The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Pray, why this leap of faith?

Author: NT Bureau
Publication: News Today
Date: February 4, 2004

For long they have said Hindu Gods were devils and any worship of Them is a heathen practice. Now Christian zealots have outdone themselves by taking a giant leap of faith and claiming that the various Vedic Sanskrit slogans were in praise of Jesus and not Hindu Gods.

Christian propaganda pamphlets and booklets in circulation especially in and around Madurai district also make the ludicrous suggestion that Swami Vivekananda had asked the people to worship Jesus.

The pamphlets, which have been put in circulation by the Madurai-based Infant Jesus Hospital (headed by one Rev Fr. Caleb), also fraudulently invoke Bhagawat Gita slogans saying that they preach against idol worship.

The highly inflammatory but dubious pamphlets, which the footsoldiers (primarily women) of Christian expansionism have been delivering at doorstep after doorstep in Southern districts, go as far as to decree that 'people should not follow any other faith other than Christianity'.

Just sample some of the 'interpretations' in the pamphlets:

Om Sri Brahma Puthraya Nama reads as 'I worship Jesus, who came to the world as God's son (Yowan 3:16.17)'.

Om Shri Dakshina Murthaya Nama is translated as 'I worship Jesus who is sitting on the thigh of his father (Yowan (1:18)'.

Taking specific mantras from Sama Veda, the Christian marketers say 'Om Sri Panchakaya Nama refers to Jesus, the one with five wounds (panchakaya) Yowan 20:25.27. Om Sri Ummathiya Nama is translated as 'I hail one born to the holy spirit' (Mathew 1:18).

Parajapathi is taken to be representing the Christ and several quotes are given to suggest that Hinduism had all along had been talking about the 'Holy Saviour'.

The pamphlets go the whole hog and reel out several texts from the hoary Rig Veda, saying all of them were meant for Christianity.

The mantra from Brihat Aranyako Upanishad (Asathoma sadhgamaya, Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya...) is laboriously expanded and explained to mean that Jesus is leading as the light of the world. And the 'explanation' goes on to add: 'there is a word-to-word answer in the bible to every prayer in the Upanishad'.

Bhagwat Gita is also not left alone. In a seeming translation of a verse from Neethicharam, the pamphlet says that 'those fools who worship statues made up of stone, wood and metal would beget nothing other than misery and would not be pardoned'.

Of course, this is plain duplicitous misinterpretation. But they have not stopped with that.

They go on to plain falsehoods.

The pamphlets invoke Swami Vivekananda and say that he wanted hundreds and thousands of Christian religious workers to come to India so that the preaching of Jesus could go to the hearts of all Hindu people.

Understandably the locals are highly offended at the effrontery of the evangelists. Apart from the farcical and facile reasonings in the hand-outs, the locals say the fact they (evangelists) made bold to deliver them in every household makes clear their rabid fundamentalism.

The brazen approach of the Christian preachers is a major talking point in the Southern districts for quite some time. They brook at no niceties. Anything goes for them. The ways are unimportant to them.

In going about their patently communal ways, they have vitiated the general atmosphere in the districts.

The prayers (real ones) of the peace-loving people to the authorities have had no effect so far.

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