that Vaishnavas, Saktas, Shaivas, Lingayats, Smarthas and numerous other sampradayas have gotten together to acknowledge what is common to them, and to begin thinking and discussing togther about the threats and challenges we all face.  To attack this organization thru innuendo and half-truths (which I will demonstrate you have done) is malicious and harmful to all Hindus.

  ? Fact:  Sri Dayananda Saraswati is one of the few living Acharyas who has fearlessly, publically and actively opposed proselytization of Hindus for several decades. I am certain that many Hindu Acharyas, who are not as vocal as he is, also do so in their hearts, and that is why- in addition to respecting his learning- they have welcomed him.

   A key role that a teacher, an Acharya, plays is to give us the theoretical constructs that will inform our thinking and make us morally strong and bring us closer to the clarity of the Veda.  How many Acharyas can you name, of his eminence, who have clearly and publically framed conversion of Hindus as Violence,? His thesis is that it does psychological violence to the core person, and helped many passive Hindus understand how proselytization's root is religious intolerance and bigotry, and its fruit the destruction of India's (and the world's) tightly-knit families and communities, leading to artificial conflicts and actual, physical violence?  His famous pamphlets "Conversion is Violence" or "Violence to Hindu Heritage" used to be handed out to the audiences at his public talks for years and years.  This book has opened the eyes of hundreds or perhaps thousands of neutralized Hindus. Perhaps you should read it.  A brief excerpt from the booklet is available here:  http://www.swamij.com/conversion-violence.htm

  BTW, since you are such a fan of open letters, perhaps you should read Swami Dayananda's  open letter in 1999, to the late John Paul admonishing him for his ugly Christian Supremacist statements about his Church's coming  religious and cultural conquest of Asia.  Yes, he tries to reason with the Pope, treating him as an equal, capable of treating others with dignity and understanding.  You may find this futile, but your readers may see the profoundly ethical stand of this Hindu Acharya made clear:

  "Any protest against religious conversion is always branded as persecution, because it is maintained that people are not allowed to practise their religion, that their religious freedom is curbed. The truth is entirely different. The other person also has the freedom to practise his or her religion without interference. That is his/her birthright. Religious freedom does not extend to having a planned programme of conversion. Such a programme is to be construed as aggression against the religious freedom of others."


  You may find it strange that Swami Dayananda can respect Christians and Muslims as religious people, while forthrightly condemning and fighting Christian and Muslim Supremacist ideas and agendas, but I do not. That he advocates mutual respect between religions is in fact an admonishment to those religions that seek to destroy others, but is also based on the Vedic understanding that the Lord can be worshipped in many ways (quite different from saying all religions are valid all the way).   As a Sadhu who reveres and lives the Bhagavad Geeta, Pujya Swamiji is truly "adhvesta sarva bhutanam", but also heeds Isvara's call to duty in defense of Dharma and combating adharma. 

  ? Fact:  In his 70th decade, Sri Dayananda Saraswati, ill in body, but strong in spirit, went around the country for one whole year, waiting on the great Acharyas and traditional Mathadhpathis- in their ashrams and persuading them, one by one to come together, to meet in defense of Hinduism, funding the great meet out of his small purse gathered from his followers and well-wishers.  This fragile beginning is a ray of hope- instead of wringing their hands about the lack of Hindu unity, the Acharyas have at least tried to achieve some unity of purpose. 

  Their role has to be to think, debate and provide wise direction on a multiplicity of issues- and we, the Hindu Grihastas need to broadcast their unified voice and make it count in our society and our nation.  Right now all they have from most of us is a convenient reverence- none of us has followed through to help our traditional acharyas, get their work off the ground. Anything achieved thus far has occurred because a handful of them have striven, not because Hindus like you and I have served them. 

  The issues the Acharyas have debated are many, and many are of great importance to Hindus.  Almost all have to do with protecting the rights of Hindus, including the poorest.  We grihastas, we regular Hindus who work and earn and vote and have families and columns in newspapers have to further the Acharya's agenda - but what have India's journalists done to bring the Acharya Sabha's concerns to the public? If the work of the Acharya Sabha has not taken India's heart by storm, it is not these revered Sadhus who are to blame but we, the Hindu grihastas. 

  Ms Jain, You seem to want them to adopt you agenda wholesale or go away.  If they do not toe your line and embrace your priorities, you seem willing to destroy their fragile effort even before most Hindus have internalized that there is this ray of hope, and have mobilized to help their Acharyas.

   We need to ask ourselves, how can we help our Acharyas- that's how a Hindu (Indian or foreign) is supposed to think.  You want to westernize us, by making us ask only- what have they done for us lately?

  While their role is chiefly to guide, they have also had to act.

   ?Fact: Just one instance of the HDAS acting for us Grihastas: when the crypto-Christian Supremacist state Government of Andhra Pradesh threatened to take away the Seven Hills of the Tirupati Temple, the Acharyas, including the Pejawar Math Swamigal, the Lingayat Pontiff, and Swami Dayananda (and not grandstanders like you) called a public meeting to protest.  Here their firm but quietly worded resolution caused the government to back off substantially. See the Tirupati Declaration.



  ?Fact:  Seeing that other indigenous peoples around the world have been preyed upon by the aggressive religions of Christianity and Islam, Swami Dayananda convened the world congress of Religious Diversity in New Delhi.  Only the aggressive, proselytizing and supremacist religions were not invited. Oppressed peoples from all over the world- Native American Shamans, Zorastrians, traditional Yoruba and other African priests, Buddhist lamas, Shinto practioners, Confucian sages and Jewish Rabbis all gathered together to state their opposition to proselytization and conversion. Their presence, and their stories, made it clear that the fight against religious aggression and missionary predation was an international Human Rights issue, not something to do with "some Right-wing Hindus". http://www.swamij.com/religious-diversity-2001.htm

   Have you, Ms Jain, ever used your bully pulpit to make the embattled Hindus and Indians aware of this remarkable gathering?  or its significance in geo-strategic and moral terms for furthering the fundamental human right to follow one's own religion or tradition without aggression, denigration and intervention? Perhaps you were even then too busy sowing dissension and division among Hindus (grandly "excommunicating"the Hindu diaspora for instance) and embellishing your own reputation as a lone crusader to notice?

  ? Fact:  There is nothing in the discussions or in the resolution of the 2 Hindu-Jewish summits that discredits or disparages Hinduism. (I reproduce them below so your readers can see how you have misled them).

  Judaism like Hinduism is a non-proselytizing religious tradition, and like the Hindus, Jews have suffered enormous persecution at the hands of Christian and Islamic aggression and supremacist agendas.  Yes, the grand tradition of Judaism does have some irrational and harmful prejudices like its abomination of "idol-worship", but there is no history of Jews persecuting Hindus for their religious practices, nor of Jews trying to convert us.  True, the World Council of Religious Leaders, headed by a Hindu-Jain (one of those you have grandly ex-communicated for- gasp!-leaving India's shores) named Bawa Jain approached the Acharya Sabha with the idea of a Hindu-Jewish Summit.  True, Swami Dayananda had already been in touch with Jewish Rabbis over the preservation of religious diversity and the idea found immediate resonance in him, and many traditional Acharyas also seconded the idea and agreed to the meeting.

  The First Hindu-Jewish Summit In Delhi (2007) was attended by many eminent traditional Acharyas from India, and even other Sadhus who are not heads of the Traditional Mathas,  and Rabbis from Israel and around the world.  Far from being offensive or harmful to Hindus are many vital things the declaration affirms, including the sacredness of India's Land to Hinduism, and our rootedness in it (and acknowledging a similar Jewish idea about Israel) (resolution no.2).  Proselytization, a common enemy born in the supremacist beliefs of Christianity and Islam is directly condemned as being a violation. (no.4).  Your readers can judge (without your poisonous spin) whether the One Supreme Being referred to in No.1  is in keeping with the Hindu Shastras  and Sampradayas (no Vaishnava, Shaiva, Sakta or Smartha scholar or practioner that I have spoken to finds it objectionable, but perhaps in your exclusive self-created sampradaya it is). Vitally, the horrendous suffering and sustained religious persecution that Hindus have been subjected to by the aggressive Monotheistic religions is acknowledged in the same breath as the prolonged Jewish suffering. This is a meeting of two kindred peoples, Ms. Jain and we lose nothing of our uniqueness by acknowledging our kinship.

  Exhibit I:

  In the Declaration of The First Hindu-Jewish Summit,The participants affirmed that:

    1.. Their respective Traditions teach that there is One Supreme Being who is the Ultimate Reality, who has created this world in its blessed diversity and who has communicated Divine ways of action for humanity, for different peoples in different times and places.
    2.. The religious identities of both Jewish and Hindu communities are related to components of Faith, Scripture, Peoplehood, Culture, Land and Language.
    3.. Hindus and Jews seek to maintain their respective heritage and pass it on to the succeeding generations, while living in respectful relations with other communities.
    4.. Neither seeks to proselytize, nor undermine or replace in any way the religious identities of other faith communities. They expect other communities to respect their religious identities and commitments, and condemn all activities that go against the sanctity of this mutual respect.
    5.. Both the Hindu and Jewish Traditions affirm the sanctity of life and aspire for a society in which all live in peace and harmony with one another. Accordingly they condemn all acts of violence in the name of any religion or against any religion.
    6.. The Jewish and Hindu communities are committed to the ancient traditions of Judaism and Hindu dharma respectively, and have both, in their own ways, gone through the painful experiences of persecution, oppression and destruction. Therefore, they realize the need to educate the present and succeeding generations about their past, in order that they will make right efforts to promote religious harmony.
    7.. The representatives of the two faith communities recognize the need for understanding one another in terms of lifestyles, philosophy, religious symbols, culture, etc. They also recognize that they have to make themselves understood by other faith communities. They hope that through their bilateral initiatives, these needs would be met.
    8.. Because both traditions affirm the central importance of social responsibility for their societies and for the collective good of humanity, the participants pledged themselves to work together to help address the challenges of poverty, sickness and inequitable distribution of resources.
    9.. The representatives of the two faith communities also agree to constitute a Standing Committee on Hindu-Jewish Relations.

  What about the Second Hindu-Jewish Summit, which you claim was "scandalous"? In your fevered fantasies you accuse the Hindu Acharyas of having "tacitly agree[d] that idol-worship is an abomination".  You call this the Acharya's "assault upon the glorious tradition of murti-puja and all rituals and prayers associated with it". Again Ms Jain, you twist facts to such an extent that you lie, you mislead, and then you arrogate to yourself the role of an interrogator asking for "personal explanation" from the very human-beings you victimize.  One expects this from Stalinists and fascists, but not from a self proclaimed "Hindu".

  The declarations from the 2nd Hindu-Jewish Summit are appended below

  What does the "scandalous" resolution say? 

  "It is recognized that the One Supreme Being in its formless [nirguna] and manifest [saguna] aspects has been worshipped by Hindus over the Millenia.  This does not mean that Hindus worship 'gods' and 'idols'.  The Hindu relates only to the One Supreme Being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation"[My insertions for clarity]

  It is prefaced by resolution no.1 which talks about the One Supreme Being who is worshipped by both Jews and Hindus, avoids giving a gender to this being (surely in deference to Hindu practice), and sets the context of striving for deeper mutual understanding before bringing up resolution 2 above.

  Ms Jain, where is the "assault upon the glorious tradition of murti-puja and all rituals and prayers associated with it"? Where indeed is even a deviation from what Vaidhikas, Advaitins, Vaishnavas, Shaivas and even Shaktas believe and accept? I am sorry Ms Jain, but there are Hindu Sampradayas  (such as the Arya Samaj, the non-murti Pujak Jains, the avowedly non-Hindu Sikhs) who have an unfortunate history of condemning Murti Puja, but that did not happen here.

  This declaration has its roots in a train of discussion that was begun in the First conference. Because one cannot have a meaningful friendship with the Jews if they carry in their hearts an ill-informed prejudice about us, the Acharyas brought it up and continued the discussion over the 2 meets.  http://frfnet.org/1st-Hindu-Jewish%20Summi...eport-Final.pdf There, after a detailed discussion of how Iswara is manifest as the universe, so all things that have form also have the presence of God, and can be worshipped as God, Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati of Gujarat says that even in Murti puja " God is not confined to a particularity, but the form is an aid to worshipping the one who pervades all names and forms. The devotee is asked to see God as all names and forms, and ultimately transcend forms and sees him as the self.  Therefore we urge you to study fundamental Hinduism and see that it is very inclusive of everything. This being the case, we can develop respectfully. We don't need to tolerate anyone. We need to respect them. Gandhi said to missionaries, 'Hindus are capable of achieving the goals through their religions, and do not need other religions'." (p37)

  This "Transcending of all forms" or Murt Puja as a step in a larger journey, is a very traditional Hindu view in the Shastras, and in Advaita and other allied Sampradayas (but hotly debated by yet other sampradayas).  This is NOT diluting or dressing up Hinduism for out Jewish hosts- it is an honest statement of a traditional Hindu teacher. And unless you are arguing for curtailing the freedom of speech of such Acharyas, to render them politically correct, you have no case.

  Knowing the bloody history of those who have brutally attacked us, simply for following our Hindu way of worship, by labeling us "idolaters" Swami Viditatmananda said earlier:

  "The world is not apart from God. Therefore, we seek a sympathetic

  understanding on the part of other religious leaders  to not dismiss us as idolaters."(p36)

  Perhaps the mild tone of this is irksome to you. Tough. You do not control how other Hindus express themselves. Clearly, he is asking for mutual respect, not "toleration" from the Jewish Rabbis.  How did our Jewish leaders react? Rabbi Rosen in his response backs away completely from calling the Hindu saguna worship "idolatry".  Instead he says the core Jewish injunction is against immorality in religion, and this is what is called idolatry:

  "Idolatry, when it is used in the Hebrew Bible is not just referring to a theoretical abstraction; it is referring to particular way of life of immoral conduct. In other words, that denial of the transcendent reality is denied in the individual, which sanctions all kinds of abominations with the norms that the Bible records with the norms when the children of Israel came into the Holy Land. Therefore, the great 14th century sage, Rabbi Menachem, affirmed that community which adheres to moral principles of ethical conduct is by definition not idolatrous." (p37)

  In a different place, Rabbi Rosen poignantly hopes that contact with Hindu elders will make Jewish Rabbis do some soul-searching: "Our understanding of idolatry has to undergo a transformation." (p.40)

  Clearly Rabbi Rosen does not "get it" with regard to the coeval reality of Saguna vis a vis the manifest world - he calls it "a theoretical abstraction".  This needs to be worked on. But his responses seem sincere and respectful of the Hindu viewpoint.  That is what dialog- especially with an unfamiliar but sympathetic interlocutor- is all about.

  I see nothing here that calls for a personal explanation by any of our great Acharyas,  drunk with power and a sense of desperation though you may be. I sympathize that your role is often a lonely one- you do stick your neck out, and you need our support.  But attacking and denigrating those who have contributed immensely more than you have to the Hindu cause is not they way- at least, it is NOT the Hindu way.  The saddest part is that by simply searching the web, you could have gotten specifics on the issues I have outlined, and just by doing your job as a journalist you could have followed up by simply travelling to the Ashrams or the meetings and interviewing some of the key people.

     I apologize for any offence caused inadvertently, but the challenges to the world-wide Hindu community too grim to permit the luxury of idle dissension and malicious misinformation.


  Krishnan Ramaswamy

  Exhibit II: Second Hindu-Jewish Declaration :Jerusalem

  1. In keeping with the Delhi declaration, the participants reaffirmed their commitment to deepening this bilateral relationship predicated on the recognition of One Supreme Being, Creator and Guide of the Cosmos; shared values; and similar historical experiences. The parties are committed to learning about one another on the basis of respect for the

  particular identities of their respective communities and seeking, through their bilateral relationship, to be a blessing to all.

  2. It is recognized that the One Supreme Being, both in its formless and manifest aspects, has been worshipped by Hindus over the millennia. This does not mean that Hindus worship 'gods' and idols'. The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation.

  3. Central to the Jewish and Hindu world view is the concept of the sanctity of life, above all the human person. Accordingly, the participants categorically reject violent methods to achieve particular goals. In this spirit, the participants expressed the hope that all disputes be resolved through dialogue, negotiation and compromise promoting peace, reconciliation and harmony.

  4. As the two oldest religious traditions of the world, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and the Jewish religious leadership may consider jointly appealing to various religious organizations in the world to recognize that all religions are sacred and valid for their respective peoples. We believe that there is no inherent right embedded in any religion to denigrate or interfere with any other religion or with its practitioners. Acceptance of this

  proposition will reduce inter-religious violence, increase harmony among different peoples.

  5. The participants expressed the hope that the profound wellsprings of spirituality in their respective traditions will serve their communities to constructively address the challenges of modernity, so that contemporary innovation may serve the highest ideals of their respective religious traditions.

  6. In the interests of promoting the correct understanding of Judaism, Hinduism and their histories, it was agreed that text books and reference material may be prepared in consultation with the scholars' group under the aegis of this Summit.

  7. Svastika is an ancient and greatly auspicious symbol of the Hindu tradition. It is inscribed on Hindu temples, ritual altars, entrances, and even account books. A distorted version of this sacred symbol was misappropriated by the Third Reich in Germany, and abused as

  an emblem under which heinous crimes were perpetrated against humanity, particularly the Jewish people. The participants recognize that this symbol is, and has been sacred to Hindus for millennia, long before its misappropriation.

  8. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the theory of an Aryan

  invasion/migration into India, and on the contrary, there is compelling evidence to refute it; and since the theory seriously damages the integrity of the Hindu tradition and its connection to India; we call for a serious reconsideration of this theory, and a revision of all educational material on this issue that includes the most recent and reliable scholarship.

  9. The bilateral group of scholars may engage in further elaboration of the foregoing affirmations, exchange material to enhance mutual understanding, clarify the positions of the Hindu and Jewish traditions regarding contemporary challenges in science and society, and identify programs of action for the future.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From: Sandhya Jain

Dear Krishnan ji

Namaste, and thank you for writing to clear your anxieties about some of my views.

r     As I do not know you and you are writing directly to me, and your email identity (krinfinity@) suggests you are part of the Infinity Foundation, I am assuming that you are writing in defence of its founder, Shri Rajiv Malhotra, who was intimately associated with the Hindu-Jewish Summitry to which I made strenuous (but private) objections some years ago.

r     Your valiant defence to some Acharyas is not the core of my objection to Inter-Faith dialogue and multi-religious spiritual fairs. Assuming however, that there may be some confusion in the minds of other Hindu brethren also - I take this opportunity to clarify my position as completely as possible.

r     You have kindly suggested that I could have searched the Internet for any information desired or talked to certain gurus. My contention is that dialogue was resented and resisted (and I will not in public go into the unseemly manner in which this was done by Acharyas who did not wish to face questions from Hindu bhaktas). As for the Internet, it is my contention that a Hindu bhakta should be able to get information regarding Inter-faith dialogue in India itself, in a transparent manner! That this was resented and resisted is both odd and suspicious.

I will now come to specifics:

r     For some years I have been working on a study of religious conversions in Tripura, a state selected because of conversions are at the point of the gun and because a prominent Swami was murdered on account of his fame and following among tribal and non-tribal people alike.

r     Inter alia, I studied the missionary defence of conversions, and was horrified to discover that unknown to many of us who are fighting evangelism at the intellectual level, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha had in May 2006 sent representatives to attend an inter-religious meeting at Lariano, Italy, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City, and the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, on Conversion: Assessing the Reality.

r     The declaration signed at this meeting featured prominently in the website of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, but the Hindu representatives were not identified. All questions have failed to elicit answers, which should be difficult if the concerned superiors are convinced of their bona fides.

r     Some of my specific objections to the Vatican meeting are:-

1] It specifically endorses "the freedom to embrace another faith out of one's own free choice." In my understanding of Hindu Dharma, the family and not the individual is the smallest unit of the social organism, and this cannot be ripped apart by giving individuals the right to be brain-washed or bribed by an evangelist and leave the religion and culture to which he or she was born. This is the basic tenet of all native traditions in the world, and by agreeing that individuals can be weaned away from non-monotheistic faiths, the Hindu leaders SECRETLY signing this declaration were violating the tenets of the faith. The failure to respond to this charge is a self-indictment.

2] I also questioned the need to sign any document at all in any gathering without a wider discussion of the same in the home country. If the Vatican document had been shown to any major Shankaracharya or Mathadhipathi, or concerned Hindu citizenry, it would NEVER have been signed. It could only be signed because it was kept a closely guarded secret, and the names of the signatories are still secret.

3] The Vatican document further agrees that freedom of religion includes freedom to propagate one's faith to "other faiths" also. What more could missionaries ask for? Is this not making a mockery of the Acharya Sabha's claims to represent, protect, and defend Dharma?

4] The document further accepts that EVERY faith has perpetrated injustice in history, and must introspect and repent for the same. Will Acharya Sabha like to openly tell the Hindus of India what these historical sins have been vis-à-vis other faith traditions, particularly the ones that have perpetrated murder and mayhem upon our people and revered Swamis, who are even now being murdered for upholding dharma in the rural un-policed areas of the country?

5] All talk of mutual respect becomes hollow rhetoric in the light of these hideous concessions, which not only make the job of missionaries that much easier, but worse, assault Hindu Dharma by manipulating its very nature.

6] Will Acharya Sabha tell the Hindus of India what are "ethical conversions" so that we know if our children and brothers were converted ethically or unethically?

7] Does signing this document mean that the Acharya Sabha does NOT support the passing of Anti-Conversion legislations in Indian states, and that it would be opposed to such a legislation at the national level, which is a demand of Hindus all over the country? The question cannot be avoided and deserves an answer - not obfuscation, which is all we have got so far.

8] Finally, will the Acharya Sabha tell us what steps it has taken to evolve the "code of conduct" on conversion, which it agreed to at the Vatican? Can we humble Hindus of India ask to at least see this grand code, or is it one of the secret clauses of the Treaty of Versailles?

r     In view of over Two Years of Secrecy and sullen silence on this issue - during which I have not made my discomfort public -you will agree that I have not defamed anyone.

You have said that I am alleging that Swami Dayananda Saraswati and the Acharyas who constitute the Acharya Sabha "are somehow softening up Hindus for Christian conversion and proselytization." I think the points raised above about the Vatican meeting should answer all your contentions in this regard.

This brings me back to where we started - the very purpose and motivation for Inter-faith Dialogue; that is to say, who initiates it, and for what purpose?

Here I would like to say that in recent times, a plethora of bodies variously designated as the Dharma Raksha Manch, Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, Aim for Seva, Arsha Gurukul, etc. have come up with different clothes and different mandates, and are indulging in inter-faith dialogue internationally.

One common thread that appears to bind them is the presence of Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji. A close follower of his has indicated a fierce desire to project Swami ji as a Hindu Pope, and this ambition is shared equally by the foreign bhaktas of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Mata Amritananda Mayi ji! A unipolar source of religious authority is anathema to Hindu Dharma, yet this attempt to monotheise the faith is being attempted by many non-traditional swamis. Good luck to them, but I don't think it will succeed.

A second thread here is the excessive presence and domination of these set-ups by White foreigners who claim to have become Hindu (but clearly forward the agendas of their native traditions and countries), foreign Hindus (mostly American citizens), and perhaps some non-resident Indians (with financial stakes in the West).

Both the native foreigners and the naturalized foreigners steer the discourse in a direction favourable to the interests of Monotheistic nations and traditions. Hindu Acharyas joining these dialogues are going along with this, and we have every reason to question this deviation from dharma.

The Hindu intent of an inter-faith dialogue can only be to:

1] Get an outright declaration that conversions are bad and unacceptable, and will not be done on the bhoomi of Bharat.

But as the Vatican 2006 document makes clear - a major sell-out of Dharma has taken place, surreptitiously. None of those associated with that document and subsequent dialogues can now be trusted to represent Hindu Dharma in any respect, at any forums, and must cease and desist from all such secret summitry. Even governments which are notoriously secretive do not function with such non-transparency.

As you have also mentioned the Hindu Diaspora, I will only say

r     I believe India must concern herself with Hindus of Pakistan, Bangladesh and those sent to colonies as indentured labour.

r     Hindus who went to the West for "better prospects" can look after themselves, because they willfully abandoned their bhoomi with the active connivance of their parents

r     Hindus in America and Britain have taken to hectoring Hindu India about religious and cultural issues, to conform to the critiques of white Christians, and improve their own comfort levels. A case is point is the supercilious condemnation of Hindu Indian concerns over the promotion of pub culture and Valentine's Day by a Minister in the UPA government chaired by Ms. Sonia Gandhi!

r     So we don't think you are going to serve any meaningful Hindu cause or battle. If you have the energy to do so, examine the murders of Andhra youths in America, and do tell us why this is happening, we are also curious.

Finally, the Hindu Jewish Summitry has been discussed by me in detail, and the critique is on the same lines as above. I reiterate that no one has the right to decide that the Hindu murti puja is or is not idol worship. I personally belong to the non-murti pujak group in the Jaina pantha, and am familiar with all nuances of the faith.

I was present at the 2007 Hindu-Jewish Summit, and my objections to its virtual hijack by foreigners were silenced then, and remain unanswered to this day. We have no kinship with the American or Israeli Jews - they are here for political objectives, and they will disappear when they realize that they cannot be fulfilled on this soil, especially as the emerging world order militates against this. Hence there is no need for me to digress upon this at present.

Your lengthy epistle has not addressed any Hindu Indian concern, so maybe you should just leave it to Swami Dayananda and the Revered Hindu Acharyas to come forward and tell the bhaktas about the fruits of their foreign forays.

Thank you and warm regards

Sandhya Jain <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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