Late Shri Sita Ram Goel, great scholar of Hindu heritage and Dharmic civilization, one of the finest commentator and critic of Imperialist Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam, wrote extensively to expose the deceitful and sometimes violent means used by missionaries and mullas, for converting gullible Hindus of Bharatvarsha.
Here, writer felt duty bound to bring Shri Goel’s work to attention of contemporary readers, as it was/is hardly highlighted by mainstream media. It is hoped, that this small step of introducing Shri Goel’s work to present generation, will help in better defense of Hinduism.
In the Preface of 2nd edition of this book, Shri Goel describes how Christian and Hindus reacted differently to 1st edition that was published in 1988. He writes –
“Hindu readers by and large reacted favorably and welcomed the Hindu view of Christian missions.”
He further comments that, some Hindus, namely self-proclaimed Gandhians, who never ever read Mahatma’s works, were unpleasantly surprised and refused to concede that there was anything wrong in what the Christian missions were doing, as these Gandhians believed in sameness of Christian missions with Hindu Ashrams.
While most Christian friends of Shri Goel, expressed pain and resentment at being exposed.
While writing this book, Shri Goel found sufficiently large material of great importance prompting him to write two more books on similar theme- Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression and History of Hindu-Christian Encounters
In Chapter 1-New Labels for Old Merchandise Shri Goel explains that Catholic ashrams are well strategized plans of what is referred as “Ashram Movement” which is basically Indigenisation or Inculturation of Christianity to give it veneer of sameness for attracting and converting unsuspecting Hindus, who mostly fall prey to sameness syndrome.
Church miserably failed in mission of Christianising Hindus by virtue of its own merits, though it tried hard since the commencement of the Christian era, to do so. This led to Christian strategists contemplating on specific reasons of this spectacular and singular failure of Christianity in propagating itself in India.
Shri Goel captured the prevailing state of Christianity in India at the time of writing of this book :
“During the last four hundred years, it (Christianity) has been promoted in all possible ways by a succession of colonial powers – the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the British. The secular dispensation which has obtained in this country since the dawn of independence has provided untrammeled freedom to the functioning as well as the multiplication of the Christian mission. Many Christian countries in the West have maintained for many years an unceasing flow of finance and personnel for the spread of the gospel. The costs of the enterprise over the years, in terms of money and manpower, are mind-boggling. Yet Christianity has failed to reap a rich harvest among the Hindu heathens”.
(However, writer feels considerable damage has already been done since then.)
Exasperation of missionaries on this pathetic pace of Christianization is cited by Shri Goel from Fr. Bede Griffith (who masqueraded under Hindu name of Swami Dayananda), from his book Christ in India as follows –
“It is a remarkable fact, that the Church has been present in India for over fifteen hundred years and has had for the most part everything in its favour, and yet in all this time hardly two in a hundred of the people have been converted to the Christian faith. The position is, indeed, worse even than this figure would suggest, as the vast majority of Christians are concentrated in a very few small areas and in the greater part of India, the mass of people remains today untouched except in a very general way by the Christian faith. It is necessary to go even further than this and to say that for the immense majority of the Indian people, Christianity still appears as a foreign religion imported from the West and the soul of India remains obstinately attached to its ancient religion. It is not simply a matter of ignorance. This may have been true in the past, but in recent times there has been a remarkable revival of Hinduism, which is more or less consciously opposed to Christianity, and the educated Hindu regards his religion as definitely superior to Christianity.”
Fr. Bede Griffith, after mourning the failure of the mission in above paragraph further writes his diagnosis of the problem of failure of Christianity in India, as under:-
“These facts, which can scarcely be questioned, suggest that there has been something wrong with the way in which the gospel has been presented in India (and the same remark would apply to all the Far East) and especially in the relation which has been established between Christianity and Hinduism”.
“We must admit that the Christian mission has largely failed. As soon as we ask why, I think we find the answer quite clear before us: the Church has always presented herself to the eastern world in the forms of an alien culture”.
Here, Shri Goel points out the Fr. Bede used word Culture in place of religion for purpose, the reasons for which is unraveled by Shri Goel in later chapters of book.
Having identified the problem, the mission strategists developed the following doctrine of indigenisation, described in detail in following paragraph by Shri Goel:-
“Christianity has to drop its alien attire and get clothed in Hindu cultural forms. In short, Christianity has to be presented as an indigenous faith. Christian theology has to be conveyed through categories of Hindu philosophy; Christian worship has to be conducted in the manner and with the materials of Hindu pûjâ; Christian sacraments have to sound like Hindu saMskâras; Christian Churches have to copy the architecture of Hindu temples; Christian hymns have to be set to Hindu music; Christian themes and personalities have to be presented in styles of Hindu painting; Christian missionaries have to dress and live like Hindu sannyâsins; Christian mission stations have to look like Hindu ashramas”.
The last point of this indigenisation strategy, Shri Goel points out, is that mission strategists never want to indigenize foreign funding of these Ashram missionary activities, as the foreign financing gives them much desired, absolute control on Christian theologians, historians, sociologists, artists and musicians, employed for doing this Indigenisation.
In Chapter 2: Indigenisation: A Predatory Enterprise, Shri Goel traces the roots of this Indigenisation strategy to Greeko-Roman Christianizing methodologies by citing Fr. Bede’s suggestion of using Greek Fathers when they used Greek cultural forms for conveying Christianity to the pagans in the Roman Empire:-
“The Church has a perfect model of how it should proceed today in the way it proceeded in the early centuries. Christianity came out of Palestine as a Jewish sect. Yet within a few centuries this Jewish sect had taken all the forms of thought and expression of the Greco-Roman world. A Christian theology developed in Greek modes of thought, as did a Christian liturgy in Greek language and in Greek modes of expression; a calender also developed according to Greek and Roman traditions. Surely all that is a wonderful example meant for our instruction of how the Church can present herself to an alien world.”
Shri Goel cites another missionary expert R.H.S. Boyd who proposed methods of Indigenisation similar to one suggested by Fr. Bede later, from his book An Introduction to Indian Christian Theology:-
“As we reflect on the process, by which Christianity in the earlier centuries became acclimatized in the Greek world, and by which it made use of certain categories of Greek thought, we are struck by the double face of its acceptance of ‘secularized’ Greek philosophy and philosophical terminology, and its complete rejection of Greek religion and mythology. Greek religion was gradually secularized. Philosophy was separated from what had been a religio-philosophic unity. The religious content – which had already been deeply influenced by secularisation right from the time of Aristophanes and Euripides – developed into a cultural, literary, artistic entity ‘encapsulated’ and isolated, except in the Orphic and mystery traditions, from that living, existential faith which transforms men’s lives.”
Here Shri Goel contends that Boyd’s claim that Greek culture and philosophy were already secularized before take over by Church, is deliberate attempt to misinform and obfuscate readers. He strongly counters Boyd’s position by quoting:-
“(As) thoroughly documented by renowned scholars, the record leaves no doubt that it was the Church which forcibly secularized Greek culture by closing pagan schools, destroying pagan temples, and prohibiting pagan rites. In fact, the doings of the Church in the Greco-Roman world is one of the darkest chapters in human history. Force and fraud are the only themes in that chapter. But facts, it seems, have no role to play when it comes to missionary make-believe”.
Describing further this darkest era of physical and cultural genocide of Greco-Roman world, Shri Goel writes:-
“The history of Christianity in the Roman Empire is not an obscure subject. The careers of many Christian emperors, popes, patriarchs, bishops, saints, and monks are proof that the contest between Paganism and Christianity was decided not by philosophical cajoleries but by brute physical force”.
Shri Goel makes very detailed observation in this chapter and writer feels obliged to quotes him verbatim:-
“Legitimate or illegitimate, compatible or incompatible, the literature of Indigenisation provides ample proof that several Hindu philosophies are being actively considered by the mission strategists as conveyors of Christianity. The Advaita of Shankaracharya has been the hottest favourite so far. The Vishistadvaita of Ramanuja, the Bhakti of the Alvar saints and Vaishnava Acharyas, the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Vichara of Raman Maharshi are not far behind. For all we know, Kashmir Shaivism and Shakta Tantra may also become grist to the missionary mill before long. Missionaries working among Harijans are advocating that the Nirguna Bhakti of Kabir and Ravidas should also be accepted as candidates for service to Christianity. The more enterprising mission strategists recommend that different systems of Hindu philosophy should he used for tackling different sections of Hindu society. In the upshot, we are witnessing a keen contest among Indigenisation theologians for acquiring doctorates in Hindu religion and philosophy. Christian seminaries in India and abroad conduct crash courses in the same field. Christian publishing houses are manufacturing learned monographs, comparing Hindu philosophers with Christian theologians – ancient, medieval, and modern. And the same operation is being extended to other spheres of Hindu culture.”
Shri Goel gives proof of this new Christianizing strategy by further quoting Fr. Bede (alias Swami Dayananda):-
“In India, we need a christian Vedanta and a christian Yoga, that is a system of theology which makes use not only of the terms and concepts but of the whole structure of thought of the Vedanta, as the Greek Fathers used Plato and Aristotle; and a spirituality which will make use not merely of the practices of Hatha Yoga, by which most people understand Yoga, but of the great systems of Karma, Bhakti and Jnan Yoga, the way of works or action, of love or devotion, and of knowledge or wisdom, through which the spiritual genius of India has been revealed through the centuries.”
Another Shri Goel quotes from another Christian missionary, Kaj Baago, who wrote in 1969 book Pioneers of Indigenous Christianity, to further clarify this “Ashram Christianity” Strategy :
“Indigenisation is evangelisation. It is the planting of the gospel inside another culture, another philosophy, another religion. What happens in the process to that “another culture, another philosophy, and another religion” is not the mission’s concern.”
Shri Goel concludes this chapter by stating the obvious, historically verified fact that appropriation and digestion of both tangible and intangible of culture and civilization of pagans and infidels is built in architecture of Christianity. He supports his proposition with assertions from Bible itself as under:-
Christianity’s predatory nature is loathsome to pagans who have inherited and are proud of their own culture. Yet it is quite in keeping with Jehovah’s promise in the Bible. “Just as the Lord your God promised to your ancestors, Abraham, Issac and Joseph,” proclaims Jehovah, “he will give you a land with large and prosperous cities which you did not build. The houses will be full of good things which you did not put in them, and there will be wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive orchards you did not plant.”
The Bible preserves a graphic and gory record of how the descendants of Abraham and Issac and Joseph helped Jehovah in fulfilling this promise. They appropriated the lands and properties of the pagans with a clean conscience. They were convinced that they were only taking possession of what already belonged to them by the terms of a divine pledge.
Shri Goel further writes:-
The history of the Church in many lands and over many centuries shows that it did far better than the preceding chosen people. It deprived the pagans not only of their physical possessions but also of their cultural creations. The condottieri who carried out the operation in the field of culture are known as the Greek Fathers. Let there be no mistake that the Christian mission is not only a destroyer of living religions but also of living cultures. It promises no good to a people, least of all to the Hindus.
It is no wonder that Hindus being Pagans are ruthless target of earlier failed agenda of cultural genocide and appropriation strategy of Christianity, having made itself more palatable to Hindu sensibilities by adopting deceitful “Ashram movement”.
As we see today, every observation of Shri Goel, as mentioned in this book, has come true in following years. But are we Hindus listening to his timely prophecies? Answer, it seems, is negative.
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