Monthly Archives: December 2011

Midnight Murder

Midnight Murder of Democracy

Negotiating behind the screen, all the political parties have written the script, assigned their role, done the rehearsal and enacted successfully in the Parliament not to bring the Lok Pal Bill.  Particularly the failure of the govt. to give constitutional status to the bill is an open secret to prove this.  They all want us to believe that the walkout by ‘Yadaves” and “Comrades” and the absence of some Congress MPs and the way principal Opposition ditched, (according to the ruling party’s claim) against the promise it gave in the Standing Committee are ‘accidental’ and not ‘incidental’.  However the high command of Congress party assured to take action against the absent Congress MPs, yet we know that they have acted as the director of the drama expected them to do.  Finally they will be rewarded in the long run by one way or other.  Otherwise is Congress going to expel them all from the party or deny the ticket in next election?  We all know well that none of the politicians want this bill.  To bring such a bill is sharpening a knife by one’s own hand to kill her.  Though a frustrated individual would do it sometimes, but politicians will never do it.

Regarding the cry and criticism about not enough crowds gathered at Mumbai Fasting by Ann etc., is that Anna Team knows that without having any ‘Organized setup’ they cannot gather any crowd.  Gone are the days when people will gather to fight for a common cause which will affect everyone.  All are very busy and people don’t have time for such rallies and public gatherings anymore.  Even those crowds—except few individuals who were motivated to participated out of personal conviction, majority of that crowed was arranged and sent by ‘Organizations’ and ‘Political parties’.  A common woman on the street knows that a ‘Satyagraha’ like that of Gandhiji won’t work anymore (about which I will come later).  Gandhiji too had to struggle a lot to arise the conviction among the Indians in his fight against the govt., in South Africa and several time he miserably failed.  Just read the Collected Works of Gandhiji Volumes 5 onwards to know more about this.  However in his fight Gandhiji not merely depended upon the conviction, sentiment of the people alone but also strongly believed in the ‘justice’ of British Empire and the Christians values which he assumed they were carrying with them wherever they went to rule or occupy.   Whereas the common woman now knows that such a ‘justice’ cannot be expected from the present government in India or anywhere in the world.  The main reason is that this government is what we deserve as we alone elected them.  Above all, except few exceptions this sense of ‘justice’ is not among majority of us.  Our Worldview forces us to resign to the fate and karma of us and not induce a sense of moral accountability and commitment both in personal and public life.  Comparing the public agitation in Arab countries in recent time is unreasonable considering the vastness and diversity in India.  So most of the critics of Anna and his team, like Manisankar Iyer try to condemn him and his team than remaining an objective critic.

Fight against injustice or common good would never be possible without any organized movement and support.  Just merely appealing to the common sense and moral indignation never helped in the past or will help in future too.  Even Gandhiji had his organized set up (British Indian Association) and a magazine (Indian Opinion) to voice his views and muster the support for his cause.  Whereas if Anna and his team think that by merely appealing to the public through social media (Internet) and depending upon the TRP driven electronic media, then they have to be ready for such response alone.  However for me the success or failure of Anna and his team depends not upon the crowd that gathers in the fast and agitation alone.  They are symbolic and should remain as mere symbol.  And judging Annan’s and his team success or failure based on it only revel personal prejudice than objective criticism.  If Anna and his Team want to remain apolitical, then not depending upon the common sense and sentiment of public, they should continue their fight for Lokpal changing their strategy depending upon the development created by the politicians and govt.  And in this sense, calling of his fast and going to jail make sense to me than showing their weakness and failure.  Those who want to condemn Anna and his team can get some consolation by these decisions but will never intimidate the spirit of this movement.   Every leader is a lonely person (‘being a boss is a lonely thing) and every satyagrahi, as Gandhiji often insisted should fight for truth individually not depending upon others support or betrayal.  Let me quote what Gandhiji wrote about this through his experience in South Africa:

…If having taken such an oath we violate our pledge we are guilty before God and man. Personally I hold that a man, who deliberately and intelligently takes a pledge and then breaks it, forfeits his manhood….(p.420) …It is possible that a majority of those present here might take the pledge in a fit of enthusiasm or indignation but might weaken under the ordeal, and only a handful might be left to face the final test. Even then there is only one course open to the like of me, to die but not to submit to the law. It is quite unlikely but even if everyone else flinched leaving me alone to face the music, I am confident that I would never violate my pledge…. [Indian Opinion, 15-9-1906.]— Collected Work of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. 5, 441. THE MASS MEETING, pp.420-21

In this struggle it should be remembered that every Indian is to decide for himself independently of others. One need not look to others…. (p.100) [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 27-7-1907.]- ibid. vol. 7, p. 100

Those who know the real meaning of Satyagraha should not have the slightest doubt as to what the victory means.  A satyagrahi enjoys a degree of freedom not possible for others, for he becomes a truly fearless person. Once his mind is rid of fear, he will never agree to be another’s slave. Having achieved this state of mind, he will never submit to any arbitrary action.  Such satyagraha can be, ought to be, practised not only against a Government but against society as well [if need be]. It can Often happen that a society is as wrong as a government. It becomes one’s duty then to use satyagraha against society…. (p.152) …. But our satyagraha prompts us to become free and feel independent. We have therefore nothing to fear. ‘All this is idle talk. Whatever you do, you cannot start the campaign again. Once has been quite enough.’ There are persons who talk thus. If it is true that we cannot resume the struggle, it will have been in vain that we started it at all. Let us justify this view of ours. It is a matter of common observation that what we have won can be retained only by the same means through which it was got. What is won by force can be retained by force alone….

…Similarly what we have gained by satyagraha can be retained only through satyagraha. When satyagraha is given up, we may be sure that the gains will also be lost. Moreover, it is unlikely that one will succeed in retaining through physical force what one gained by satyagraha… (p. 153) force the fruits of victory won through satyagraha. Even a child can see that, if Indians resort to force, they can be crushed within the minute. Likewise, if we abandon satyagraha and go on as we did before, what we have gained may be lost.  These examples serve to show that satyagraha is really an attitude of mind. He who has attained to the satyagrahic state of mind will remain ever victorious, at all times and places and under all conditions irrespective of whether it is a government or a people that he opposes, whether they be strangers, friends or relatives. … Before concluding, let me refer to the latest instance. When the whites held an anti-Indian meeting in Pretoria Town Hall, there were only four whites to speak in our favour. They were thus four against a thousand. But the four were brave enough to express their views in the face of a chorus of abuse from the crowd. In the event, their satyagraha considerably detracted from the importance of the meeting and turned it into a menagerie…. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 22-2-1908.]– 80. EXTRACT FROM LETTER TO S.A.B.I. COMMITTEE1. February 15, 1908 vol. 8. Ibid. pp.152-54

 Db. December 29, 2011.  9.00 am.

Congratulations to the Politicians

 

The above one I wrote yesterday morning but as per my habit of checking emails and posting in blog in alternative days, I am posting today.  The reason for saying this is that even before the politicians, as per their pre-planned design successfully stopped Lok Pal bill at Rajyasaba, I predicted that this is going to happen.  Though I don’t want to join the chorus of TV anchors (like Raj Deep Desai of CNN-IBN and Burka Dutt of NDTV) ‘we said so’, when I went for my early morning walk, some instinct told me that somehow the politicians will stop the bill at Raj Saba.  I would say that more than my instinct, knowing the nature and religion of the politicians, we all know that this is what is going to happen.   Of course I am not alone and several people already predicted this fate for the bill.  And the Politicians, as a class, proved that our cynicism about them is correct.

 

Forget about the technicalities which the govt. trying to give excuse to present the bill very late in Raj Saba and the way each member prolonged the debate so that there won’t be enough time for voting, or bringing all the amendments by the opposition etc.  Even minister Narayanasami was not only provoking the Opposition party but to react but  was just babbling to which no one paid any attention.  We all heard a lot of such argument and counter argument and there was no need for it again at the eleventh hour.  Even Arjun Jatly and other BJP members claim that however provoked they have decided to remain quiet is also a joke.  All these were preplanned.  As we say in Tamil, ‘You pretend as if you are beating and I will pretend as if I am weeping’.  Only Dr. Yogendar Yadav gave the correct picture that none of the politicians wanted this bill and they all planned and enacted as per the script.  Whatever you call this as ‘midnight murder’ of democracy or even ‘rap’ by Keerthy Azad of BJP (with Bupendar Chowba of CNN-IBN after the end of Raj Saba in CNN-IBN), finally the politicians proved that they are different class of people and they have their own religion and successfully prevented us to become ‘citizen from subject’ (to use Yogendar Yadav’s words).

In the religion of the politicians, Parliament is their Temple, which they claim is above everyone, Power is their goddess; people are the patterns continue to supply everything to appease that goddess.  Democracy is the goat. Leaders are the priests who through loyal subordinates and servants carry the ritual of slaughtering the goat to appease that goddess of power.  And in their private religion people are not even allowed to participate in the ritual but to remain mute spectators to fatten that goat to supply them every five year through election.

But the media is in no way innocent.  Driven by TRP they too exposed their face as both CNN-BN and NDTV continuously showed the following text on their screen (which I immediately note down in a paper to quote here):

CNN-IBN HAD FIRST REPORTED THAT PROTEST IS PART OF STRATEGY TO DISRUPT THE HOUSE

NDTV FIRST REPORTED CHAOS AS PART OF STRATEGY.

Finally, the Speaker of the Lok Saba the Vice-President has too the blood on his hand in this murder of democracy.  However an honest and upright person he might be, last night just at the very end, he too brought down the curtain as he was instructed and expected by the politicians and the govt.  His body language, the anxiety on his face, a slight hesitation to act as per the script and the sudden announcement to play the National Anthem and adjourning the house still remain unconvincing.

The year 2011 is the year of scams in our country but it ended with this scam of sabotage of democracy by the politicians of our land will always remain a year of shame, black and tragedy in our history.

Dayanand. December 30, 2011

Lokpal Bill and Politicians

Lokpal Bill and Politicians

No politician wants the Lokpal bill or let the CBI go from their control.  Though finally the Lok Pal bill is introduced in the Parliament yesterday (December 22, 2011), even before it was debated, it was dismissed by the opposition.  And ruling party though pretend that it is serious about bring the bill is happy about this development.  In fact, this too is already arranged by them all.  This may be a wrong assumption, but all their language only confirm this that behind the scene they all worked together not to bring the Lok Pal and before the public they all act.  I may be wrong, but the Lok Pal bill is going to face the same end like the Women’s Reservation Bill.  I can only change my view when finally the Parliament will pass the bill.  Till that time most of us, who cannot understand all the debate and discussion-clearly understood one message: THE POLITICIANS DON’T WANT THIS BILL. As the Tamil proverb says, ‘Who will do black magic against herself at her own expense ‘? (Sondaselavila yaar suniyam vachippanga?)

Another thing that much amused and also irritated me is their cry about the SUPREMACY OF PARLIAMENT.  And to insist this they all in one voice spoke about Anna’s blackmailing outside the parliament.  ‘We won’t and we cannot succumb to such blackmail.  Just one person and few gathered around him cannot detect terms to us’, was their general attack against Anna and his team.  At the same time they are afraid of public opinion.  If they don’t want to consider Anna and his team, they should simply ignore him and his team.  Though I don’t agree with Sri Manisankar Iyer, at least he was honest even calling Anna and his team as a monster whom shouldn’t be listened from the beginning.  If the parliament is supreme and Anna’s event and movement is simply a media creation (as discussed again in Face the Nation on December 22, 2001 night in CNN-IBN), then why they even talk about him INSIDE THE PARLIAMENT?  WHY THEY CANNOT SIMPLY IGNORE HIM AND EVEN NOT MENTION HIS NAME IN ANY OF THEIR VIEWS EXPRESSED BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT?  This shows their hypocrisy.  Though we cannot generalize and brush all the politicians in one brush, yet as a class they are hypocrites and general public lost their confidence in them.  At the same time we cannot live without them.  Even those few exceptions that are sincere and serious about their vocation and ideology can’t do much as they are caught up in a system, which become corrupt now.  Most of the politicians though want to IGNORE Anna, yet they cannot do it.  It is like dveshabhakti.  As one often and always remembers her enemy than well-wishers, politicians at present neither can ignore Anna nor can get rid of him.  Even few opposition parties, who pretend to support Anna and his cause, actually only want to use him for their purpose keeping the forth coming elections in few states.

According to me Anna and his movement is neither created by media not even by himself.  It is entirely a creation of our corrupt politicians and their evil system.  And they have to squarely face it.  An enemy from outside can be easily handled but cannot escape or avoid or ignored created by oneself.  Tomorrow Anna and his team may disappear. And media, as usual will have many other issues to take care of its TRP.  But the sentiment which was created by him against the politicians will linger for a long time.  Because even this hate against politicians is not Anna’s creation but self-inflicted by the politicians themselves by DOING POLITICS on every issue.

I write this without reading and understanding Lokpal bill.  But one thing I understood clearly about the politicians—though they are human beings like us and even came out of us (created by us?), yet they are a different creatures, who are exposing their evil openly and parading it shamelessly.  As far as Anna is concerned, when we almost gave up our longing for a corruption less government and fight against corruption, he came and lights a small fire to ignite the public anger and sentiment against corruption.  Once served that purpose he may disappear from the scene tomorrow, but the politicians will again miss one more opportunity given to them to get rid some of their dirt and evil.  But again doing politics openly and secretly behind the scene they prove that certain evils cannot be reformed and one has to live with it.  And knowing this reality we have to live with this evil system for the time being, until a true regeneration begins among them.

After writing this in the morning, I watched on Television interview with Arvind Kejriwal in NDTV 27×7 Hindi channel in the evening.  All his response to the criticism and comments against him and Anna’s Team looks more reasonable and sensible to me (however I cannot understand all about Lok Pal Bill) than the condemnation poured on him and Anna’s Team by the politicians.  To one question about people losing interest in such demonstration and may not even turn in large number for the proposed Anna’s fast from December 27-29, Arvind said that as people are more angry now against the politicians they will turn up.  Then he said that this will be covered by media also.  But one thing is sure, general public may become tired and keep away from such agitation, but opposition parties who want to use Anna’s Team and their agitation for their purpose will make sure that large numbers of their carders participate without showing their political affiliation.  This was already done at Delhi fast in August and will continue.  In the same way, however media introspect for its role and assessment about their involvement and role by become part of this campaign than remain neutral (this was discussed in both Devil’s Advocate by Karan Thapar on 23ed night and also in Face the Nation in CNN-IBN) and objective, they are going to do the entire coverage of the fast, as they have to compete with so many TV channels for TRP.

Whether or not we will get a strong and effective Lokpal but this issue parade the hypocrisy of many, particularly that of politicians and media.  And the credit definitely goes to Anna and his team for this.

Db. December 23, 2011

Gita Controversy

GITA CONTROVERSY

By removing from its historical, textual and theological context, one can easily make any scripture UNIVERSAL.  Almost every scripture in the world is a victim to this act of UNIVERSALIFICATION.  Even in the past, our great acharyas, Rishis and Munis, both in their composition and compiling a particular scripture, while quoting from other authoritative source (for example Veda) have done this.  In Upanishads Vedic mantras were used in this way, in Gita Upanishad mantras face the same fate.  We need not talk about other Dharmasastras, puranas and epics.  When it comes to the Commentaries of great acharyas, any careful and sincere student of scripture will find many such ‘text torture’.

So, it was not a surprise when on 20th (December 2011) night, in CNN-IBN panel discussion on Gita (Face the Nation by Ms. Sagarika Gosh) to make it as the SCRIPTURE of India, every panelist followed the same suit.  Of course I am not a scholar either to criticize or condemn them.  But as a sincere student of scripture, I would like to disagree with their view and interpretation on Gita or any other scripture.

We have to accept the historical fact that Gita, in modern time was introduced back to the Indian main stream intellectual and religious world from the West (Eric J. Sharpe, THE UNIVERSAL GITA: Western Images of the Bhagavadgita a bicentenary survey.  London, Duckworth, 1985).  However this does not mean that Gita always remained unfamiliar in the past.  Considering the fact that it is part of ‘prasthaanatrayii ’ 1 the other two being the Upanishads and Vedanta Sutra which is considered as the cannon for Hindu scriptures.  That is why every great acharyas (like Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhava, Nimbarka and Vallabha) wrote commentary on the three to establish their particular doctrine of their sampradaya.  I somewhere read that more than 300 old orthodox commentaries were collected preserved in one Gitalaya (Gita mandir).  And since 20th century onwards, almost every decade there came new commentary on Gita, particularly in English by both Western and Indian scholars.  Simply reading the text (in any language) without the help of any commentary, one can understand the teaching of Gita.  At the same time no single commentary can claim to give the intend meaning of the author of Gita.  In fact on one commentary could do this as, according to many (sincere) scholars Gita was not penned by a single author and there were several interpolations.  This being the reality, anybody can read any kind of meaning in Gita that will serve her purpose.

However the crucial issue, according to my understanding in Gita is the anxiety to preserve the basic structure of the society based on ‘VARNASHRAMADHARMA’ (varna =caste; ashrama= stage-dharma = duty).  For me Sri Krishna is not encouraging Arjuna to fight only for a Just war to claim back their rightful Kingdom.  Though Krishna’s immediate concern could be this, yet he looks beyond this to uphold the Varnashramadharma.  (See my paper on Gita in Book Review section).

However both the traditional (orthodox) commentators and modern (liberal) scholars never get struck only with the issue of varnashramadharma ideal of Gita, but used (or abused) it for their own purpose.  That is why we often hear about the rhetorical claims of ‘karma yoga; bhakti yogajnana yoga’. Having said this, I would like to take just two examples to point about the text torturing by which anyone can impose their view on scripture.

 

First from Gita:

 

For a staunch Vaishnava, Gita is their Scripture.  And they are right to some extent if one would consider its historical, textual and theological background, though all won’t agree with them.  However on their part, they often quote Gita 7:21 in which Sri Krishna says:

 

Yo yo yaam yaam tanum bhakta: Sraddhaayrcitumicchati

Tasya tasyaa calaam Sriddhaam taameva vidadhaamyaham

Whichever deity form a bhakta seeks to worship with faith, I make the faith of that bhakta in that form firm.

 

And to endorse this they even take help from the famous sloka:

 

Aakaasaat patitam toyam yathaa gacchati saagaram,

Sarva-deva-namaskaarah Kesavam pratigacchati.

Just as the water which falls from the sky goes to the sea, so the worship offered to the various deities reach Kesava alone.

 

The same kind of view quite common in most of other Hindu Sampradayas.  For example Sivajnani Siddhiyar says, ‘whichever deity you follow, Siva comes taking that form to you’ (Yaadoru daivam kondeer at daivamaahi aange maadorubaahanaar taamvaruvaar’.) 2  This kind of pluralistic inclusivism are quite common in Hinduism.  This also gives scope for anyone to give any kind of interpretation through text torturing.  While liberal can read universalism, an orthodox (fundamental?) bhakta insist exclusivism.  This being the fact, it is not surprising to read both exclusivism and universalism in Hindu scripture and the demand to declare Gita as the scripture of India, that too by the politicians and 65 percent of the viewer’s saying ‘YES’ in CNN-IBN program.  As a digressing I wonder how they calculate this percentage, as representing the view of the all those who watched this program (or any other program)?  Is this 65% is out of 100 or 1000 viewers or out of those who send their response through sms, twitters, email?  I will be happy if the CNN-IBN, instead of giving the result in percentage would give the exact number of those who send their response.  Because even this poll result could be easily arranged by them, as there is no one to question them about it.  Another point to mention here is that in his comments Sri Subramaniam Swami said that he never remembered any politician quoting from Gita.  But when the late Andhrapradesh Chief minister Sri N. T. Ramarao, lost his election, he quoted the famous Gita sloka of 2:47 (karmanyevaadhikaaraste….=you have the right to do your duty but never claim to it fruits….).  Politicians know better than us to explain away their mistakes, failures and defeats.

Another is from the Bible (which I call as Muktiveda).  Though the scope of pluralism is very limited in Bible, yet all the exclusivism claimed by many Christians based on their interpretation certain text in the bible will help us to understand the art of ‘text torture’ in other scriptures too.  To insist the claim that Jesus (whom I call as Muktinath) as the only Lord and Savior, two crucial verses are often used from the New Testament (which I call as Uttara Veda): John14:6; Acts 4:12.3  The following my response to one Christian to his question on the exclusiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ will also help us to know about the art of ‘texture torture’ in other faiths:

At the same time we should not get confused with all the exclusive claims of Muktinath as the only ‘Way, Truth and Life’ etc. in Muktiveda in any context of comparative theology.  For example, Acts 4:12 is quoted as proof of the unique claim about salvation only through Muktinath.  Now the question that comes to my mind is this, “Is the verse addressed to the Gentiles in particular, or both to the Gentiles and the believers, or only the believers, or–as per the context–is it addressed to those who are opposing the preaching about the Lord?” As I strongly believe in scriptural exegesis, this verse, if interpreted correctly according to the context should never be used for our exclusive claims. About this, A.T. Robinson says, ‘The word for “saved” here (and hence “salvation”) is exactly the same as that rendered three verses earlier in Acts 4:9 by “cured”. The context is not one of comparative religion but of faith-healing.  The issue is “by which power” the cripple is made “completely well” (3.16).  Is it by some innate power or godliness of the apostles (3.12), or is it by “the name of Jesus, awakening faith”’ (3.16)? 4  The same is the case with John 10:8, which again, according to Robinson, ‘ has nothing to do with comparative religion’.5   The following explanation offered by Robinson on John 14:6 will further highlights this point:

Much the same must be said of another Johannine text, which is frequently put to exclusivist use: ‘Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me”’ (14.6).  The context here is Thomas’s question about how the disciples can know where Jesus is going, and therefore, how they can know the way.  The answer is that he is going to the Father, and since they know him, they have no need to ask further.  With Philip, ‘Show us the Father’: to have seen Jesus is to have seen the Father (14.1-11).  The point the evangelist is making, to use an earlier distinction, is that Jesus as the Christ is totus Deus: the Father is perfectly reflected in him, he is God ‘all through’.  There is no suggestion in the context that he is claiming to be totum Dei, that outside him there is no truth or life to be found.  The assurance is that in him truth and life are to be found; therefore, there is no cause for anxious fears.6

Finally I would like to end with one incident which will highlight the problem of quoting out of context.  One time when I was talking with an Aryasamaj Swamiji in Bihar, he said, ‘the Bible also says that God is Love and Love is God’.  But I didn’t argue with him on that point.  Because there is no point in arguing on such issue, about which one does not know much or anything.  Because Muktiveda (bible) never says ‘Love is God’.  But such a view is common among many who never read Bible.  I also heard that Swami Vivekananda, while addressing some Christians in America said, ‘Be still and know that you are God’.  But we never come across such verse in Muktiveda.  In Old Testament (which I call as ‘purva veda), we read God saying, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10).  But in order to convey his advaitic message to his Christian disciples, Swamiji cleverly used from the bible, slightly twisting the verse. In the same way, he also used the famous saying of Muktinath (Jesus): ‘I and the Father are One’ to insist his vedantic message that we too can say that ‘I and the Father is One’.

So, while politicians—as usual doing politics on every issue, scholars both in panel discussion and writing parade their knowledge than communicate in simple terms to the common people (and the anchors of the program running the discussion, keeping the TRP through arranged poll results) the common people have no time for such public entertainment as they have several issues on their hand for their survival in everyday life CONTEXT.

 

DB. December, 21, 2011.

  1. See my paper on Gita for more on this term.
  2. Tiruvartpa,(by Ramalinga Adihalar) Text and commentary (Tamil), Owai S. Duraisamippillai, Suddha Sanmarga Nilayam, Vadalur, vol. 4. P. 330
  3. John, 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”; Acts 4:12:” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”.
  4. John A.T. Robinson, TRUTH IS TWO EYED , SCM Press Ltd., p. 105
  5. ibid. p.106.
  6.  ibid. p. 107

 

Where to draw the line

Men are conservatives.  And they don’t want to be disturbed in their settled way of life.  So  any kind of new ideology, view, principle, practice etc. is introduced in their (collective) life, they not only feel disturbed but also feel threatened.  So, all these new things and people who want to introduce have to struggle a lot.

 

This is true even in our bhakti.  When I say that one can remain a Hindu and still be a bhakta of Bhagavan Muktinath, I know it is not that much easy.  And we have to struggle a lot on both front—Hindus and Christians.  But several times I felt that struggling in our home situation looks more easy than with the Christians.  Well, as I am not concerned about all the comments, misunderstanding and questions raised by the Christians for my view, yet there are few genuinely concerned individuals among them who are our well-wishers.  They say, ‘thou we completely agree with you on most of your points, yet we are not sure WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE for a Hindu to live as a bhakta of the Lord in her birth family and community.  As we are outsiders (I mean outside Hindu community not necessarily non-Indians), we don’t understand several things in Hinduism.  So we are not sure to know ‘where to draw the line and how far one could go?’  Few Hindu bhaktas, not knowing the background of several practices and principles of Hinduism and also not knowing Muktiveda in its textual, historical and theological contexts, raise the same question for them to take a stand for the Lord and bhakti.  In giving some kind of response to these two important questions I presented the following paper (actually I shared without having any written material on my hand but after the conference I wrote this paper) for one Conference.  And here I would like to share.

But before reading this one has to understand the ‘exclusivism’ is not necessarily a ‘dogmatic’ view when it comes to bhakti/faith only in Christianity or Islam (or any other non-Hindu faiths).  Even within Hinduism, in most of the sampradayas (sects), exclusive bhakti/faith in their deity and scripture is part of Hindu pluralism.  This is the context we have to understand the question about taking a ‘stand for the Lord’ by Hindu bhaktas of the Lord.  Though they use (without knowing) some Christian technical terms, yet what they mean is how to uphold ‘exclusivism’ when it comes to the question of having bhakti only in the Lord Muktinath.   Though this is viewed by liberal Hindus as strange, yet this is not some kind of evangelical fanaticism but have scope within our Hindu religious tradition.

db. December 9, 2011.

Where to draw the Line.

One of the crucial questions that asked in contextualization is: Where to draw the line?  This question is not only asked by those who are doing the ministry but also by the new believers.  But, as usual no easy, clear and general answer could be given to such question.  But my answer to this question is another question: WHO TO DRAW THE LINE?

It is interesting to note that the question ‘where to draw the line’ is always asked by those who are involved in the ministry as if they have the spiritual and moral authority to draw the line for other new believers.  Though this is not said explicitly but this one can easily infer in such question.

Before seeing these groups to understand where to draw and who draw we need to keep one thing in mind that some time we do not allow the right person to draw the line for us, but allow a wrong person to draw it.  Then she will draw not understanding the struggle and need of the other but according to her expectation and interpretation of the other’s life.  For example if we allow the Missiologiest, Theologian, Missionary or the Church leaders to draw the line for a new ‘convert’ or ‘bhakta’ then what will happen.  I need not explain it as we know what happened so far.  The same is the truth with a new convert or bhakta.  She too cannot draw the line for her Church members or leaders.  This is what several new converts do in the name of First Generation Christians expecting sympathy or concession from their Churches not understanding both their limitation and struggles.  The moment they call themselves ‘First Generation Christian’ they began to draw the line.  So there is no one general answer to the question: ‘Where to draw and who to draw’ the line and it depends upon who is asking the question to whom?  And to answer this question we need to keep four kinds of groups:

The first group is A.  These are the ‘converts’ who THINK that they have left Hinduism and Hindu community and joined Christianity and become Christians.  Though there are genuine exceptions, yet most of such converts, at least in the early days of their new found faith remain three hours in a week as Christian when then go to their respective church to worship the Lord and rest of the six days and 21 hours remain as Hindus in many ways. (In this respect the traditional Christians too in no way better or different from any ‘convert’.)

And for them the line is drawn by the Church and their Christian leaders in the church.  They are like a new daughter-in-law whose marriage is arranged.  And ‘contextualization’ is her husband.  And the Church is the mother-in-law.  Though as a new daughter-in-law she would like to bring some new insights to make at least her life meaningful and rich, is not allowed and accepted that much easily. And several times she won’t even get an opportunity to express such desire.  And a typical mother-in-law who will say, ‘this is not the way we cook, eat, live etc’ always expects the daughter-in-law to learn the way they cook, eat and live in her new home.  However she claims that the new things that she will bring will only add richens to their life in the home, she has to struggle a lot to get her legitimate right to bring her views to their life in her new home.  Though she can persuade her husband in private, but he too cannot do much as his dominating mother alone can decide most of the thing in the home.  Though he can personally plead to accommodate minimum expectation of his wife, yet he cannot force or fight for his wife’s legitimate rights because both as a son and husband he has no personal right and place to run the home. (Contextualization as a son can persuade the conscious of the church to accommodate the need of the new converts and also as a husband plead with his wife to keep patience till her time comes, but both ways he cannot do more than that.  Finally when the daughter-in-law becomes the in-charge of the home, she will be immune with the custom and tradition of the home and happily settle with it.)

But a new ‘convert’ who thinks that she become a ‘Christian and joined Christian community’ too should not except the church to change or accommodate her needs.  As it is her conscious choice, she alone has to change and learn to live adjusting with the church.  For example if a person chose to become a citizen of USA by forsaking her Indian citizenship, she has to live as per the law of UAS and never can refer back rights to live as an Indian.   So for this group A, it is the church which draws the line.  That is why, in few churches though the Pastor and leaders are willing to allow a new ‘convert’ to keep her cultural identity like ‘pottu’ (bindi) etc., in order not to offend rest of the congregation won’t permit them to do so.  The common excuse often given is ‘not to offend the weak one in the church’.  But the question here is ‘who is supposed to be weak and who is supposed to be strong’.  A new convert is expected to be strong to accommodate the weak traditional Christians in the church, who are hearing the Word of God from the womb of their mother.  And to keep them in their weakness the church is expecting the new converts to pay the cost!

[If a Hindu feels comfort to become a ‘Christian’ and join a church, s/he is free to do so.  But already there are plenty of problems in the church and why you add more by joining a church through your ‘conversion’ to Christian community.  We know well that Christian have no answers to our questions and need.  And they cannot help and give answers to our need and question, because of their various limitation.  So why should we add more problem to them?  A hostile home is better than a friendly but suspecting neighbor.  Every church is only a friendly but suspecting neighbor to all the converts.  Better stay back in your home and fight for your birth right to worship any God of your choice than selling it for some temporary comfort and refuge which a church could give for some time. Added on October 20, 2010.]

Group B is those whom we call as ‘Churchless Christians’ or ‘secret Christians’ etc.  But ‘converts’ in this group are those who are very biblical in their life.  Yes they strictly and easily follow the principle: Becoming all things to all men.  They will become ‘Christian’ to the Christians and remain ‘Hindu’ to the Hindus.  They want to enjoy the best of the both worlds but don’t want to identify with any one group permanently and struggle with them for their principles and ideology.  We cannot blame them alone for this, because they learnt this also from their church.  As the church/mission wants to use such ‘converts’ as trophies to parade the success of their ministry whenever they need and later dump them, such ‘converts’ also began to imitate them.  Higher in the hierarchy they will receive the treatment accordingly.  For example a Brahmin or a Muslim convert will be often paraded to demonstrate their success than a dalit or tribe converts.  And these so called high caste converts also love to go week after week and church after church to give their ‘testimony’ and witness for the Lord forgetting the fact that they need to witness more to their own family community first and in fact that is called real witnessing.  This they often do to please other Christians or to earn some sympathy from them.

As a digression I have to say one bitter truth.  More budgets will be easily allowed to convert the so called high caste people than the tribes and so called low caste people groups.  And if they are ‘Brahmins’ then ‘money’ won’t be a problem and it will flow like water to the ministry.  In the recently held RF meeting at Chennai on Feb. 27th I saw this.  The song book which CBSS printed with costly cover and appealing pictures at the back cover will easily prove this point. I wish I could ‘bought’ one to show the cost of the cover alone, though all the songs (totally 18 and around ten pages) are taken from old Tamil Lyrics and not even one new bhajan is added to it.

Coming back to our point of drawing the line, in this group both the church/mission and the converts will draw the line according to their ‘mood’ and ‘need’.  In South India a niece can marry her maternal uncle. Then her own grand mother will be her mother-in-aw.  So when she wants to get some favor from her mother-in-law she will approach her as her grand mother and when she become upset when her expectations are not met then her grand mother will become her mother-in-law to fight.  The same is the case with the role of the mother-in-law.  When they want to use the converts then she will be treated as the grand daughter but when she is not accepting their terms and conditions then she will become daughter-in-law.  And poor husband (contextualization) will be caught between the rock and hard place.  So the line will be draw according to the mood and need of both group.  And most of the time they will try to survive for their convenience and not with a clear conviction.  And they will show head to the snake and tail to the fish and learn to escape from both, like the snake fish.  [Whether true or imaginary, this is a Tamil proverb].

And in this group they insist to identify themselves mostly with their caste like ‘Brahmin Christian’ ‘Reddy Christian’ ‘Mudaliyar Christian’ etc.  It is interesting to note that A Hindu will never say that I am a Reddy Hindu, Mudaliyar Hindu or a Brahmin Hindu.  Of course the Hindu Nadars were forced to call themselves as ‘Hindu Nadars’ because of Christian Nadars.  When many Nadars become Christian they called themselves ‘Nadar Christians’ (to separate themselves from the Dalit Christians).  And in order to ‘defend’ their position, right and identity, then Hindu Nadars were forced to call themselves as ‘Hindu Nadars’.  When the Law came sin awakened.   In the same way by converting themselves as Christians, Nadars created problem both for the Church and their Hindu relatives, as a Tamil proverb says: Irundum keduttan, settum keduttan’ (created problem when he was live and also in death).

The third group is the Hindu bhaktas of the Lord.  Here analogy is a love marriage and that too the girl from a different (and a low caste).  The Hindu bhakta’s new found faith in the Lord is that girl and she will never be accepted easily as part of her husband’s home.  Some time the family members will tolerate their marriage because of their son, but to find her legitimate place as part of the home won’t be that much easy and in some cases it will never happen.  Though the Hindu bhakta too has to struggle like all other new believers (converts), yet he can struggle with his birth right as that is his home.  Though the struggle in both group A and C look one and the same, yet in C a bhakta can struggle with clear understanding whereas in group A the new ‘convert’ has to struggle without any understanding.  She will neither understand her church not even her faith.  But the struggles of a Hindu bhakta of the Lord with clear understanding about faith, his birth community and church is better than that of the ‘converts’ without any understanding of anyone.  And a hostile home is better than a friendly but suspecting neighbor.  For every Hindu bhakta of the Lord the church always remains a suspecting but friendly neighbor. Here we never allow any outsiders to draw the line for us.  Though we need not draw any line for us, yet some times we are forced to draw the line and telling Christians not to cross to come and disturb us. And if they dare to cross, then they will hurt themselves. Leave us alone is our request to them.  And I always promise that we (I) will never come and disturb your church and will never allow you to come and disturb us.

The fourth group belongs to all the evangelicals from traditional Christians who are interested in contextualization.  And their struggle is completely different.  In their attempt to do contextualization ministry, they will try to understand the struggle of all the three groups and try to unite them for the common cause of ministry by minimizing their differences.  But in this process they won’t understand their own struggle not knowing where to draw the line (both for themselves and others).  Most of the time, because of their position in their church and mission they cannot come out openly to support contextualization (and draw any line). They are like Nicodamus who came secretly in the night to see Jesus.  Many times they too cannot openly support the contextualization and particularly those who are in group C.  I can illustrate this from my personal experience.

When I wrote my first book: Living Water and Indian Bowl, I approached one top evangelical leader in Chennai and requested him to write a forward to that book.  With much sympathy he listened and then said, ‘though I agree with you on most of your approaches in your life and ministry, yet because of my position in the church and mission I cannot come out openly to support you’.  Then I approached late Dr. Devadasan who was the Field Director in FMBP.  As he was my mentor and the only Christian whom I accepted as my Guruji, I told how that the first evangelical leader refused to write the forward.  After listening me he too said, ‘I too in the same position like him.  If I write a forward to such book it will raise problem to FMPB within the church.’  Then I approached one leader in Church Growth Research Centre and received the same answer.  Finally I requested late Dr. B.V. Subamma and she wrote back, ‘Sorry.  Not acceptable’.  Finally Dr. Rokaya of Khatmandu wrote the Forward.  But I need to acknowledge that Dr. Hoeffer wrote the Forward to the American edition of Living Water and Indian Bowl, irrespective of his position in his church and mission for which I remain thankful to him.

In one Rethinking Conference held at Bangalore (1995?) one Navigator Missionary from outside India told how in his ministry in India they don’t give ‘baptism’ and never celebrate ‘communion’ to their Hindu believers.  He also defend his teaching by saying that both ‘baptism and communion’ were mere symbols and was relevant to the first century followers and now we need not strictly implement them.  So simply having faith in the Lord and living as his follower is more than enough in their home and community not becoming Christians?  Then in the question and answer time then I asked, ‘if baptism and communion are mere symbol, then the death of Christ on the Cross also could be a symbol and we need not take it literarily.  And this is what many elitist Hindus and liberal Christians also promoting.  In that case the forgiveness of sin and our salvation also could become symbol’.  Before he could answer to my question power went off and the time for dinner also came.  So he cannot answer my questions and God saved both of us from each other.  And next day when I raised these questions to Rajesh Hemchand he said, ‘last night I spoke about it to him and confronted him whether he will say the same thing back in his church and mission in home?  And he said that he cannot say there’.  So what they secretly or indirectly do, they cannot do openly.  Similarly another Missionary who agrees with me that ‘faith’ is not a criteria for marriage and the so called ‘believer should marry a believer’ is not in the bible cannot openly support it because of his position in his church and Mission.

I can give several examples to show how such evangelicals cannot openly support contextualization because of their position in their church and mission.  So they cannot sure where to draw and also to whom to draw the line.  Though they secretly support people like us, yet when we were crucified and put to death by the church and mission, they will come openly to burry us and their successors in future will come to resurrect us to glorify as the pioneers in contextualization.  This is what happened with Brahmabandab Upadhyay and R.C. Das.

Upadhyaya was thrown away from his Catholic church and he ended up even becoming a Hindu by doing prayaschitta and after his death his Hindu friends cremated his body (though some Christians tried but failed to get his body to ‘bury’.).  While he was struggling to contextualize the gospel and his Catholic faith (calling himself as Hindu Christian) his church crucified him.  But several decades later Fr. Gisbert Souch S.J. (of Vidya Jothi of Delhi) and Prof. Julius Lippner brought out all Upadhyaya’s writings and resurrected to glorify him as the FATHER of Indian Christian Theology.  While he lived he became an orphan and treated as a ‘Pariah’ in his church but after his death, now he is resurrected and become the FATEHR of Indian Christian Theology?!?

The same is the case with R.C. Das. When I was in Bible institute and few months in UBS I never heard the name of R.C. Das.  Most of the Indian Missionaries and also theological seminary students never knew about him.  He tried to contextualize the gospel living at Varanasi. But he too was deserted by his Mission and finally Catholics at Varanasi took care of him.  He died without any money and the Catholics were kind enough to burry him and they alone even preserved most of his writings and magazines.  Then H. L. Richard came and done all the research and published the book ‘R.C. Das the Pioneer of Contextualization.

And if the question is asked ‘how far we have to go’ for this group, my answer is: ‘you need to go to the extent of loosing your faith.  Then alone you will understand the problem of the converts’.  Because when the gospel is shared the minimum thing required is that a Hindu should not only confess his faith in Muktinath but also to give up his faith in his other gods.  However they are ready to go any extent to reach him, yet they expect him to come where they are. And to come to their place he needs to give up so many things.  And in order to understand all his struggles, those in group D should go to the extent of loosing their faith (as they expect a Hindu convert to do) to understand all his struggles. [Or to understand this the counter question should be ‘how far they (converts/bhaktas) should come out’ from their community, culture, tradition etc. to follow the Lord?]

So to the question: ‘Where to draw the line and how far one should go’ we need to ask the counter question “Who will draw the line’ both for themselves and others.  All these days in the name of protecting the purity of doctrine it is the church and mission draw the line to every convert.  Here the purity of the doctrine is not exclusively (minimum) biblical doctrines but their own respective denominational doctrines, their own traditions, views, administration etc.

And when we insist that no outsider can draw the line for any Insider movement.  This I strictly implement even to my shishyas in North India.  I told them clearly several time that as a South Indian I cannot understand all their social and traditional customs and will encourage them to take decision for every crucial issue. But anything related to immoral activities which are common to all, and then I will take a firm stand and tell them to be biblical.  But when we allow the Insiders to draw their own line, we are often accused that we are ‘compromising’ with the gospel and encourage Syncretism.

But what they mean by compromise and syncretism?  We too believe that Muktinath is the only Lord and Savior; Mukti is possible only through Him and Muktiveda is the Word of God.  Now tell me where we are compromising and promoting syncretism?  If we don’t accept their particular interpretation of the Muktiveda and their denominational doctrine, then if we are accused as ‘compromisers’ then I am willing to happily remain a compromiser and promoter of syncretism.

I am also several times accused by the Christians that I am a heretic and producing new cult.  First of all they should understand what is mean by cult and heresy.  When a group, not agreeing with the doctrine and tradition of a sampradaya (sect) and breaks away from them and create their own sect almost based on the same doctrines and tradition giving new interpretation and explanation, then they are called heretic and their new sect as a cult within the sampradaya.  But we are not part of any Denominational Christianity; we are not even part of their particular denomination church and Christian Community. Though we are part of the UNIVERSAL CHURCH, we are not members of any Christian group as we are the members of Hindu community.  If at all any one has any right to call as heretics and promoters of new cult, only Hindus have that. But they have no problem with our freedom to worship any God of our own choice (Ishta devata) remaining part of their community and society.  So for them we are not promoting any cult group with their sampradaya but we remain part of their community and society making our own choice of sadhana and faith.

Tell me, if Christians can have: Baptist; Free Will Baptist, Anna Baptist and Full Baptist within one denomination, then who is a heretic to whom and promoter of new cult?  Those who claim Saivm and Vaishnavism as the off shoot of Thomas Christianity alone can be called the promoters of new cult and heretic within Christianity.  As we are not part of any Ecclesiastically Organized and Institutionally Christianized Churchianity and sociologically separated Christian communities they have no right to call me as a heretic and promoter of new cult within their denominations.

Finally, some evangelicals are worried that in the long run Hindu Muktinath Bhaktas also will end up another organized religious institution and also to prevent false teaching some kind of monitoring is needed.  I appreciate their concern. But where there is money, power and authority, in order to control them, organization is inevitable.  But I strongly promote ‘de-centralizing’ and never believe in remote controlling.  Each bhaktas movement within a particular cultural and social group needs to grow independently.  They are answerable to the Lord and to the Word of God and we should trust Holy Spirit and them to grow more than controlled remotely by me or anyone.  Appointing any person by us even one among them will never help them.  They should recognize their own natural leader who can lead them and they should accept his leadership than imposed from outside.  Of course our Lord selected twelve disciples and the early church seven catechists and Paul two of his disciples as church leaders.  But we need not imitate their pattern but follow the principle, which is: some one to lead.  For example imitating the Lord the Apostles never appointed 12 catechist or Paul seven church leaders. Whatever might be the reason for them to select and appoint the leaders; we need not imitate the same patters.  Apostles never appointed their own choice but asked the Greek speaking Jews to select seven among them and only recognized them as their servants to take care of their food and rations.

Once we decentralize and refuse to do any remote control, we need not worry about any split.  In fact I always encourage multiplication through split.  For example if more than 10 bhaktas join a Mandali, better split them in two group and ask them to worship and grow independent of each group with in their locality than gather them under one roof.  If the Christians still not convinced by this and argue for Organizational unity then my answer is that already there are more than 48.000 and more denominations in Christianity few more won’t make much difference.

Now I would like to give my response to few issues raised in the meeting:

On the whole, some of the issues/questions that came up were:

  1. as I had mentioned before) Where to draw the line?—see my paper above—db
  2. While the method of reaching is required, people need to be conscientious of not disturbing people in churches.—I clearly told that I am not stealing any sheep from any church.  I also clearly told that I won’t come and disturb the church.  When one Canadian Missionary, after quoting the example of Messianic Jews and the problem that it is causing some churches back in Canada, I told that lack of teaching is one of the main reason for the church members get disturbed, which though one retired Pastor opposed, yet few agreed with me.
  3. What growth strategy and (in essence) monitoring strategy are in place to check false teachings? –see my paper above.—db
  4. That Swamiji should give interviews to students and people should make themselves available and open for scholars to study and document. To this … responded that ‘insider movements’ need to be protected and not exposed like Paul had to protect the Gentile believers from the Jewish believers; and that the past few bad experiences with ‘scholars’ in effect have shut the doors.—I clearly told that such interviews are not helping the lay people in the church or our movement.  Those entire Ph.D. theses remain buried in the Seminary Library for some future student to do some reach and again to write finally buried in the Library. Above considering my age, limitation and priority, I don’t have the luxury of time to give interview to any Theological students.–db
    March 4, 2010

 

 

 

 

Found my Guru

My search for a guru finally ended in Bhagavan Muktinathan  who was called as ‘Yehoshua’ in Hebrew, ‘Iasus’ in Greek, ‘Jesus’ in English, ‘Yesu’ in Tamil, ‘Jesu’ inBengal, ‘Isa’ in Hindi; so I call him ‘Muktinathan’ as his name means one who gives salvation.  As a Tamil Brahmin boy I was searching for an answer to a simple question related with moral issues: Why can I not live a perfect life, even for a single day, up to my expectations? In those early days, without much maturity and with several limitations, I searched for the answer in my family tradition of doing pujas, rituals (like Sandyavandanam, etc.), reading and memorizing scriptures (like Abirami andadi, Sowdarya lahari, Sivapuranam to name only few) and mantras (like Gayatri and a few other mantras related to gods).  I attended satsangh (called ‘katha kalakshebam’ in Tamil), read Tamil scriptures (Sivapuram, Devaram and several sectarian scriptures).  Yet I could not find an answer to convince my simple rational mind. I also observed grownup people’s lives and asked them questions; but the answers which they gave were to justify all moral lapses by blaming the yuga (this is Kali) or Karma or even God (as Goswami Tulsidas rightly said: ‘kalahi, karmahi ishwar par mitya doshu lagayee=they falsely accuse Time [here Kali yuga], karma or even god]).  Sometimes I was encouraged to do more rituals, chant more mantras, visit more temples and observe other vows. (I was not taught in a systematic way as I present these thoughts now).

I never searched through hair splitting, mind twisting philosophical ideas. Because, being brought up in the advaitic tradition, I had often heard such philosophies which never relate to reality in life. I did come to realize (as taught by own tradition) that without a guru I would not find the right answer to such questions. So I began to search for that guru by various means.  It would take me several pages to write about all the gurus I investigated. Finally, through one of my friends (who along with his parents had recently become a ‘Christian,’ though he never told me about this) I met few Tamil missionaries who were working among the tribes in Periyamalai (the same area where later Veerappan become very active). Though these missionaries shared with me their traditional gospel message (speaking against idol worship, etc.), they also could not give answers to my questions.  But their life greatly challenged me. So when I left them after a three day visit they gave me a New Testament and asked me to read it with a sincere heart and prayerful mind.

When I had been in high school I used to go to church and Sunday school with a Christian friend. I won most of the prizes in the Sunday school.  But after three years one of my friend’s comments made me not only stop going to the church but also created an aversion in me. He said, ‘All the gods which you are worshiping are fallen angels, but Jesus is the only True God’.  I thought, ‘If my gods are fallen angels (or ‘devil’ in their terms) and only your god is true, then I don’t want it’.

So when I later met these missionaries and received the New Testament, I began to read it with reservation. However, I said ‘I have tried several things to find my guru, so let me try this also. If I find my answer and guru in Jesus, then I am going to gain.  If not, then I am not going to lose anything, but at least will gain some knowledge about the Bible’.  To make the story short, finally I found my guru in Muktinathan through the verses in Romans 7:15-24.  But I did put one condition to him, that even though he gave the answer to my question and  I would indeed follow his path as he had become my guru, yet in the future if he ever disappointed me I would give him up.  But for the last 28 years he has never disappointed me, and I trust that he will continue to be my guru till the end of my earthly journey.

As I found my guru in Him, he also became my god as I cannot understand a god beyond my guru. Though initially I, too, became a Christian, yet soon I realized that I need not give up my birthright as a Hindu by leaving my birth community and joining another sociological community called Christianity in Indiain order to follow my guru and worship him as my god.  Both theMuktiveda ( Bible)  and my Hindu tradition gave me all the freedom to be a Hindu (in every sense) and be a bhakta of bhagavan Muktinath without compromising my convictions.  Of course, this is not acceptable both to some Christians and some Hindus.  But thankfully as my guru accepted me as a Hindu as his bhakta, though I still struggle a lot with that identity (because of misunderstanding by both communities), yet he helps me to live a meaningful life as his bhakta.

The answer that I found for most of my moral struggles was related to relationship issues. The Muktiveda sets both forgiveness and reconciliation as preconditions to follow and worship my guru bhagavan.  Though Hinduism in several ways insists on both these, yet one can also keep his religious life (through all kinds of rituals) and spirituality (through various philosophies) without fulfilling those two conditions.  Here I found my answer to the question of why I cannot live a perfect life even for one day.  As god forgave me and reconciled my guru with me, if I too do this in every walk of life, I can also become perfect but this is a continuous process in life.  This may look like a philosophy, but those alone who receive that forgiveness from god and are reconciled to him can understand the simple spiritual ethics that finds solutions to all moral problems. For this one need not give up his birth right of his/her community identity or need join another community or go to any church, but can live as a bhakta of bhagavan Muktinathan without compromising his/her faith (sadhana dharma) and social identity (samajic dharma).  As I am not alone and as there are several such bhaktas in various Hindu (caste) communities we celebrate our bhakti in him through our life.  We welcome other who wishes to join us without became a ‘convert’ to join the caste based Christian communities or denominational churches.

Finally, however one tries she cannot find that guru who alone can remove the ‘darkness from us’ and ‘lead us from unthruth to truth’ and ‘from death to Mukti’.  But with sincere heart and prayerful mind when one seeks that guru S/he will come to her and then it is left to that individual to accept or reject that guru as God immensely respects individual freedom and choice.  So if one knocks the door will be opened; seeks will find and asks will get.  So unless we do our part God cannot even do Her/His part.  But any desire in any individual to seek, knock and ask is the symptom to find that Guru.

Dayanand Bharati

October 28, 2008