Posted on January 10, 2015 by Admin
“Starting from the 16th century, Christian aggression slowly spread to many parts of India. The Portuguese, Dutch, French, German and British establishments landed in places such as Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and the North-East, etc., in the guise of trade and missions, started encroaching fast and armed invasions followed suit.” – B. R. Haran
On 17 December 2014, Rev. Govada Dyvasirvadam, Church of South India Moderator has said, “Controversies such as the aborted Aligarh mass conversion deserve criticism and the politics behind it abhorred for it is creating fissures in the nation’s religious harmony. Every Indian is free to embrace the faith which he/she believes in. Most Christians in this nation are a product of group conversions conducted by missionaries who arrived in these shores several centuries earlier. So, we are not against conversion. But instances like Aligarh seem deliberately magnified by political outfits and such things deserve criticism” (1).
It seems for Govada Dyvasirvadam, the “Home Coming” ceremonies conducted by Hindu organizations are “controversies” while the mass conversions conducted by Christian evangelical outfits are “voluntary embracing” of faith by those converted. Though he has admitted the fact that the Christians in India are products of mass conversions happened centuries ago, he has conveniently forgotten to admit the other fact that the Christian establishments continue the same strategies conceived and executed by the European missionaries who arrived in Indian shores five centuries earlier.
As the nation has started a debate on Conversions in the aftermath of the ‘Ghar Vapsi’ event in Agra, and since Govada Dyvasirvadam audaciously attempts to criticize the “Ghar Vapsi” programs while deliberately hiding the illegal conversions indulged in by evangelical outfits, it would be in order to take a critical look at Inculturation, an ugly strategy being adopted by the Church, which poses a huge threat to the peace and harmony. In fact, Inculturation happens to be the most potent weapon of the Church to convert Non-Christians.
Sample of Inculturation
Om Shri Yesu Bhagavate, Namah
Om Shri Deva Putraya Namah
Om Shri Sat Purushaya Namah
Om Shri Yesu Abbishiktaya Namah
Om Shri Sad Guruve Namah
Om Shri Taraneshaya Namah….
Om Shri Deva Putraya Namah
Om Shri Sat Purushaya Namah
Om Shri Yesu Abbishiktaya Namah
Om Shri Sad Guruve Namah
Om Shri Taraneshaya Namah….
Amen. You are the Fullness of Reality, One without a second, Being, Knowledge, Bliss! Om, Tat, Sat!
Celebrant: This is the Bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this Bread will never die.
This is the cup of immortal nectar; whoever drinks of this cup will live forever.
For the Lord says, “He will have eternal Life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Do you believe this?
This is the cup of immortal nectar; whoever drinks of this cup will live forever.
For the Lord says, “He will have eternal Life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Do you believe this?
Cong: Yes, Lord, we believe, for you have the words of eternal Life.
Naamajapa (After taking Communion):
Jesu Om, Jesu Om . . .
Ishwara, Ishwara . . .
Ishwara, Ishwara . . .
OM! The Supreme Lord may protect us all.
The Supreme Lord may diffuse the fruits of knowledge upon us.
May we find the strength to achieve highest knowledge!
This study will conduct us to Truth!
May nobody of us have ever feelings against another.
OM: Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!
These are excerpts taken from a complete prayer conducted during the Order of the Mass for the Monastic Meeting in Petersham, Massachusetts in October 1977. The occasion, convened to lay the foundation for the formation of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue in North America, was sponsored by North American Benedictine and Cistercian Monasteries of Men and Women. Interreligious Dialogue and Inculturation are “Twin Strategies” adopted by the Church to plant the Cross all over and to Christianise non-Christian nations. The ritual shown above is just a sample of this Inculturation technique.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Inculturation as the gradual acquisition of the characteristics and norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc. Simply put, Inculturation is the adaptation of Christian liturgy to a non-Christian cultural background.
Translation plays a vital role in Inculturation. In his paper presented at the international conference on “Rethinking Translation” at Milwaukee on 10 June 1995, Stephen M. Beall, Ph.D., quotes the declaration made by Pope Paul VI in 1965 that, “vernacular languages had become vox ecclesi, the “voice of the Church” (EDIL 482). Stephen avers that, “On the one hand, the pastors of the Church are committed to the right of Catholics to enjoy their own cultures and to pray in their own language. On the other, they feel an obligation to preserve a certain unity in the way in which all Catholics think and pray. When these values seem to come into conflict, translation becomes a controversial procedure.” Observing that the “key” to the whole matter is “Inculturation”, Stephen defines Inculturation in the words of Aylward Shorter, as, “the creative and dynamic relationship between the Christian message and a culture or cultures”. He also quotes liturgist, Father Anscar Chupungco that, “the liturgy must think, speak, and ritualize according to the local cultural pattern.” (2) Stephen also says that, “This approach to faith and culture can be traced in part to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially Gaudium et Spes.”
The Vatican wanted the Bible to reach the non-Christians in their own language and hence applied this approach. In fact, this approach was adopted by the European Christian missionaries right from the day they landed on Indian soil.
Culturally and religiously strong India was a challenge to the European missionaries. Very soon after landing on India, they realized that their evangelical activities would not bear fruits without the help of the native languages. By learning the native languages and getting to know about the native literatures, they could understand the cultural and religious traditions being practiced by the native people. This in turn helped them to devise different strategies for conversion.
Learning of the native languages helped them in two ways. First, they could translate the native literatures into their European languages and sent them to their masters, so that, they could realise the extent of manpower, money power and political power needed to destroy this ancient culture and convert a spiritually strong India. Secondly, they could translate Bible in vernacular languages, which helped them to reach the native people more comfortably.
Starting from the 16th century, Christian aggression slowly spread to many parts of India. The Portuguese, Dutch, French, German and British establishments landed in places such as Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and the North-East, etc., in the guise of trade and missions, started encroaching fast and armed invasions followed suit.
The man who laid the foundation of inculturation was the Italian priest Robert de Nobili (1577-1656). He learnt Sanskrit and Tamil, wore saffron robes, sacred thread (a small Cross attached to it!) and sandal mark on forehead and called himself a “Roman Brahmin”. He set up an “ashram” in Madurai, became a vegetarian and wore “pathukas” (wooden footwear). He claimed the Bible was the “Lost Veda”, the “Jesuit Veda” revealed by God, and was considerably successful in harvesting souls. Nobili is supposed to have written some 15 books apart from preparing a Portuguese-Tamil Dictionary. He is credited with the insertion of many Biblical terms in Tamil.
Following his footsteps, Italian missionary Constantine Joseph Beschi (1680-1746), called himself Veeramaamunivar (Veer-Maha-Munivar) to pretend he was a great lover of Tamil. Outwardly conducting himself like a Hindu sanyasi, he took care of the conversion business in the districts of Thiruchi, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Thirunelveli and Thanjavur. He built three Churches, Poondi Matha Shrine in Thanjavur, Periyanayaki Matha Shrine in Cuddalore and Adaikala Madha Shrine in Elakurichi near Thiruchi. His work on a biography of St. Joseph, Thembaavani, was hyped as a great work and projected as equivalent to Kambar’s Ramayana! He also came out with another work, Paramartha Guruvum Avarin Seedarkalum (Paramartha Guru and his Disciples), to ridicule our centuries old guru-sishya parampara.
In the same period, a German missionary Barthalomaus Ziegenbalg (1683-1719) also worked in Tamil Nadu and called himself Ziegenbalg Iyer. This Protestant priest landed in Tranquebar (Tharangampaadi) in 1706 and worked with a Danish company which was the first to bring German printing machines to Tamil Nadu. He printed the first Tamil Bible (New Testament). He was the first to stoke anti-Brahmanism by creating a hatred for Brahmins among other communities.
Next in the list of Christian priests who “served” the cause of Tamil was another ‘Iyer’ — G. U. Pope (1820-1907) or “Pope Iyer.” He translated a few Tamil literary works such as Thiruvaachakam, Thirukkural and Naaladiyaar, and said he could find the teachings of Apostle St. Paul and St. Francis of Assisi in Sri Maanikkavaachakar’s Thiruvaach Akam.
Another missionary who inflicted massive damage on Tamil Hindus was the Scot Robert Caldwell (1814-1891) who, along with his wife Elissa Mault, resided in Tirunelvelli and made huge conversions. Though he did not indulge in Inculturation, he sowed the poisonous seed called Dravidian racism. He fully utilised the Aryan-Dravidian theories concocted by German linguist Max Mueller and imposed them on Tamil Hindus as true history. He abused the word ‘Dravida’ to the hilt and projected Tamil Hindus as a separate Dravidian race.
Nowhere in ancient Tamil literature does the word ‘Dravidian’ exist; there was a Christian agenda of dividing the native people behind Caldwell’s coining the term ‘Dravidian’. While the British Government used the Aryan-Dravidian theory to divide and rule the nation, the Church used it to conquer the languages and destroy the culture in order to Christianise the nation. (3)
The Aryan-Dravidian Racist Theory propounded by the Christian Padres and the British Government came in handy for the stalwarts of Dravidian Movement to call for a separate Tamil Nation. For all Dravidian racist leaders like EVR, Annadurai and Karunanidhi, Robert Caldwell was (and is) a “God;” they utilized his Dravidian theories to the hilt calling for a separate Tamil Nation.
Make no mistake, “Tamil Separatism” is a Christian agenda and the Church has a long-term plan of forming a Tamil Christian Nation with Tamil Nadu and North and East Sri Lanka. With this objective, the Church supported the LTTE and its Tamil Eelam demand. Dravidian racist leaders’ chauvinistic campaign against “Aryan-Brahmins”, well supported by the Church, helped them to capture power in Tamil Nadu in 1967 and till date no nationalist party could dislodge them from the seat of power.
In the last 47 years of Dravidian rule, one can find a clear nexus between the Church and the ruling party. No wonder the Dravidian government glorified the above said Christian missionaries by installing statues for them along the Marina Beach! Whether it is fixing of Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary in the month of January, or shifting of Tamil New Year to January, or ‘secularising’ the Hindu festival of Pongal, one can always find a Christian push behind such Dravidian acts.
G. U. Pope translated and published Sage Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural in 1886. There is an ancient folklore that Thiruvalluvar was friends with a naval captain by name Yelaela Singan and used to meet him often at the beaches of Mylapore. G.U. Pope relied on this story and the concoction that Thomas converted a large number of families in and around Mylapore. He then gave an introduction to his Thirukkural translation as follows:
“Thiruvalluvar worked hard to acquire knowledge by all means. Whenever a ship anchors in Mylapore coast, Valluvar’s ‘Captain’ friend would send him message about the arrival of new visitors including foreigners. Many foreigners could have travelled in his friend’s vessel and landed in Mylapore via Sri Lanka. Within me I see the picture of Thiruvalluvar talking with the Christians gathering information and knowledge. He has gathered a lot of Christian theories in general and the minute details of Alexandrian principles in particular and incorporated them in his Thirukkural. The philosophy of Christian theories from the Church situated near Valluvar’s place is present clearly in Thirukkural. Thiruvalluvar lived between 800 AD and 1000 AD. The Christian Biblical works were certainly an evidence for Valluvar’s Thirukkural. He was certainly inspired by the Bible.” (4)
This sordid introduction to his translated work shows G.U. Pope’s fanatic mindset and the ulterior motive behind his “love” for Tamil language and literature! – IndiaFacts, 6 January 2015
Christians who had the temerity to lay their hands on Thirukkural then, attempted to baptise Thiruvalluvar recently. Taking a cue from G.U. Pope’s atrocious introduction to Thirukkural, a fanatical evangelist called Deivanayagam, supported by the Madras Catholic Diocese, has been on a relentless campaign that, “Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St. Thomas and most of the teachings in Thirukkural have been either taken from Bible or from the preaching of St. Thomas.”
The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Kerala and Tamil Nadu had announced in 2008 that they would be producing a film on the life and times of St. Thomas, wherein they would depict Thiruvalluvar as a disciple of St. Thomas.
Later, as confirmation of the unholy Christian-Dravidian nexus, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi graced the occasion of the said film’s inaugural function as Chief Guest. Though himself is an ‘expert’ on the Thirukkural, Karunanidhi chose to participate in the inauguration of a film falsely portraying Thiruvalluvar as a disciple of St. Thomas, a complete concoction and an audacious expression of extremist evangelism.
However, after Pope Benedict’s assertion that St. Thomas never visited South India, the film production was reportedly dropped. (5)
Close on the heels of the above said inauguration function, Deivanayagam organized a four-day meet titled, “Thamizhar Samayam – Muthal Ulaka Maanaadu” (Tamil Religion – First World Conference), from August 14-17, 2008, under the aegis of Dravida Anmeega Iyakkam (Movement of Dravidian Spiritualism), a movement started by him to spread the canard called “Thomas Christianity”, in the name of “Adi Christhuvam” (Early Christianity). The event was backed by the Mylapore Archdiocese which hosted the event in its own premises in Santhome near Mylapore.
Here, the following blasphemous distortions were projected as researched facts:
- Adi Christhuvam (Early Christianity), promulgated and established in Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas, is the original religion of the Tamils.
- The Aryan invaders distorted Thomas Christianity and conceived new concepts called Shaivism and Vaishnavism and hence they must be treated as sub-sects of Thomas Christianity.
- The ‘holy trinity’ of ‘Father-Son-Holy Spirit’ is denoted by ‘Shiva-Muruga-Shakti’ and the same is also denoted by ‘Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra’
- The ‘holy trinity’ concept has beautified Indian Religions. The ‘Holy Spirit-Father’ combination can be identified with ‘Ardhanarisvarar’ and ‘Sankaranarayanar’ formations.
- St Thomas’s teachings abound in Thirukkural and Sage Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St Thomas.
- The Hindu practice of applying sacred ash on the forehead actually started from Ash Wednesday the first day of the Penance (Lent-days). The sacred ash comprises within it all the three stages of Death, Resurrection & Pardon due to the fact that the ash cannot be destroyed, as the resurrected body cannot be destroyed.
- Thiruneetru Pathigam, a collection of Shaivite Hymns sung by Sage Thirugnaana Sambandhar comprises a number of messages of Christianity.
- All Shaivite literatures namely Thirumurai, Thevaram, Thiruvasagam and Thirupathigam do not talk about the four Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva; as they carry the messages of Christ, the Bible is the only Veda.
Although this scheming evangelist was called for a debate by some scholars at Sri Dharmapuram Adheenam and his crackpot theories were demolished, he had the audacity to continue with it. (6)
Institutions of Inculturation
Inculturation, as a strategy, is planned well and executed meticulously through institutes which are exclusively created for the evil purpose. They operate in educational, social, spiritual and fine arts fields.
“Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth” may sound like a Hindu institution. But the fact remains that it is a Christian institution blatantly indulging in Inculturation. Attempting to give a Hindu colour to its emblem through Kathopanishad saying that the tree in the emblem denotes or represents asvatha and the meditating figure is seeking Brahma-vidya, the institution finally underlines that, all the components of the emblem merge at the summit in the cross of Christ which, as the linchpin of time and eternity, interlocks the human and the divine.
The institute says its mission is to foster an integral understanding of the human person which mediates the vision of Jesus for India.
Apart from such educational institutions, other institutions operate exclusively for Inculturation. The best example is “Shantivanam”. Dedicated to the “Holy Trinity” Shantivanam was founded in 1950 by two French priests Fr. Jules Monchanin, a diocesan missionary and Fr. Henry le Saux (Abhishiktananda) from the Abbey of Kergonam. They named it as Saccidananda Ashram, equating “Sath-Sith-Ananda” with the Holy Trinity. Later Fr. Bede Griffiths, who had come to India in 1955, took charge of Shantivanam in 1968 on the invitation of Fr. Henry le Saux, after short stints at Bangalore and Kurisumala in Kerala, where he changed his name as Dayananda wearing saffron robes. He made Shantivanam a center of Inculturation and inter-religious dialogue.
The Saccidananda Ashram inside Shantivanam has a temple inside. The entrance and the temple have been built in the form of Hindu architecture with sculptures of various Christian saints. One “Cosmic Cross” is also placed. The ashram spends a lot of time and money for “academic research” on inter-religious understandings and meeting points, encounters of Christianity and Hinduism, Christian Vedanta, and many other Inculturation and interfaith stuff. Even after the demise of Fr. Bede Griffiths, the institution continues its Inculturation works unabashedly. Jesuit Priests, whose mission is to destroy Hinduism to establish Christianity, visit here from abroad and some of them are very frequent, almost every year.
If Shantivanam is for “academic research”, yet another institution has been established exclusively for fine arts, by name Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts in Trichy. Having nationally accredited with Grade A by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) and also recognized by the Government of Tamil Nadu, the institution has tasted success in Christianising the divine Hindu art of Bharatanatyam. Apart from Barathanatyam, it also focuses on instruments such as mridangam, veena and violin. The classical music and dance are being taught on Christian (Bible) Themes with the main objective of Christianising them.
The Church’s hold on Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu is so much that this institute Kalai Kaviri is patronized by DMK as well as the AIADMK governments. While the DMK government allowed this institute to play a major role in Sangamam Festival organized between 2008 and 2011, the present AIADMK government allows it to play a major role not only in its Christmas celebrations but also festivals of temples like Srirangam Ranganathar Temple which was in the Chief Minister’s own electoral constituency until she was sentenced in accumulation of disproportionate assets case.
Such Inculturation institutes are there in foreign states too, where they operate with the aim of controlling their own youth who get fascinated by Hindu philosophies. One such institution is Atma Jyoti Ashram [now called Light of the Spirit Monastery]. This Atma Jyoti Ashram, which operates from New Mexico, is well-connected with Shantivanam, Trichy. (7)
As if this is not enough, we have a few cults here in India itself, which do not want to identify themselves as Hindu. The globe-trotting Corporate Yoga Masters, who lead these cults, dress and make up themselves to look like Jesus, in order to sell their yoga globally. When one hears these Yoga Masters speaking, one could feel as though listening to Christian preachers.
The precedence for this was actually set by Paramahamsa Yogananda, who established his Yogada Satsang Society’s International Headquarters in Mt. Washington in 1925. He legitimised the myth called Jesus by giving him a permanent place next to Bhagwan Krishna. (8)
When the Corporate Gurus open their doors for foreign followers without any kind of verification, to please them for their dollar donations, this kind of deliberate misinterpretation of our scriptures will certainly happen. Moreover, elements will infiltrate in the garb of “disciples” with a hidden agenda of immensely maligning and harming our Sanatana Dharma. The recent example was the huge damage caused by a long time disciple Gail Tredwell to Mata Amritanandamayi and her ashram. (9)
The Hindu yoga is marketed by Corporate Gurus who want to identify themselves as “secular” or “spiritual” but not “Hindu”; foreigners flow as ‘disciples’ with huge money too; ashrams are established worldwide; round the year globe-trotting; ultimately, knowingly or unknowingly they start selling Jesus themselves in India and help the cause of Inculturation leading to Christianisation of Yoga.
There are a few sectarian and racist Tamil outfits that subscribe to Shaiva Siddhanta and pretend it has nothing to do with Vedic Hinduism. They are opposed to Vedas and Sanskrit, easily fall prey to the Tamil card played by the Church. They are so chauvinistic that they fail to realize the damage they are causing to their own philosophy. World Saiva Council headquartered at London is one such organization, which organizes World Saiva Conferences with the sole aim of promoting Tamil consecrations, Tamil marriages, Tamil worship in temples, all sans Vedic hymns and Sanskrit mantras. They also peddle something called “Tamil Agama”.
These people have been wittingly or unwittingly Christianized by the early missionaries who tried to identify Shaiva Siddhanta with Christianity and thereby separate the Tamils from the greater Hindu Sangh. Some of these chauvinistic Saivite heads brazenly flirt with anti-Hindu forces such as atheistic Dravidian parties and Christian inculturation institutes. (10)
The Society of Jesus is a Roman Catholic religious order, which was founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). Jesuits, the members of this society, which is notorious for its evangelical works in the guise of charitable, educational and social services, are bound by the Vows of Apostolic Order. Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was the first Jesuit to work in India facilitating the Inquisition of Goa.
Though Pope Clement XIV (1705–1774) abolished the Jesuit order in 1773, it was reconstituted in 1814 by Pope Pius VII. And since then there is no looking back for them and they are well established in India with hundreds of schools, colleges and other educational institutes.
A section of these Jesuits religiously follow the strategy of Inculturation introduced by Robert de Nobili. Two such Jesuits were Swami Amalananda and Swami Animananda, who worked in remote, poor villages in the state of Mysore. The seeds sown by such characters flourished later as Shantivanam and Kalai Kaviri.
A Jesuit Padre by name Francis Clooney, a Professor at Harvard Divinity School, could easily deceive some self-centered Vaishnavites in Tamil Nadu for his “studies” on comparative theology. He has been on his mission for more than two decades making regular visits to India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular. He says, “Srivaishnavism is parallel to Roman Catholicism, with a similar depth, breadth, and wholeness”. He compares and equates Sri (Goddess Lakshmi) with Mary, or Mariamman with Mary, or Francis de Sales with Sri Vedanta Desika and “invents” similarities between “Hindu theology” and Christian theology by deliberately misinterpreting Hindu religious texts. (11) – IndiaFacts, 8 January 2015
The Church, which focused on harvesting Scheduled Castes and Most Backward Classes in the beginning, has also started concentrating on the upper echelons of the Hindu society. The days of boasting that “All are equal in the eyes of God” are over. Now they target each and every caste and convert them. The employees in media houses, workers in cinema and small-screen industries, and Hindus working in Christian institutions have become vulnerable to conversion attempts. Of late, special attention is being shown to the Brahmin community. Sadhu Chellappa is a notorious figure attired in saffron, started a dubious outfit called Christian Brahmin Seva Samiti.
His modus operandi is distortion of Hindu scriptures to advance Christianity. He says he became a Christian as per the Order of Jesus and travelled throughout the state converting thousands of Hindus to Christianity. He became a full-time evangelist in 1974 and founded the Agni Ministries. Since 1982, he has been running a Tamil monthly magazine, Agni, for Tamil people worldwide.
Sadhu Chellappa’s Agni Ministries (AM) are governed by Evangelical Action Team of India (EATI), founded by him in 1980 in Coimbatore. EATI concentrates on conversion activities in the guise of services in education and health. The main objective of EATI and AM is to plant churches and harvest souls, for which purpose they recruit pastors and evangelists and conduct training courses for them.
Sadhu Chellappaa audaciously claims, “Diwali, the festival of lights, is a Christian festival; animal sacrifice is a Christian culture adopted by Hindus and Gayatri Mantra actually glorifies Jesus. The Vedas, the ancient Indian sacred writings had anticipated the coming of Christ to take away the sins of man. They call him Purusha Prajapati the creator God who would come as a man to offer himself as a sacrifice. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Vedic quest of the Indian people, because the Vedas are incomplete without him, just as the Old Testament was fulfilled at the coming of the Messiah”.
He uses the services of another convert Vedanayagam, who brazenly calls himself “Pujya Sri Bhagavathar Vedanayagam Sastrigal”. Both of them organize evangelical sessions in the guise of “Kathaakaalakshebam” and hoodwink gullible Hindus. They focus on poor and lower middle class Brahmins, who are ignorant and have poor knowledge of their religious scriptures. Most have personal and financial problems, which make them vulnerable to the Chellappaas and Vedanayagams. (12)
Now we have a new breed of evangelists, who also have special expertise in inculturation techniques. Suseela Ragunathan is a Brahmin convert and she is an office-bearer in Christian Brahmin Seva Samithi. She identifies herself as ‘Suseela Maami Ragunathan’ and conducts evangelical congregations. Another evangelist by name Mani claims to have suffered a lot as a Brahmin Priest and had a turning point in life after converting to Christianity. He is a full-time evangelist now identifying himself as Brother Mani Iyer.
Christianising native festivals of non-Christian nations is a part of Inculturation, which is the time-tested modus operandi of the Church to increase their harvest of souls. The Roman Catholic Church has been focusing on Pongal for quite some time. The reason may be attributed to the fact that the festival falls in January within days immediately after Christmas and New Year celebrations. The Church effectively uses its control over Dravidian parties to Christianise Hindu traditions.
In the seventies, the Karunanidhi government fixed Thiruvalluvar’s birthday on the second day of Tamil month Thai (16 January). Later in 2007, the Karunanidhi government changed the Tamil New Year from the month of Chithirai to Thai through an ordinance. (13)
On the same year at the same time, the DMK government inaugurated a government sponsored festival by name Chennai Sangamam conceived by a Christian NGO by name Tamil Maiyam founded by Father Jagath Gaspar Raj and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi. This festival would start with Christmas and end with Pongal. The government roped in all the folk arts and folk music into the Sangamam festival notwithstanding the inclusion of classical music and dance.
A new concept called “Samathuva Pongal” (Egalitarian Pongal) was introduced in which, Pongal was celebrated within the church premises, wherein people from all religions were made to participate. Though a few Muslims participated in such festivities, they never yielded to the idea of making Pongal inside the mosques. Even the Christian clergy allowed the celebration only within their premises and not inside the church. (14)
The recent addition to the Pongal festivities was the fable of Martyr Devasahayam Pillai attempting to place his death anniversary alongside Pongal. As B. R. Gauthaman, Director of Vedic Science Research Center observes, “Many Christian festivals have been so created in line with the festivals of the local people. In the process, the reasons behind these festivals and the cultural identities in the minds of the locals have all but been annihilated, for which history bears testimony. By keeping the date of the death of Devasahayam Pillai conveniently open, it is amply clear that the Devasahaayam Pillai Festival too has been craftily created by the Church to destroy the ancient tradition of celebrating Pongal.” (15)
This clearly shows their agenda of using the Hindu festival only to convert gullible people. Many Christian organizations like Jesus Redeems Production produced documentaries on “Christian Pongal” with traditional Hindu dance forms and distributed them, apart from releasing them on YouTube. (16)
In fact, Christianising Hindu dance forms have been going on for more than two decades. institutes like Kalai Kaviri have been doing precisely that. In due course, many other organizations have come up both within and outside India. For example, Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy of Germany is one such organisation which celebrated Tamil Christian festivals using Hindu classical music like Carnatic and dance forms like Bharathanatyam. (17)
Evangelists like Sadhu Chellappa, focusing on urban India and the high echelons of society, are already on the job of Christianising festivals like Deepavali, as noted earlier. Sadhu Chellappaa waxes eloquent on YouTube on how “Hinduism came from Bible”. (18)
Backed by the Church and funded by foreign sources, many Christian Organisations make well-planned short-duration documentaries after distorting Hindu scriptures to suit their convenience. For example, “Ashathoma Sath Kamaya” is a movie uploaded on YouTube in ten parts. It is produced by Prarthanalaya Church. Though this movie was initially rejected by the Censor Board, the said church distributed it far and wide illegally as a documentary. Kamal Hasan’s elder brother Charuhasan who allegedly converted to Christianity, plays the lead role in the movie. One can find several clippings in the same name “Asatoma Sadgamaya” in different languages, underlining the fact that evangelical outfits focus on all states across the country. (19)
Several such outfits indulge in distorting Hindu scriptures to suit the Biblical themes and upload clippings and documentaries on YouTube. They produce longer and shorter documentaries and sell and distribute DVD copies. Scores of Christian evangelical TV channels operate across the country indulging in distortion and denigration of Hindu Dharma. These organizations rope in converted film actors, TV artists and other such celebrities to air testimonials, which are spread through YouTube and other social media.(20)
While the evangelists masquerade as sadhus and sanyasis, and the organizations and ministries distort Hindu scriptures and produce documentaries, the Roman Catholic Church came out with a most outrageous New Community Bible christened as the “Indian Bible,” which included sacred verses from the Ithihasas, Gita, Vedas and Upanishads.
This hybrid Bible depicted Virgin Mary barefoot, wearing a sari and sporting a bindi on her forehead, a naked baby Jesus on one shoulder, standing beside Joseph clad in loincloth and turban. It was released in June 2008. The hybrid Bible was reportedly conceived in the 1980s. The Indian Catholic clergy deputed over 20 experts on Christianity and Indian Religions to devise a commentary that would help Indian converts – the end product was the so-called “Indian Bible”! The Catholic Bishops Conference of India approved it and Vatican blessed the initiative. (21)
Religious conversion has been a subject of dispute for ages and the Church has been well-known for conversion activities to spread Christianity throughout the world in its pursuit of souls for harvesting. It mostly follows the strategies of allurement and pressure to convert the people following other religions. However, the most potent weapon in its armoury has been Inculturation. The Church uses the process of Inculturation with an aim to adopt the well-established Hindu cultural practices to confuse, corrupt and change the minds of the gullible masses.
The Church has started setting up Hindu type of buildings and calling them as ashrams controlled by saffron robed Padres, projecting themselves as Swamijis. The Hindu style of architecture, construction, layout and interior designs are being followed. The buildings also have the Sanskrit Om symbol in front of them and the saffronised Padres claim that Om is not Hindu, but Vedic!
Some Churches also sculpture the statues of Jesus in meditating’ posture, Jesus sitting cross-legged on a lotus with Abaya Hastha Mudra, Jesus emerging after a purification bath in Ganges and they even claim that yoga and meditation are not connected to Hinduism and that they are universal, common to all religions.
Jesus is placed on par with Bhagwan Krishna (we have seen our own “Corporate Gurus” making such claims) and the Church has even gone to the extent of showcasing Jesus riding a chariot like Krishna.
The Ashtothram and Sahasra Naamam (108 and 1008 names) have also been prepared for performing archana on Jesus and arati is also being performed.
In Tamil Nadu, hurches have started padayatras for Velankanni, sometimes even with the irumudi (similar to the one taken for Sabarimala yatras). The Velankanni pilgrims have started wearing saffron robes. Many churches have started giving chakra pongal (sweet rice) as prashadams to people. Apart from Velankanni in Nagapattinam, the Velankanni shrine in Besant Nagar, Chennai also follows these practices of Inculturation.
Several churches have started installing dwajasthambams in the front yard, similar to Hindu temples.
The seemingly deliberate setting up of Mary shrines in street corners, next to Vinayaga enclosures / small temples, is a concerted effort to replace Goddess Maariamman from the scheme of things as they exist now. Evangelists have been seen brazenly telling the village people that Mary (Mother) and Mari (Amman) are one and the same. During festival times one can find digital banners in the Santhome area of Chennai City near Marina Beach, claiming Mary as Thiru Mayilai Annai (Mother of Mylapore), while the true Thiru Mayilai Annai is Goddess Karpagambaal of Kapaaleeshwarar Temple.
The whole world knows that girivalam (circumambulation of hill temples) is being performed at Thiruvannamalai every Purnimi (Full Moon Day). Now, the same practice has been started by churches at many places after erecting a huge cross and a prayer house on various hillocks. A church on the hillock at a place called Acharapakkam near Melmaruvaththur Adi Parashakthi Temple is a classic example for Chrsitian Girivalam. (22)
The Church has adopted every Hindu practice and the only thing left is the replacement of Hindu murthis with Jesus and Mary statues, which is most likely to happen anytime if this Inculturation continues. Churches claim that this concept of Inculturation has been aimed at bridging the divide between the Indian cultural experience and the Western character of Christianity.
Every Hindu symbol and every Hindu practice is being Christianised with an evil motive of de-Hinduising this society and the nation. This is creating havoc in the psyche of the Hindu majority provoking it beyond the limits of tolerance. Obviously the generic Church is scoring brownie points over the privilege of “propagation” given to the minorities in the Constitution.
Nehru’s refusal to table the Niyogi Commission Report and the spinelessness of successive governments to enact laws banning conversions have resulted in huge territories of India getting Christianised rapidly. The North-East and Goa are lost totally; almost 50 per cent of Kerala is now Christian; Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu have become the focus areas of missionaries and rampant conversions are taking place even as we speak.
The only remedy lies in bringing a Constitutional Amendment. At present, the Constitution ensures freedom to practice and propagate religion and certainly doesn’t grant the right to convert others. Article 2, which ensures freedom of religion, is subject to public order, morality and health. But, the process of Inculturation being practiced by the Church now violates all of these, and calls for a total ban on such attempts and a legislation of a central anti-conversion law. Also, the Constitution must be amended, so as to remove the word ‘propagate’, which is deviously used by the Church. The minorities must be allowed only to practice their religion and not to preach or propagate.
To start with, the Centre must enact a blanket ban on Inculturation with stringent punishments for violators. If at all the generic Church wants to sell Jesus in India, let them try to sell him with their own testaments. Let them not steal Hindu scriptures, symbols and rituals shamelessly. – IndiaFacts, 10 January 2015
- http://www.newindianexpress. com/states/tamil_nadu/%E2%80% 98Politics-Creating-Fission- in-Communal-Harmony%E2%80%99/ 2014/12/18/article2577122.ece
- http://www.adoremus.org/1096- Beall.html
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=1324
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=1325
- http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/30/stories/2008013060271000.htm and http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=510 and http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid= 516
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chennai_Sangamam and http:// www.thehindu.com/news/states/ tamil-nadu/article1093094.ece
- http://bharatabharati. wordpress.com/2012/12/05/the- fable-of-martyr-devasahayam- pillai-churchs-lies-stand- exposed-b-r-gauthaman/