What Hinduism is lacking – Maria Wirth

Maria WirthIt struck me one morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected if Hindus would choose to be as irrational and if they would back up—this is an important ingredient—their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right” and threaten those who dare to dissent with death. – Maria Wirth

There seems to be some “defect” in Hinduism, because worldwide, it is clearly not as respected as Christianity and Islam. Hindus struggle to get a fair representation for Hinduism in the media or in textbooks whether abroad or even at home.

This is hard to understand, because Hinduism has the best philosophical basis of all and is in tune with modern nuclear science. It acknowledges that the essence in all is consciousness (spirit) and shows practical ways how to realize this one spirit as true. It is therefore even in tune with the ever growing tribe in the West who say “I am spiritual, not religious”.

When India was ruled by Christians and Muslims, it was understandable that those in power promoted their religion as the best and denigrated the “primitive native religion”. But today, when there is an open market of ideas, why is Hinduism still getting a rough and very unfair deal when it actually deserved the highest respect, and how can this be changed?

One fine morning I realized what Hinduism is “lacking” and how this could be rectified. Hinduism would finally be on the same footing as Christianity and Islam.

HellIt is simple.

The ancient rishis had left out only one important sentence after passing on their insights. This one sentence obviously makes all the difference whether a religion is respected, powerful and keeps gaining followers or whether it is demeaned, ridiculed and loses followers.

This sentence is:

If you don’t believe what we tell you, the supreme Divinity will throw you for all eternity into hell-fire.

Let’s imagine Maharishi Vyasa, after compiling the Vedas, had added this sentence: “Whoever does not believe in the Vedas as the only truth, will be thrown for all eternity into hell-fire by Bhagawan himself.”

Or after writing the Mahabharata, if he had added “Whosoever does not believe that Sri Krishna is the only true mediator between man and Ishwara, will burn eternally in hell”.

Or if Valmiki, after writing down the teaching of Yoga Vashishta to Prince Rama, had added that Vashishta alone is the true guru and whoever does not believe it will end up in hell.

Or even today, if Mata Amritanandamayi for example, who has several miracles to her credit and an unparalleled outflow of love, would claim that she is the only indigenous daughter of Bhagawan and who does not believe it, will be thrown into hell-fire forever….

If this had happened, Hinduism would not be the underdog. It would be on the same level with the respected religions. In fact, the newcomer religions probably had little chance to come up, because Hinduism was there ages before them and it could have easily declared those newcomers as inexcusable heretics that need to be put to death.

In fact, not all is lost. Since the Bible and the Quran were written down after Jesus and Mohammed had died and several earlier versions were discarded, maybe Hindus still could amend their sacred texts?

In case it is not clear, of course I am not serious.

But it struck me one morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected if Hindus would choose to be as irrational and if they would back up—this is an important ingredient—their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right” and threaten those who dare to dissent with death.

Actually, it is not so much irrationality but cunningness, because those who made those claims of eternal hell for outsiders in all likelihood did not believe it themselves. It could not possibly have come from RishiDivine inspiration but is driven by worldly power.

The rishis in contrast were truthful. They were not cunning or irrational, and Indians—all Indians—can be proud of them.

But pride is not enough. Present day Indians need to take care that this irrationality does not eat into their society because it will lead to its downfall. It is not difficult to find examples for such societies.

Dharma finds expression through people who stand up for it and if necessary fight for it. Adharmic forces need to be called out and challenged.

It seems, on this world stage, a Mahabharata war is always on, in all ages. Yet ultimately, at a higher level beyond the dichotomy of good and evil, all are absorbed in the one eternal Brahman from which all has originated.

There won’t be a huge cauldron of fire where billions of human beings will burn for all eternity. This claim by both Christianity and Islam does not deserve respect.

It deserves ridicule. – Maria Wirth Blog, 30 June 2016

» Maria Wirth is an author and psychologist who has lived many decades in Uttarakhand.



Book Review: A colonial debate on Sati – Farrukh Dhondy

Tanjore painting of a Rani Sati

Farrukh DhondySydney Smith attacked the missionaries as not being gentlemen scholars of the clergy but rather “devout tinkers who set off for the East”. He castigates them for their intolerance of the religions they find there: “The missionaries complain of intolerance. A weasel might as well complain of intolerance when he is throttled for sucking eggs.” – Farrukh Dhondy

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted that “navigation, especially that which is commercial, shall be one great means of carrying on the work of God.” Having lived a few thousand years before the East India Company began to trade and annex parts of India, he couldn’t have known, except through miraculous prophecy, that the 18th and 19th century evangelists of Britain would take their proselytising mission to the subcontinent.

Meenakshi Jain’s enlightening historical account is, in the words of her introduction, “not a work on sati per se. It does not address in any depth, issues of the possible origins of the rite; its voluntary or mandatory nature; the role if any of priests or family members; or any other aspect associated with the actual practice of widow immolation.” The focus of the work is instead “the colonial debate on sati” and the role of Christian missionaries and their attempt to defeat the resolve of the merchants of the East India Company to refrain from interfering with the religious beliefs and practices of the native populations of what had become their imperial territories.

William Carey and a captive Hindu student of Christianism.Between 1801 and 1802, the Baptist missionary William Carey was commissioned by the Governor General Lord Wellesley to research and prepare a report on child sacrifice as a religious rite. In 1802 an ordinance against the practice was passed. It was the first regulation issued by the British rulers which directly forbade a “religious” practice. There was no rebellious reaction to it. Jain contends that this was probably because child sacrifice was rarely practised and the law was aimed, not at the protection of children, but at altering the opinion of the British public back home. Calling attention to what the missionaries labelled “barbaric practices” would further their cause of conversion.

Jain, throughout her account of this central ideological battle, quotes the Indologist and Orientalist current of opinion which went against the missionary attempt. The Sanskrit scholars H. H. Wilson and William Jones vociferously contended that child sacrifice and female infanticide were rare occurrences and had no religious sanction in Hinduism.

The argument between the missionaries and the orientalists continued and resulted in a partial defeat for the latter when the Charter Act of 1813 allowed missionaries to operate in India.

The abolition of sati in 1829 by Governor General Lord William Bentinck was among the final acts of interference in religious practices. Again the ordnance met with no resistance. “No sepoy shot at his colonel; nowhere were magistrates or missionaries mobbed, treasuries plundered or bungalows fired,” wrote William Carey.

The Hindu religion, if not the practice of sati, had very many defenders and indeed admirers. Jain quotes Colonel Stewart of Bengal who writes that Hindus invented immortality. Stewart is also quoted as saying that he admired the heroism of Hindu widows who immolated themselves while disapproving of the delusion that prompted them to it.

Sydney SmithSydney Smith attacked the missionaries as not being gentlemen scholars of the clergy but rather ‘devout tinkers who set off for the East’. He castigates them for their intolerance of the religions they find there: “The missionaries complain of intolerance. A weasel might as well complain of intolerance when he is throttled for sucking eggs.”

The first half of Jain’s meticulous account is devoted to this intellectual battle, by and large confined to British opponents. Her account doesn’t confine itself to the battle over the rights and wrongs of sati or to the preponderance of the phenomenon but covers the clear, but in my judgement failed, attempt by a particular brand of missionary to convert India to Christianity and to denigrate the religion and practices of Hindus.

The latter half of the book reproduces accounts of sati and verbatim descriptions of reactions to its occurrence through the ages. The accounts substantiate Ms Jain’s arguments – and of course they would as she has chosen them! But they also tell a different story or perhaps several different stories and it’s a credit to Ms Jain’s historical objectivity to have included them.

In another historian’s hands a book about the contentious practice of widow burning could have produced something completely contrary. A Marxist account may have attributed the practice to the laws of property tracing its origin in the conventions of property and inheritance.

A psychological account may insist that “voluntary” sati is akin to the voluntary suicide-bombing with the bomber fervently believing that his act will guarantee an instant place in Islamic heaven with 72 virgins thrown in.

A consideration of why a trading enterprise turned to the Imperial tasks of converting the subject peoples would consider how industrial Britain was evolving from its feudal past. But these are not the focus of Ms Jain’s engaging and single-minded perspective, which illustrates in-depth the changes and conflicts of attitude that accompanied this evolution. – Vijayvaani, 26 June 2016

» Farrukh Dhondy is an author, playwright and columnist in London.

» Prof Meenakshi Jain is an author, political scientist and professor of history at Gargi College, Delhi.

Sati: Evangelicals, Baptist Missionaries, and the Changing Colonial Discourse by Meenakshi Jain

Mother Teresa brainwashed Hindus and fuelled an insurgency, claim BJP leaders – Andrew Marszal

Mother Teresa

Yogi AdityanathSome in Kolkata resent that their city became a byword for poverty due to her work. –  Andrew Marszal

Mother Teresa conspired to “brainwash” Hindus into Christianity and helped fuel a violent military insurgency in India’s northeast, leaders of India’s ruling BJP have claimed.

The controversy come just weeks ahead of Mother Teresa’s canonisation on September 4, when celebrations are expected in her adopted city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) despite the Nobel Laureate’s divisive legacy in India.

Yogi Adityanath, an outspoken MP and Hindu priest, told a religious meeting in Uttar Pradesh state on Saturday that Mother Teresa had been “part of a conspiracy for Christianisation of India”.

Hindu poor, particularly from lower castes, turn to missionaries when they are unable to afford medical care for their children, but are “brainwashed” into becoming Christians, he warned.

“It is a conspiracy against the Hindus,” said Mr Adityanath, 44. “Hindus were targeted in the name of doing service and then converted by her.”

He added that large-scale Christian conversions “led to to separatist movements” in parts of northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

The northeastern states neighbouring Kolkata are home to many of India’s 28 million Christians, especially among tribal communities visited by missionaries since colonial times. Nagaland, a Christian-majority state, has in particular has suffered a long-running violent separatist movement.

Mr Adityanath is seen as the extreme face of the BJP’s “Hindutva” agenda, which aspires to a non-secular India, and equates Hinduism with patriotism.

Dr. Subramanian SwamyBut his position was backed on Wednesday by Subramanian Swamy, a highly prominent firebrand politician recently promoted to India’s senate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“You see the issue of Yogi Adityanath expressing his view is not an isolated view,” Mr Swamy told ANI.

“If you go to Google you would get a lots of books about her,” he said, referring to the works of polemicist Christopher Hitchens who once famously called Mother Teresa a “thieving, fanatical Albanian dwarf”.

Mohan BhagwatMr Swamy also raised Mother Teresa’s alleged support for the scandal-hit American financier Charles Keating.

The row echoes claims made last year by Mohan Bhagwat, leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which nurtured Mr Modi as a young man, that Mother Teresa’s charitable works were aimed at converting the poor to Christianity.

Mother Teresa, who was born in Macedonia to Albanian parents, was hailed worldwide for her work helping the poor and diseased.

But some in Kolkata resent that their city became a byword for poverty due to her work. – The Telegraph, 22 June 2016

» Andrew Marszal is The Telegraph’s correspondent in New Delhi.

Christopher Hitchens

Academics condemn Mother Teresa

See scholars’ report

NGOs are getting foreign funds to promote religious conversion, stoke communal tension – Zee News

Religious conversion is the cause of religious conflict.

Kiren RijijuAccording to a Home Ministry report, Rs 12,980 crore reached NGOs from the foreign donors in 2013-14, out of which some part was meant for religious conversion.

Several foreign-funded Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) are involved in religious conversion in India.

According to Intelligence agencies, while some NGOs are working in the country to promote religious conversion, many are also involved in flaring up communal tension.

Around 18 foreign donors have been identified who have been constantly funding these NGOs. As per the details available, two each donors have been identified from the US, South Korea and Europe.

The NGOs believed to be involved in conversion are active in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

According to a Home Ministry report, Rs 12,980 crore reached NGOs from the foreign donors in 2013-14, out of which some part was meant for religious conversion.

Last year, a total of 69 NGOs were blacklisted by the government from receiving foreign funds.

Informing the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said among those NGOs which were prohibited from receiving the foreign funds include 14 from Andhra Pradesh, 12 from Tamil Nadu, five each from Gujarat and Odisha, four each from Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala and three from Delhi.- Zee News, 8 June 2016

Baptising a new convert in Andhra Pradesh.

Anandiben PatelIn Gujarat, 1,838 people applied for conversion in the past 5 years; 1,735 were Hindus! – Deeptiman Tiwary

In Gujarat, 1,838 people from different parts of the state had applied for conversion in the past five years. Out of these 1838, 1,735 were Hindus!

This data was furnished by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in the state assembly on Tuesday.

Anandiben Patel, who also handles the state Home department, informed the House that total 1,838 people from different parts of the state had applied for conversion in last five years.

Consent given to 878

“Out of these, the Home Department gave its consent to 878 applicants of different religions during that period,” the CM added.

The Chief Minister was replying to a Congress MLA Tejashree Patel’s written query seeking details of applications received by the state Home Department from citizens, who wish to embrace another religion, in the last five years (till October 2015).

Data: Breakup

Out of total 1,838 applicants, the highest number of applications—1,735—came from Hindus, followed by Muslims (57), Christians (42) and Parsis (4). No one from Sikh and Buddhist community applied for conversion during that period, Patel said in her written reply.

Highest number of applications from Hindus were received from Surat district (515), followed by Rajkot (388) and Porbandar (325).


Talking to reporters after the session, the Congress MLA told reporters that government should form a committee to find out the reasons behind such a high number of Hindu applicants.

“The state government should take this matter seriously and conduct a survey through a committee to find out why Hindus want to change their religion,” Tejashree said.

Newly-elected state BJP chief Vijay Rupani demanded that the state government should act tough against conversion activities in the state.

“BJP firmly believes that religious conversion (of Hindus) must be stopped in the state. I request the government to take strict action against those who are involved in conversion activities,” said Rupani, who is also the Road Transport Minister in Gujarat Government. – Zee News,  16 March 2016

» Deeptiman Tiwary is a journalist in New Delhi.

A shameless pope targeting innocents!

World Vision employs surrogate advertising to get Hindus to donate funds towards their conversion activities in Indian villages.

See also

Caste discrimination within the Indian Church – The Hindu

Dalits for Equal Rights in Churches

Dalit Christians protest against caste discrimination in the ChurchThough Dalits account for more than 50% of total population of Catholics, they have not been given any important posts in Church administration. – The Hindu

Conversion from Hinduism to other religions, it is generally argued, is to escape the untouchability and caste-based discrimination inherent in Hinduism. Christianity, however, is not able to eradicate untouchability, and casteism continues to dominate both the Protestant and Catholic Church even though Dalits form the majority of the Christian population in Tamil Nadu.

Thadam Thedi, a pilot report on the status of Dalit Christians in Catholic Church, says though Dalits account for 22,40,726 of the total population of 39,64,360 Catholics, they have not been given any important posts in Church administration. Of the 18 Archbishops in Tamil Nadu, only two are Dalits.

G. Mathew, one of members of the committee that prepared the report, said in many churches, Dalits have separate cemetery and funeral carts and are not allowed to use the common road leading to the church.

Madurai bishop & black flag protest against caste discrimination within the Church (11 August 2010)Rituals prevented

In some churches, the body of Dalits are not allowed for rituals.

“Dalits in Punnaivanam, Rayappanpatti, Chithalacheri, Hanumanthanpatti, Pullampadi, Poondi and Eraiyur are fighting for their rights. Even the internationally renowned Velankannai Basilica is not an exception to the trend. The conflict in Eraiyur in Villupuram led to police firing in 2008 and now we have resolved the issue,” said Mr. Mathew, a native of the village.

‘Attracted by faith’

Fr John Suresh of Dalit Viduthalai Peravai argued that it was incorrect to say that Dalits converted to Christianity only to escape casteism and for the benefits that came with the conversion. “They are attracted by the faith. Christianity allowed them to stand on the pulpit and preach,” he contended.

He also admitted that casteism had pervaded the socio-cultural fabric of the Indian society and Christianity also had to make compromise with Brahminism.

“As a native of India, they seem to be baptised in the name of caste. In India, we have not understood the soul of Christianity,” Fr Suresh argued.

Fr Jagath Gasper Raj from South Tamil Nadu said it was incorrect to say that there was complete discrimination against Dalits in the Church though the caste mindset had its presence in the Church too.

“The Church gave them a voice and a space for their upward mobility,” he contended. – The Hindu, 6 June 2016Caste segregated Christian graveyard in Tamil Nadu

Calling unacceptable what is unacceptable – Maria Wirth

Maria WirthIf an individual demeans another individual because of his religion, he is booked under some laws. Yet until now, the far greater abuse of half of the world population by the doctrines of Christianity and Islam themselves has not been called out as unacceptable. Freedom of religion can never include the right to demean those who worship in another way. – Maria Wirth

During the Ujjain Simhasth Kumbh 2016, a Vichar Maha Kumbh, an International Convention, was organized from May 12-14, and a universal declaration was released in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I felt grateful that I had been invited and had sent in a proposal. Dr. Yvette Rosser who had been given the opportunity to speak, felt that my proposal was more important than what she had intended to talk Dr Yvette Rosserabout and presented the major points at a plenary session at the International Convention near Ujjain.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Modi in his speech pointed out that expansionism and the “holier than thou” attitude of “tere raste se mera rasta zyada sahi hai” are the causes for conflict in the world.

To realize this is an important step. Yet even more important is to find ways to prevent this holier than thou attitude from taking root in a large portion of humanity and to expose those ideologies which claim that it is the command of the Divine that their particular way of worshipping the Highest has to be accepted by all human beings.

Here is the proposal on the topic “Religion for human welfare.”

Being at the Simhasth Kumbh is a privilege, as well as a responsibility. Since ancient times the Kumbh Mela was an occasion where spiritual personalities guided lay people on the dharmic way of life, and fearlessly and honestly conducted debates about truth.

Today, the world is interconnected. It means that the debates on truth need also to take note of the truths that are propagated elsewhere. Sincere questions must be asked and satisfying answers sought also of Christians and Muslims.

Indian philosophy is solid. It makes not only sense but is validated by modern science. Indian wisdom is slowly spreading over the world. But this is not enough.

Intellectual sincerity demands that swamis not only share their tradition with Indians and the world, but also point out dangerous aspects of other traditions, if they are there. There is no doubt that in the name of Christianity and Islam great misery was brought over mankind, killing millions over the centuries. It is absolutely necessary to find out how this could happen.

Unfortunately, Hindus shy away from this task. Maybe the reason is that they don’t know Christianity and Islam well enough as they are no insiders of those religions. They are told only the good points which are also there.

Another reason may be that Hindus don’t want to say anything negative about other religions, even if it is true, as it may be seen as an insult. This is however a weakness. The search for truth must overrule such consideration, and ideally those, who are criticized, would be happy to discover their flaws. And anyway, others have no such hesitation towards Hinduism which they freely criticize and blatantly condemn as falsehood.

Today, every second child in the world is either Christian or Muslim and is indoctrinated into a fixed doctrine that must not be questioned. The followers of Christianity and Islam account now for more than half of the world population, and if those, who can clearly see the dangerous aspects in those doctrines, keep quiet, soon there may be no more chance to speak, and we would have failed humanity in a big way.

What contains this fixed doctrine?

HellI for example “knew” already as a child that I am very lucky that I was born in a Catholic family, because Catholics alone have the true belief and God loves us, because we love his son Jesus who died for our sins, etc.

A Muslim child is probably told something similar—that she is very lucky that she was born in a Muslim family because Islam is the only true belief and Allah loves those who follow Prophet Mohammed’s instructions.

Each of those two religions makes also a terrible, but untrue claim: all those who don’t belong to their own religion, will suffer for all eternity in hell-fire.

Anybody who is not indoctrinated can see immediately that there is something very dangerous and discriminative in these claims.

Let’s analyze them:

First: It is not possible that there are several absolute Divine Powers. Now if there is only One, is it possible that this inconceivably powerful, conscious Being which is the cause for the billions of galaxies insists on one specific way of worship and on one specific name?

Second: Is this great Power really separate from creation, as those religions claim or is it the essence and awareness in all human beings, never mind whether they call the Divine by the name of God, Allah, Bhagawan, Shiva, Pure Mind, Brahman, etc.?

Third: the claim that those who don’t convert will burn in hell for all eternity needs to be dismissed outright. It is ridiculous, but unfortunately still widely believed by those who were indoctrinated into their fixed doctrines.

The issue is serious. Today’s most pressing problem, Islamic terrorism, has its roots in the claim that infidels are rejected by Allah. ISIS and others don’t see them even as human beings, but rather as sub-human, and therefore it is easy to kill them. Their foot soldiers consider it a sacred duty to rid the earth of such sub-humans to please their god. Obviously they are convinced that what they were taught is true and they will get paradise for their acts.

Christians, too, see it as their duty to ‘save’ Hindus and in the process uproot them from their tradition and make them look down on it and on their Hindu fellow citizens. Even if they lose faith in Christianity later, it will be almost impossible for them to value again their ancestors and they are likely to become atheists. (Europe is an example).

Hindus are called “idol worshipper”. Idol worship is the worst sin for both Christianity and Islam. This label has done great harm. Hindus who are killed seem to matter far less compared to Christians or Muslims. We need only watch the news to know that it’s true or go back into history.

The term “religion” is only about 1000 years old and was used first for the Church and later for Islam. It means “to bind”. If religion is for the welfare of people, it must bind oneself to the Divine and not to one book or doctrine.

Narendra ModiIf religion is for the welfare of people, it must also mean that terror against “others” has absolutely no place in religion. In fact, there should be no “others” as Hindu Dharma demonstrates). From this follows that discrimination of persons, who worship the Divine in another way, cannot be part of a religion. If it is contained in the doctrine of religions, it needs to be put on the table, discussed threadbare and scrapped. When it is discussed openly there is a chance that doubt creeps into the mind of “believers” (this has happened to many Christians in the West). And once doubt about the doctrine has risen, it is not possible anymore to “believe”. One still can pretend (if blasphemy laws are in place), but fanaticism has gone.

If an individual demeans another individual because of his religion, he is quickly booked under some laws. Yet until now, the far greater abuse of half of the world population by the doctrines of Christianity and Islam themselves has not been called out as unacceptable. Freedom of religion can never include the right to demean those who worship in another way.

The Kumbh Sangams have a tradition of fearlessly enquiring into the truth. I would earnestly request Hindu representatives at the International Convention to include in the “Universal Declaration on the welfare of humanity” a request to the UN to take up the issue of religious discrimination by the Christian and Islamic doctrines and to direct those religions to stop telling their followers and especially their children that those who worship the Supreme in different ways, are less human and will suffer eternally in hell unless they convert.

It might be even more effective, if the Indian government would coordinate with countries where the majority is neither Christian nor Muslim, like Japan, China, Thailand, etc. and lobby with the UN for this undoubtedly reasonable request. This is not a religious issue. It is about safeguarding their citizens from being unfairly defamed and from hate-crimes which are the natural outcome from such unacceptable discrimination.

It is urgent, because indoctrination into disdain and even hatred especially for Hindus is daily happening and efforts are on by Islamic countries to ban any criticism of Islam. Unofficially, many have already imposed a ban on themselves due to political correctness.

We need to act before it is too late. – Maria Wirth Blog, 29 May 2016

» Maria Wirth is a German psychologist and author who has lived in North India for decades.

Ujjain: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the valedictory funtion of three-day International Vichar Maha Kumbh during Simhastha Maha Kumbh Mela, in Ujjain on Saturday. Also seen is President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena. PTI Photo(PTI5_14_2016_000074B)

Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016

How Jesus the Himalayan yogi is used as a conversion ploy – David Frawley

Issa (Jesus) and Giant's Head by Nicholas Roerich (1932)

Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)In India today, the image of Christ as a yogi is not used by Christians to honor the teachings of Yoga. Jesus as a yogi is a new form of conversion propaganda employed by those who do not follow Yoga at all, but use the story to subvert a deeper questioning of their motives and the biases of their theologies. – Dr David Frawley

The Jesus in India Story

In the nineteenth century, Hindu gurus and Western mystics, while examining teachings of the Gospels about non-violence and turning the other cheek, came to the conclusion that Jesus must have been a yogi who visited India.

The Ahmadiyya movement: a new nineteenth century sect of Islam centered in Kashmir, added much to the idea. They claimed their founder, Mirza Gulam Ahmad, was in fact Jesus reborn to fulfill the prophecies of Islam. Ahmadiyyas taught that Jesus survived his ordeal on the cross and went to Kashmir where he was later buried.

Stories of Jesus in India became popular, with claims of secret teachings found in ancient monasteries confirming this, though no such documents seem to have ever been verified.

Apollonius of TyanaMysticism in the Greco-Roman world

There are certainly mystical teachings in early Christianity, particularly in unorthodox and syncretic Gnostic sects, that have Vedantic and Buddhist affinities. But these can be found in all the literature of the Greco-Roman era with its many combinations of mystical teachings from Greece, Egypt, Persia and India. The entire Greco-Roman world was exposed to teachings from India through an extensive mercantile trade and travel.

Apollonius of Tyana, who also lived in the first century CE, was a miracle working mystic like Jesus, famous for having travelled to India to study with its great gurus. Some scholars claim that the Jesus and Apollonius stories were at times confused. Even the great Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus in the third century CE made an abortive effort to travel to India, indicating that the mystical journey to India was a common theme of the Greco-Roman world. This means that a yogic influence existed in the mix of contemporary teachings that Christianity came out of.

Compounding the issue is the ongoing debate about the historicity of Jesus. The Jesus story that mainstream Christianity accepts of the four Gospels was not finalized and made authoritative until the fourth century. Yet these gospels do not agree as to the timing of the birth of Jesus. Actual historical records of the Christians of the first century are limited and questionable.

Modern scholarship does not accept the Jesus in India story, though it does accept that mystics like Apollonius traveled to India. No major Western scholars, religious or not, place Jesus in India during any period of his life.

Jesus & KrishnaYogi Jesus as a conversion ploy

To date, no major sect of Christianity outside of India, including the Catholic Church, regards the Jesus as a yogi story as more than fantasy or heresy. However, Christian groups in India do circulate the Jesus as yogi story to aid their efforts to convert Hindus.

In India today, the image of Christ as a yogi is not used by Christians to honor the teachings of Yoga. Jesus as a yogi is a new form of conversion propaganda employed by those who do not follow Yoga at all, but use the story to subvert a deeper questioning of their motives and the biases of their theologies.

Missionaries tell uninformed Hindus that Jesus was a yogi or the avatar Kalki (a ploy Muslim missionaries use for Mohammed). But they do not direct people to honor Yoga teachings or Yoga gurus as well. Rather they say that since Christ was a great yogi, you can gain everything spiritually by converting to Christianity and do not need the rest of Yoga. They quote Hindu gurus praising Jesus but do not praise these gurus or their teachings in turn. Some Christian priests in India formally study Yoga or Vedanta, not to follow these teachings, but to aid in communication for converting Hindus, using Hindu concepts for their advantage, like Jesus as a yogi.

If Christians want to honor the image of Christ as a yogi, let them first use it in Rome or in any other major Christian country or church! Otherwise it is dishonest. Let them honor Yoga, not simply Jesus, and the Hindu background of the Yoga tradition.

Jesus the YogiSubversion of Hindu practices

The Christ as yogi image is combined with an entire range of missionary subterfuges. Missionaries take Hindu bhajans to deities like Rama, Krishna or Shiva and substitute the name of Jesus. A Christian form of Bharat Natyam has been invented, with traditional Hindu dance forms as offerings to Jesus. Hindu pillars or stambhas are placed in front of churches in South India as if these were types of Hindu temples. Churches perform aratis to Jesus rather than the usual Christian rituals. Mother Mary is made to resemble Hindu Goddesses in her depictions. Such practices are used to draw people away from their Hindu roots and make them receptive to conversion.

Rather than affording a greater respect for Hindu and Buddhist teachings, the Jesus as a yogi story is sadly becoming one of the main conversion ploys in the country.

We must be very clear about this fact: Regardless of whether Jesus was a yogi (which remains debatable) the exclusion and conversion based theology and practices of Christianity must be understood along with their consequences. The idea of only One True God, church, savior, or scripture, a single life for the soul, with sin and salvation to heaven and hell are contrary to Yoga philosophy, which aims at Self-realization, a state of unitary awareness beyond body and mind, time and space.

Unfortunately, when one exposes Christian conversion efforts today, some Hindus rush to the defense of the church under the response that Jesus was a yogi! They forget to note that whether Jesus was a yogi, the churches do not honor or represent the tradition of Yoga. If it is Yoga that people want to learn, it will not happen in the churches or by the priests, but by true Yoga gurus in the traditions of Sanatana Dharma, which remain abundantly available today. – Swarajya, 24 May 2016

» Dr David Frawley is a Vedacharya and includes in his unusual wide scope of studies Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the oldest Rigveda. Contact him at vedanet@aol.com.

Christian Yoga?


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