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Topics For Hindu Identity And Society

brihaspati wrote:
RayC wrote
To feel that the Mahatma the closing year of his Ahmisa application was doubtful is debatable.

This is what I actually stated But the closing years of the "ahimsa" doctrine is really very doubtful. We have plenty of debates about MKG's own feelings, as well as possible reasons for the British to consider handing over power to a regime that would be more sympathetic or dependent on the British compared to others if the indpendence movement was allowed to carry on under British occupation. Since as you claim, you are in a much better position to know everything about India, please do care to find out the "white paper" on the 1942 movement published by the British Gov. of India in 1943 and look specifically for reports about the discussions in the CWC as well as MKG's communications.

Indeed, Nathuram Godse also displayed similar opinion!

Should I also so superficially twist your words around to suggest that Harsha of Kashmir also had such liberal views as you ?
Harsha ruled Kashmir for 21 years. He wrote poems and provided many facilities for literature. He reorganised the Army and the administration and introduced reservation in the Army and the administration on the basis of caste. According to Kalhana, Harsha prepared a list of Muslims and reorganised the Army on a different pattern. Each group of 100 soldiers was kept under the command of a Muslim officer so that it would be impossible for soldiers to revolt or flee from their country. Or how about the witnesses from Somnath temple hierarchy, and local "Hindu" dignitaries who stood watched and gave their support to the dedication of the "Pattan" mosque - a dedication with two versions - one in Sanskrit that recognizes the authority of liberal supporters and the other in Arabic which fervently hopes for "Islam" and the home-sultan of the dedicator Muslim trader from Hormuz to triumph over "these" heathen lands.

It is obvious that Ahimsa alone did not accelerate the British departure from India, but to believe that it was not the primary force behind the departure would be flawed. If it were not so, then the British should have also quit Ceylon and her other colonies. They did not, while they quit India.

Ceylon at that the time had not shown any rebellious tendency from the native component of the military forces. Surely with your military background you know what happened with the naval mutineers and how the "oh so glorious" Congress nationalist leadership practically collaborated with the British to coax the native naval component to "give up". Any knowledge of how they were subsequently treated? I guess like the INA returnees, they were to be cast into the garbage heap of Indian history where all credit has to be piled up at the feet of JLN and MKG.

Which population divided, demoralised and defeated that you speak of?

If you kindly read my post again, this was in the context of the initial "rousing" of the masses in the post WWI period when MKG was brought over by the aging stalwarts of the then Congress from SA. This was a defeated mass, with the last popular revolts against the British being over by the end of the 19th century, and the initial "armed insurrectionists" safely put away or hung.

On the issue that Ahimsa was dangerous to the Congress and the British, I would politely disagree.

Again, this is what I wrote : The reconstruction of the entire "Hindu" as necessarily Ahimsa and forever Ahimsa was born out of the potential dangers to both the Congress as well as British interests.
Here I am clearly stating that the "Hindu" had to be reconstructed as totally "Ahimsa" so that the "Hindu" dared not think of "himsa" to be used against the British as well as the minority elite from northern and western India who were trying to gain overall power of the future Indian state. Where did you read "Ahimsa" itself "as dangerous"?

It is fashionable to digress and divert with allusion to the elite knowing nothing but their drawing room, Havana cigar and French wines! That is the best way to force an issue to suit one's line of thought and increase the bandwagon! By indicating that one is but the humble farmer like Deve Gowda (who actually was a CPWD contractor for tubewells or so I am told, but then popular image with Gobbel like repetition makes him a humble farmer!) does not mean that the person alluding to the elite to suit his line of thought has his feet firmly planted on the ground!

RayCji, I would only humbly request that you desist from using such expressions that tend on describing personal rather than group attributes. If you reread carefully these lines detachedly - you could discover that they may also apply to you. In this case you would be applying the category of "elite" to those who are "overseas". No I have not been formally a farmer, but I would be able to do "farming" in the region I spent my early years. Incidentally I have not claimed anything like that. It is best perhaps not to assume the background experiences of a person. I have lived with many "marginal" communities and survived on what they survive. Please let us stay away from all that here in this forum.

Since you are an overseas India, you maybe suffering from this elitist western fashioned idea of the émigré that English speaking means elite in India!

Have I ever defined elite to be only English-speaking?

Good life is not only coming to the urban professional but also to the rural folks, the majority of whom now don't have to spend a day to go to the nearest market in a town to sell their product but can do so in half a day. How? They have conveyance beyond the bullock cart and they also have tarmac roads. I had gone to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh six months back and was astonished to see the fine roads and quite a few Combined Harvesters towering over us as we drove on!
Therefore, please visit us and see for yourself!

Please visit North Bihar, Orissa-Bihar border, North East Orissa, Eastern MP, northern AP, Eastern Maharashtra, even Himachal Pradesh, and please move away from the highway and go into the interior. Try and search out the rural labour encampments, tribal villages, and "marginal" people with little or no access to the means of production. Anyway what makes you so sure that I do not have regular personal experience of these places?

I fail to see how the Hindus or Hindu ideals and the Hindu religion can be destroyed by anyone.
That is, unless you feel that Hindu ideology and religion should be taken as the sole inheritors of India and all other accept a second class citizenship!
Something as is being done in Pakistan!

Probably not a new sentiment. I am quite positive this is how Siddharaja Jaisimha of Gujarat thought who allowed Islamic theologians to flourish and prepare the grounds for the final onslaught of Ulugh Khan. Or for that matter, King Sehdev of Kashmir, who employed Muslims in the highest administrative posts of his kingdom and who overpoered him and embarked on forced violent conversions - Sehdev escaped with his personal safety leaving his subjects to their fate.

Quote:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You may have no confidence and faith in the Hindus of India, but then they have faith in themselves. If Hinduism could survive Ghori, Ghazni, Aurangzeb, a few Kasabs are but as significant as a mosquito bite. They attacked Mumbai and elsewhere. Has India crumbled or are Indian wallowing with grief? We have picked up the threads and forced the govt to gird up its loins!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

No comments here. This is a statement of faith. On the otherhand I do have faith in the "Hindus" of India, and I have faith in their ability to shake off "maya" - especially of the type that believes in a semi-magical thinking that if they can start thinking "nothing is wrong", in the world too "nothing will be wrong".


RayC sir, I'm somewhat perplexed by your comments on Indian civilization and so forth.

You mentioned that there is no Indian civilization, only a political nation state of India comprising of a number of disparate nations/regions which have no or minimal overlaps, certainly not enough to merit them forming a nation.

I have NOT said there is no Indian Civilisation. In fact, I have said that there is an Indian Civilisation but to feel that today what the Civilisation is all the contribution by the Hindus is incorrect. Civilisation includes a whole gamut of issues including arts and craft etc. Thumri, Muslim miniature art is also a part of our civilisation.

As far as overlaps are concerned, what is your equation culturally with, let us say, the Punjabis? In fact, the affinity is more with the Eastern people. The only commonality is the religion amongst the majority. Even that is not on a same platform since each has its own rituals and festivals.

Having said that, in no way am I endorsing appeasement. Those who are not working towards the progress of the Nation and are hand in glove with inimical forces, should be dealt with very stringent laws, that has less of niceties and more of action!

what I want to know is how did you motivate yourself to put your life on the line for this artificial construct, time and again ? was it simply a professional calling, meaning that you happened to be born in this political boundary and hence took up soldiering as just one profession ? if that is so, now that you have completed your service life, why do you still bother to uphold ideas like unity of India ? is it simply the habit of a lifetime ? (Incidentally, is the oath to serve the country and obey superiors still binding on a retired officer ?)

What is this artificial construct that you talk of?

I took up the profession of soldiering since my father was a soldier and I believed in the concept of India. I did not take it up just because I had to do something. I had options, including the IAS. I preferred the Army even though the pay was a pittance! Yes, I believe in India and still believe in it. Religion has never played a major role in my life nor have I been taught to flaunt my religion aggressively into the face of others to provoke others. Yes, retired or active, I am an Indian and I am proud to be one and will die for it, rather than merely talk on the cyberspace! Having seen death - untimely death of many a youth in the service of the Nation, I realise it is futile to waste time on the esoteric and the philosophical. In my opinion, the realities of life is of more immediate concern and not day dreams of greatness that is elusive! Those who are disappointed with how things have gone past them, live in the past and dream. It is those who wish to win, learn from the past, enjoy working in the present and act for the future. One cannot bring the past to the present!

As I see it, India is already fractured. Initially, it was Hindu Muslim. Then there was the Delhi riots. Then, Mandal's ingenuous plan was brought out of the cobwebs came and VP Singh ensured further divides. Then the Christians, who were otherwise calm, having gone on an overdrive to proselytise, upset a whole lot of people and so more divide occurred. Then came Babri Mazjid followed by torching the pilgrims in Godra by the Sunni Muslims. Quo Vadis, India?

And now one wants to flaunt aggressive Hinduism by declaring all are Hindus and that it is only the Hindu Civilisation that exists. Fine. Let us for discussion's sake accept that. But can you implement it? Obviously not. So, at the end of the day, it becomes all hollow war cries and vitiating the atmosphere. Even Modi, in an interview, stated that he is for all Indians and never has discriminated. If a person as he is on the backburner, then what is all this gala bazi as we say in Bengal!

Of course, like good chaps, all will find some excuse to state why the can't implement the issue of Hindu, Hinduvta and Hindu Civilisation, but then that is the way it is! Hot air! Similar is the grandiose ideas of taking on Pakistan. Yet, none can say how, except some unimplementable theoretical catch all sentence that means squat!

People quote Justice Varma and his Hinduvta interpretation from the Bench. And then he gets cold feet and says he is misquoted! Thereafter, he sends letters to the Govt on Gujarat. The man appears confused and playing to the gallery depending upon the mood of the Nation at that moment!

Someone appended a new item that some so called Muslim 'intellect' has indirectly stated that it is time for Muslim to rise politically. I think that is a very dangerous trend. It is adding to the already tension situation and to the fissures in our society.

Today, they are talking aggressively.

Tomorrow, they will act.

And no matter, how much Samuel may feel that Hindus are running scared (if his post is anything to go by), the Hindus will not sit still! There will be a conflagration. Is that what we are searching to do?

Be like Modi. He does not flaunt Hinduvta in the face, but does it in a subtle manner and hence is the poster boy without even trying to be one!

From another forum by CHIRON

One who refers to the Indian subcontinent as Bhaarat and considers Bhaarat as his fatherland (or motherland) and most revered land (Punyabhoomi) is a Hindu.

So I can understand this better - can you expand on how such a characterization benefits Hindus or India? What does this translate to in terms of policies to keep out the extreme exclusivists from the Abrahamic religions?</i>

Here we go...

1. I ask to stop using the word "Hindu" as it is more geographical than religious. Ever since religious connotations have been given to this original geographical word, the fractures in Indic society have widened. Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have problems with word "hindu" because it has been artificially constructed and imbibed upon minds of people as the one in same league as Islam or christianity.

2. The fact that Conglomerate of Indic paths is not as crystalline as Abrahamic ones, gives us an added advantage in Bhaarat, if we show correct understanding of Dharma.

3. The policies for assimilation of otherwise exclusivist Indian Abrahamics into mainstream Indic society have to be multi-faceted, yet inter-dependent.

4. Such revolution happened in India about 2200-2300 years ago. Around the times of Mauryas, when the influence of Indra and his Vedic deities started decreasing and there was emergence of Puranic trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh in Indic society. This, IMHO, was one of the biggest revolution in India which enabled the unification of all the animist religions of India into one civilizational and cultural glue.

For more information on how this assimilation occurred, please visit this link on my blog where I have shared my views on this issue.

5. The shift from Indra-based Vedic deities which were essentially warriors to family oriented Vishnu-Shiva-Devi ensured the universal acceptance of the core values of Vedas all across the subcontinent without much clashes from local religions. This created the civilizational glue in first place. If Indra-Agni-Varuna still reigned supreme, there would never have been a pan-Indian civilization which we so venerate today.

6. The point to be noted is, Indra et al are much more exclusivists than Vishnu et al. The worshippers of Indra in Rigveda are much more violently intolerant towards Panis, Dasyus and other non-Arya (Anaarya) tribes. This was lost as civilization became more agriculture oriented, hence a set of more benign and inclusive deities was required.

7. In all this process, the core Vedic values, ideals, philosophy was preserved. The Saamkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Vedas, Smritis, Jain literature, Bauddha literature was preserved and propagated throughout the subcontinent and beyond. Although the deeper values remained confined to classes. This is but natural.. Very few people in society have propensity to think about higher truth in life or in other words Moksha/Nirvana. Most of us are more pre-occupied with daily routine, in other words, our Dharma, Artha and Kaama.

8. This shows us that identity is a continuous process.. It is always in making and never completely made.

9. Bhaarat and Bhaaratiya civilization needs to make one more leap like this, to accommodate the exclusivist Abrahamic civilization.

10. We cannot deal with this by being more exclusive than them and yet maintain the cultural glue. This is proven by the fact that the problems in Indian subcontinent have arisen and increased ever since this illusive and exclusive identity of "Hinduism" was created by the british. This not only divided Indic society more, but also forced Indic society to play the game on the strengths of Abrahamic memes.

11. Abrahamic memes and ideals thrive on mutually exclusive identity. They gain strength there. That is exactly where we loose strength, because we are trying to beat those memes by playing on their strengths and not on ours.

12. Now, Indic civilization has two options.

a) to play on the strengths of Abrahamic memes and defeat them. This can be ensured by becoming more violently exclusivists and proselytizers than them. This is possible by reverting back to Indra-based Vedic system of warlord deities who destroy the non-aryans and consume Soma and compose esoteric literature. This is very powerful option and if utilized efficiently, can be helpful in tackling the Islam and Christianity in India. This system is primarily fueled by similar faith towards Indra et al and similar attitude of supremacy and disgust towards non-aryans as Abrahamics have towards non-believers. The idea that Indra is with the person in his quest of destroying non-aryans is a very strong idea and extremely potent one just like the ones in Abrahamic texts.

Disadvantages of this system is that it will disrupt the already glued Indian civilization to its very basic core. Unless the status of being a pure "Aarya" is extended to all non-abrahamic Indics, it is impossible to maintain the glued civilization together. Even if the neo-Vedics end up destroying the forces and citadels of neo-Vritra asura with the help of mighty Indra, they will end up alienating most of the Non-Vedic and Non-Arya Indian population and undo whatever efforts were taken by philosophers and sages throughout the history to glue entire subcontinent in one thread of civilizational commonality.

b) The second option in front of Indic civilization is to play on its on strength which is apparently the dire weakness of the opposing Abrahamic meme. The point to be noted is, after our shift to more inclusive deities, our sphere of influence extended from Central Asia to South-east Asia. The maximum extent of Indo-sphere was achieved owing to accommodative inclusiveness. The strength of this glued Bhaaratiya civilization is Unity in diversity. Inherent Advaita in apparent Dvaita. The thing about this approach is that it is ever dynamic. Yet, it is at equilibrium with core values. Shift from Religion and Nation centric socio-politics of Europe to Dharma and Raashtra centric socio-politics of Bhaarat is what is required to bring in. The strength of our system is allegiance towards one's Dharma irrespective of personal faith or conviction. Personal faiths are subject to evolution and change. Dharma is not.

Thus, first task is to imbibe the true meaning of the term "Dharma" in the minds of people along with the supreme emphasis on following it.

Dharma is not == to Religion.

this has to be thoroughly and deeply imbibed on the mind of every single person in Bhaarat. Once personal faith is delineated and detached from core concept of Dharma, then it will sound death-knell to the exclusive character of Abrahamic religions. Then it won't take much time for Christ to become 10th avataar of Vishnu and Muhammad to become Sant Muhammad or 12 avataar of Shiva/Rudra.

This approach will change the "Hinduism" as we know it today. But it should be noted that "Hinduism" is anyways an artificial construct. It was not the same 200 years ago and won't be the same 200 years hence. In Bhaaratiya civilization, change is the only constant. Things which do not change, go extinct. Abrahamic memes in India have to follow this.

Relation of all this with Hindutva and Hindu-Rashtra definition of Savarkar

Now the question is, how is all this related to Savarkar's definition of Hindutva. Here is an attempt to answer.

Hindutva literally means Indian-ness. The core of India and Indianness is found in Vedas. The core is allegiance towards land of Sapta-Sindhu and culture and civilization of Sapta-Sindhu.

This concept and high reverence of Sapta-Sindhu is central concept of Vedic literature. The most beautiful part of Bhaaratiya civilization is the process how the radius of this Sapta-Sindhu region increased and expanded with time.

The original Sapta-Sindhu region in early hymns of Rigveda comprises of 5 rivers of Punjab, Saraswati and Kubha (Kabul) river. This land is glorified as Sapta-Sindhu. The dwellers of this land are Arya people who are pure, rich, righteous and civilized men on earth who are Kavis (poets) composing beautiful literature and performing grand Yagnas to please their mighty Devas.

In later Rigveda, in nadi-stuti sukta of 10th mandala, the Sapta-Sindhu region includes Ganga and Yamuna as well. Thus, now, this idea of Sapta-Sindhu, its culture and civilzation comprised of entire north Indian plains, from Bengal to NWFP.

In Puranic times post Rigveda, new Sapta-Sindhu concept became popular with time. This is shown in famous verse

गंगेच यमुनेचैव गोदावरी सरस्वती
नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरी जलेस्मिन सन्निधिम कुरु

Now, Sapta-Sindhu includes the region of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri. Basically, entire Indian subcontinent. Interestingly, the rivers west of Sindhu were no longer considered as part of Sapta Sindhu region.

Sapta-Sindhu is the word which gave birth to the word "Hindu". The Civilization of Sapta-Sindhu was referred to as Hapta-Hindu by Persians and other outsiders. The people of this region and culture, the Sapta-Saindhavas were referred to as hapta-Haindavas by Persians and other outsiders. All these terms are found in Zend Avesta of Parsi people.

In all its context, Sapta-Sindhu has been the homeland of Sapta-Saindhavas (Bhaaratiyas). This has been the Punya-Bhoomi (revered land) of them. This has been the Pitrubhoomi and Matrubhoomi of Sapta-Saindhavas and Bhaaratiyas. The very concept of Bhaarat originated from land of seven rivers and expands with the same. The concept of Bhaarat was Punjab during Vedic war of ten kings. The concept of Bhaarat in Vishnupuran was same as pan-subcontinental identity of Sapta-Sindhu.

This origin of their identities should be explained to every single resident of Indian subcontinent.

One more defining feature which was preserved all throughout the history of our civilization is the sense of supremacy of Arya over Anaarya people. The famous quotation of कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यम (lets make the whole world "Arya" or civilized) denotes the same fact. Vedic memes did that, by extending the status of "civilized/Aarya" to all the residents of Indian subcontinent who accepted the Dharmic way of life. The land of "Arya/civilized" automatically became Sapta-Sindhu and hence Bhaarat. Muslims and Christians are still considered as Anaarya and Mlenchha by our people. This worked in medieval times with Muslims and Christians of foreign origin. Indian Muslims and Indian Christians are as much Indians as Indian Non-Abrahamics. This strategy needs to be updated.

The concept of Arya needs to be extended to IM and IC who understand, appreciate and follow the concept of Dharma and delineate and differentiate their personal faiths of attaining Moksha from Dharma-Artha-Kaama of daily life. Separation of Dharma and Moksha is the true definition of secularism in Indian context.

If general population is counselled about the actual meaning of the concept of "Dharma", concept of "Arya" and concept of "Sapta-Sindhu and Bhaarat", this will generate an enormous selective pressure on Indianization and assimilation of Abrahamic memes. Just like followers of Abrahamic ideologies should Indianize themselves, followers of Indic ideologies much increase their inclusiveness and expand their ideas of Sapta-Sindhu once again.
<b>My Northeast India Mission of 2003-4</b>

by Stephen Knapp

This is about the a mission of some of the members of The Vedic Friends Association and their friends working to keep the Vedic tradition in India's Northeast region. This is where there has been ongoing trouble from militants trying to force Christianity on people of the area and then secede from India as a separate Christian country.

Our trip to India started with a seminar in Hyderabad, titled "Global Hinduism in the New Millennium". Invocations were presented by Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, and speakers included authors Michael Cremo, David Frawley, Stephen Knapp, Jeffrey Armstrong, along with Isvara dasa, Basu Ghosh, Parama Karuna devi, S. D. Youngwolf, Vrindavana Parker, and K. S. Sudarshanji. The seminar went well, and many people were eager to meet us after and during our talks. We had good press coverage in the local newspapers for the seminar, with articles appearing in such papers as The Deccan. From those articles we had around 20 new applicants to join my organization, the Vedic Friends Association.

From Hyderabad Jeffrey Armstrong went on his own tour, in South India and Mumbai. But S.D.Youngwolf, Parama Karuna and I went to Khammam where we had lunch with Jeeara Swami, who is the head of the Ramanuja sect in the area. He is quite popular and is also working in many areas for the benefit of the people, including the local tribals. So we had a nice conversation with him, and then lunch. Later in the evening we also gave talks at a local organization. Thereafter we took an overnight train to Kolkatta, wherein we met up with Vrindavana Parker. Parama Karuna was returning to Puri, while the rest of us were going up into India's northeast. After spending a night in Kolkatta, S.D., Vrin and I took a plane to Guahati, Assam. Vrin spent two weeks touring Arunachal Pradesh, while S.D. and I went first to Nagaland. We were supposed to fly to Dimapur, but the weather was bad and our plane was diverted to Guahati, after which we took a night train to Dimapur.


Why concern ourselves with the Northeast area of India? Because there are those who have been working for years to make it secede from India and make it into a separate Christian country. Yet it is a big part of the Vedic culture and tradition of India. For example, when we look back at the history of the region we find that Lord Krishna's friend Arjuna had married a Naga wife, Ulupi, in Nagaland. Arjuna's brother Bhima also married a Bachari tribal girl from the area of Nagaland. The city of Dimapur has the ruins of the Bachari tribe known as Bhima's palace. In fact, Dimapur is one of the oldest cities in the northeast, being 2,000 or 3,000 years old, if not older, and was once known as Hidimbipur after the name of Bhima's wife, Hidimbi. She was a member of the Dimasa Bachari tribe. Their son was Ghatotkaca.

Furthermore, Krishna married Rukmini in Arunachal Pradesh. The area of Agninagar is where the story of Usha and Anirudha took place. Anirudha was the grandson of Krishna and the son of Pradyumna. It is where the huge battle happened between Anirudha and the army of Usha's father. Landmarks in the area can be seen of this episode of Vedic history. This is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So there is much of India's ancient tradition that connects the area. So to help keep it as a part of India and preserve it's tradition is important, rather than letting it become another chip taken away from the country, like the militants have tried to do with Kashmir on the other side of northern India. So this was our purpose for going into the area. To do this the Vedic Friends Association works with other organizations in the area that share the same concern.


This tour of Northeast India was arranged by members of the Vanivasi Kalyan Ashrama, a group that works with local and tribal people to help preserve their culture. Our tour started in Dimapur on a day that a national bandh or strike was being imposed by the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFAs). This is one of the groups of Christian militants. They imposed the bandh because they wanted to show support for those militant insurgents who were being ousted from Bhutan by the King and his army. In such a strike, no business of any kind or vehicular movement is to be conducted, or else there can be serious consequences, even getting killed. Trains and planes may move, but everyone else had to walk, and all the stores were closed. Nonetheless, we tried making our way through town in a jeep but were stopped at a road block by militants. After some conversation they let us through, only because they felt a little lenient since it was only two days before Christmas. However, if they new where we were going and our intention, they certainly would have kept us from proceeding.

We were going to the Janajati Vikas Samiti, which was founded by the Naga freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu, This was to give talks on encouraging people to preserve their culture and resist the pressure from Christian groups to give up their own traditions and convert to Christianity. S.D. Youngwolf , The Vice President of the Indigenous Voices International, is a member of the Southern Cherokee tribe and gave talks on the dangers of giving up one's culture, and what happened when the Christians came to America and forced their doctrine on the natives and what were their strategies in doing so. He also told stories of the Cherokee traditions, as well as performed Cherokee songs as well as a few of his own composition.

Then I, as President of the Vedic Friends Association, would talk on the means of saving one's tradition, the reasons for it, why it had value, and how the people of the West are increasingly looking for deeper levels of spiritual development, often by researching and adding the ways of Eastern culture to their lives. For this reason, in parts of America and Europe, especially France and England, Christianity is on the decline. This is quite the contrary to what the people are told by the Christian groups, who often tell the tribal people that they are all backwards, worshiping devils, and if they want to advance and keep up with the rest of the world, then they have to be like America, which consists of all Christian people. Yet I countered this by explaining that other

religions in America are on the rise, and many people from India come to America with no expectation of converting from their religion to another, but often join a temple and participate in the ways of their own culture, while contributing to the economic and technological growth of America in general. This news often had a big impact on the views of the people who heard us. With both of us giving our talks, it was like a one-two punch, countering the propaganda that the people there had heard and are often given, and providing them more reason to have pride in their own culture. They were also impressed that two Westerners had enough respect for them to participate and interact with them and their culture. [More information on the techniques of the Christian groups and militants in the area are written elsewhere, as in my article "Preaching in Northeast India for Cultural Preservation" on my website at www.stephen- knapp.com. ]

In Dimapur, we did two days of seminars, lectures, and press conferences. We had much coverage in the newspapers, even though they did get some of the things we were saying wrong. But it nonetheless created reactions and planted many seeds amongst the people to question the reasoning as to why they are losing their culture, and to understand the need to preserve it and stay a part of the motherland of India.

You have to understand that the Christian missionaries and militants have been working for years to bring most of the states of the northeast to secede from India to become a separate Christian country, even if it means by force and brutality. For example, few people seem to be aware that in the small state of Tripura alone, over 10,000 people have been killed in the past 20 years by Christian militants through what you could call ethnic cleansing. The killing is done to instill fear in those who are not Christian, or who do not want to separate from India. And these militants are often supported by the Christian groups who provide money and reasoning for what they do. But we in the VFA are not anti-Christian, yet this sort of Christian indoctrination is the single biggest factor for losing the basic traditions of the people in the northeast region.

We also have to understand that Jesus gave primarily two basic commandments, and one was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, which is the essence of devotion, bhakti. The other was to love your neighbor as yourself. But how can you love your neighbor if you hate everything about him and his tradition simply because he is not a Christian? This is not helpful or uplifting. Religion should unite one with God and each other, and not be the cause of such divisiveness and quarrel.

So the papers were saying that when white Westerners first came to the northeast, they came to bring Christianity, and now, with our visit, they are coming to the region to say that the indigenous culture of the people of the region has value and to not give it up. This certainly provided the people with much food for thought.

The next place we visited, after traveling through the hills of Nagaland, was the hilltop city of Kohima. They were celebrating Christmas, so songs of the season were heard throughout the town. About 85% of Nagaland is Christian. We were ready for a press conference and meetings with local groups, Christian and tribals, but no one seemed interested. Yet the next day, when we were scheduled to leave for the next town, calls started coming in from groups of people who were interested in having meetings with us. But by that time it was too late. We did, however, have a quick meeting with some of the local Hindus, who said that the next time we visit they will arrange a much bigger meeting.

We then stopped at a Naga Heritage Village, where there were traditional houses made by the various Naga tribes. It was a special little town made for the Heritage festival, which took place a few weeks earlier, in which people came to celebrate their old traditions and dress, dances, rituals, etc. So it was deserted while we visited. But it was quite fascinating to see and photograph the different traditional buildings made from local materials.

After that we stopped at the small hilltop village of Viswema to meet and interact with the Naga people of the Angami tribe. We had a vegetarian lunch, spoke with them about cultural preservation and also observed their traditional songs and dances. It was one of those arrangements that we never would have seen if we were only traveling through as mere tourists. Everywhere we went we were treated with great respect and given gifts, usually colorful and traditional scarves or shawls.

We then made our way to Imphal, Manipur. There we had a great reception and we also had a big impact on the area. Many people wanted to have us as their guests or treat us to the Manipur vegetarian food, some of which was quite hot and spicy. On Christmas day we went to the Tingkao Ragwang Chap-Riak temple, which is in the village of Chingmei Rong of the Rongmei tribe. It is also the place of the Zeliangrong Religious Council of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. There we participated in the Gaan Ngai holiday, which included traditional dances and songs from the boys and girls chorus groups, along with lectures from S.D., myself and Professor Gangmumei Kamei, another prominent member of the community. Our talks were naturally on the ways to preserve their culture, and the importance of the traditions in connection with the Indian and Vedic traditions. They are a tribe who has resisted the conversion tactics of the Christians, and they still worship the Sun and Moon as their primary deities. In fact the name Ragwang is pronounced in the same way one says Bhagwan but beginning with an "R". So they are a tributary of the great river of Sanatana-dharma that flows through the universe.

They were very happy to see and meet with us, gave offerings of books and shawls, and were inspired by our lectures. They also performed a special blessing in which they offered a very colorful red rooster to the gods on our behalf. It is not a blood offering, but they offer the rooster to the gods with special prayers, and then set it down with grains in front of it. If it freely eats the grains, then the prayers have been accepted. However, there have been times when the rooster does not eat the grains and walks away, which means the ritual is not successful. In our case, the rooster could not get enough and ate as fast as it could. The crowd then cheered at this sign.

The celebration was followed by a vegetarian dinner and another meeting with the elders of the community dealing with some of the issues they face in continuing their own traditions. Many people loved the event and said our lectures would have a great impact on the people of the area. The talks were also recorded and would be distributed to others later. The whole event was so nice that I would be glad to observe Christmas in this way anytime.

That night, as with every night, we were invited to a vegetarian dinner, which started as conversation and exchanges with the local participants, all of whom expressed their appreciation for us to be there with them, and for the presentations we gave.

The next day on the 26th, we visited the old Govindaji Mandir for the morning arati. This temple is near the new palace of the King of Manipur. The temple has one altar for Deities of Krishna Balarama, another for Radha-Krishna and Their maidservants of Lalita & Vishakha, and another altar for Lord Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra. We also went to a famous Hanuman temple. Manipur has a large Vaishnava Hindu population, so many people, especially the women, walk around wearing Vaishnava tilak with a bindi on their foreheads.

Thereafter we had a meeting with some of the local leaders and girls who volunteer as teachers and work in passing down their traditions to youngsters of the area. We heard the issues involved in such activities and gave suggestions on how to make it easier and more interesting. In the afternoon and early evening was the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Kalyan Ashram in Manipur. This included an impressive array of local leaders, a series of lectures on the importance of keeping the indigenous traditions and resist the tactics for conversion to the western forms of religion, featuring myself and S.D., followed by some excellent examples of traditional dance and songs. These included a display of a couple of fierce girl martial artists, drum dances by twirling musicians, some other traditional dances, ending with a fantastic Manipur style rasa-lila dance of Krishna and His gopi maidservants, centering around Srimati Radharani. The dance, the outfits, the moves, and the expressions were enough to melt the heart of anyone.

Later we made a brief stop to speak at the local Rotary club and then to the local tribal Chief's apartment for a delightful vegetarian dinner. There Professor Kamei expressed his great appreciation for the work of Iskcon and what Svarupa Damodar Swami was doing in Manipur with the United Religious Initiative, which is working to help unify all the religions and cultures of the country. I was surprised at his enthusiasm since I had no idea they had such respect for us. Being a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I was glad to hear it. That night we saw ourselves on the television news coverage and got a better idea on how our presence was impacting people.

The next day we had a press conference, and several people from the newspapers, radio and television networks showed up to ask questions. We were rather direct in our answers and received support for what we were saying. Although we were leaving for Assam that afternoon, we learned that newspapers, radio and television all gave us good coverage. Some of the press coverage we got was broadcast all the way to northern Assam, and newspaper articles covering our presence in Northeast India even reached all the way to Delhi. So our message obviously reached many thousands of people.

In Assam we went to Hojai and on to Tumpreng for a Dimasi Mass Prayer Meeting and tribal cultural program where we interacted with numerous people, and gave lectures with others at the program, which really enlivened many of the participants. We were accompanied on this trip with Swami Ashimananda and Swami Jitendra Gir Maharaja. Afterwards, many people came up to us and asked for our autographs and express their appreciation for us attending and participating in the program. This was the first time for most of the people to see westerners interact with them and participate in their culture and encourage them in the way we did. Then we had been invited for dinner with a family who was extremely friendly and hospitable, and who took several photographs of us. This was one of the best parts of our tour, we were almost professional guests being invited to meet and visit people wherever we went.

Back in Guahati we visited the Kali Ma (Karunamayee) temple, where we met Prapananda Swami. In a talk to a roomful of his followers he said he was proud that us westerners were so boldly lecturing on the importance of keeping the Vedic culture. Then he gave us blessings for our activities. We also visited the Balaji Mandir which is styled after the temples in Tirupati. Amongst other things, we also visited the Vashishta Ganga where the sage Vashistha lived for 15 years and then left his body. So it is considered a special holy place. Guahati has a number of other temples worth visiting, but we had seen most of the other places on our previous visit a year earlier.

Another few places we visited in northern Assam were Udalgiri and Harisingha, only 6 miles from Bhutan. This was to attend the meetings of the All Assam Brahma Dharma at the Bagariguru Brahmadharma Mandir and Bathou Mandir. At each place we met many people and attended the cultural programs for the local people. We were greeted in the customary way with beautiful village girls wearing traditional and colorful dresses, honoring us with incense and throwing flowers on us as they danced in front of us as we walked to the stage. In these villages they follow the Vedic tradition and performed Vedic fire yajnas and recited prayers before the program. The programs again included lectures by important local dignitaries, and featured the talks we gave on the importance of the indigenous Vedic religion, interspersed with traditional dances. Afterwards, many people again expressed their happiness that we were interested enough to visit them and give our talks, and also took plenty of photographs of themselves with us.

Our next visit on the tour was Siliguri where we held a press conference in the morning with other members of the Kalyan Ashrama. The press, however, seemed a little irritable with the answers that were being given until I stood up and began to carefully explain my views. Then the press began to give more attention to what was being said and turned much more agreeable to our purpose, nodding their heads in approval as I spoke. This seemed to turn the press conference into a much more positive event, and the papers carried news of it the next day. Later in the afternoon we attended another meeting where we met representatives of the Kalyan Ashrama and gave talks on the need of the hour.

Thereafter they wanted to take us to the local Iskcon temple. I was certainly agreeable to that but had no idea that it turned out to be the biggest temple in all of the northeast. It was a large and beautiful temple with lovely fountains and landscape. In the temple it had one alter of with the Deities of Lord Caitanya in the Pancha-Tattva, and another of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. So we had some fun getting darshan and taking photographs there, and meeting a few of the devotees in the office.

Our final visit on this mission was to go to Gangtok, Sikhim to engage in a few more meetings and give talks. We were also invited as guests to dinners at a few more homes of the local people who were eager to meet and interact with us. It was also interesting to tour Gangtok and see a number of nearby places of importance, such as Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, the Royal Chapel, Rumtek Monastery, etc.

After a few days in Gangtok, S.D. went back to Assam to give a talk to students at another function. Meanwhile, I used the rest of my time heading back toward Delhi. I went on to Darjeeling to photograph the Kachenjunga mountains, then to Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini which is known as Buddha's birthplace, then Kushinagara where Buddha left his body, Naimisaranya which is known for being the place of the Chakra Tirtha and where Suta Gosvami spoke the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Then I went on to the holy place of Vrindavana for a few days before going to Delhi to catch my return flight to America.

So all in all, the trip was quite successful in several ways. We met many people who really appreciated what we said and that we were interested in their culture, and who were inspired and encouraged by what we had to say. It was also very successful in receiving much coverage by the press to plant the seeds of questioning why people should believe that the only way to progress is to leave their own culture and convert to something else. Everyone said how much they wanted us to come back again, and I am sure that we will be back for another tour in the next year or so.

<b>Preventing Loss of Culture in Nagaland</b>

By Stephen Knapp

This is a short description of my experience in Nagaland during December of 2003. I have written this due to my concern for the Naga people who have a lively and colorful culture. However, there is a danger that their culture is disappearing. Now some people may say that Naga culture is not under some kind of threat, but actually it is. For example, when we did a “Naga Identity” seminar in Dimapur, one of the young girls from a Naga tribe who attended admitted she knew none of the Naga songs and few legends. This ignorance of local traditions always increases with each generation if something is not done to help preserve it. So the culture will disappear at an increasing rate with every generation. But why is it disappearing? It is not necessarily from what some people would call a natural progression of a society. It is from a more deliberate plan started by outsiders. Let me explain just a few points of consideration. ..

The fact is that the primary reason why the indigenous cultures of Northeast India are threatened is because of the conversion tactics that are engaged in by the western forms of monotheistic religions that have entered the area. This is primarily done by the Christian missionaries and groups that have taken up their cause. Even though the Christians profess the desire for doing humanitarian activities, their real goal is conversion. For example, in one Christian hospital that offers free care, which would be a good plug for the Christians, a pregnant woman registered herself for care in delivering her baby during childbirth. However, she was expected to sign papers that said she was converting to Christianity. When she refused to sign the papers, she was notified that the hospital would not take care of her without the signed papers. So, as she was nearing childbirth and hardly able to walk, she was forced to leave the hospital.

In the west, Christian organizations raise money for humanitarian work with the idea of sending it to countries and people in need of it. But much of that money actually goes for conversion tactics, even to militant groups such as those in India’s northeast, and for “Christian” education in the third world countries. But what is the real purpose of such education? While I was in India I read in the newspaper of how two young Indian children in a Catholic school were beaten until they were bleeding and needed medical attention. Why? Because of merely speaking Hindi in a conversation with other Indian students on the Catholic school grounds. This is the way “Christian” education forces the students to give up their native ways and forget their previous culture and language.

Furthermore, Christianity, in the name of progress and western values, has brought the increased use of drugs and alcohol, where it had previously been limited. While I was there, I personally saw a “Christian” Christmas party at the Sabarimata Hotel where we were staying. At this party, which was for Christians only, the teenagers and young adults were charged an entrance fee to attend. Therein they would dance, smoke, drink and then easily associate with those of the opposite sex. Being in a hotel, they could also “follow their path of salvation” in private rooms upstairs for more intimate affairs. So, although Nagaland is a dry country and alcohol is not allowed, I saw that for Christians liquor was easily flowing. In fact, although Christian pastors have banned local alcohol, it is common knowledge that no pastor is without his liquor.

It is also interesting to note that abortion rates, which never used to be an issue, increase by 3 or 4 times in the months of January and February. Obviously, those Christmas parties produce some unwanted results. Is this the sign of the type of progress that adopting a new western form of religion can bring? In former times the punishment for illicit sex was quite strict and severe with Nagas, even up to being banished from the village. Or at least having the boy and girl being made to marry each other. But now they are invited to join the Christians through conversion who say their local laws will no longer apply to them once they convert. Then if they do these things they will not be forced to face the consequences of the local standards. Now many illegal elements have joined Christianity on this idea of avoiding local or traditional forms of punishments.

In this way they have a double standard, depending on what they want to accomplish. In another example, the Christian churches, including the pastors and their wives, had been doing a double your money pyramid scheme, encouraging other members of the congregation to participate. But when the pyramid ran out of participants and people started losing money, there were so many complaints that the government stopped it. The Church was then subject to the anger of the people who lost money. They were asking what business does the church have in engaging in such duplicitous activities. But then the church put out a statement in the press merely saying that we should all simply forgive and forget. Of course, that doesn’t help return the money to those who lost it.

Another example is that in Nagaland they have also started beauty contests to expose or exploit many girls’ beauty, all in the name of progress, where modesty had been previously honored. Because of the increase in promiscuity, HIV/AIDS has risen dramatically amongst the Nagas where it was unheard of before. Plus, the incidents of Naga boys raping Naga girls is on the rise where previously it rarely happened. With the idea of accepting Christianity also comes the idea of adopting western forms of lifestyle and habits.

Christianity itself may not be the entire cause for such changes, but it is certainly being propagated by Christians that it is the main means of bringing progress to the Naga people. It is also the main factor in the local people losing their own indigenous culture, which once did not have all the problems that have now entered their homeland.

There has also been a continuous rise in crimes based on religious differences. Some of the Nagas may go to church with the Bible in one hand but after hearing the sermons can be ready to fight over religion when they come out later. A friend of mine was threatened four times at his house by men with rifles because he is not a Christian. This is an example of the fear tactics used by militant Christians. In fact, there are 23 major terrorist or militant organizations in the northeast, all of which get funds from Christian organizations. Even while we were there, there was a bandh or national strike based on political and ideological reasons by the militant Christians. So where is there peace in such a divisive means of so-called religion?

We have to understand that conversion is not the simple means for social or spiritual progress. One’s own culture may have more to offer than we realize. We have to take a good look at the history of the religion we are adopting before making such a decision, and Christianity has a track record of ethnic cleansing and manipulation of local people and cultures wherever it has entered, not to mention years of quarrel within its own ranks. We have a very substantiated history of that right here in America regarding the way they treated the natives when the Christians first arrived. Yet, it is often the case that you do not know what you have until you’ve lost it, and you find the new culture or religion is not all it was propped up to be.

The real means of progress is mostly a matter of expanding your education. This does not mean to give up your tried and true traditions or cultural values, but it means to add to your education the means of learning the modern technological advancements that you can use to assist you in your own lives, whether it be in advancing your communications, power supplies, medical systems, methods of agriculture, your roads or transportation, economic development, and so on. To do this does not mean that you have to give up your own culture and customs and convert to something else, and then lose all you had before. You keep what you have but merely add to it what is the best for your own usefulness.

All the above mentioned problems do not have to be a part of society. And if they are entering into the area, you should ask why and realize that maybe you were better off before you started letting in a new and different form of religion and way of life. Often times we have seen that the loss of one’s religion is the loss of identity. And that a new form of religion, especially when it promises materialistic improvement at the expense of losing your previous culture, does not provide what it had promised. In many ways it turns out to be more of a form of social manipulation and control, demanding that everyone follow one doctrine, rather than a means of giving respect to individual development and choices.

So look around and ask whether these new changes in your society are what you really want. You may find that the culture you were born with, that’s part of a far older tradition, along with merely expanding your education, may actually be all that you need.

<b>The Changing Context</b>

We are living in a postindustrial world, a new society characterized by different problems and needs than those in the past. The complexity of technological advancement has the potential to increase our alienation by decreasing connectedness between people and our community. The rapid development in information technology has created a strange paradox. While pursuing a vision of progress and development in the human condition, modern technology has led to increasing dehumanization and alienation. We are faced with terrorism, crime, violence, substance addiction, alcoholism, global warming and healthcare crisis.

These threatening issues have become more intractable with the Cartesian-Newtonian reductionist paradigm. Modern disciplines studying the human phenomena have tended to reduce the psyche to a complex mechanical reflexes and interacting neurological forces. As a result our ancient wisdom has been reduced into knowledge and knowledge into information and information into data. And data is used to manipulate human beings.

In this context what is the responsibility of Hindus living in the post industrial society? In this ever changing information society virtual reality has become reality, transient-throw away values has become virtues. There is no place for Dharma, spirituality and human development. Spirituality is seen as a sign of primitive superstition, intellectual and emotional immaturity.

In this context, the only way Hindus can minimize the psycho-social problems in this ever changing society is to develop a comprehensive and systemic perspective based on our Sanathan Dharma. We, Hindus are living in a society that has changed from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. Recent success in information technology has its roots in our sacred Vedas and Sanskrit and its cultural affection towards knowledge.

What is now required for Hindus is to establish a Hindu identity and realize their inherent strength and potential to grow in a knowledge economy. Hindu cultural forces have a chance to grow on their own and get organized to transform knowledge based societies.


Hinduism is unique. And Hindus have distinctive cultural roots, identity, belief system and values. A component of Hindu identity includes a sense of personal continuity and uniqueness from other people. To be successful, we need to carve out a potential identity based on our sacred Dharma. Hindus acquire a social identity based on their membership in various groups-familial, linguistic, regional, ethnic, and occupational and others. These identities, in addition to satisfying the need for affiliation help Hindus define themselves in the eyes of both others and themselves.

According to our Purusharathas, identity formation from birth through adulthood is very important for a successful living. A variety of changes that affect one’s work, status, or interpersonal relationships can bring a crisis that forces one to redefine oneself in terms of values, priorities, and chosen activities or lifestyle. In general, Hindus face predictable or unpredictable crisis in this country that can challenge their conception of themselves and result either in personal growth or stagnation.

We have seen Hindus in America identifying themselves as Tamils, Telugus, Nair, Ezhavas, and Guajarati, Marathas, Punjabis and Brahmins. Why can’t they identify themselves as Hindus? Compared to other ethnic immigrant groups, Hindus have significant history, culture and sacred tradition. Hindu culture and identity are interrelated. People who identify themselves as Hindus can negotiate life passages in this increasingly individualistic, complex and chaotic world.

Hindu identity is the subjective state of perceiving oneself as a Hindu and as relating to being Hindu. Hindu identity, by this definition does not depend on whether or not a person is regarded as a Hindu by others, or by an external set of religious, legal or sociological norms. Accordingly Hindu identity can be cultural in nature. Hindu identity can involve ties to the Hindu community. Hindu identity may be religious, secular and people who are atheists can have Hindu identity.

For countless American Hindus, Hindu identity is shaped by linguistic, and caste model as well as living as a minority group struggling to protect its heritage against assimilation. To preserve, practice and protect our sacred, eternal Hindu Dharma, we need to continue our Hindu identity. To establish Hindu identity, we need to practice our Hindu rituals and Samskaras. Yet the reality for many today is that they do not practice our rituals or insist on practicing our rituals with our children.

Economically and socially successful Hindus are part of this pluralistic society in which the primary factor determining religious identity is individual choice. We need a new, more helpful descriptive model that recognizes the vital role that personal decision play in Hindu-American identity construction.

First, Hindu identity is made up of choices. We pick, consciously, or otherwise, from a set of identity menu that offer us options for behaviors that we understand as Hindu because we see them as Hindu things to do or as done in Hindu way. At the cutting edge of cultural change, the menu expands increasingly listing behaviors that belonging to others. Increasingly, Hindus are selecting non-Hindu menu such as birth day party at a hotel, eating non-vegetarian food at the birth day party, burning candles instead of traditional lamp etc.

Second, identifying ourselves as Hindu does not necessarily say anything about how we express that identity. From a purely descriptive standpoint, it is essentially a choice of self-identifying that makes as Hindu, even when it is not clear how that identity expressed or conveyed.

Third, Hindu identity has become increasingly fluid. It is linked to personal choice. Life cycle changes, professional affiliation, caste identity and linguistic affiliation also affect our Hindu identity formation.

Fourth, most contemporary American Hindus are suspicious of our traditional experts and rarely consult Swanijis or pundits in choosing how to be a Hind. Many resist any pressure to affiliate with Hindu organizations or institutions. If and when few chose to affiliate, it generally is not because they feel duty bound but because doing so meets their needs.

Hindu identity implies on the one hand alignment, a shared belonging with members of other Hindus. Alignment may be based on a perception of similarity or a feeling of interdependence. Confusion often exists how the Hindu group should be defined and what their relation is to other Hindus whom they see as dissimilar from themselves in so many respects. At present, Hindus from different states of India, Hindus from the Caribbean, Hindus from Fiji, and Hindus from Pakistan seldom associate even though there is a common thread. A feeling of interdependence shall be invoked to have a common Hindu identity among all Hindus. The feeling of interdependence, of a common fate, represents the widest minimal basis, the common denominator of Hindu identity.

Hindus need to enhance Hindu identity, given the realities of today. Anyone who identifies as Hindu today only needs to go back three or four generation to find Hindu culture and traditions. There is an unbroken chain of Hindu living that goes back more than five thousand years. Hindus who are trapped in Islamic countries have lost to the Hindu community. Hindus without Hindu community and Hindu culture cannot last more than a couple of generations. Unless Hindu Diaspora returns to living Hindu way, the children of unobservant Hindus will get lost.

A family of unobservant Hindu will lose one or the other-either Hinduness, or the unobservance. We cannot have both. The importance of Hindu continuity is no secret, it’s obvious. Living-breathing Hindutva produces living-breathing Hindus. It is time for Hindus to do for our children what our grandparents did for us. We need to be a living example of what it means to live a vibrant Hindu life. It is time for Hindus to get self-organized on a larger scale with unity of purpose and strength. The current world scene requires Hindus to be assertive and proclaim as proud Hindus.

Once Hindus are united, the cultural strength will emerge as a strong force in world affairs.

My grudge with others is not because they are 'evil', but rather because either they threaten my life, my way of life, the life of my own. Then they are my adversaries. Any 'wrath' from me, that would fall on them, would be for some reason, be it 'justice', 'retribution', 'defense', 'strategic calculation', but it would not be because they are evil.

The struggle going on within me, is I admit, between 'good' and 'evil' but for that there is a scale - my Value System, which could be Dharma. For somebody else it could be Islam, and for others the 'human rights convention'. This is a scale I use internally. I cannot make it a scale for everybody. That is why there are laws and social norms, agreed to by all concerned through consensus.

The Moral Authority one refers to is again a civilizational development through social churning across the values of a certain group, but at an higher level, which would be the implicit value system of the larger group. The Moral Authority one can derive from one's own value system, but it may not have any value in another value system.

For example, some value systems like the Vegans consider intake of anything of animal origin a sin, whereas other don't. Vegetarians do not wish to eat any meat, while others may have no problems with it. Practicing Hindus find it abhorring to eat beef, whereas others find it delicious and would be appalled at the thought of not being able to. Muslims are not allowed to eat meat or drink alcohol, while others have no problem with that. In Sikhism smoking is not allowed, while others think differently about it.

I am not an ideological person. I have a value system, because I identify myself with it. It is my identification with <i>self</i>, with <i>own</i>, with <i>a value system</i> which defines who is a potential adversary and who is not. 'Evil' plays no part in it.

My actions and tactics will depend on logic and whether I can reconcile my actions with my conscience taking into consideration the severity of the threat to my interests, which includes protecting my own, my India. I will associate myself with a group, when I think the group and I have a commonality of interests, and I think that collectively we are in a position to agree on necessary actions to protect those interests.

For me, the Aim and Approach within the 'core group' should be in sync. A different philosophy of approach does make it difficult.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
On Becoming Indian

Quote:OPED | Friday, March 26, 2010

Pavan K Varma in conversation with Kanchan Gupta

‘English cannot be given primacy over the language of our culture’

My first encounter with Pavan K Varma, or rather his writing, was when I reviewed his book Krishna: The Playful Divine many years ago. Before reading the book, I had this image of him in my mind which later proved to be entirely wrong. I had thought of Pavan as a stuffed shirt, a self-obsessed and utterly boring member of the exalted, twice-born Indian Foreign Service. Half way through Krishna, I had begun to doubt whether I had the right impression of the author; by the time I finished reading the book, I knew I was wrong. No stuffed shirt would have written a book like that. When I finally met Pavan, which was some years later, I realised he was a cut above his colleagues in the IFS, a class apart from those who represent India abroad. At an open air Hindustani classical music concert where Kishori Amonkar was in full flow and all of us had lost track of the hour of the night, Pavan taught me, with great élan, how to appreciate the finer nuances of Raga Nand Kalyan which I would have missed otherwise.

One of our finest diplomats, Pavan K Varma remains rooted in all things Hindustani — from culture to clothes to language. And that is evident in the series of books he has written exploring the mindset and worldview of the Indian middle classes. A gifted writer — he makes his point without belabouring it repeatedly — he is what may be called a ‘thinking bureaucrat’, which could be mistaken as an oxymoron by those acquainted with our bureaucracy and babus. The Great Indian Middle Class and Being Indian fetched Pavan, and deservedly so, critical acclaim as a commentator with profound thoughts on the past, the present and the future. His new book, Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity, proves that praise for his earlier work was not misplaced. It’s a brilliant, incisive exposition of how colonialism has moulded the way we look at ourselves, our culture, and the world. “Those who have never been colonised can never really know what it does to the psyche of a people. Those who have been are often not fully aware of — or are unwilling to accept — the degree to which they have been compromised,” he writes in this book. That, in a sense, is the theme of Becoming Indian.

I met Pavan for a long adda on a lazy late spring afternoon in New Delhi during which we discussed his new book. What he had to say, as always, was scintillating. Below are excerpts from that unstructured discussion:

Kanchan Gupta: So tell us, what prompted you to write this book? To take the middle class series nearer to a conclusion or something else...

Pavan K Varma: Essentially, after 60 years of independence, I thought the time had come for a cultural audit. This audit entails two things. One is a rigorous analysis of colonialism because, as I write, colonialism is not about the physical subjugation of a people but the colonisation of their mind. And while a political audit takes place after the Union Jack comes down and an economic audit takes place to take stock of what is lost and what is gained, a cultural audit is something that does not take place ... this is something which is common to all colonised countries... to, in a sense, recolonise the mind. So, it is both a rigorous analysis of colonialism and a meditation on the state of culture today in our country.

I must confess I profess a fair degree of anguish at our low threshold of satisfaction and self-congratulation. Because we are not only a nation, we are a civilisation. We have 5,000 years of history, antiquity, peaks of refinement, assimilation, diversity ... but underlying that diversity, what is not visible to a superficial observer, is great unity. We are not a parvenu civilisation, we were not born 200 years ago, and therefore it is legitimate for us to see where we are in terms of our culture today in contrast to the journey we have made and where we have come.

And I believe in the reappropriation of our cultural space without chauvinism or xenophobia. This is all the more important because we are simultaneously in an aggressive phase of globalisation where the subtext in the field of culture is often co-option, where the victim is the last to know. And, when the educated are relatively rootless, that co-option becomes all the more easier. So that, essentially, is the paradigm of the book.

KG: Nothing offers a better platform than a book for a study and discourse of this nature... By the way, some people feel you have been needlessly uncharitable towards English and Western culture...

PKV: There is hardly any space left for cerebral discourse. There has been an oversimplification of what I have to say in my book. One is that I am against English. I am not. I am not for the imposition of Hindi. I am just saying that there must be respect given to our languages and while English is an indispensable language of communication, specially to help us interface with a globalising world, it cannot be given primacy over the language of our culture.

There is a language of communication and there is a language of culture. The language of culture is a window to your history, mythology, folklore, proverbs, idioms, to your creativity ... and it’s the language in which we cry and laugh. There is no contradiction between the two. Recent research shows that all those who are well-grounded first in their mother tongue pick up a foreign language that much faster.

KG: Do you believe English is still a foreign language in India?

PKV: I genuinely believe that while it is a language of communication which has been indigenised in India, it can never take the place of our natural languages. And, badly spoken English cannot become the lingua franca of a country which is so rich in its linguistic heritage.

KG: Your book opens with an intense personal experience centred around your father — his attempt to learn English and thus qualify for the ICS, in which he was successful. Did that influence your career choices? After all, the IFS, in fact the civil services, are part of the colonial governance construct, it has a hierarchical structure put in place by our colonial rulers.

PKV: Without a doubt I am a product of the milieu that, in a sense, I was condemned to inherit. That is why I went to St Columba’s, St Xavier’s and St Stephen’s. And I am not against these schools and colleges. But I have mentioned in my book that my mother withdrew me from Modern School and put me in St Columba’s because she said the standard of Hindi in Modern School was too high!

People place priorities because they are products of a milieu. English was the language which was inherited by us, it was the language of social status and, by that virtue, it was a language of exclusion. If you did not speak English with the right accent and fluency, however shallow you might be in other respects, or accomplished for that matter, you could never be part of the charmed circle which ruled India.

So I am a product of that milieu but I am able, at some level I think, and I don’t take any special credit, to see that no nation can sit on the high table of the world as we aspire without giving respect and pride to their own culture and languages. So when we try to be like them at the cost of being who we are, that forces India to become a caricature. I have served all across the world and I have seen this happen.

The whole point is that you have to be an authentic spokesman of your own milieu. Today, I believe that as far as our general cultural scene goes, Kanchan, mediocrity, mimicry, rootlessness and tokenism have become features which we need to introspect about. I don’t say this with anger, I say it calmly.

Look at the state of our humanities departments, not an original work! This is the country of Nalanda? Doctoral theses are being written with footnotes by foreign scholars. Look at the state of our literature, the man who won the Bharatiya Gnanpeeth told me his books sell less than a thousand copies. Look at the state, pardon my saying so, of even our book reviews. If you are in the UK, the country that colonised us, on the weekend any broadsheet will have 30 to 40 pages only on book reviews. Here we have leading newspapers who have dispensed with book reviews!

KG: Look at the state of our classical arts... music, dance...

PKV: Exactly! Look at the state of classical dance… I mean I have been a cultural administrator also. Top exponents of a parampara which goes back 3,000 years have to telephone friends for days before a performance to fill a hall when the entrance is free. Look at the state of classical music, the raga represents a 4,000-year-old parampara and it is a very delicate structure... the elaboration of the mood the gradual vistaar and the drut... Today we have eminent musicians performing like adolescent pop stars, catering to the lowest common denominator of an audience.

Now, I am not against pop culture. In Hyde Park — I have lived in London — when you have a pop music performance thousands go for it. But on the same day I have seen people queuing up from 11 in the morning at 20 pounds a pop to attend a performance of Western classical music. Mature civilisations nurture both. We cannot be reduced to a sterile simplicity that it is either popular culture or nothing else at all. So these are things we need to think about.

Look at the state of our monuments. Of our museums. Of our libraries. The MGMA gets 30,000 visitors a year. The Louvre gets 2.5 millions at 12 euros an entrance. The Tate gets four million visitors a year at 1.20 pounds an entrance. These statistics are there in my book. A country like China, in spite of the setback of the cultural revolution, is investing in 100 new museums, 83 are already built. Beijing alone has 150 art galleries. There’s a full gallery district. Here you have a gallery but no curators, no cataloguing worth the name! So what has happened that our threshold of satisfaction has become so low?

KG: Maybe it’s the sarkari thing, perhaps we should get the state out of it?

PKV: Hundred per cent. But the state will be out of it when there is a cultural vibrancy in the people. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The performer will be bad if the audience is unresponsive. Whether at the level of the state or at the level of the common man or at the level of the artiste and our creative people, there needs to be something that jolts us out of our complacency. Because, as I said, we are not a parvenu civilisation. We were the benchmark of civilisational excellence, Kanchan. I was amazed when I read it, 200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Bharata wrote the Natyashastra, 6,000 Sanskrit shlokas not on any particular art ... a meditation on aesthetics, what constitutes rasa.

Even in popular culture, Bollywood, which we hold as a brand ambassador now of India abroad, I have nothing against it, some very good films have been made, but 70 per cent of Bollywood is a lift of Hollywood! What has happened to India’s originality? Music and story? So, there is reason for us to introspect...

KG: We get carried away by foreign awards...

PKV: Yes, any foreign accolade! I give the example, I have nothing against Slumdog Millionaire although on merit I believe it was mediocre, but when it got the Bafta award, it had not been released in India, people had not seen it. Yet, without application of mind there was only only euphoria, it made headlines and breaking news everywhere. Similarly with the Booker. I have read 12 reviews of Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger in the British Press, substantive reviews, some good, some damning, some panning it. In India, when the award was announced, there was hardly a review. In this great flexible civilisation with its own refinement touchstone, the only news is that it got the Booker! There has to be santulan, there has to be equilibrium, which is a sign of maturity…

KG: We are constantly looking at foreign awards…Somebody gets the Sahitya Akademi award or Gnanpeeth does not even find mention in the media…

PKV: I will give an example, I will name the person. Sitakant Mahapatra, a very sensitive Odiya poet, he gets the Bharatiya Gnanpeeth award, and his book sells 843 copies! Even till this day in Russia, when a new edition of Pushkin is published, a million copies sell. And they were selling even during the stage of transition during and after Yeltsin when people had not got salaries for three months. So you have to think...

KG: You also talk of the mimic men!

PKV: You see mimicry is a natural consequence of rootlessness. People mimic when they are not secure in their own anchorage and my worry is that for a great deal of the educated in India today there is that rootlessness and therefore that mimicry.

KG: But Nirad C Chaudhuri, about whom you are critical in your appraisal, was equally comfortable with his Indian identity while living in Britain...

PKV: Without a doubt. But Nirad C Chaudhuri, and this is my own feeling, went out to prove that if you have to be the brown sahib, you should be the most educated, most accomplished, most knowledgeable, beyond tokenism brown sahib. And he did it in many respects. His taste of wine, his knowledge of Western culture, his reading his writing… I personally believe that it was one of those complex consequences of colonialism which produces a man of his towering intellectual stature who judges himself only in terms of his ability to be the most accomplished Indian in terms of the Western touchstone of refinements. At another level he remained Bengali at home… But to be harmonious schizophrenics is also a sign of colonial legacy.

KG: You are also harsh with Rammohun Roy…

PKV: I have used Rammohun Roy as an example to show how the well-intentioned leader in the colonial phase needed to caricature his own civilisation in order to win the approbation of the ruler. First of all, his movement against ills within his own society and religion, especially sati, was a well-intentioned crusade. But if you read his letter to the Viceroy, he first devalues his language, the learning of philosophy and metaphysics, and without a doubt they struck the right chord. And, as you know, when he went to London he actually argued in the House of Commons for the permanent residency in India of the British and a mixed community through inter-marriage between both. So Rammohun Roy, as I say in my final paragraph, shows that people are products of their times. Colonialism was a hugely, hugely impacting influence on the lives of our well-intentioned leaders…

KG: But it did help bring about reforms…

PKV: I give him credit for his crusade against obvious evils, but I analyse how when you are part of the colonial syndrome, to do that you need to caricature aspects of your civilisation — which is totally unnecessary — to win the approbation of the ruling power. It’s only an example.

KG: Today we have crossover sahibs who subscribe to the idea of being global citizens, world citizens. For them, the Indian identity becomes baggage. {DIE: Deracinated Indian Elite-BRF speak. WMI : Wellof Modern Indian in Naipaul lingo}

PKV: I would say I honestly believe in today’s time, the authentic global citizen is one who has the tools to interface with a globalising world is one who is rooted in his own milieu, his own civilisation. Because it is only that person who is rooted in his own milieu who can be a confident interlocutor with the world. Otherwise, we are producing clones. One of the great myths spawned by globalisation is that having been reduced to a global image we have all become mirror images of each other. But I believe that differences are real, that diversity needs to be respected and people who are the legatees of such a civilisation must preserve that identity because only then will they get respect.

-- Pavan K Varma’s book, Becoming Indian — The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity has just been published by Penguin.

-- Follow the writer on: http://twitter.com/KanchanGupta. Blog on this and other issues at http://kanchangupta.blogspot.com. Write to him at kanchangupta@rocketmail.com
We did start the Fire

In the 17th century reason entered the life of the European. It was a rediscovery of what the Greeks had propagated. This was the Renaissance. Rational thinking became the method to overpower the superstitions of the Church. This mindset came to be known as ‘modern’ thinking as it was based on rationality. They considered those who did not possess rational thinking to be ‘pre-modern’. For scientists, religious thinkers were pre-modern.

By the 18th century, following the Reformation of the Church, an uneasy peace was established between the believers of science and the believers of the religion. It was this mindset that the Europeans carried with them in the time they came to dominate the Indian subcontinent.

Both religious and rational thinking of Europe had one thing in common – a faith in rules and in the dogma of absolute truth and a belief in one life. Ideas of relativism discomforted them. In India, they found people ruled by Muslims (whom they hated) who had no one common belief or rule and who believed in rebirth! Both naturally concluded that India was pre-modern. To make India modern was the White man’s burden. That is why the Sahib introduced scientific thinking and English education in India.

In hindsight, one realizes that the 18th century European was not equipped with the intellectual wherewithal and the philosophical vocabulary to explain Indian thought. Limited by his language, unable to understand and appreciate Indian thought, he assumed Indians were irrational, hence inferior.

In the 19th century, Indians started getting educated in the western way and they saw how Indian thought was being perceived by English masters. This fuelled an inferiority complex. They argued passionately. Some becomes apologetic and others defensive. And all efforts were made to present the allegedly pre-modern as modern. This led to the Hindu Renaissasnce. While the good part was that it helped force Indians to question some practices that dehumanized fellow humans (like burning of widows, child marriage and untouchability), the tragic part was that it also led to greater focus on lofty ideals of Sanskrit Upanishads and a distancing from folk beliefs and customs.

Its an activity that still goes on in the 21st century as people go out of their way to logically explain the rules of religion. There is still a pressure to make everything from meditation to yoga scientific. What is rational is real goes the maxim, hence the disdain, even hostility, to the word ‘myth’ and ‘mythology’.

Unknown to most people, the 20th century saw academic circles challenge modern thought itself. They discovered rules were made with prejudice. Whose prejudice? The rule maker’s prejudice! The rule-maker was not objective. He could not be objective. He created rules to benefit him and his. A butcher would never make rules that promoted vegetarian lifestyle. And a vegetarian would never make rules that would celebrate meat eating lifestyles. Right and wrong were matters of perception. All judgments thus depend on discourse – the stories that shape our mind. Those who argued this were the ‘post-modern’ thinkers.

Maybe Indian thought is neither pre-modern as the British thought it was. Nor is it modern as rationalists would like it to be. Maybe it is post-modern, subjective, relative and plural. Anything goes. That is why, perhaps, Indians worship animals and plants and humans. Some groups prefer one thought and others prefer another thought. All groups, with opposing thoughts, argue but coexist. This is tolerance. The acceptance of all sides and all points of view. Different rules for different people. Different rules depending on the context.

But this post-modern view of Indian thought has a problem. It can easily lead to the conclusion that Indians are opportunists, who change their mind as per will and convenience. Many academicians have taken the route of challenging traditional Indian thought using the post modern approach. Thus Ram, they claim, becomes God only because it was an imposition of patriarchal Brahmanical hegemony. They challenge the divinity of Krishna and say that the Bhagavad Gita with its line ‘focus on tasks not results’ is a creation of the ruling class to keep people oppressed. They argue one can read the Ramayana with Ravan as a hero and the Mahabharata with the Pandavas as the villains. It is just a point of view. And this leads artists to imagine Shiva with goggles and Ganesha with jeans and the Goddess holding a machine gun. In the post-modern world, nothing is sacred, everything can be profane. It is just about the chosen dominant discourse. One can twist and turn things at will. Mix and match becomes the name of the game.

And this becomes distasteful for those who have always celebrated Indian thought. They know it is not pre-modern – there is a logic in it. They know it is not modern – it defies the logic of rules and ethics and morality imposed by the West. And it is certainly not post-modern that turns it into a random and shape-shifting quilt of convenience. So what is it then?

Perhaps Indian thought is best seen in the post-post-modern light. It is a combination of contextual and a-contextual. Every idea needs to be located in a particular space or time (the contextual), otherwise they make no sense. Thus Ram belongs to Ramayana and Krishna belongs to Mahabharata; one cannot simply mix and match the two. Then is also a consistent pattern between the contexts (the a-contextual). This is the idea of dharma, the notion that humans can transcend animal instincts and overpower the law of the jungle. This theme is prevalent in both the epics. In the Ramayana, Ravan behaves like an alpha male while in Mahabharata, the Kauravas behave like alpha males, clinging to other people’s wives in one case and other people’s land in the other. Ram and Krishna are different from each other – one upholds rules and one breaks them. Yet, they are similar to each other – they uphold dharma. Thus there is a pattern beneath the apparent cacophony. It is this consistency of theme despite the apparent randomness that makes it “post-post-modern”.

"The theft of yoga" written by Aseem Shukla can be found at this link:

Article from Mid-Day titled "Meet the Internet Hindus" caught my attention:


Quote:He is part of a growing tribe called Internet Hindus, a term coined by journalist Sagarika Ghose after she blocked on Twitter those who aggressively and often abusively commented on her "pseudo-secular thoughts".

Ahem, Sagarika who??

And her fragile sensitivities were hurt because someone commented on her article? Someone ought to tell her about being in kitchen if one can't stand heat.

BTW, what is a 'internet Hindu'? Do they log off and go to practicing Islam/Scientology in their real life? Seems like the term 'internet Hindu' would apply to anyone who disagrees with Sagarika types or develop a spine to stand up for Indic/Hindu culture.

The latter part of the article highlights responds to this stereotyping. May the tribe of 'internet Hindus' grow <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' />
[quote name='Swamy G' date='20 April 2010 - 02:08 PM' timestamp='1271790050' post='106011']

"The theft of yoga" written by Aseem Shukla can be found at this link:



Deepak Chopra and Aseem Shukla are having a go at each other.

1. Deepak's rejoinder: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai...n_out.html {dude seems to know nothing about Indic traditions nor Yoga. The stupid fool, Deepak, casts aspersions on Assem taking a Hindu fundamentalist stance.}

2. Assem's reply: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai...itage.html {I like Aseem ripping a new hole in Deepak. A must read on the business called Deepak. Nothing wrong in making money using our traditions, just call it what it is. You go Aseem!!!}

3. Deepak's whining: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai...of_us.html

4. Aseem's reply: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai..._same.html

Read and ensoy.
Deepak Chopra is a traitorous scumbag, worse than any jihadi or missionary.

I remember he came on some American tv program (was it Larry King live?) as the Mumbai attacks were going on & claimed that Hindu "fundamentalists" almost "genocided" Muslims in Gujarat.

This virodhi of Hindus makes money using Hindu themes & heritage while spewing venom against Hindus, shameless bastard.

Also a comment by someone named Sushil Mahapatra has pointed out that a few years back he reached an out of court settlement with a prostitute who produced receipts showing that she serviced him, what a disgraceful loser trying to cheat a prostitute and this asswipe wants to lecture Hindus about our traditions.
In Bengali society, there was in fact no system of four castes, but rather a two-tiered

system consisting only of Brahmins and everyone else. A hierarchisation of

non-Brahmin castes existed, divided into six categories based on the degree to

which Brahmins permitted intermingling with them. In the 1931 census, Brahmins

represented about 7.5% of the Bengali population, 7.4% belonged to the other higher

castes, i.e., Vaidyas, Kayasthas, Khatris and Rajputs.

So in Bengal was 7 categories of caste.Possible that also Bihar has the same system?And for this reason ,the greek ancient writers talk about a 7 class society ,not a 4 class society.???
Quote:I remember he came on some American tv program (was it Larry King live?) as the Mumbai attacks were going on & claimed that Hindu "fundamentalists" almost "genocided" Muslims in Gujarat.

Babu Suseelan has documented that episode:

[url="http://www.india-forum.com/strategic_security/206.html"]Deepak Chopra's Delusion[/url]
On Deepak Chopra..

In recent issue of India Abroad, he claimed about those mild earthquakes in California and Mexico being caused by ........... get a load of this........... his meditation and chanting of Shiva mantras <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />

I'm not kidding. See issue dated April 16th.

Guy seems to be going senile.
[quote name='Viren' date='09 May 2010 - 08:02 PM' timestamp='1273415052' post='106298']

On Deepak Chopra..

In recent issue of India Abroad, he claimed about those mild earthquakes in California and Mexico being caused by ........... get a load of this........... his meditation and chanting of Shiva mantras <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />

I'm not kidding. See issue dated April 16th.

Guy seems to be going senile.

[/quote]And senility would then also explain why he claims to be chanting mantras on Hindu Gods. I'm sure it sounds like gibberish to them. And wasn't Deepak already publicly veering towards christianism? Maybe he should convert fully and leave the Hindus and their Gods alone, yeah, instead of playing cryptochristist.

All these foreign Indian "spiritual" entities seem like christists of varying degrees to me. I mean, next to Deepuke spreading anti-Hindu fictions about the Gujarat riots on American TV even as he had made his money off marketing their Hindu religion as bottled "spirituality", he sounds very christian in the following, spreading more jeebus fiction, and inventing new jeebuses ('spiritual' ones):

[quote name='acharya' date='22 February 2008 - 04:23 AM' timestamp='1203633926' post='78847']


Who is Jesus? He's three people, says Deepak Chopra

[color="#800080"](Uh. He's non-existent. Ask the GrecoRomans.)[/color]

By Michelle Nichols 2 hours, 37 minutes ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Who is Jesus? According to spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, there are three interpretations.


In his book "The Third Jesus," published this week, Chopra says there is a "sketchy historical figure," a second "abstract theological creation" and a third Jesus with the highest level of enlightenment -- what Chopra calls God-consciousness.

"I want to offer the possibility that Jesus was truly, as he proclaimed, a savior," Chopra wrote. "Not the savior, not the one and only Son of God. Rather Jesus embodied the highest level of enlightenment.

"He spent his brief adult life describing it, teaching it, and passing it on to future generations," he said. "Jesus intended to save the world by showing others the path to God-consciousness."

Chopra, author of more than 50 books and head of the spiritual group Alliance for a New Humanity, describes God-consciousness as "a metaphor for a shift in consciousness that makes Jesus's teachings totally real and vital."

He said he began searching for the third Jesus as a child attending a Catholic Irish missionary school in India after being fascinated by what he described at the "most interesting, romantic, passionate, spiritual story of all time."

[color="#800080"]("Jeebus is Da best" says Deepak Chopra to all his followers. Subversionist. But not a surprise.)[/color]

"Yet I was struck by the fact that my friends, who were part of the Church, had been indoctrinated into a belief system where guilt was actually a virtue and I couldn't quite come to terms with that," Chopra told Reuters in an interview.

"I said to myself there must be a third Jesus, a state of consciousness that I can actually relate to, and I started to really study the New Testament and the Bible," he said.

[color="#800080"]("I've discovered the true jeesus, the true christianism, the true babble" declares Deepak.

It's a miracle.)[/color]


Chopra paints this third Jesus as one of both Eastern and Western spirituality.

[color="#800080"](He's going to use the Hindu Dharmic religion's innate spirituality - having already stripped it of the clearly marked label Hindu and diluted it for mass-consumption - to peddle jeebus. Like how there's already jeebus yoga, etc.)[/color]

"Leave aside the differences in the language of it -- they are all talking about the same thing," he said. "So I hope in the very least it will contribute to some healing of the rift in our collective soul, which is the cause of all the wars and all the problems we're having today."

Chopra said the Jesus created by the Catholic Church was confusing because although the religion had done a lot of good in the world, it had also taken part "in the Crusades, in witch hunts, in burning people on the stake, homophobia, depriving women of their rights, all kinds of things."

"The present day crisis in Christianity is it's bogged down in issues like -- what would Jesus do? They make pronouncements on things like abortion, women's rights, homophobia, stem cell research -- nothing to do with Christ," he said.

"It influences our politics, it influences our national policy, it influences whether we go to war or not in the name of God," he said. "It's inanity of the utmost extreme."

[color="#800080"](What "God"? Must be talking about jeebusjehovallah again.)[/color]

Chopra said he hoped readers would take away a practical way to understand the New Testament and understand that engaging in contemplative meditation can lead to positive change.

(Meditation=Hindu. NT=christian. He passes meditation off as christist now, having universalised it earlier.)

"Everything changes for the good," he said. "The way we think, the way we behave, the way we feel, the way we have our personal relationships, our social interactions, our environment all changes in an evolutionary direction because we have shifted in our own consciousness."

And that, he said "is precisely what is meant by the kingdom of heaven is within you."

(Editing by Bill Trott)

[/quote]Can Hindus just recognise Deepak Chopra (etc.) for the appropriating christist that he is? And avoid him like the Bubonic Plague.

Everytime he talks, can just refer to the drivel as "Oh, that undercover christian Deepak Chopra."

Rather like this person did after DC's taunt after the Mumbai Attack:


Quote:Raja said...

I too watched it! Now that the dems are back, this campaign is going to get shriller! This ugly beatch has been toeing the same line from the moment this horrific incident started unfolding. Alas, we don't have any Hindu leadership to present our points. All that we have is a christist, Deepak Chopra!
The saga continues: http://www.newsweek.com/id/237910

Lisa Miller writes the bout between Aseem and Deepak in "The Clash of the Yogis"
"The Australian" jumps in and covers the essays written by Aseem: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opi...5863651193. I think it is an okay piece from The Australian, touches both sides of the issue.
Vamsee Juluri on the issue of Hindu Identity: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai...enial.html

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