At the Closing of 2019 and Dawning of 2020 – We Invoke You O Lord, O Universal Lord

O Lord, With the closing of 2019 and dawning of 2020, we offer OUR HEART to you; please guide us all – humanity without any religious or other discrimination – towards you in 2020. We all belong to you. O Lord, you have infinite names, O Govinda …..

Vivekananda Castigates the Disciples of Christ

By: Puneetchandra Sharma

It was 1830. The 1st anglicist missionary Alexander Duff arrived in Calcutta, India. He was a great proponent of English language in India, for, he believed that English would bring the native Indians closer to the religion and culture of the ruling race, exactly like the muslims, who initially introduced Persian and then Urdu.

  • Alexander Duff

Hindu college and other educational institutions were already established about a decade earlier by the British, controlled by the missionaries and after observing the Indian students, Alexander was convinced that he would be able to demolish Hinduism completely.

In an address delivered in 1835 to a General Church Assembly he proclaimed that knowledge of Western literature and science would “demolish the huge and hideous fabric of Hinduism” brick by brick till “the whole will be found to have crumbled into fragments.”

Then came Thomas Babington Macaulay and his famous “Macaulay Minute” in 1835 and the Western system of Education was officially adopted.

  • Thomas Babington Macaulay

In 1836, in a letter written to his father, Macaulay wrote,

“My dear Father….It is my firm belief that, if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytise, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, merely by the natural operation of knowledge and reglection. I heartily rejoice in this prospect….”

[The Letters of Thomas Babington Macaulay, ed. by Thomas Pinney, vol. 3 (January 1834-August 1841). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.]

Friedrich Max Müller had already introduced the “Aryan Theory” in 1881 and was busy mistranslating Vedic texts along with his friend Horace Hayman Wilson.

Left: Friedrich Max Müller
Right: Horace Hayman Wilson

How do we know they mistranslated the sacred Hindu texts?

The real intention of Max Mueller is revealed through the letters he wrote to and received from his friends, mother, father, wife, mentors and other important people. Some of these letters were published in 1976 and some of them were published by his wife ‘Georgina Adelaide Müller’ in 1902.

On April 17, 1855, Bunsen to thank Max Müller for an article on his Outlines (Chapter IX), wrote :

“You have so thoroughly adopted the English disguise that it will not be easy for anyone to suspect you of having written this ‘curious article.’ It especially delights me to see how ingeniously you contrive to say what you announce you do not wish to discuss, i.e. the purport of the theology. In short, we are all of opinion that your cousin was right when she said of you in Paris to Neukomm, that you ought to be in the diplomatic service!”

Bishop of Calcutta Dr. E.B. Pusey to Max Mueller (Chapter XII, Ravenwood, Shimla, July, 13, 1860), wrote :

“I feel considerable interest in the matter, because I am sure that it is of the greatest importance for our missionaries to understand Sanskrit, to study the philosophy and sacred books of the Hindus, and to be able to meet the pundits on their own ground.

Among the means to this great end, none can be more important than your edition and Professor Wilson’s translation of the Rigveda. It would be most fitting in my opinion for a great Christian university to place in its Sanskrit chair the scholar who has made the Sanskrit scriptures accessible to the Christian missionary.”

When all these heavy artillery attacks on Hinduism were underway, unknown to everyone, a child was born in 1863. He was named Narendranath Datta. He would grow up into one of the greatest Hindu sages of modern times – Swami Vivekananda, who would undo everything the missionaries did and more.

Narendranath would soon meet his Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who himself was a celebrated sage. Missionaries tried their best to get him under the Jesus umbrella and once gave him a Bible and his reaction on knowing the details were of utter repugnance.

“Once someone gave me,” he said on October 27, 1882, “a book of the Christians. I asked him to read it to me. It talked about nothing but sin.” Turning to Keshub Chunder Sen, who was present, he continued, “Sin is the only thing one hears at your Brahmo Samaj too… He who says day and night, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner’, verily becomes a sinner…

Why should one only talk about sin and hell, and such things?” Thus he knocked the bottom out of Christianity. Without sin, there was no need for the atoning death of a historical saviour.”

And in this scenario, enters the giant – Swami Vivekananda.

His views on Christianity were similar to his Guru but more detailed. He completely rejected Christianity as Avidya.

“The greatest error,” he said, “is to call a man a weak and miserable sinner. Every time a person thinks in this mistaken manner, he rivets one more link in the chain of avidyA that binds him, adds one more layer to the “self-hypnotism” that lies heavy over his mind.” He compared the Hindu and Christian concepts of the soul. “One of the chief distinctions,” he said, “between the Vedic and the Christian religion is that the Christian religion teaches that each human soul had its beginning at its birth into this world, whereas the Vedic religion asserts that the spirit of man is an emanation of the Eternal Being and has no more a beginning than God Himself.”

He hailed humans as Children of Immortal Bliss – amritasya putrAH – in the language of the Upanishads. “Ye are the children of God,” he proclaimed while addressing the Parliament of Religions, “the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye divinities on earth – sinners! It is a sin to call man so; it is a standing libel on human nature. Come up, lions! and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal.”

Vivekananda repudiated the idea of vicarious saving also. He proclaimed the Hindu doctrine that everyone has to work out his own salvation. “The Christians believe,” he said, “that Jesus Christ died to save man. With you it is belief in a doctrine, and this belief constitutes your salvation. With us doctrine has nothing whatever to do with salvation.

Each one may believe in whatever doctrine he likes; or in no doctrine. What difference does it make to you whether Jesus Christ lived at a certain time or not? What has it to do with you that Moses saw God in the burning bush? The fact that Moses saw God in the burning bush does not constitute your seeing him, does it?… Records of great spiritual men in the past do us no good whatever except that they urge us onward to do the same, to experience religion ourselves. Whatever Christ or Moses or anybody else did, does not help us in the least, except to urge us on.”

He was aware that the historicity of Christ had become highly controversial among scholars of the subject. “There is a great dispute,” he wrote, “as to whether there ever was born a man with the name of Jesus. Of the four books comprising the New Testament, the Book of St. John has been rejected by some as spurious. As to the remaining three, the verdict is that they have been copied from ancient books; and that, too, long after the date ascribed to Jesus Christ.

Moreover, about the time that Jesus is believed to have been born, among the Jews themselves there were born two historians, Josephus and Philo. They have mentioned even petty sects among the Jews but not made the least reference to Jesus or the Christians or that the Roman judge sentenced him to death on the cross. Josephus’ book had a single line about it, which has now been proved to be an interpolation. The Romans used to rule over the Jews at that time, and the Greeks taught them all arts and Sciences.

They have all written a good many things about the Jews but made no mention of either Jesus or the Christians.” He also knew that doubts had been raised whether Jesus had himself said what was attributed to him in the gospels. “Another difficulty,” he continued, “is that the sayings, precepts, or doctrines which the New Testament preaches were already in existence among the Jews before the Christian era, having come from different quarters, and were being preached by Rabbis like Hillel and others.”

The miracles of Christ also failed to impress Vivekananda. In fact, they repelled him strongly. “What were the great powers of Christ,” he asked, “in miracles and healing, in one of his characters? They were low, vulgar things because he was among vulgar beings… Any fool could do those things. Fools heal others, devils can heal others. I have seen horrible demoniacal men do wonderful miracles. They seem to manufacture fruits out of the earth. I have known fools and diabolical men tell the past, present and future. I have seen fools heal at a glance, by the will, the most horrible diseases. These are powers, truly, but often demoniacal powers.” And he was not at all interested in the historical Jesus. “One gets sick at heart,” he said, “at the different accounts of the life of the Christ that Western people give. One would make him a great politician; another, perhaps, would make of him a great military general, another a great patriotic Jew; and so on.”

Vivekananda was aghast at the mushrooming of so many churches and all of them filled with hate for each other and wanting to kill the other, it made him wonder if there was any Christ left in them or were the teachings of Christ were as peaceful as they were made out to be.

Most men remained the same after baptism as they were before it. What was worse, the mere sprinkling of water over them and muttering of formulas by a priest made them believe that they were better than other people. He quoted the Kenopanishad in this context:

“Ever steeped in the darkness of ignorance, yet considering themselves wise and learned, the fools go round and round, staggering to and fro like the blind led by the blind.”

His opinion about the ritual of symbolic cannibalism, the Eucharist was one of disgust.

The Eucharist was nothing more than the survival of a savage custom.

“They sometimes killed their great chiefs,” said Vivekananda, “and ate their flesh in order to obtain in themselves the qualities which made their leaders great.” Human sacrifice was a Jewish idea which was borrowed by Christianity “in the form of atonement.” This seeking for a “scapegoat” had made Christianity “develop a spirit of persecution and bloodshed.”

Christian missionaries would single out some passages from the Puranas which were somewhat obscene according to the Victorian morality and would try to target Hinduism.

Vivekananda had studied the Bible and knew that it contained a lot which was downright pornography. But he had his own method of exposing the Bible. “The Chinese,” he wrote, “are the disciples of Confucius, are the disciples of Buddha, and their morality is quite strict and refined. Obscene language, obscene books, pictures, any conduct the least obscene – and the offender is punished then and there.

The Christian missionaries translated the Bible into Chinese tongue. Now in the Bible there are some passages so obscene as to put to shame some of the Puranas of the Hindus. Reading those indecorous passages, the Chinamen were so exasperated against Christianity that they made a point of never allowing the Bible to be circulated in their country… The simple minded Chinese were disgusted, and raised a cry, saying: Oh, horror! This religion has come to us to ruin our young boys, by giving them this Bible to read… This is why the Chinese are very indignant with Christianity. Otherwise the Chinese are very tolerant towards other religions. I hear that the missionaries have printed an edition, leaving out the objectionable parts; but this step has made the Chinese more suspicious than before.”

Then there was the history of Christianity -bloody, rapacious and genocidal. And this horrified the Swami. He wrote,

“The ancient Greeks, who were the first teachers of European civilization attained the zenith of their culture long before the Christians.

Ever since they became Christians, all their learning and culture was extinguished.”

When he was passing by Egypt on his way to Europe, a missionary mentioned to him the miracles which, according to the Bible, Moses had performed in that country. But Vivekananda had read history. He knew the record of Christianity in Egypt.

“Here was the city of Alexandria,” he said, “famous all over the world for its university, its library, and its literati – that Alexandria which, falling into the hands of illiterate, bigoted and vulgar Christians suffered destruction, with its library burnt to ashes and learning stamped out. Finally, the Christians killed the lady savant, Hypatia, subjected her dead body to all sorts of abominable insult, and dragged it through the streets, till every bit of flesh was removed from her bones.”

Christianity had spread with the help of the sword since the days of Constantine and tried to suppress science and philosophy. He asked,

“What support has Christianity ever lent to the spread of civilisation, either spiritual or secular? What reward did the Christian religion offer to the European Pandit who sought to prove for the first time that the Earth is a revolving planet? What scientist has ever been hailed with approval and enthusiasm by the Christian Church?”

Coming to modem times, Vivekananda found Christianity very vindictive:

“The great thinkers of Europe Voltaire, Darwin, Buchner, Flammarion, Victor Hugo and a host of others like him – are in the present time denounced by Christianity and are victims of vituperative tongues of its orthodox community.”

Christian missionaries in India were crediting to Christianity the rise and progress of modern Europe. This was a great falsehood.

“Whatever heights of progress Europe has attained,” continued Vivekananda, “every one of them has been gained by its revolt against Christianity – by its rising against the Gospel. If Christianity had its old paramount sway in Europe today, it would have lighted the fire of the Inquisition against such modern scientists as Pasteur and Koch, and burnt Darwin and others of his school at the stake.

In modern Europe Christianity and civilization are two different things. Civilization has now girded up her loins to destroy her old enemy, Christianity, to overthrow the clergy and to wring educational and charitable institutions from their hands. But for the ignorance-ridden rustic masses, Christianity would never have been able for a moment to support its present despised existence, and would have been pulled out by its roots; for the urban poor are, even now, enemies of the Christian Church!”

Christian missionaries were citing the prosperity of the modern West as an example of the superiority of Christianity. Much of that prosperity, however, was derived from the plunder of other peoples.

“We who have come from the East,” he said in an interview to a U.S. newspaper on September 29, 1893, “have sat here day after day and have been told to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and see England, the most prosperous Christian nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250,000,000 Asiatics.

We look back into history and see that the prosperity of Christian Europe began with Spain. Spain’s prosperity began with the invasion of Mexico. Christianity wins its prosperity by cutting the throats of its fellow men. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity. I have sat here and heard the height of intolerance. I have heard the creed of Moslems applauded, when the Moslem sword is carrying destruction into India. Blood and sword are not for the Hindu, whose religion is based on the laws of love.”

The newspaper described it as a “savage attack on Christian nations.” Vivekananda had a lot to say on Western colonialism and the massacre of natives in America, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. But that is not the subject at present.

What really amazed him was the utter lack of logic in Christian propaganda.

“On metaphysical lines,” he wrote on his return to India in 1897, “no nation on earth can hold a candle to the Hindus; and curiously all the fellows that come over here from Christian lands have that one antiquated foolishness of an argument that because the Christians are powerful and rich and Hindus are not, so Christianity must be better than Hinduism. To which the Hindus very aptly retort that, that is the very reason why Hinduism is a religion and Christianity is not; because in this beastly world, it is blackguardism and that alone which prospers, virtue always suffers.”

Hindus have nothing to gain from Christianity as it is only a system of superstitions. Hindus should not get frightened when the missionaries threaten them with hell; in fact, hell is better than the company of a Christian missionary. “There came a Christian to me once,” recalled Vivekananda, “and said, ‘You are a terrible sinner.’ I said, ‘Yes, I am. Go on.’ He was a Christian missionary.

That man would not give me any rest. When I see him I fly. He said, ‘I have very good things for you. You are a sinner and you will go to hell.’ I said, ‘Very good, what else?’ I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ ‘I am going to heaven,’ he answered. I said, ‘I will go to hell.’ “That day he gave me up.” If Christ could help people become good, why has he failed in the Christian countries where he has been worshipped for so long? “Here comes a Christian man,” continued Vivekananda, “and he says, ‘You are all doomed; but if you believe in this doctrine, Christ will help you out.’ If this were true – but of course it is nothing but superstition – there would be no wickedness in Christian countries. Let us believe in it – belief costs nothing – but why is there no result? If I ask, ‘Why is it that there are so many wicked people?’ They say, ‘We have to work more.’ Trust in God but keep your power dry!”

Swami Vivekananda saw through the hypocrisy of the Church to gain members in the name of Jesus while caring 2 hoots for the poor and starving. He spoke in the Parliament of Religions on September 29, 1893.

“You Christians, who are so fond of sending out missionaries to save the soul of the heathen why do you not try to save their bodies from starvation?… You erect Churches all through India but – the crying evil in the East is not religion – they have religion enough – but it is bread that the suffering millions of burning India cry out for with parched throats… It is an insult to a starving people to offer them religion; it is an insult to a starving man to teach him metaphysics.”

When Vivekananda found out that all priests were paid for their missionary work, he was horrified.

“In India,” he said, “a priest who preached for money would lose caste and be spat upon by the people.” He spoke in the same vein when he addressed the Parliament of Religions on October 11, 1893. “Christian missionaries,” he said, “come to offer life but only on condition that the Hindus became Christians, abandoning the faith of their fathers and forefathers. Is it right?… If you wish to illustrate the meaning of ‘brotherhood’, treat Hindus more kindly even though he be a Hindu and is faithful to his religion. Send missionaries to teach them how better to earn a piece of bread, and not teach them metaphysical nonsense.”

The Detroit Free Press dated February 21, 1894 reported a lecture which he had delivered on ‘Hindus and Christians’. Coming to Christian missionaries he said,

“You train and educate and pay men to do what? To come over to my country to curse and abuse all my forefathers, my religion, and everything.

They walk near a temple and say, ‘You idolators, you will go to hell.’ But they dare not do that to the Mohammedans of India; the sword would be out. But the Hindu is too mild… And then you who train men to abuse and criticise, if I just touch you with the least bit of criticism, with the kindest purpose, you shrink and cry: ‘Don’t touch us; we are Americans. We criticise all the people in the world, curse them and abuse them, say anything, but do not touch us, we are sensitive plants?’… And whenever your ministers criticise us let them remember this:

If all India stands up and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of that which you are doing to us. And what for? Did we ever send one missionary to convert anybody in the world? We say to you: ‘Welcome to your religion, but allow me to have mine?’… With all your brags and boastings, where has Christianity succeeded without the sword? Show me one place in the whole world. One I say, throughout the history of the Christian religion – one; I do not want two. I know how your forefathers were converted. They had to be converted or killed; that was all. What can you do better than Mohammedanism, with all your bragging?”

The Atrocity Literature and the spin on narratives was in full swing even during his time.

As he heard the malicious propaganda against Hinduism which missionaries were mounting in America and saw ‘their methods of raising money’, he hit them hard. “What is meant,” he asked, “by those pictures in the school-books for children where the Hindu mother is painted as throwing her children to the crocodiles in the Ganga? The mother is black but the baby is painted white to arouse more sympathy, and get more money. What is meant by those pictures which paint a man burning his wife at a stake with his own hands, so that she becomes a ghost and torments the husband’s enemy?

What is meant by the pictures of huge cars crushing over human beings? The other day a book was published for children in this country, where one of these gentlemen tells a narrative of his visit to Calcutta. He says he saw a car running over fanatics in the streets of Calcutta. I have heard one gentleman preach in Memphis that in every village of India there is a pond full of the bones of little children. What have the Hindus done to these disciples of Christ that every Christian child is taught to call the Hindus vile, and ‘wretches’ and the most horrible devils on earth? Part of the Sunday School education for children here consists in teaching them to hate everybody who is not a Christian, and the Hindu especially, so that from their very childhood they may subscribe their pennies to the missions.”

His bristling attacks infuriated the missionaries.

“The Christian missionaries,” wrote The Indian Mirror on June 23, 1897, “rage and fume over the success of Swami Vivekananda’s mission in America. In its impotent fury, the ‘Missionary Review of the World’ says that ‘Swami Vivekananda is simply a specimen of the elation and inflation of a weak man over the adulation of some silly people. If America ever gives up Christ, it will be for the devil, not Buddha or Brahma or Confucius. It will be lapse into utter apostasy, unbelief and infidelity.’ The writer, when penning these lines, was evidently under a fit of insanity brought on by the unlooked for spectacle of a Hindu preacher making disciples among American members of the Christian Church.”

The missionaries then raged a full frontal attack of Swami ji and his Guru Paramahansa by calling him a shudra who is not qualified to teach Vedanta.

The Christian Literature Society which had its headquarters in London and a branch in Madras published a book, Swami Vivekananda and his Guru with letters from prominent Americans on the alleged programme of Vedantism in United States, in 1897.

The book was reviewed by The Indian Mirror which wrote,

“The object of the first part of this book is to show that, on account of his Shudra birth and for his want of knowledge as well as on the part of his Guru, Vivekananda is not qualified for teaching the Vedanta; that he, in consequence of his doings, is not entitled to be called a ‘Swami’; that Schopenhauer, the admirer of the Upanishads, was a bad man, and that Professor Max Muller (in connection with his opinion of Vedantic books) is a ‘man having two voices’.”

Some of the writers say, that the Swami made no impression on the people, while some others asserted that the Swami may have made a few converts, but such converts were vaccilators and seekers of novelty. All of them consoled the enquirers with the assurance that Christianity had made a firm footing in America and there was no fear of its being Supplanted by any other religion.”

Swami ji made it clear that he was not interested in converting anyone to Hinduism, but he firmly advocated the return of the converted back in to Hindu fold.

His thoughts on the subject were expressed in an interview he gave to the representative of the Prabuddha Bharata, a monthly magazine started by his disciples in Madras. The interview, published in the April 1899 issue of the monthly, deserves to be reproduced at some length:

“I want to see you, Swami,” I began, “on this matter of receiving back into Hinduism those who have been converted from it. Is it your opinion that they should be received?”

“Certainly,” said the Swami, “they can and ought to be taken.” He sat gravely for a moment, thinking, and then resumed. “Besides,” he said, “we shall otherwise decrease in numbers. When the Mohammedans first came, we are said – I think on the authority of Ferishta, oldest Mohammedan historian – to have been six hundred millions of Hindus. Now we are about two hundred millions. And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.

“Again, the vast majority of Hindu converts to Islam and Christianity are converts by the sword, or the descendants of these. It would be obviously unfair to subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case of born aliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on.

“In my own opinion, this statement not only applies to aboriginal tribes, to outlying nations, and to almost all our conquerors before the Mohammedan conquest, but also to all those castes who find a special origin in the Puranas. I hold that they have been aliens thus adopted.

“Ceremonies of expiation are no doubt suitable in the case of willing converts returning to their Mother-Church, as it were; but on those who were alienated by conquest – as in Kashmir and Nepal – or on strangers wishing to join us, no penance should be imposed.”

“But of what caste would these people be, Swamiji?” I ventured to ask. “They must have some, or they can never be assimilated into the great body of Hindus. Where shall we look for their rightful place?”“Returning converts,” said the Swami quietly, “will gain their own castes, of course. And new people will make theirs. You will remember,” he added, “that this has already been done in the case of Vaishnavism. Converts from different castes and aliens were all able to combine under that flag and form a caste by themselves,- and a very respectful one too.

From Ramanuja down to Chaitanya of Bengal, all great Vaishnava teachers have done the same.”

“And where should these new people expect to marry?” I asked. “Amongst themselves as they do now,” said the Swami quietly.

“Then as to names,” I enquired, “I suppose aliens and converts who have adopted non-Hindu names should be named newly. Would you give them caste-names, or what?” “Certainly,” said the Swami, thoughtfully, “there is a great deal in a name” and on this question he would say no more.

“But my next enquiry drew blood. ‘Would you leave these newcomers, Swamiji, to choose their own forms of religious belief out of many visaged Hinduism, or would chalk out a religion for them?’ “Can you ask that?” he said. “They will choose for themselves. For unless a man chooses for himself, the very spirit of Hinduism is destroyed. The essence of our Faith consists simply in this freedom of the Ishta.”

Swami Vivekananda had not just stemmed the tide of the missionaries, he had taken the war to their stronghold and gave them a hiding of their lives.

The spark that Bankim Chandra had lit was turned into a massive blaze by the Swami which engulfed the whole of India. The steady stream of illustrious men who took the cudgels against Christianity never dimmed from there on. And those who thought of converting the Hindus were in turn being converted into Hinduism by the magic of Vedanta.

Recently, the war of conversion has mutated into a monstrous octopus with many tentacles. Today we need political intervention along with an army of dedicated local intellectual warriors who would stop the menace of making men believe they are sinners.

We’re after all, divine beings!

Sweet Chinese Melodies !

Chinese sweet melody ! Yes, music knows no boundaries. Melody straight from China.

We have received a request from a Chinese visiter to Indian People’s Congress website to provide a link from our site to his music site. Here we are producing a link to his site.

Now technology has advanced to a stage where language is no more a barrier in communicating with foreign tongue. Just tap in your mobile phone – when you are on that Chinese website – to translate the material there from Chinese to Hindi or English, or to any other language of your choice. It is the power of technology. Here is the link and enjoy the music.


What India can Learn from Bali, Indonesia?

By: Madhumati

(Facts compiled according to Swami Veda Bharati, a great master of meditation from the Himalayan Tradition)

Bali is a state of Indonesia, a secular country with the biggest Muslim population in the world. But the majority in the state of Bali, over 93 %, are Hindus. Bali is home to 4.22 million Hindus whose ancestors had to flee from other islands of Indonesia, after the great Indonesian Hindu Empire Majapahit was defeated and most of Indonesia was converted to Islam. Here are some interesting facts about Bali that every Indian Hindu must know.

  1. Nyepi day, a day of total silence (mauna) once a year, when even the Ngurah Rai International Airport of Denpasar is closed from 6 am to 6 am. No cars, no traffic, no entertainment, no TV. Sit in the house, do contemplation, do prayers. Can we introduce that Nyepi Day in our noisy country?
  2. The culture of Bali was begun by the Rishis of India, whose names are no longer taught in the schools of India but which are common in the schools of Bali. Markandeya, Bharadwaja, Agastya – the names we hear in the Puranas – are part of the way the history of Bali is taught in the schools of Bali. How many Rishis can you name? Do you remember any one of the 402 names of the Rishis and Rishikas (female Rishis) from the Rig Veda (the most ancient and most sacred text of Hinduism), which are our ancestors and the forming fathers of our religion – Vaidika Sanatana Dharma? None.

  3. The national Balinese dress for both, men and women, girls and boys, is Dhoti. No one can enter a temple without wearing a Dhoti. Except in some parts of South India, Dhoti is laughed at in India today. Why are we so ashamed of our heritage? Even most Indian priests change their dress after they are finished with the worship because they feel ashamed in a Dhoti !

  4. The social, economic and political system of Bali is based on the principle of tri-hita-karan – three benevolent, beneficent principles— that every human being has three aspects : the duty, the relationship that we have with God [Parahyangan]; the relationship that we have with human beings [Pawongan]; and the relationship that we have with nature [Palemahan]; and these are the three principles on which the entire culture of Bali is built. This was all established by the Rishis whose names are just about forgotten in India which are taught in the schools of Bali.

  5. Trikala Sandhya (Sun worship three times a day) is practiced in every Balinese school. The Gayatri Mantra is recited by every Balinese school child three times a day. Many of the local radio stations also relay Trikala Sandhya three times a day. Can we even think of introducing something like this to our schools in India? How many Indian Hindus are aware of their duty of Trikala Sandhya? It is as central to our religion as the 5 times Namaz is to Islam.

  6. In the year 1011 AD, at a place which is now known as Purasamantiga, there was the first inter-religious conference of three religions: Shaiva Agama, Bauddha Agama and Baliyaga, the traditional pre-Buddhist, pre-Hindu, Balinese religion. The scholars and the leaders sat down and worked out a system by which the three religions should work together and exchange forms with each other and that is the religion of Bali today.

  7. In Bali every priest is paid by the government. Despite the fact that Indonesia is a secular country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, the priest of every religion is paid by the government so every religion is supported by the government. That is the Indonesian form of secularism. Can we even think of this in India?

  8. The national motto of Indonesia “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (One is many, many is one)” is inspired by an Indonesian Hindu scripture Sutasoma Kakavin. The complete quotation is as follows – “It is said that the well known Buddha and Shiva are two different substances; they are indeed different, yet how is it possible to recognize their difference in a glance, since the truth of Buddha and the truth of Shiva are one? They may be different, but they are of the same kind, as there is no duality in truth.” Why can’t we have “Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” (The truth is one, but the wise express it in various ways – Rig Veda) as our national motto?

  9. Bali is one of the world’s most prominent rice growers. Every farm has a temple dedicated to Shri Devi and Bhu Devi (Lakmi the Goddess of wealth and mother earth – the two divinities that stand on the either of side of Tirupati Balaji in India). No farmer will perform his agricultural duties without first making offerings to Shri Devi and Bhu Devi. That is called culture, that Subak System. The agricultural and water irrigation plan for the entire country was charted in the 9th Century. The priests of a particular water temple still control this irrigation plan. Some World Bank or United Nations scientists did a computer model to work out a solution that would be ideal for Bali. And when they brought the model the Balinese said ‘we have been practicing this since the 9th century. What are you bringing here?’ And I don’t know how many million dollars these WTO, these World Bank people, United Nations people, spent on creating that chart which was already created in the 9th century without any computers; and that Subak System still continues. Such systems were in place in various parts of the country. Its remnants are still visible here in India. I have visited areas where there is no water for miles due to drought, yet the well at the local temple still provides fresh water.

  10. In Bali Hindus still don’t read a printed book when they perform Puja (worship). They read from a Lontar, which have traditionally been scripted by hand on palm leaf. When they recite the Ramayana Kakavin, where the book is kept, worship will be performed. There is a special ritual of lifting the sacred book, carrying it in a procession, bringing [it] to a special place, doing the bhumi puja, worshipping the ground there and consecrating the ground, then placing the book there. Then the priest will sit and recite the Ramayana.

When I was called to Bali it was to teach and preach the Vedic teachings. But I came back with a humble realization that I have to learn more from Bali than I can actually teach them.

Bidding Adieu to Pt. Parmanand Katara (Senior Advocate Supreme Court)

Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)

1 of 2:

The death of Pandit Parmanand Katara, a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, a few days ago, left me deeply shocked and disturbed eme. I had no close contacts with him. It was, what they say, my only a nodding acquaintance with him. He used to sit on a particular chair in the Library 1 of the Supreme Court of India.
Way back in 1993, we had called meeting in the Press Club of India to discuss the implementation of the Bhachawat Wage Board recommendations for the newspaper employees. We invited Justice K N Singh, who after his retirement as the Chief Justice of India, had assumed the charge of the Chairman of the Law Commission of India and also to Justice Bhachawat, who was then practising in the Supreme Court. Our friend Rakesh Sood suggested that we should also invite an Advocate Parmanand Katara to speak on the occasion. It was then a common friend of ours working with the Indian Express said that ‘don’t mention Katara ji as the Supreme Court lawyer because he travels in the city buses like many of us.’ I then put my foot down to mention his name as the Supreme Court Advocate in the invitation card. In my opening speech also I introduced him like that. It was a misconception, that those who practice in the Supreme Court move only in chauffeur driven cars. I told them a commoner like Pandit Katara can better understand the difficulties of the working class.
He was an egalitarian by nature and practice both. He had filed a PIL for helping the road accident victims and the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling that anybody who gets the injured or wounded person admitted in the Hospital would not be obliged to appear in the court as the witness and no hospital would refuse to admit the accident victim for treatment. This ruling has saved the lives of thousands of persons across the country. Before this judgement private hospitals used to invariably refuse to admit the accident victims and by the time they were taken to the government hospitals, many of them were declared to be brought dead.
Of late, Pandit ji was not keeping good health. Two days before his death he was seen in the Library 1. Many of us had suggested him to take rest at his home. I don’t have any personal evidence though I was told that he was so proficient in Sanskrit that he could even argue his cases in that language, besides English, which, unfortunately, is the language of not only the Supreme Court but almost all courts of Delhi.
We sadly bid adieu to you Pandit ji and pray to God to give you peace and place in His abode.

2 of 2: Shreepal Singh

I had opportunity to know him intimately. He was a thoroughly nice person but had the guts to try to raise himself from an ordinary lawyer to an elite club of snobish senior lawyers of Supreme Court. He was much pooh-poohed by many for his this audacity. He came from an ordinary place – Mathura – of Uttar Pradesh and studied there at ordinary educational institutions. I can say with authority that pandit Parmanand Katara had an understanding of deep philosophical issues (it is not the monopoly reserved for only those who had studied at Oxford university) that only an accomplished intellectual can understand. My this appreciation of his intellectual calibre is based on an incident. I had written a book – The Story of True India – and it was then only in manustript form (this book was later on published and is now available on this website as “Vision Document”). I shared that MS with him and had an enlightening discussion with him. He was able to share his meaningful thoughts with me.

He deserved a salute for his wisdom and courage.

Why ‘Citizenship Law Change’ is Just and Fair?

R. Veera Raghavan, Advocate, Chennai

India has amended its citizenship law. Now it helps some non-Muslims, viz., Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians of three nations to become citizens of India. The three countries are India’s Muslim-majority neighbours: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Beneficiaries under the changed law should have come into India by 31st December 2014 and been here for five years to apply for citizenship.

Renowned lawyers say the amendment is Constitutionally sound. But leaving legal issues to the Supreme Court, why is the new law just and fair, and why do the Congress and some other parties oppose it?

First, some basics. All nations have to make some key laws and regulations in tune with the psyche and aspirations of its people – in a democracy, according to the wishes of a majority of its voters, as reasonably gauged by a government or as found in a referendum where it works. Like, the UK may make a law or regulation for exiting from EEC, though a minority of voters may prefer their country remaining within EEC.

Hindus make nearly 80% of India’s population, Muslims about 14%, and others 6% as per the 2011 census. India is the land of origin of Hinduism, and this emotionally and eternally means a lot for Indian Hindus – and for Hindus elsewhere too – though the Indian Constitution may be silent about it. Indian laws do not just treat non-Hindus equally with the Hindu majority. They give minorities some privileges which the 80% Hindus don’t get. Legally, Hindus are treated somewhat unequally in the land of their origin and culture. When that inequality is worked on the ground, abused and also maladministered, it hurts the Hindus more, though that was unforeseen by the law.

Now, look at citizens of minority religions in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, mainly Hindus who have ethnic links with Indian Hindus. They have been persecuted over there for years and have vastly shrunk in their numbers in those countries. Many among them have taken refuge in India. Where else will the Hindus among them go or gain sympathy and acceptance?

Hindus of India will naturally feel for the tormented members of their religion in other nations – especially Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – and would welcome India giving relief to those distressed men and women. That is natural. But something more is needed for action to help. It needs an extraordinary daring to espouse and do the right thing while governing a nation, more so when faced with opposition and protests stoked by rival political parties. This is what the BJP-led government has done through changes in the citizenship law.  While doing this right thing, the BJP will also be appreciated by large sections of Indian voters, which the Congress party and many other Opposition parties are worried about. So, the Congress and other parties oppose this measure as discriminatory – in an attempt to embrace imagined Muslim victims of the new law, and unaware that their stance distances them from a large number of voters even further.

Look at this. Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan tweets his condemnation of our changed citizenship law. The Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi too issue statements opposing the new law. Would you believe that Pakistan never wishes India well and so opposes India’s citizenship amendment – and that the Congress party too reflects Pakistan’s views against India? Or would you imagine that the Congress party always does things right for India and so opposes the new law – and that Pakistan too allies with Congress sentiments for the good of India? Pakistan and the Congress party together faulting the present Indian government on our domestic issue shows their desperation against the Modi government.  After all, Modi is a hurdle to both of them on their plans for India and for themselves.

Critiques in the media question why Muslims who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan as refugees are not offered Indian citizenship on par with other refugees.  This is also the voice of some Opposition political parties.  First, Muslim nations have to take care of their Muslim citizens, and there can be no religious persecution of Muslims by Muslims. Second, this criticism is adding insult to injury for the Indian Hindus who are already being outgrown in their land by privileged minorities, especially Muslims. Accelerating the fall in the strength of the native Hindu population in any way is against the interests and well-being of Indian Hindus. You don’t need big brains to sense this. If you have doubts, ask people forming the majority religion in any other country if they would be at peace when minorities on their land steadily grow fast to outnumber the majority. India’s Hindus are beginning to realise that their tolerance, goodness and hospitality have been abused by some rulers and political parties who overly appease India’s vociferous minorities and neglect genuine Hindu concerns and anxieties.

The average Indian Muslim, whose ancestors were Hindus, is harmless and could peacefully co-exist with Indian Hindus. But he is in the grip of his religious and political exploiters and is misled by them in harbouring a needless antipathy to Hindus or imagined insecurity in India, though enjoying privileges he cannot get in any other country, even in a Muslim-majority nation.

The political and religious exploitation of Indian Muslims for the selfish gains of a few leaders plays a part in the protests stirred up against the amended citizenship law in parts of India. Concerns expressed by citizens in India’s north-eastern states are on a different footing, and the government must listen to them and resolve those issues separately. Otherwise, it is a test of strength for India’s political leadership to do the right thing, and stand by it with tact, diplomacy and resolve. Who else is our best bet on this except Narendra Modi, with Amit Shah by his side?

Copyright: R. Veera Raghavan. Article borrowed with thanks from HERE.

Unfounded Opposition to “CAA”

By: Legisperitus Law

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB) is a bill to further amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. It is not a full fledged bill but a narrow-tailored law specifically meant for religiously persecuted minorities in the three specified countries, namely Pakistan, Bangaladesh and Afghanisthan. Now this bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, assented by the President of India and has become a law (CAA). A law made by Parliament has to be enforced in India. It is a democratic process of governance according to law.

The top lawyer of India Mr. Harish Salve has explained the implications of this law, which are sufficient to dispel any misgivings about this law. In view of his explaination there is no logical foundation or any justification for anybody to oppose this law or to agitate against it on the streets, unless this agitation is done with some ulterior motive. Moreover, India is a democratic country where there is an elected Parliament, which has passed this law, and there is judiciary in India where anyone having grievance against this law can challage its constitutional validity. It is the democratic way to live peacefully in a country and be governed democratically by the will of people. Adopting any other way tainted with violence on the streets is nothing but hooliganism and a crime. Any hooliganism or crime by anybody – whosoever he may be – must be put to an end with the stiff hands of force.

This write-up based on the views of Mr. Salve is for those who may be having some innocent misgivings about this law. Those who have some other motives in launching a violent agitation against this law – whatever be their pretext for the same – should be (and will be) dealt with by the law and order machinary. Now about this law.

It says that “Any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who has entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and staying here to safeguard their lives, shall not be treated as illegal migrant.”

Misgiving No. 1: Citizenship Amendment Bill is against Indian Muslims, they need to get their papers ready to continue living in the country.

One of the worst lies being spread is that Indian Muslims need to worry about the bill. The Citizenship Amendment Bill has nothing to do with Indian citizens, Muslim or otherwise, as it seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who have come to India before 31/12/2014 for religious persecution and already living in India will be able to apply for citizenship after the amendment is passed. No Indian citizen will be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship after the CAB is passed, it is just false propaganda being spread by some people.

Misgiving No. 2: Muslims from other countries can’t become Indian citizens after CAB is passed.

CAB is a special one-time measure for the religious minorities who have already come to India after facing persecution in the three specified countries. The amendment does not cancel the existing naturalisation laws. Any person from any foreign country seeking to be Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws. There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws, CAB does not prohibit that. They can apply for Indian citizenship under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalization.

Misgiving No. 3: Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can’t apply for citizenship or refuge in India.

Although Muslims from these countries have been excluded from the CAB, it does not mean the door is shut forever for becoming Indian citizens. Although they are not given blanket relaxation to apply for citizenship under CAB, the usual naturalisation law remains available to them. Harish Salve asserted that the CAB does not undermine or interfere with the existing rules of asylum and Muslims can continue to seek asylum or apply for citizenship under the existing rules.

Misgiving No. 4: Illegal Muslim immigrants living in India will be deported after CAB is passed.

CAB gives citizenship to people of six communities from three countries living in India, but it does not deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants. Although it protects Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians who had entered India illegally from deportation by giving an opportunity to apply for citizenship, it does not say anything about deportation as that is the subject matter of another law, the Foreigners Act, not the Citizenship Act which the bill seeks to amend. The process of deporting anyone entering and living illegally in India is an ongoing process, and the CAB does not change that.

Misgiving No. 5: Any Hindu can become Indian citizen after CAB is passed.

Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians from only from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who are already living in India for at least five years can apply for citizenship. It does not give automatic citizenship to Hindus, they must have lived in India for at least five years, and after that, they have to apply for citizenship. It is not particularly biased in favour of Hindus as many are arguing. Six communities from three countries have been given relaxation, for everyone else the normal naturalisation law remains applicable. For example, there are lots of Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus living in camps in Tamil Nadu, but they have not been included in CAB. These Sri Lankans had fled the country during the war with LTTE in 1990s and are living in several camps.

Misgiving No. 6: If CAB is about religious persecution, why Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras, Balochs and Rohingyas are not included.

Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras all these groups are Muslims ethnic groups , they are not recognised as separate religions anywhere in the world. As Muslims, they are not minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which are either officially Islamic countries or have a very high Muslim majority. Therefore, it is not possible to include these Muslim groups in the bill as it is specifically made for religious minorities in those countries. Harish Salve stated on this doubt that the countries specified in the CAB have their own state religion and Islamic rules. He added that Islamic majority nations identify their people as per who follows Islam and who does not. Addressing governance problems in neighboring countries is not the purpose of the CAB.Still, if any Muslims are being persecuted in these Islamic countries for practising their version of Islam, they can apply for asylum in India. India has already provided asylum to Tibetans, and a large number of people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda etc.

Moreover, Balochs and Rohingyas are not religious groups, they are ethnic groups. Baloch people are not wanting to migrate to India or any other country, they are demanding an independent nation in the Baloch region. Therefore, it does not make sense to include in CAB. In the case of Rohingyas, although they fled Myanmar after they were allegedly targeted by the military, their situation was not the same what minorities are facing in the three Islamic countries. Rohingyas were targeted in retaliation after they had attacked people from other communities, including Hindus, in Myanmar. Rohingya groups are conducting terror activities in Myanmar for a long time. Many such terrorists entered other countries along with ordinary Rohingyas, and they remain undetected. Therefore, the Rohingya groups remain a security threat to India, and they can’t be given any blanket relaxation for citizenship.
Replying to the question of why the CAB does not include Tamils in Sri Lanka, Salve stated that Tamils in Sri Lanka are not religiously persecuted. Over the issue of Rohingyas, Salve stated that a law that addresses one evil does not need to address all the evils in all countries. It is notable here that Myanmar, though a Buddhist majority nation, does not have a state religion and Myanmar does not feature in CAB.
For argument’s sake, Salve stated, if immigration or naturalisation facility is provided to the Rohingyas, it can also be argued that why people from African nations are not being included. “CAB is for the religiously persecuted minorities of the three specified neighboring nations and it does not need to be applicable to all nations or all people in the world who have problems,” he added.

Misgiving No. 7: CAB is against the Indian Constitution as the constitution prohibits discrimination in the name of religion.

Harish Salve, one of India’s biggest names in national and international law explained further that the CAB aims to provide the persecuted minorities in these 3 countries a special status in the naturalisation process and it does not mean in any way that other communities or people will not be naturalised at all, for other communities the rules of general asylum process will be followed. So there is no violation of Article 14 here.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is concerned with the right to life. Salve stated that it provides a right to life for those who live in India, not those who want to enter India.

On the question on whether specifying Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians is discriminatory against Muslims, Salve explained that on the laws of equality does not mean having the same law for lions and lambs. He added that since the CAB has ‘religious persecution’ as the basis and is aiding those who are being religiously persecuted (tortured, victimized, oppressed especially on the basis of religion and the minorities in the specified Islamic countries) then the community which belongs to the majority religion in these countries cannot claim ‘religious persecution’. And since the CAB is not about political or economic asylum seekers, Muslims do not feature there.

Another argument is that the constitution of India is for citizens of India, and the CAB is a special provision for people who are not citizens of India. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that CAB violates the constitution. Moreover, our constitution and laws already have several discriminatory provisions. We do not have equal law for every citizen, the constitution allows different laws for different religions in several matters. We have Hindu Temples under government control but not Mosques or Churches. We have different laws for schools run by Hindus and non-Hindus. Haj subsidies and salaries for Imams but no such facility for Hindus, the list goes on. As the constitution already allows discrimination among even the citizens, it can’t be said that excluding Muslim citizens from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan violates the Constitution of India.

Salve also expressed confidence that if the CAB comes under judicial scrutiny, India’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Attorney General KC Venugopal will defend it well.

Misgiving No. 8: People in North East are opposing CAB because it is discriminatory.

Although it is true that some people in north-eastern states, particularly in Assam, are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, their reason is completely different from the left-liberals and opposition parties. People in north-east are against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or anywhere, regardless of religion, and that’s why they are opposing it. People in the northeast don’t want any foreigners to be given citizenship, while outside northeast the opposition to the bill is over the exclusion of Muslims. Both the groups are actually on completely opposite stands in their opposition to the bill.

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