Saturday, February 26, 2005

Grey hair and women

I had written in another blog about my dilemma: Whether to dye or not may hair. It doesnt matter much to me. I am already 37 - and a male!
I feel sorry for women with grey hair. It is distressing to see men almost ridicule young women (even around 35 years) if they have grey hair.
Today in the train, two youths were commenting about a woman (in her 30s) who had a few strands of grey hair. "She looks good, but for her hair has started greying." It was sickening.
One of my relatives (this was some time back) came crying to her mother's home as her husband had accused her of hiding the fact that her hair had started greying.
No one is bothered (except the person itself) when a man's hair greys. But the society seems to have a different yardstick for women.
While men are supposed to be young even when 40, women are supposed to be old if they cross 30. Why this attitude?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Treading on landmine

I feel the Mata is stepping into alien territory (read news item below). She should be careful if and when she does this. Both the LTTE and their Singhlalese counterparts believe in violence. And anyone found acting contrary to their interests is just eliminated. Of course, they wont do this to Mata, but she should realise what will happen if something goes wrong.

Amritananda Mayi willing to initiate peace talks in Sri Lanka


Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 20 2005

Spiritual leader Mata Amritananda Mayi today said she was willing to initiate peace talks in Sri Lanka, if the people of the island nation asked.
During her three-day visit to Sri Lanka, the members of the warring groups had expressed a desire to resolve their conflict, she told reporters at the airport here on her return from Sri Lanka after a visit to the tsunami-hit areas of that country.
''I am not interested in interfering in the internal affairs of another country, but if they ask, I will discuss,'' she said.
''Both the LTTE soldiers and members of a Tamil Special Task Force came to meet me when I visited a tsunami-relief camp in Ampara.'' ''Their hearts were open and they told me that they wanted to become united, but that they have a goal to achieve,'' she said.
Mata Amritananda Mayi had offered Rs three crore as rehabilitation aid for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, which included construction of 300 houses.
Since Indian laws did not allow direct assistance, the help would be routed through the Amritananda Mayi Mutt's foreign units.
She met Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge. She said the President had expressed her concern regarding the intense strife and trouble plaguing her country.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The other side of SSB

I don’t have a high opinion of Sathya Sai Baba (SSB), but I have acknowledged his organisation’s efforts in service to humanity. There are allegations that these too are tailored to benefit SSB and his organization, but we should not consider this due to lack of proper evidence.
One more positive thing about him is the direction he has been giving to the youth. When just one bad friend is enough for a youth to go astray, SSB has been doing yeomen service in guiding the youth to the correct path.
Though other organizations such as the Chinmaya Mission, the Ramakrishna Math and the RSS doing a great job of guiding the youth, I am writing about SSB’s organization because of the negative image he has acquired.
One example of how the youth are benefiting from SSB’s influence is a guy of around 25 years in my flat. Satish says he came into contact with SSB’s organization a decade ago. I haven’t seen a more dedicated follower of a religious organization.
When many of us regard Sunday (or our weekly off) as a day to relax, he wakes up early (at around 4 am) and joins a group chanting bhajans. Later on you can find him distributing rice. He comes home, may be by noon. In the evening, he is off for bhajans/prayers again.
One day, he was coming back home at around 7 am. He said he was coming back from a Veda class. I remind you, he is just around 25.
Now, what makes me wonder is, a guru so powerful, who is able to drive such a devotion into the youth, who has millions of followers all over the world, does nothing to refute/deny allegations against him? The allegations, including sexcapades, against SSB can run into pages. All you have to do is to search for “Sathya Sai Baba is a fraud” in google, you can get thousands of pages. One of the sites that dutifully collects ‘evidence’ against SSB is exbaba.com.
But it is difficult to find any material from the SSB side which replies to these allegations. All you get are stories about miracles, how great he (SSB) is etc. There seems to be no attempt to counter these allegations.
The trouble with the followers (like Satish, for example) is that they regard their guru as God. And any troublesome question is dismissed with a report about some miracle(s) which ‘proves’ the Guru is God.
No attempt is made to logically explain why the allegations are wrong.
There is no point in saying “I am God. These allegations cannot do me anything”. SSB has a duty to explain. Because he is the guide to millions of innocent young devotees like Satish. And the guide HAS to be clean. So, he HAS to wash off the dirt on him.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Swamis and friends

Please dont read this if you dont like to read/discuss sex.
Once upon a time a guru and his disciple were about to cross a river. They saw a young woman who was struggling to cross the river. She had got totally drenched in her unsuccessful efforts.
The disciple felt scandalised. He quickly covered his eyes and swam across the river as fast as he could. But the enlightened guru went to the woman, lifted her and helped her cross the river. The woman thanked the guru and went away.
The disciple, who was watching this, was shell-shocked. After a lot of hesitation, he asked his guru. "How can you do this? We swamis are not supposed to even think about women. But you went to the extent of lifting the woman who was drenched. I never thought you would do such a thing!"
The guru said, "I left the woman on the river bank itself. Why are you still carrying her?"
The guru had helped her cross the river, and had forgotten about her immediately. But the disciple was still "carrying" her, i.e, thinking about the woman.
I dont know why male swamijis are not supposed to think about women and swaminis about men. I feel it is not wrong for them even if they think about sex. They must only ensure that they dont get carrried away by it.
Sex is a natural, biological feeling or need. If any person, including swamis and swaminis, try to suppress it, it will explode. Anything compressed/suppressed beyond a point is bound to burst.
If a particular mutt or ashram feels sex is likely to prevent God-realisation/enlightenment, it must devise ways to ensure this comes naturally to the person. If the person is told to repress sexual feelings, you will have Bhaktiswarups cropping up everywhere.
How do you feel when you get enlightened? Osho says it similar to what you feel when you reach the 'pinnacle' (orgasm) when having sex. You are totally oblivious to everything around you. You are in a totally different world.
I read an article in a magazine some years ago. It was about Raj Kapoor's films. The writer said one of the reasons for the success of his movies is that his heroines are not exposed fully. They are almost full clothed. Any exposure is only partial. And this exites the movie goer more. I dont know how far this is correct, but I agree with it.
Shobaa De, in her latest book, says men 'unashamedly' ogle at the Williams' sisters' knickers. What else are they supposed to do? Close their eyes and pray? It is time we accept sex and nudity, fully are partial. The more we try to supress or look the other way, the quicker is the road to the asylum.
The only thing we have to be careful, as the swami said in the story, dont carry things too far. Know where to put the full stop.
If you see a beautiful woman or a handome man, and if you close your eyes, there can be nothing more stupid.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Kabbalah

Many of you might have heard of this. But this is new to me.

The Kabbalah or Kaballah, predates Christ. After a quick dekho, I realised it had a lot common with our own Vedas.

We cannot read the Vedas. So, it is said it is enough if we read the Bhagavad Gita. And I think the Kabbalah is an excellent alternative. Instead of me explaining what the Kabbalah actually says, you can read from a couple of Web sites on the Kabbalah.

For starteres, I recommend Kabbalah.com. It is a well-produced and beautifully designed site. You need macromedia flash in your computer for the site. And another thing you need is lots of time.

Another excellent site is Kabbalah.info. This is more of a friendly neighbourhood site. Not much tech, and straight.

The text below has been lifted from the two sites.

From Kabbalah.com: Suppose there was a universal wisdom, one singular seed that was the origin of all teachings — a body of knowledge that could reveal the spiritual and physical laws that govern the entire cosmos. What if it could account for and explain every emotion and desire that stirs within you? Suppose it could clarify and resolve all the problems that burden you at this very moment?
What if it could explain all the eruptions that occur in our universe the birth of a new star exploding into existence... to the explosive arguments that erupt in your life? What if it could shed a profound light on the mysteries surrounding the unknown whereabouts of our Creator? In other words, what if it could answer the age-old question, "Where's God?" What if it could blow the lid off of centuries of corruption and superstition, the trademark of religion throughout time?
What if it could offer you practical knowledge in this dizzying, mind-numbing age of endless information? What if it could show you a more effective way to pursue happiness? What if it could help you reclaim all the control you've surrendered to psychiatrists, doctors, consultants, and other people in your life? Perhaps most importantly, what if it could explain all those feelings and thoughts growing inside of you at this very moment, the ones telling you that these compelling claims are just too darn good to be true?
The purpose of Kabblah is now clear: to teach us how to receive Spiritual Light in our lives. That Light can be in the form of inner peace, pleasure, contentment, power, financial prosperity, creativity, freedom from chaos, well-being, or all of the above.


From Kabbalah.info: Kabbalah can be translated from the Hebrew as "received tradition", and is a term applied to a vast and seemingly disparate body of esoteric knowledge and practice. It is used to describe Jewish mysticism in general, or more specifically the tradition which found its impetus in the Sefer ha-Zohar ("The Book of Splendor") of the thirteenth century. It is also applied to the Christian or Western Kabbalah which grew from German and Lurianic Kabbalism and found its expression and extension in western Mystery Orders, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In its most complete form the Kabbalah can be considered as the "Yoga of the West", complementing the eastern chakra system and having counterparts to many of the forms of yogic practice. Indeed, the three main nadis (energy channels) in eastern philosophy, ida, sushumna and pingala; and the yin, Tao and yang of philosophy, find direct expression in the Kabbalistic pillars of severity, equilibrium and mercy on the Tree of Life.
The Kabbalah at its best is a system of esoteric philosophy, psychology and cosmology that allows any aspect of existence to be assimilated and related to any other on many levels, both rational and trans-rational. It may be used profitably by anyone, regardless of creed; and, for those who wish it, it is a key to the control of subtle forces and the attainment of true mystical union.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

KG and children

Swami Dayananda Saraswati, in his lecture in Chennai recently, talked about how parents push their kids - some even below three years - to school.
He said the insecurity the youth face nowadays is because of this. When a kid is sent to school so early, the kid gets confused: Why am I 'banished' to school? The child regards this as a punishment for 'something' she has done. The kid cannot understand that being sent to school is not a punishment. She has also been forced to stay away from her parents with some strangers.

Swami Dayananda said this was inhuman. He said the ideal age to put a kid in school was at least six or seven. He said we must put a full stop to things like play school, pre-KG, LKG and UKG. Though our intention is good, pushing a kid early to school will create problems later in life.

The schools run by Swami Dayananda Saraswati did not have KG classes.

He pointed out at Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy of the Padma Seshadri group of schools (who was sitting in the front row) and said she must take the initiative in Chennai. But a news item in 'Hindu' shows, this is not likely to happen. The new school "PSBB Millennium School" will have all the three KGs.

One more thing. The news item (reproduced below) says the Learning Leadership Foundation, with which the Padma Seshadri group has tied up for the 'PSBB Millennium School", is a 'charitable trust'. But then why is the school charging Rs 20,000 as admission fee and Rs 8,000 as term fee?

Here is the news item:

`Smart class' programme on the way
By Our Staff Reporter
CHENNAI, FEB. 14. The Padma Seshadri Group of Schools has tied up with Learning Leadership Foundation, a charitable trust, to open the "PSBB Millennium School" in June this year.
Announcing the venture, Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy, dean and director, said the new school on No.9 GST Road, with classes from pre-KG to class V, would focus on building global citizens rooted in Indian values.
The school would be a place where education was a pleasant learning task, said Mrs. Parthasarathy at a press conference on Monday. According to Shantanu Prakash of LLF, the teachers would be trained in technology right from pre-KG. "We are moving away from the `chalk-and talk' method and following the smart class programme, where all classrooms will have a computer."
Also, in the pipeline is a PSBB millennium school to come up on the Old Mamallapuram Road on the Information Technology corridor. With an investment of around Rs. 5 crores, this co-educational CBSE school will have spacious classrooms, a vast playground and laborataries for maths, English and science.
The one-time admission fee is Rs. 20,000 and the term fee around Rs. 8,000. Registration forms will be available at the K.K. Nagar and T. Nagar branches of the school till February 28 between 9.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visit psbbmillenniumschool.org for more information.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gita: Old Rhymes For New Times (from Indiatimes)

It's time to take the Gita off its religious shelf and reinvent it to deal with the problems of a new era.

The Gita opens our eyes to the truth of living. The closer we are to the truth, the better managers we become in any field of activity.

In fact, those who are established in the highest truth of the Self manage huge tasks without any mental anxieties. The Gita (18:17) praises such a super manager as, "He is not bound despite performing Himalayan tasks!" (A translation with some liberty of language).

Facing Modern Challenges: "Work we must," says the celestial song for no one can possibly be otherwise (3:5). This being the case, our choice is only in two areas: (i) the kind of work and (ii) the attitude to work. We are advised to be honest to ourselves in choosing the kind of work for ourselves.

Using a technical word, 'Svadharma', the Gita warns us to adhere to it (3:35). Svadharma reflects the way God has made us. It is our nature on the level of the personality. Each of us can contribute immensely to our own and others' happiness by discovering and sticking to "that for which God made us!"

Otherwise, personal fancies and false conditionings determine our choice. Sorrow under such circumstances is assured. As for the attitude, the message of Shree Krishna exhorts us to shed our personal attachments and ownership.

The beautiful analogy of the lotus leaf (5:10), points out the reward of freedom for our services rendered in a spirit of humility (non-egoism).


Resource Management: Our inner resource is energy. There is expenditure of energy in talking, working, playing, reading and so on. The holy book of our Sanaatana Dharma insists on being moderate in all our activities (5:16,17). This is the key to balance in living.

Holistic thinking and living bring out the best in us. Those managers who have struck a balance in the different departments of their life such as work, home and society emerge as true winners in the long run.

Qualities Of A New Age Leader: The leader of a team sees the whole group as one (18:20) and has respect for even a member in the lowest rank. He looks at the other person as himself (6:32) and is interested in maximum benefit to all (12:4).

He inspires them, encourages them in their meaningful activities (even of less significance) out of love for them (3:26). He himself works (on his own level and in his own sphere) with enthusiasm and fortitude (18:26) and maintains his equilibrium in success and failure (5:20).

Commitment to a Noble Cause: A manager stays committed to the noble cause that underlies all his actions. The Lord of Brindavan is very poetic when He says, "Work on, dear friend, with no negative energy interfering with your performance! The golden key to do so is offering all your actions to Me!" (3:30).

This 'offering all that we do to God' takes the form of 'commitment to the main (noble) cause' in a secular context. Someone rightly said, "Stay firm like a rock when it is the main principles, go with the flow in small matters."

The manager then gains the necessary flexibility and accommodativeness to mingle well with all the members of his team while safeguarding the chief mission.

Whip in Hand, Sometimes: Obviously, a manager cannot afford to be a 'Yes' man all along. Nor can he always compliment those with whom he works - above, equal to or below him! The divine charioteer says to the human Arjuna, "Do not spare them who have violated Dharma!

They are down already the moment they swerve from truth! Do your part anyhow, like My instrument" (11:34). Reprimanding the wrongdoers and expressing his resentment at unacceptable performance or behaviour of others are a necessary part of an effective manager.

Subjectively too , "Do not come under the sway of mere likes and dislikes. They are your enemies!" (3:34). Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji said, "Use your head while judging yourself, use your heart while judging others!"

We have to act with great responsibility towards our own BMI (body, mind and intellect). We cannot afford either to overindulge or put them to disuse! When used well, they are a wonderful medium of self-expression. Otherwise they bind us.

Truth Alone Wins: That truth alone wins is as much a law as gravity or magnetism. A book of Physics teaches us true laws of the world. The book does not create anything. In the same way, the Gita shows us the spiritual laws! For example, the law of selflessness, "Those who act without desire gain inner peace!" (5:12).

Or again the law of non-agency: "One oneself truly is never a doer, everything is done by Nature!" As we gain clarity in these aspects of Truth, our ability to appreciate the beauty of life increases. Rather than complaining about things, we begin to thank the Lord for giving us our life. Our projections caused sorrow to us; life by itself is awe-inspiring!

The enlightened manager is dynamic outside, spontaneously. She is quiet inside, surrendering totally to the Law of Life. She fully sees the limitations of human intelligence and the irrepressible energy contained in Truth or God.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Godhra: Judiciary under cloud (from Pioneer, New Delhi)

This very month, three years ago, Hindu pilgrims returning to Gujarat from Ayodhya were burnt alive in a bogey of the Sabarmati Express, in what was widely perceived as an act of communal aggression. Secular apologists of Islamic fundamentalism were quick to explain to a shocked nation that there were good (that is, legitimate) reasons for that gory action.

The Muslim mob at the Godhra station, they said, had been "provoked" by Hindu acts of commission. To begin with, the kar sevaks wanted to rebuild the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. Now, that may be a heinous crime, but I fail to understand how pilgrims returning home without having done anything to erect the mandir in Ayodhya, could be considered guilty of a crime that warranted roasting alive.

For the sake of communal amity, however, we may let that pass. A second reason advanced was that an unidentified kar sevak got into a squabble with a tea vendor at Godhra station. Another version said that many pilgrims had tea at the stall and returned to the train without settling their dues. Hence the irate vendor rounded up members of his community; they managed to catch up with the train and set it on fire.

A third version was that some kar sevaks forced a Muslim girl at Godhra station into the train and made off with her. No family member of the alleged victim ever came forward to validate the story, nor was a police report filed. Yet this was repeated ad nauseum as if repetition can transform lies into truths.

To his credit, Justice UC Banerjee - though handpicked by Union Railway Minister Lalu Yadav to serve a political agenda - did not waste energy trying to prove these puerile excuses. As a former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Banerjee realised that the first reason exposed Muslim intolerance; while the second and third reasons were both difficult to prove and impossible to justify. What is more, they seriously incriminated the Muslim community as they showed planning and motivation to commit a grave offence.

So, notwithstanding his defective report, the judge was wise enough to avoid the most obvious pitfalls on his route. This is why he went for the "safe" option of accidental fire: He showed sympathy for the victims (since he could not say the fire never took place); shifted the blame away from the accused; and kept the burden of responsibility for the subsequent Gujarat riots on the shoulders of the Hindu community.

This is by no means a poor achievement for a judge whose appointment failed to attract confidence because he was not nominated by the Supreme Court, but handpicked by Mr Yadav. Mr Banerjee submitted his interim conclusions exclusively to Mr Yadav in the form of a double-edged boon, useful for indicting community-minded Hindus and for consolidating "secular" Muslim voters.

Examining the press reports, what most upsets me is Mr Banerjee's failure to produce the remains of a gas or kerosene stove from the embers of S-6, to back his claim that the apocalyptic fire that consumed 59 persons within seven minutes was caused by passenger fault. Prima facie, it is difficult to believe that anyone could have the luxury of cooking in a bogey with a capacity of 72 passengers, but actually packed with 150 persons. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance with Gujarati culture could have told the learned judge that Gujarati women are notoriously gifted in the art of making dry snacks; the women in that ill-fated bogey would have been well-stocked for the journey and would certainly not cook on the train.

Justice Banerjee lacks credibility because he is perceived to have walked a path staked out by others, instead of scrupulously following the evidence. He did not even glance at the evidence collected by Gujarat's special investigation team (SIT), and disregarded the findings of forensic laboratories that opined that nearly 60 litres of petrol was used to start the conflagration. His decision to submit an interim report the day before he was scheduled to meet the SIT has already attracted adverse attention; his contention that he was unaware that elections were scheduled in the home state of the Minister who appointed him is shameful.

Justice Nanavati has wisely suggested that the nation await his findings. But since the Banerjee report was obviously intended to preempt and discredit the Nanavati-Shah probe, it deserves careful examination. Banerjee suggests that the fateful fire began somewhere in the middle of bogey S-6, and was probably triggered by a cooking stove, or a match or lighter. If the fire did start off accidentally, why didn't the passengers extinguish it, and why wasn't it contained in the section where it started? Since the train was a sleeper, only six persons could have been sitting in that section, since persons occupying the side berths would hardly cook in the passageway. Even if more people were seated in the section, it does not explain the failure to cry for help or warn other passengers about the danger.

The SIT claims the coach was built in 1993 with fire-retardant and self-extinguishing materials. This means that only a very volatile and highly inflammable substance (like petrol) could have caused the kind of inferno that enveloped the entire coach and took 59 lives in seven minutes. Neither a matchstick nor a portable kerosene stove could explain this kind of fire.

The judge has completely evaded the issue of why the passengers failed to open the doors at both ends of the compartment and either escape into the adjoining bogeys S-7 or S-5, or jump off the train once smoke spread in the compartment. Who or what impeded these obvious escape routes when the train was at a standstill? This issue will seriously erode Banerjee's credibility if he does not address it in his final report.

I am equally anxious for the results of the Supreme Court probe into Zaheera Sheikh's contention that despite the verbose activism of Begum Teesta Setalvad, she (Zaheera) had not filed any affidavit seeking transfer of the Best Bakery trial outside Gujarat. I shall briefly recapitulate facts for readers who have not understood the importance of this disclosure.

When Zaheera's testimony in the Vadodara Fast Track court led to the acquittal of 21 accused persons, a bunch of well-connected activists landed in Gujarat, dragged her to Mumbai and sponsored the sensational press conference in which she said the Vadodara testimony was inspired by fear. The publicity-conscious National Human Rights Commission rushed in; accepted voluminous documentation furnished on behalf of Zaheera without any scrutiny; and urged the Supreme Court to transfer the trial to another state (currently going on in Mumbai) as a fair trial was not possible in Gujarat.

To its eternal embarrassment, the Supreme Court has since discovered that Zaheera had not signed a single page presented to the NHRC or the apex court! In other words, there is no legal basis for taking the trial outside Gujarat. The learned judges cannot escape their share of this ignominy, for it is clear that they responded to the hype generated by an ideologically-committed media, rather than perusing the legal record before them. Public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary is at stake; the judges must examine their contribution to this crisis.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Conversions - What the Mahatma said

Mahatma Gandhi called religious conversions a fraud on humanity. "If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing". "I resent the overtures made to Harijans." "Stop all conversion, it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth." Poverty doesn't justify conversion.

(source: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 46. p.110 and Volume 61, p. 46-47 volume 64, p. 37 and 400 New Delhi 1968). For more refer to Mahatma Gandhi on The Christian Missionary Menace - Compiled by Swami Aksharananda).

Gandhi was pained by the missionary work with the Harijans. He said: "Lots of people will come and tell you that your Hindu religion is all wrong, as you are not allowed to go to school or enter the temple. To such people you should say, 'We shall settle accounts with our Hindu brothers; you may not come between us as you may not intervene in quarrel between father and son or among relatives." And you should remain steadfast to your religion...Why should I give up my religion. Hinduism is meant for me and my soul.."

(source: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 26, New Delhi, 1967 p. 8-9).

"This proselytization will mean no peace in the world. Conversions are harmful to India. If I had the power and could legislate I should certainly stop all proselytizing.''

"It pains me to have to say that the Christian missionaries as a body, with honorable exceptions, have actively supported a system which has impoverished, enervated and demoralized a people considered to be among the gentlest and most civilized on earth...."

(source: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 24, p. 476).

Mahatma Gandhi writes: " In the matter of religion I must restrict myself to my ancestral religion; that is, the use of my immediate surroundings in religion. If I find my religion defective, I should serve it by purifying it of defects."

He told the Christian missionaries "it is no part of your call, I assure you, to tear up the lives of the people of the East by the roots."

(source: Mahatma Gandhi's His Life and Ideas - By C. F. Andrews, p. 96).

Gandhi had tried to put the Christian missions in a tight spot by proclaiming that proselytisation was morally wrong and spiritually sterile, if not counter-productive. He had also appealed to the missions to employ their enormous resources for rendering humanitarian services to the poor without any motive for proselytisation.

Further he asks, "How can the conversion achieved through such unethical means be called religious in its true sense?" Mahatma Gandhi once told his friend, the missionary E. Stanley Jones, “Don’t attempt to propagate your faith; just live it."

Gandhi wrote to an American Missionary who claimed that the Christian way is the best of all: "You assume knowledge of all people which you can do only if you were God. I want you to understand that you are laboring under a double fallacy. That what you think best for you is really so; and that what you regard as the best for you is the best for the whole world. It is an assumption of omniscience and infallibility. I plead a little humility."

(source: Religion and Culture - By S. Radhakrishnan South Asia Books 1994 ISBN 8122200125 p. 64).

He wrote in My Experiments With Truth: "It was impossible for me to believe that I could go to heaven or attain salvation only by becoming a Christian." All religions were equally capable of leading the follower to salvation.

Gandhi said:

"If instead of confining themselves purely to humanitarian work such as education, medical services to the poor and the like, they would use these activities of theirs for the purpose of proselytising, I would certainly like them to withdraw. Every nation considers its own faith to be as good as that of any other. Certainly the great faiths held by the people of India are adequate for her people. India stands in no need of conversion from one faith to another.

(source: Foreign Missionaries, Young India, April 23, 1931.)

Gandhi was equally wary of the Church and its missionaries. Writing in Harijan (March 13, 1937) he said: "My fear is that, though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it, is the only true religion. So far, as one can understand the present (Christian) effort, it is to uproot Hinduism from her very foundation and replace it by another faith." He took great care to distinguish between his work and that of the Church: "The first distinction I would like to make...between your missionary work and mine is that while I am strengthening the faith of the people, you (missionaries) are undermining it." (Young India, March 1927).


http://www.atributetohinduism.com/Conversion.htm

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Letter from Francois Gautier

Dear friends,

A little update on FACT. the Foundation I started in 2003 to mount a series of eese exhibitions will eventually culminate in an Indian Memory Museum. The Exhibition on the Kashmiri Pandits traveled last month in Amsterdam after having been shown successfully in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Poland, Germany, Israel and England. It will again be in Mumbai on 5th March, in the presence of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has lent us his support and blessings throughout. Then it will go for a US tour in April.

At the moment, we are working on an exhibit on the genocide of Hindus in Bangladesh which was shown in Calcutta on 22d January at the International Conference on Human Rights and Minorities In Bangladesh.
We are also planning one exhibit on the Inquisition in Goa and another one on the origins of Islamic terrorism from Hindu Kush onwards.

We also have a remarkable exhibit on Annie Besant which was designed by Prof Kejriwal a noted Indian historian, who is part of our Board for the proposed museum. Prof Kejriwal is working as well on an exhibit on Sister Nivedita. Prof Bhatanagar of the Shimla Advanced Research Institute has started work on two exhibitions on Aurangzeb based on Padmanabha's Kanhadade Prabandha, India's greatest patriotic sage of Medieval Times. Finally, we are planning in partnership with Agni TV Delhi (Shradalu Ranade and Shruti) a TV documentary which will show Alexander as he was, particularly in relation with India, and not as he has been portrayed in the West

For all this noble endeavors, we solicit your help and support. FACT India is a registered Trust, please send your donations (preferably in Indian rupees, as we do not have yet blanket foreign exchange clearance) to FACT, Canara Bank, Pondichery a/c N° is 27147, or mail your cheques in the name of FACT to Fran├žois Gautier, Auromodel, Auroville, 605101, India.
Thanks so much for your help

Fran├žois Gautier
Convener FACT

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Cry, my beloved India

Francois Gautier (in Rediff.com)

I am a Westerner and a born Christian, but even I am ashamed at what is happening in India since Sonia Gandhi, a Westerner and Christian, became the de facto ruler of this ancient and extraordinary country of 850 million Hindus and 125 million Muslims.

Something terrible is happening here. On the one hand, you have the shankaracharya, one of the most respected Hindu leaders, arrested like a criminal on one of Hinduism's most sacred days, even as politicians who have more corruption cases against them than anybody else and others who may even have blood on their hands are made ministers and strut around with security guards in tow.

The tarnishing of the Kanchi mutt's image is nearly complete. Will it ever be able to recover its sanctity, even if the shankacharya is found not guilty?

On the other hand you see a quack like Benny Hinn, who has no standing even in the United States, come openly to India, a country with an overwhelming Hindu majority, to deride idol worship and paganism and convert the poor and the gullible. We see ministers, ex-prime ministers even -- many of them Hindus at that -- coming to the Benny Hinn show, with heads bowed and hands folded like beggars asking for the white man's grace. We see the entire state machinery of Karnataka put at the evangelist's service and laws subverted so he can conduct his fake show.

We see how when 36 innocent women and children were burnt alive in the most horrible manner in Godhra, for no reason other than being Hindus, there is no respect for their memory even, for the truth is now twisted for political purposes with the help of India's Marxists who want Hinduism's death. What a shame!

Hindus are always accused of all the ills and intolerance, but where in the world will you find a Christian supreme leader in a country where there are only 3 per cent Christians, a Sikh prime minister where there are only 2 per cent Sikhs and a Muslim President with only 10 per cent Muslims? Poor Hindus.

This is an insult to India's culture, greatness and intelligence What is even more saddening is the passivity of Indians in the face of what is happening. Only a few voices have been raised in these moments of insanity. India's curse is the disunity among Hindus, their infighting. One is surprised at the lack of reaction even from India's top Hindu spiritual leaders Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamayi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Together they hold sway over at least 400 million Hindus. Why don't they form a Supreme Spiritual Conclave along with the shankaracharya? They only have to utter the word and it will be done. But there is disunity even among them.

We are not ashamed of the Christian culture in France; even the American president is sworn in on the Bible. Nor, certainly, is the Congress, which is incapable of finding a worthy Indian leader among its own members, many of whom are intelligent and sincere. By stooping to Sonia Gandhi, they repeated the same old story of India's princes and maharajas betraying each other and bowing before a foreign ruler, be it Aurangzeb or His Majesty's Viceroy. Who betrayed the mighty Vijayanagar empire, the last great Hindu kingdom, to the Muslims? Who betrayed India to the British? Who is betraying India today?

But at least the Congress is true to its ideals. The biggest culprit must be Mr A B Vajpayee who in five years of power did nothing but project a Gandhian image, rather than having India's interests at heart. He and his advisers should stand trial when history is written.

The beauty of it all is that Sonia Gandhi does not have to say or do anything. She does not have to instruct the Tamil Nadu police to arrest the shankaracharya or tell Chief Minister Dharam Singh of Karnataka to attend Benny Hinn's show. Just being where she is, at the top of India's political hierarchy, is enough to ensure that her silent wishes are fulfilled. Everybody is bending over backwards to please her, even anticipating her wishes!

The Benny Hinn show points to not only a renewed effort at Christianisation of India -- something which even the British and the Portuguese could not do -- and a targeting of Hindu spiritual leaders, but also the westernisation of the subcontinent.

It would mean the loss of India's ancient culture, the loss of its unique identity, with India becoming just another nation cloning the West. Even the Muslims and Christians of India, who are like no other Christians and Muslims in the world, would lose something.

Today I feel sad, sad for India, sad for the world. For India is in mortal danger, its eternal Sanatana Dharma is under threat. And if India dies spiritually, the world will also die.

Cry O my beloved India, look what thy children have done to thee.