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TheInterviewIshwarSharanwith RajeevSrinivasan

IshwarSharanisthepennameof CanadianauthorSwamiDevananda Saraswati,aSmartaDashanamisannyasi whotookhisVedicinitiationfroma renownedHinduacharyaguru mahamandaleswaratPrayagin1977.Heis theauthorofTheMythofSaintThomas andtheMylaporeShivaTemplepublished byVoiceofIndia,NewDelhi.Thisinterview wasgiventoRajeevSrinivasaninAugust 2001atTiruvannamalai,SouthIndia.

AslongasChristianitycontinuestowageaspirituallyandsociallydestructivewar of aggression on Hinduism and take prisoners in the form of unsophisticated credulous converts, its curious theories and unique claims must be thoroughly investigatedandchallengedbyHindusofintegrityandconviction.IshwarSharan

RajeevSrinivasan:Canyoutellmealittleaboutyourbackground?How longhaveyoubeeninIndia?Whatpromptedyoutobecomeamonk? IshwarSharan:IwasbroughtupinthefoothillsofwesternCanada.My purva ashrama family were middle class professionals and religious, God fearingProtestantChristians.Iwasfedfrombirthonthestrongmeatofthe OldTestamentprophets.ButinmyearlyteensmyfatherdiscoveredthatIdid notloveJesusandwasnotafraidoftheunforgiving,vindictiveHebrewgod Jehovah.IwasexcommunicatedfromhissmallChristiancongregation.Itwas averyliberatingexperienceandIlefthomesoonafterwards. IbegantoreadBuddhismandexistentialphilosophy.Perhapsasalegacyof myearlyyears,IretainedanavidinterestinChristianhistory.Iwasalways

tryingtodiscoverhowsuchafearfulandrepressivereligioncameintobeing.I readGoreVidalsbook Julian aboutthelastPaganemperorofRome.Julian theApostatebecamemyheroalongwithAlexandertheGreat.Julianwasthe greatascetic and philosopher andAlexanderthegreatkingandtraveller.I followed in Alexanders footsteps,visitingasnearlyaspossible everyplace thathehadvisitedonhisjourneytotheEast. IreachedIndiain1967andimmediatelywenttoKashiwhereIlivedonthe ghats as a beggar. I had fallen in love with Mother India and Hindu civilization. It is the best civilization of the Great Mother Goddess. She is calledAsherahintheBibleandtheprophetsarealwayscursingHer.Asasmall childIhadseenHeronceinagarden,andlaterIhadreadaboutHerinthe Golden Bough. She has always cared for me, and like the great guru Adi ShankaraIbelievethatSheistheliberatorofmanandtherevealeroftruth.I becameasannyasibecauseofHer.ItisasacrificeoflovethatIamstilltrying toperfect. RS:WhatwasyourobjectiveinwritingTheMythofSaintThomasand the Mylapore Shiva Temple? You are quite critical of the Christian establishmentandtheirfellowtravellersintheIndianmedia. IS:MosthistorianswilltellyouthatSt.PeterneverwenttoRomeanddid notestablishaChristianChurchthere.Yettheveryauthorityofthepapacy restsonthisfictionandmosteducatedpeopleacceptthepapalclaim.Iwas interestedintheIndianparallel,inseeingwhatthehistorianshadtosayabout thecomingofSt.ThomastoIndiaandhisestablishingaChurchinKerala.I soon discovered that the most reputed historians of Christianity including Eusebius, von Harnack, de Tillemont, Latourette, Winternitz and Bishop StephenNeill,alldeniedthecomingofSt.ThomastoIndia.Somedeniedhis veryexistence. InwritingTheMythofSaintThomasandtheMylaporeShivaTemple(whichI didunderthealiasIshwarSharan:IhadbeenthreatenedbythemissionaryFr. BedeGriffithsandhadtochangemypublicnameinordertocontinuewriting aboutChristianityinIndia),Ialsowantedtoshowthattherewasacarefully orchestratedcoverupintheIndianEnglishlanguagemediaregardingtheSt. Thomasstory.Indeed,evenaftertwoeditionsofthebook, TheNewIndian ExpressandpopularDeccanChronicleremainthemainpurveyorsofthefable through travel features and their christianised secular columnists. Little leftistmagazineslike TheIndianReviewofBooks, editedbytheSt.Thomas advocate S. Muthiah, also put in a good word for St. Thomas when the opportunityarises.Thisistheirunprofessionalresponsetotheexposureofa historicalfraudthatdoesnotservetheirfinancialinterests.

Yetinwritingthebookandgivingthesourcematerialforthelegend,the3rd centurySyrianreligiousromancecalledthe ActsofThomas,mysincerehope wasthatIndianscholarswouldtakeupthestudyofthelegendseriously.But thishasnothappened.IndianhistorianswiththeirMarxistbentofmindare notwillingtotouchit.Theyareafraidfortheirtenuresandtheirpolitically correctprofessionalreputations.FortheEnglishlanguagenewspapereditors, allofthembrownsahibswithbrownnoses,theSt.Thomasfableisauseful sticktobashHinduswithwhentheoccasionarises,asthestoryisavicious bloodlibelagainsttheHinducommunity. RS:Youallegethatthereis,ineffect,aconspiracyofsilencetohidealot ofuncomfortablefactsaboutChristianityinIndia.Why? IS:TheestablishmentoftheChristianChurchinIndiawasintrinsicallypart oftheEuropeancolonialenterprise.Itshistoryisshockingforitsviolenceand duplicity.ReadthelettersofSt.FrancisXavierorthediaryofAnandaRanga Pillai. The Indian Church today is not so much different from the original 17th centuryPortugueseChurchthatcreatedit.Itisverywealthyandcorruptand politicallyambitious.Butithaslearnedthepropagandavalueofsocialservice andismakingagreatefforttodisassociateitselffromitscolonialorigins.This involvesalotofdeceit,ofcourse,andamassivecoverupofpastevildeeds. ButasthelateArchbishopArulappaofMadraswouldsay,theendjustifiesthe meansevenifthatisnotexactlywhatJesustaught. TheChristianChurchusesSt.Thomasandhislegendtoclaima1stcentury origin for Christianity in India. It also claims the Tamil cultural icon Tiruvalluvar as a disciple of St. Thomas and Indias first famous native Christian.Ifweaccepttheseoutrageousclaims,thenChristianitybecomesthe originalreligionofIndiaexcludingBuddhismandJainismasitwould beolderthanmanyofthemedievalandearlymedievalHindu sampradayas followed in the country today. But the greater travesty is that some Tamil scholarsandaracistDravidianchiefministersubscribestothiswickedthesis. Whattreachery! ThewholeideaofthebaptismofTiruvalluvarandmartyrdomofSt.Thomasis agrossperversionofhistory.ItisagraveinjusticetotheHinducommunity that has offered refuge to persecutedChristian refugeesdown throughthe ages.ItisHinduswhohavebeenmartyredbythesesameChristianrefugees startinginthe7th,8thand9thcenturieswhenSyrianandPersianimmigrants destroyed temples to build their seven and a half St. Thomas churches in Malabar.ItisHinduswhoweremartyredinGoabyCatholicinquisitorsandin MadrasbyJesuit,Franciscan,andDominicanpriestswhooperatedunderthe

protectionofthePortuguese.AnditisHinduswhoaremartyredtodaybythe Christian Churches and the secular press who support them, including the BBCandCNNallofwhomhavemountedabasecampaignofvilificationand calumnyagainstHindureligionandsociety. RS:YoumakethestartlingrevelationthatthefondlybelievedstoryofSt. Thomas,anapostleofChrist,comingtoIndiaandestablishinganIndian church,isaconvenientfiction.Whatwastheoriginalrationaleforthis story?Whopropagatedit?Whathasbeentheconsequence? IS:TheoriginalrationalefortheSt.Thomasstorywastogivethefirst4th centuryChristianimmigrantsinMalabaralocalpatronsaint.Thestoryalso gave them caste status that was important in integrating them into Hindu society.Thereisnothingunusualinarefugeecommunitycreatingthiskindof mythologyofidentityanditispartoftheprocessofgettingestablishedina newland. TheSt.Thomaslegend,whichtheybroughtwiththemfromSyria,waseasy enoughtoadapttoIndia.St.ThomaswasalreadytheApostleoftheEast,of IndiaIndiabeingnotthesubcontinentthatweknowbutasynonymfor AsiaandallthoselandsthatlayeastoftheRomanEmpiresborders.India evenincludedEgyptandEthiopiainsomegeographies,andChinaandJapan inothers. St.ThomaswascalledtheApostleoftheEastbyIndianChristiansupuntil 1953andSt.FrancisXavierwascalledtheApostleofIndiatillthatsamedate. However,afterCardinalTisserantbroughtagenuineSt.Thomasrelicfrom Ortona to Kodungallur in 1953, St. Francis Xavier was demoted and St. ThomaswasdesignatedthenewApostleofIndia. TheSyrianChristianrefugeeshadbeenledtoIndiabyamerchantwhois knowntohistoryasThomasofCana,i.e.Canaan(Palestine).Heisalsoknown as Thomas of Jerusalem. Over time it was natural enough for the Syrian Christian community to identify their 1st century patron saint Thomas the Apostle with their 4th century leader Thomas of Cana. As a result of this process it is now mistakenly accepted by most educated Indians that St. ThomascametoIndiain52CEandestablishedaChristianchurchatancient MuzirisKodungallurinKerala. RS: The great Kapaleeswara Temple in Mylapore, Madras, was demolished,accordingtoyou,andthatiswheretheSanThomeCathedral nowstands.Thisisnewstomanypeoplewhobelievetempledemolition waslargelyaMuslimact. IS:TheevidenceforthedemolitionoftheoriginalKapaleeswarTempleis

according to a variety of sources including government records and archaeological reports. There is the presence of temple rubble in the San ThomeCathedralwallsandinthegroundsofBishopsHouse(whichhasbeen removed since my books publication). The news of the demolition of the original temple was not news to anybody of a past generation and was discussedintheMadrasnewspapersduringBritishtimes.Theoriginsofthe presentKapaleeswaraTemplearerecordedanddirectlyreflectandconfirm thedestructionoftheoriginaltemple. ItistruethatHindusdonotassociatetemplebreakingwithChristians.Thatis duetothesuccessofthehistoricalcoverupofwhichtheASIandthestate archaeologicaldepartmentsarepartlyresponsible.ButwefromtheWestknow betteraboutChristianhistoryandhaveaccesstoavaststockofpublished materialthatisnotusuallyavailableinIndia.WeknowthateverygreatPagan templeinEuropeandtheMediterraneanbasinwasdestroyedandreplaced with a church after Christianity gained political ascendancy in the Roman Empire. We also know that it is not any different in India today where Christianmissionariesholdswayinremotetribalareasbecausewehaveseen theevidence. InCentralIndia,Orissa,theNorthEast,evenArunachalPradeshandNepal wheremissionariescannotofficiallyoperate,villagetemplesaredemolished andsacredimagesbrokenbynewconverts.Thevideofilmsofthesegood worksarethenshownonTVinEuropewheremissionariesgotocollectfunds fortheirevangelizingeffort.ItisevenhappeninginTamilNadutoday.District authoritiesturnablindeyetothesecrimeswhentheyarepaidoff. Temple breaking in India seems to have originated in the 7th, 8th or 9th centurywithNestorianChristianimmigrantsfromPersia.Theybuiltchurches onthebrokentemplefoundationsandthenattributedthetemplebreakingto St. Thomas himself by claiming he built the churches in the 1st century. Franciscan,Dominican,andJesuitpriestsdestroyedtemplesinGoa,Malabar, and Tamil Nadu in the 16th century. St. Francis Xavier left a fascinating writtenrecordofhis temple breakingworkontheCoromandelCoast.The PortugueseentombedtheVelIlangkanniAmmanTemplenearNagapattinam andturneditintothefamousVelankannichurchcalledOurLadyofHealth Basilica.TheJesuitsdestroyedtheVedapuriIswaranTempleinPondicherry andtheCathedralofOurLadyoftheImmaculateConceptionnowsitsonthe site.Thelistisverylong.Christiansweredestroyingtempleslongbeforethe Muslimsgotintotheact. RS: IhaveheardsomeChristianssaythattheybelievethattheBhakti movementinTamillandswasinfluencedbyChristianideasofapersonal god.Howdoyourespond?

IS:ChristianmissionariesandMarxistintellectualshaveamantra:Thereis nothingHinduinHindustanandnothingIndianinIndia.Accordingtothem everythingofvalueinIndiancivilizationcamefromoutside,fromsomeplace beyondthepaleofSindh.TheyareawareoftheHinduslowselfesteemand seektoundermineitfurther. Bethatasitmay,devotiontoapersonalgodisthereinthe RigVeda itself: Oh,Agni,beeasyofaccesstous,asafathertoason.Dr.Pandharinath PrabhutellsusinhismuchacclaimedbookHinduSocialOrganisationthatthe veryterm bhakti firstappearsinthe Svetasvataropanishad. Bhaktiistherein the Puranas and finds its best expression in the Bhagavad Gita; a better expression,Imustsay,thanisfoundanywhereintheBible.Tamilbhaktihas itsrootsintheTirumantiram,ca.200BCE. SothereisnoinfluencefromChristianityatall.Butevenifitwastruethat ChristianityinfluencedHinduconceptsofapersonalgod,whatdoChristians gainbymakingsuchaclaim?Hindubhaktasdirecttheirloveanddevotionto ShivaandMurugan,Vishnu,KrishnaandRama,nottoJesus.Jesushasfailed inIndia!AndfailedandfailedandfailedagaininIndia! RS:ThereappearstobeaneffortonthepartofcertainChristiangroups to indianize the church: for instance, they have created a cult of the InfantJesustocompetewiththeworshipoftheBabyKrishna,andacult oftheMadonnatocompetewiththeworshipoftheMotherGoddess.Isthis agenuineeffortatculturalsynthesis? IS:ThePopehasmadeitabsolutelyclearintheVaticandocumentcalled DominusJesus thatinculturationandindigenizationarethemeansbywhich the Indian heathen is to be evangelized. Inculturation is not an effort at culturalsynthesisbutameansofconversion.Itsobjectistounderminethe integrityofHindureligionandcultureandsubsumeitintoChristianity.Itisa triedandtruemethod.ItisbythismethodthatChristianmissionariesstarting withSt.PaulunderminedGreekandRomanreligionandcultureandtookit overforthemselves. Christianity is a simple personality cult with an elitist ideology. It can be insinuatedintoanyopensociety.Itisparasiticalinnatureandfeedsonthe spiritualandculturalbodyofthesocietyitinvades.Intheprocessitdestroys theinvadedcultureandabsorbsitintoitself.ThisiswhathappenedinPagan Europe. HindusdonotunderstandthisprocessbecauseHinduismisspirituallyself sufficientanddoesnotrequireoutsidenourishment.AtthesametimeHindus areflatteredbytheattentiongiventotheirreligionandculturebyChristian operatorsandarevulnerabletotheirovertures.SeemydialoguewithFr.Bede

GriffithsinSitaRamGoelsbook,CatholicAshrams,concerningthisimportant subject. RS:SomeChristianshavewrittentomequotingvariousSanskrittextsto prove that they foreshadow the arrival of Jesus Christ. What do you thinkofthis? IS:Prophecyisthelastrefugeofthereligiousscoundrelandunfortunately theIndianmissionarycommunityismadeupentirelyofscoundrels.Theycan findandforeshadowwhatevertheylikeinscripture(beitHindu,Muslimor Christian)becauseofscripturesobscurelanguageandcontextandthepoets useofallegoryandmetaphor.Forexample,Biblescholarsknowthatthe Old Testament prophesies concerning Jesuss birth are forced contrivances of interpretation and editing used to give Jesus divine legitimacy and royal lineage.Theyknowthatthesepropheciesarefalsebutbecausetheyappealto thebelieversimaginationandreasonandhelpinculcatefaithinJesus,they continuetobequotedasdivinelyinspiredandtrue. In India a favourite method of foreshadowing from vedic texts is closely related to the inculturation process. Christian preachers simply appropriate the meaning of Sanskrit terms and claim them for Jesus. They argue in a round about way that terms like Isa, Ishwara and Parameswara only ever referredtoJesusinthefirstplace!IhavegotlettersfromBaptistconvertswho claimthatPrajapatiisreallyJehovah! IfChristianmissionarieswanttofindJesusintheVedaandChristinIndiathey can do so with the help of clever and amoral scholars like Fr. Raimundo Panikker.Heandtheyshouldcarefullyconsiderthattheseinspiredclaims, and, indeed, the inducement to convert by means of these claims is a sin against the Holy Spirit. According to their own doctrine, there is no forgivenessforasinagainsttheHolySpirit.Buttherealproblemisnotthat Christian religious entrepreneurs invent prophecies and manipulate the meaningofSanskrittexts,therealproblemisthatHindusaccepttheirclaims atfacevalueanddonotknowhowtoreply. PeoplewhofollowprophetsinvariablybecomeidolatersofTheWord.They believethattheprophetswordisdivineword,thatamanswordisGods word. It is the worst kind of idolatry and leads to the religious fundamentalism and violence that we are witness to today throughout the world. RS: IfyoucriticizeChristiansinanyway,theirimmediateresponseis. WeareatinyminorityoftwopercentofIndiaspopulation,andseehow muchsocialworkwearedoing.Howdoyourespondtothis?

IS:Thequestionofnumbersofpopulation,whichforChristiansissomething likethreepercent,isverymisleading.NotlongagoIndiasmillionswereruled byacadreof30,000Christianforeigners.Itisnotaquestionofnumbersbut ofinstitutionalwealthandinfluence,oforganization,politicalambitionand highideologicalmotivation,and,especially,ofduecontrolofinstitutionslike education and health care that counts. And then there are the special constitutionalprivilegesforminoritiesthatmakeHindussecondclasscitizens intheirownland,andtheuncriticalsympathyforallthingsChristianinthe Englishlanguagemedia. Itisanabsurdsituation.Nocountryintheworldallowsaminoritycommunity todictatetothemajoritythewayIndiadoes,ortoallowaforeigntrained minoritycommunitytoproselytizeinasocietythathasneverproselytizedand cannot protect itself against the psychological and emotional assault and materialinducementsthatgowithproselytisation.Nocountryintheworld wouldallowvirtuallyuncheckedtheforeignmoneyandexpertisethatflows intotheIndianChurches,muchofitundertheguiseofsocialaid,whenthe bigotedleadersoftheseChurcheshavedeclaredoverandoveragainthatthey intendthereligiousandspiritualannihilationoftheHinducommunity. RS: ThereisashadowygroupcalledOpusDeithatissupposedtobe doingsignificanttheoreticalworktohelpspreadChristianityaroundthe world. I believe the wellknown IndianSpanish Jesuit priest Raimundo Panikkerisassociatedwiththem.Whatdoyouknowaboutthem? IS:OpusDeiiseverywherebutnobodyreallyknowsanythingaboutthem excepttheirVaticanbankerandthePopewhoistheirspecialadvocateand patron.Theyareanauthoritariansecretsocietywithmembersinsuchplaces as the CIA and MI5. I am inclined to doubt that they would employ a theologianlikeFr.RaimundoPanikkerbecauseheisamarriedpriestandthey are advocates of strict Church discipline. Their fronts in India (and other developing countries) are scholars associations,history conferences, Hindu Christiandialogueseminars,certainNGOsandaidagencies(allmissionary outfitsuseNGOsandaidagenciesascoverfortheirproselytizingactivities), someWesternembassiesandtheEnglishlanguagemedia. OpusDeiisespeciallyinterestedincreatingfavorablepublicopinionforthe CatholicChurchandhasinfiltratedeverymajorEnglishlanguagedaily.Read theopedpageandletterscolumninanybigcitynewspaperandyouwill probably find the handwork of Opus Dei. They want to manipulate and controlpublicopinion.Theywouldneveremployavenomousjournalistlike A.J.PhilipbutsoftcolumnistslikeRenukaNarayananaredefinitelyontheir listofhonoraryladyJesuits.

RS: ArunShourieandotherscholarshavedetailedtheongoingassault onHinduism byChristians from Britishtimes.Doyousee thisclashof civilizationsabatinganytimesoon? IS: The clash of civilizations will continue, indeed, will become more pronounced,unlessChristianityandIslamgiveuptheirreligiousbigotryand worldconquering ambitions. This is very unlikely as bigotry and religious imperialismareinherentwithintheirbeliefsystems.Thesesystemshavetobe reformed, butcannot be reformedbecausetheiradherentsbelieve thatthe religions are divinely ordained. As the systems cannot be changed, the adherents of the systems have to be weaned away from them. This has happenedinEuropeandtoalesserextentinAmericawhereChristianityhas beenabandonedforarationalhumanismandVedanticspirituality.Butithas nothappenedintheIslamicandMarxistworldsofAsiaandwillnothappen withoutafight. RS:InyourbookKoenraadElstquotesthefactthattheplacewhereJesus isallegedtohavebeencrucifiedwasdivinedbyEmperorConstantines mother in a dream. What similar stories do you find in Christian mythologyinIndia? IS:Inthe4thcenturywhenChristianitygainedpoliticalcloutintheRoman court,theEmperorsmotherHelenadivinedvarioussitesinPalestinewhich, she claimed, were associated with the life and death of Jesus. These sites alreadyhadoldGreekandRomantemplessittingonthem.Nevertheless,in BethlehemtheChurchoftheNativitywasbuiltontheruinsofademolished AdonistempleandinJerusalemtheChurchoftheHolySepulcherwasbuilt overaVenustemplethathadbeendestroyedonConstantinespersonalorder. SeeJoanTaylorsbookChristiansandtheHolyPlaces. TheparallelinIndiaistheidentificationofvarioustemplesitesinKeralawith St.Thomas and the building ofchurchesonthembyChristianimmigrants fromPersiainthe7th,8thand9thcenturies.NestorianChristianmissionaries wereactiveontheWestCoastandupintoKashmirandLadakhinthe9thand 10thcenturies,anditistheywholeftcrossescarvedonrocksandvarious ChristiansignsandsymbolsthatlaterEuropeanwritersofhistoricalfiction haveassociatedwithalifeofJesusinKashmir. In the 16th century the Portuguese divined various sites in Madras at Mylapore,Saidapet,andBigMount(nowcalledSt.ThomasMount)thatthey claimedwereassociatedwiththemartyrdomandburialofSt.Thomas.The templesthatoccupiedthesesites,includingtheoriginalKapaleeswarTemple referred to in the hymns of Jnanasambandar and Arunagirinathar, were demolishedandchurchesbuiltontheirruins.

RS: ThereisacertainschoolofthoughtthatsaysJesusChristcameto IndiaandthatalotofwhathetaughtisbasedonHinduandBuddhist ideas.Comments? IS:TheideathatJesuscametoIndiaasaboyandstudiedinaBuddhist monasteryor,alternatively,cametoIndiaafterthecrucifixionandmarrieda princessofKashmir,ticklestheromanticimaginationofWesterntravellersand quiteafewIndianstoo.Thestoryoriginatesinacleverpieceoffictionbythe RussianforgerNicholasNotovichthatwaspublishedinParisin1894. Itcannotpossiblybetrue,andifitistrueitdestroyscompletelythespecial claimsmadebyChristiandoctrine,ofthesacrificemadeonthecrossandthe resurrection, and the vicarious salvation of the Christian believer. The BuddhistmonasterywhereJesusissaidtohavestudieddidnotexistuntilthe 16thcentury,andtheSrinagartombwhereheisallegedlyburiedisreallythe tombofaMogulambassadortoEgyptwhoconvertedtoChristianitywhileon tourthere.Thekeytounravellingthetaleistostudytheactivitiesofthe10th centuryNestorianChristianmissionarieswhopassedthroughKashmirontheir way to China and left crosses on rocks and an abundance of illegitimate childrenwithbiblicalnamesintheirwake. TheHinduandBuddhistideasfoundinthe NewTestament books,including theSermonontheMount,werepickedupbythegospelwritersinAlexandria fromIndianpunditsandmonkswhowereteachingthere.Butitshouldbe rememberedthattheNewTestamentbookscontainideasquitetheoppositeof Hinduideasofpluralismandtolerance.Forexample,thereisthevirulentanti Semitism and religious bigotry of the Gospels. Jesus was perhaps the first religiousteacherinhistorytothreatenhiscriticswitheternaldamnationif theydisagreedwithhim. RS: Thereisanother schoolofthoughtthatsaysJesusChristdidnot actuallyexistandthatthelegendsabouthimareacollectionofstories aboutseveralotherleadersandteachersofthetime.Comments? IS:ItisquitetruethattheNewTestamentbooksasweknowthemtodayare compositeworkseditedandrewrittenanumberoftimesafterthe4thcentury CouncilofNicaea.ChristiandoctrinewasformalizedatthisCouncilandJesus wasraisedfrommortalprophettoimmortalGodbyavoteofthecollected bishops (two bishops from Libya voted against deification and were soon murderedbytheircolleagues). SomeyearsaftertheCouncil,EmperorConstantinesanctionedandfinanceda neweditionofthe Bible. Astherewerenooriginaldocumentstoworkfrom (theyhadbeendestroyedbyEmperorDiocletian),thebishopswerefreeto edit, revise, and rewrite the Bible according to their own tenets. The Old

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Testamentbooksarealsocompiledfrommanysourcesandtheyarenotatrue historyoftheJewishpeople. Theresultofallthis4thcenturyreligiousactivityisthatthePaulinesalvation cultthatweknowtodayasChristianitycameintobeing.Itwasmodelledon earlierGreeksalvationcultsexceptthatJesusreplacedApolloasthesaving god.ThefamousSermonontheMountthatsoappealedtoMahatmaGandhi, isalaterliteraryinterpolationfromaPagansource.ItmayevenbeofIndian origin. TheJesusoftheBibleisaliterarycreationnotarealhistoricalperson,though itisprobablethathischaracterwasmodelledonthatofarealperson,say,the TeacherofRighteousnessoftheEssenesoftheDeadSea.Theevidenceofthe DeadSeaScrolls,dated100200BCE,bearsoutthefactthatthereisnothing new or true in Christianity. The Catholic Church has for decades tried to suppresstheevidenceoftheScrollsastheyvirtuallyprovethattherewasno historicalJesusasdepictedintheNewTestamentstories. IdonotthinkthatSt.PaulbelievedinahistoricalJesuseither,whichiswhy hepreachedaChristoffaithratherthanaJesusofhistory.Thetermchristis a Greek title not a proper name.It canbe usedasanappellationforany personsodeservingandthereweremanychristsintheRomanworldofthe 1stcenturyCE.St.PaulisthetruefounderoftheChristianreligion.Hewasa Gnosticandaveryforcefulcharacterwhohaslefthisimprintonallaspectsof Christianity. DoesJesusexist?Yes,indeed,hedoes.Heexistsintheromanticimagination of every Christian believer (and not a few Hindus too). He is the personificationofaverydarkforce,anasuricbeingnotadivinebeing. RS: If Jesus did not really exist, how does that affect the organized churchanditsshibboleths? IS:Christianityisnotgoingtocollapsejustbecauseithasbeendiscovered that Jesus was not born of a virgin mother (as a recent BBC programme declares), did notdieon the crossforoursins,anddidnotbodilyriseto heavenonthethirddaytositattherighthandofGod.Peoplebelievewhat theywanttobelieve,and,moreimportant,whattheyaretaughttobelieveas children.Thepopeoranydictatorwilltellyouinprivatethattherearenot manypeopleinthisworldwhoarewillingorabletothinkforthemselves,and thosefewwhodoaretobeeliminated(likethecourageousGiordanoBruno whowasburnedatthestakeforteachingthattheuniversewasinfinite). Itisnotaquestionofseekingtruth,asthenaiveHindupilgrimseemstothink, butofideologicalindoctrination,ofrepeatingtheshibbolethsoverandover

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againuntilthebelieverissaved.Butsalvationtheoriesaside(andMarxism is also a salvation theory), there is the more important business of Big Business.TheChristianChurchesareBigBusiness.Theyemployhundredsof thousands of people who are otherwise unemployable. They are important culturalandpoliticalinstitutions.TheVaticanitselfisEuropesmostfamous politicalcircusandthepopeherbestlovedclownbutnotthecurrentone whohasbeendubbedthePaederastPope. More importantly, the Churches, and especially the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican,Lutheran,andBaptistvarieties,areimportantinternationalfinancial institutions. They hold all the ready capital, not only in souls but also in dollars.Theyarenotgoingtodisappearjustbecausetheirdoctrineshavebeen provedfalseandtheirgodhasbeenfoundtohavefeetofclay. RS:TherehavebeenrecentadmissionsfromtheVaticanitselfaboutnuns being raped and sometimes murdered by missionaries and priests. Similarly,therewasastartlingexposeintheKansasCityStaraboutthe rate of AIDS among Catholic priests in the US being four times the national average. Does this imply that the system of celibate nuns and monksisnotquiteworking?Incidentally,thesereportsdiedquietdeaths in the Indian Press whereas they regularly jump all over allegations of misconductbyHindusadhusandsaints. IS:Sodomy,incest,theabuseofnunsandthemolestationofchildrenhave been endemic in the Christian Church from its very origins. Read the fascinating book A Testament of Christian Civilization by the famous ex FranciscanmonkandhistorianofearlyChristianityJosephMcCabe.Hewasa linguistandhadaccesstodocumentsthatareneverpublishedinChristian histories. He records the extraordinary craving and sexual license among ecclesiastics from the first centuries of Christianity up to the 1950s in Germany. AtthevariousChurchcouncilswheretheChristiancreedwasformulated,the bishopswouldquarreloverdoctrineduringthedayanddancingboysduring thenight.Moreshockingthanthesexwastheviolenceandcrueltythatwent withit,whichfounditshighpointintheInquisition.Thisinstitutionwasrun byDominicanmonksandwasanorgyofsadismandunspeakablecruelty.It wasintroducedintoIndiabySt.FrancisXavierwhosetombsitsonthesiteof theSaptakoteshwarTemple,OldGoasmostimportantShivatemple.Inthe medieval period in Europe, convents became highclass brothels and their bishopsforbadeprieststolivewiththeirmothersandsistersbecauseofthe moral dangers involved. The then pope introduced a rule of celibacy for priestsandnunscelibacyliterallymeanstheyweretoremainunmarried;it doesnotmeanthattheyweretomaintainsexualcontinence.Butthecelibacy

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rule(itisnotareligiousdoctrine)hasalwaysbeencontestedandhasnever beentakenveryseriouslybythepriesthood. Today there are thousands of priests involved in various kinds of sexual relationshipsandthousandsmorewhoseektoberelievedoftheirvowsothat theycanmarry.AbuseofchildreninChurchruninstitutionsbycelibatepriests hasbecomeaninternationalscandalthatthreatensPopeBenedictXVIhimself. AllofthisisnotverysurprisingtothosewhohavereadChristianhistoryand knowthemoralrotthathasalwaysexistedwithintheChristianChurcheven atitshighestechelons.Afterall,itwasnotverylongagothatthePopewas collectingataxfromthelepersandprostituteswhooperatedinSt.Peters Square. Of course, the great irony in this sad state of affairs is that in Christian doctrinesexisasin,indeed,itistheoriginalsininventedbywomantobring aboutthedownfallofman.Infactithasbroughtaboutthedownfallofthe ChristianChurches.Theyhavetriedtodenythisstateofmoraldebasement butmodernhumanrightsandinstantexposureintheWesternmediadonot allowthedeceittocontinueexceptinIndia. InIndiatheChurchesareprotectedfromscandalbystateauthorities,minority commissions and the christianised Englishlanguage press. If the allegedly impartialeditorsofournationalnewspapersandTVchannelsspentasmuch timeatthelocalconventorseminaryorChurchrunboysschoolastheydoat theashramsofPremanandaandNithyananda,theywouldgetastorymuch more satisfying of their prurient interests. All of these journos are sewer inspectorsatheartbuttheywillnottouchaChristiansewerwithalongpole. SuchisthepoweroftheChristianChurchinIndiaandtheovertbiasofthe nationalEnglishlanguagemedia. TheChristianChurchinIndiaisstilla17thcenturycolonialChurchfinanced fromabroad.Ithasasophisticatedinternationalsupportsysteminplace(and thisisespeciallytrueofthenewerAmericanevangelicalChurches).Itisvery arrogantandcorrupt,aquasiindependentstatethatiscoddledandpampered bytheIndiangovernmentandmediaalike.Itisanswerabletonobody,which isreasonenoughforaresponsiblenationalgovernmenttoorderawhitepaper investigationintoitsfinancesandactivities. CalumnyandmorecalumnyistheChurchscurrentweaponofchoiceandall ofthebadpressIndiaandHindusgetinEuropeandAmericaoriginatesin bishopshouses,ChurchcouncilsandtheofficesofChristianNGOsinIndia. Theirauthoritativeandsecularviewsarepickedupbyanaccommodating Englishlanguagepressandbroadcastabroadwithalacrity. ThetruthofthisobservationcanbeverifiedbylisteningtoIndianscribesand

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ChristianfathersreportingfromDelhiandMadrastotheirEnglishmastersin London on the BBCs various religious programmes and South Asia news servicesinthemorning.ItdoesnotentertheheadsoftheseIndianmedia worthies that the BBC is a neocolonialist radio network dedicated to the promotion of Christian culture and values and British government foreign policy,andthatitdoesnothaveakindwordforHindusorHinduismorHindu issueseventhoughHindusmakeupalargepartofitsworldaudience.[1] RS: Thereseems to bea large elementof landgrab inthe actions of ChristiansinIndia.Theybuyland,getitcededbytheauthorities,and thengrabthehillsidesbypaintingcrossesonrocksandclaimingthearea asChristian. IS: The Christian Churches are the largest landowners in India after the government. Much of this land is alienated temple land that was given to thembytheBritishinthe19thcentury.Theyalsoownlargeamountsofprize commercialpropertyinthecities.Thisfacthasbecomeascandalamongmany oftheChristianfaithfulwhodonotfeelthattheirChurchesshouldbereal estateagentsandowners. However,thisobservationisnottrueofthenewer,smallerAmericanChurches likePentecostalsandEvangelicalswhohavemountedacastewaragainstthe HindusandseektoprovoketheHinducommunityateveryopportunity.They simplygrablandinthetownsanddistrictsbypaintingcrossesandChristian slogansonstonesandhillsidesandthenclaimingthepropertyastheirown. ThisactivityisespeciallyevidentinOrissa,AndhraPradeshandTamilNadu. In Arunachal Pradesh where proselytizing and conversion are illegal, ChristiansclaimwholevillagesandputupsignboardsthatsayNonChristians Not Allowed at their entrances. These Arunachal converts originate from Mother Teresas institutions in Assam where they are indoctrinated and baptizedandthensentbacktotheirvillagestoconverttheelders. InTamilNaduChristianslogansappearonHindupilgrimroutestoTirupati and on the route around Arunachala Hill at Tiruvannamalai that pilgrims circumambulateonfullmoondays.IamtoldthatChristiansplantoraisea cross on the hills summit when the opportunity arises. I am not at all surprised.Thetheoreticalgroundforthisgooddeedhasbeenlaidyearsago byCatholictheologiansandmissionarieslikeFr.RaimundoPanikkerandthe BenedictinemonkAbhishiktananda.Theyhavealreadyclaimedtheholyhill andallofIndiaforChristintheirwritings.Imyselfhopethatthecrossraising comessoon.PerhapsthenHinduleadersanddistrictofficialswillwakeupto thethreatthatanaggressive,proselytizingChristianityposestoHinduisms mostancientsacredsites.

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RS: TherearedetailedwargamescenariosontheInternetbyvarious ChristianfundamentalistgroupswhohaveidentifiedIndiaasasofttarget forconversion. IS:IndiaisasofttargetfortheChristianmissionaryforanumberofreasons. Firstly,Hindusocietystillsuffersfrommanysocialillsthatthemissionarycan exploit;secondly,Hindusocietyisbynaturepluralisticandaccommodatingof allideologicalviewsincludingthosethatwoulddestroyit;andthirdly,Hindu society is divided against itself and its religious and political leaders have failedittotally.Theseleaderswithfewexceptionsarenotwillingorableto challengetheideologicalforcesthatwoulddestroyHindureligionandsociety. The result is that Christianity and its younger sister Marxism have the ideologicalupperhandinIndiatoday.Theyhaveanunhealthyinfluenceon government, education, publishing, the Englishlanguage media, and some vitalsocialservices.ItisashockingsituationforwhichHindusthemselvesare toblame(eveniftheoverallsituationisalegacyofBritishdays).Theveryfact thatHinduintellectualsandentrepreneursarenotabletopublishanational dailynewspaperofrecordandpresenttheirownpointofviewtotheworldis sadproofofSriAurobindosobservationthatHindushavelostthepowerto think. RS:ThereisthedeclineoftheChurch,particularlytheCatholicChurch, inEuropeandtheAmericas.Hencetheneedtofindnewrecruitstoman thebarricadesinthegrowingclashofcivilizationswithMuslims.Thereis the need to create nuns and priests in Kerala as they provide a lot of meniallabourinEuropeanconventsandmonasteries.Isthereapattern? Isthereanelementofracialexploitationaswell? IS: As thisis the lastquestion,Iwouldliketomakeadigressionbefore replyingtoit.NewconvertstoChristianityliketotellme,awhiteforeignerof EuropeandescentwhohaslivedamongthewhiteJewsofIsrael,thatJesus wasanAsianandbyextensionhewasthereforeanIndian.Iamverymuch amusedbythisrhetoric.Itissojuvenileandsimplistic.Thereisawholeworld ofdifferencebetweenSemiticWestAsiaandHinduSouthAsia.Tobeginwith oneiswhiteandtheotherisbrown. ButwereJesusborninAsia,AfricaorAntarctica(wemustassumeherethat hehadahumanbirth),heisverilythewhitemansgodandpersonifiesthe whitemansraceandvalues.Lookatanystatueorpaintingofhim.Hehasred orbrownhair,blueeyes,aRomannose,andlilywhiteskin.Ifyoutakeapeek underhisRomantogayouwillfindthathehasbeencircumcised(averyun IndiancustomexceptamongMuslimswhofollowaWestAsianreligiouscode copiedfromJudaism).

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Now,itistruethatHindusadhushadpenetratedtheEgyptiandesertasearly asthe4thcenturyBCEandthatBrahminpunditsandBuddhistmonkstaught atthegreatuniversityofAlexandriainthefirstcenturiesBCECE,buttheir contributionwastoJesussphilosophynottohisethnicityandculture.Where thenistheIndianJesus?AndwhoisfoolingwhombypretendingthatIsraelite issynonymouswithIndian? St.ThomastoohadaRomannose,blueeyes,redhair,andalilywhiteskin. Hetoowascircumcised.HewasJesusslookaliketwinbrotheraccordingto theActsofThomas.HeworeaRomantogaandlayattabletoeatanddrink justlikeaRomanaristocrat.Allofthesefactsrequiresomeexplainingbythe localIndianChristianpriestifwearetoaccepthimasourownIndianapostle. And I am talking here only about physique and culture, not about the vexatiousdoctrinalproblemoftherebeingTWOonlySonsofGod,Jesusand Judas(forSt.ThomaswasknownasJudasDidymus). Nowtoyourquestion.BrownIndianpriestsandnunsarethepeasantworkers oftheWhiteCatholicChurch.TheyarewelcomeinEuropeandAmericato cleanthetoiletsandscrubthefloorsoftheemptyconventsandseminaries, nursethesickanddying,presentthenewsinfunnyEnglishonVaticanRadio, writelengthydissertationsonindiginizingtheChurchinIndia,andgettrained asnativemissionariesforworkinthejunglesandoutback. Thisisthepatternandithasbeenfollowedfordecades.Indianpriestsand nunsarenumerousandexpendable.Theyareeverywherethereisdirtywork to be done. They are the first victims of the white mans most elitist institution. Casteism is rampant. They seldom if ever move up the ecclesiastical ladder if there is a white European available to fill the post. ThereareinSouthIndiaonlytwoorthreeDalitbishopsandoneofthemisan Anglican(CSI). Everybodyknowsthatifablackpopewereeverelected(andIndiansareblack people according to Europeans)the CatholicChurchwould lose half ofits membership.ItcannotbeotherwiseinaEuropeanfeudalinstitutionwhose bishopswrotethefirsttheoreticaljustificationforslaveryinthe16thcentury. After all, the Bible says (1 Peter 2:1825); Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. I have had more than one Dalit convert tellme that the racism andcaste prejudicewithintheChristianChurchesisacrimeagainsthumanity.Ihaveto agree.Ihavetosayafteralifetimeofstudy,thattheadventofChristianityand its forced establishment in the Roman Empire under the wicked Emperor Constantineisoneofthegreatdisastersinthehistoryofmankind.

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