Semitic graft on a Sanatana tree - 1
by Sandhya Jain on 22 Apr 2010 25 Comments

Critical issues pertaining to Hindu Dharma and its survival on Hindu bhumi in rightful strength and glory have been sizzling in private fora for some years now, and came partially to a boil when the Nityananda scandal prompted the writer to pen “Debutante Dharma-Gurus: Violating a civilisational patent” on this website on March 21, 2010.


The article raised a veritable storm, much of which is visible in the comments section of the article. The fact that it was accompanied by piercing articles by Ms Radha Rajan, editor, aggravated the discomfort in certain quarters, and the commentary on the website (deleted by editorial discretion) became spiteful, mean, defamatory and outright scandalous. This was then taken to private email groups, private blogs and the Sulekha website. What was disgusting was that this hate-mail was anonymous, with writers hiding behind invented names and refusing to reveal their identities – a sure sign of weakness, fear (of legal retribution), and pressure from controllers to hit out at us, however blindly.


Saner voices requested a more lucid exposition of the issues that prompted this fusillade of abuse, to understand why writers hitherto respected for maturity and gravity are frontally challenging Gurus and other individuals believed to be serving dharma with dedication. Prior commitments inhibited an early redressal of this genuine demand, and while it is impossible to detail each and every point, the present series attempts to answer all questions in the minds of readers as fully and cogently as possible.


The crux of my dissent centres round the unilateral and ill-prepared rush by certain Hindu Gurus into a trap called Inter-faith dialogue, and its spin-offs in the form of an ill-conceived Hindu-Jewish Summit, and now multi-religious spiritual fairs accompanied by all-religions-are-one false homilies – which are designed to negate Hindu Dharma on its natal bhumi.


What is the legitimacy in privileging Hindu Dharma on Hindu bhumi if alien monotheistic faiths with a mission to annihilate all other faiths in the world are accepted as equal/one by Hindu gurus themselves? Why should Hindu Dharma survive in India at all when faiths claiming to be the Final Revelation/Truth are accepted as equal/one by Hindu gurus? What is the legitimacy of resisting conversions to alien monotheistic faiths when the preceptors of Hindu dharma concede that all religions are one? In that case, why not just have one faith – the unchanging monotheistic argument?


These and related questions drove the writer into a head-on conflict with those departing from or evading dharma while arrogating unwarranted powers and authority to themselves, glibly globetrotting and mouthing lines at the behest of unseen (but readily discernible) puppeteers, and harshly silencing those who – like the child in Hans Anderson’s memorable tale – dared call them naked. We, the incorrigible children of Bharat Mata, refuse to be muffled.


How I stumbled upon a guilty secret


Coming to specifics, for some years the writer was engaged in a study of religious conversions in Tripura, a state selected after a famous guru, Swami Shanti Kali ji Maharaj, was shot dead in his own ashram on account of his success in resisting forced conversions amongst the tribal and non-tribal populace. [This has since been published as, Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study, Rupa, 2009]


Inter alia, while studying the missionary defence of conversions, the writer was horrified to discover that unknown to all of us who are fighting evangelism at the intellectual level, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha had in May 2006 sent representatives to attend an inter-religious meeting at Lariano, Italy, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City, and the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, on Conversion: Assessing the Reality.


The HDAS website features a report on the Lariano meet, prepared by Brahmacharini Dr Vrinda Chaitanya and submitted to Swami Dayananda Saraswati, convener, HDAS



Conveniently missing is the declaration signed there, and the identity of the Hindu representatives deputed to attend.


The Lariano Declaration is a complete negation and mockery of Hindu Dharma. The Convener and Secretary HDAS obdurately refused to answer any questions regarding this absolutely secret diplomacy with the Catholic and Protestant churches and the reasons for signing that venomous document. The identity of the delegates sent remains a stubborn secret, along with the reasons for the selection of the said persons. Both Convener and Secretary HDAS were incandescent at being found out.


Lariano Declaration: poison quill in the Hindu heart  


On 12-16 May 2006, an inter-religious meeting of representatives from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Yoruba religion, was hosted by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City, and the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, on Conversion: Assessing the Reality.


Their concluding reflections and recommendations: [emphasis mine]


-        All of us believe that religions should be a source of uniting and ennobling humans. Religion, understood and practiced in the light of the core principles and ideals of each of our faiths, can be a reliable guide to meeting the many challenges before humankind.


-        Freedom of religion is a fundamental, inviolable and non-negotiable right of every human being in every country in the world. Freedom of religion connotes the freedom, without any obstruction, to practice one’s own faith, freedom to propagate the teachings of one’s faith to people of one’s own and other faiths, and also the freedom to embrace another faith out of one’s own free choice.


-        We affirm that while everyone has a right to invite others to an understanding of their faith, it should not be exercised by violating other’s rights and religious sensibilities. At the same time, all should heal themselves from the obsession of converting others.


-        Freedom of religion enjoins upon all of us the equally non-negotiable responsibility to respect faiths other than our own, and never to denigrate, vilify or misrepresent them for the purpose of affirming superiority of our faith.


-        We acknowledge that errors have been perpetrated and injustice committed by the adherents of every faith. Therefore, it is incumbent on every community to conduct honest self-critical examination of its historical conduct as well as its doctrinal / theological precepts. Such self-criticism and repentance should lead to necessary reforms inter alia on the issue of conversion.


-        A particular reform that we would commend to practitioners and establishments of all faiths is to ensure that conversion by ‘unethical’ means are discouraged and rejected by one and all. There should be transparency in the practice of inviting others to one’s faith.


-        While deeply appreciating humanitarian work by faith communities, we feel that it should be conducted without any ulterior motives. In the area of humanitarian service in times of need, what we can do together, we should not do separately.


-        No faith organisation should take advantage of vulnerable sections of society, such as children and the disabled.


-        During our dialogue, we recognized the need to be sensitive to the religious language and theological concepts of different faiths. Members of each faith should listen to how people of other faiths perceive them. This is necessary to remove and avoid misunderstandings, and to promote better appreciation of each other’s faiths.


-        We see the need for and usefulness of a continuing exercise to collectively evolve a ‘code of conduct’ on conversion, which all faiths should follow. We therefore feel that inter-religious dialogues on the issue of conversion should continue at various levels.


(Vidyajyoti, Vol. 70, No. 8, August 2006: 625-628)


Objections to the Lariano Declaration


Appalled that representatives of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha had surreptitiously put their signature to this document, without application of mind to the enormity of the crimes (fictitious in the case of Hindus) to which they were accepting blame and responsibility on behalf of Indian Hindus, the writer immediately took up the issue with HDAS.


I will mention only briefly the specific points of contention that I took up with Convener and Secretary HDAS, and avoid raising fresh objections that may occur to me now. I may mention that I passed on the text of the declaration to Ms. Radha Rajan, and she, perceiving other serious matters connected with this information, has written boldly for this website about a number of objectionable things happening in the name of Hindu Dharma. The anger and discomfort roused by her exposés are the reason for some particularly vicious calumny against her.


To return to the Vatican meet, the writer’s specific objections included:


-        It specifically endorses “the freedom to embrace another faith out of one’s own free choice.” In my understanding of Hindu Dharma, the family and not the individual is the smallest unit of the social organism, and this cannot be ripped apart by giving individuals the right to be brain-washed or bribed by an evangelist to abjure the religion and culture to which he/she was born. This is the basic tenet of all native traditions in the world, and by agreeing that individuals can be weaned away from non-monotheistic faiths, the Hindu leaders SECRETLY signing this declaration were violating the very foundations of the faith. The failure to respond to this charge is a self-indictment.


-        What was the need or urgency to sign any document in any gathering without a wider discussion of the same in the home country? If the Vatican document had been shown to any Shankaracharya or major Hindu leader or concerned Hindu citizenry, it would NEVER have been signed. It could only be signed because it was kept a closely guarded secret, and the names of the signatories are still undisclosed.


-        The Vatican document agrees that freedom of religion includes freedom to propagate one’s faith to “other faiths” also. What more could missionaries desire? Is this not making a mockery of the Acharya Sabha’s claims to represent, protect, and defend Dharma?


-        The document accepts that EVERY faith has perpetrated injustice in history, and must introspect and repent for the same. Will Convener HDAS like to tell the Hindus of India what these historical sins have been vis-à-vis other faith traditions, particularly the ones that have perpetrated murder and mayhem upon our people, our temples, our gods, and revered Swamis, who are even now being murdered for upholding dharma in the rural un-policed areas of the country?


-        All talk of mutual respect becomes hollow rhetoric in the light of these hideous concessions, which not only make the job of missionaries that much easier, but worse, assault Hindu Dharma by manipulating its very nature.


-        Will Convener HDAS tell the Hindus of India what are “ethical conversions”? A device to permit us to let our children and brothers be converted without resistance?


-        Does signing this document mean that the Acharya Sabha – or at least Convener HDAS – does NOT support the passing of Anti-Conversion legislations in Indian states, and that it would oppose such legislation at the national level, which is a demand of Hindus nation-wide? The question cannot be avoided and deserves an answer – not obfuscation, which is all we have got so far.


-        Finally, what steps has Convener HDAS taken to evolve the “code of conduct” on conversion, which it agreed to at the Vatican? Can we humble Hindus of India at least see this grand code, or is it one of the secret clauses of the Treaty of Versailles?


Years of secrecy and sullen silence have greeted these questions. But the basic questions remain – what is the purpose of Inter-faith Dialogue; who initiates it, and for what purpose?


Secret Semitic graft


In recent times, a plethora of bodies variously designated as the Dharma Raksha Manch, Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, Aim for Seva, Arsha Gurukul, etc., suddenly rose to prominence, with different clothes and different mandates. They are all involved in inter-faith dialogue internationally. One common thread that binds them is Swami Dayananda Saraswati. A close associate of his confessed a fierce desire to project Swamiji as a Hindu Pope, an ambition shared by the foreign bhaktas of other globetrotters!


A uni-polar source of religious authority is anathema to Hindu Dharma, yet the attempt to monotheise the faith is a covert agenda being attempted by many non-traditional swamis. I can say without fear of contradiction that this is also an American agenda. Some years ago, the American Dr Rajiv Malhotra, a close associate of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, managed to book a hall and deliver a two-day lecture at the India International Centre, on the need for Hindus to ‘corporatise’ their religious institutions and have a single point authority for the whole country! Only powerful patronage from someone in the IIC’s governing body could have swung this for him [I can hazard a guess that the patron was a man given undue and disproportionate importance at the Hindu Jewish Summit which would happen later].


The writer also specifically objected to the excessive presence and domination of the establishments of globetrotting gurus by White foreigners who claim to have become Hindu (but promote the agendas of their native traditions and countries), foreign Hindus (mostly American citizens), and perhaps some non-resident Indians (with stakes in the West). Both the natal-foreigners and naturalized-foreigners steer the discourse in a direction that serves the interests of Monotheistic nations and traditions. Hindu Acharyas joining these dialogues are going along with this, and we have every reason to question this deviation from dharma.


The Hindu intent of an inter-faith dialogue can only be to:


-        Get an outright declaration that conversions are bad and unacceptable, and will not be done on the bhumi of Bharat.


The writer insists that the Vatican 2006 document is a major sell-out of Dharma, that too, surreptitiously. None of those associated with that document and subsequent dialogues can now be trusted to represent Hindu Dharma in any respect, at any forums, and must cease and desist from all such secret summitry. Even governments which are notoriously secretive do not function with such non-transparency.


The writer has faced much emotional appeal to respect the Hindu Diaspora, which is allegedly totally committed to Bharat and claims a right to have a say in the internal affairs of Hindu dharma in Bharat. It is the writer’s considered opinion that:


-        India must concern herself with Hindus of Pakistan, Bangladesh and those sent to colonies as indentured labour.


-        Hindus who went to the West for “better prospects” can look after themselves, because they willfully abandoned their bhumi with the active connivance of their parents.


-        Hindus in America and Britain have taken to hectoring Hindu India about religious and cultural issues, to conform to the critiques of white Christians, and improve their own comfort levels.


-        We do not think they can serve any meaningful Hindu cause or battle.


Chennai Spiritual Fair, February 2009


As previously stated, the writer got no response from Swami Dayananda regarding the fruits of his foreign forays, if any, for the Hindu Samaj. On February 6, 2009, on reading certain newspaper reports regarding a spiritual fair at Chennai, the writer wrote a letter to Swami Dayananda Saraswati, which is reproduced below. The letter, which was at that time circulated among a select audience, is self-explanatory:



Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji

Convener, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha


Sub: Some issues pertaining to Hindu Dharma and the Spiritual Fair at Chennai on 6 February 2009

Ref: Newspaper reports


Pu. Swami ji



As you are aware, I have for several years been deeply concerned about the multiple threats to Hindu Dharma and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, which are in my view, interlinked. I have, in my own humble way, tried to inform public opinion about the nature and gravity of these threats, through every forum available to me.


It grieves me to say that in this task your perceptions and activities have diverged from what should have been a common goal and endeavour. As your current profile and actions can only compound confusion and further injure a seriously wounded Hindu civilisation that is fighting a crucial battle for survival in its own homeland, I am breaking decorum to bring my anxieties to your kind attention.


For this, I seek your forgiveness, as I am also making this letter public, both to reach a wider community of believers, as also to avoid the tragic failures of previous attempts to convey concerns over issues of critical concern to Hindu Dharma and its survival as a living, vibrant, and eternal non-monotheistic civilisation, and not a tailored-to-monotheistic-satisfaction contraption to which it is currently sought to be diminished.


Your tenure as Convener, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, has witnessed the most grievous assaults upon the Hindu Dharma in India, and far from providing leadership and solace to this injured community in the manner best exemplified by Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh some centuries ago, you have assumed the most peculiar attitudes and adopted the most unacceptable associations in public life.


From the time of Rishi Yajnavalkya, Hindu tradition has upheld the right to dissent even against the respected teachers, and this principal of ensuring that the spiritual preceptors do not depart from Dharma is most avidly endorsed and upheld by the Jaina Sampradaya to which I belong. I therefore take the liberty to boldly assert my unhappiness about certain issues.


The media has carried a photograph of a Spiritual Fair (whatever that means) to showcase the Service work of 40-odd Hindu organisations, and dancer Padma Subrahmanyam addressed the media along with Swami Mitrananda. The reports say Swami Dayananda Saraswati of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and “noted thinker” S. Gurumurthy will address the inauguration; the fair has been organised by the Chennai chapter of the Delhi-based Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony (GFCH).


Many things are amiss here, and before I address issues specific to the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, I must make a few basic points:-


The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha (HDAS) was set up in 2002 as an apex body to represent the collective voice of Traditional Hindu Sampradayas, Mathams, Akharas, Peethas, etc. Your national and international status derives from being Convener of this august body of Hindu Dharma.


Far from representing and defending the collective consciousness of the nation-wide Hindu Samaj, the HDAS under your leadership has failed even to understand the challenges Hindu society has faced in the recent past.


The most singular failure is the inability to properly condemn, let alone fight, the ugly conspiracy that led to the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati ji and the Bal Perivaar on cooked up murder charges.


Most unconscionable, however, is your persistent association on public platforms with the chartered accountant --------- and dancer --------, who worked overtime to malign the Acharyas in Tamil society when this atrocity took place. Shri ------- wrote a series of articles in a secular newspaper readily accessible to him to impute guilt upon the Acharyas, and even travelled to Delhi at the invitation of the BJP Think Tank (shame on -------) to tell aggrieved Hindus to ‘kindly shut up because the Brahmin Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was going to prove the charges, just you wait.’ Well, we have waited patiently for nearly five years, and the charges seem as pie-in-the-sky now as they seemed to us then.

[Some names have been withheld so as not to divert attention from the role of HDAS convener – editor]


Shri ------ even publicly announced that the Acharyas should abdicate their posts! On whose authority he said this, nobody knows, but when the Convener of the Acharya Sabha persistently hobnobs with such characters, questions must be asked about his own attitude towards Hindu Dharma and its revered Acharyas. Since private attempts to solicit answers and induce course corrections have met with rude contempt, it is time to go public.


Whatever her calibre as a dancer, ----- has no status on matters of Hindu Dharma. Yet it is said that you, as Convener, HDAS, sent her to represent Hindu Dharma in some bogus inter-faith dialogue with the Vatican in 2006! The veracity or otherwise of this information has been denied to us, despite persistent attempts, and is missing on the HDAS website.


Inter-faith dialogue, particularly negotiations that yield documents that can be said to be binding, are NOT part of your mandate as Convener of the Acharya Sabha. They are even more reprehensible when they are conducted in secret – without full-fledged discussion by all traditional mathams, peethams, Acharyas and concerned citizens within India regarding their objectives and purpose, especially if they are at all desirable, and if documents should be signed without nation-wide circulation and debate within India.


The Vatican meeting came to my notice in the course of a study about forced conversions in India. I was shocked to discover that not only does it accept the possibility of conversions to monotheistic faiths – a shocking divergence from the very purpose of the Acharya Sabha – but it accepts equal guilt and responsibility for sins committed by monotheistic faiths upon non-monotheistic traditions.


All private attempts to elicit clarifications about the circumstances and compelling reasons for thus subjugating Hindu Dharma to the Vatican have since failed, and I do hope that now you will throw some light on this subject.


My opposition to the Hindu-Jewish Summitry you have indulged in recently is well-known. I have also been angered by the excessive profile you permitted to non-Indian citizens – specifically American Jews and American citizens of Indian origin – on matters pertaining to Hindu Dharma.


Please do not try to tell me that Hindus are an international community like the Jews, Christians and Muslims. They are not. The fact that a large number of Hindus abandoned their matrubhoomi after independence – for better money alone (though some few geniuses only went for the work facilities then available abroad) – does not make us an international community.


As an Acharya who is well-versed in the Scriptures, moreover, you would be aware that according to the Hindu tradition, the Jambidwipa of Bharat is the only place in the world where Karmas can be expiated, and the karmic trajectory is the cornerstone of Hindu dharma. Certainly one can be a Hindu bhakta anywhere, but karmas can be worked out in Bharat Desh alone.


I personally believe that India has a moral responsibility and duty towards Hindu brothers sent to various colonies as indentured labour, and now settled there. In this regard I have spoken up for the Malaysian Hindus being harassed by the Islamic nation they reside in, and like many others I have noticed the deafening silence of the Acharya Sabha regarding their plight.


You have been equally silent about the aggression faced by Bangladeshi Hindus, who even now are suffering grievously, and have at this very moment approached me for help in their cause.


This solicitude cannot extend to the Hindus of America and Britain – because they did not leave the country under duress of any kind, but only out of personal greed and a deliberate dissociation from the problems of the country of their birth.


Worse, instigated no doubt by the governments of the countries they now belong to, they are trying to meddle in the polity, economy, and native religion of the abandoned motherland – to serve the geo-strategic interests of their new country.


By providing a platform to such persons, and by surreptitiously tailoring its own activities in support of their cause, the Acharya Sabha is doing a tremendous disservice to both Hindu Dharma and Bharat Desh.


Specific to the Jewish Summits, I will briefly say that the document signed in Delhi was prepared beforehand and had more American than Indian inputs, and the academic committee proposed had non-scholars from the Hindu side, including foreigners.


But the follow-up meeting in Jerusalem was really scandalous – we need to know who authorized the Acharya Sabha to tacitly agree that idol-worship is an abomination and that Hindus are not really idol-worshippers (whatever that means). Your assault upon the glorious tradition of murti-puja and all rituals and prayers associated with it, which give strength and vigour to our civilisation, calls for a personal explanation.


If Hindus are unacceptable to Jews because they worship the Divine in the nirguna and saguna aspects, then the Jews can go climb a tree. Certainly no Hindu Acharya can degrade or eliminate the saguna aspect of our tradition. By doing this, you have betrayed the whole Hindu civilisation across all Sampradayas, and you owe us an apology.


I shudder to think what concessions you are about to make to Islam in the course of your inter-faith jamborees – perhaps you are going to seek amnesty for all jihadis in Indian jails.


As for the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, it describes itself as an umbrella organisation of “Eastern religions.” The purpose of its exhibition is supposedly to “develop a dialogue between various cultures and faiths. According to the GFCH, all faiths are valid and all civilisations are needed to keep the earth colourful.”


The choice of the term “Eastern religions” instead of Hindu or Indian sampradayas and panthas gives the game away. This is nothing but cheap Western Christian gibberish to position Christianity as an ‘Eastern” faith and use that argument to impose it upon India.


Even if we accept the Jordan River and its whereabouts as part of the East, it still does not make Christianity (or Judaism or Islam) an Indian faith – hence there is no legitimacy to annihilate the Hindu Dharma in its own bhumi. Yet Acharya Sabha under your leadership seems willing to facilitate such Western Christian colonial designs upon India.


The very stated objective of the Spiritual Fair is flawed. To accept the falsehood that Hinduism (why use this colonial term?) is just a ritualistic and spiritual religion, and then prove (to whom?) that Hindus also serve society, is extremely disrespectful of Hindu faith and society. The Hindu tradition of service is deeply entrenched and recorded in detail by all foreign travellers in ancient times, and in fact suffered only because of the disgraceful manner in which the British Raj ruined the princely states.


Indeed, you may like to ponder if the hype over globalisation in recent years was not just a ruse to further ‘secularise’ Hindu society and disempower the traditional Bania Communities which remained the main funding avenues of all the dharmic activities that have continued in India since independence. That is the only reason why the creepy ------- wanted to monopolise the retail trade and throw out all the traditional shopkeepers and vegetable vendors. He has been rightly cut to size.


The GFCH talks about planning similar fairs for Buddhist, Jaina, Muslim and Christian organisations. I am astonished that the Bauddha, Jaina and Sikh sampradayas were not represented at this fair.


I am even more astonished to see Hindu faith traditions equated with monotheistic Islam and Christianity, both of which have a murderous history in India and unashamedly continue their physical and political assaults upon this country, with the full backing of the foreign powers that support conversions as a foreign policy objective. 


The vacuous claim that all faiths are valid and needed to keep the earth colourful is actually a shameful act of disempowering Hindus who speak up and combat the cancer of conversions. If Acharya Sabha is joining the conversion club, this fact should at least be made known to the Hindu believers. If you are converting yourself into an all-religion club, then call yourself that, and move away from the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha.


Many more things agitate me, but this has already become a fairly substantial letter. I do hope that you will take this to the various sampradayas, mathams and peethas that comprise the Acharya Sabha and take the opinion of the revered Acharyas upon the issues raised, so that a wider debate is opened within the Hindu society about how best to face the myriad challenges to faith and country.


I apologize for any offence caused inadvertently, but the challenges to the nation are too grim to permit silence at this stage.


Warm regards and Namaskar

Sandhya Jain



(To be continued…)

The writer is Editor,

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