Video: Interview with Brooke Boon, founder of Holy (Christian) Yoga – Rajiv Malhotra

Holy (Christian) Yoga

Holy (Christian) Yoga

Holy Yoga exists to carry the (Christian) gospel to the ends of the earth through the modality of yoga. – Brooke Boon

See full essay by Joe Suozzo (analysed by Rajiv Malhotra in the video above).

 

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The Ambedkar they don’t want you to know about – Aravindan Neelakandan

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Aravindan NeelakandanMaybe Baba Saheb’s ideas were first ignored and then misrepresented precisely because the intelligentsia knew that those ideas would not fit into the “left-liberal” narrative. Being a prolific scholar and a patriot, Dr Ambedkar recorded his observations on a myriad of topics, events, problems and debates of his times. Here are seven aspects of those which the Old Media and the leftist academic cartel do not want Indians to know about.

1. Dr Ambedkar considered the mahavakyas of Upanishads the spiritual basis of democracy

In his famous speech to the Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal, Dr Ambedkar made the suggestion that Hindus need not look anywhere outside their scriptures to build a society based on the principles of liberty, fraternity and equality. They could look into the Upanishads for those values, he said.

Later in his scathing attack on Hinduism in the book Riddles of Hinduism, he not only revisited the idea but elaborated on it. He took the three mahavakyas—Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma, Aham Brahmasmi, and Tatvamasi—and named their combined purport. He wrote:

To support democracy because we are all children of God is a very weak foundation for democracy to rest on. That is why democracy is so shaky wherever it made to rest on such a foundation. But to recognize and realize that you and I are parts of the same cosmic principle leaves room for no other theory of associated life except democracy. It does not merely preach democracy. It makes democracy an obligation of one and all.

2. Dr Ambedkar considered the Hindu Civil Code the first step towards a Uniform Civil Code

The same Dr Ambedkar who rejected outright the inhuman and outdated aspects of smrithi traditions also demonstrated that the same tradition, with all its diversity, could be distilled to create a Hindu law that had prominent space for social democracy and gender justice.

He saw the Hindu Code Bill (HCB) as instrumental in moulding Hindu society into a unitary one based on the principles of liberty and equality. In a lecture delivered on 11 January 1950, he declared:

The present bill is progressive. This is an effort to try to have one civil law for all the citizens under the constitution of India. The law is based on the religious scriptures of the Hindus.

While for Nehru the HCB was perhaps a political device to obfuscate between the Hindu traditionalists and Hindu nationalists, thus making himself the champion of liberal democracy within the Congress, for Dr Ambedkar the HCB was a tool for creating a strong and healthy Hindu society which could become the basis for the modern Indian state.

3. Dr Ambedkar was against giving Indus water to Pakistan without Pakistan acknowledging Indian farmers’ first rights over the river

British economist Henry Vincent Hodson occupied many key positions in the colonial government as the Director of the Empire Division of the Ministry of Information and Constitutional Advisor to the Viceroy. In his book The Great Divide: Britain-India-Pakistan (1969), he gives a detailed account of how Dr Ambedkar refused Pakistan the Indus water and how Mountbatten intervened on behalf of Pakistan:

At a meeting of ministerial representatives from India and Pakistan on 3rd May (1948), Dr Ambedkar, for India, insisted that no water could be supplied until Pakistan accepted India’s legal claim that all the water belonged to East Punjab, who had the right to do with it as they wished. The chief Pakistan representative, Mr Gulam Mohammed, came to see Lord Mountbatten after the meeting had broken down on this point. The Governor General immediately phoned Pandit Nehru and expressed his disgust that miserable peasants and refugees were being made to suffer when the matter was still under negotiation. Pandit Nehru agreed and undertook to get the conference going again and break the deadlock.

4. Dr Ambedkar wanted Sanskrit to be the national language of India

As it is now well known, Dr Ambedkar wanted Sanskrit to be the national language of India. The Sunday Hindustan Standard dated 11 September 1949, reported that Baba Saheb, as law minister, wanted Sanskrit to be the official language of the Union. In the Executive Committee of the All India Scheduled Caste Federation, Dr Ambedkar reiterated the same.

Later, when the creation of linguistic states became a burning issue, Dr Ambedkar was in favour of the creation of such states. While he recognised that there was an inherent danger in the creation of linguistic states, he believed that it was a danger “a wise and firm statesman could avert”.

Towards that end, Dr Ambedkar made the following strong recommendation:

The only way I can think of meeting the danger is to provide in the Constitution that the regional language shall not be the official language of the State. The official language of the State shall be Hindi and until India becomes fit for this purpose English. … Since Indians wish to unite and develop a common culture it is the bounden duty of all Indians to own up Hindi as their language. Any Indian who does not accept this proposal as part and parcel of a linguistic State has no right to be an Indian. He … cannot be an Indian in the real sense of the word except in a geographical sense.

This recommendation goes beyond recommending Hindi as the official language. It also recognises the need to develop India as a culturally united nation-state. It also rejects the territorial conceptualisation of nationhood and advocates strong cultural nationalism as the basis for nationhood “in the real sense”.

5. Dr Ambedkar wanted an Indian army free of the preponderances of elements hostile to India

In his mercilessly objective analysis of the demographic nature of the pre-Partition Indian Army, Dr Ambedkar showed how the Indian Army in the north-western region of India was having a very high proportion of Islamists. He exposed as false the British reasoning that it was because the North-Western province Muslims were martial races while most of the Hindus were not. He stated that it was actually the rebellion of “1857 which was the real cause of the preponderance in the Indian Army of the men of the North-West” and not the so-called martial and non-martial classes theory, which termed “a purely arbitrary and artificial distinction”.

Pointing out the gross inequalities and inherent insecurities against the Hindus in the pre-Partition Indian Army, Dr Ambedkar wrote about the need for “getting rid of the Muslim preponderance in the Indian Army”.

The bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crores which is spent on the Army … is contributed by the Hindu Provinces and is spent on an Army which for the most part consists of non-Hindus! How many Hindus are aware of this tragedy? How many know at whose cost this tragedy is being enacted? Today the Hindus are not responsible for it because they cannot prevent it. The question is whether they will allow this tragedy to continue.

While Dr Ambedkar’s statement about the complete exchange of populations between India and Pakistan as part of the Partition formula is well-known, his views of keeping Indian institutions like the army free of the preponderance of elements hostile to Indian national life is not well-known.

6. Dr Ambedkar viewed with suspicion the missionary support for the movement of Dalit causes

In his preface to Prof Lakshmi Narasu’s book, the Essentials of Buddhism, he pointed out that the missionary support for social reforms was not because of any real concern but only as a means for proselytisation. He wrote:

That was the era when Christian Missionaries were not only countenancing the social reform movement but viewed it with high favour as marking a half-way house between orthodox Hinduism and conversion to Christianity. It did not take long for them to change their views and look upon such progressive movements as constituting a real hindrance to proselytization.

It is interesting to note that the Collected Works of Dr. Ambedkar (Vol. 17) also includes a letter written to Dr Ambedkar by Babu Jagivan Ram, another tall leader of the Scheduled Communities. This letter was from the files of the British CID of Bihar province and is part of a Special Officer’s report, dated 9 March 1937.

Addressing Baba Saheb as “my dear Doctor Saheb”, Babu Jagajivan Ram cautioned against one Mr Baldeo Prasad Jaiswal of Allahabad. “No person of Bihar is with him. He has his office located in a Catholic Church here and everything is being manoeuvred by missionaries”, wrote Babu Jagajivan Ram and went on to point out that “he will not be able to have a gathering of more than one hundred Depressed Classes”. “He can, of course, invite thousands of Muhammamidans and Christians as he did at Lucknow. I take strong objection of this method. We should have genuine Depressed Classes conferences”, so the letter concludes.

The letter shows that both the leaders were averse in principle to the missionary meddling in the movements of Scheduled Communities. That the letter ended in the files of the British CID also shows an interest or involvement of the colonial government against them.

7. Dr Ambedkar wanted the Indian state to run an Indian Priest Service for Hinduism

In his work, Annihilation of Caste, Dr Ambedkar wanted the state to create a body of Hindu priests in the line of civil services. Priesthood would cease to be hereditary” because of this, he believed. According to him, every Hindu must be eligible for being a priest. The examination for Hindu priesthood, he believed, should be “prescribed by the State”. “No ceremony performed by a priest who does not hold a sanad shall be deemed to be valid in law, and it should be made penal [=punishable] for a person who has no sanad to officiate as a priest.”

Further he stated that “the number of priests should be limited by law according to the requirements of the State, as is done in the case of the I.C.S.”

Though at the outset it definitely looks like and most probably is unjustifiable to have state control over religious matters, this also effectively makes the state the patron of Hinduism. If the Indian state is to establish a corruption-free, Hindu Priest Service body, which constantly updates and adapts itself to the changing situations, then nothing can be more desirable to political Hindus than such a body of Hindu priests.

Interestingly, this dream of Dr Ambedkar may be realised through a most practical scheme of the Madhya Pradesh government. – Swarajya, 14 April 2017

» Aravindan Neelakandan is an author, economist and psychologist. He is a post-socialist thinker of cultural evolutionism and Indian ethnogenesis. He is known for the book Breaking India, which he co-authored with Rajiv Malhotra.

Ambedkar Quote

For Compassion International: We have had enough of ‘service’ – Balbir Punj

Balbir PunjDear US Lawmakers,

Recently, 107 of you (members of the US Congress, both Republicans and Democrats) wrote to the Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, to allow the American charity, Compassion International (CI) to continue its work in India.

Your missive opens on a warm note: ”As the largest and oldest democracies in the world, India and the US share bonds rooted in political pluralism and respect for the rule of law.” The subsequent sentences, reveal your real intent. “It is with this in mind that we write to express our deep concern over the lack of transparency and consistency in your government’s enforcement of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act.”

“The ongoing case of US-based Compassion International, which will have harmful consequences for many Indian children, has caused serious concern within the US Congress.”

Dear US lawmakers, on the face, your letter is touching, full of concern for the unfortunate destitute children of a faraway developing country. But are you sure that CI’s activities are motivated purely by compassion for the underprivileged children of India? Is there no hidden agenda? What has been the record of CI since it started its operations in India in 1968?

If compassion for the destitute kids was the core of the organisation’s operations in India, it has a lot of work cut out for it in the US itself. In 2011, child poverty in the US reached record-high levels with 16.7 million children living in insecure households, about 35 per cent over the 2007 levels, the second highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. According to a 2016 study by the Urban Institute, teenagers in low-income communities are often forced to save school lunches, sell drugs or offer sexual favours because they couldn’t afford food. A 2014 report by the National Center on Family Homelessness states the number of homeless children in the US has reached a record high.

Along with poverty, children in your country suffer in broken families as well. There is a divorce every 36 seconds. That is nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 8,76,000 divorces a year. As a result, only 46 per cent of the children are living with two parents who are both in their first marriage. While in the early 1960s, babies typically arrived after a wedding, today four in ten births in your country occur to women who are either single or live in with a partner.

Honourable US lawmakers, you will agree that a secure home and strong family help a child cope up with poverty better. In your country, a large number of children suffer double disadvantage. They need enormous emotional support from the society to make up for broken homes, apart from monetary assistance. But CI’s heart does not bleed for these hapless American children. It spends around $50 million annually in India as “humanitarian aid”. Why? Because, CI has souls to save for the Christ in India and the US does not offer any such opportunity, since the destitute there are already Christians.

Dear US lawmakers, CI has been duly investigated by Indian officials, within the framework of our legal system, accountable to our Parliament and Judiciary. Is it fair on your part to interfere in our affairs? CI operated through Caruna Bal Vikas Trust in India. Its child “welfare” activities included holding Christian prayers on a daily basis, celebrating only Christian festivals, offering prizes for recitation of Bible verses and holding “Compassion Young Adult Meet”, where a person gives Christian inputs. Are the CI’s objectives not clear? – The New Indian Express, 1 April 2017

Compassion International

  1. Foreign Funding to Indian NGOs (Compassion International) Part I & Part II
  2. Behind the charade of charity, Compassion International was conducting religious conversions – Aravindan Neelakandan

Behind the charade of charity, Compassion International was conducting religious conversions – Aravindan Neelakandan

Compassion International

Aravindan NeelakandanGiven … the multi-religious environment of India, it would be foolish for any secular government to allow a US-based evangelical organisation to take advantage of the poverty in a country to recruit children or foot soldiers for the religious right in the West. – Aravindan Neelakandan

The year was 1901. There was a missionary school in Tindivanam, a small town in Tamil Nadu. A boy declared as the most brilliant in his class was ordered to vacate the boarding school premises and pay all the money that he owed them for boarding and food. The reason for the expulsion was that he would not consent to convert to Christianity. The boy would soon become a child labourer and work with his parents to pay the missionaries. He would also later join a Hindu monastic order.

Swami Sahajananada, both a spiritual seer and a social reformer, could never forget this incident. As a member of the Legislative Assembly of Madras and a social reformer from the scheduled communities, he would later warn the government of the dangers of evangelism of children among the marginalised sections of the population.

Cut to 2010. More than 70 malnourished children from an evangelical house are rescued after complaints of abuse surfaced in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. They were tribal children from Manipur.

The same year, 19 more children were rescued from an evangelical children’s home in Chennai. Some of them had been sexually abused.

Earlier, between 2005 and 2006, two children from the North East had died in a New Life Centre, another evangelical children’s house, mysteriously. The subsequent investigation met with a dead end.

In 2005, some Manipuri girls in a children’s home in Chennai spoke up about acts of sexual abuse. “Police questioned the director, but there has been no follow-up,” read a matter-of-fact report in a leading English daily.

It is in this context that the work of Compassion International in India has to be seen. With the amount of money that the Christian organisation pours into the foot-soldier Christian outfits they acquire, that kind of clout can be very dangerous.

For instance, New Life Centre, Delhi, is one of the recipients of Compassion International during the 2009-2014 period. It was, after all, in the Tirunelveli branch of New Life Centre that the two North-East children had died and probe hit a dead end. The money that comes from Compassion International can fuel child abuse in mission houses and be used for predatory proselytising, particularly in multi-religious countries like India.

In 2015, Income Tax officials disclosed that Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV), one of the chief recipients of Compassion International funding of Rs 10 million every year, used only 10 percent of its funding for child development and diverted the rest to 300 other organisations. The officials discovered the discrepancies as early as 2013, one year before the present government took over.

At the time, Compassion International had moved ahead with an astonishing money-routing strategy. The CBV centre was closed, and another body, Adhane Management Consultants Private Limited, was opened immediately and registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Adhane featured the same team as that in CBV, and Compassion International began directing money to all its organisations through this new NGO. This was in May 2014. It’s evident from this series of events that Compassion International is more occupied with strategic operations rather than a group motivated by pure compassion.

The Christian charity says that local churches are so well-respected in multi-religious communities that they do not consider “forced conversion” of children an issue at all. Even as they say this, they add that they ‘do not force conversions’. However, the officials also concede that “yet honestly seek to present the Christian message of hope and the opportunities that it presents”. It is unclear how much of “honestly seeking to present” Christianity to non-Christian children would be considered as “forced”.

Compassion International’s hidden agenda is even a problem in the United States for other religionists and humanists. Joshua Lewis Berg, the director of community programming at Jewish Educational Alliance in Savannah, Georgia, points out that though the aid organisation’s website says they do not require people to believe or convert, there was no doubt that that was their goal. He also points out that their advertisements hid their Christian agenda well. So, then, what kind of child development does Compassion International aim at?

Luis Bush, the fundamentalist evangelist who devised the “10/40 window” in pursuit of an aggressive evangelical crusade in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, came up with a “4/14 window” in 2009. This targets “children between the age of four and fourteen”. This idea itself was a derivative of Dr Dan Brewster’s idea. Brewster wrote as early as 1996 about “The 4/14 Window: Child Ministries and Mission Strategy”. It was based on his conception that Bush came out with a book titled, The 4-14 Window: Raising Up a New Generation to Transform the World, in 2009.

Dr Wess Stafford, who was then president of Compassion International, wrote in his introduction how the Nazis and Communists had “trained legions of children of carrying their agenda”. He went on to point out that “even the Taliban places great emphasis on recruiting the children”.

Dr Brewster is director for child advocacy for Compassion International in Asia. In a 2011 document, Brewster, while discussing the child ministry in Asian countries including India, quoted another evangelist Peter Hohmann, associated with Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade. The child should be given “a missionary worldview”, he said, adding,

We can give children no greater purpose … to  make His name known in all the world. This is the purpose stated in Bible. This is the purpose we need to impart to our children.

In other words, the aim of Compassion International is to make use of poverty in India to create foot soldiers for evangelism, which the white right-wing evangelists in the US plan in their drawing rooms.

Given the historical context, and the multi-religious environment, of India, it would be foolish for any secular government to allow a US-based evangelical organisation to take advantage of the poverty in a country to recruit children or foot soldiers for the religious right in the West.

That even the supposedly left-liberal New York Times is supporting such a blatant right-wing Christian organisation in India says something.

References

  • Child traffickers from North-East set up base in Tamil Nadu, Times of India, 26 January 2010
  • Chennai-based NGO under IT scanner, The Hindu, 22 June 2015
  • Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, Hachette UK, 2012
  • B. Watson, M Clarke, Child Sponsorship: Exploring Pathways to a Brighter Future, Springer, 2014
  • Dan Brewster, Child, Church and Mission (Revised Edition), Compassion International, 2011
  • Joshua Lewis Berg, “‘The Compassion Experience’ and the Marketing of Religion“, 20 April 2016 – Swarajya, 8 March 2017

Compassion International (Caruna Bal Vikas)

10/40 Window Map

See also

NGOs received a whopping Rs 17,208 crore from foreign donors in 2015-16 – Vijaita Singh

Debit Card & Cross

Vijaita SinghThere are 33,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that are required to file their annual returns with the Home Ministry. … Of the 16 major donors, at least 14 are Christian organisations, most of them based in the U.S. – Vijaita Singh

Foreign donations to Indian NGOs have surged since the NDA government came to power.

As per figures available with the Home Ministry, which regulates the flow of foreign funds to NGOs and associations in India, the 2015-16 fiscal saw a flow of Rs 17,208 crore from foreign donors, the highest in five years. There were donations of Rs 14,525 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 13,092 crore in 2013-14. In 2012-13, the foreign donations received totalled Rs 9,423 crore, and in 2011-12, Rs 10,334 crore.

There are 33,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that are required to file their annual returns with the Home Ministry, but only 19,000 received funds last year.

Of the 16 major donors, at least 14 are Christian organisations, most of them based in the U.S.

Last year, the Home Ministry put Colorado-based Christian NGO Compassion International on its watch-list as it was accused of funding Indian NGOs involved in religious conversions.

The crackdown against the Compassion International, which also figures in the list of the largest foreign donors, led to a diplomatic standoff with the United States. The U.S. Embassy wrote to the Centre, asking it to share evidence to support the allegations.

World Vision International, which is also based in the U.S., sent Rs 300 crore to Indian NGOs last year. Another U.S.-based donor, Give2Asia, sent Rs 105 crore while Canada-based Gospel For Asia sent Rs 830 crore.

Before it was put on the watch-list, the Compassion International had donated Rs 292 crore.

Clean-up exercise

Soon after the NDA government came to power in 2014, a massive clean-up exercise was taken up against NGOs registered under the FCRA. In 2015, the Home Ministry notified new rules, which required NGOs to give an undertaking that the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to prejudicially affect the “sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with foreign states and does not disrupt communal harmony.”

Under the annual returns category, the NGOs were asked to give an undertaking that the foreign funds were utilised in such a way that it did not affect the “security, strategic, scientific or economic interest, public interest, freedom or fairness of election to any legislature or harmony between religious, social, racial, linguistic group, caste or communities.”

The Home Ministry has cancelled the registration of over 10,000 NGOs in 2015 for not complying with the norms.

The registration of Greenpeace International was cancelled on the premise that it compromised the country’s “economic security”.

The MHA also cancelled the registration of Sabrang Trust, an NGO run by Gujarat-based social activist Teesta Setalvad’s and that of noted lawyer Indira Jaising’s Lawyers Collective. Ms. Setalvad and Ms. Jaising are known for their critical stand against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. – The Hindu, 20 February 2017

» Vijaita Singh is a senior assistant editor at The Hindu in New Delhi.

NGO Funds

Christian missionaries will not succeed in India – Mohan Bhagwat

Mohan Bhagwat

DNA“We have forgotten ourselves. We are all Hindus. Let our castes, languages we speak, regions we come from, gods we worship be different. Those who are sons of Bharat Mata, are Hindus. Hence, India is called Hindustan,” – Mohan Bhagwat

Raking up the issue of conversions, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said such attempts are unlikely to be successful in the country as the missionaries “do not have the strength”.

Bhagwat pitched for Hindu unity and asked members of the community to come together irrespective of caste and language.

“… After converting people to Christianity in the US, Europe, they (missionaries) are eyeing Asia. China calls itself secular, but will it allow itself to come under Christianity? No. Will Middle-East countries let it happen? No. They now think India is the place.

“But they should keep it in mind, notwithstanding their strong push over 300 years, only six per cent of Indian population could be converted to Christianity. Because they do not have strength,” he said.

The chief made the remarks while delivering valedictory address at Virat Hindu Sammelan, organised by Bharat Sevashram Sangh in Vansda in the district.

Bhagwat sought to buttress his point by saying how two churches, one in the US and another in Birmingham in the UK, were converted into Ganesh temple and offices of Vishwa Hindu Parishad respectively, by a Hindu businessman in America.

Bharat Mata“This is the condition (of missionaries) in their own countries and they want to convert us. They cannot do it, they do not have that strength,” he added.

Bhagwat asked Hindus to remember “who they are” and that their culture is “superior”.

“Hindu community is in trouble. Which country are we living in? Our own country. This is our land, from the Himalayas (in the north) to the sea (in south). This is the land of our ancestors. Bharat Mata is mother of us all.

“We have forgotten ourselves. We are all Hindus. Let our castes, languages we speak, regions we come from, gods we worship be different. Those who are sons of Bharat Mata, are Hindus. Hence, India is called Hindustan,” he said.

Terming Hindu religion as one based on truth, Bhagwat said Hindus never tried to convert people pursuing other religions as they believe in co-existence.

He urged people of all religions to “walk together” to make the world a better place and India a world leader.

He reaffirmed the RSS stand that Hindus and non-Hindus living in “integrated India” have common ancestors who share the same DNA.

Bhagwat urged the attendees to reach out to their “brothers”, to whom they have not gone for ages, keeping aside differences of caste, religion and language.

“We should go to our brothers whom we have not gone to for ages. We did not go to them and hence these things (spread of other religions) are happening. We should go to them to share their pain, cooperate with them and perform our long-forgotten duty to make them aware of who they are, that we have common ancestors,” he added. – DNA, 31 December 2017

Missionary Visa

Though well-intentioned in his remarks, Mohan Bhagwat is somewhat naive about Christians and their missionary agenda. Conversions continue till today and Modi Sarkar continues to issue special visas to Christian missionaries. Christians being only 6% of the population is an out-of-date figure and very misleading. The true figure is closer to 15%—though nobody really knows as new converts are now hiding their Christian identity in order to grab government handouts meant for the Hindu poor. – Editor

 

Why Christianity has no reincarnation doctrine – Benjamin Creme

Justinian I

Cross of the Orthodox ChurchIn 553 CE the Christian Emperor Justinian had Origen’s teachings on reincarnation banned at the Second Council of Constantinople. 

“It seems reasonable to conclude that the so-called ban concerning the doctrine of reincarnation is the result of an historical error and contains no ecclesiastical authority whatsoever.” The German author, Peter Andreas, expresses this point of view in his book, Jenseits von Einstein. Andreas gives attention to the concept of reincarnation and, particularly, to the manner in which any consideration of the topic was suppressed within the Catholic Church—not by profound theological study, but by the action of a Roman Emperor.

In a chapter devoted to reincarnation, Andreas writes: “The Christian churches have very little indeed to say about reincarnation. They can hardly be blamed because the Bible is apparently sadly lacking in this respect. In fact, we may ask, if the subject of reincarnation is so important—from the religious point of view—why is there so little mention of it in the Bible?

“The few Bible references indicate that from the earliest times supporters and opponents of reincarnation have waged bitter ‘war’. Jesus’ remark to Nicodemus, for instance, ‘Thou must be born again’ can be interpreted as a reference to spiritual rebirth, according to the opponents of the idea (of reincarnation).

“Naturally, the Nazarene must have had his own reasons for not going more deeply into the subject. Perhaps he believed the truth to be too complicated for the limited understanding of people then, and that it was of greater importance to clarify the essence of his teaching and emphasise the message of love. He did not warn against belief in reincarnation.”

Nowadays, there is little doubt that early Christians gave more credence to the concept of rebirth than was later the case. The main figure responsible for this change was no churchman but an ambitious, worldly and powerful figure Emperor Justinian. In the year 553, quite independently of the Pope, Justinian had the teachings of the Church father Origen (185-253) banned by a synod. Origen had spoken out in unmistakable terms on the question of the repeated incarnations of the soul:

“Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings.” — De Principalis

“Is it not more in accordance with common sense that every soul for reasons unknown—I speak in accordance with the opinions of Pythagoras, Plato and Empedokles—enters the body influenced by its past deeds? The soul has a body at its disposal for a certain period of time which, due to its changeable condition, eventually is no longer suitable for the soul, whereupon it changes that body for another.” — Contra Celsum

Church Father Origen of AlexandriaIntrigues

Andreas goes on to describe how Emperor Justinian managed to manipulate the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553 [also known as the Second Council of Constantinople] which resulted in the ban against Origen: “Strangely enough, there was not one Roman bishop present at this conference; apart from six African notables there were only Eastern bishops present. A curious feature of this Council was that although Pope Vigilius was in Constantinople at the time of the Council he did not attend. There had previously been conflict between Vigilius and the Emperor and the Empress Theodora. Justinian refused to accede to the Pope’s request for a stronger delegation of bishops from both West and East at the Council and then proceeded to convene the Council himself. The Pope did not attend, as a gesture of protest, and as an indication that he would not be held responsible for the Council. The ruling monarch did not have an entirely free hand, however, since official regulations drawn up during the eight sessions of the Council, which met over a period of four weeks, had to be officially endorsed by the Pope. This duly took place; the documents, however, only dealt with the so-called Three Chapters controversy—the work of three scholars considered by Justinian to be heretics. The Emperor had already issued an edict against these men. No mention was made of Origen. Research suggests that suspicions about Justinian were valid. Neither Pope Plagius I (556-561) nor Pope Gregorius (590-604) mentioned Origen when writing about the 5th Council.”

Pope VigiliusBan

But up to now it has been accepted tacitly that the following is the official ban of the Council: “Whosoever teaches the doctrine of a supposed pre-birth existence of the soul, and speaks of a monstrous restoration of this, is cursed.” How did this come about? No one can say with certainty, but there are strong indications that by some ploy the Emperor Justinian was able to insist on the convocation of a Council, which was delayed, however, by opposition from the Pope. Eventually the first meeting of the Council took place on 5 May 553, not before the Emperor had managed to call several bishops to a meeting at which he (Justinian) presented his ‘Fifteen Anathemata’ refuting Origen’s teachings, and gained the endorsement of the attending bishops. We can safely conclude that the Pope, who wished to boycott the Council, would certainly not have appeared at this meeting, which was precisely what Justinian had hoped for. The meeting prior to the Council was used by the wily Emperor to curtail the Pope’s powers and to pronounce a ban on the teachings of Origen. His scheming succeeded far better than he could have imagined. The Church accepted the ban as valid, having been imposed by the Council, and it then passed into established doctrine where it has remained for the past 1500 years. This makes the idea extremely difficult to correct. The subject of reincarnation has therefore not played any role in Christian doctrine, in contrast with other religions.

“Thus it seems right to conclude that the ‘ban’ on the teaching of reincarnation is based on historical misrepresentation and has no ecclesiastical authority. It was in fact a fait accompli, brought about by Justinian, which no one within the Christian Church has dared to challenge in the course of some 1500 years. What is worse is that the subject has been totally ignored, as a glance at any encyclopaedia will show.” — Peter Andreas, Jenseits von Einstein, Econ Verlag, Germany

» Benjamin Creme is the chief editor of Share International. This article is from the Share International Archives.

Reincarnation