Video: The Rajeev Srinivasan Interview – Sree Iyer

Rajeev Srinivasan

For those interested in South Indian politics and the coming election, this is a must watch video. Rajeev Srinivasan’s analysis is comprehensive and very clear: the BJP has not even entered the race yet in Tamil Nadu and Kerala through no fault but its own.

 

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Indian polytheists versus global monotheists – George Augustine

Gods of Hinduism

George AugustineHow does one explain the little regard the highest democratic institutions in India have for native polytheistic religious traditions and the glaring prejudice against them vis-à-vis the monotheists? – George Augustine

I have reason to think there are a lot of people in power in India who believe being a Pagan polytheist is something to be ashamed of and below par compared with [Abrahamic] monotheists who have made homes in the Indian subcontinent. Most Hindu temples in India have proven to be milch cows under the control of state governments, while churches and mosques are free and often controlled by foreign institutions. How does one explain the little regard the highest democratic institutions in India have for native polytheistic religious traditions and the glaring prejudice against them vis-à-vis the monotheists?

It certainly looks like we Indian Pagans have obviously overstepped the world of renaissance with #MeToo, Gender Equality, Political Correctness and all those things that underscore our lately enlightened status, which we discovered we also have after learning these things from the monotheist West. The tragedy is, in the process, we Pagans have lost our inherent sense of proportion, decorum, spirituality and ethical obligations along with our native cultural legacy and heritage. Are we shedding the last vestiges of our uncompromising Paganism and its diversity? Are we finally succumbing to the monocultural paradigm of Western Christian civilisation?

What is so special about the monotheist monocultural model vis-à-vis a polytheist diversity model? Being a secular state, don’t we have to treat both on par legally, rationally or experientially? The monotheist prejudice dominates in every sphere in India, even though there is no evidence to suggest that monotheism as is currently practised has any kind of advantage over the polytheistic model. In India, where polytheists still persist in large numbers, there is a great indication of a fault line in collective religious consciousness. This can be discerned in the ongoing campaign against polytheistic traditions and culture conducted by a new breed of reformists whose spirit the Indian judiciary has imbibed. This insider campaign for monotheist paradigm solemnly supplements and strengthens the global evangelising enterprise called Joshua Project floated by Western monotheists to annihilate the polytheistic world. The polytheistic world is traditionally designated as the Satan’s stronghold by the Bible-thumpers. On the missionary map, it is further marked as the “10/40 window”, a term coined by a Christian missionary strategist named Luis Bush to describe a rectangular region of Africa and Asia that lies between ten and forty degrees north of the equator and is home to the majority of non-Christians who resist conversions to Christianity.

What is perhaps of the most interest for Indians is the fact that Communism, politically and culturally, is part and parcel of the same Abrahamic monotheist framework. Here, the party replaces the “god in heaven” and the party commands are like the dictates of the church. The Kerala Communist government’s intensive campaign for breaking the customs at Sabarimala Temple is a case in point. The deeply spiritual collective worldview of the diverse Indian Pagans has been replaced by the “stomach” paradigm, as the late Swami Nirmalananda Giri famously pointed out in a talk. The insatiable stomach is the symbol of the materialistic greed of the consumerist society that has become the bane of modern civilisation and equally shared by atheistic Communists and monotheistic Capitalists.

Even before monotheist invaders began to civilise the polytheist and animistic Indians, the native cultures showed signs of corrosion due to the sheer age of the civilisation and had become weak and clueless to combat the belligerent features of the new era. Physically and tactically they were ill-equipped to face the mindless violence and aggression unleashed upon them by the new breed of religionists who challenged all that was held sacred and civilised by them at that time. Notwithstanding the prevalence of barbaric ritual traditions among fringe groups such as blood sacrifices that were once universal to the human species, the Pagan Indians were generally refined and highly civilised compared to the Christians and Muslims who lived anywhere at the time, just as most Pagan people were around the world who perished in the fire and fury reserved in the Abrahamic books for the infidels and kaffirs.

Centuries of systematic indoctrination and propagation of the monotheist worldview in India undertaken by the colonial enterprise and carried on by the native governments after independence undermined the Indian sensibility. It tried its best to crush our cultural certitude so much so that our own strong points of rational knowledge, emotional intelligence, humane interactions and all-encompassing worldviews made us weak and ineffectual as a cultural group. Our traditional multi-dimensional approach to spirituality and the various streams of Indian religious traditions that cater not only to the super intelligent man who lives on air and fire, but also to the common man who is more focused on mundane matters of the world, became a handicap. Gradually, a spurious rationality infatuated with a fake and dishonest monotheism has gained ground in the Hindu mindscape so much so that the ancient pagan civilization is on the verge of extinction today. The attack on the Sabarimala tradition by the Supreme Court and the Communist state government and the murderous intrusion of the American missionary into North Sentinel Island are the latest in a long series of events against the Pagans that distinctly evidence the still persistent, general intent of monotheist belligerence.

Gods of yore and the present

The ancient Greeks and the Romans came to India to trade or to learn, like the once great Arabs and Persians, but their later progeny came with swords and guns not only to trade but to make the earth a kingdom of bloodlust, animosity and separatism by peddling their half-baked, capital “G” god whom they found in Moses’ books. Cultures and traditions were mown down and destroyed in the name of monotheism, as if it carried any more rational force than polytheism. The unity of the Abrahamic god as the bearded father in heaven who punishes those who go against his commands and wishes seems to many to have some kind of indiscernible superior edge over the Hindu pantheon of ancient gods and goddesses who actually symbolise phenomenal forces. The myth of the imperceptible capital “G” god and the myth of the perceptible forces of nature existent in human life (devas) have intertwined to muddle the brains of the invariably confused elite among our own species.

The distinction between the Abrahamic god and the ancient gods and goddesses of the Hindus is very stark and strongly demarcated from each other. The god of the Bible is a male chauvinist and in a vain effort to become unique and singular, he derides other gods and forbids his followers from worshipping other gods. This god appears only before a select few of his devotees and whose existence always remains hearsay (gospel) to his followers. For these followers in turn, the chief holy duty is to go after non-believers with guns, knives and guile and convert them at any cost. The “great mandate” of their scriptures, the Bible, exhorts all Christians to go all over the world and convert every non-Christian. With regard to non-believers, the Koran shares similar mandates with the Bible.

The chief “monotheist” ritual is the blood sacrifice offered to the god by his followers. Archetypically this blood sacrifice is of the son of Abraham commanded by the biblical god. Jews and Muslims enact this sacrifice through concrete slaughter of sheep or some other animal on important religious occasions. It is said the more devote among the Bible-thumpers in earlier times used to sacrifice their first-born children. In Christian scriptures, the blood sacrifice is reflected in the prototypical crucifixion of Jesus, which is purportedly the sacrifice staged by his father, who is the self-same monotheist god of the old book. In actual Christian sheep life, the sacrifice constitutes the gathering in prayer halls and churches from time to time for the ritual cannibalistic meal of their god Jesus, which is termed transubstantiation. It is invariably the gory enactment of the blood sacrifice, no matter how well it is ethereally clothed and covered in music and incense smoke to make it palatable to the peace-loving modern populace who post goodies on Facebook and WhatsApp.

The Hindu Pagans, on the contrary, concentrated traditionally on the prescribed rules and collective duties to society. Their religious rituals comprise such a wide spectrum that blood sacrifice, an atavistic echo of the primeval fertility rites, was practised only by a minute section of the populace at the time the monotheists entered the country. Since the society was organised according to occupation and ethnicity, each group nurtured their singular customs and traditions. In many cases these traditions overlapped and the people involved interacted in rituals as well as customs. The wide spectrum of these rituals and customs and their interactions go beyond the scope of this article and descriptions are omitted here. Every group—ethnic, religious or occupational—had the right to follow their original and peculiar traditional practices and these rights were safeguarded by the rules of the land, the Dharmasastras, which were amended according to the zeitgeist. The rare cultural and religious diversity that one still sees in India is a result of this traditional safety net around ethnic groups that is now being dismantled step by step by monotheist missiologists and bomb makers in connivance with ignorant legislators and judges. Cultural predators had no say in ancient India and the cultural assets of every group were well protected until the monotheists entered the country with their “great mandate”.

The general characteristic of the Hindu Pagans was the progressive trend in evolution of spiritual practices and philosophy side by side. The four Vedas, the Upanishads, the two epics and the myriad puranic literature were the result of progressive evolution of the human species that can be distinctly evidenced internally. The upward trend in society was defined by increasingly refined ethical actions and day-to-day hygienic habits. By expunging blood sacrifices and through sattvic diet and behaviour many groups progressed through ahimsa (non-violence) and intensive penance and these groups were honoured by the rest.

Worship of the Hindu polytheists and global monotheists

The archetypal place of worship of the original monotheist is a place of slaughter and consumption. This is described in Moses’ book as the altar for “burnt offering” (Genesis 8:20), where the animal is slaughtered. And the butcher who slaughtered the animal offering became the priest. The Christian church is a modification of the slaughterhouse where Jesus is symbolically butchered again and again at regular intervals and the blood and flesh shared by the congregation. The Bible proclaims very distinctly that the monotheist god is most satisfied with blood sacrifice (Genesis 4:2-5). The church or mosque has been a place for the followers to gather regularly to sing praise of their god and perform blood sacrifice, symbolically as well as literally.

In contrast, since ancient times, most Pagan groups worshipped by communion in natural spots like sacred groves, mountaintops and water bodies (theerthas). Lighting the lamp in shrines in sylvan ambience was a prime characteristic feature of the polytheist Pagans in India. Among the Hindu populace were philosophers, man and woman, and many of these were atheists such as the materialists called Charvakas. Buddhists and Jains also did not worship any god but observed strict ethical principles and monastic traditions. Every kind of guy had the opportunity and freedom to pursue his traditions, duties and privileges. The common working man for his part was freed from all spiritual restraints and disciplines to undertake the mundane matters of society and also to enjoy material life. And the simple shrines in natural spots formed the primary spiritual interface of the common folk.

The tantric temple worship of the Hindus headed by the Brahmans could be called a unique development in the religious history of the Indian polytheists and a turning point in Pagan spiritual evolution. It differed from the simple shrines of the animists and was distinguished by esoteric knowledge. The Hindu temples developed through a synthesis of the Vedic worship with another complementary Indic stream called Tantra, lately described by some as the Dravidian stream (as opposed to the Aryan).

Agni Purana and a supplement to the Vishnu Purana named “Vishnudharmottara” proclaim that the fruits of the Vedic yajnas can be achieved by temple worship. The merging of the two predominant streams of Indic knowledge, Nigama (Veda) and Agama (Tantra), led to the creation of all prominent temples all over the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The Dharmasastras also mention a third method of consecration for worship, lokachara (tradition of the people), which is a combination of the aforementioned two and the peculiarities of locality, time and authorities. The Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple are classic examples of the third kind. Generally the Hindu temples were created for atmartha (for the benefit of individuals along with their family or community) and parartha (for the benefit of the collective society) originally for temporary purposes, but gradually they became permanent structures.

These temples also highlight the stark difference between the Pagan gods and goddesses and the monotheist god and establish their contrasting positions. The particular deity in the Pagan temple is created, as it were, by the human whereas the monotheist god creates the human and commands sacrificial worship from the human. The Tantric practice of pranapratishtana (breathing life into the murti) and the Vedic ceremony of opening the eyes of the deity with a needle complete the consecration in the Hindu temple for the purpose of worship, whereas according to the book of the fake monotheists the god breathes life into the human made of dust so that he worships him.

In contrast to the uniform monotheist prayer halls and butcher tables, the Hindu temples were as diverse as hand-made mosaic tiles and followed a wide variety of traditions and modes of worship, dictated by the authority that consecrated them. These were custom-made deities and spaces made to fulfil specific purposes and reflected various spiritual stages of human life that determined individual progress of the atman. The Hindu deities, which are conceptually derived from natural elements, are carved or created observing the Agama texts such as Silpasastra (science of sculpturing) and conjured up (avahana or summoning) by specialists using esoteric techniques. Then the localised deity is consecrated and installed for special purposes or for the general welfare of society as a whole. The acquisition of the sculpturing and tantric skills followed laborious years of study and Spartan discipline. These occupations are the exclusive realm of specific groups including the Brahmans.

Conflicting worldviews and concepts

With the advent of alien “monotheist” gods like Jesus and Allah and the mushrooming of churches and mosques in India, the non-phenomenal transcendental god who hated phenomenal devas became an issue for all concerned. On the one hand the Pagans were looked upon as fresh raw material for the religion of the monotheist god, and on the other hand Hindu temples were viewed as a place where the Satan, the antagonist of the monotheist god, held sway. To make their prejudice authentic, the missionaries and Islamists pointed to their foreign books. The injunctions against idolatry and non-believers that pepper the Abrahamic texts were enough to make these wealthy temples the object of robbery, loot and arson. Since the temples hoarded the wealth of a land or region, stealing a people’s treasury also became all at once a lucrative spiritual activity for the early Christians and Muslims who arrived in India.

While the Christian and Islamic converts went on a spree around the globe annihilating spiritual traditions different from theirs and indiscriminately killing and colonising all sorts of creatures for material benefit, the Indian polytheists, in contrast, were accommodative of cultures and belief systems and saved the extinction of religious groups such as the Zoroastrians. The excuse the monotheists gave themselves for this atrocity was the irrational and non-experiential Weltanschauung presented by the Bible, wherein the capital “G” god created the globe and its creatures and gifted all of it to those of the human species that worshipped him. The benefactors of the monotheist god were taught by their butcher-priests that all other gods on earth are “false gods” or the “devils”.

The monotheist tradition in Europe, which was touted as a successful model for a “civilised” world, gave rise to peculiar concepts such as human rights and animal rights and a whole breed of pseudo-sciences that were absolutely unnecessary in a different cultural milieu. The scriptural injunctions against non-believers and the female gender (lesser than the male, being made from his rib) by the monotheistic god unleashed violence against non-believers and females of the species. European Christian history is heavily dotted with exemplary cruelty against other peoples and women. Just the fact that all men from this monotheistic tradition at one time or the other could lawfully beat their women for disobedience, thanks to the biblical origin myth, speaks in clear terms where the macho attitude comes from in the modern times.

When the polytheist traditions of ancient worlds fell one by one in a matter of decades or at the latest by few centuries, the monotheist spiritual enterprises, as it were, faced stiff resistance in India because of the strict organisation of labour and security of diversity guaranteed by the ancient society. Spiritual topics were exclusively handled by Brahmans who stonewalled the missionaries. Conversion to Christianity was rare and happened only among the folks who remained the farthest from the Brahmans.

However, encircled by a globally overwhelming monotheist world, India still remains the battleground of high intensity spiritual warfare, as proved time and time again by the aggressive manoeuvres of enemies from without and within, as demonstrated by the attack on the North Sentinelese by the suicidal American missionary John Allen Chau and the lopsided Supreme Court judgement in the Sabarimala women entry case and the subsequent aggressive action by the Communist state government.

Pagans handicapped from the start in modern India

The monotheist British colonialists could not conclude their “civilisational” enterprise satisfactorily as they had to make a quick departure in 1947. However they did the next best thing: they made sure that the conversion programme continued by preparing fertile grounds for it. They handed over power to those who were inculcated with a loyalty to the monotheistic worldview like M. K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. At the time of independence, for this reason, the majority polytheists did not get a chance to design the constitution to safeguard the Hindu interests. The Pagans were side-lined and the brainwashed Indian natives and their prejudiced colonial minders granted the monotheistic worldview a privileged status in the constitution vis-à-vis the Pagan spiritual paradigm. The constitution was based on the European monotheist framework, which was simply ill-equipped to dispense justice in a battlefield of cultures.

Soon, with the emerging polity operating in a Soviet socialist mode and following colonial precedence, wealthy Hindu temples began to be taken over by the various governments, while carefully leaving the monotheist places of worship in the hands of their autocratic clergy. Then they opened another front in the battle against the unsuspecting Pagans. Customs and rituals that evolved in the sub-continent for several millennia began to be prohibited by judging these cultures using the corrupt, contaminated and unrealistic lenses of the monotheist worldview. As we now know, this fraudulent and erroneous worldview encourages the spiritual monoculture of a terrible kind that promotes the annihilation of all other spiritual practices and rituals.

By the sheer resistance of the Hindu Pagans, India, unlike the rest of the world, refused to be spiritually subjugated by monotheism despite the high rate of growth of churches and mosques. The Hindu temples continued to survive against all odds and some destroyed ones were even revived, despite the severe attacks on them conducted regularly by the crowd-funded monotheist enterprise. The missions of Islam, Christianity and their alter ego, Marxism, got control of the education system of India through the so-called English-educated class. The first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his British legacy observed a Semitic streak of pseudo-secular polity that favoured Islam, Christianity and a brand of Communism that continued to stamp down on Hindu polytheism in all its wide variety, annihilating one tradition at a time, all the while chiding and blaming each and every Pagan group for backwardness, superstition and social evil. The Western colonial narrative portrayed the monotheist intrusions into the Hindu heartland as part of a reforming upliftment programme for the Pagans.

A typical case in point is the abolishing of the devadasi system, which dealt a heavy blow to the Hindu temple tradition. The Hindus were compelled to abandon a vital component in their rituals as prescribed by the Agamas. In reality, the devadasi system manifested, symbolised and kept alive the power of the matriarchs in Indian society. The presence and involvement of the devadasis in many temple rituals was mandatory for the conduct of such. The matrilineal system this community followed was a slap in the face of the misogynist patriarchs of the desert culture. It enraged the monotheists when they came across this practice. With the help of Pagan converts to monotheism, the devadasi system was abolished, falsely portraying their ancient polyandrous customs as prostitution in the spurious light of Abrahamic patriarchal prudery.

The argument that won the day against devadasis was not exactly the same as the one that favoured the entry of fertile women into Sabarimala, but the issue was once again women who were falsely portrayed as sex slaves of the “upper caste” Hindu males of India. In reality the devadasis belonged to the most privileged among women in India, who were sought after by elite scholars as well as the royals. They were women of status and traditionally followed scholarship in arts and literature and practised matrilineal traditions. These women were performing artists, poets and musicians of a very high order. Their fortunes crashed only after the monotheist, misogynist worldview contaminated the open Pagan mind. The colonial patriarchs took advantage of the liberal outlook of the devadasis and made them “nautch” girls first and then forced them into prostitution overnight by throwing them out on the streets through legislation. They were evicted from their homes owned by temples, which they had lawfully possessed and lived in for generations. Native converts to the monotheist worldview also played a major role in this cruel chapter of Indian history, as a confused and beleaguered folk buried the last remnant of female dignity guaranteed by the ancient polytheist Pagans. Indians who take pride in the classical arts of the region are forever indebted to these brilliant women and their talented community for creating and ferrying these cultural assets across to the modern era, though they themselves perished in the hands of crusading British charlatans. To get a true picture of the devadasi community and their exalted and dignified role in Indian polytheist culture, read Women of Pride by Lakshmi Viswanathan.

Sabarimala imbroglio

There is enough evidence to suggest that the Sabarimala numbering 18 hills in the Sahyadri mountain ranges were sacred grounds of ascetics and forest dwellers since time immemorial. And today the popularity of Lord Ayyappa, the Lord of Sabari Hills, pervades the whole of South India. Deemed by believers to be a god who manifested for modern times (Kaliyuga) and hence most important, Ayyappa symbolises the common man’s aspiration of getting moksha, the release from the birth cycle, regardless of his station in life, whether he be a Brahman or a common labourer. The devotee’s penance for 41 days, his journey across the hills and the ascension of the 18 steps at the pinnacle and then breaking the twin ghee-filled coconuts of duality are symbolic of the Hindu philosophy of crossing the 18 materialist stages and surrendering one’s ego to the deity and becoming one, in order to comprehend and experience the ultimate spiritual knowledge, “tat-vam-asi”—“you are that”, the undivided principle. The monistic self-realisation that the highest truth is indeed your self!

The temple is designed for open worship and doesn’t restrict the entry of members of other religions but does traditionally restrict the entry of women of menstruating age. It may be noted that the temple in olden times was open only during the Mandala period of 41 days, which ends with the Makarajyoti, the time when the sun enters Capricorn. However in the 1980s the temple authorities and the Devaswom Board, the department that manages the temple, established a flagpole in the temple and decided to open the temple every 1st day of the Malayalam month and keep it open for 5 days. Another reform was the entry of devotees without observing the traditional penance and women of all ages during this time. The legal prohibition of women of a certain age in the Sabarimala actually came into existence as late as 1991, when a devotee petitioned the Kerala High Court seeking a prohibition of women of this age from worship at the temple, since this was against tradition.

In the Geographical and Statistical Memoir of the Survey of the Travancore and Cochin States, Ward and Conner corroborate that this tradition of restriction on women existed around 200 years ago. The rules and regulations of a temple came into force through individual tradition and not by written rules, as is the case for every temple that ever existed until the colonial polity came to be established in India. Thus it is indisputable that such a tradition has been in existence at least for the last 200 years. It is interesting to note that young girls, pregnant women and old women used to visit Sabarimala at that time.

The legendary history of the temple narrates that the Sabarimala Temple is one of the five temples of Sastha or Ayyappa consecrated by Parasurama, each of these depicting the god in each stage of purusharta, the essential stages in a person’s life—as a baby, teenager, celibate, householder, forest dwelling ascetic (Sabarimala)—and as an enlightened yogi.

When the Sabarimala Temple was taken over by the Travancore government along with 347 other temples in the area in 1812, the Pandalam royal family had the complete rights to the temple. As reported by the Times of India, according to the Travancore Tribes and Castes written by anthropologist Diwan Bahadur L. A. Krishna Iyer, Sabarimala was in the joint possession of Pandalam Raja, Kakkattu Potti, the Perinad folk (inhabitants of a village by the same name) and the Kochuvelan (chief of Ulladan community nominated by the Pandalam Raja).

In 1950, the temple was completely gutted in a fire set by miscreants and the consecrated murti disfigured. The investigating police officer found evidence of forced entry into the temple and suspicion fell on Christian poachers residing in the adjoining area. Despite promises to the electorate of publishing the investigation report none of the succeeding state governments ever released the report or take any follow-up action. It is ironic that the main electoral promise of the first Communist government of Kerala that was elected to power in 1957 was that it would publish the investigation report of the fire that destroyed the Sabarimala Temple if it came to power.

As we now know, the Communists were not serious in keeping their promise. On top of it the current Communist government, with a plan to upgrade Sabarimala from a pilgrimage spot to a tourist destination, orchestrated the Supreme Court judgement to allow women of fertile age by presenting an affidavit through the Devaswom Board to the said court that it had no objections in lifting the restrictions on women. Sabarimala is one of the milch cows of the Kerala state government and plans for its expansion had been on the cards for years now. The only reason it is still pending is the whole temple area and the access points are part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and hence needed the approval of the Forest Department for any use of land, which was not forthcoming all these years. With restrictions on women gone, it was assumed that the Forest Department could be coaxed to grant approval. This conjecture is confirmed by the speed in which the Devaswom Board issued a press release about its intention to request the Forest Department for 100 acres of land the very next day after the historic Sabarimala judgement was delivered. The stated reason for more land was to make additional facilities for women’s entry.

Is it wrong for young women to visit the temple?

It is debatable why young women should not visit Sabarimala Ayyappa. There are many views on this. The judges who ruled for lifting the restriction on women of a certain age voted in favour of equality of the sexes negating the fundamental right of a citizen to believe, unlike the dissenting judgement of the lone woman judge. However, Ayyappa in Sabarimala is not the monotheist god who is offered burnt fat. Ayyappa is like most Hindu deities a sankalpa-pratishta (intended consecration), wherein the unique deity represents a naishtika brahmachari (faithful ascetic), and a stage in a Hindu man’s life where females of fertile age are kept at a distance. This is strictly not a place intended for a devotee of any monotheist god. This temple is meant for devotees who become ascetics for 41 days and visit Ayyappa and commune with the deity.

However, one may ask: but why cannot a woman of fertile age visit Ayyappa even if he is a naishtika brahmachari? There is a shrine for a female deity, Malikapurathamma, next to Ayyappa’s atop the hill, which would have been anathema to a faithful ascetic, but evidently it is not. The pro-tradition reply is: a woman of fertile age visiting a human naishtika brahmachari is a transgression of decorum if she is approaching him knowingly and the same applies to Ayyappa, because for his believers the deity is a living being and also a legal entity by Indian law. People have the right to believe it just as people have the right not to believe it. So if non-believers want to enter the temple, what is their purpose? What did the two women, who breached the tradition, achieve by scaling the summit? If one is to truly believe what they say, that they had darshan of the Lord, which god are they talking about? This confusion about an undefined monotheist god and a well-defined polytheist god pervades the mind of such beings, if we give them the benefit of the doubt and forget the only other possibility that their intention was belligerent and the act was performed only to insult or desecrate what is held sacred by the polytheists.

There is also a small section among ignorant people who propagate that Ayyappa became a naishtika brahmachari only because the upper castes, to be specific the tantric family who consecrated Ayyappa and the Pandalam royals, somehow appropriated the temple and the hills from the tribal people, thus disinheriting the rightful caretakers of Sabarimala and Ayyappa, and therefore it is only justice that women be allowed into the summit.

I find little substance in the above argument. Since the tribal people actually lost their forest land and rights over the temple only after Kerala became a democracy under the Indian union and since the hill people themselves follow the traditions of the ascetic Ayyappa, and women of fertile age did not generally ascend the hill in ancient times, it may be assumed with some confidence that the tantric and the royals were only following lokachara (tradition of the people) by intentionally consecrating a naishtika brahmachari at Sabarimala. Ayyappa, by legend, is married to two women and has fathered a child, and this particular intended consecration as an ascetic is unique to Sabarimala and the only one of the five temples where there are restrictions on women.

The equality of women was originally a given for the Indian Pagans and evidenced by the high number of temples consecrated to goddesses and the number of “women only” temples in India. The “women only” temples provide exclusive space to women secluded from men. Men neither question this tradition nor invade this space out of respect for the privacy of these women. On the other hand, the “men only” temples are very rare. Sabarimala provides space for men, single and married, to gather for a special purpose: seclude themselves from fertile women in a 41-day penance so as to focus on moksha, the ultimate final release every Hindu polytheist is focused on. Just as it is pure maryada (decorum) for men not to invade the space reserved for women, it is pure maryada for women to leave the space reserved for men to men alone. This was no discrimination against women but a restriction based on age. This is not at all a transgression of women’s rights. There is no written law but tradition for this purpose, just as decorum is decorum and not a written law.

However, for the monotheist, decorum is an alien word when it comes to religion and spirituality. Barging into the sacred space of the polytheist without decorum, permission and respect has been a characteristic feature of the monotheist. For them it is their god-given right; the right to worship and redemption was exclusively given to them by capital “G” god in the Bible! Only when this misdemeanour became glaring did the believers of Ayyappa go to court in 1991 and secure a legal ban. However, the persistently growing monotheist sentiments didn’t let go but kept increasing the pressure on the polytheists and finally put the judiciary under the thumbscrew in 2018 to overturn the old world decency, decorum and gender dignity.

Is this very difficult for a learned and honourable judge to understand? Was this judgement aimed at drawing applause from the global monotheist crowd? Is a monotheist not competent to understand this type of cultural decorum? We will know the honest answer only if a monotheist is first willing to give up his fake monotheism and false premises behind it in order to comprehend the spiritual reality.

Even though there is disagreement among believing Hindus on the restricted women’s entry to Sabarimala, there is unanimous agreement as to who should bring about the reforms. The Supreme Court is incompetent to make religious reforms for the reason that it cannot make or change laws. Only if a custom or tradition violates the rights of an individual, can the court intervene, and that too without violating another fundamental right of another. In this case, the Supreme Court of India violated the right to belief. A more important requirement crucial for the sustenance of polytheism in the future will be to free their places of worship from government control. The present dispensation is detrimental to polytheism because it exposes its traditions and customs to ideologies such as Communism and people in power with monotheist prejudices.

Dismantling the Satan’s last stronghold

According to the world’s latest Christian martyr, the American missionary John Allen Chau, the North Sentinel Island is the “Satan’s last stronghold”. I can already foresee the late Chau manifesting as the Saint of Andaman and Nicobar Islands some years into the future. Here, we see the horrible black drama against a white background. It is one god’s attempt to exterminate all other gods, and Chau is his latest martyr who died in the holy fight.

Chau’s monotheist god has in the meantime exterminated countless gods and goddesses all over the globe and has the most number of believers among the species. But the god is still not satisfied according to the scriptural instructions given to the believers. The monotheist god needs to exterminate the whole Hindu pantheon and its believers, until he is the last chap standing in the world, before the Second Coming will be pronounced to have arrived by those lucky monotheists who made it to heaven.

Being the only remaining land of polytheists on earth, Chau is correct in presuming that the monotheist god’s antagonist lives in India. To make such a statement, however, I assume the late Chau had some relief and a satisfactory reason to suspect that the Satan has been or would soon be evicted from the rest of India once the last bastions of polytheism have been flattened. Perhaps, Chau knew that when polytheist traditions fall one by one, the Satan he knew also left the world, such as when women of fertile age violated the privacy of men and stepped on the Pagan spiritual summit. I may also be wrong because Chau might have figured it out, correctly or incorrectly, that there are no original Pagans left on the Indian subcontinent, save the North Sentinel Island. Or, it may be that Pagans in jeans and T-shirts don’t matter anymore to the missionaries and their minders, the missiologists.

The modus operandi is the same everywhere for the bloodthirsty monotheist brigade: encroach the sacred space of the Pagan everywhere, like in West Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Australia. The appropriation of religious spaces of the American Indians by the US government for myriad purposes continues even today. This practice is analogous to the appropriation of sacred space of the polytheists in India, particularly in Kerala. Nobody in India or Kerala noticed that as the monotheists and “activists” (another name for Communists) were desecrating Sabarimala, the sacred space of the Kani (Kanikkar) tribe in South Kerala, Agasthyarkoodam, was being thrown open by the Kerala government to tourists for trekking. Like in Sabarimala, the Kani tribe who were the original dwellers of this forest area had restrictions on women of menstruating age in ascending the Agasthyarkoodam peak and their women still observe this ancient tradition. They believe sage Agastya, their spiritual guardian, is performing penance at its peak. The pilgrim season at Agasthyarkoodam starts coincidentally on the day the Sabarimala closes and lasts till Shivaratri rituals in early March. The Kani tribe and their ancient tradition evidently mean little to the government, since it is discouraging traditional pilgrims by introducing a trekking pass at a price of Rupees 1000. Even the Sangh Parivar, the supposed guardians of polytheist traditions, seems to have missed this attack on Pagan tradition.

The gruelling war of the monotheist god on the pantheon of Pagan gods provides spectacular imagery in the Paradise Lost by John Milton. The war of the monotheist believers on believers of other gods and goddesses in broad daylight has been equally awesome and destructive. We know how whole populations along with their cultures were wiped out in Europe and the Americas by the monotheist believers. The ferocity of the missionaries fuelled by the scriptural injunctions thundered around the globe on foot and on waters with manic velocity, blood flowing all along in copious volumes. No man who knows these as a fact would condone the continued existence of such a diabolical army of believers and their lunatic enterprise called evangelisation or proselytization. Instead of this belligerent germ being eradicated by any sane government, the supposed union of the states of the earth, the United Nations, has granted special privilege to Vatican, the notorious entity that should have been prosecuted for historical crimes thousands of times over and over, by which it goes to every other nation and get seated as a privileged guest for no other reason than colluding with the fascist and mass murderer Benito Mussolini. Why does the world’s united body, the UN, patronise Vatican as a nation and grant so much privilege for free?

The majority of people in the world are monotheists and the polytheists are a religious minority. And the majority became a majority through utter violence and mayhem against the latter. Today there is an outward calm, an appearance of civility but there is no equality between monotheism and polytheism. Equality is not possible because a large number of people are working against polytheism day in and day out all over the earth. These people are loaded with resources, privileges and power and have a game plan in hand. They are organised and so well coordinated that their sectarian prejudice (Vatican’s undeserving position in the UN) appears like natural, objective truth. The white people behind the monotheistic enterprise look invisible, like evaporating fumes. For instance, there are lots of apologists for the white Christian’s culpability in spreading the monotheist nonsense around the globe who assume the pretext that Europeans have left Christianity and that churches are empty there and that Christianity has become a third world enterprise. It is true that the head count of Christians is overwhelming in the third world countries, but most people forget or just ignore that the missionary leaders as well as missiologists who conceive of the modern monotheist strategy consist exclusively of white people (see the Wikipedia list of pioneering Missiologists) who are still fired by Stone Age sentiments. Above all, the funds that roll the missionary machinery everywhere come from Europe and the US.

The missiologists are the new evangelist leaders that line up behind the third world foot soldiers and direct them against the Pagans and others whom they think are the enemies of the monotheist god. They are the invisible strategists and the brain behind the war against the polytheists and the ethnic Indian tradition. It is the missiologists who guide and assign foot soldiers such as John Allen Chau for the proselytization task in a certain place. They are bent on destroying polytheist traditions and are in collusion with political parties in India.

An objective observer of the political scene in India, especially Kerala, can distinguish the anti-polytheist sentiment. The prejudice of the Communists in Kerala against polytheism is blatant. While they promote Christian and Islamic institutions and patronise their respective clergy at the expense of ordinary believers, they bend over backwards to destroy polytheist traditions. This lopsided dealing of elected Indian governments and the Supreme Court is not only taking India to the verge of violence and anarchy, but raises serious doubt about their motives. While violating the Sabarimala tradition by taking two atheist women to the summit in an ambulance in male costume, the Kerala Communist government was also creating a “women’s wall” purportedly for gender equality as a public relations measure. This was hailed as a historic victory for women and scored heavily only among far-away, monotheist bleeding hearts of Europe and the West. None of them knows nor cares that the Kerala economy is in shambles and the cost of the “women’s wall” came at the cost of public funds kept for the relief of women victims of violence. Not to mention, the government machinery was misused and poor women on government welfare threatened with cancellation of benefits if they didn’t participate!

The inter-religious conflict that we see everywhere in India is the reflection of the monotheist cultural aggression and its reactions. It is difficult to remember now that the majority of women in old Kerala followed matrilineal traditions and had equal or more rights than men. Matriarchy and polyandry fell on the wayside because they were against the monotheist patriarchy that was introduced here as Christianity and Islam took roots, but the excuse was once again “Brahmanical patriarchy”, a phrase coined recently to beat Hindu polytheists with, while destroying their culture and traditions. The patrilineal tradition of the Brahmans is of a completely different sort and can never be accused of misogyny unlike that of the Abrahamic monotheists, which is diabolical in all senses of the term.

Indians are at the crossroads now not knowing where their spiritual and cultural identity lies. What did the women activists achieve by scaling the Sabarimala summit? Which god did they see there? Was it the man-invoked brahmachari Ayyappa who offers moksha while they are alive? Or was it the misogynist god who created humans out of dust to torment their lives and then gift them heaven after death?

What are at stake here if you take the wrong turn in India are true multiculturalism, tolerance and emancipation of the human soul from greed. It is becoming clear as daylight that true liberty and peace for human beings can materialise only with a polytheistic approach and philosophy of religion. The Pagan Hindu approach to religion and spirituality is the lone star in the horizon that can save humanity from the darkness of delusional monotheism and lead the ailing species back on track towards the light of reality, mental health and true knowledge of the spirit.

» George Augustine is an Indian author and translator who works in Germany.

Yahweh / Jehovah


 

Video: Must Muslims eat beef? – Imam Tawhidi

Islam and beef-eating

Is there any rule that states a Muslim MUST eat beef? I raised the beef-eating controversy in India with Imam Tawhidi, and his response is clear and assertive: No! This video clip will help in my on-going debate with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has taken the stand that beef-eating is required in Islam. I am glad to have this on record as a useful testimony. – Rajiv Malhotra


 

Why the Left isn’t right about the Ayodhya dispute – Arun Anand

Sri Ram

Arun AnandThe issue of whether Lord Rama was born there or not, and whether a temple existed, has already been decided upon by the Allahabad High Court. Now the dispute is over a piece of land and it is a title suit in the Supreme Court. – Arun Anand 

The Allahabad High Court judgment on the Ram Janmabhoomi, delivered on September 30, 2010, caused great discomfort to Left historians and commentators. This discomfort has now increased with the Supreme Court setting up a panel for mediation on this issue with a time limit of eight weeks. And, there also seems to be a systemic campaign to build a communal narrative around this issue: To project it as a dispute between two communities while questioning the credibility of the panel itself (‘The mediation trap’, IE, March 11).

To begin with, Pratap Bhanu Mehta subtly questions the historicity of Lord Rama by taking the medieval period as the reference point for his existence: In 1989, Left historians began this campaign by misusing the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, to publish The Political Abuse of History: Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhumi Dispute—An Analysis by Twenty-Five Historians. The launch of this book led to systemic efforts to project that Rama was not a historical figure, Ayodhya was a mythical city and, more importantly, worshipping Rama was a phenomenon which started not more than 300 years ago.

On the contrary, Sanskrit scholars like Maurice Winternitz (History of Indian Literature, Vol, I-III), A. A. Macdonell (A History of Sanskrit Literature), A. B. Keith (A History of Sanskrit Literature) and John Brockington (Righteous Rama: The Evolution of an Epic) have clearly established that the story of Rama, that is, “Ram Katha”, dates back to almost fifth century BC, when it was told orally, and, later on, the sage Valmiki composed it around the third or fourth century BC.

As one goes through the accounts of foreign travellers, too, like William Finch and the Austrian Jesuit Joseph Tieffenthaler, who toured Awadh between 1766 and 1771, one finds out how committed and attached Hindus were to the birth place of Lord Rama. The fact is a large number of Muslims also support the construction of the Ram Temple. The issue of whether Lord Rama was born there or not, and whether a temple existed, has already been decided upon by the Allahabad HC. Now the dispute is over a piece of land and it is a title suit in the SC.

But still, attempts are being made to turn this issue into a Hindu-Muslim dispute by Left commentators and historians. They have been, it seems, stung by the fact that contrary to the common expectation that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) would react strongly against the recent direction of the apex court, the RSS has refused to play into the hands of its detractors. Thus, attempts have begun to discredit the panel itself. Ever since the mediation panel has been set up, there have been concerted attempts to raise doubts about the credentials of Sri Sri Ravishankar. In his article, Mehta writes, without any evidence: “(Sri Sri) has more or less intimidated institutions arguing that violence will ensue if a temple is not built….”

Sri Sri has never intimidated institutions nor has he ever argued that violence would ensue if temple is not built. In fact, he had started the mediation effort months before the apex court’s decision. He has been honoured by the governments of several countries for his peace efforts and is a well-known international figure in the field of conflict resolution. Just because he is Hindu and a spiritual guru, he has become the target of the Left.

His organisation, The Art of Living, is known to run a large number of social welfare projects. So it is not clear on what basis Mehta has written that, “(Sri Sri) represents the unsavoury aspects of a modern entrepreneurial figure to whom proximity to power matters more than spiritual values.” To accuse Hindu spiritual gurus who are gaining popularity is the latest weapon in the Left’s argumentative armoury: But that won’t cut much ice now as they have lost touch with ground realities. They fail to understand that Lord Rama’s birthplace is revered by all communities in the country and any attempt to wedge a drive between them on this issue would be futile. – The Indian Express, 13 March 2019

» Arun Anand  is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra.

Mediators: Kalifulla, Sri Ravi Shankar & Sriram Panchu


 

Digging into the human mind – Michel Danino

Alexander Cunningham of the Archaeological Survey of India

Prof Michel DaninoAs archaeologists dig the ground, they also dig into our minds—and their  own. And sometimes these latter findings are equally revealing. – Prof Michel Danino

The fluidity of historical interpretation is well known among historians themselves: it is accepted that there can be no such thing as “objective history”. The French philosopher Voltaire was rather scathing in his assessment of the discipline: “History is the lie commonly agreed upon,” he wrote. The assessment of the U.S. historian Will Durant was probably closer to the truth: “Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.”[1] Depending on the model they choose (and the best of the day is likely to be obsolete tomorrow), the scholars’ readings of events will vary widely.

At first glance, archaeology would appear less immune to such guesswork. After all, potsherds are potsherds, bones are bones, dating techniques are now fairly secure, and major events, such as the sacking of a city or a destructive flood are easy enough to trace on the ground. Yet that ground is rarely as secure as we might wish. Indeed, archaeology has been at the core of numerous controversies ever since it became a respectable discipline in the nineteenth century.

Almost immediately, it proved itself to be an effective weapon in the colonial arsenal. In North America in the early nineteenth century, colonizers marvelled at thousands of mysterious ancient earthen mounds throughout the Midwest, such as Ohio’s 390-metre long Great Serpent Mound. Most experts asserted that those colossal earth structures could not have been the work of “savage” Red Indians; they were attributed instead to various exotic invaders—Vikings, Hindus, even survivors from Atlantis. For “if [American] Indians were savages, their ancestors would not have had necessary engineering skills. If such skills were conceded, the moral and intellectual superiority that European settlers took to be their justification for seizing Native American land would be manifestly undermined,”[2] as the British archaeologist Paul Bahn put it. It took seventy years of often bitter archaeological controversy for the truth to prevail: the mounds had indeed an indigenous origin. Meantime, native tribes had been decimated and dispossessed of their lands, and hardly deserved a passing mention in colonial histories of America.

About the same time, in southern Africa, the imposing stone ruins of south-eastern Zimbabwe bore witness to an advanced civilization. British colonizers and scholars variously saw in them the work of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Phoenicians, Greeks, or Egyptians—anything but an unacceptable “Black civilization”. Only in the early twentieth century was it finally demonstrated that the cities now lying in ruins were wholly indigenous. Further to the west, in Namibia, the rock paintings of the Brandberg mountain were attributed to ancient Egyptians or Cretans as late as in the 1960s: the apartheid regime ruled out an African origin for them; thankfully, it is now established that the authors of those remarkable paintings were indigenous Bushmen, not chimerical invaders from the Mediterranean.

From Easter Island to Australia’s aborigines, more cases of what has been called “colonial archaeology”[3] could be cited. By establishing that the conqueror belonged to a more advanced civilization, it helped him in his self-appointed task of writing the history of the conquered and “civilizing” them. Political misuse of archaeology found a notorious illustration when Nazi ideology engulfed the German archaeological world, with 86 per cent of all archaeologists active members of the Nazi party. Hitler had put it as plainly as possible: “My demands are not exorbitant. I am only interested … in territories where Germans have lived before.”[4] Archaeology thus became a prime instrument of Nazi claims: “It offered ‘proof’ that the great civilizations of ancient Europe had been created by human groups ‘of Germanic racial type’ and that the so-called ‘Germanic race’ was the originator of major innovations in European prehistory, from the invention of agriculture to that of writing.”[5] Germany could then justify its invasion of European neighbours: it was nothing but a reconquest of lands that had once been Germanic in character, language and culture.

Nazi Germany’s ideology, of course, was founded on the Aryan myth: Germans saw themselves as the purest descendants of the “Aryan race”. The monstrous lengths to which they took this false construct need no retelling. The same myth had been used even earlier by Russia to legitimize her colonization of Turkistan: here also, it was nothing but “Aryans coming back to their homeland”.[6] Archaeologists welcomed the colonization, arguing that “Russia is duty bound to possess central Asia, to restore its Aryan character and to erase a Turkic element anyhow thought to be temporary and destined to disappear.”[7] Echoes of these Russian dreams of an “Aryan” Central Asia, though now shorn of political ambitions, can be heard in the writings of the Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi, who in the 1960s discovered in southeast Turkmenistan the first sites of the so-called “Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex” (BMAC, also Oxus Civilization), which extends from the upper reaches of the Amu Darya almost all the way to the Caspian Sea and dates from the first half of the second millennium BCE . The cities unearthed in the following decades were quite impressive, but less so Sarianidi’s insistence that the BMAC was essentially an Indo-Aryan culture and represented the Aryan expansion before it reached Iran and India.[8] Few archaeologists have taken this thesis seriously, and many have critiqued it severely.[9] A second echo, last year, came in the shape of a dramatic announcement that archaeologists had found in the Russian steppes bordering Kazakhstan settlements dating back to about 2000 BCE . While there is nothing surprising about such finds, the presence of swastikas daubed on artefacts sent everyone into a tizzy, with extraordinary claims that the settlements “could have been built shortly after the Great Pyramid, some 4,000 years ago, by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s”.[10] Leave alone the fact that the swastika is a largely universal symbol, found also in palaeolithic rock art, and therefore cannot be associated with one particular culture, the resurrection of the discredited concept of an Aryan race is deplorable. It is problematic to note in this twenty-first century the persistence of the quest for an “original Aryan homeland”, forgetting that the concept of “Aryan” has been shown to be profoundly illegitimate.[11]

In India

Expectedly, India with her vast cultural heritage has been no exception to the manipulation of archaeological data for ideological purposes. The story begins with Alexander Cunningham, an official with the East India Company, who in 1871 became the Archaeological Survey of India’s first director general. His tireless work produced an inventory of India’s monuments; he is also remembered for his pioneering Ancient Geography of India. But Cunningham’s motives were not wholly disinterested, and he made plain his hope that excavating India’s past would, among other things, “show that Brahmanism … was of comparatively modern origin, and had been constantly receiving additions and alterations; facts which prove that the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed.”[12] Indeed, in the nineteenth century, such a deep-rooted conviction of Christianity’s superiority to Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism was the norm among “Orientalists” and European Sanskritists; here, in addition, archaeology was to be harnessed to the task.[13] This anticipates the manipulations aimed at establishing the visit of
Thomas the Apostle to India (see elsewhere in this volume).

A different situation has prevailed in India’s Northeast. Archaeology in those seven states has been sorely neglected and important finds poorly highlighted. Yet, by documenting the presence of Hindu and Buddhist temples and artefacts dating back to a few centuries BCE and CE , they effectively dispel the widespread but untenable notion that this region was never culturally attached to India. The seasoned Indian archaeologist A.K. Sharma, who led several excavations there, remarked with some anguish:

During the pre-independence era, in spite of some archaeological evidences showing similarities with the rest of the country, the myth of backwardness was deliberately inculcated and propagated as this facilitated the Missionaries in conversion of the indigenous people to their faith. In fact, during conversion, the local tribals were never told that they are being converted from their faith to another faith and religion, as this might have aroused suspicion and revolt, instead they were told that they have now become civilized and will be treated among the civilized people of the world.[14]

Though the entire region abounds in archaeological and cultural wealth, very little has been done so far to unearth the glorious past of the area. If proper attention would have been paid earlier, as was done in the case of other parts of the country, the feeling of aloofness and alienation that was deliberately inculcated by the enemies of the country could have been avoided. We are responsible for keeping our brothers and sisters of the North-East in the dark about their glorious past, about their very close relationships with the rest of the country. [15]

The Harappan Case

Indian archaeology has had more than a brush with the Aryan myth, too. Another director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (from 1944), Mortimer Wheeler, needed nothing more than a few skeletons in the streets of Mohenjo-daro to speak of a “massacre” and issue his famous declaration, “Indra stands accused”[16]—Indra being, of course, the chief of the Aryan gods. Even though further archaeological work ruled out man-made destruction as the cause of the decline of the Harappan civilization, in effect exploding this Bollywood-like scenario, we find it repeated still today in some of our history textbooks.[17]

The Harappan civilization, the first on Indian soil, has naturally spawned various kinds of distortion, with competing ideological groups laying claim to it. John Marshall, a director general of the ASI who excavated at Mohenjo-daro, was among the first to suggest that it may have been created by “Dravidians”. Right from the beginning, the classic confusion between race, culture and language muddied the waters. In recent decades, scholars like the Russian expert on the Mayan script, Y.V. Knorozov, the Finnish Indologist Asko Parpola or the epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan strove to decipher the Indus script along the lines of a proto-Dravidian language, but their mutually incompatible proposals made no headway beyond a point. While such attempts are perfectly legitimate, the recent identifications of supposed “Indus signs” at numerous sites in Tamil Nadu are much less so. The 2006 find of a stone axe in Sembiyan-Kandiyur (near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu) bearing Indus-like signs was trumpeted in the media and by the Tamil Nadu government’s Department of Archaeology as proof that the Harappan language was an ancient form of Tamil: the stone axe was “the discovery of a century”.[18] Tamil Nadu’s then Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, declared at an election rally that “recent archaeological findings of Indus valley scripts in Mayiladuthurai in
Nagapattinam district indicated that the people who lived in Tamil Nadu belonged to the Dravidian race similar to those who lived in the Indus valley.”[19]

No one protested this indefensible harangue rooted in nineteenth-century race prejudices. In fact, I. Mahadevan lent his weight to such claims by identifying further “Indus-like inscriptions” at other sites and as far as in Thailand.[20]

Contrary to Mahadevan’s assertions, none of the purported “inscriptions”, when they were distinct enough (which was certainly not the case of the Mayiladuthurai axe), coincided with a complete known Harappan sign sequence. That the Indus script had long been compared with several other ancient scripts of the world and that such parallels were essentially meaningless was ignored. Worse, it was overlooked that finding a complete Harappan sign sequence in Tamil Nadu would no more establish that the Harappan language was Dravidian than the find of numerous Roman coins in the South proves that Julius Caesar spoke Tamil. Finally, no explanation was offered for the absence of any Harappan artefacts and features south of the Vindhyas or for the fact that, had Harappans migrated to South India after the end of the urban phase, they would have suddenly reverted from an advanced Bronze Age culture to a Neolithic one, forgetting all their typical crafts and sophisticated techniques, pottery designs, ornaments, and urbanism. Cultural continuity from Harappan times is well documented in North India in diverse fields, but not in the South. Despite such glaring methodological issues,[21] the thesis has prospered with political support. The political angle in the claim that the Harappan civilization was Dravidian was conspicuous at the World Tamil Conference held in Coimbatore in June 2010, when Asko Parpola received an award of a million rupees from the Tamil Nadu government: the “Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award”. On that occasion, Karunanidhi asserted that “Tamil is not only an international language; it is like a mother for all the languages of the world.”[22]

Such eagerness to drive the colonial Aryan–Dravidian wedge deeper is a shortcut to the construction of a “separate identity”. Although largely limited to Tamil Nadu, we occasionally find the same methodological flaws reflected elsewhere. Recently the epigraphist M.R. Raghava Varier identified at Edakkal, in Kerala’s Wayanad district, Indus-like engravings on rocks, and was reported as saying, “There had been indications of remnants akin to the Indus Valley civilisation in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but these new findings give credence to the fact that the Harappan civilisation had its presence in the region too and could trace the history of Kerala even beyond the Iron Age.”[23] This claim rests on a single engraved sign which happens to resemble one Indus sign; nothing is said of other engravings, which, naturally, will not match the Harappan script; no thoughtful comparison is offered between Edakkal’s Neolithic culture and the Harappan Bronze Age tradition. The intention is transparent: it is the imagining of an ancient civilized past for Kerala on par with the Indus civilization. Perhaps one day we will be told that the Harappans spoke not
Tamil but Malayalam, and sailed from Lothal to Muziris.

Another claim to a remote antiquity was made in 2001 when the discovery of a so-called “Khambat civilization” was announced with great fanfare by the then government of India. A submerged city had been found by the Indian National Institute of Ocean Technology in the Gulf of Cambay, a little to the south of the Narmada’s estuary, and it was several millennia older than the Indus civilization. “Structures very similar to [Mohenjo-daro’s] great bath, acropolis, temples and granaries had been located,”[24] it was claimed on the basis of very faint sonar images. But despite further explorations, the submerged structures were never proved to be man-made; artefacts dated to the eighth or ninth millenniums BCE were not stratigraphically secure and there were technical problems with their dating. It was also forgotten that however fascinating submerged cities may be, they cannot exist in isolation. A few years
later, the claim was quietly buried and all the data on the finds removed from the NIOT’s website.

Conclusion

Misuse of archaeology, then, may be prompted by a quest for a greater antiquity (wrongly assumed to confer a greater glory) or for primacy over other cultures (e.g., the “Dravidians” are India’s original inhabitants while “Aryans” are “invaders”). The desire for primacy can turn into one for supremacy, as in the case of Nazi Germany. Even if it does not go so far, it is the open door to divisive ideologies that concentrate on ethnic (formerly racial), linguistic or cultural faultlines rather than on shared heritage and cultural integration. This state of affairs will continue as long as scholarly standards are allowed to be compromised, often through political influences. While a search for identity is a legitimate one, it should not be based on jingoism or regional nationalism. Until much more is known about the origins of the Indus
civilization, let us invite all Indians and all Pakistanis to take pride in it, but not an exclusive pride. As a guide, the concept of world heritage is far more fruitful. The past cannot be an exclusive property.

The British archaeologist Robert Layton summarized the problem of objectivity in archaeology in these terms:

Although strict empiricism, that is, observation of data without the guidance of a theory is impossible, nonetheless we cannot adhere to a theory merely because it seems politically expedient or morally right. We  must test our theories against observation. [Bruce G.] Trigger reaches a similar conclusion, namely that, although a “value-free” archaeology is probably impossible to achieve, “the findings of archaeology can only have lasting social value if they approximate as closely as possible to an objective understanding of social behaviour”. On the other hand, any theory that has a bearing on the real world may have political implications, if it is used to formulate or justify policy, even though this consequence may be unintended by the analyst.[25]

As archaeologists dig the ground, they also dig into our minds (and their  own). And sometimes these latter findings are equally revealing. – SCRIBD

References

  1. Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1954, p. 12.
  2. Paul G. Bahn, (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of Archaeology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 113–14.
  3. Ibid., p. 360.
  4. Quoted by Heirich Härke, “Archaeologists and Migrations: A Problem of Attitude?”, Current Anthropology, vol. 39, no. 1, February 1998, p. 22.
  5. Jean-Pierre Legendre, Laurent Olivier, Bernadette Schnitzler, “Quand l’archéologie était au service du nazisme”, Archaeologia, no. 442, March 2007, p. 44.
  6. Marlène Laruelle, Mythe aryen et rêve impérial dans la Russie du XIX e siècle, 2005, pp. 107 ff. Ibid., p. 120.
  7. For instance, V. Sarianidi, “Near Eastern Aryans in Central Asia”, Journal of Indo–European Studies, vol. 27, 1999, pp. 295–326.
  8. For instance, B.B. Lal, How Deep Are the Roots of Indian Civilization? Archaeology Answers, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 100 ff.
  9. “4,000-year-old Aryan city discovered in Russia”, The Hindu, 4 October 2010.
  10. On the Aryan construct, see Louis L. Snyder, The Idea of Nationalism: Its Meaning and History, D. Van Nostrand, New York, 1962; Léon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe, Sussex University Press, London, 1974; Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, 1992; Stefan Arvidsson, Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006; and John V. Day, “The Concept of the Aryan Race in Nineteenth-Century Scholarship”, Orpheus, Sofia, 1994, vol. 4, pp. 13–48.
  11. A. Cunningham, “An Account of the Discovery of the Ruins of the Buddhist City of
    Samkassa”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1843, pp. 241–47, excerpted in F.R. Allchin & Dilip K. Chakrabarti, (eds), A Source-book of Indian Archaeology, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1979, vol. 1, p. 69.
  12. See for instance Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan, Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, New Delhi, Amaryllis, 2011; also Michel Danino, The Dawn of Indian Civilization and the Elusive Aryans, Rupa & Co., New Delhi, forthcoming, Part 1.
  13. A.K. Sharma, Emergence of Early Culture in North-East India, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 1993, p. 1.
  14. Ibid., p. i. (See also, by the same author, Manipur: The Glorious Past, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 1994, and Early Man in Eastern Himalayas, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 1996.)
  15. Mortimer Wheeler, “Harappa 1946: the Defences and Cemetery R37”, Ancient India, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, no. 3, 1947, p. 82.
  16. For a recent example, see Michel Danino,“ A Textbook Case of Howlers”, The New Indian Express, 18 October 2010. For more on colonial distortions in the Indian context, see Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Colonial Indology: Sociopolitics of the Ancient Indian Past, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1997, and The Battle for Ancient India: An Essay in the Sociopolitics of Indian Archaeology, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2008.
  17. T .S. Subramanian, “ ‘Discovery of a century’ in Tamil Nadu”, The Hindu, 1 st May 2006.
  18. M. Karunanidhi, “MK vows to develop Dravidian culture,” as reported by Sify News, 05 May 2006 (http://sify.com/cities/fullstory.php?id=14198547). He not only portrayed himself as “a descendant of this Dravidian race,” but said, in the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, “I did not enter public life for the sake of power. I joined the movement of rationalist leaders like Periyar E. V. Ramasamy to uphold the Dravidian race and work for its future.” The notion of a “Dravidian race,” however, is least rational.
  19. Iravatham Mahadevan, “Indus-like inscription on South Indian pottery from Thailand”, The Hindu, 8 April 2001.
  20. See Michel Danino, “A Dravido-Harappan Connection? The Issue of Methodology,” in T.S. Sridhar & N. Marxia Gandhi, (eds), Indus Civilization and Tamil Language, Department of Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, 2009, pp. 70–81.
  21. T. Ramakrishnan, “President hails role of Tamil ethos in Indian identity and progress”, The Hindu, 23 June 2010.
  22. C.S. Narayanan Kutty, “Symbols Akin to Indus Valley Culture Discovered in Kerala”, Outlook India, 29 September 2009.
  23. “Scientists find submerged archaeological sites”, Times of India, 19 May 2001.
  24. Robert Layton, (ed.), Conflict in the Archaeology of Living Traditions, Routledge, London, 1994, p. 4 (see p. 13 for more examples of colonial archaeology).

» Prof Michel Danino is a French-born Indian author, scholar of ancient India and visiting professor at IIT Gandhinagar. His published works include The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati (Penguin Books India, 2010) and Indian Culture and India’s Future (DK Printworld, 2011).

Cross imposed on India map

Treating the Saint Thomas myth as Indian history, the popular encyclopaedia portal Wikipedia uses this image of a Syrian Christian cross imposed on an India map to present India as a Christian country to the world.

 


 

 

Inside the Mooji cult – Be Scofield

Mooji (Anthony Paul Moo-Young)

Be ScofieldMooji has appropriated and distorted the guru tradition and has used it to justify a cult of devotion and worship around himself while abusing many in the process. – Be Scofield

“We are living with a living Jesus Christ. He is God living.” That’s how a Mooji disciple named Lakshmi described her experience living with her guru at his ashram during an interview. She continued, “The whole vibration here is vibrating with Mooji … it is pure divinity.” Another devotee, Bill Free, was conducting the interview in a series with “Mooji disciples” — the most dedicated and loyal inner circle. He replied, “This guy is just like Jesus. The truth comes out of him in every sentence.” A longtime disciple named Shree says “Mooji is not a man, he is a master.” Another devotee goes as far as to say “Mooji is certainly the evidence in this world that God exists.” One follower refers to Mooji’s “divine presence” and says that he is “so humble, so pure and so profound, he has transcended the limitations of thought forms.”

On stage at his Monte Sahaja ashram in rural Portugal, Mooji directs his devotees to bow and kiss his feet. They gush with love and devotion in tears. A young woman says to him in an accent, “I don’t kiss your feet, I kiss feet of God of universe.” Another woman tells Mooji, “I had an experience recently, where you, as the lion that you are, took my heart in your teeth and you shook me and the peace and the miraculous revelations that came from that are incredible. It is only because of your generosity to be the lion that we can be the sheep.” A guy who calls Mooji “beloved Godfather” tells him “It is by your grace alone Lord that thy will be done.” Another, “You give everything. You give us life. You bring us home.” A young devotee reads a poetic letter she wrote to him, “If I have to cry let my tears be holy waters to wash your feet. If I have to die, let me die at your feet today.… If I have to fall let me fall in love with you my Lord.”

“It’s definitely a cult,” says a former longtime senior staff member who spent many years in Mooji’s group. Former members who are speaking out agree. They claim Mooji has appropriated and distorted the guru tradition and has used it to justify a cult of devotion and worship around himself while abusing many in the process.

“He encourages dependence,” says one person who spent time at the Monte Sahaja ashram. She said it “seemed odd and inappropriate” the way he fueled the worship of himself. “I couldn’t understand why he didn’t tell people to not do it. He would just lap it up. There were times when people were literally just physically hanging off of him.” In videos, Mooji can be seen directing devotees to bow and kiss his feet. One man told Mooji “I never had a father,” to which he replied, “God wanted you here. I am your father now.” Former members describe residents of the ashram as “zombies” who have lost all sense of themselves in their worship of him.

A scholar with a Ph.D. in Indian religions said that Mooji has no guru lineage as his teacher Papaji was “not authorized to take the gurus seat” by Ramana Maharshi and Mooji was also not authorized by Papaji. “Mooji is a self-appointed guru. In Indian tradition, a self-appointed guru is the least trustworthy person around, because only a dangerously deluded individual would want that position and the adulation that often comes with it.” He also said feet kissing is not a traditional Indian practice in the guru tradition.

Mooji also eats meat including cow and has been married twice in a traditional Hindu marriage by a Hindu priest in a temple in India within two years of each other. And he ended both relationships without dissolving the previous marriage which technically makes him a bigamist legally. A source who is Hindu explains. “Most Hindu traditions are vegetarian and no temple or ashram serves meat. By eating cow meat, doing two Hindu weddings without respecting its legality and sacredness, they aren’t promoting Hindu philosophy. They’re ruining its traditional beauty.”

After two Mooji devotees committed suicide in 2017 people are becoming increasingly concerned about the well being of those living under his command at the Monte Sahaja ashram.

There is music devoted to Mooji as well. One kirtan song, sung to hundreds of his followers who live at his ashram, has the lyrics “Mooji you’re the answer, master you’re the way” repeated over and over again. In another, a devotee sings on stage “Praise to my father, Sri Mooji. Praise to his lotus feet that whatever they touch they make it pure.” Another song has the lyrics “If you have to die, die at the feet of the guru.” Another one sung to Mooji “By your grace I am. I come to life in you. Shiva, Shiva.”

One person who spent time Monte Sahaja reports seeing “frequent crying, screaming and the appearance of many weird individuals as well as some exorcism-like episodes.” A staff member says exorcisms were common.

“The first exorcism was in Tiruvannamalai around 2011 or 2012. It was a Spanish woman who came in and started to scream on his lap. She was possessed according to Mooji. That night we were there all night and he was trying to get the spirit to leave her but it refused to leave her. And then later on a little girl was possessed with many demons according to Mooji.”

She said people with mental illness started to regularly show up and Mooji would tell them they were possessed with demons. People would have voices in their head and other symptoms and he believed they were possessed.

A former member says “There was a lot of indoctrination occurring like naming ceremonies and women would have their heads shaved by him. There were some very strange, bizarre things going on. It felt very unhealthy to me.”

The staff member who witnessed the exorcisms said Mooji cut her hair and another woman’s hair against their will. Some went along but some did not want it. There were about 20-30 people in total who had their hair cut by Mooji that night. She described what happened:

“I was like ‘I don’t want my hair cut, I don’t want to do it.’ Mooji said ‘No, no. It’s your turn, come on, come on.’ He ordered me to stand in front of him to get my hair cut against my wishes. He would grab our hair and pull it up toward the ceiling and then take the scissors and cut all the way across. It was a bad hair cut. He did the same thing to another woman with very long hair. She was crouched against the wall saying ’no, no, no’ and he took the scissors and cut her hair against her will.”

Humble beginnings

Before Mooji became God he was Tony. Anthony Paul Moo-Young to be precise. Born in Jamaica in 1954 he made his living as a street artist doing charcoal paintings and selling incense. He eventually opened up a small chai shop in London. As he became interested in ideas of awakening he began teaching to small groups of students which slowly grew over time. According to his bio he spent a few months studying with Papaji and now claims direct lineage to Ramana Maharshi because of it. In 2011 he opened a spiritual center called Monte Sahaja in a remote area of Portugal where he currently lives with hundreds of devotees. He teaches his followers there and around the world that they can attain “immediate awakening.”

Mooji now sits at the top of the self-made guru game. He has 52 million views on Youtube, 70,000 Instagram followers, and 380,000 likes on Facebook. His talks are live-streamed and he runs a membership site with exclusive content. He’s made millions, has a book published on Sounds True and has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world. People line the streets to get a chance to see or touch him and massive crowds come to see him speak. He is one of the most worshiped and sought after spiritual teachers of our time.

But now, for the first time ever, Mooji’s holy status and divine empire are facing major public scrutiny. Allegations of being sexual with students and of running a destructive cult are surfacing — verifying what people have been stating for years in online cult forums and websites.

Breaking the silence

In January 2019 a former staff member in his ashram and follower posted a video called “The Real Mooji Exposed” on Facebook. She had reached out to someone and got first-hand knowledge of what was happening at the ashram. She publicly called out Mooji and alluded that he was having sex with young students. “What you’re doing, that you know is wrong to young women, all under the guise of spirituality and being a spiritual master, telling them this is their way to quicken their awakening and merge with God. Shame on you. It is a blatant misuse of power and it’s wrong.” She said that she wasn’t one of those girls who could be manipulated or silenced. She said “every single one of my fears was confirmed today” and describes it as “devastating news” as Mooji was her spiritual master. The video caused a stir, garnering over 14,000 views.

Mooji responded publicly in a Facebook video that has been viewed almost 60,000 times. While he didn’t address any specifics or reference the recent video he said he wasn’t guilty of any of the allegations. “My heart has always been clean before God. I’ve not done anything to harm anyone.… It is an intentional and malicious attack on myself.”

A longtime Mooji disciple and Monte Sahaja staff member was one of many who defended their beloved teacher in the comments of the video:

“Moojibaba is impeccable in all aspects of his life and so is Monte Sahaja a pure reflection of the Master’s purity and God’s Grace, for the miracle of awakening happens here. When we go to rest at night I see the Master rushing off to work on yet another project that is to benefit humanity…The Master doesn’t ever think of himself.

“For myself I am eternally grateful for knowing Moojibaba, for he has taken me from a kind of death to real life. Through his pointings my eyes were cleaned from the distortions of human thinking that produce the kind of unfounded lies that we encounter in [the] video.”

A young female devotee who’s been living at Monte Sahaja for 3.5 years also commented:

“I could never possibly express the gratitude that I have for my Master in words…. It hurts my heart hearing such untrue gossip about him.”

Another devotee’s comment:

“He is not a person, how can you doubt?

Sex with students and disciples

There are credible accounts of Mooji engaging sexually with female students. One longtime former disciple who left abruptly claims she had sex with Mooji secretly the entire time she was at Sahaja. Additionally, insiders say that Mooji is sleeping with the three young female disciples who live with him in the secluded gated area of the property. The follower who initially exposed Mooji stated he is telling young women “this is their way to quicken their awakening and merge with God.” It is all happening under coercive mind control and an abusive environment. There are other women who have made themselves known too but are afraid to speak out publicly as well.

A former senior staff member who spent many years close to Mooji said he has a fetish for “young, hot girls.” She described a pattern of Mooji cheating on his girlfriend and then dumping her for a younger, more attractive woman who was a student. She said it left the women completely devastated and in tears. One girlfriend “was laying there sobbing on the bed, a complete mess, and no one helped her.” She asked her “Why are you crying?” She said, “he left me. Mooji left me.” And then the girlfriend would be out of the group or sidelined. Mooji has cheated on his prior three girlfriends with students and dumped them for a new, younger student she said.

One time Mooji slipped out at night to get away from his girlfriend Radha so he could have sex with a devotee while in India for a retreat she said.

“She was staying next to my room during the retreat and I heard the loud noise of her orgasming because there was one wall between us. I was like ‘she’s having sex.’ I could hear the bed. I was like ‘with whom?’ because I knew there was no guy around she liked. And I went out to see if I could see bikes or something and I saw Mooji’s bike out there. The girl was shouting so loudly. I knew he was having sex with her.

“A few weeks later she was expelled from the group. He was speaking bad about her in private satsangs and saying she was a devilish girl. So every woman in the team started outcasting her. One day she was a member, next day nobody likes her.”

This woman wanted something more than just sex but Mooji did not, she said. “She was not the abusable type so Mooji realized he stepped into a trap and had to set the team against her.”

She said Mooji later admitted to her that he was there. “Mooji told me he was in her room that night. She said that when he walked in she closed the door and pushed him on the bed and just laid on top of him. He was trying to make it out like she initiated everything or was even groping him. As he was describing what happened his girlfriend Radha walked up and he told me we’d discuss it later.”

On another occasion, she said Mooji kicked her and another staff member out of the apartment late one night to have sex with a student. Mooji’s girlfriend was on vacation. She said they both could have stayed as it was also a communal space but Mooji had other plans.

“I knew he was gonna fuck but I was pretty cool about it. I was like ‘ok, the guy is having a bit of a break. He needs a bit of a refreshment. The girlfriend is away. He can have a treat every once in a while. So, that kind of free mindset.’ We left and it was him and her alone in the house. She slept at his place. The next morning we were walking towards his house. We see him and her walking hand in hand and you could see they were pretty intimate.”

“The amazing thing about Tony (Moo) is that everyone knew about his proclivities from the get go. Tony’s great chum Reiki Shiva used to regale everyone with tales of his sexual antics to all and sundry in the chai shops of Tiruvannamalai. It’s a bit like Harvey (Weinstein): everyone knew but they all wanted the starring role so they played along. Harvey was sharing Hollywood stardust, Tony is selling the mystical allure of enlightenment .”

A former staff member said she has seen emails directly between Mooji and female followers to go on dates and engage sexually. This was while he had a girlfriend.

When one of Mooji’s girlfriends got pregnant several years ago she really wanted to keep the baby and Mooji did not. Mooji having a baby was not in his plan of building his empire as it would have introduced a legal obligation to support a child. Someone who was close to the girlfriend at the time says that Mooji coerced her into getting an abortion against her will.

Inside Mooji’s Monte Sahaja cult

“People are being traumatized and brainwashed,” a former senior staff member, who had worked closely with Mooji for years said. Former members speaking out claim people are isolated in rural Portugal, thousands of miles from their homes and are under very intense and coercive mind control. It is a highly regulated and abusive environment centered on absolute devotion to Mooji. Members literally believe he is God. “They sound like him, he speaks through them. It’s creepy. It’s almost like they’ve been taken over by him, like he’s possessed them.”

Former members say the Mooji people see on Youtube and in public events is very different than the real Mooji. They describe him as “cruel,” “abusive,” “narcissistic,” “extremely controlling,” “a bully,” “ruthless,” “dangerous,” and a “demon.” One minute Mooji is loving and kind and the next minute he is screaming and yelling at someone or belittling them.

A former volunteer describes an incident when Mooji threw water on a student’s face:

“We were in the dining area. She asked him a question about her thought process. He then asked a person to slide their glass of water to him. He picked it up and threw the water on the woman’s face. It was a lot of water so it covered her hair and face and was dripping on her clothes. He did this while we were sitting there. No warning. Very calmly. Then he told her ‘go take a walk.’”

She also said Mooji publicly shamed a woman during satsang. “I also remember Mooji reading an email from someone who he said was ‘mentally ill’ and he read her full name so we all knew who she was and said, ‘see what I have to deal with?’”

On one occasion the group doctor was brought in front of Mooji and the community and made to repent and repeatedly apologize for not obeying his commands. Mooji was angry and said, “how long have you been with me and you still don’t act as I want?” He said she wasn’t measuring up to the devotion expected of her and wasn’t sure how much longer she’d be around.

Even Mooji’s daughter is humiliated in front of the group. A former member says it appears she is forced to use public satsangs as her only method of communicating with her father. When she stated during satsang she wanted to leave and live in London he shouted; “I’ll have to shut down the entire Sahaja to afford it!” He controls her and her finances and she would fear being exiled permanently if she ever left without his permission they said.

Former members say Mooji will yell, scream and belittle people regularly in the group. One person says “I also saw him super angry at one of the girls that used to serve him. He was brutal to her and she started crying.” Another echoes this type of behavior, “He would make very outlandish and arrogant remarks and completely embarrass and scrutinize people in front of others…. I went to hug him one day and he pushed me off him with an angry look yelling at me because he felt that I didn’t ask enough questions and also called me a devil.” Someone who spent time at Monte Sahaj:

“I spent almost three months there last year, I have seen him yelling at people on MANY occasions…. She went to Mooji for help and he relentlessly yelled at her in front of over 200 people. She was completely shaken up and her parents are extremely concerned about her. ”

Former members say any criticism or challenge to Mooji or his orders is dismissed as “mind.” One says “you stop questioning anything.” And for members who do act out, Mooji has designated a place to serve as an isolation building. They will receive only one meal a day and learn to “know the self.”

A strict code of silence is enforced 24/7 all year round at the Monte Sahaja ashram, aside from work-related needs. Former members say this leads to isolation and psychological distress. It’s how he prevents people from connecting to each other and their own selves, they say. Members used to be able to talk during meals but Mooji even ordered that to stop because “he didn’t want to hear everyone chatting.” A former volunteer said “You can’t talk to anyone. You are never to speak of your history, your life or anything. You are never, ever supposed to talk about your experience with anyone.” She said a few guys got hell for briefly talking in the smoking area. This was not during a silent retreat. She had no idea it was like that before arriving to volunteer. When she asked a staff member how they were doing they replied, “We don’t ask that kind of question here, but that’s ok, we still love you.”

People pay as much as $600 a month to go to Monte Sahaj to do “seva” as volunteers. Critics say Mooji essentially cons vulnerable followers to get free labor by having his ashram designated as a charity. Members work ten hour days under a very critical and watchful eye. “Clean the showers as if you are cleaning it for Mooji” a volunteer was told. “With all your heart, clean.” She said a few crumbs would drop on the floor while cleaning and someone she didn’t even know came up to her and harshly scolded her. When she was 15 minutes late the first day of volunteering due to severe jet lag and arriving late at night she was heavily belittled by her team leader. The working conditions were disgusting she said. And there were no gloves. Sometimes the work would go into the middle of the night for some crews if Mooji kept the satsang late.

Routine safety issues on the property would also be ignored and when confronted team members would say “do you not trust the Guru?”

Residents of Monte Sahaja live in a constant state of competition for who can be the most devoted to Mooji. “Somehow he put us in direct competition with each to fight for his acknowledgment and most of us had no idea that that’s what we were doing.” And if he doesn’t like someone’s energy or they haven’t shown enough devotion they are kicked out or ostracized. One student told Mooji that she loves other teachers too and he told her “then go be with them.” Her promised work assignment at Monte Sahaja suddenly disappeared. Another said they experienced awakening and she was kicked out for it. People walk around on eggshells fearing him and wanting to outdo others to show how devoted they are.

Students are taught that the mind is “poison” and to relentlessly attack their own thoughts. When this happens in an environment of social isolation and silence with long work days, where there is no emotional support, heavy mind control and when Mooji is abusing them it is a recipe for disaster former members say.

One former staff member said the gaslighting was frequent.

“There is a lot of gaslighting. It leads to so much self-doubting that you don’t believe anything that you think yourself. You rely on Mooji. And you start to do whatever he wants you to do. You don’t trust your inner voice anymore because you are told so often that it is your ego and you don’t know anymore.”

Mooji controls people’s behavior regularly. As one example, a former staff member of many years said that in Mooji’s pre-Monte Sahaja days he coerced all the vegetarians in the group to eat meat. Even an Indian couple who were vegetarian since birth began eating meat under Mooji’s influence. His girlfriend at the time Radha was the last hold out but even she couldn’t resist Mooji’s coercive pressure. “She wasn’t eating by her own will. Her eyes were closed and he was feeding her chicken.” She was shocked watching this scene unfold she said.

One former staff member said she would have done anything Mooji asked because she thought she was serving God. On one occasion she said Mooji told her a guy had thrown a rock at him but missed. On Mooji’s orders, she threatened him and the guy never came back. She said she would have tried to beat him up if Mooji had ordered. In hindsight, she said she thinks Mooji lied to her about the incident. She also said she heard a woman say she’d jump off of a bridge if Mooji had asked.

Mooji ordered his team to stay on watch 24/7 all night to prevent a heron from eating fish out of his pond. It was a mother trying to feed her babies. When that didn’t work he ordered the heron shot and it was.

Some want to leave the group but can’t because of group pressure, coercion by Mooji, fear of permanent exile from their friends or financial hardship due to commitments to the group. One person who spent a lot of time at Monte Sahaja explains, “I know a lot of people there who are afraid to leave him and afraid to come out and tell what is really happening there. I have begged some of them to leave but they are deeply afraid of him.”

Smuggling €200,000 cash into Portugal

A former staff member who was in the planning meeting and present after says Mooji and his team smuggled over €200,000 Euros into Portugal from London. This was from six years of unreported money they had made during retreats and events around the world. The staff member said Mooji worked on a tourist visa all those years and did not have a proper work visa. Another staff member confirms this and said he kept the cash in his room. “Mooji stored tens of thousands of dollars in cash under his bed in his apartment in London. He also had a safe in the closet behind the coats with at least $50,000 cash in it. It was British pounds wrapped in rubber bands.” There was no declaration of taxes before they became a charity in 2010. They took out pounds in London and converted it to euros which they smuggled to Portugal. They then used this money to purchase Monte Sahaja.

She said there is a police record of the incident that can be checked using the person’s real name. Another former staff member also confirmed this and says she helped write the statement to the police lying about the origins of the money. She said they told the police the money came from the person who was caught.

Another former staff member confirms this and says that she smuggled tens of thousands of dollars in cash on flights for Mooji. She said other staff members would also smuggle cash from America and India to London. “It was always last minute, like the day of the flight or the day before. There was always cash on us.”

When Mooji first purchased Monte Sahaja it had no buildings on it. A former staff member said the whole center was built illegally. “He didn’t have the permits to build on the land. None of the buildings were built legally.”

Selling spirituality

Mooji sells a variety of spiritual products at his center. “Sahaja Dust” is labeled as “earth Mooji may have walked on.” It’s dirt from their retreat center. Mala beads blessed by Mooji sell for up to 25 euros. Pictures of Mooji’s feet sell for 1.5 euros. And he sells blankets that he has personally used.

Two suicides in one year

When two members, Florentin (Flo) Camoin and Helen Kelby, committed suicide in 2017 it was not surprising to some who know what’s actually going on in Mooji’s communities. Flo died at Monte Sahaja and Helen died in India. One resident who knew Flo acknowledges the ways in which Mooji’s teachings and the culture at Monte Sahaja contributed to his death:

“He had no voice for his deep needs and troubles. He needed to be ‘seen’ first as a person before annihilating his identity. He said to a sangha member here that ‘in his life he has never been seen.’ Maybe he needed a subtle ego boost and nourished the ‘spiritual person’ first before cutting off his head. A platform for this must be created to make sure it never happens again.”

There is no emotional support at Monte Sahaja. Anything wrong is just your “mind.” So, you can imagine if someone was struggling at all and then forced to remain silent and keep their problems within.

Was Flo ever put into isolation? Did Mooji ever counsel Flo or offer him spiritual guidance? Did staff members know that he was struggling? Mooji and the team should be held publicly accountable. What other work and social pressures was he put under?

Former members speak out online

For years people have been posting online about their experiences or the experiences of loved ones connected with Mooji’s ashram in Portugal. They have warned others to stay away and that Mooji is running an abusive cult.

One person who was at Monte Sahaja describes Mooji as a dangerous fraud:

“I spent three months with Mooji and Sahaja and can tell you first hand that he is a BIG fraud. He and his inside clique uses group pressure to psychologically break you down and control you, leaving you very confused until they even strip that until you are an empty mindless shell…. A lot of people there think he is some God because they feel an energy pass through their hands when he touches them…. His old body guard I spoke with recently is absolutely terrified of him. This guy is EXTREMELY dangerous and must be stopped.”

One person lost his girlfriend to the group:

“She left her parents and all her friends same way after staying there for three months, she also doesn’t want to come back home from there this year. I can not speak with her anymore, I am afraid that she is manipulated, brainwashed and misguided to do all of this things by the members of this organization, cult. What kind of enlightenment do they teach there to leave your family like this? Please help!?!”

Someone who was at Monte Sahaja warns others:

“I went to his place in Portugal and there I saw the whole sad truth about this man, I am studying to become a therapist, I have learned about narcissistic personality disorder, and I have seen many traits and dodgy behaviours in him which are attributed to narcissists…If you want to know about Mooji, educate yourself about NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Another lost their partner to the group:

“My partner went for three weeks but he never returned. He left four months ago. He is brainwashed, he is lost there with all these people who are incredibly selfish. Mooji is just another fake guru with a very good business.”

Another says family members distanced themselves after joining the group: “My father and his wife are devoted disciples of Mooji and he has sadly estranged himself from his children and grandchildren.”

Another person who spent time there:

“They got me to break down and cry. They were really nice to me in the beginning and then all of a sudden everyone starting to become hostile towards me. I really didnt understand why they all of a sudden started to act like I was a criminal. After I broke down and showed my vulnerability I started worshipping him like everyone else and then they were nice to me again. I then started to have doubts again and then they started back being mean to me. Wow I knew that something was up. I knew they were afraid that I had a strong mind and I was encouraging others there to leave which they did not like.”

“The same almost happened to my husband he went to work at Monte Sahaja for 3 weeks and came back has a zombie. It was really hard to take him out of that stage. It took him 3 years to start behaving normally and because he couldn’t work we lost all the money we had saved for years. Now he is ok and very thankful that I didn’t gave up on him. Now he sees how dangerous Mooji and his people are with their fake love, they will use you and abuse you and when they don’t need you anymore they will kick you out and you have nowhere to go. ”

Another person had to get therapy after her time with Mooji:

“I have sought out counseling after leaving him and had to accept the fact that I unknowingly joined a cult, something I said I would never be a part of. Mentally I was fucked for a while from the mind games he played with me but slowly I am gaining my confidence back in myself which he desperately tried to take away with his incomplete teachings and hypnotic trance techniques. It was VERY hard for me to accept the fact that he is not true. “

It’s just the beginning

What is being reported here is a small portion of the abuse and dysfunction that has occurred in Mooji’s cult. Given the rural and isolated location of Mooji’s ashram in Portugal and the fear around speaking about him, much information has remained suppressed. The former staff member who came forward on Facebook with the accounts of Mooji sleeping with students was the first wave. This article is the next. Each thing is a step forward towards truth and exposing the abuse that’s occurring in Mooji’s cult. – The Guru, 4 March 2019. (This article has been slightly abridged. For videos go to the original article in The Guru.)

» Be Scofield holds a B.A. in Psychology/Philosophy from Warren Wilson College (2006), has done graduate coursework in Postcolonial Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and holds a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry (2008 – 2013) in the Unitarian Universalist tradition with emphases in Women’s Studies in Religion, Sacred Dance, African-American religion and Buddhism. 

Mooji

Predator Priests: Who will bell the cat? – Valson Thampu

Rev. Valson ThampuThe Pope’s transference of responsibility [for sexual abuse] to Satan means, in ecclesial lingo, something like, “The real culprit is not priests or bishops. Left to themselves, the poor guys would be harmless. But Satan will not let them be. He stands breathing down over them. So, how can they, poor souls, help being what they are?” Significantly, the Pope does not say why Satan should be so intimate with them. Or, why the said Satan should have greater authority over them than God or himself. – Rev. Valson Thampu 

Pope Francis began well by acknowledging that the sexual abuse of nuns and children was rampant among priests and bishops. A vast number of nuns, he said, were condemned to live like sex slaves. These abused nuns suffer in silence because they “fear retaliation”, which also means they fear for their life in case they resisted. They are, he said, brainwashed into submitting themselves to “religious authorities”. The prospect of resisting them or exposing them in public terrifies them. The Pope said that the time to eradicate this atrocity had come.

So far, so good. But there is a worrisome note in what the Pope said thereafter. “Behind this, there is Satan”. He added, “In these painful cases I see the hand of evil that does not spare even the innocence of the little ones.” This takes the sting out of the Pope’s forthright stand earlier. If Satan is the real villain, redressal recedes to the intractable realm of the supernatural.

The problem in expecting solutions to emerge from a distance or from cosmic sources is that it blinds us to what we can do for ourselves. The solutions for all of our problems are within our own reach, provided we care and dare to do what we can. By expecting solutions for local problems to be supplied from afar, we prove ourselves unworthy of remedies. We prove ourselves deserving of nothing other than the present swamp of degradation, if we are content to stay acquiescent in the status quo.

The Pope’s transference of responsibility to Satan means, in ecclesial lingo, something like, “The real culprit is not priests or bishops. Left to themselves, the poor guys would be harmless. But Satan will not let them be. He stands breathing down over them. So, how can they, poor souls, help being what they are?” Significantly, the Pope does not say why Satan should be so intimate with them. Or, why the said Satan should have greater authority over them than God or himself. That’s why Christians need to think remedies afresh and do what they can locally. I outline below a practical strategy to that end.

The first part of the strategy is derived from Jesus’s condemnation of priests as hypocrites. A hypocrite—going by the Greek root of that word—is an actor. Believers in all religions need to realize that priests are no more than “actors”. Their job is to keep a show going. The more consummate an actor a priest is, the better his prospects and the higher he ascends.

Actors go on with the show on the stage of organised religion only because the audience is passive and complicit. The moment those among the audience begin to get up and question the actions, the show screeches to a stop. A single spectator in a theatre becomes more powerful than all the actors on the stage when he refuses to swallow the make-believe unfurled before him. Christians must know that the invincibility of the church hierarchy is an illusion sustained by the “willing suspension of disbelief” on their part. Just stand up and ask a few questions in the interest of truth and justice. Do that, and see for yourself the reformative power sleeping under your tongue.

The second part of the strategy is illustrated best by the sphere of art. Assume that a classical painting—say by Leonardo da Vinci—hangs on a wall. You walk past it. Someone spots it and says, “Don’t you realise that it is a Da Vinci piece? It’s worth twenty million dollars, you know?” You stop at once, overawed; even if you still understand nothing of its merits. What has effected the difference is the “aura” created around the painting. From that moment onwards, you will respond to its aura, and not to the paining per se.

This is exactly what happens in religion. An aura is conjured up about priests and bishops. The aura prevents us from responding factually and rationally to them. It doesn’t matter to us what they are. Only the aura matters. The comically ostentatious and quaintly anachronistic costumes worn by priests, the titles they flaunt—Right Reverend, Most Reverend, Holy Father, etc.—and fanciful claims like “apostolic succession,” “spiritual anointing” are all meant to conjure up an aura. This aura is a lie. Truth needs no aura; falsehood does. What needs ornamentation cannot be genuine. Christians would do their daughters and sisters minimum justice by debunking this deceptive aura, and cracking the mask behind which the predator lurks.

The third part of the strategy is purely biblical. Treat the vile as contemptible, says the Bible. The frightening reality is that even after the criminals who pass for priests and bishops are exposed for what they are, they continue to enjoy reverence in the faith community. This is abominable. So long as Christians remain too cowardly to call a wolf a wolf, the masked rapists and paedophiles will continue to ply their hobby—the chase—as aristocrats used to in feudal times. Frankly, many of the modern-day priests are feudal overlords, who refuse to reckon that times have changed. They will change if the laity would dare to shout out the truth, like the little boy did in Anderson’s tale, “The Emperor is naked”.

So, unlike Pope Francis, I’d spare Satan. I see, in Satan’s place, the brainwashed, credulous laity lying prostrate before the predators. The present abominable state of affairs will surely change; provided the laity rises up. Till they do, they remain complicit in perpetuating the atrocities that their hearts condemn and their souls abhor. – The New Indian Express, 3 March 2019

» Rev. Valson Thampu  is a theologian and ordained minister of the Church of North India, a member of the National Minorities Commission and Delhi Minorities Commission, and the former principal of St Stephen’s College, New Delhi.

Franco Mulakkal & Oswald Gracias