What is religion good for? – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth“Neither Christianity nor Islam has a solid philosophical basis. They consider as absolutely true what simply cannot be absolutely true: a story about the Highest does not qualify as That which always is, as it depends on thoughts. Further, the claim that the Highest, by whatever name it is called, is a separate entity apart from creation is scientifically not tenable.” – Maria Wirth

Yuri GagarinIn many parts of Europe, religion has become an important topic only in the last few decades. In the 1970s, religion or rather Christianity, which used to mean religion then, seemed obsolete. It was considered something for children and old people. Ever since Christians got the freedom to leave the Church not so long ago (in the 19th century in northern Germany), many did so. And after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin came back from space and declared that he had not come across God, the Church lost out further.

Just an example: when I was a child in the 1950s, in our small town mass was held every day at 6.30 a.m., at 7 a.m. and 3 times a week at 8 a.m. Since long now, there is no daily mass. Only the three services at 8 a.m. have survived. When I was a child, three hours of fasting were mandatory before taking Holy Communion. Now it has been scaled down to half an hour. Earlier, missing Sunday mass was a grave sin that would be punished with hell fire. Now one can attend it on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Religion seemed on its way out, yet suddenly it is back and very prominent in the public discourse. The main reason is the increasing visibility of Islam in Europe. When the first Turks came to Germany as “guest workers“, it was considered great that our boringly uniform society turned “multicultural”, with more interesting looking people on the streets. Meanwhile this enthusiasm has dimmed considerably. Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the multicultural experiment has completely failed.

It is for the first time, after Christianity had crushed the Pagan faith in Europe, that the locals are confronted in their midst with a substantial population of followers of a different religion, which, as aggressively as Christianity, proclaims that it alone is the true religion, and whoever does not join it, is damned to hell forever. Moreover, many of those followers seem to take their religion really seriously.

This jolted Germans who did not identify foremost with being Christian anymore. Yet apparently, now they feel the need to counter Islam with Christianity. Angela Merkel exhorted Germans to go back to Christian values. In 2011, she invited the Pope to address the Parliament. While strolling through Munich city on a Sunday morning last winter, I saw many, including, fashionable youngsters, streaming into a big old church. Later I came to know that the priest of this church was very popular. Yet even in the small town where my mother lives, I saw many young parents take their kids to church for the children’s service. It would have been an unusual sight in the 1970s, when those same parents would have opted for a picnic instead.

What draws people to religion? What is it good for?

The most important point is in all likelihood an intuition in human beings that there is a higher, unfathomable power that is the cause for this vast universe and is also the cause for our own existence. Further, there is an intuition that this power somehow knows us and even guides us in life by this small voice of our conscience. There is an inner communion possible, be it through prayer or a feeling of awe.

Jesus of NazarethThis intuition makes sense. It is natural and does not require the label of “religion” and for many thousands of years it never had this label. The logical consequence of this intuition was to search for that power in oneself and outside. It prompted people to become mystics and scientists who pondered on what is true. We know that this went on for ages in the Indian subcontinent as many invaluable ancient texts are preserved.

However, in the last 2000 years of the long human history, this intuition that there is a higher power was exploited to promote ideologies that claim supremacy and strive for world dominion. An elaborate story was invented about this higher power. It was called “God, the Father”, and it was claimed he had one son and had sent this son down to earth, etc. To make matters worse, it was declared that this story is the only truth, and everyone has to believe it. As soon as Christianity became state religion of the Roman Empire, its followers rolled over mystically inclined locals and forced their belief on the people of vast areas in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Muhammad of MadinaA few hundred years later, another story was woven around this higher power. It was claimed that this power has spoken again through a prophet, and this was for the very last time that it has made its Will known. No more direct message from the highest power in future. Unfortunately, here too, this story was declared as the only truth and everyone has to believe in it.

It did not take long and the followers of those two different stories were at each other’s throat with each one claiming that the highest power wants everyone to believe their story and not that of their rival. Obviously, the highest power was misused as a front for gaining world dominion. The second story got in many areas soon the upper hand “with fire and sword”, as we can unfortunately vividly imagine. And of course, it did not bypass the wealthiest land on earth at that time – India.

Both these stories were called “religions”. In fact, Christianity and Islam are the main religions that come immediately to one’s mind when one hears “religion”. Hinduism is often not even mentioned when religions are listed, and this should be taken as a compliment.

In the Indian tradition, the intuition that there is a higher power was not exploited to enforce belief in one story as the absolute truth and to rule the world. Here, not one story, but innumerable stories developed. These stories exist peacefully side by side. Devotees of Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Ganapathi, Devi, etc., are reminded that they must never be narrow-minded as Ram himself worshipped Shiva.

In India the natural, mystical path was pursued. The Rishis pondered deeply and came up with profound insights. They defined absolute truth as That which is always – in past, present, future, and which shines out of itself. Is there anything that fits this definition, as the whole universe obviously does not qualify as being absolutely true? Yes, there is, the Rishis declare: Pure, thought-free consciousness is absolutely true. But to really know this as true, everyone needs to find out in himself.

Neither Christianity nor Islam has a solid philosophical basis. They consider as absolutely true what simply cannot be absolutely true: a story about the Highest does not qualify as That which always is, as it depends on thoughts. Further, the claim that the Highest, by whatever name it is called, is a separate entity apart from creation is scientifically not tenable.

Only the Hindu tradition is solidly grounded and does not have to fear scientific discoveries. In fact, it is supported by and can lead to further scientific discoveries, as western scientists found out and took advantage of, for example in nuclear physics.

Not surprisingly, those religions, which don’t have a solid philosophical basis, rely on force and on catching young, impressionable minds. They expanded their reach by violence and kept their flock in check by brainwashing children and by threatening the adults with severe punishment if they dared to disagree with the story/ dogma that had to be accepted blindly as truth.

Ever since Christianity lost its power to enforce blasphemy laws and punish heretics, it lost followers. Nobody knows how many Muslims would leave Islam, if heretics were not punished and there were no blasphemy laws in place.

In contrast, the Hindu tradition has no blasphemy laws and does not need any. Its philosophical basis is solid. Even in the face of danger to one’s life under Muslim rule and of being exposed to ridicule under British rule, most Hindus held on to their tradition.

However in independent India, an insidious teaching that “all religions are the same and deserve respect” did a lot of harm and enticed many to convert for some benefits. “Respecting other religions” was said to be in tune with Hindu values, not realizing that it meant respecting those whose explicit goal is to wipe out Hindus.

VoltaireClearly, something is wrong with religions that need to threaten their followers with grave consequences, whether in this life or in the afterlife, if they dare to question the story they have been told to believe as the only truth. Further something is clearly wrong with the claim that the Highest is partial towards one group and will be exceedingly cruel to all others in his creation – letting them burn in hellfire for ever and ever.

Some Christians realized this and also dared to say it. Voltaire suffered in prison for his outspokenness. One of his comments is still highly relevant. He said, “Those who can make you Mark Twainbelieve absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Mark Twain also called the bluff of the organized, dogmatic religion. He said, “Religion was born, when the first conman met the first fool.”

However, dogmatic religions are still going strong. Too few people question. Too few dare to look closely. Too few object to the outrageous claims that are made. Is it not outrageous to claim that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, will burn in hell if they don’t convert? If a cricketer is not allowed to say this on the field, why are preachers allowed to spread this “absurdity” all over? Does it not encourage those who believe it to commit atrocities?

Those who had the good fortune to grow up in the Indian traditions, which allow freedom of thought and a genuine enquiry into truth, need to be alert and guard this freedom. If this freedom is lost, humanity will be truly miserable.

Sadly, it is lost already in many places on this earth. Saddest of all, it is lost in what is today Pakistan and where thousands of years ago human civilization had reached great heights. – Maria Wirth Blog, 14 September 2014

» Maria Wirth is German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She decided to stay and has been here 33 years.

The fiction of SC status for converts – Rakesh Sinha

 

Prof Rakesh Sinha“Is it not incomprehensible that  Dalit Christians/Muslims want to be delisted from the OBC list and included under the presidential order of 1950? Besides, no one has a convincing answer as to what should be  the cut-off date for SC converted to Christianity and Islam.  The hidden agenda of conversion is behind such demand, which is morally and legally untenable.” – Rakesh Sinha

Dalit ChristiansA recent addition to India’s secular discourse has been the demand to give Scheduled Caste status to Scheduled Caste converts to Christianity and Islam, and concomitantly scrap the Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 under Article 341. Para 3 delineates the contours of SC as “nobody who is not a Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist can be Scheduled Caste”.

Such proclamation is not based on fiction or perception, but on historical experiences and empirical facts.

The first effort of identifying untouchables was made by J. S. Hatton in the census report of 1931. The term Scheduled Caste first appeared in the Government of India Act 1935. Moreover, the Government of India Scheduled Caste Order issued on April 30, 1936 specified that “no Indian Christian shall be deemed to be a member of Scheduled Caste”. The clarification of the predominantly Christian colonial administration assumes significance due to the presence of sizable number of SC converts to Christianity. The colonial administration considered apt not to equate low status of the converts with the severity of caste oppression on SC. Accusation of majoritarianism against the Indian state by the elite holds no ground since the existing order was a continuation of the 1936 order.

Constitution Order on Scheduled Castes 1950Those who favour SC status to Christians and Muslims argue that social disabilities and handicaps of the converts still continue. The argument, however, is self-defeated as, unlike Hindu religion, both Christianity and Islam  are free from rigid caste system. It is also true, however, that both Muslims and Christians have  certain degree of hierarchies, but they are not in reference to birth of its follower but the result of feudal traits. Both the religions claim being free from caste stratifications, and gives equal status to all. Therefore, frivolous discrimination requires internal reforms rather than governmental interventions. Moreover, the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955—a religion neutral Act—protects all those whose dignity is abused or under threat. Hardly any case has been registered by SC converts to Christianity or Islam alleging abuse of religious and social rights by their co-religionists.

They also put forward common vocations/occupations of equating converts with SC. Here, it should be noted that the depressed class was compelled to do lowly works, but the practice of untouchability has given birth to other social ills. Commonalities of occupations do not mean all performers are on the same boat. Even a Brahmin can be a toilet cleaner, but that does not make him untouchable or a victim of social segregation. In the Constituent Assembly debate, Z. H. Lari finding no support for his demand for reservation for Muslims wanted to abolish reservation for SC. He, along with a few more members, pompously said they would love to be a Scheduled Caste. Nagappa, an SC elected from Madras (General) constituency, rebutted their proposition and said it was not by adopting a particular vocation that one could become SC and further added that “for becoming an SC, you had to take birth as an SC”.

Tribal protest against Christian missionaries in New Delhi 2011The inclusion of Sikhs and Buddhists under the SC realm has also been questioned without understanding historical reasons which necessitated this step.

Both Sikhism and Buddhism have been facing untouchability. While the scope of Article 341 privileges SC, Article 16(4) provides socially and economically backward Muslims OBC reservations. Is it not incomprehensible that  Dalit Christians/Muslims want to be delisted from the OBC list and included under the presidential order of 1950? Besides, no one has a convincing answer as to what should be  the cut-off date for SC converted to Christianity and Islam.  The hidden agenda of conversion is behind such demand, which is morally and legally untenable. – The New Indian Express, 13 July 2014

» Prof Rakesh Sinha is an eminent political scientist and the honorary director of the India Policy Foundation (IPF). Contact him at rakeshsinha46@gmail.com

Dalit Christian Demonstration

 

See also

Sex-Abuse Victims to Pope: Stop begging for forgiveness and just stop the abuse – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Barbie Latza Nadeau“Barbara Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance.  First, she says she would like to tell the pope, ‘Stop talking about the crisis as though it’s past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don’t need a report.'” –  Barbie Latza Nadeau  

Pope FrancisOn Monday, Pope Francis followed the footsteps of his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II and met with a select group of men and women who had been raped, molested and lied to by their parish priests. 

Francis spent around half an hour individually with each of the victims— a man and a woman each from Ireland, Germany, and England—whose names and ages were not disclosed.  Prior to the one-on-one meetings, Francis presided over a Mass with the victims and members of the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children, led by Boston cardinal Sean O’Malley in which he apologized to the survivors for the “grave sins of clerical sexual abuse” committed against them.

“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” Francis said at the special mass according to the homily transcript released by the Holy See. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”

After the Mass and meetings, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi briefed the press, explaining that while the content of each individual meeting should be kept private in accordance with the norms of pastor to parishioner confidentiality, one can be assured “they were profoundly emotional.”  At times laughing nervously as he explained that he knew not what was said but that it was of utmost importance, Lombardi then went on to counter criticism from the clerical sex abuse victims’ groups that warned that the meet and greet was nothing more than a public relations stunt.  “This body of opinion has always demonstrated its unwillingness to understand the pope’s actions,” he told reporters.  “I’m not surprised by the reaction, but it is totally clear that it was not a public relations event. It was a profound spiritual encounter.”

Barbara BlaineBarbara Blaine, outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP disagrees.  Even though SNAP, now 25 years old, is the most widely recognized global support group for clerical victims with more than 18,000 members, no one from their leadership was invited to meet with Francis.

Ahead of the meeting Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance.  First, she says she would like to tell the pope, “Stop talking about the crisis as though it’s past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don’t need a report.”

Catholic boysShe said she would also tell the pope to focus first on prevention, instead of forgiveness.  “Wounded adults can heal themselves but vulnerable kids can’t protect themselves,” she says, noting that abuse and sex abuse and the consistent cover up by the Vatican is still ongoing.  She also suggests that the Holy See take “tangible steps to safeguard those at risk” by doing a number of what would seem like fairly simple steps, that are acceptable responses in the secular community when it comes to battling pedophilia, sex abuse, and child rape.

SNAP’s demands include:

1. Order bishops to set up and finance a “whistleblower fund” to reward church staff whose actions lead to criminal charges or conviction of current or former abusive clerics.

2. Insist that bishops permanently post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (including religious order priests) on diocesan and parish websites.

3. Demand that bishops hire independent corrections staff rather than clergy to house and monitor child molesting clerics who cannot be criminally charged because of statutes of limitation in remote, secure facilities so they will be kept away from children.

4. Instruct bishops to use only licensed therapists (not priests or nuns) to deal with abuse victims.

5. Tell bishops to use only former police (not clerics) to investigate abuse cases that cannot be pursued by law enforcement.

6. Convene and fund a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who work to reform archaic, arbitrary, and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.

7. Make an urgent, strong public plea to all church employees and members, begging them to give information and suspicions about fugitive predator priests to civil authorities so the clerics may be prosecuted and kept away from children.

8. Order bishops to avoid using language that minimizes clergy abuse like “it’s just a small percentage of priests” or deflects blame like “abuse happens in other settings too” or faults accusers like “these allegations are from 25 years ago” or mollifies church-goers like “he’s not accused of molesting at this parish” or praises accused wrongdoers like “he’s a very popular priest” or guilt-trips victims  like “he has tirelessly worked to help the poor”.

9. Turn over Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or CDF records about predatory priests to local law enforcement in the nations where the alleged crimes took place and insist that the head of each diocese and religious order do likewise with their abuse records.

10. Mandate church-based sessions to teach parishioners how to respond appropriately in abuse cases so victims, witnesses and whistleblowers won’t feel intimidated or hopeless.

11. Insist that priests immediately give their passports to their bishops when abuse accusations arise so they can’t flee overseas.

12. Demote and denounce at least a dozen complicit bishops, including Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, the only sitting bishop who has been criminally convicted of refusing to report suspected child sex crimes.

13. Discourage current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly punishing prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.

14. Stop rebuffing secular officials and start letting Polish and Dominican Republic law enforcement officials arrest and prosecute Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (a credibly accused child molesting cleric), instead of having Catholic officials investigate other Catholic officials.

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?Finally, Blaine says she would tell Francis that there is only one criteria that matters as he moves forward with his commission to protect minors: “Will this move actually protect kids by exposing and punishing clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes?” If not, she says, “Then it doesn’t matter if it’s more or less than other officials or institutions have done or are doing. It doesn’t matter much if it gets great headlines. It doesn’t really matter if it makes adults feel better for a little bit. If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless.” – The Daily Beast, 7 July 2014

» Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of the Angel Face, about Amanda Knox, has reported from Italy for Newsweek since 1997 and for The Daily Beast since 2009. She is a frequent contributor to CNN Traveller, Departures, Discovery, and Grazia. She appears regularly on CNN, the BBC, and NPR.

Rajiv Malhotra: The interview the Christian Post didn’t publish – The Chakra

Being Different

Rajiv MalhotraRajiv Malhotra informed The Chakra that many months ago he was approached by a journalist named Myles Collier from The Christian Post, who told him that their media wanted to interview him on his book Being Different. He asked that it be done by email, so that there was an accurate record and no misunderstanding later. This was accepted by his editors, and what followed was an email exchange in which Rajiv answered every question asked via email. Below is a complete list of all the questions and his answers. Rajiv was told that the interview would appear very soon and that he would receive the url, but never heard back after the interview. His prediction at the time was that once the senior editors saw his responses, they would not want to publish it, because one of his conditions was that any alterations in what he said required his prior written approval. Rajiv has forwarded all his responses in full and has allowed us to publish them. – The Chakra Editor

1. For those not familiar with your work what is the main thesis of your book, Breaking India?

a) The book explains the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering divisive identities between the Dravidian and Dalit communities on the one hand and the rest of India based on outdated racial theories.

b) Its how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries.

c) The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old fault lines. I refer to this as the “breaking India project”. Please see:

2. What kind of reception has your book garnered?

a) The reception in Indian think tanks and defence study networks has been very good. The book was launched by senior Indian retired security and military officials. See videos at:

b) There has also been a very good reception among the general public in both India and the US. The book has already gone through 5 print runs and become a national best-seller. Breaking India was quoted during the recent controversial Kodankulam protests.

c) The latest jacket’s endorsements are also self-explanatory–please see:

d) It has been translated into Tamil and the Hindi edition will soon be ready as well.

3. When specifically considering the situation of the Dalit’s Dr. Joseph D’souza describes it as the “greatest human rights violation in history” — is this an accurate portrayal?

a) Calling the situation of the Dalits the “greatest human rights violation in history” is an example of the sensationalist pandering and politicization that Breaking India explains. Anyone researching atrocities objectively must examine the following ones: White European Christian conquerors of America against Native Americans and Australian aborigines, Spanish Inquisition against women and native faiths, Portuguese Inquisition against Indians, Christian slavery of Africans, Christian colonization of Asia and other continents during which hundreds of millions were killed. In fact, Christianity was built by the sword ever since the time Emperor Constantine hijacked it and turned it into a dogma for state theocracy.

b) Joseph D’souza is trying to help cover up this White Christian guilt of perpetrating many of history’s worst atrocities. Non-White Christians like D’souza perform this cover up for White Christians, and for this they earn funding and career opportunities. I refer to such persons as ‘sepoys’, after the Indians who served under British rule and helped police and control other Indians. This role is similar to that of the Anglo-Irishmen who were used by the English to colonize Ireland.

c) Of course, all violations of human rights are to be condemned, and we must work hard to give dignity to every human across the globe. But one cannot distort history in order to open the door for Western interventions as has been their strategy for centuries.

d) There’s a long history of many Indian communities becoming poor and disenfranchised due to dislocation under Islamic and British oppression, and many of them turned into present day Dalits. This is not a “Hindu problem” per se as is the fashion to call it in the Christian press. In fact, Dalit Christians have litigated against the Indian Church for prejudices against them that are institutionalized within Christianity – including separate burial grounds, and bias in the allocation of funds.

e) Most Christian nations that were former colonies, such as the ones in Latin America, Philippines, etc. have far worse per capita statistics of crimes than India does.

f) Also, the Church remains racially very much divided even in rich Christian countries like USA: That’s why there are separate Black churches, Korean churches, Hispanic churches, etc. Even among Indian Christians in USA there are separate churches for Tamils and Malayalees, etc.

g) So human rights activism must begin at home – Christians must work within Christian society to solve internal problems, rather than trying to export cures for social maladies they are suffering themselves, and especially diseases they have spread elsewhere. The human rights record of atrocities by Christendom is woven deeply into the tapestry of world history.

h) The Church has no moral authority to intervene in other countries using the pretext of bringing them human rights.

i) India’s sovereignty and its internal institutions for improving the lot of all its citizens must be respected and strengthened.

4. There are many organizations dedicated to helping and empowering the Dalit’s, yet you have made the claim that western influences actually hinder progressive movements and contribute to an ever hostile social environment—why is this?

a) India, like any former colony, has its own share of social injustices that need to be continually addressed and resolved.

b) But separatist forces supported and funded by external nexuses are constructing a dangerous and fictitious anti-national grand narrative. This has been forged specifically to alienate Dalits from their own culture and country by exacerbating societal divisions. This is the latest version of the old divide-and-rule strategy practiced by European colonizers everywhere.

c) All democracy-loving Americans should worry about the consequences of allowing narrow-minded Christian organizations to undermine the largest democracy in the world.

d) Dalit communities are not monolithic and have extremely diverse histories and social dynamics – so you cannot lump all of them in one box. Also, not all Dalit communities are at the same socio-economic level or homogeneously poor. Nor are they static or inherently subordinate to others. Indeed, there are several Dalit billionaires, top politicians and other leaders – a Dalit has even been the President of India.

e) While Dravidian and Dalit identities were initially constructed separately, there is now a strategy at work to link them in order to denigrate and demonize Indian classical traditions as a common enemy. This, in turn, has been mapped on to a newly manufactured Afro-Dalit narrative which claims that Dalits are racially related to Africans and all other Indians are “whites.” Thus, Indian civilization itself is demonized as anti-humanistic and oppressive.

f) This has become the playground of major foreign players, both from the evangelical right and from the academic left. It has opened huge career opportunities for an assortment of middlemen including foreign-funded NGOs, intellectuals and” champions of the oppressed.”

g) While the need for relief and structural change is immense, the short-sighted selfish politics is often empowering some individual leaders rather than the people whose cause is being championed. The” solutions” often exacerbate the problems. See:

5. What is your current feeling as to the situation created by outside organizations and the impact that has on the Dalit population?

a) Genuine grievances and injustices certainly do exist. There is no whitewashing here.

b) But the book shows how such existing fault lines are used by transnational forces to subvert India and brand Indian civilization as hopeless and in need of being replaced by a superior imported variety. This can make Dalits believe that their liberation lies in toppling India’s civilization and nationhood.

c) Politicized Christianity in India maps Biblical notions on to a Marxist interpretation of” class struggle”, i.e. Liberation Theology, even though the American sponsors do not support such ideology domestically where they live. So they are pulling the strings of society and politics half way around the world in an alien place without having any skin in the game. This is hypocrisy.

d) My research tracked the money trails from the West where funds are raised for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity. Already the Baptists have created separatist movements in India’s northeast region by converting the natives and shifting their loyalties.

e) Similar interventions by some of the same global forces have resulted in genocides and civil wars in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, etc.

6. There has been a great deal of discussion over the role of Hinduism in India and its propensity to keep “undesired” individuals oppressed, I was curious as to your thoughts about the role of Hinduism and the Hindutva in India?

a) It is ironic that Christians are able to make such assumptions at a time when Hindu ideas are being appropriated into Christianity to create a more benevolent theology for Christianity. Hindu metaphysics and praxis have been digested into Christianity for a long time, but very systematically for at least 200 years, into such diverse areas as: sacredness of the earth and the divine feminine; yoga and the human body as not being inherently sinful but being inherently divine; animal rights and vegetarianism; the inherent unity of consciousness as opposed to the dualism of Judeo-Christianity; etc.

b) I am writing a whole series of books on how major Christian thinkers have acknowledged Hindu sources for some of their most important rethinking on Christianity. Unfortunately, subsequent Christians like to dilute these Hindu influences and eventually forget them entirely, and replace them with Judeo-Christian sources, in order to hide the “Hinduism inside” that exists at the heart of much of today’s reinterpreted Christianity.

c) So, on the one hand, we have this very frantic appropriation going on, and the Hindu origins are being erased. Simultaneously, on the other hand, the very same Hindu sources are being abused as “oppressive”. How could Hindu ideas be useful to liberate Christianity from Christianity’s own shackles, and yet Hinduism be branded so vehemently as oppressive?

d) I am reminded of the way Greek thought was appropriated by St. Augustine and others in order to start Christian theology (prior to which Christian historians admit that the Bible lacked philosophical content), and yet the very same Greek society was condemned as “pagan” and finished off. I have referred to this as a form of arson: the arsonist robs the bank and then burns it down to hide the evidence. The Christian West has perfected this type of activity over the centuries: appropriate and simultaneously destroy the source.

e) I am amazed at the sweeping assumptions in your question. It is hypocritical for Christians to point fingers at the alleged “propensity to keep undesired individuals oppressed” in Hinduism, given Christianity’s track record on oppression of indigenous cultures, sexual abuse of children, persecution of great scientists and thinkers who did not accede to Christian dogma of the time, systemic repression of women and homophobia.

f) As for Hindutva, that is a specific political movement and you will have to interview its leaders for their views. I can only speak for Hindu dharma as an individual practitioner-scholar, and not for any institution.

7. How do you respond to those who would call the research found in your book sound, however claim that your interpretation and subsequent propaganda message is wrong?

a) This statement is too general to be possible to answer. There are many issues discussed in my works, and hence you have to cite a concrete example of what troubles you, so I may be able to address it. Breaking India exposes propaganda; it does not create it. It is the result of a fact-finding mission undertaken over decades and the result of rigorous analysis, not sloganeering.

b) I anticipated that my findings will trouble many persons who have a vested interest to defend a fabricated history, a fabricated grandiose notion of their own religious supremacy and exclusivity, and who are in many cases also sustaining their careers and lifestyles based on pushing ideas on behalf of powerful global nexuses.

c) If any objections to my research come from persons who do not fall in these categories and are based on primary sources, I will consider them respectfully and modify my views if necessary.

8. The Dalit Freedom Network and Operation Mobilization are two groups that are building schools which offer English-medium education with a Christian world-view perspective while also offering vocational training to help abused and trafficked individuals in India. If local programs are not offering opportunities for marginalized people why would it be negative for Dalit’s and other lower caste members to exercise choice and work towards a better future?

a) Mahatma Gandhi lashed out against Christian missionaries numerous times because they linked their social work to conversion. I agree with his posture. Christians who are genuinely motivated must provide unconditional help from one human to another.

b) To denigrate another’s culture is a form of himsa (harm) and violates the dharmic principle known as ahimsa. Christians must learn mutual respect for others and not use mere “tolerance” as a cover up of hatred. For more details on my principle of mutual respect and how it differs from tolerance, please see:

c) Regarding the groups you have named, I oppose their political projects and my book exposés what they are up to. DFN (with two directors from OM) uses the Dalit face to hide that it is a hardcore operational wing of American right-wing agendas in India. The Dalit label gives it the emotional appeal and aura of legitimacy to intervene in India’s affairs. DFN brings speakers and activists from India to testify before US government commissions, policy think-tanks and churches, with the explicit goal of promoting US intervention in India (Breaking India, pages 222-223).

d) What most of my American Christian friends are shocked to learn is that the kind of Christianity being propagated in India is often similar to the radical, medieval Christianity that was based on performing “miracles” and on hate speech. Most modern Christians in USA have rejected that Christianity, but the obsession for numerical growth in Christian population has become the evangelical obsession. The sole focus is on numbers, not quality or genuine religiosity.

e) There are also many good indigenous grassroots movements in India working for Dalit causes, which do not get the type of prominence or funding that Western-supported NGOs do. They are sadly underfunded because they lack the sophisticated fundraising and publicity machinery. Yet such indigenous organizations have a far better efficiency in the use of funds for making a
positive impact than the foreign ones do.

f) My American Christian friends are grateful to get informed about this, as it enables them to make better choices in philanthropy, and be more careful before they fund certain foreign missions. Since my book is beginning to impact the evangelists’ fund-raising in the US, they want Christian media like yours to poison the credibility of my work.

g) But any religious community must be open to external criticism and self-reflection in order to improve its religious standards. Given Christianity’s long history of abuses, it would be foolish for American Christians to fail to examine my findings with a receptive mind.

9. Can you explain your thoughts related to difference anxiety?

a) I coined the term “difference anxiety” to refer to one’s anxiety that the other is different in some way—be it gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age or religion. The alternative is difference without anxiety, and better still is celebration of difference.

b) To appreciate this very Hindu principle, one must start by observing that the cosmos is built on the principle of difference—in plants, animals, geographies, and even each moment in time is unique. So differences in culture, human cognition and worldviews are entirely natural.

c) It is interesting that westerners are so protective of the diversity of plants and animals, but the same emphasis is not placed on protecting civilizational and faith diversity. The reason is that Westerners are driven by the urge to control externally – control over other humans, nature, etc. Homogeneity based on fixed canonized norms helps one control; hence difference and especially flux are a cause for anxiety. Therefore, Western religions have traditionally pushed for monocultures.

d) Western Monotheism is more appropriately described as “my-theism,” meaning that my idea of theism is the only valid one.

e) In Hinduism, sva-dharma is the path for a given individual, the “sva” prefix literally meaning “my.” It’s like “My Documents” or “My Favorites” on your computer. God made us unique individuals, each with a purpose based on past conditioning, including experiences in past births, and each of us is equipped to discover his or her sva-dharma.

f) To prevent repetition of some of the worst organized, large scale atrocities in world history that were committed for the sake of spreading a uniform theology, it is time we respected difference. Please see:

Bible

Who stole Jesus’s foreskin and John Paul’s bloodied vestment? – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Circumcision of Jesus

Barbie Latza Nadeau“The foreskin of Christ is perhaps the most controversial missing relic after it disappeared in 1983 under mysterious circumstances. Until then, it had been encased in a gilded box and paraded through the village of Calcata, north of Rome, in an annual procession marking the annual day of circumcision. It was purported to be the only piece of Christ’s body on earth. Those who made a pilgrimage to pray to the relic were given a 10-year indulgence. The practice was altered in 1900 when anyone who dared mention the holy foreskin was subject to excommunication.” – Barbie Latza Nadeau

John Paul II's undershirt with bullet holesNot since Christ’s foreskin disappeared from a priest’s safekeeping in the village of Calcata in the Roman foothills in 1983 has a religious relic theft garnered so much suspicion.  But when a tiny tuft of material from Pope John Paul II’s blood-stained vestments disappeared from a church in Abruzzo [in January], the religious rumor mill started churning at full speed.  Was it Satanists or an obsessed worshiper? Was it a commissioned hit from an underworld relic collector? Or, like the assumed culprit in the 1983 theft of the holy prepuce, is the Vatican itself involved?

John Paul IIThe most likely scenario, according to investigators who have launched a relic hunt, is that the theft was commissioned by a collector who is banking that the bloody material will increase in value when John Paul II is canonized into sainthood [in April].  The fabric, which comes from the vestments that  John Paul II was wearing when he was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter’s Square in 1981, was donated to the tiny church of San Pietro della Ienca in 2011.  The church was a favorite resting place used by the late pontiff, who liked to hike the mountain trails in Abruzzo during his papacy.  The church was closed due to bad weather when the relic, along with a golden cross, was taken. 

“Whoever broke in had their eyes only on the relics,” Pasquale Corridori, the president of the church association told The Daily Beast. “They left everything else, including the collection box that was full of change.”

The stolen relic is the second time John Paul II’s blood has gone missing. In 2012, a backpack containing a vial of the late pope’s blood inlaid in a religious tome was stolen from a priest traveling by train to deliver the relic to a church north of Rome.  The priest reported the theft and a manhunt ensued. The backpack was later recovered in a field and returned to the priest, complete with the pontiff’s blood. 

Francis Xavier's mummified hand kept in Il Gesù Cathedral, RomeRelic theft is a common problem in Italy’s churches, especially those that are unattended in the outlying regions where surveillance cameras and guards are too costly.  And all of Italy’s churches are required to have at least one holy relic, as decreed in the Middle Ages. Among the most famous is the Shroud of Turin, which is thought to be a burial cloth placed over the face of Jesus, which is kept under guard at St. John the Baptist church in Turin.  Among the strangest is the mummified right hand and forearm of St. Francis Xavier, which is kept at the Gesu cathedral in central Rome.  Other churches in Italy have fingers, feet and even hearts, like that of St. Camillus de Lellis, which is kept in a glass box in the church of Mary Magdalene in Rome when it is not being carted around the world for pilgrims to pray to. 

Jesus's ForeskinThe foreskin of Christ is perhaps the most controversial missing relic after it disappeared in 1983 under mysterious circumstances.  Until then, it had been encased in a gilded box and paraded through the village of Calcata, north of Rome, in an annual procession marking the annual day of circumcision. It was purported to be the only piece of Christ’s body on earth. Those who made a pilgrimage to pray to the relic were given a 10-year indulgence.  The practice was altered in 1900 when anyone who dared mention the holy foreskin—except during the feast day on which it was honored and put on display—was subject to excommunication. The practice of parading the prepuce once a year continued until it disappeared in 1983.  Conventional wisdom was that the foreskin found its way to the Vatican, either taken there by the priest of Calcata or snatched in secret.  The fear, according to David Farley, who wrote the book An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oldest Town, was that scientists might attempt to clone Christ from the tiny flap of flesh.

SatanistJohn Paul II’s bloodied vestments will undoubtedly never be quite that controversial, but detectives on the trail are focused on whether or not the relic was stolen for a Satanic ceremony or whether it will show up on Italy’s eBay site, which has a whole section dedicated to religious relics for sale by their owners.  There is also ample reason to believe the holy relic will be returned one day.  In 1991, the chin of Saint Antonio that had been stolen from a church in Padova by a known crime boss was recovered by police and returned to the church. “I can only hope that the precious relic will be returned to the devoted followers and pilgrims who come here to pray to John Paul II,” Father Giuseppe Petrocchi, the archbishop of L’Aquila in Abruzzo, said in a plea to the thieves. He added that they would be forgiven if they return the relic unharmed. – The Daily Beast, 29 January 2014

» Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of the Angel Face, about Amanda Knox, has reported from Italy for Newsweek since 1997 and for The Daily Beast since 2009. She is a frequent contributor to CNN Traveller, Departures, Discovery, and Grazia. She appears regularly on CNN, the BBC, and NPR.

Hindus for Hitler – Koenraad Elst

 “Germany must become the sword of the Catholic Church.” – Kaiser Wilhelm II quoting Pope Leo XIII; Leo Lehmann in Behind the Dictators

“Thus the Catholic Church is more secure than ever. [...] She will remain as a beacon light.” – Adolf Hitler; Leo Lehmann in Behind the Dictators

“The Third Reich is the first power which not only recognizes, but puts into practice, the high principles of the Papacy.” — Avro Manhattan quoting Vice Chancellor Von Papen; Bill Hugh in Secret Terrorists

“The National Socialist commandments and those of the Catholic Church have the same aim.” Edmond Paris in The Secret History of the Jesuits 

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” – Adolf Hitler; John Toland in Adolf Hitler 


 

Adolf HitlerHindus for Hitler

Anti-Hindu writers love to portray Hindu revivalism as a form of “fascism”. Given the Hindu movement’s record of service to democracy and abiding by democratic norms, they have a hard time sounding serious. Fortunately for them, they find perfect allies in the rare but vocal Hindus who do applaud Adolf Hitler.

Wendy Doniger

During the commotion around the publisher’s withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s book Hinduism, an Alternative History, the author herself held a plea pro domo: her article “Banned in Bangalore”, NYT, 5 March 2014. In it, she mocked the ignorant Hindu objection by Dina Nath Batra in his official complaint “that the aforesaid book is written with Christian Missionary Zeal”. When an internet Hindu reproduced this allegation, she replied: “Hey, I’m Jewish.” So far, so good: it is fair and correct to notice that Hindu activists are too smug and too lazy to study their enemies, so that they make embarrassing mistakes about Wendy, including her religious denomination.

Prof Wendy DonigerBut then: “I was hit with a barrage of poisonous anti-Semitism. One correspondent wrote: ‘Hi. I recently came across your book on hindus. Where you try to humiliate us. I don’t know much about jews. Based on your work, I think jews are evil. So Hitler was probably correct in killing all jews in Germany. Bye.’”

This may be an invention: the New York Times readers would not know the ins and outs of Indian politics, but they can be counted on to hear the alarm go off at the mention of anti-Semitism. So Wendy may have invented this case of anti-Semitism so as not to have to bore her readers with categories on Indian public life which they don’t know nor care about. As Vishal Agarwal (The New Stereotypes of Hindus in Western Indology, Hinduworld Publ., Wilmington DE, 2014) has documented, her contentious book contains hundreds of wrong statements, from innocent slips and incorrect data to wilful and ideologically motivated misrepresentations. So, we should not deem her above inventing this outburst. On the other hand, there really are internet Hindus who are capable of utterances like this. They don’t write books or papers, but the inboxs of Hindu activist websites have dozens of examples.

If the above-quoted e-mail really exists, we can infer that it was written by a Hindu who had thus far been ignorant of Jews and anti-Semitism (most Hindus are ignorant about the “Jewish question” in Europe and the Middle East), and who became anti-Semitic on the spot, namely by extrapolating from Wendy to her community, which upon her own declaration is Jewish. The generalization from an individual to her community is of course logically unsustainable, but very common among the kind of people who vent heated reader’s letters. But all these details will be lost on the average reader, who simply comes to associate “Hindu” with “anti-Semitism”. And that was the point of her whole exercise. But Hindu loudmouths don’t see through such tactical schemes and readily take the bait, freely providing their enemies with all the anti-Hindu ammunition they need.

Vinayak Damodar SavarkarHindu pro-Semitism

Hindu activism has always been sympathetic to the Jewish people and Jewish state, at least since 1923 when Hindu leader V.D. Savarkar in his trail-blazing book Hindutva expressed his support for the Jewish project of a state of their own. He had nothing with the Jewish theology of the Promised Land, which he may even not have known, but he observed the nationalist logic that the Jews were a really existing nation and therefore were entitled to their own nation-state. That is also why the Hindu nationalist parties were the only ones in India who, until the advent of diplomatic recognition in 1991, advocated full relations with Israel.

Hindus in general have always admired the revival of Hebrew as mother tongue of Israel, where Hindus themselves are not even capable of pushing through a common second language to replace English. They also feel familiar with Judaic believers as a fellow target of the Christian missionaries, and feel an affinity with the Jewish quasi-Brahminical book-orientedness and the ritualism, food prescriptions and sheer ancientness of Judaism. For what it is worth: Aristotle thought the Jews descended from “the philosophers of India”.   

Yet, Hindus also have a soft corner for conspiracy theories. In the past, they used to make up their own. But now with the internet, they have access to the minutely developed Western conspiracy theories, and the master theory among these is the Zionist World Conspiracy. The blogsite Vijayvaani, for instance, has published a few articles in this vein, e.g. that 9/11 was a inside job masterminded by the CIA together with the Mossad. Amazing how the Mossad managed even to fool Osama bin Laden, who genuinely believed that his Al-Qaeda men had done it; but anyway, that is what millions of conspiracy theorists believe, now including some Hindus.

Quite separate from this phenomenon, there is also a widespread sympathy for Adolf Hitler in India. Among Indian Muslims, this has the same motivation as among Palestinians, viz. Hitler’s anti-Semitism. This is ingrained in Islam and included in the Prophet’s precedent behaviour: he partly exiled and partly murdered the Jews of Arabia, where after the completion of his conquest no declared non-Muslim was left alive. But the same veneration for Hitler also exists among Hindus, though for very different reasons. Most Hindus only know of Hitler as the challenger to the British Empire and thus indirectly as a factor in India’s independence, while they denounce his enemy Churchill as a racist and as responsible for the millions of deaths in the Bengal famine of 1943. Usually they don’t know about Hitler’s anti-Semitism and have only a vague idea of the Jews’ place in European history.

Mein Kampf ed 1926-27A petition against Mein Kampf

In the spring of 2014, some members of the professional Indology list issued a petition to dissuade the leading publishing-house Motilal Banarsidass from republishing a translation of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. This book is very popular throughout the Muslim world, but also in India. Motilal replied graciously and withdrew the book from distribution. The petition’s author, Prof. Dominik Wujastyk (London/Vienna), related on the list that many Hindus he had spoken to, expressed admiration for Hitler, but once they were informed of his massacring the Jews in his domains, they recoiled in horror and embarrassment.

Hindus have a very mistaken view of Hitler. They don’t even realize that Hitler was only forced into war with Britain against his will; that he favoured British domination over India as the realization of his dream (white Aryans ruling over the “inferior races”) and the model for his planned domination of his “vital space” in Eastern Europe; that he opposed the Freedom Movement and advised the visiting British Foreign Minister to have the Congress leadership including Mahatma Gandhi shot. History moves in strange ways, and it is a fact that through WW II, Hitler bankrupted Britain and forced it to relinquish its prized Indian possessions; but he was no friend of the Hinduism or the Indians

Alfred RosenbergNazi Hinduism?

The blogsite Hindu Human Rights has received an e-mail making the following four points, rendered with corrected spelling. We will answer them one by one.

1. “The Myth of the Twentieth Century [by Alfred Rosenberg] is the book on social ideology of Nazism which CLEARLY states the state destruction of Christianity by proxies like Positive Christianity. And replacing it by HINDUISM and German paganism.”

The Nazi high command was inimical to Hinduism, which is briefly lambasted in both Mein Kampf and Hitler’s war-time Table Talk, published by Henry Pickering. Rosenberg was frowned upon by Hitler and other high Nazis for bringing in pre-modern concepts such as this “myth”. But as the Nazi movement was not a monolith (fairly obvious yet news to most experts of the period) nor a religious movement, his ideological idiosyncrasies were tolerated. Yet, even he did not advocate Hinduism as the religion for Germany. Contrary to popular opinion, a return to Germanic Paganism was also not favoured by the Nazis, and emphatically denounced by Hitler in Mein Kampf. The impression that the Nazis revived Germanic Paganism, eagerly fostered by the Christians who try to pass as having been anti-Nazi all along, is due to the 19th-century revival of Paganism-lite which had entered general German culture somewhat, principally the celebration of the Solstices and the use of a particular type of candle. These were incorporated in the rituals of the Hitler Youth and the SS, not because they were Pagan but because they were German.

Post-Christian society does not want to do away with the scientific worldview and admits at most of a very restricted rehabilitation of religion, divested of all its superstitions. This was what was meant by the “Positive Christianity” enshrined in the Nazi charter, the party’s official religious commitment (as opposed to Germanic Paganism, which later on was even outlawed along with all other non-conventional religions or “cults”).  Though raised as a Catholic, later in life Hitler became a typical ex-Christian, retaining a soft corner for Jesus (whose alleged “work”, the struggle against Judaism, Hitler flattered himself as continuing, and whom he defined as blue-eyed and non-Jewish), but ridiculing belief and religiosity as such. Thus, he mocked his Spanish allies during Spain’s civil war, who should have relied on their prayers to the Virgin Mary rather than on the German air force to defeat their enemies.  

While rank-and-file Nazis usually continued their Christian practices, the Nazi leadership consisted of hard-headed military men contemptuous of any religion. Yet they appreciated the organizational achievements of Christianity. Thus, the SS was partly inspired on the Teutonic Order of warrior-monks, and dimly also on the Jesuit Order. Hitler also lambasted systems of hereditary priesthood, which Hindus know well enough through the Brahmin caste, praising instead the Catholic system of celibate priests, necessarily drawn from the common people and thus in greater solidarity with the nation than can be expected of a priestly class locked in its separateness.

The Nazi attitude to Christianity is complex and is not helped by simplistic notions such as Pius XII being called “Hitler’s Pope”. The Nazis had Christian roots and largely Christian voters (in particular, their anti-Semitism had never existed in Germanic Paganism but was central to the Christian scheme), but in the event of victory in World War II, its top cadres planned a secularization and a replacement of Christianity by secular nationalism. A symbol of this planned reform was the replacement of the Christian greeting “Grüss Gott” (not by “Grüss Wotan” or “Grüss Krishna”, as this Hindu Nazi implies, but:) by “Heil Hitler”.

Maybe our Hitler-admiring correspondent is not a Hindu but a secularist. Hitler, at any rate, had no Hindu leanings but was very much a secularist.

German Christian Flag“God-believing”

2. “4% had converted to German Paganism and 1.5-2% to atheism. These pagans and atheists where the most dedicated Nazis. Source: State University of New York George C. Browder Professor of History College of Freedonia (16 September 1996), Hitler’s Enforcers: The Gestapo and the SS Security Service in the Nazi Revolution, Oxford University Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-0-19-534451-6. Retrieved 14 March 2013.)”

The 1939 census listed more than 90% of the Germans as Christians, thus necessarily also a majority among those who had supported Hitler in coming to power. It is not fashionable in Christian circles to bring up this fact, as they prefer to highlight anti-Nazi Christians (such as the Weisse Rose student group) and falsely pretend that Christianity was as much a force against Nazism as against Bolshevism. Hindus who want to study any aspect of National Socialism or World War II are very poorly equipped to see through this pro-Christian and anti-Pagan slant in many works on the subject. We have the impression that our correspondent has swallowed it hook, line and sinker. 

In this Christian climate, the “atheist” category, good for some 2%, was frowned upon and identified with “godless Bolshevism”. That is why atheist-minded Nazis joined the other category, Gottgläubig, “believing in God”. This was a vague category of “unspecified religious”, including deism, German peri-Christian mysticism (Hildegard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Cusanus, Rudolf Steiner), pantheism, Germanic Paganism and other eccentric religions. The reduction of this category to “Germanic Paganism” is ruthless Christian propaganda, then already used to mobilize the Anglo-Saxon populace against the Nazis, who were depicted as bizarre exotics and Satanists; and it has only spread since and is even being taken over by a Hindu who fancies himself anti-Christian.

The category included many pacifists and other groups temperamentally disinclined to strong-arm Nazism. But yes, it also included Nazis: a top Nazi who strongly identified with this category was Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS. He was creating a new religion out of the bits and pieces he found in many places: memory traces and ancient Germanic religion (the seeress Veleda), Germanic folklore, German-Christian mysticism, German-Christian nature lore, Christian organizational forms, witchcraft and excentric forms of modern science. The religion essentially died with him. It was an interesting attempt of what people will try when the post-Christian condition leaves them looking for something to fill the “God-shaped hole”. But with their own rich and unbroken lineage of spiritual masters, Hindus surely have no need for this syncretic attempt at all. 

Aryan FamilyThe Aryan Invasion Theory

Replying to an argument in an earlier discussion about the so-called Aryan invasion of India, but relevant here, he also reveals:

3. “I am an Out-of-India theorist. Which puts proto-Aryans’ light-brown [skin] with dark hair and eyes like North-Western Indians. On what basis [have] you claimed I consider blonde and blue ‘better’?”

Apparently, our correspondent has earlier been accused of considering one race better than another. We simply accept his protestation that he rejects any claims of racial superiority. But he should expect this kind of allegation if he perforce wants to speak out in favour of the Nazis, who did believe in racial superiority, and very firmly.

In the Nazi scheme of things, the Aryans had invaded India, tried to protect their genetic purity by imposing caste apartheid, but ended up mixing with the natives to some extent. (This scenario is still taught by most Indologists, secularists, Dravidianists and neo-Ambedkarites.) So, to a Nazi, any Indian is definitely inferior: either he is an inferior native if Dravidian or low-caste; or he is an upper-caste Indo-Aryan with some superior Aryan blood in his veins, but unfortunately mixed with some native blood. That is why North-Western Indians are more European-looking, but not fully: their Aryan racial purity has been compromised by some admixture with the dark-skinned natives. So, to Hitler’s mind, they are better off being ruled by the superior pure Aryans from Britain. That is why during their only meeting, he told collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose to his face that Indians have the best possible deal as colonial underlings.

At any rate, the Aryan Invasion Theory was a cornerstone of the Nazi worldview, taught in every Nazi-controlled school. They had it in common with their arch-enemy Winston Churchill, who used the AIT to justify the presence of Britons in India, who had only taken over India the same way that their Vedic cousins once had.

Obviously, the superior Aryans had to have originated in Europe, and then proceeded from there to colonize India, as was their wont. Anything coming in from India was tainted with the inferior native race, witness the Gypsies. In order to racially purify Europe, the Gypsies along with the Jews had to be removed, first according to some yet to be worked out master-plan, then during the war by simple extermination.

If our correspondent really is an Out-of-India theorist, then on this point he is diametrically opposed to the Nazi position.  

Krishna & ArjunaBhagavad Gita

4. “The Nazis had often quoted the Bhagavad Gita to the SS, famously by Himmler. Goebbels had criticized the British take-over of India heavily in his news articles. In the time when the majority of Western countries heavily supported racism (see the reaction to the Japanse proposal of equality in the League of Nations), the CLEAR claim of Goebbels of India as great and ancient … and then the specific Nazi glorification of Hinduism in their literal scriptures speak for themselves.”

In the racial worldview of the Nazis, the biological inferiority of the Hindus was an overriding fact. That is why Hitler mocked their supposed otherworldliness, a trait typical of inferior people who fail in this world and hence have to withdraw in an imaginary world. This in contrast with the down-to-earth Germanic realism, which naturally had to result in competence, victory and conquest. (The exception were the marginal Germanic neo-Pagans, whom he also mocked because they lived in the past and dreamed of a pre-Christian utopia instead of embracing the post-Christian world of science and domination.) But the Gita, being ancient, could be stretched to have been written by the early Aryans who had freshly entered India and were not yet tainted by racial admixture.

At the same time, Orientalism had deeply penetrated German culture. While it could be denounced, it could not entirely be wished away. And so, yes, it had affected Himmler, who swallowed all he could lay his hands on in terms of the occult, secret societies and unconventional religion. He did not propagate the Gita, as some Hindus seem to believe, but he did read it and took some ideas from it – while very purposely leaving out others.

Nazism was still in its infancy and could have taken very different directions. The Army High Command, for instance, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 thinking it was starting a brief local war, more or less completing the German claim on historically German lands (if, as nationalists often do, you only consider the time of your nation’s greatest expansion). It did not glorify war, which it saw as an extension of politics, meant to project power conditioned by a political plan. There was no plan to conquer Germany’s Western and Northern neighbours, for instance, no ambition to rule these countries, and they only embarked on this invasion (May 1940) reluctantly, with Hitler himself masterminding a very daring strategy which wonderfully succeeded. The ensuing offensives likewise established the German reputation for invincibility, which made many in India go wild (including Mahatma Gandhi, whose Quit India Movement of August 1942 was predicated on an Axis victory). But then Hitler’s strategic luck ran out, the generals tried to save the situation with more careful tactics, but their position continued to decline to inevitable defeat.

In this scenario, not that unusual in military history, the SS and its view on war stood out. Normally, war is sometimes considered a necessary evil, and then embarked upon in a spirit of embracing the inevitable. This is also the case in the Mahabharata, the larger work of which the Gita forms part: Krishna tries non-violent solutions to the enmity between two groups of cousins, and only when these fail, does he counsel a merciless war. This was the first point where Himmler went against Krishna’s example, upholding a modern interpretation of Charles Darwin’s evolution theory: war is a natural and good test to decide who shall survive and who is not worthy of survival. He arrived at the view that war for war’s sake is a good thing. It is only a careless and superficial reading of the Gita (shared, incidentally, by Wendy Doniger) that can see it as a justification of “war for war’s sake”. But I agree that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that the Gita can be a dangerous book in the hands of an incompetent do-it-yourself amateur like Himmler (or a Sanskrit-knowing yet equally incompetent Indologist like Wendy Doniger).

Benedictine SwastikaA second point is the Gita’s doctrine of Nishkam Karma, “action without desire (for its benefits)”. We see traces of it in Himmler’s decision to organize the “final solution of the Jewish problem in Europe”. This expression already existed in the 1930 and meant a planned emigration of the Jews from Germany. A forced emigration is neither pleasant nor fair, but at least it is preferable to being slaughtered. Its relatively innocuous meaning changed drastically in 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union. At first, German Jews were being resettled in the conquered territories, but this proved impractical and external emigration was now ruled out by the war circumstances. So something more sinister was being worked out: the secretive extermination of the Jews. People knew vaguely of a plan to deport the Jews to new settlements, so people were not overly upset when they saw the Jews around them being taken away. In some occupied countries, even Jewish committees themselves helped organize the deportation to what they thought were new labour sites in the East.

What did happen was that Himmler took it upon himself to do what race theorists thought best for the German people: eliminate the Jews. He accepted that his SS men would handle this tough task. He relieved even ordinary soldiers of this difficult task, for he had seen how killing, as with a neck shot, was difficult and often became unbearable for ordinary men. He saw this as a kind as ascetic dutifulness: take upon oneself a thankless task, not expecting any reward but doing what has to be done. This ascetic sense of duty could easily be sourced elsewhere, e.g. in Stoicism, widely known among the educated classes of Europe; but it is also present in the Gita, though nowhere applied to the task of extermination.

He could perhaps have used Krishna’s explanation that killing isn’t really killing, just as dying isn’t really dying, because death is only like taking off your clothes to put on fresh ones tomorrow, i.e. in a next incarnation. But he didn’t. Possibly he believed it himself, but as a Nazi, he did not want to propagate an airy-fairy pre-modern doctrine like reincarnation. The Nazi scheme nowhere envisions that the Jews were destined to come back to haunt their killers. The karmic implications taught by the Gita and by much of Hindu tradition did not figure in Himmler’s plans. Nor did the bulk of the Gita, dealing with the Sankhya philosophy’s worldview and its applications, with the need to become a yogi, with the worship of Krishna etc. So, maybe Himmler got a few half-digested ideas from the Gita which he could have gotten from elsewhere too, and most of the Gita’s 18 chapters simply have nothing to do with his project.

As for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, I know only little of his very considerable output, and have never heard of his utterances in favour of India’s independence. If true, I would expect them to be plastered all over the place by the numerous intellectuals who have an interest in associating Hinduism with Nazism. At any rate, if true, it was never taken over by the Nazi movement of regime. Goebbels has a record of deviating from official Nazism, and not always in a good sense. Thus, he was responsible for the Kristallnacht vandalism and murders, which heavily damaged Germany’s international standing, was resented by the common Germans because they had never voted for riots and disorder in their streets, and disapproved of by the other top Nazis. Not because these disapproved of ill-treatment of the Jews, but because they didn’t want disorder and unexpected private initiatives.

That National Socialists praised Hinduism to the skies and fostered studies of Indian culture, is a fable spread by anti-Hindu authors such as Sheldon Pollock. At most, some Nazis could be found who praised the culture of the still-pure Aryans entering India. Really existing Hinduism, by contrast, was only looked down upon. If living in the Nazi era, our Hindu correspondent could expect to be treated like the Gypsies.

Romani Children in AuschwitzConclusion   

Our correspondent ends his mail in the all too familiar scatological fashion: “If you are unable to give credible answers to these points and break them, based upon reliable references, you are the son of a bitch, a proud brown babu of the British barbarians. And all you can do is trolling like other idiots.”

It is easier to catch mosquitoes with honey than with vinegar, so you would expect internet warriors seeking to convince people to use agreeable language. Instead, many internet Hindus couldn’t care less about the impression they make on their public. After all, they are not into it because they are out to convince people and score an argumentative victory. No, they are into it just to vent their emotions. They foam at the mouth not because they somehow think this has a better chance of convincing anyone, but because they have so much anger and excitement in their hot heads that they simply have to let off steam.

As for the contents, this man surprises outsiders by not thinking strategically at all. He plays massively into the hands of the enemy. A general planning a battle should study the strength and the characteristics of the enemy, as well as the characteristics of the battlefield. This man, by contrast, seems oblivious of the massive anti-Nazi mood in most of the world, which only gets grimmer as time passes. India has the advantage of having extracted more good than evil out of World War II, of having terminated the war-generated animosities in 1945 itself, and of therefore being able to take a more distant view of the different parties in that war including National Socialism. But this doesn’t mean that anything goes. Maybe the Holocaust and other war crimes did not affect you personally, but the facts themselves have to be taken into account.

For victory, you should not only know the enemy, you should first of all know yourself. In this case, a knowledge of Hinduism would at once reveal the fundamental differences with the Nazi worldview. Any contacts or similarities could never be more than accidental. Thus, in the much-maligned Hindu caste society, the Jewish community would simply have formed a caste (as indeed it did on the Malabar coast), just as it effectively did in Germany for many centuries; the Nazi desire to eliminate it, however, constituted a break with this arrangement. Hitler may have been wrong on many things, but he was at least right in one respect: that as a Nazi, he could only hold Hinduism in contempt. Either you are a Nazi or you are a Hindu.

Dr. Koenraad Elst» Koenraad Elst distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and to dissent. He studied at the KU Leuven, obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. After a research stay at Benares Hindu University he did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu nationalism, which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. As an independent researcher he earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like Islam, multiculturalism and the secular state, the roots of Indo-European, the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute and Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy. He blogs at http://koenraadelst.blogspot.in/

Hitler and the Catholic Church

Hitler and the Catholic Church

Hitler and the Catholic Church

See also

Missionaries in India: Conversion or Coercion? – Philip Goldberg

Phillip Goldberg“I heard about people being told that their misfortune derives from their worship of Hindu deities, because the idols are really forms of the Devil; about village strongmen being paid to coerce conversions from other villagers; about women given a choice of walking a mile to haul water from their usual source or using the new well conveniently dug in front of a church. The price? Conversion, of course.” – Philip Goldberg

Mother TeresaImagine you’re poor and living in a rural area. Your child gets sick. You manage to transport her to a hospital or clinic. To your relief, the condition is treatable. But the cost of treatment is not just beyond your means, it’s beyond your imagining. However, says the kindly health care worker, you can get the treatment free of charge. All you have to do is renounce the centuries-old traditions of your people and convert to a foreign religion.

Such offers are being made to desperate people in the villages and tribal areas of India.

I just returned from a month in that country, to mark the Indian publication of my book,  American Veda. In the 18 cities I visited, the most frequently mentioned topic was the shady tactics of certain missionaries.

Not all of them, mind you. Not the intrepid souls who work selflessly to help the poor, the afflicted, and the illiterate, in the spirit of their saviour’s exhortation to serve “the least of these.” Such missionaries have been welcome in India for centuries, and the Hindus I spoke to are grateful for their good works. What is causing consternation and anger is a new breed of zealots, heavily financed by American fundamentalists, who seem driven to pile up numbers like door-to-door salesmen racking up commissions. Determined, fervent, and creative in pursuit of souls to save, they sound more like the snake-oil hucksters of legend than servants of Christ.

Targeting mainly the impoverished and uneducated, some of their tactics make the hospital bargain I described earlier look as reputable as ordering a book from Amazon. I was told of missionaries giving people temporary jobs in return for converting, and then threatening them with job loss — not to mention eternal damnation — if they reconvert to Hinduism. Families have apparently been torn apart because the converts are made to disassociate from the heathen.

Jesuit missionary in his Nashik church.I heard about missionaries who dress in orange robes to look like swamis. Gullible and desperate villagers are told that their traditional gods are actually corrupted versions of Christ; that the venerable saints and sages of India’s past were really Christians; that the three horizontal stripes traditionally drawn on the foreheads of Shiva devotees stand for the Holy Trinity; that the Upanishadic prayer that includes “Lead us from darkness to light” was meant as a cry for Jesus to save them.

A mother is sick? A father loses his source of income and can’t feed his family? The bus filled with youngsters suddenly “stalls” on a dangerous mountain road? Well, say the missionaries, try praying to your Hindu gods. Hmmm, imagine that: nothing changes. Well then, see what happens if you pray to Jesus. Wow! Lo and behold! The mother receives medicine. The father gets a one-day job that puts rice on the table. The bus engine starts again! If one prayer to Jesus produces miracles like those, imagine what converting will do!

I heard about people being told that their misfortune derives from their worship of Hindu deities, because the idols are really forms of the Devil; about village strongmen being paid to coerce conversions from other villagers; about women given a choice of walking a mile to haul water from their usual source or using the new well conveniently dug in front of a church. The price? Conversion, of course.

I don’t know if these egregious actions are commonplace or rarities. I do know that they are dishonorable. They’re about coercion, not spiritual conversion; extortion, not the exchange of ideas. And, if I may say so as a non-Christian, they are an affront to Jesus, whom every Hindu I’ve ever met regards as a holy man of the highest order if not an incarnation of God. I can’t help thinking that he would be as outraged by the deception being Angry Jesus drives the vendors out of the temple. perpetrated in his name as he was about the moneylenders in the temple.

I told people in India that most American Christians would be appalled if they knew what was being done by their overly aggressive brethren. I was tempted to wait until after Christmas to test that thesis, but I decided that this season of goodwill might be the ideal time. So, what do you think, my Christian sisters and brothers? Is there some cosmic war for souls going on, in which anything goes? Or are there rules of engagement that civilized people should observe? What would Jesus say? – Hinduism Now, 21 December 2013

» Philip Goldberg is a spiritual counselor, public speaker, and author or coauthor of numerous books. His latest publication is American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. His websites are www.AmericanVeda.com and www.PhilipGoldberg.com.

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