Tag Archives: Christian conversion

Swami Vivekananda on De-Conversion

ON THE BOUNDS OF HINDUISM

(Prabuddha Bharata, April, 1899)

Having been directed by the Editor, writes our representative, to interview Swami Vivekananda on the question of converts to Hinduism, I found an opportunity one evening on the roof of a Ganga houseboat. It was after nightfall, and we had stopped at the embankment of the Ramakrishna Math, and there the Swami came down to speak with me.

Time and place were alike delightful. Overhead the stars, and around — the rolling Ganga; and on one side stood the dimly lighted building, with its background of palms and lofty shade-trees.

“I want to see you, Swami”, I began, “on this matter of receiving back into Hinduism those who have been perverted from it. Is it your opinion that they should be received?”

“Certainly,” said the Swami, “they can and ought to be taken.”

He sat gravely for a moment, thinking, and then resumed. “Besides,” he said, “we shall otherwise decrease in numbers. When the Mohammedans first came, we are said — I think on the authority of Ferishta, the oldest Mohammedan historian — to have been six hundred millions of Hindus. Now we are about two hundred millions. And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.

“Again, the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam and Christianity are perverts by the sword, or the descendants of these. It would be obviously unfair to subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case of born aliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on.

“In my own opinion, this statement not only applies to aboriginal tribes, to outlying nations, and to almost all our conquerors before the Mohammedan conquest, but also in the Purânas. I hold that they have been aliens thus adopted.

“Ceremonies of expiation are no doubt suitable in the case of willing converts, returning to their Mother-Church, as it were; but on those who were alienated by conquest — as in Kashmir and Nepal — or on strangers wishing to join us, no penance should be imposed.”

“But of what caste would these people be, Swamiji?” I ventured to ask. “They must have some, or they can never be assimilated into the great body of Hindus. Where shall we look for their rightful place?”

“Returning converts”, said the Swami quietly, “will gain their own castes, of course. And new people will make theirs. You will remember,” he added, “that this has already been done in the case of Vaishnavism. Converts from different castes and aliens were all able to combine under that flag and form a caste by themselves — and a very respectable one too. From Râmânuja down to Chaitanya of Bengal, all great Vaishnava Teachers have done the same.”

“And where should these new people expect to marry?” I asked.

“Amongst themselves, as they do now”, said the Swami quietly.

“Then as to names,” I enquired, “I suppose aliens and perverts who have adopted non-Hindu names should be named newly. Would you give them caste-names, or what?”

“Certainly,” said the Swami, thoughtfully, “there is a great deal in a name!” and on this question he would say no more.

But my next enquiry drew blood. “Would you leave these new-comers, Swamiji, to choose their own form of religious belief out of many-visaged Hinduism, or would you chalk out a religion for them?”

“Can you ask that?” he said. “They will choose for themselves. For unless a man chooses for himself, the very spirit of Hinduism is destroyed. The essence of our Faith consists simply in this freedom of the Ishta.”

I thought the utterance a weighty one, for the man before me has spent more years than any one else living I fancy, in studying the common bases of Hinduism in a scientific and sympathetic spirit — and the freedom of the Ishta is obviously a principle big enough to accommodate the world.

But the talk passed to other matters, and then with a cordial good night this great teacher of religion lifted his lantern and went back into the monastery, while I by the pathless paths of the Ganga, in and out amongst her crafts of many sizes, made the best of my way back to my Calcutta home.

Reference

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Facing New Evangelisation Strategies

Arise Bharat

Namaste

Readers of Telugu may wish to read my article that appeared in Jagruthi, a Telugu weekly on Facing New Christian Evangelisation Strategies and lessons that Hindus must learn.

Facing New Evangelisation Strategies

Ayush

English Version :

Facing the New Christian Evangelization Strategies

– Nadimpalli Ayush

 What Keeps Hindus attached to their traditions and remain as Hindus inspite of varied onslaughts?  This question has been bugging almost all evangelists who have come to Bharat.  In their ambition to Christianize the whole world, the evangelists have time to time revised their strategies. Though most parts of the whole world fell to their designs, they have faced major resistance in Bharat. However, the future of whether Bharat would remain Hindu depends largely on how the Hindus respond to the evangelistion strategies and methods.

” India’s first major contact with Christianity began when Vasco da Gama, from Portugal, landed with gunboat and priests in…

View original post 2,335 more words

Foreigners Involved in Religious Preaching Is Against Law – Govt of India

In a response to a RTI application regarding visa category for religious purposes, the MHA, GOI responded thus ,

” There is no visa category for the foreign national intending to visit India on the purpose of attending religious program. As per the instructions, a foreign national entering India on the strength of tourist visa is not allowed to preach and propagate his religion in India. “

No visa for preaching religion

No visa for preaching religion

It is therefore clear that most religious missionaries who come into Bharat and indulge in preaching and conversion are actually involved in a fraud and liable to be prosecuted.

 

 

Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati

Swami Lakshmananda       Vedanta Kesari Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati (84) took the vow to develop the downtrodden class of the society and made his centre of activities at Chakapada in tribal dominated Orissa’s Kandhmal district. Janmashtami – Aug 23rd 2008 is his balidaan Divas.

Besides social and religious development of the tribal people, he tried for almost four decades to empower them economically and academically. He established a Gurukul pattern of school and a college to teach Sanskrit in Chakapada a remote place of Kandhamal.

Sankaracharya Kanyashram, a residential school at Jalespatta is another ashram of Swamiji in the district, where education is being imparted to girls  with an intention to build character and inculcate cultural nationalism & service mindedness among them.

While there was a movement to ban cow slaughter in India, Swamiji came from Kailas to Orissa. After the movement of cow protection was over, Swamiji decided to return back to his Tapasya, when the then chief of RSS of Orissa Sri Bhupendra Kumar Basu narrated the sad stories of the tribal population of the State and requested him to help the suffering population. Swamiji went to Phulbani (Kandhmal) with Sri Basu, saw the life of people there and decided to serve the backward people mostly tribals and harijans, there and focussed to empower them.

In 1969 he started his first ashram at Chakapada and the ashram became a centre for brisk activities. He renovated the temples: Birupakshya, Kumareswar and Jogeswar and established a Sanskrit school and a college.

Swamijee invested his full energy to teach the youth of schedule caste and schedule tribe in Sanskrit and general education. He  built the youth as disciplined citizens – well cultured, well educated, and inspired them to become spiritual.

Swamijee was well versed in Vedanta philosophy, Sanskrit grammar and was awarded with the honour as “VEDANTA KESHARI”. He not only gave philosophical thoughts to the people but taught them good cultivation, animal care, horticulture and so on. The students coming out from the Kalyan Ashram Gurukula are taking leadership of the society in economic, social and cultural fields.

Due to his selfless service to humanity, he was awarded with VIVEKANANDA SEVA PURASKAR” from Kolkotta.He stood firm in Phulbani district for a long time and struggled hard to preserve and protect the tribal culture and Dharma. The Sankaracharya of Govardhan Pitha, Puri awarded him.

Swamiji was a visionary. It has been clearly established by his activities. He worked in the entire state of Orissa, specifically in Phulbani district now known as Kandhamal. He worked in the areas of health, education, agriculture, religious teachings and teaching rituals, sanskrit, sanskriti raksha, gau raksha and swadharma seva. He also informed the tribals that they can also perform yagyas and trained them in the same. He also taught them to give pravachans. ( speeches). He started mahila sankeertan mandalis ( women groups for singing bhajans) and they used to perform the ashta prahari naam keertan.

He started a night school for adult education. He insisted them to send their children to the school by which the literacy rate amongst tribal and Harijans of that area increased. He stared a Sanskrit School named Kalyan Ashram, Sanskrit Vidyalaya at Chakapad in the year 1969 which is now promoted to a Sanskrit college.

For the education of the girls, he established ‘Sankaracharya Kanyashram’ a wholly residential school at Jalespata in the year 1988 where 250 girls’ students are studying. He also established a school at Banki and ashram at panigola in Angul district. The student of Chakapada and Jalespata taking leadership in all social sphere of their life in Kandhamal and most of them are established in the government service.

The local Harijan and tribal people of Kandhamal become more health conscious after coming to the satsangh. They started to keep their houses clean, take bath every day, take safe drinking and thousands of family of the scheduled caste community have given up taking beef which ,make them healthy and disease less.

Swamiji taught them not to take liquor or any other alcoholic drinks during Satsang. Then gradually they left the habit of taking such drinks. When they were free form alcohol they got ample time to do some work which they utilized in their field and other activities for their development. More than 500 villages in the district benefited out of Swamiji’s noble way to control liquor business as well as people on their own boycotted all intoxicants materials.

Swamiji taught grammar to the students in the class and technique of good cultivation in the field. He taught the villagers when and how to cultivate paddy vegetables etc. By which people of G.Udaygira and Raikia block area now produce the best quality and highest quantity of beans in Orissa. There also formed a vegetable cooperative society at Katingia by agricultural development the economic conditioned improved a lot. Swamiji always insisted the tribals not to be afraid of any body. He accompanied them to the govt. officer and police stations and made them fearless. They got the courage to face to the collector or SP directly.

Now we can see greenery everywhere in the Kandhmal because it has more forest cover than any other district. It is all due to Swamijis efforts to insist them to take wood only when required. He also established “Mathas on the hill tops in several parts of the district and told the villagers that the trees in the hill belong to “matha” and the village community. If emergency arises one can cut a tree and take wood only after the permission of the village committee. That worked tremendously. The joint forest management system which govt. started now has been started by Swamiji from 1970.  Swamiji was very serious regarding preservation and protection of tribal culture and tradition . He has established and renovated the tribal deity place (Dharanipenu) in several places. Similarly he has started a Rathyatra through out the Gajapati and Kandhamal districts during which thousand of tribal are attracted to their own belief. This spread all across Orissa as well.

He often said that the area will not prosper where tears or blood falls. He was against the indiscriminate cow slaughter. He taught the people to protect cattle from slaughtering and taking beef. On several occasions he staged demonstration, dharanas and participated in the hunger strike in several parts of the state. He toured through out the state for this cause. He was associated with several socio-cultural and religious organizations. He established and renovated several temples in different parts of the state. He was a founder member and inspiration of VHP and Kalyana Ashram of Orissa. His also involved himself in protecting the tribals from Christian conversion. He tried his label best to reconvert the tribals to their original faith. Inspired by his personality thousand of people in different parts of the states become his disciple.

His main missions were :

1. Making the tribal youth strong, fearless, educated and financially sound.

2. Tribals should be strong in their belief and check conversion of their brethren and bring back  those who have gone out of Hindu fold.

3. Protection of cows :

These made him popular thought out the states. During two big functions at Chakapad in 1986 and 2007,  lakhs of people gather in that remote place.

As the reconversion got momentum Christian militants feared of losing their ground.  So they attacked Swamiji several times ( 9 times). The ninth attack on him was on 24th December 2007, where he was narrowly saved being murdered by heavily armed group of 200 people, at Darsingbadi of Kandhamal. No efforts were been made by the government or administration to arrest the culprits (The Christian militants) and siege the illegal weapons kept by them. The roles of Christian NGO’s were not investigated. The attitude of the government was to protect Christians and harass Hindus. Hundreds of Hindus were arrested but only a few Christians. Lakhs of rupees were provided to the church and other Christian organizations as relief, which were not damaged during that period.

These things encouraged the Christian militants and they brutally killed Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, Bhakti Mata. Amrutananda Baba, Kishore baba and Purub Ganthi a guardian of a Kanyashram girl on the Janmastami night on 23rd August 2008 at 8 pm. They even dared to enter the kanyashram and brutally killed 5 persons in addition to Swamiji.

Source : Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Orissa;

Points to deliberate upon :

The brutal killing of Swamiji, sent a shock wave in the country. Lakhs of people attended his antyeshti and paid their respects showing that he was respected all over Orissa and not only in Kandhamal.

1. Swamiji Lakshmanand was the only Swami who had police protection due to the number of attacks on him. However, a few days before his murder, the police protection was removed by the district administration. The only gun man he had also went on leave .

2. He was involved in cow-protection and Dharma-prachaar ( spread of dharmic values ) and was a bulwark against Christian missionaries.

3. A member of World Vision – a Christian missionary organisation was on the run.  Why was World Vision International not questioned ?

4. The Maoists distanced themselves from the attack giving a letter which stated ”  the organization would initiate action against some of their cadres in Kandhamal district who could be hired for money by communal Christian miscreants for the murder of the VHP leader”

5. Since 2008, the case has not yet been resolved for so many years. Is the laxity of the government part of a bigger conspiracy ? This has embolden many more attacks on sadhus and sants in other parts of the country.

Involvement of World Vision employee in the murder ?

https://arisebharat.com/2008/08/30/maoists-disown-any-role-in-swami-lakshmananda-saraswatis-murder/

Update on 3rd Oct 2013 –

Church-Maoist Nexus gets confirmed in Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati’s murder. Watch the phrase -” The convicts said they committed the crime as, according to them, Saraswati was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, he said.”

http://in.news.yahoo.com/eight-life-sentence-hindu-leaders-killing-072803432.html

Bhubaneswar, Oct 3 (IANS) A court in Odisha Thursday sentenced eight persons, including a Maoist, to life in prison for the murder of a Hindu leader and four of his aides in 2008, a lawyer said.

The special additional district sessions court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on each of them, prosecution lawyer Ramesh Mohanty told IANS.

Those awarded the jail term and fine are Duryodhan Suna Majhi, Munda Bada Majhi, Sanatan Bada Majhi, Garnatha Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Samseth, Bhaskar Suna Majhi and Budhadev Nayak and Pulari Rama Rao alias Uday.

Rama Rao alias Uday was a Maoist leader while others are local residents, the prosecution lawyer said. The same court pronounced Rama Rao guilty on OCT 1 while it convicted others a day earlier. The court said it would pronounce the quantum of punishment Thursday.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four aides were killed at their ashram by then unidentified gunmen at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal district Aug 23, 2008.

Five accused, including Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, wanted for the crime, are still untraced and on the run, police said.

The convicts said they committed the crime as, according to them, Saraswati was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, he said.

The killing of Saraswati and his aides triggered communal violence in the state, in which at least 38 people were killed.

Update from Vishwa Samvad Kendra Orissa on Oct 3rd 2013

Sri Arun Ray, then I.G. Crime Branch in his Press conference on 6thOctober, 2008 has stated that one group has conspired and engaged another group for killing of Swami Laxmanananda. Though a few of the murders has been nabbed and convicted the main culprits like Sabyasachi Panda and Main Conspirators of church groups are still at-large, as the Govt. seems not interested for it. All though Hon’able Odisha High Court has directed the investigating agency to take a lead on the evidences supplied by the informant, no steps has been taken in that direction, which clearly indicates the Govt. pressure to protect the culprits. The investigating officer has been rewarded with promotion and police medal for safe-guarding the culprits, which is a public discussion in Khandhamal. It is an eye wash of the government in convicting some culprits hurriedly, when the main accused are not yet booked.

Mahatma Gandhi on Conversion

Gandhi

Gandhiji was not awarded the Nobel peace prize because he refused to be converted. Now that missionaries are spreading their tentacles far and wide in India converting people by allurement, inducement and fraud (In the north east killings and threats are becoming commonplace) Gandhiji’s message is all the more relevant in understanding and reacting to this problem. Missionary Terrorism will become as dangerous as Islamic terrorism if ignored. Please read & distribute.

Compiled by Swami Aksharananda

(Track No. 010119.1, Jan. 19, 2001)

I Call Myself a Sanatani Hindu

I call myself a Sanatani Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth; I believe in the varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion strictly Vedic but not in its presently popular and distorted crude sense; I believe in the protection of cow. I do not disbelieve in murti puja. (Young India: June 10, 1921)

Why I am Not a Convert

Hinduism as I know it entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being. When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. (Young India: June 8, 1925)

I Disbelieve in Conversion

I disbelieve in the conversion of one person by another. My effort should never to be to undermine another’s faith. This implies belief in the truth of all religions and, therefore, respect for them. It implies true humility. (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Conversion: Impediment to Peace

It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world’s progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man? (Harijan: January 30, 1937)

No Such Thing as Conversion

I believe that there is no such thing as conversion from one faith to another in the accepted sense of the word. It is a highly personal matter for the individual and his God. I may not have any design upon my neighbour as to his faith which I must honour even as I honour my own. Having reverently studied the scriptures of the world I could no more think of asking a Christian or a Musalman, or a Parsi or a Jew to change his faith than I would think of changing my own. (Harijan: September 9, 1935)

No Conversion Designs Upon Me

I am not interested in weaning you from Christianity and making you Hindu, and I do not relish your designs upon me, if you had any, to convert me to Christianity. I would also dispute your claim that Christianity is the only true religion. (Harijan: June 3, 1937)

Conversion
Conversion must not mean denationalization. Conversion should mean a definite giving up of the evil of the old, adoption of all the good of the new and a scrupulous avoidance of everything evil in the new. Conversion, therefore, should mean a life of greater dedication to one’s country, greater surrender to God, greater self-purification. (Young India: August 20, 1925)

Aping of Europeans and Americans

As I wander about through the length and breath of India I see many Christian Indians almost ashamed of their birth, certainly of their ancestral religion, and of their ancestral dress. The aping of Europeans by Anglo-Indians is bad enough, but the aping of them by Indian converts is a violence done to their country and, shall I say, even to their new religion. (Young India: August 8, 1925)

Why Should I Change My Religion

I hold that proselytisation under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy to say the least. It is most resented by people here. Religion after all is a deeply personal thing. It touches the heart.

Why should I change my religion because the doctor who professes Christianity as his religion has cured me of some disease, or why should the doctor expect me to change whilst I am under his influence? (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Missionary Aim: Uprooting Hinduism

My fear is that though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it, is the only true religion. So far as one can understand the present (Christian) effort, it is to uproot Hinduism from her very foundation and replace it by another faith. (Harijan: March 13,1937)

Undermining People’s Faith

The first distinction I would like to make between your missionary work and mine is that while I am strengthening the faith of people, you (missionaries) are undermining it. (Young India: November 8, 1927)

Physician Heal Yourself

Conversion nowadays has become a matter of business, like any other. India (Hindus) is in no need of conversion of this kind. Conversion in the sense of self-purification, self-realization is the crying need of the times. That however is never what is meant by proselytization. To those who would convert India (Hindus), might it not be said, “Physician, heal yourself.” (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Missionaries: Vendors of Goods

When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold. (Harijan: April 3, 1937)

If I had the Power and Could Legislate.

If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytizing. In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink . (November 5, 1935)

The Only Begotten Son of God?

I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God. God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus. (Harijan: June 3, 1937)

Western Christianity Today

It is my firm opinion that Europe (and the United States) does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are the greatest when appears with the name of God on his lips. (Young India: September 8, 1920)

I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ’s Christianity. I cannot conceive Jesus, if he was living in flesh in our midst, approving of modern Christian organizations, public worship, or ministry. (Young India: September 22, 1921)

Christianity and Imperialistic Exploitation

Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one hundred and fifty years with British rule. It appears to us as synonymous with materialistic civilization and imperialistic exploitation by the stronger white races of the weaker races of the world. Its contribution to India has been, therefore, largely negative. (Young India: March 21, 1929)

No Room For Them

In the manner in which they are working there would seem to be no room for them. Quite unconsciously they do harm to themselves and also to us. It is perhaps impertinent to say that they do harm to themselves, but quite pertinent to say that they do harm to us. They do harm to those amongst whom they work and those amongst whom they do not work, i.e., the harm is done to the whole of India. The more I study their activities the more sorry I become. It is a tragedy that such a thing should happen to the human family. (Harijan: December 12, 1936)

Outrage!

Only the other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple, and demolished it. This is outrageous. (Harijan: November 5, 1937)

Let the Hindu be a Better Hindu

I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu. But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. (Young India: January 19, 1928)

Welcome Them Back

If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation, or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion. Most cases of conversion have been to my mind a false coin. I would therefore unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado. If a man comes back to the original branch, he deserves to be welcomed in so far as he may deem to have erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents his error and retraces his steps. (Collected Works: Vol. 66, pp. 163-164)

NOTE: As a Hindu courtesy, please acknowledge Swami Aksharanandaji who compiled this information and Vidya Bharati, New York who produced it. Please circulate as widely as possible.