“In November 2006 Pope Benedict XVI had categorically stated that St. Thomas never visited South India. Is it not the inviolable duty of the Catholic Archdiocese of Madras to implicitly accept with reverence and humility the public stand taken by present Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of St. Thomas and his alleged visit to South India?” - V. Sundaram
A rupees 50 crore plus mega production in silver screen on St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have spread the Christian faith in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, is under way. This film is going to be launched as a major project by the Catholic Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore on 3 July 2008.This proposed film will deal with the story relating to the journey of St. Thomas to Edessa, a town in Syria in 29 AD. His travel through Persia to Taxila in modern Pakistan and return to Jerusalem will also be covered. It has been reported that the legend relating to his reaching Kerala in 52 AD and his subsequent 20 years of preaching the Christian faith in India will constitute the major part of the proposed film. St. Thomas’s meeting with Tiruvalluvar is going to be yet another interesting part of the story.
The myth of St. Thomas and the destruction of the Mylapore Shiva temple by the Portuguese was thoroughly exposed by Ishwar Sharan in his landmark book, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, first published in 1991. The second revised edition of this book was brought out by Voice of India, New Delhi, 1995. This interesting book brought out how history was distorted by our foreign rulers to conceal their misdeeds and how even today these fraudulent myths are accepted as real history by many in this country including the government itself. Long before Ishwar Sharan published his book in 1991, one T.K. Joseph wrote a number of books on St. Thomas in the early 1920s. He had done years of research on the South Indian tradition, and had presented his findings to a number of famous scholars of his time, who had replied to him by post. For example, in 1926, Prof. E J. Rapson, who had written on St. Thomas in the Cambridge History of India, wrote as follows to T K. Joseph: ” I have read your letter carefully and my impression is that you have given good for doubting the historical truth of the story of St. Thomas in South India.”
In 1927, Sylvain Levi, the renowned French Indologist and scholar, wrote to T.K. Joseph: “You are right in denying any historical value to local legends which have nothing to bring to their support. What is known from early books points only to Northwest India, and no other place, for St. Thomas’s apostolic activity and martyrdom. This is, of course, mere tradition, not real history”. Likewise, in 1952, Prof. K.S. Latourette, the Yale University church historian, and author of A History of the Expansion of Christianity, wrote to T.K. Joseph and said: “The evidence against St. Thomas in South India is very convincing.” The same view was repeated in 1953 by Father H. Heras, SJ, the then Director of the Historical Research Institute, St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, when he wrote to T.K. Joseph: “I am fully convinced that the tomb of St. Thomas has never been in Mylapore. I have said that many times.”
What is interesting to note is that T.K. Joseph also wrote to the Encyclopaedia Britannica editor at Chicago in 1950 pointing out the glaring errors in the article on St. Thomas in the Encyclopaedia’s 14th edition in 1947. He was not successful in getting them corrected. Ishwar Sharan in his book referred to above, has clearly shown that the article on St. Thomas in that edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was grossly mistaken, not only in factual essentials but also in proper interpretation. In this context the words of Ishwar Sharan are worth quoting, “We can only conclude that the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s editors like their cooked up St. Thomas story and plan to keep it intact for more editions to come”.
[The Encyclopaedia Britannica which is a Catholic-oriented encyclopaedia, still maintains the same spurious St. Thomas entry in its Internet edition today and is followed closely by the Internet’s infamous Wikipedia. Wikipedia has become an overt platform for Christian propaganda in India, and is presenting the public with a fabricated and factually incorrect account of the St. Thomas fable and related St. Thomas churches and sites in India. Any attempt to change these entries is met with violent resistance by the articles’ Indian Christian editors and administrators – Editor].
Now what is the fraudulent myth about St. Thomas? We are told by Catholic “historians” that Judas Thomas, a brother as well as an apostle of Jesus Christ, landed in Malabar in 52 AD, founded the Syrian Christian Church, and travelled to Tamil Nadu for spreading the Good News when he was killed by the “wily Brahmins” in 72 AD at the Big Mount (now called St. Thomas Mount) near Madras, at the behest of a Hindu king named Mahadevan. The San Thome Cathedral on the beach in Mylapore is built on the spot where the saint is supposed to have been buried.
As Sita Ram Goel puts it, “This spot, like many others of the same spurious sort, has become a place of Christian pilgrimage not only for the flock in India but also for the pious Christians from abroad”. He had examined the story of St. Thomas in 1986 when he wrote a book on the papacy during he Pope’s visit to India. Sita Ram Goel had discovered that while some Christian historians doubted the very existence of an apostle named St. Thomas, some others had denied credibility to the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal work, on which the whole story is based. Even those Christian historians who had accepted he fourth century Catholic tradition about the travels of St. Thomas, had pointed out the utter lack of evidence that he ever went beyond Ethiopia or Arabia Felix. The confusion according to them, had arisen because ancient geographers of the Graeco-Roman world often mistook these countries for India.”
Bishop Stephen Neill in his History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 AD declared: “A number of scholars among whom are to be mentioned with respect Bishop A.E. Medlycott, J.N. Farquhar, and the Jesuit Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect vividness of their imagination rather than the prudence of historical facts”.
Bishop Stephen Neill was very pained by the spread of the spurious history and he lamented: “Millions of Christians in India are certain that the founder of their Church was none other than the apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove it to them that they are mistaken in this belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.”
Now a question can be raised: What difference does it make whether Christianity came to India in the first or the fourth century? Why raise such a squabble when no one denies the fact that Syrian Christians of Malabar are old immigrants to this country? The motives for the manufacturing of the myth of St Thomas were carefully analysed and detailed by Sita Ram Goel as follows:
Firstly, it is one thing for some Christian refugees to come to a country and build some Churches, and quite another for an apostle of Jesus Christ himself to appear in flesh and blood for spreading the Good News. If it can be established that Christianity is as ancient in India as the prevailing forms of Hinduism, then no one can nail it as an imported creed brought in by Imperialism.
Secondly, the Catholic Church in India stands badly in need of a spectacular martyr of its own. Unfortunately or it, St. Francis Xavier died a natural death and that too, in a distant place outside India. Hindus, too, have persistently during the last 500 years, refused to oblige the Church in this respect in spite of all provocations. The Church has had to use its own resources and turn out something. St Thomas, about whom nobody knows anything, offers a ready-made martyr.
Thirdly, the Catholic Church can malign the Brahmins more confidently. Brahmins have been the main targets of its attack from the beginning. Now it can be shown that the Brahmins have always been a vicious brood, so much so that they would not stop from murdering a holy man who was only telling God’s own truth to a tormented people. At the same time, the religion of the Brahmins can be held responsible for their depravity.
This is the argument that Karunanidhi, the Tamil Nadu chief minister, loves most and therefore I am not surprised he has agreed to participate in the inaugural function connected with the proposed movie on the manufactured myth of St Thomas. He would only have serious political doubts about the engineering qualifications of Lord Rama (who, definitely, is not from Syria or the Middle-East!) and not about the baseless myth of St. Thomas!
Fourthly, the Catholics in India need no more feel uncomfortable when faced with clinching historical evidence about their Church’s close cooperation with the Portuguese pirates in committing abominable crimes against the Indian people in the sixteenth century. By connecting the fraudulent myth of St. Thomas to the first century AD, the commencement of the Church can be disentangled from the atrocities of the Portuguese era. The Church was here long before the Portuguese arrived. It was a mere unfortunate coincidence that the Portuguese also called themselves Catholics. Guilty by association is groundless.
Lastly, it is quite within the ken of Catholic theology to claim that a land, which has been honoured by the visit of an apostle, has become the legitimate patrimony of the Catholic Church. India might have been a Hindu homeland from times immemorial. But since the day St Thomas in India in 52 AD, the Hindu claim stands cancelled. The country has belonged to the Catholic Church from the first century onwards, no matter how long the Church takes to conquer it completely for Christ.
Koenraad Elst wrote a brilliant foreword to Ishwar Sharan’s book titled The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Let us hear his words: “St. Thomas never came to India and the Christian community was founded by a merchant Thomas Cananeus [aka Thomas of Cana, Thomas of Jerusalem, Knai Thoma, Thomman] in 345 AD, a name which readily explains the Thomas legend. He led 400 refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities. In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal “secularists” who attack the Hindus or “relying on myth” in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that St. Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics. In reality the missionaries were very disgruntled that the damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs whose blood is welcome as “the seed of the faith”), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates St. Thomas’s martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism”.
In November 2006 Pope Benedict XVI had categorically stated that St. Thomas never visited South India. When Catholic Indian missionaries want to manufacture false and fictitious fables to deliberately mislead the poor and gullible masses of India for purposes of mass conversion (known as “harvesting of souls”), then they are capable of treating even the Pope in Rome with supreme political contempt! The mega budget film on St. Thomas to be produced by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chennai should be viewed against this background.
Historian Veda Prakash, after conducting a methodical research published a book in Tamil in 1989. In this book, Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkathai, he called the bluff of St. Thomas — a bluff marketed by the Catholic Church and its missionaries in India since the middle of the 16th century — and convincingly proved with irrefutable documentary evidence that the present Santhome Church, has been built on the very site where the original Kapaleeshwara Temple of Mylapore stood for centuries till the 1560s. Sometime after 1560, the Portuguese destroyed the Kapleeshwarar Temple on the beach at San Thome and built a church.
Veda Prakash’s statement about destruction of the original Kapaeeshwara Temple by Christians was confirmed by Dr. R. Nagaswamy, formerly Director of Archeology Tamil Nadu. In an article “Testimony to Religious Ethos”, published in The Hindu of 30 April, 1990, he wrote: “A great study of the monuments and lithic records in Madras reveals a great destruction caused by the Portuguese to Hindu temples in the 16 century AD. The most important temple of Kapaleeshwara lost its ancient building during the Portuguese devastation and was originally located near the San Thome Cathedral. A few Chola records found in the San Thome Cathedral and Bishop’s House refer to Kapaleeswara Temple and Poompaavai. A Chola record in fragment found on the east wall of the San Thome Cathedral refers to the image of Lord Nataraja of the Kapaleeshwara Temple. The temple was moved to the present location in the 16 century and was probably built by one Mallappa …. A fragmentary inscription, 12 century Chola record, in the San Thome Church region refers to a Jain temple dedicated to Neminathaswami.”
The point of view of Veda Prakash on the spurious and dubious visit of St. Thomas to Mylapore was later confirmed and established with formidable documentary and literary evidence by Ishwar Sharan in his book titled The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple published in 1991. Ishwar Sharan has demolished the fabled, fabricated and fraudulent myth of the visit of St. Thomas to Mylapore in the first century AD and his murder and martyrdom in 73 AD. My current story is wholly based on the facts presented by Ishwar Sharan.
The legend of St. Thomas in Madras is clearly the fabrication of the Portuguese to camouflage their destruction of the ancient Hindu Shiva Temple of Kapaleeswarar in 1561, which was situated on the seashore, at the very place where the San Thome Church now stands. Nearly 1000 years before the barbarous and savage Catholic Portuguese destroyed the Kapaleeswarar Temple, the great Saivite saint of sixth century AD, Thirugnanasambandar, sang 6th Poompavai Padikam Thevaram as follows:
Thirugnanasambandar wrote in a moving manner: “The Lord of Kapaleeswaram sat watching the people of Mylapore — a place full of flowering coconut palms — taking ceremonial bath in the sea on the full moon day of the month of Masi”. I am presenting below another beautiful verse of Thirugnanasambandar relating to Kapaleeshwarar Temple:
In the same strain sang yet another great Tamil mystic, saint and poet Arunagirinathar who visited the Kapaleeswarar Temple in San Thome in 1456, in his Thirumayilai Thiruppugazh:
The above verse of Arunagirinathar can be translated into English thus: “Oh Lord of Mylai (Mylapore) temple, situated on the shores of the sea with raging waves….”
The ancient Kapaleeswarar Temple at San Thome visited by Thirugnanasambandar in 6th century AD and Arunagirinathar in 1456 was destroyed by the Catholic Portuguese in 1561. To cleverly cover up this criminal act, the Catholic Church has come up with the fraudulent fable of martyrdom of St. Thomas at Mylapore in 73 AD. The Portuguese domination of Mylapore lasted from 1522 to 1697, by which time the British had established themselves in the Fort St. George and adjoining territories and the Portuguese had to withdraw to Goa where heir empire lasted in 1962.
As Swami Tapasyananda has observed: “In Goa Portuguese rule was noted for a spree of destruction of Hindu temples and persecution of the Goanese, so much so that large sections of them had to flee that territory and settle all along the west coast of India. They are the Gauda Saraswats. The fate of these Goanese would have overtaken the temples and the people of Madras also, a foretaste of which contingency they got in he destruction of the holy Kapaleeshwara Temple. Thanks to the British domination of the region after 1697 and the consequent elimination of the Portuguese, this tragic fate did not overtake them. The British had more political maturity and diplomatic perception, which helped them perceive that trade was more important for themselves than religious propaganda”. No wonder that the British kept an attitude of indifference towards the religion and religious edifices of the people of India in whose midst they carried on the trading activities which eventually led to the establishment of a great political empire not only in India but in other parts of the World.
Sita Ram Goel in his outstanding book titled History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (AD 304 to AD 1996), has given his magisterial verdict: “The history of Christianity, crowded as it is with crimes of the most horrendous kind, provides a running commentary on the Christian doctrine. And the biggest share in Christian crimes down the centuries can safely be allotted to the Roman Catholic Church, its head, its hierarchy, its theologians, its religious orders and its missionaries. There is, however, one criminal field in which the Roman Catholic Church has remained unrivaled. No other Christian denomination — there are as many as 23,000 of them — comes anywhere near the Roman Catholic Church when it concerns the committing of blatant forgeries and foisting of pious frauds. It is no exaggeration to say that starting with Jesus Christ, the entire doctrinal and institutional edifice of Catholicism rests on a series of staggering swindles. The Roman Catholic Church in India has remained true to this tradition. The literature it has produced during the last five centuries is full of lies of the filthiest sort, not only about Hindu religion and culture but also about its own “religion” and role. And this garbage heap is topped by the hoax about the so-called St. Thomas”.
After our Independence, the Catholic Church went on spreading the myth of murder and martyrdom of St. Thomas at Mylapore in the first century AD. Meanwhile, the Liberation Theology of the Church had added a new dimension to it. St. Thomas started being sold not only as the first founder of Christianity in India but also as the first to proclaim a new social message in this country. A section of the “secular” media in Madras, in the late eighties, presented this new portrait of St. Thomas through an article written by one C.A. Simon in the Indian Express under the title “In Memory of a Slain Saint”. After repeating the same old standard fraudulent story of the Catholic Church in India, C.A. Simon struck a new revolutionary note: “St. Thomas spent the last part of his life in Madras preaching the Gospel. A large number of people listened nd embraced the way of life preached by him. The oppressed and downtrodden followed him and claimed equal status in society as it was denied to them by the prevailing social norms. He condemned untouchability and attempted to restore equal status to women”.
This bold and brazen Christian scribe had written with great confidence because similar fictitious stuff, presented in a plethora of books [by S. Muthaih of The Hindu] as well as the popular press, had passed off without being challenged. He was not aware that formidable Hindu scholars had started examining Christian claims about Christian doctrines and Christian saints, as also the calculated Christian calumny about Hinduism, Hindu society, Hindu culture, and Hindu history. It is very unfortunate that certain editors of the pseudo-secular media allowed their respected columns to be used to promote this Catholic romance as historical fact in this age of excellent and critical scholarship. Though Veda Prakash had sent his book on the myth of St. Thomas to the Indian Express as early as September 1989 for review, yet the Indian Express had ignored it. The Indian Express did apply the same standard of censorship to C.A. Simon. While it treated Simon with respect, it treated Veda Prakash with utmost contempt.
The anti-national and anti-Hindu pseudo-secular mafia of print and electronic mass media is being closely watched by the awakened Hindus of India today. Hindus of India are determined to win their war against the planned, organized and launched dissemination of disinformation in regard to Sanatana Dharma, Hindus, Hinduism, Hindu culture and Hindu society by the criminal cabal controlling the print and electronic media in India today.
Very recently Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Christians of South India in general and Syrian Christians of Kerala in particular by making a statement to this effect: “St. Thomas preached Christianity in western India [now Pakistan] from where it spread to other parts of the country. He was not the Apostle who ever came to southern India”.
This statement of the Pope has been viewed by Christians of South India as having the effect of taking away from St. Thomas, the traditional title of “Apostle of India”. Though the Pope referred to St. Thomas having preached Christianity in western India, yet he did not actually use the expression “Apostle of Pakistan”. According to George Nedungatt, a faculty member of the Oriental Pontifical Institute, Rome, who wrote an article in Satya Deepam, a mouthpiece of the Syro-Malabar Church, the Pope’s recent statement may indirectly imply that St. Thomas is an “Apostle of Pakistan” and not India! In the same article, it has been stated that perhaps Pope Benedict XVI feels that the area St. Thomas evangelized was not south India, but what he called “western India” corresponding roughly to today’s Pakistan. As the Pope sees it, south India was not evangelized by St Thomas , but by Christians from North-Western India, seemingly at a later period.
Ishwar Sharan in his pioneering work of research, has clearly brought out the fact that the myth of St. Thomas is a prototype of today’s popular Jesus-in-India story. The first story of St. Thomas in India was invented by the Syrian Christians of Malabar and later taken over by the Portuguese. The second story of Jesus in Kashmir was promoted around the beginning of the 20th century by Western spiritualists who also paraded as historians of the arcane. To quote the words of Ishwar Sharan: “Both fictions are attractive to foreign spiritual seekers and to convent-educated Hindus who fancy the idea that an apostle of Jesus, or Jesus himself may have visited India. The Hindus do not notice that in these legends neither St. Thomas nor Jesus are presented as seekers of Truth or admirers of Hindu religion and culture. They are presented as teachers of a superior faith or as enlightened social reformers who are persecuted by avaricious and degenerate Pagan Brahmin priests.”
The St. Thomas story was invented to give the Syrian immigrants Indian ancestry and the patronage of a local martyr-saint — Christianity is the religion of martyrs — and it was resurrected and embellished in the 16th century by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries who needed a pious story of persecution to cover up their own persecution of the Hindus. There is another reason for the Catholic Church to promote the story in Madras, for during that period (16th century) she and her imperial Portuguese “secular arm” destroyed many Hindu temples in Mylapore and its environs. The original Kapaleeshwar Temple was destroyed in 1561 and on its site the present St. Thomas Cathedral was built.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has never investigated the origins of early Christian churches in India in the same way it has studied old mosques and other Muslim monuments. Proper study of ancient Churches has been done by German scholars and awaits translation and publication in English. The work done by the German scholars shows that most 16th and 17th century churches in India contain temple rubble and are built on temple sites.
The story relating to the martyrdom of St. Thomas on St. Thomas Mount in Madras is fictitious. This will be clear from the physical fact that there are six (6) tombs for St. Thomas in South India. Two (2) are in San Thome Cathedral at Mylapore, a third (3) is on an island south-west of Cochin, a fourth (4) in a Syrian Church at Thiruvancode in Tranvancore, a fifth (5) in a Shiva temple at Malayattur in Tranvancore and a sixth (6) at Kalayamuthur, west of Madurai, near the Palani Hills. Likewise, there are six (6) tombs for St. Thomas abroad. One is in Brazil, a second in Germany, a third in Japan, a fourth in Malacca, a fifth in Tibet and the sixth in China.
The most exciting part of the fraud is that, this is not the end of the matter of tombs. Marco Polo (1254-1324) was the first story-teller to place the tomb of St. Thomas in south India and an unnamed village on the Coromandel Coast. According to the apocryphal Acts of Thomas by Bardesanes (154 AD to 233 AD) of Edessa in Syria, St. Thomas was buried in a royal tomb on a mountain in King Mazdai’s desert country and the Ethiopian version of the same Acts of Thomas has the tomb located in Quantaria, which some say is ancient Gandhara in Afghanistan. The Alexandrian Doctors of the Church say that the tomb is in Parthia, i.e., Persia, but Antipope Hippolytus of Potus says it is in Calamina, a city much discussed and never found, and which today remains as elusive a place as the Elioforum of the PassioThomae (a medieval redaction of the Acts). Still others say the tomb is in Betumah, which the Syrians identify with Mylapore but which the Arabs say is east of Cape Camorin. Col. Gerini in his Researches on Ptolemy’s Geography of Eastern Asia, says Bethuma is to the East of Singapore.
T.K. Joseph, author of Six St. Thomases of South India accepts Marco Polo’s story but believes that the identification of the tomb in Mylapore as a Christian tomb is a case of wrong identification, of the Syrian Christians identifying the tomb of a Muslim Thomas with their Christian Thomas. T.K. Joseph is unwilling to concede that the Mylapore tomb is a Portuguese fake. He seems to treat the problem of St. Thomas as an internal matter of the Christian community rather than as a problem of Indian history. He refuses to consider the Hindu side of the story or to admit that temples were destroyed in Mylapore in the 16th century by Franciscan monks and Jesuit priests. As Ishwar Sharan hilariously concludes: “T.K. Joseph rejects the Malabar and Mylapore legends of St. Thomas as inventions, but seems to be unaware that Marco Polo’s “tall tale” is also that — tall tale of St. Thomas picked up in a Ceylonese port bazaar and retold with additions to an Italian public [new research suggests most of Il Milione was invented in Constantinople and that Marco never travelled to China at all – Ed]. His acceptance of the geographical designation “India” in the Acts of Thomas, as the field of the apostle’s work, is unreasonable, as the internal cultural evidence of the Acts points to West Asia and not North-West India. T.K. Joseph admits that he is forced to accept Thomas did come to North-West India and may have been buried near ancient Taxila“.
T.K. Joseph and other Christian scholars who depend on the Acts of Thomas to fulfill their St. Thomas desires — seem to be unaware of Thomas Paine’s famous dictum concerning another collection of acts and gospels — the Bible. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) said: “It has often been said that anything may be proved from the Bible; but before anything can be admitted as proved by the Bible, the Bible itself must be proved to be true; for if the Bible be not true, or the truth of it doubtful, it ceases to have authority and cannot be admitted as proof of anything”.
Against this background it can be asked, where then is the tomb of St. Thomas, if the two in Mylapore are Portuguese fakes? Where did he experience his passion and seal his mission with blood if not in India? We do not know the answer to these questions, but there is a verse in an ancient St. Thomas hymn which reveals more than it conceals:
“Thou despist error; Thou destroyest unbelievers: For, in the city where thou truly liest, There never lives any of the heretics, Jews. or Pagans.”
The unlimited capacity of the Catholic Archdiocese in Madras to manufacture fraudulent fables was brought to full public view in open court on February 6, 1986 when P. Aruvudayappan, II Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras delivered his judgment in criminal case No.100087/82. I am quoting below the operative portion of this judgment: “Taking advantage of the soft attitudes of public witnesses 2 and 3 (Father Mariadoss and Father Arulappa), the Defendant Ganesh Iyer had taken from them about Rs.13.5 lakhs between 1975 and 1980. This has been clearly established.”
How and why did Archbishop Arulappa hand over a whopping amount of Rs. 13,49,250/- to Ganesh Iyer for a spurious research project? Why had the Archbishop not bothered to verify the authenticity of the criminally fake “documents” produced by Ganesh Iyer in support of his research thesis (which was originally proposed to him by Archbishop Arulappa himself!) Why did Archbishop Arullappa not deem it necessary to accompany Ganesh Iyer to the various sites of his “research” in India when he had found adequate time to accompany him to Rome, the Vatican, Germany, France, Spain and the United States.
The story of the intimate intellectual relationship between Archbishop Arulappa and Ganesh Iyer (given the title of Acharya Paul by Archbishop Arulappa himself!) indeed constitutes a glorious landmark in the i ntellectual history of Christianity in India! Archbishop Arulappa had directed Acharya Paul to establish a nexus between St. Thomas and Thiruvalluvar, regardless of the concerns for exact chronology or authentic history. “Scrupulous” Acharya Paul extended his full cooperation to the equally “Scrupulous” Archbishop! The whole story relating to this gigantic hoax was exposed in an article in the Illustrated Weekly of India in its issue dated April 26-May 2, 1987. This article, titled “Hoax!” was authored by K.P.Sunil. This very article was incorporated by Ishwar Sharan in his book on St. Thomas under the title “Archbishop Arulappa Makes History”.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Madras seems to be drawing its inspiration today from Archbishop Arulappa and Acharya Paul for establishing the spiritual relationship between St. Thomas and Thiruvalluvar in its proposed mega-film project on St. Thomas.
“Every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is evil; for no one may judge the Pope.” — Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)
I have been reading in the Internet a series of articles on Rome’s fraudulent history by Dave Hunt. I am quoting below some excerpts from his brilliant book titled A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days by Dave Hunt.
“The Roman Catholic Pope has often been the most powerful religious and political figure on earth. This is true today, ven though the Pope no longer has at his disposal the armies and navies of past Roman pontiffs…. The Vatican’s constituency of 980 million followers is at least three times the number of citizens in any Western democracy and is exceeded only by the population of China. Even more important, these 980 million people are scattered throughout the world, many of them holding high political, military, and commercial positions in non-Catholic countries. Moreover, the Pope has thousands of secret agents worldwide. They include Jesuits, the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Opus Dei, and others. The Vatican’s Intelligence Service and its field resources are second to none…. Remember, the Pope’s 980 million subjects are bound to him by religious ties, which are far stronger than any political loyalties could ever be. No secular government can compete with the motivational power of religious belief….”
The extra-ordinary position of the Pope in relation to members of the Church was expressed succinctly in Rome’s La Civilta Cattolica, which a papal journal described in the mid-nineteenth century as “the purest journalistic organ of true Church doctrine” (J.H. Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council) “It is not enough for the people only to know that the Pope is the head of the Church … they must also understand that their own faith and religious life flow from him; that in him is the bond which unites Catholics to one another, and the power which strengthens and the light which guides them; that he is the dispenser of spiritual graces, the giver of the benefits of religion, the upholder of justice, and the protector of the oppressed” (La Civilta Cattolica, 1867, Vol. XII).
The Catholic World in August 1871 (Vol. XIII) declared as follows: “Each individual must receive the faith and law from the Church with unquestioning submission and obedience of the intellect and the will…. We have no right to ask reasons of the Church, any more than of Almighty God…. We are to take with unquestioning docility whatever instruction the Church gives us”. The same requirement of unthinking submission is demanded in Vatican II. The Code of Canon Law likewise reasserts the same rule: “The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church” (James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel, eds., The Code of Canon Law, Canon 212, Section 1; Paulist Press,1985).
In November 2006 Pope Benedict XVI had categorically stated that St. Thomas never visited South India. In the light of what has been stated above, is it not the inviolable duty of the Catholic Archdiocese of Madras to implicitly accept with reverence and humility the public stand taken by present Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of St. Thomas and his alleged visit to South India? In these columns yesterday, I had referred to the gigantic fraud that shook the foundations of the Catholic Church in Madras in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Reverend Archbishop Arulappa was the head of the Catholic Church in Madras. The Catholic Church has seen to it that a lot of embarrassing details relating to this fraud have been swept under the mat. The fearless journalist who exposed this fraud in April 1987 was K.P. Sunil. He wrote an article under the title “Hoax!” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26-May 2, 1987. I am summarizing the facts contained in the article.
Reverend Dr. R. Arulappa, Archbishop of Madras Diocese claimed that he had been duped by one Acharya Paul, also known as Ganesh Iyer. The “criminal” (at any rate not “civil” by any standard!) association between these two characters began in the early 1970s. Ganesh Iyer, ho had embraced the Christian faith, was a self-styled Bible preacher known as John Ganesh. During the course of his evangelical journeys, he went to Thiruchirapalli and met a Catholic priest called Father Michael of the Tamil Ilakkiya Sangam (Tamil Literary Society). He presented himself to Father Michael as Dr. John Ganesh, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religion at the Banaras Hindu University. He also told Father Michael that he had returned from Jammu and Kashmir where he was involved in research on Christianity in India. Father Michael put him on to another priest, Father Mariadoss of Srivilliputhur. Dr. John Ganesh impressed Father Mariadoss with his mastery over Christian theology. He showed him copies of notices extolling him as a speaker. He produced letters written to him by several scholars in the fields of education and religion. He also showed Father Mariadoss many photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions, which were several centuries old. Dr. John Ganesh told Father Mariadoss that these ancient documents and artifacts in his possession, traced the origins and development of the Christian faith in India. He convinced Father Mariadoss that he was not in a position to further pursue the research on account of want of money and other constraints. Taken in by the approach of Dr. John Ganesh, Father Mariadoss took upon himself the task of locating funds for the successful completion of the research project which he felt would prove to be a shot in the arm for Christianity in India. Father Mariadoss gave Dr. John Ganesh Rs. 22,000/- towards his research project. As he could not give more money, he introduced the researcher to Archbishop Arulappa, the head of the Catholic Church in Madras. Thus began the most exciting intellectual relationship between Archbishop Arulappa and Dr. John Ganesh who was given the name Acharya Paul by Archbishop Arulappa himself.
Archbishop Arulappa held the view that St. Thomas before his martyrdom on a hill near Madras in 72 AD, now called St. Thomas Mount, met Tiruvalluvar and influenced the bard to the extent of converting him to the nascent Christian faith. Thus a revolutionary theory had been propounded. What remained to be obtained was proof of such an occurrence. Archbishop Arulappa came to the conclusion that Ganesh Iyer, posing as Dr.John Ganesh, could play a vital role in establishing his new theory. Archbishop Arulappa entered into a deal with Ganesh Iyer and entrusted the research work relating to the establishment of the spiritual connection between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar to him. The Archbishop was also overwhelmed by Ganesh Iyer’s mastery of Christian theology. As a clever and crooked operator, Ganesh Iyer agreed not only to establish the nexus between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar through his research but also to furnish formidable evidence as to how the three great epic Hindu sages from the East — Vashishta, Vishwamithra and Agastya — had clearly prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ.
In 1975-76 Ganesh Iyer began his research. And the Archbishop Arulappa started funding the same in a liberal fashion. Ganesh Iyer produced photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions at periodic intervals. Whenever the Archbishop asked to see the originals, he was informed by Ganesh Iyer that they were stashed away in the safe custody of the Indian government’s archaeological departments and museums all over the country. As it was not possible to persuade these agencies to part with the priceless documents, Ganesh Iyer agreed to get the copies of the relevant documents duly authenticated by these agencies. Thus Ganesh Iyer produced forged copies of photographs and other documents bearing the seals of the state archaeological departments and the museums from which he claimed to have obtained them for purposes of completing his research. The cruel joke is that Archbishop Arulappa gave a total amount of nearly 13.5 lakhs to Ganesh Iyer between 1975 and 1980 for doing his great research for tracing the hallowed roots of Christianity in India!
The point to be noted is that Archbishop Arulappa never went even once along with Ganesh Iyer to any part of India to see for himself whether Ganesh Iyer was doing genuine work or not. Archbishop Arulappa knew how totally the spurious whole effort was right from the beginning. In 1976, Ganesh Iyer obtained a passport in the name of Acharya Paul. In 1977, accompanied by Archbishop Arulappa, he went abroad to the Vatican, among other places, where he had a lengthy audience with Pope Paul VI. The duo then visited several religious congregations and spoke about comparative religion. Wherever they went, Ganesh Iyer, spoke about the origins of Christianity in India and about his “monumental research”.Lot of money was collected in Europe for funding further research.
Soon after their return to India, Archbishop Arulappa was pressurized to file a complaint with the police against Ganesh Iyer. After a through investigation, the police arrested Ganesh Iyer on April 29, 1980. A criminal case was filed against him and on February 6, 1986, P. Aruvudayappan, Second Metropolitan Magistrate Madras sentenced Ganesh Iyer to undergo 10 months rigorous imprisonment. Even when the criminal case was going on in the court, a civil suit for compromise was also filed by the Archbishop in the Madras High Court. Soon after the verdict in the criminal case was given on February 6, 1986, the compromise decree was also taken up in the Madras High Court. Ganesh Iyer who had defrauded the Archbishop to the tune of nearly 14 lakhs was let off without any further punishment. Thus ended with a calculated whimper, one of the “holiest” subterranean alliances in the history of Christianity in India!
To conclude with the words of Sita Ram Goel: “High-sounding theological blah blah not withstanding, the fact remains that the Christian dogma is no more than a subterfuge for forging and wielding an organizational weapon for aggression against other people. It is high time for Hindus to dismiss the dogma of Christianity with the contempt it deserves, and pay attention to the Christian missionary apparatus planted in their midst. The sole aim of this apparatus is to ruin Hindu society and culture and take over the Hindu homeland”. – News Today, 20??
» V. Sundaram is a retired IAS officer. He lives in Chennai and blogs at Ennapadam Panchajanya.
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