Interfaith Dialogue: Unveiling of postmodern evangelisation – George Augustine

George Augustine Icon“Rajiv Malhotra comes through as a pathetic figure in a tragedy, being tossed around like a pawn by the special effects villainy of Clooney, only to be ridiculed at the end by many of his Hindu brethren and well-wishers including this writer, who appreciate his initiatives like the Hindu Good News and the research work undertaken by him.” – George Augustine

Dialogue“Dialogue” according to Merriam-Webster, is “a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution”. Other definitions of “dialogue” are unacceptable as religious terminology is used and the event is promoted as “interfaith” dialogue and not just a chat between two friends. Hence the questions: what is the motive and purpose behind layman Rajiv Malhotra’s “Hindu-Christian dialogue” with Francis X. Clooney, a Reverend of the formidable Society of Jesus; and does it fulfil its purpose?

In this “interfaith” dialogue, it is unclear whether there is a dispute or a reconciliation. Had the title of this dialogue been “Malhotra-Clooney dialogue” rather than “Hindu-Christian dialogue”, there would not have been any doubt on anybody’s part, let alone an argument. Furthermore, Hindu-Christian dialogues, if any, should be first directed towards the resolution of their existing conflict. As such, this dialogue cannot be dismissed like a coffee house chat. This is necessitated because the track record of one of the parties represented here is horrendous in terms of aggression and predatory tendencies that are inherent in its dogma and basic principles. Do leopards change their spots? To satisfy the world at large, some questions have to be answered by both the partners:

  1. What according to the two dialogue partners is the purpose and motive of this dialogue?
  2. Are these two dialogue partners true representatives of their respective religious viewpoints?
  3. Malhotra says this is a “new kind of dialog”, how is it different from the old?

Rajiv MalhotraHindus who feel their religion is threatened by Christians are justified in demanding correct answers to these questions. So do others who doubt it is kosher for Christians to dabble in Hindu mysticism and on the sly go all out on a conversion binge.

So our next step is to find out how Malhotra or Clooney answer these questions as much as can be deduced from this dialogue and their statements available in the public domain. Before we move on to that, here is a brief introduction to the two dialogue partners. They are well known in their respective circles and are well versed with each other’s arguments. They know each other for over a decade.

Rajiv Malhotra has been a regular blogger and spokesman for years of at least a small section of the migrant Hindu community settled in the US, besides being a successful and respectable entrepreneur. Malhotra is also an author of books and his writings have been characterised so far by their persistence in pursuing his goal of achieving a status for American Hindus on par with his white Christian fellowmen, without succumbing to the arrogant ministrations of a savage religion[1]. He was noticed in India recently after he co-authored a book with Aravindan Neelakandan entitled “Breaking India”, a book detailing mostly American Christian cultural demolition work conducted in India.

Fr. Francis Clooney SJFrancis Clooney is a Jesuit priest and heads the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard University. Considering the role the US government plays all over the world as well as what Harvard means in the American intellectual lexicon, Clooney is, so to speak, the global headmaster who teaches the whole academic world what “divinity” is, or at least that is the pretext. After the most intelligent Christian laity with some goodness left in them said goodbye to their abominable religion, it remained for extra-clever servants of the Christian god like Francis X. Clooney to stake a claim to global “divinity”. Clooney is termed “the Father” of “Comparative Theology”[2], a discipline which is his brainchild in its current shape after he came upon “Hindu theology”[3]. He has many Hindu followers and advisors, one of whom is Rajiv Malhotra[4].

Purva Paksha (Argument)

1 a) Malhotra’s motive for the dialogue

The conflict between the two parties according to Malhotra results from “difference anxiety”. “The opposite of difference anxiety is difference with mutual respect [sic], the posture I advocate for dialogue.” [5]

Malhotra’s main argument for the dialogue, which is also the thesis of his new book Being Different, is that Hindus are basically different from Christians or other Abrahamic religions in approach and belief and for this reason Hindus should be treated with respect in interfaith dialogues. However, the purpose of the dialogue is not to resolve the conflict between the two parties. According to him, the purpose is “not to change the opponent, but to change the audience.” “The impact if any on the other side is irrelevant.”[6]

According to Rajiv Malhotra, a key issue is the appropriation by the opposing side (read Clooney et al) of Hindu concepts, symbols, and assimilating these into their own “faith” or tradition on the pretext of being the same despite the differences.[7] He implies that people of both persuasions (Christian and Hindu) who have the difference anxiety preach the sameness of religions, which in the hands of the Christians becomes a tool to convert the Hindu. Malhotra calls it “digestion” of the Hindu religion by the Christians. He says “tolerance” is not the right condition for dialogue between “faiths”, which he says is an unequal posturing[8]. According to him, the right thing is “mutual respect”.

Prof. Karen TorjesenIn the same blog[9], Malhotra reveals the background that laid the foundation for his campaign and participation in the dialogue: “My campaign against mere tolerance started in the late 1990s when I was invited to speak at a major interfaith initiative at Claremont Graduate University. Leaders of major faiths had gathered to propose a proclamation of “religious tolerance.” I argued that the word “tolerance” should be replaced with “mutual respect” in the resolution. The following day, Professor Karen Jo Torjesen, the organizer and head of religious studies at Claremont, told me I had caused a “sensation.” Not everyone present could easily accept such a radical idea, she said, but added that she herself was in agreement.

“Clearly, I had hit a raw nerve … I then decided to experiment with “mutual respect” as a replacement for the oft-touted “tolerance” in my forthcoming talks and lectures. I found that while most practitioners of dharma religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) readily espouse mutual respect, there is considerable resistance from the Abrahamic faiths …. Soon afterwards, at the United Nation’s Millennium Religion Summit in 2000, the Hindu delegation led by Swami Dayananda Saraswati insisted that in the official draft the term “tolerance” be replaced with “mutual respect.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict), who led the Vatican delegation, strongly objected to this. After all, if religions deemed “heathen” were to be officially respected, there would be no justification for converting their adherents to Christianity …. The matter reached a critical stage and some serious fighting erupted. The Hindu side held firm that the time had come for the non-Abrahamic religions to be formally respected as equals at the table [emphasis added] and not just tolerated by the Abrahamic religions. At the very last minute, the Vatican blinked and the final resolution did call for “mutual respect.” However, within a month, the Vatican issued a new policy stating that while “followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.” Many liberal Christians condemned this policy, yet it remains the Vatican’s official position.”

1 b) Clooney’s motive for the dialogue

The benefits of interfaith dialogue.Clooney is not as forthright about the “motive” of the dialogue as Malhotra. The only clear statement from Clooney about how he came to the “dialogue” at Dartmouth was that he was asked[10] by Malhotra to be a respondent to the dialogue organised on the occasion of the latter’s book presentation at Dartmouth.

However, in an article titled My Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Malhotra and Clooney, Clooney admits at the beginning that he had blogged on an article of Malhotra’s titled “Spirit is not the same as Shakti or Kundalini” in June 2011 “simply to call attention of American readers to this thoughtful post by a Hindu author. The comments on my piece however indicated that here was an issue worthy of further debate, and some seemed disappointed that I did not pursue the dialogue with Mr. Malhotra…. But recently, the time came for such a follow-up [all emphasis added].”[11]

At the end of the blog cited in this article, Clooney says: “I would like to think – ever the hopeful Christian – that he [Malhotra] has done us, Hindu and Christian alike, the good service of clearing the air, and moving beyond generalities on the points he discussed. The next step, perhaps a bit easier now, is a conversation on Spirit and Shakti that is not a monologue, and not entirely on the terms set by one tradition. For me – ever the professor – the best way forward would be the careful study of some of the relevant texts on the Spirit and Shakti [all emphasis added] …”[12]

Clooney concludes his speech at Dartmouth giving the impression that Malhotra’s book is the beginning of “conversations” at different levels in various ways, particularly in India, but doesn’t define what these “conversations” are supposed to fetch. He ends his speech urging on people in the West and in India to study each other and welcoming “learned Hindus” to converse with the West in a “sophisticated” way.

1 c) Third party opinion

Victorian priest baptising a Hindoo.According to one of Malhotra’s distinguished Hindu supporters, Dr. Navaratna Rajaram, this venture is useful for the following reasons: “I can claim to know both Rajiv Malhotra and Francis Clooney and I support the idea of engaging with Clooney and others like him in an informed and civilized manner. It is not proper to compare Clooney with Bishop Caldwell (not a Jesuit, but a British accomplice) or Robert de Nobili nearly 400 years ago …. What we need today is sophisticated engagement so that the Christian side realizes that we know what we are talking about and will not swallow their sugar-coated versions of propaganda [all emphasis added]. This means studying them and debating them, not hiding from them.”[13]

2 Are Malhotra and Clooney true representatives of the faiths they represent?

Being a Jesuit priest and a “professor of divinity” at once, Clooney is a true representative of his “faith”. Malhotra is careful not to make any claims about whom he represents under the rubric “Hindu”, but explicitly calls himself a Hindu and discards Hindutva in one breath[14]. However, he is neither a member of any known Hindu institution or organisation nor involved in any known Hindu movement.

3 “New kind of dialogue”

Malhotra describes his dialogue with Clooney as “Difference With Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue”[15]. Malhotra goes on to say: “The significance of such an approach to dialogues is not dependent upon whether both sides agree or disagree on a given issue. In fact, I do not consider it viable to reconcile the important philosophical differences without compromise to one side or the other. Rather, the significance here is that we are comfortable accepting these differences as a starting point, which is more honest than the typical proclamations at such encounters where differences are taboo to bring up [all emphasis added].”[16]

Malhotra doesn’t verbalise what the old kind of dialogue is or was, but leaves it to us to figure out.

Uttara Paksha (Counter argument):

1 a) Malhotra’s motive for the dialogue

Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism by Rajiv MalhotraA reader (nicknamed gangp) of Malhotra’s new book “Being Different”, which is the main topic in his interfaith dialogue with Clooney, states: “However, in my opinion RM misses the point of using Purva Paksha when he writes: ‘They claim that all religions are same while they ought to be saying that religions are equal but different. (Being Different, page 35); However, though neither faith is superior to the other … (Being Different, page 270)’”[17]. So, according to Malhotra’s thesis, Hinduism is “different” from “Christianity” and vice versa, but they are both “equal” and “neither is superior to the other”.

Such a thesis doesn’t hold water in any known science or debate, because according to him, “A is not B and B is not A, but A = B”. This “Malhotra theorem” is a “new kind” of element in interfaith dialogue in present-day America and well appreciated by his opponent Clooney[18]. Though this equation might be valid under constitutional law in a democracy and even necessary in terms of election purposes and anti-discriminatory policies, it is unacceptable to people who value reason above everything else, whoever and wherever they are, because we are not talking about the law of equality here, but looking forward to reconcile two opposing religions and resolve the basic conflict between them.

Therefore, Malhotra’s declared motive of influencing the “audience” to “change” in an interfaith dialogue is not backed by substantial matter because he fails to explain what he intends to achieve by “changing” the “audience” or what he is trying to change, especially in the light of his preconceived equation of parity. For instance, if he considers both “faiths” as “equal” despite the differences, what is the need to change his audience? What exactly is he trying to change in his audience? Converting people from “tolerance” to “mutual respect”? Or does he merely want equal status and a respectable seat at the interfaith table with his Christian compatriots? If his motive was that, doesn’t it mean interfaith dialogue itself is an end and not a means to resolving a conflict?

Malhotra cannot tolerate “tolerance” at the interfaith table, but demands “mutual respect”. Malhotra’s entreaty to the other side for “mutual respect” at the interfaith dialogue implies a compulsion within him to air his opinion legitimately. Demanding “respect” at a table is not the prerogative of somebody who has gate-crashed the party. His dialogue partner Clooney doesn’t protest against his demand, which corroborates it. This is confirmed by a statement in one of Malhotra’s already cited blogs[19]: “My campaign against mere tolerance started in the late 1990s when I was invited to speak at a major interfaith initiative at Claremont Graduate University ….”

What is certain here is, Malhotra would not have demanded “respect” had not he been invited for any dialogue. If Malhotra was the initiator and host of the dialogue, he wouldn’t have protested against the “tolerance” part and demanded “respect”, because he would be setting the tone of the dialogue, unless the whole motive of the dialogue was something else. This is not correct according to Malhotra’s own admission: “The point of a debate is not to change the opponent, but to change the audience …. The impact if any on the other side is irrelevant.”[20]

It follows that Malhotra has no intention of having a genuine debate with his partner and defeat him, nor of resolving the conflict between Hindus and Christians through dialogue, but earning “respect” at the table to which he is invited would be adequate and satisfactory, especially upon agreement of the differences. It also follows that Malhotra’s professed purpose of the dialogue – of changing the audience – is only an illusion or an excuse for the dialogue, and staying away from the dialogue table is not an option for Malhotra, compelled by reasons unknown.

Furthermore, Malhotra’s incongruent equation also forces him to eat his own tail by the newly coined phrase “difference anxiety”, which he says results in the “sameness” syndrome. Hinduism is different from Christianity, Christianity is different from Hinduism, but both are equals. Only the Malhotra logic can see two incongruent thought systems such as Hinduism and Christianity culminating in equality in terms of objective experience. Malhotra uses the same logic to arrive at his “anxiety” theory that leads to “sameness”: A is different from B and B is different from A, but both A and B have anxiety over the difference and calls each other the “same”. It follows that what Malhotra accuses of his opponents are applicable to himself: it is Malhotra’s “difference anxiety” that makes him arrive at “Hinduism = Christianity”.

BibleHowever, Christians, by Malhotra’s own admission, consider themselves superior and different[21] from Hinduism or any other creed without any input from Malhotra. If both sides consider themselves “different” from the start and not the “same” or “equal” ever, which they actually do, Malhotra’s “anxiety” thesis falls by the wayside. Christians try to convert Hindus not because of any anxiety, but because of their scriptural injunction to convert the non-Christian, which they call the “Great Mission”.

If the interfaith dialogue with Clooney was genuinely Malhotra’s initiative, what was the need to call for “respect” from the guest or to create a list of differences in order to demand that? If it was genuinely Malhotra’s initiative, wasn’t he merely using it as a purely promotional tool for his new book “Being Different”? If it was Malhotra’s initiative, the “audience” would mostly consist of his invitees who are there because of respect to him and could be “changed” without the aid of a dialogue partner, so what was his true motive?

1 b) Clooney’s motive

Clooney appears to be saying that his participation in the dialogue was Malhotra’s idea, though he had blogged earlier praising Malhotra as a Hindu champion of dialogue, thus setting up a “further debate”[22]. So, actually, Clooney was invited by Malhotra because he had suggested[23] it to Malhotra earlier. It also follows that without Clooney’s instigation, Malhotra would not have invited Clooney for the dialogue. As Clooney’s suggestion is hypnotic, it is likely that Malhotra is not at all conscious of Clooney’s role or designs in his own decision-making. This also explains (by yukti) Malhotra’s call for “respect” emanating from his subconscious, because there the host and prime mover of the dialogue is Vatican’s representative Clooney.

Clooney, for his part, is least concerned about Malhotra’s demand for “mutual respect” or the coinage of “difference anxiety”. For him, the interfaith dialogue he engineered has already been set in motion by instigating Rajiv Malhotra: “The next step, perhaps a bit easier now, is a conversation on Spirit and Shakti that is not a monologue, and not entirely on the terms set by one tradition. For me – ever the professor – the best way forward would be the careful study of some of the relevant texts on the Spirit and Shakti [all emphasis added]…”[24]

Led by the nose!Now that the rope is safely attached to Malhotra’s nose, Clooney pulls by prompting, “the next step”. He heaves a sigh (“bit easier now”) because he has got an ideal accomplice in Rajiv Malhotra to go on with his official enterprise of interfaith dialogue, a professed instrument and tool of the Vatican to convert the remaining heathens on earth since years[25].

The insertion of “ever the professor” brings the spotlight on himself as a “scholar” who is apparently pursuing two religious symbols “Spirit”[26] and “Shakti” in an academic discourse. Malhotra falls for this subterfuge, because while Malhotra’s professed motive for the dialogue is to “change” the “audience” no matter who they are, Clooney’s main objective is to go on tinkering with Hindu mysticism.

Clooney had been fishing for dialogue with Hindus for more than a decade and backed out of dialogues that weren’t in his favour. The first one on record is from the early 90s[27] initiated by Clooney himself. He backed out of that dialogue when the situation got out of his control, when learned Hindu scholars lined up on the other side[28].

Jesuit LogoWhat then is Clooney’s real motive in the dialogue with Hindus? The answer is simple and found in the public dominion: one of Clooney’s main tasks as a Jesuit priest is to “engage the other” in interfaith dialogue, so that the “other”[29] could be persuaded or fooled to accept “Christ”, the primary objective of Vatican. As a Jesuit, his main duty is to accomplish Vatican’s objectives, one of which is converting the heathen through whatever agency, and that agency in recent times is to “engage the other” in dialogue and win him over. Clooney had been burning the midnight oil for at least two decades to find the right sort of Hindu to emerge, so that the Hindu-Christian dialogue initiated by Vatican could be carried forward without it being a monologue[30]. Clooney uses the same term “monologue” while advancing Vatican’s strategy in 2005 as well as while referring to Rajiv Malhotra in December 2011. This reveals a deep design and motive on Clooney’s part to manipulate gullible Hindus like Malhotra.

It follows that Clooney has been using “interfaith” dialogue as a tool for evangelisation for decades as an official agent (SJ) of the Vatican, which initiated it as part of its evangelising mission to conquer people from other religions in 1964[31], a time when Malhotra was at school and nobody has ever heard of an “interfaith” dialogue.

1 c) Third party opinion

Dr. N. S. RajaramDr. Rajaram claiming to “know” both parties merely points to a personal knowledge of Malhotra and Clooney as individuals and as such is not valid in the assessment of an interreligious dialogue, even if the term has an esoteric biblical meaning, which we discount here anyway.

Dr. Rajaram wants us to treat Clooney with kid gloves – “in an informed and civilized manner”. Is it because he is his friend? Obviously not, for Dr. Rajaram says, “what we need today is sophisticated engagement so that the Christian side realizes that we know what we are talking about and will not swallow their sugar-coated versions of propaganda”. It implies that Hindus in general are unsophisticated and sophisticated Christians do not understand (realise) what the former are talking about. It also follows that Christians understand only sophisticated language. This view is voiced by Clooney towards the end of his speech at Dartmouth.

Does Rajaram really mean this, or was it only a blind but loyal and rallying support for two old buddies? Or does he mean that only sophisticated Hindus like Malhotra can converse with sophisticated chaps like Clooney and bring them to their senses? Does he mean that the Christian side will never understand what we are talking about – the assumed content of which is an appeal to stop their “sugar-coated” propaganda – unless we are speaking in sophisticated language to Clooney and the likes. Why doesn’t it cross Rajaram’s mind to just demand Clooney & Co to stop all sorts of propaganda because their religious ware is all rotten matter? Not sophisticated enough for Rajaram, or Clooney? Or is it because Clooney exhorts “learned Hindus” to make “sophisticated” conversations with the West and Rajaram is only parroting it? Do Clooney and Rajaram allude to the kind of “sophistication” one requires to believe in virgin birth?

Fr. Roberto de Nobili SJDr. Rajaram also fails to fill in the big blanks in his statement supporting the Malhotra-Clooney dialogue. He doesn’t explain why it is “not proper” to compare Clooney with Bishop Caldwell and de Nobili. Just because he didn’t know them, but knew only Clooney? Or, because he is American and not English or French? Clooney is in the direct line (SJ parampara) of de Nobili and can be compared fairly thoroughly and appropriately with respect to their change in methods employed to outwit the gullible Hindu. The comparison would be a worthwhile study of the evolutionary pattern of the Catholic Church’s evangelisation techniques with regard to the Hindu in the last 500 years. Clooney defended de Nobili at Dartmouth and even Malhotra applauded, so why does Rajaram warn us against any comparison?

2 Are Malhotra and Clooney true representatives of the faiths they represent?

Whereas Malhotra is a Hindu layman with no backing of any Hindu religious institution or organisation, Clooney is a sworn-in member of the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus and trained for years for the “Great Commission, the call to evangelise”. Neither does Malhotra boast of any degree from a traditional Vedic school nor does he cite a guru-sishya parampara (tradition) by which he can establish his credentials among his Hindu brethren. Clooney is backed by a global organisation with more than a billion members worldwide[32], whereas Malhotra is backed by a few hundred assorted migrant Hindu members (liberal estimation in the absence of any reliable numbers) and few personal friends in India.

3 “New kind of dialogue”

A new kind of dialogueThe new kind of dialogue is not to resolve conflicts or disagreements on a given issue. Malhotra says: “The significance of such an approach to dialogues is not dependent upon whether both sides agree or disagree on a given issue”. Actually, Malhotra concedes there is no point in the dialogue because it is not “viable to reconcile the important philosophical differences without compromise to one side or the other”. It follows that Malhotra excludes compromises, such as a stop to or condemnation of evangelisation programmes which could be proposed by the Christians.

Despite the ineffectiveness of this dialogue, both Clooney and himself “are comfortable accepting these differences”. So, Malhotra’s new kind of dialogue – a dialogue that rules out reconciliation – is to accept the differences, but to remain equal. Thereby Malhotra implies that the old kind of dialogue was for reconciling differences or disagreements, whereas his “new kind of dialogue” is for “comfort” at the table without resolving any existing conflicts or disagreements. If this kind of dialogue becomes a norm in the future, Malhotra would go down in history as the Hindu who opened the door to the enemy and legitimised his new kind of evangelising (spiritual war).

Siddhanta (Synthesis or Right Conclusion):

Based on the sections given above, the purpose of this particular dialogue is the invasion of the sacred territory of the Hindus by vested interests, namely the Catholic Church based at Vatican with branches all over the world. Francis X. Clooney is the mastermind of this piece, scripting and executing every move to perfection. Clooney is spearheading the postmodern proselytisation of Vatican by making a distinct departure from current conventions. For this purpose he needed an accomplice from the opposite camp, which he ultimately found in Rajiv Malhotra. He is a long-term project of Clooney, which the latter launched over a decade ago.

Dancing Jesus in the New Indian BibleRajiv Malhotra started out as a respectable but gullible Hindu layman doing his bit – his piece of the action – for his community in America in their struggle against unequal treatment meted out against pagans by his Christian fellowmen. Malhotra’s call for “respect” is resonant of the black man’s struggle for equality in America. The jarring note in this struggle is his doctrine “equal but different” that echoes the US Supreme Court decision in 1869 that established the fallacious doctrine of “separate but equal,” which constitutionalised racial segregation. The Malhotra doctrine too is a fallacy at best and a stagnant principle, because there is a comfortable complacency or a placid resignation in Malhotra’s equation that might perfectly suit Clooney and Co, but that belies his own fiery rhetoric. The professed outcome of the Malhotra theorem is an illusion that entails disastrous consequences for Hindus in many places.

The dictum “difference anxiety” is also a fallacy, because if Christians and Muslims didn’t consider themselves superior and different from everybody else, they wouldn’t have tried to convert the Hindu or each other, and there would not have been any inculturation or conflict in the first place. If Vatican had thought Hindus were not spiritually deficient, they wouldn’t have invented a dialogue project as a strategy to convert dialogue partners. So, Malhotra’s “difference anxiety” is no radical discovery, but pure sophistry.

Rajiv Malhotra’s role in the dialogue looks murky due to his own confusion about his part. However, it is obvious that he was selected by Francis Clooney as a suitable candidate for his own purposes with or without his knowledge. The latter had cast a vast net far and wide for gullible Hindus for decades, and hooked Malhotra in the due course of a decade. However, it took him that much time to kick-start Vatican’s new form of evangelisation through the agency of Rajiv Malhotra.

It is crystal clear that Clooney is not concerned about Malhotra’s dictums and formulas, or what he is actually speaking at the dialogue, but is focused on indulging in his nefarious pastime – of contaminating Hindu concepts and principles with the primary objective of cannibalising them in order to instil new life into an evil religion that has been rotting for years[33].

Sita Ram Goel & Ram SwarupClooney’s speech at Dartmouth is filled with a gleeful call for dialogue between Hindus and Christians (called the West here) whenever he is not praising Malhotra after quoting from the latter’s book, especially those items that call for “mutual respect”. Clooney, who is backed by political power and influence at a global level, plays down political empowerment of the Hindu by dismissing Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup as outdated and places “non-Hindutva Hindu” Rajiv Malhotra on a pedestal. A Hindu without Hindutva is akin to castrated pet animals that are much preferred in the West for their slavish behaviour.

It is also clear that Rajiv Malhotra found himself at the first interfaith dialogue without any real motive whatsoever other than as a campaigner for Hindu rights and soon began to call for respect after experiencing the opponent’s patronising attitude. It is also reasonable to declare that he wasn’t the host of the dialogue nor a gate-crasher since he originally began the dialogue by asking for “respect”. His presence at the dialogue with Clooney, even if the occasion was a promotional event of his own book, was engineered by the latter. Malhotra would never have participated in an interfaith dialogue had not Vatican, through its seat at the UN, conceived the interreligious dialogue as a tool for evangelisation and initiated it as a campaign through various international academic and political agencies many years ago.

Rajiv Malhotra comes through as a pathetic figure in a tragedy, being tossed around like a pawn by the special effects villainy of Clooney, only to be ridiculed at the end by many of his Hindu brethren and well-wishers including this writer, who appreciate his initiatives like the Hindu Good News and the research work undertaken by him.

To correct the wrong Rajiv Malhotra has done to his own true traditions by misrepresentation, tradition calls upon prayaschita (reparation) commensurate with the karma. Rallying behind the slogan ‘satyameva jayate’ (‘truth alone triumphs’), regaining own inner certitude and advising Clooney to defrock before they resume the next round of dialogue would be a good beginning on that path, and dharma and the whole world will be behind him. – Vijayvaani, Feb. 7, 2012

References

[1] See Christhumatha Chedanam by Chattambi Swamigal - 

http://hinduebooks.blogspot.com/2009/08/english-translation-of-kristumata.html

[2] Book review: “Francis Clooney has distilled in this book decades of his massive and painstaking scholarship on Christian and Hindu theologies … Comparative Theology teaches us how to read sacred texts … so that we can see both similarities and differences between our religious tradition and others. Clooney invites us to join him in developing, each in our own fields of specialization, this emerging theological discipline, of which he richly deserves to be called ‘the Father’. Comparative Theology is destined to be a classic in its field.” - Peter C. Phan, Georgetown University See:-

http://www.wiley-vch.de/publish/dt/books/bySubjectRE00/bySubSubjectRE00/1-4051-7973-2/reviews/?sID=p2qlnooj68su7htl8qrrc2qjt3

[3] Theology is a pure Christian construction. In recent times efforts have been made both by Christians with a vested interest and Hindus enamoured by Christianity to create “Hindu theology” in a manner of Christian theology. It is at best a misnomer. The Hindu sites list the various sampradayas under “Hindu theology”. Theology as a science is the philosophy of those who cannot see the forest for the trees. Christian theology is the philosophy of the absurd since its starting point is a false premise. See also link in footnote 2.

[4] “But Francis Clooney’s book, “Hindu God, Christian God,” took my advice [emphasis added] and has a final chapter by Paramil. Good for Francis!” – R. Malhotra:-

http://rajivmalhotra.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35

[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/religious-difference-with-mutual-respect_b_1165589.html

[6] RajivMalhotra Discussion forum posted by Arun and commented by R. Malhotra, dated January 4, 2012

[7] “We also disagreed on several points. For instance, Clooney views inculturation as a positive posture of Christian friendship toward Indian native culture by adopting Indian symbols and words, whereas I find it to be often used as a mean to lure unsuspecting Indians into Christianity by making the differences seem irrelevant.” -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/religious-difference-with-mutual-respect_b_1165589.html

[8] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/hypocrisy-of-tolerance_b_792239.html

[9] Go to link in footnote 8

[10] http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-hindu-christian-dialogue-malhotra.html

[11] See link in footnote10

[12] See http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?entry_id=4324

[13] Posted on Rajiv Malhotra Discussion forum, Jan 9, 2012

[14] “I have defined myself as a ‘non-Hindutva Hindu’” - 

http://rajivmalhotra.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&catid=26:debate-with-vijay-prashad-trinity-college&Itemid=34

[15] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/religious-difference-with-mutual-respect_b_1165589.html

[16] See link in footnote 15

[17] http://www.medhajournal.com/forum/2-philosophy/1011-being-different.html

[18] “ … there was more light than heat in the room, and I think the entire conversation was illuminating and constructive.” -

http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-hindu-christian-dialogue-malhotra.html

[19] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/hypocrisy-of-tolerance_b_792239.html

[20] See footnote 5

[21] “However, within a month, the Vatican issued a new policy stating that while “followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation [sic] in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.” -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/hypocrisy-of-tolerance_b_792239.html

[22] See link in footnote 10 as well as “His [Malhotra’s] mission … is to bring a strong Hindu voice into conversations on religion …”

http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?entry_id=4324 This blog incited Malhotra to swallow the bait. He posted the first comment: “I welcome Francis’ call for an open discussion/debate on the similarities and dissimilarities between Holy Spirit and Shakti/Kundalini …. any time/place …”

[23] “Suggestion is the psychological process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of another.” -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suggestion

[24] http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-hindu-christian-dialogue-malhotra.html

[25] See the various links on the following page. http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/dialogue.htm All point to “interreligious dialogue” as a modern day tool of evangelisation by the Catholic Church. One may even say that the Vatican has a patent on “interreligious” dialogue.

[26] By “Spirit” Clooney means “Holy Ghost”, but by this deviation from conventional terminology, he is trying to at once objectify and sanitise an evil transcendental entity in order to compare it with a sacred principle of the Hindus.

[27] Prof. Bhu Dev Sharma, ex-president of WAVES, writes in an FHRS (Foundation for Hindu Religious Studies) post dated January 25, 2012: “On Clooney and having a ‘dialogue’ with him, I would like to share my experience. When I was President of ‘WAVES, we invited Clooney at our ‘Int’l Conference’ held in 1992. He came. We put him as a member of the Governing Council of WAVES. He suggested for a Hindu-Christian dialogue. I worked on this project enthusiastically and finalized everything from the Hindu side. I attach and paste below the ‘Announcement’ prepared (it was to go out) by us on this long exercise. But at the last stage, Clooney backed out.”

[28] “You will find the names of three Hindu scholars: Professor Rajeshwari Pandharipande, Professor Vasudha Narayanan, Professor K.L. Seshagiri Rao, who had agreed to be part of the Hindu team for the dialogue proposed by him [Clooney].” – from FHRS post dated January 25, 2012 posted by Bhu Dev Sharma.

[29] “… missionaries encounter various religions in their respective contexts, so with this new emphasis on inter-religious dialogue the proclamation-dialogue debate emerges. That is, how do Christians reconcile the Great Commission, the call to evangelize, with the ecumenical priority of dialogue of Vatican II? Is dialogue really just to be veiled evangelization? Is dialogue a compromise of the evangelical task? Moreover, this question takes on renewed significance because of documents issued separately by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches, documents in which dialogue is viewed as part of the mission of the Church. …. In view of the Vatican Council’s positive valuation of the other, a question unique to our time emerges: What is to be an adequate method for engaging the other and for accounting for the variety of contexts in which this engagement occurs? How are we, in the words of Francis Clooney, going to insure that our dialogue does not become monologue [all emphasis added] (Clooney, 2005)?” See page 12 of “Methodological Presuppositions for Engaging the Other in the PostVatican II Context: Insights from Ignatius and Lonergan” By John D. Dadosky; see -

http://irdialogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/JIRD-3-Dadosky.pdf

[30] Compare statements on “monologue” in Clooney’s blog (see link in footnote 10) and Clooney quoted in footnote 29, which reveal Clooney’s single-minded preoccupation with interreligious dialogues.

[31] http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_pro_20051996_en.html

[32] http://www.zenit.org/article-28425?l=english

[33] See http://identitypublishers.org/insight/ins00.htm

» George Augustine is a freelancer.

4 Responses

  1. Bring Clooney out of the darkness of Christianity into the sunshine. Convert him to Hinduism. Let him accept one of our many Gods – Indra, Agni, Varuna or Krishna as his personal savior.

  2. Mr Augustine shows his theological background by giving my statements much more weight than they deserve. He is making a mountain out of a molehill, which both Clooney and Malhotra are trying to climb.

    I have never wavered in my position that Christianity is never the equal of Sanatana Dharma. I even summarized my position with the question: “What should Hindus do to make the Vatican call back all its missionaries?”

    Muslims give a straight answer: “You should all become Muslims.” Christians have the same answer in mind, but will adopt numerous subterfuges. I see the ‘interfaith dialog’ as a platform for calling their bluff.

    Why waste pages when a sentence will do? (Perhaps that is why I never get invited to such events a second time.)

    Based on the responses to that one question — be they overt or covert, I see conversion as the Christian equivalent of Jihad. Both are devices for world conquest in the name of God. You call it religion, but to me they are communism and other authoritarian political movements.

    • The problem is Malhotra is NOT calling Clooney’s bluff. He has agreed to respect it. Therefore he becomes an accomplice in Clooney’s “jihad” against the Hindus.

    • Dr. Rajaram’s words about the Malhotra-Clooney dialogue assumes weight not because of any gravity in them, but young Hindus who don’t know what is what are reading them and are liable to misunderstand them. It is all the more baffling and smacks of hypocrisy instead of ignorance, when a person who has a definite view about Christianity and its methods (as given above) cheerlead a Clooney SJ show. Sentiments for pals are natural, but it is not loyalty to go to their aid while carrying out ignoble purposes.

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