Christian agenda and Designs
The Roman Catholic Church of Kottar, in its website www.martyrdevasahayam.org mentions while describing about the Baptism of Nilakandan as Devasahayam Pillai, as follows:
"…For the sake of inculturation the Jesuit missionaries translated the biblical names. Thus "Peter" was rendered "Rayappan", "Paul" "Chinnappan" and "John" "Arulappan". The baptizing priest himself had assumed the Tamil Name Paranjyothinathar!"1
What is Inculturation?
The Oxford Dictionary defines Inculturation asthe gradual acquisition of the characteristics and norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc. Simply put, Inculturation is the adaptation of Christian liturgy to a non-Christian cultural background.
Translation plays a vital role in Inculturation. In his paper presented at the International Conference on "Rethinking Translation" at Milwaukee on 10 June 1995, Stephen M. Beall, Ph.D., quotes the declaration made by Pope Paul VI in 1965 that, "vernacular languages had become vox ecclesi, the "voice of the Church" (EDIL482). Stephen avers that, "On the one hand, the pastors of the Church are committed to the right of Catholics to enjoy their own cultures and to pray in their own language. On the other, they feel an obligation to preserve a certain unity in the way in which all Catholics think and pray. When these values seem to come into conflict, translation becomes a controversial procedure." Observing that the "Key" to the whole matter is "Inculturation", Stephen defines Inculturation in the words of Aylward Shorter, as, "the creative and dynamic relationship between the Christian message and a culture or cultures". He also quotes liturgist, Father Anscar Chupungco that, "the liturgy must think, speak, and ritualize according to the local cultural pattern."2 Stephen also says that, "This approach to faith and culture can be traced in part to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially Gaudium et Spes."
The Vatican wanted the Bible to reach the non-Christians in their own language and hence applied this approach. In fact, this approach was adopted by the European Christian Missionaries right from the day they landed on Indian soil.
Focus on Native culture, language and tradition
Culturally and religiously strong India was a challenge to the European Missionaries. Very soon after landing on India, they realized that their evangelical activities would not bear fruits without the help of the native languages. By learning the native languages and getting to know about the native literatures, they could understand the cultural and religious traditions being practiced by the native people. This in turn helped them to devise different strategies for conversion.
Learning of the native languages helped them in two ways. First, they could Translate the native literatures into their European Languages and sent them to their masters, so that, they could realise the extent of manpower, money power and political power needed to destroy the 5000 year old culture and convert a spiritually strong India. Secondly, they could translate Bible in vernacular languages, which helped them to reach the native people more comfortably.
The man who laid the foundation of inculturation was the Italian priest Robert de Nobili (1577-1656). He learnt Sanskrit and Tamil, wore saffron robes, sacred thread (attached with a small Cross!) and sandal mark on forehead and called himself a 'Roman Brahmin'. He set up an "Ashram" in Madurai, became a vegetarian and used "Pathukas" (wooden footwear). He claimed the Bible was the "Lost Veda", the "Jesuit Veda" revealed by God, and was considerably successful in harvesting souls. Fortunately for Tamil Nadu, his European masters were not happy with his inculturation methods and subjected him to an enquiry which forced him to shift to other places like Trichy and Salem. Finally he settled in a small house in Santhome, Madras, and died in 1656. 3
The next Italian missionary, Constantine Joseph Beschi (1680-1746), called himself Veeramaamunivar (Veer-Maha-Munivar) to pretend he was a great lover of Tamil. Outwardly conducting himself like a Hindu Sanyasi, he took care of the conversion business in the districts of Madurai and Thanjavur. His work on a biography of St. Joseph, Thembaavani, was hyped as a great work and projected as equivalent to Kambar's Ramayana!
Even now it is propagated that impressed with the beauty and richness of Kamba Ramayana, Beschi wanted to create a similar Christian work and hence came out with Thembaavani. It benefitted Christianity by establishing St. Joseph in Tamil Nadu. He then came out with another work, Paramartha Guruvum avarin Seedarkalum (Paramartha Guru and his Disciples), to ridicule our centuries old 'Guru-Sishya Parampara.' This "Munivar", who denigrated our Guru-Sishya Parampara, was honoured by Dravidian racists who installed a statue of him on Marina Beach.4
In the same period, a German missionary Barthalomaus Ziegenbalg (1683-1719) also worked in Tamil Nadu and called himself Ziegenbalg Iyer. This Protestant priest landed in Tranquebar (Tharangampaadi) in 1706 and worked with a Danish company which was the first to bring German printing machines to Tamil Nadu. He printed the first Tamil Bible (New Testament). Even while indulging in conversions, he often quarrelled with the Danish authorities who put him in jail for some time. He was the first to stoke anti-Brahmanism by creating a hatred for Brahmins among other communities. As he fell sick often, he died at the age of 36 in 1719, leaving behind two Churches, a training institute for converted Indian priests, and 250 converts in Tranquebar. 5
Next in the list of Christian Priests who "served" the cause of inculturation was another 'Iyer' - G.U. Pope (1820-1907) or 'Pope Iyer.' He translated a few Tamil literary works such as Thiruvaachakam, Thirukkural and Naaladiyaar, and said he could find the teachings of Apostle St. Paul and St. Francis of Assisi in Sri Maanickavaachakar's Thiruvaachakam; innocent Tamil scholars felt elated at his 'graciousness'.
Even some Tamil Saivite Mutts felt proud at G.U. Pope's statement. Tamil scholar Muthukumaraswamy, who has in-depth knowledge on Saiva Siddhanta, demolishes this myth, citing Pope's own statement, "In the whole legendary history of this sage … there stands out a real historical character, which seems to be a mixture of that of St. Paul and of St. Francis of Assisi. Under other circumstances what an apostle of the East might have become," as evidence of Pope's sarcasm and disdain. He exposes the mindset of G.U. Pope who states that a Religious Guru from the East would not have attained a spiritual level beyond this in order to undermine the spiritual greatness of Sage Maanickavaachakar.
Dr. Muthukumaraswamy quotes another instance where G.U. Pope ridicules murti worship or vigraha aradana: "G.U. Pope says that a person who attains a higher level of spiritualism also indulges in Murti worship and rustic rituals, which go totally against his level of spiritualism." 6
There is another concocted story about G.U. Pope in Tamil Nadu which says that Pope wanted the statement, "Ingu oru Thamizh Maanavan urangukiraan" (A Tamil student is sleeping here) sculpted on his cemetery and that the statement is still present there on his cemetery. But those who have gone to the cemetery have confirmed that there was no such statement written on his cemetery except the ones from the Bible.7
Motivated lies on Thiruvaluvar and Thirukkural
G.U.Pope had done his bit to establish the Myth of St.Thomas in India in South India. When he translated and published Sage Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural in 1886, he relied on a folklore that Thiruvalluvar was friends with a captain of a ship and used to meet him often at the beaches of Mylapore. G.U. Pope accepted this as a true story. As a true Christian, he also believed the myth of St. Thomas and relied on the concoction that Thomas converted a large number of families in and around Mylapore. He then gave an introduction to Thirukkural as follows:
"Thiruvalluvar worked hard to acquire knowledge by all means. Whenever a ship anchors in Mylapore coast, Valluvar's 'Captain' friend would send him message about the arrival of new visitors including foreigners. Many foreigners could have travelled in his friend's vessel and landed in Mylapore via Sri Lanka. Within me I see the picture of Thiruvalluvar talking with the Christians gathering information and knowledge. He has gathered a lot of Christian theories in general and the minute details of Alexandrian principles in particular and incorporated them in his Thirukkural. The philosophy of Christian theories from the Church situated near Valluvar's place is present clearly in Thirukkural. Thiruvalluvar lived between 800 AD and 1000 AD. The Christian Biblical works were certainly an evidence for Valluvar's Thirukkural. He was certainly inspired by the Bible." 8
Baptising' Thiruvalluvar to `besiege' the Hindus!
Indians have been fed with distorted history by the Western Christian elite before independence and the same has been continued even after independence, thanks to the takeover of the nation's history by the Marxists and Christian stooges, who continued the dark and sinister legacy of Max Mueller and McCauley. As an important part of the perverted history, which was planted by the western scholars, the so-called St.Thomas's arrival, life and death were thrust on South India. This thrust gave a solid foundation to the Church to claim as if Christianity was also an indigenous religion. They even went to the extent of babtising Thiruvalluvar by claiming that he was converted by St.Thomas.9
Many attempts have been made at regular intervals to impose the concocted history of Thomas on the people and the "secular" mainstream media in India helped it to a great extent.
"Thamizhar Samayam" (Tamilian Religion) or "Thoma Kiruththuvam" (Thomas Christianity)
The Roman Catholic Church funds a devious evangelist by name Deivanayagam, who makes the fullest use of the Thomas Myth to achieve his evangelical agenda. He organized a four-day meet titled, "Thamizhar Samayam – Muthal Ulaka Maanaadu" (Tamils Religion – First International Conference), from August 14 to 17, 2008, under the aegis of Dravida Anmeega Iyakkam (Movement of Dravidian Spiritualism), a movement started by him to spread the canard called "Thomas Christianity", in the name of "Adi Christhuvam" (early Christianity). The event was backed by the Mylapore Archdiocese (headed by Archbishop Chinnappa) which hosted the event in its own premises in Santhome near Mylapore.
Here, the following blasphemous distortions were projected as researched facts:
- Adi Christhuvam (early Christianity), promulgated and established in Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas, is the original religion of the Tamils.
- The Aryan invaders distorted Thomas Christianity and conceived new concepts called Shaivism and Vaishnavism and hence they must be treated as sub-sects of Thomas Christianity.
- The 'holy trinity' of 'Father-Son-Holy Spirit' is denoted by 'Shiva-Muruga-Shakti' and the same is also denoted by 'Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra'
- The 'holy trinity' concept has beautified Indian Religions. The 'Holy Spirit-Father' combination can be identified with 'Ardhanarisvarar' and 'Sankaranarayanar' formations.
- St Thomas's teachings abound in Thirukkural and Sage Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St Thomas.
Due to the timely posting of an article titled, "St. Thomas who taught Tamils to think" by famous Tamil writer and novelist Jeyamohan in his blog 10 and timely action by "Tamil Hindu" website11 and some individual Hindu activists, Deivanayagam tasted defeat and his four-day meet ended in a miserable failure. Later he released a book titled 'Thiruneeraa, Siluvaiya?' (Sacred Ash, Or, The Cross?), which piled on fresh distortions as follows:
- The Hindu practice of applying 'sacred ash' on the forehead actually started from 'Ash Wednesday' the first day of the 'Penance' (Lent-days). The sacred ash comprises within it all the three stages of 'Death, Resurrection & Pardon due to the fact that the 'ash' cannot be destroyed, as the resurrected body cannot be destroyed.
- When Vaishnavism got separated from Shaivism, the style of applying sacred ash was changed from horizontal pattern to vertical pattern.
- Shiva is supposed to have given his left half to Shakti. If that left half is worshipped as woman, it becomes Shaivism and if the same is worshipped as man it becomes Vaishnavism.
- 'Thiruneetru Pathigam', a collection of Shaivite Hymns sung by Sage Thirugnaana Sambandhar comprises a number of messages of Christianity.
- All Shaivite literatures namely 'Thirumurai', 'Thevaram', 'Thiruvasagam' and 'Thirupathigam' do not talk about the four Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva; as they carry the messages of Christ, the 'Bible' is the only 'Veda'. 12
Institutions of Incluturation
Inculturation, as a strategy, is planned well and executed meticulously through institutes which are exclusively created for the evil purpose. They operate in educational, social, spiritual and fine arts fields.
" Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth" may sound like a Hindu institution. But the fact remains that it is a Christian Institution blatantly indulging in Inculturation. Attempting to give a Hindu colour to its emblem through Katopanishad saying that the tree in the emblem denotes or represents asvatha and the meditating figure is seeking Brahma-vidya, the institution finally underlines that, all the components of the emblem merge at the summit in the cross of Christ which, as the linchpin of time and eternity, interlocks the human and the divine.13
The institute says its mission is to foster an integral understanding of the human person which mediates the vision of Jesus for India.In its vision statement, it says, "As a basis, we shall need to evolve a philosophical vision of being human that will promote personal, social and ecological well-being. On the theological level, we will attempt to spell out Jesus' vision for India, in the light of Scripture and Tradition. Contextualising this will demand processes of information, analysis and critical and creative reflection on the Indian reality, religious pluralism, the Christian Faith, and the relationship between science, society and religion. Such an inter-disciplinary perspective will enable us to articulate and develop an Indian Christian response to the situation of our country, with special reference to the oppressed and marginalized sections of our society, such as women and the poor."
In response to its vision, it goes on to say, "JDV will seek to promote dialogue among religions, cultures, communities and secular movements, all of which will be facilitated by a positive thrust towards inculturation. In our intra-Christian pluriform sphere, we shall strive to foster dialogue with other denominations, as well as communion among individual Catholic churches, motivated by a respectful recognition of other traditions. Finally, in its avowed aim of service to the Church in India, JDV will endeavour to form Christian leaders imbued with the outlook and motivational principles outlined above." 14
Apart from such educational institutions, other institutions operate exclusively for Inculturation. The best example is "Shantivanam". Dedicated to the "Holy Trinity" Shantivanam was founded in 1950 by two French Priests Fr.Jules Monchanin, a diocesan missionary and Fr. Henry leSaux (Abhishiktananda) from the Abbey of Kergonam. They named it as Saccidananda Ashram, equating "Sath-Sith-Ananda" with the "Holy Trinity". Later Fr.Bede Griffiths, who had come to India in 1955, took charge of Shantivanam in 1968 on the invitation of Fr.Henry leSaux, after short stints at Bangalore and Kurisumala in Kerala, where he changed his name as Dhayananda wearing saffron robes. He made Shantivanam a center of Inculturation and Inter religious dialogue.
The Saccidananda Ashram inside Shantivanam has a Temple inside. The entrance and the Temple have been built in the form of Hindu architecture with sculptures of various Christian Saints. One "Cosmic Cross" is also placed. The Ashram spends a lot of time and money for "Academic Reasearch" on Inter religious understandings and meeting points, encounters of Christianity and Hinduism, Christian Vedanta, and many other inculturation and interfaith stuff. Even after the demise of Fr.Bede Griffiths, the institution continues its inculturation works unabashedly. Jesuit Priests, whose mission is to destroy Hinduism to establish Christianity, visit here from abroad and some of them are very frequent, almost every year.15
If Shantivanam is for "academic research", yet another institution has been established exclusively for fine arts, by name "Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts" in Trichy. Having nationally accredited with Grade A by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) and also recognized by the Government of Tamil Nadu, the institution has tasted success in Christianising the divine Hindu art of Barathanatyam. Apart from Barathanatyam, it also focuses on instruments such as Mridangam, Veena and Violin. The classical music and dance are being taught on Christian (Bible) Themes with the main objective of Christianising them.16
The Church's hold on Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu is so much that this institute Kalai Kaviri is patronized by DMK as well as the AIADMK governments. While the DMK government allowed this institute to play a major role in "Sangamam" festival organized between 2008 and 2011, the present AIADMK government allows it to play a major role not only in its Christmas celebrations but also festivals of Temples like Srirangam Ranganathar Temple which is in the Chief Minister's own electoral constituency.
Atma Jyoti Ashram
Such Inculturation institutes are there in foreign states too, where they operate with the aim of controlling their own youth who get fascinated by Hindu philosophies. One such institution is "Atma Jyoti Ashram". Thiruvannamalai based Swami Devananda Saraswati ji has totally exposed the evil designs of this Atma Jyoti Ashram and its associates, and how they have infiltrated into Sri Ramanashram in Thiruvannamalai. In course of exposing the shocking details with regards to Ramanashramam, Swamiji says, "The real problem is with Hindu leaders – political, social, cultural, and religious leaders. They are first of all in a state of denial, unwilling or unable to admit the Christian threat and the grave implications it has for Hindu civilization and society. Then, they are engaged in fruitless inter-religious dialogues with Christian leaders who flatter their egos, pay their expenses, and get them to sign declarations that are patently against the Hindu community's interests ."
This Atma Jyoti Ashram, which operates from Mexico, is well connected with Shantivanam, Trichy. From both the places, Christian Padires masquerading as Hindu Sanyasis visit Ramanshramam and it seems some members of the Ashram's management are hand in glove with these fraudsters and sooner or later Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi's Ashram would fall under the real threat of getting Christianised.17
If institutions like Atma Jyoti Ashrams work round the clock, not only to retain the Western youth within the Christian fold but also to usurp the Hindu youth of India, certain other institutions get confused on how to carry out their activities, as they target the US-born US-grown Hindu youths, who are distanced from their native culture at least by two to three generations. One such institute is "International Sanatana Dharma Society" run by one Frank Moraels identifying himself as "Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya". Through he began his institute in right earnest, he suddenly seemed to have changed his strategy casting aspersions on his motive. Through his "Teachings" he intends to establish Jesus as "Dharma Master" through the Hindu scriptures, which is akin to the local fraudsters like Sadhu Chellappa and Vedanayagam Sastri. Though Frank Morael's talks and writings seem to be harmless from outside, the senior citizens among the Hindus settled abroad are deeply worried about the approach and destination of his school of thought, for they realize that their wards are susceptible.18
The Yoga Marketers
As if this is not enough, we have a few cults here in India itself, which do not want to identify themselves as "Hindu". The Corporate Yoga Masters, who lead these cults, dress and make up themselves to look like "Jesus", in order to sell their yoga globally. The precedence for this was actually set by Paramahamsa Yogananda, who established his 'Yogada Satsang Society's International Headquarters in Mt.Washington in 1925. He must be the first Indian Hindu yogi to have legitimised the myth called Jesus. He found a permanent place for Jesus in the pantheon of Hindu Gods next to Krishna. Now his Yogatha Satsang Society (YSS-founded in 1917) is almost Christianised.19
Thanks to 'Saiva Siddantha Church' (a genuine organization – unlike the inculturation institutes which we have seen above - founded by an American ballet dancer called Shivaya Subramanian Swami who as a young traveler was believed to have got enlightened while meditating in a cave after he had met Shivagnani and Siddhar Jnanaguru Siva Yoga Swami in Jaffna in the 1950s and 60s), which exposed the claims made by Paramahamsa Yogananda in his book "Autobiography of a Yogi".20
The Hindu yoga is marketed by Corporate Gurus who want to identify themselves as secular or spiritual but not Hindu; foreigners flow as 'disciples' with huge money too; ashrams are established worldwide; round the year globetrotting; ultimately, knowingly or unknowingly they start selling Jesus themselves in India and help the cause of inculturation leading to Christianisation of Yoga.
The Tamil Chauvinists and their Tamil Shaivism
It doesn't happen only with Corporate Gurus. It also happens with some traditional Saiva Mutts. Some "Tamil Saiva Mutts", which are opposed to Vedas and Sanskrit, easily fall prey to the Tamil card played by the Church. They are so chauvinistic that they fail to realize the damage they are causing to their own philosophy. World Saiva Council headquartered at London is one such organization, which organizes World Saiva Conferences with the sole aim of promoting Tamil Consecrations, Tamil Marriages, Tamil worship in temples, all sans Vedic hymns and Sanskrit Mantras. They also peddle something called "Tamil Agama".21
There are a few sectarian and racist Tamil outfits that subscribe to Shaiva Siddhanta and pretend it has nothing to do with Vedic Hinduism. These people have been wittingly or unwittingly Christianized by the early missionaries who tried to identify Shaiva Siddhanta with Christianity and thereby separate the Tamils from the greater Hindu Sangh. Some of these chauvinistic saivite heads brazenly flirt with anti-Hindu forces such as atheistic Dravidian parties and Christian inculturation institutes.22
The Church's Missionary Agenda
Right from the beginning the White Christian Church has been working with the dole aim of Christianising Hindu India. The missionaries have been sent to India only for this purpose and they used Inculturation as their most potent weapon.
The great Sitaram Goel, in his "Catholic Ashrams: Sanyasins or Swindlers?" clearly states the agenda of the Church thus: "Christianity has to drop its alien attire and get clothed in Hindu cultural forms. Christianity has to be presented as an indigenous faith. Christian theology has to be conveyed through categories of Hindu philosophy; Christian worship has to be conducted in the manner and with the materials of Hindu puja . Christian sacraments have to sound like Hindu samskaras ; Christian churches have to copy the architecture of Hindu temples; Christian hymns have to be set to Hindu music; Christian themes and personalities have to be presented in styles of Hindu painting; Christian missionaries have to dress and live like Hindu sannyasins; Christian mission stations have to look like Hindu ashramas. And so on, the literature of Indigenization goes into all aspects of Christian thought, organization and activity and tries to discover how far and in what way they can be disguised in Hindu forms."
The Jesuit "Jackals"
Two decades have passed since Sitaram Goel had written this, but it seems we have not learnt anything at all, as evidenced by our own people supporting dubious characters like Clooney. Francis Clooney belongs to "The Society of Jesus", a Roman Catholic Religious Order, which was founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). Jesuits, the members of this society, which is notorious for its evangelical works in the guise of charitable, educational and social services, are bound by the Vows of Apostolic Order. Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was the first Jesuit to work in India facilitating the "Inquisition of Goa". 23
Though Pope Clement XIV (1705–1774) abolished the Jesuit order in 1773, it was reconstituted in 1814 by Pope Pius VII. And since then there is no looking back for them and they are well established in India with hundreds of schools, colleges and other educational institutes.
A section of these Jesuits religiously follow the strategy of "Inculturation" introduced by Robert-De-Nobili. In the initial stages, they addressed themselves as "De Nobili Jesuits", experimenting with a Hinduised version of the Mass that incorporates Hindu serving dishes, Hindu music, language, and postures of prayer. They have chosen to adopt the life-styles and manner of Hindu sanyasis while continuing their work as Roman Catholic priests. Two such Jesuits were Swami Amalananda and Swami Animananda, who worked in remote, poor villages in the state of Mysore.24
The seeds sown by such characters flourished later as Shantivanam and Kalai Kaviri.
The Clooney Story
Francis X Clooney, a Jesuit Padire and Professor at Harvard Divinity School, could easily deceive some self centered Vaishnavites in Tamil Nadu for his "studies" on "Comparative Theology". He has been on his mission for more than two decades making regular visits to India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular. This is how he boasts himself: "I work in certain traditions of classical Hinduism, including Mimamsa Vedanta and Srivaishnavism. Of course, my work as a professor leads me to write on other topics and themes at times, but these are my areas of focus in the study of Hinduism. Beyond these, I am also a comparative theologian, and so, I reflect on what I learn from Indian traditions alongside my understanding of my Christian bearings. And, to understand comparative study, I am also a bit of a historian, studying how Western Jesuits over the centuries have understood Hinduism." 25
Saying with a tone of temerity that Srivaishnavism to be parallel to Roman Catholicism, with a similar depth, breadth, and wholeness, he adds, "I have several book projects in mind, including more work on the Srivaishnava Bhagavatha Visaya, certain songs and commentaries compared with medieval Christian commentary on the Biblical Song of Songs. I have also been doing research on the Jesuit tradition of inter-religious learning in India, and may soon have something more to write on that. " Wikipedia says that his current projects include an introductory volume on comparative theology, and a study of yoga and Jesuit spirituality (whatever that means).26
He has a set up in Chennai itself and every year during his sojourns in Chennai, he makes it a point to address Hindus either in a College or a University organized by the 'self-centered' Vishnavites, who aid and abet him with all the details, information and relevant references he wants. These "self-centered" Vishnavites do not have any shame or guilt at all when the Jesuit Padire compares and equates "Sri" (Goddess Lakshmi) with "Mary", or Maariamman with Mary, or Francis De Seles with Sri Vedanta Desika. The damage being caused by Clooney's so-called research is that he deliberately misinterprets Indian religious texts and "invents" similarities between "Hindu Theology" and Christian Theology.
Barring half a dozen individual Hindu Nationalists in Chennai, no organization realised the necessity to put Clooney in his place and scuttle his devious strategy. Blogger and Historian Vedaprakash closely followed Clooney and his activities and thoroughly exposed him. The Hindu Samaj owes a lot to Vedaprakash for documenting everything concerning Clooney. Matters regarding Clooney have captured quite a good amount of space in his wonderful blog "Incluturation", wherein he exposes many other dubious and phony activities of the Church.27
Christian missionaries, who were concentrating on the poor and downtrodden sections, have now started focusing on the upper echelons of society. The employees in media houses, workers in cinema and small-screen industries, and Hindus working in Christian institutions have become vulnerable to conversion attempts. Of late, special attention is being shown to the Brahmin community.
Brahmins were, are and will always be a "Prize Catch" for Christian evangelists. For them, converting even a single Brahmin is a great achievement. A converted Brahmin becomes a great asset, for with one Brahmin convert they would be able to easily convert a hundred non-Brahmins. Of late, Christian missionaries have started targeting the Brahmin community, and in the last four or five years, they have been able to achieve some gains.
'Sadhu Chellappaa', a notorious figure attired in saffron, started a dubious outfit called 'Christian Brahmin Seva Samiti'. His modus operandi is distortion of Hindu scriptures to advance Christianity.
Born in a Hindu family and raised in and around a temple, Chellappaa claims to have complete knowledge of the Vedas, Upanishads, Ithihasas and Puranas. As the temple priests and other scholars could not clarify his doubts on some questions, one day (15 May 1967) he decided to commit suicide by jumping from a running train. As he was about to do so, he claims to have heard holy verses of the Bible; he got down at the next station and went straight to the Church, where he claims to have seen Jesus and received answers for all his doubts through divine blessing.
As per orders of Jesus, he became a Christian and travelled throughout the state converting thousands of Hindus to Christianity. He became a full time evangelist in 1974 and founded the Agni Ministries. Since 1982, he has been running a Tamil monthly magazine, "Agni," for Tamil people worldwide. As per orders of Jesus, he has been planting new churches since 1995, and has so far planted 27 churches and appointed 27 pastors for effective harvests. He has appointed four full-time evangelists and established a full fledged office with four faculty and other staff.
Sadhu Chellappaa has written over 28 books in Tamil and two in English. He claims his book "IS CHRISTIANITY A NECESSITY?" is always in demand and is likely to go into reprint for the fifth time. Another book, BIBLE AND BAGAVAT GITA, VARANASHRA DHARMA sells like hot cakes! He has travelled widely abroad, meeting evangelists and church leaders in pursuit of name and fame.
Chellappaa is believed to have met Dr. Billy Graham at the itinerant Evangelists Conference at Amsterdam in 1983; his life story appeared in "Challenge" magazine published by Campus Crusade, USA. But his 'Sri Lankan connection' is telling! A regular speaker at the Impetus Conference in Colombo for Third World Pastors and Evangelists, Sadhu is a close friend of Dr. Colton Wickramaratne, Senior Pastor of People's Church, Colombo and his ministry has 'saved' numerous Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka.
Most Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus who are scattered as refugees throughout the world have been converted to Christianity through his ministries. Rev. Colin Dye, Senior Pastor of Kensington Temple, London, the largest church in England, interviewed Chellappaa and his story appeared in "The Edge," a leading British Christian magazine, in its May 1996 issue.28
Sadhu Chellappa's 'Agni Ministries' (AM) are governed by "Evangelical Action Team of India" (EATI), founded by him in 1980 in Coimbatore, with 20 persons in the Board of Directors; he is the 'Managing Director'. EATI concentrates on conversion activities in the guise of services in Education and Health. The main objective of EATI and AM is to Plant Churches and Harvest Souls, for which purpose they recruit Pastors and Evangelists and conduct training courses for them. They teach distorted versions of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh scriptures and other books relevant to those Indigenous religions and train recruits how to use those scriptures (by comparing with Christian concepts and Bible stories) for converting the gullible sections from those faiths. They send trained recruits to set up 'Prayer Cells' to facilitate planting of new Churches in predominantly Hindu areas. The recruits also teach at Bible schools and colleges. EATI and AM have tie-ups with international missionaries, mainly for fund raising, which makes harvesting easier. 29
Sadhu Chellappaa audaciously claims, "Diwali, the festival of lights, is a Christian Festival; Animal Sacrifice is a Christian culture adopted by Hindus and Gayatri Mantra actually glorifies Jesus. The Vedas, the ancient Indian sacred writings had anticipated the coming of Christ to take away the sins of man. They call Him Purusha Prajapati the creator God who would come as a man to offer himself as a sacrifice. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Vedic quest of the Indian people, because the Vedhas are incomplete without Him, just as the Old Testament was fulfilled at the coming of the Messiah". He waxes eloquent on 'You Tube' on "Hinduism came from Bible"30
Backed by the Church and funded by foreign sources, many Christian Organisations make well planned short duration documentaries after distorting Hindu Scriptures to their convenience. For example, "Asatoma Sath Kamaya" is a movie uploaded on 'You Tube' in ten parts. It is produced by "Prarthanalaya Church."31
Sastris and Maamis
It is said Sadhu Chellappaa has a few Brahmin families in his kitty since the launching of this Christian Brahmin Seva Samiti. He uses the services of another convert Vedanayagam, who brazenly calls himself 'Pujya Sri Bhagavathar Vedanayagam Sastrigal'. Both of them organize evangelical sessions in the guise of "Kathaakaalakshebam" and hoodwink gullible Hindus.32 They focus on poor and lower middle class Brahmins, who are ignorant and have poor knowledge of their religious scriptures. Most have personal and financial problems, which make them vulnerable to the Chellappaas and Vedanayagams.
Now we have a new breed of evangelists, who also have special expertise on inculturation techniques. Suseela Ragunathan is a Brahmin convert and she is an office-bearer in Christian Brahmin Seva Samithi. She identifies herself as 'Suseela Maami Ragunathan' and conducts evangelical congregations. Another evangelist by name Mani claims to have suffered a lot as a Brahmin Priest and had a turning point in life after converting to Christianity. He is a full time evangelist now identifying himself as Brother Mani Iyer.
While the evangelists masquerade as "Sadus and Sanyasis", and the organizations and ministries distort Hindu scriptures and produce documentaries, the Roman Catholic Church came out with a most outrageous 'New Community Bible' christened as the "Indian Bible," which included sacred verses from the Ithihasas, Gita, Vedas and Upanishads.
This Hybrid Bible depicted Virgin Mary barefoot, wearing a sari and sporting a bindi on her forehead, a naked baby Jesus on one shoulder, standing beside Joseph clad in loincloth and turban. It was released in June 2008 and a print run of 30,000 copies sold out in a week in Mumbai; many shops limited distribution to three copies per person. Some famous bookshops in Delhi reported that even "Hindus" bought copies of the Indian Bible!
The hybrid Bible was reportedly conceived in the 1980s. The Indian Catholic clergy deputed over 20 experts on Christianity and Indian Religions to devise a commentary that would help Indian converts – the end product was the so-called "Indian Bible"! The Catholic Bishops Conference of India approved it and Vatican blessed the initiative.33
Christianising Native Festivals of Non-Christian nations is a part of inculturation, which is the time tested modus operandi of the Church to increase their harvest of souls. As B.R.Gauthaman observes in his article, "The fable of 'Martyr' Devasahayam Pillai", " Many Christian festivals have been so "created" in line with the festivals of the local people. In the process, the reasons behind these festivals and the cultural identities in the minds of the locals have all but been annihilated, for which history bears testimony. By keeping the date of the death of Devasahayam Pillai conveniently open, it is amply clear that the 'Devasahaayam Pillai Festival' too has been craftily created by the Church to destroy the ancient tradition of celebrating Pongal."34
The Roman Catholic Churchhas been focusing on Pongal for quite some time. The reason may be attributed to the fact that the festival falls in January within days immediately after Christmas and New Year celebrations. The Church effectively used its control over the Dravidian Parties in general and DMK in particular to bring Pongal into Christian tradition. The DMK government promulgated "New Tamil New Year Ordinance" in 2007, making Pongal Day (First day of Tamil month 'Thai') as the Tamil New Year Day.35
The DMK government blessed organization "Tamil Maiyam" founded by Father Jagath Gasper Raj and DMK Supremo Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi started a State Festival in the name of "Chennai Sangamam" which would start from Christmas and end with Pongal. The government roped in all the folk arts and folk music into the Chennai Sangamam notwithstanding the inclusion of Classical Music and Dance.36
A new concept called "Samathuva Pongal" (Egalitarian Pongal) was introduced, in which, Pongal was celebrated within the Church premises, wherein people from all religions were made to participate. Though a few Muslims participated in such festivities, they never yielded to the idea of making Pongal inside the Mosques. Even the Christian clergy allowed the celebration only within their premises and not inside the Church.37
This clearly shows their agenda of using the Hindu festival only to convert gullible people. Many Christian organizations like 'Jesus Redeems Production' produced documentaries on Christian Pongal and distributed them, apart from releasing on You Tube.38
In fact, this Christianising Hindu dance forms have been going on for more than two decades. Institutes like Kalai Kaviri have been doing only that. In due course of time, many other organizations have come up both inside and outside India. For example, Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy of Germany is one such organisation which celebrated Tamil Christian Festivals using Hindu Classical Music like Carnatic and Dance forms like Bharathanatyam. 39
Evangelists like Sadu Chellappa, focusing on Urban India and the high echelons of society, are already on the job of Christianising festivals like Deepavali. Now the predominantly rural festival like Pongal is also not spared. In this kind of a scenario, one could imagine the adverse impact of celebrating Devasahayam Pillai's martyrdom on 14 January.
Religious conversion has been a subject of dispute for ages and the Church has been well known for conversion activities to spread Christianity throughout the world in its pursuit of souls for harvesting.
It mostly follows the strategies of allurement and pressure to convert the people following other religions. However, the most potent weapon in its armoury has been 'Inculturation'. The Church uses process of 'Inculturation' with an aim to adopt the well-established Hindu cultural practices to make a changeover in the minds of the gullible masses.40
The Church has started setting up Hindu type of buildings and called them as 'Catholic Ashrams' controlled by 'Saffron robed' Padres, projecting themselves as 'Swamijis'. The Hindu style of architecture, construction, layout and interior designs are being followed. The buildings also have the Sanskrit 'Ohm' symbol in front of them and the saffronised Padres claim that Ohm is not Hindu, but Vedic!
Some Churches also sculpture the statues of Jesus in 'meditating' posture (Kerala), Jesus sitting cross-legged on a lotus (Hyderabad), Jesus emerging after a purification bath in Ganges (Haridwar) and they even claim that yoga and meditation are not connected to Hinduism and that they are universal, common to all religions! The 'Ashtothram' and 'Sahasra Naamam' (108 and 1008 names) have also been prepared for performing 'Archana' on Jesus and the 'Aarti' is also being performed.
In Tamilnadu, Churches have started 'Padayatras' for Velankanni Shrines, sometimes even with the 'Irumudi' (similar to the one taken for Sabari Mala Yatras). The Velankanni pilgrims have started wearing saffron robes. Many Churches have started giving 'Chakra Pongal' (Sweet Rice) as 'Prashadams' for the people. Apart from Velankanni in Nagapattinam, the Velankanni shrine in Besant Nagar, Chennai also follows these practices of inculturation.
The seemingly deliberate setting up of 'Mary shrines' in street corners, next to 'Vinayaga' enclosures / small temples, is a concerted effort to replace 'Goddess Maariamman' from the scheme of things as they exist now. Evangelists have been seen brazenly telling the village people that Mary (Mother) and Mari (Amman) are one and the same. During festival times one can find digital banners in the Santhome area of Chennai City near Marina Beach, claiming Mary as 'Thiru Mayilai Annai' (Mother in Mylapore), while the true 'Thiru Mayilai Annai' is Goddess Karpagambaal of Kapaaleeshwarar Temple, which was demolished by the Portugese.
The whole world knows that 'Girivalam' (Circumambulation of Hill Temples) is being performed at Thiruvannamalai every 'Pournami' (New Moon Day) and the same practice has been started by Churches at many places after erecting a huge Cross and a Prayer House on Hillocks. A Church on the hillock at a place called Achirupakkam near Melmaruvaththur Adi Parashakthi Temple is a classic example for Chrsitian Girivalam41. The Church has adapted every Hindu practice and the only thing left is the replacement of 'Hindu Murthis' with Jesus and Mary statues, which is most likely to happen anytime if this inculturation continues. The Churches claim that this concept of inculturation has been aimed at bridging the divide between Indian Cultural Experience and the Western Character of Christianity.
Similar to the Christianising of Yoga and Meditation, Classical Dance forms Baratha Natyam are also being Christianised by a few institutes in the country. The adaptation of practises of Hindu religion, culture and fine arts by the Church and missionaries with an intention of de-Hinduising them, have created havoc in the psyche of the Hindu majority provoking it beyond the limits of tolerance.
After Independence, the Constituent Assembly's noble intention of giving room for 'propagating' one's religion' helped the Church to score brownie points. This is evident from the fact that the Northeast, which was predominantly Hindu at the time of independence, has become almost totally Christian within fifty years. Similarly in the south, where the Portuguese onslaught paved the way for the establishment of Christianity, conversions have been rampant. Goa, which was the focus of Christian Persecution during the Portuguese invasion, has turned out to be predominantly Christian.
As the Portuguese landed in the coastal areas of Tamilnadu too, the state has witnessed laborious activities by the missionaries, which was helped by people like G.U.Pope and Bishop Caldwell. Later on the Church and Missionaries were, and are still, aided and abetted by the Dravidian Movement, with an ulterior motive of isolating the Tamil people from the Hindu fold. Kerala has a few districts, which are dominated by the community. After achieving a considerable harvest in Goa and Kerala, the other three states of TN, AP and Karnataka have become the focus of missionaries.
The only remedy lies in bringing a Constitutional Amendment. At present, the Constitution ensures 'Freedom of Religion' to practise & propagate and certainly doesn't grant the right to convert others. The relevant 'Article-25', which ensures freedom of religion, is subject to public order, morality and health. But, the process of inculturation being practised by the Church now, violates all, and calls for a total ban on such attempts and a legislation of a Central Anti-Conversion Law. Also, the Constitution must be amended, so as to remove the word 'propagate', which is deviously used by the Church. The minorities must be allowed to practise their religion. But it should not be done at the cost of national interest and communal amity.
The devious attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to make a martyr out of a fraudster and award him sainthood with the sole intention of harvesting souls must be foiled at the very beginning.
This Seminar is a great initiative and this initiative must be sustained at various levels in the days to come, so that, the gullible masses become aware of the nefarious designs of the Catholic Church and wake up to face the disaster which is looming over them.
It will be appropriate to close with the immortal words of Swami Vivekananda on the Great Savant's 150th Jayanthi Celebrations:
"With all your brags and boastings, where has your Christianity succeeded without the sword? Show me one place in the whole world. One, I say, throughout the history of the Christian religion – one; I do not want two. I know how your forefathers were converted. They had to be converted or killed; that was all. What can you do better than Mohammedanism, with all your bragging? 'We are the only one!' and why? 'Because we can kill others' " 42
- "The Portuguese in India", Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 1990, & "Christianity in India: A critical study," Vivekananda Kendra Prakasham.
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=1324 Myth of Christian contribution to Tamil – 1
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=1324 Myth of Christian contribution to Tamil – 1
- Dr. T.N. Ramachandran, Thamizhaga Andhanar Varalaaru, (History of Tamil Brahmins), Vol. II, LKM Publications, Chennai, 2nd pub. 2005, pp. 641 to 643.
- Blasphemous distortions
- http://www.newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=29&id=12183 http://www.jdv.edu.in/web/jdv_crest.php
- http://www.dharmacentral.com/index.php and http://www.youtube.com/user/DharmaNation?feature=mhum#p/c/0/3NYMBb65wVY and http://www.agniministries.org/Default.aspx
- http://www.yogananda-srf.org/tmp/py_notitle.aspx?id=44 and http://www.yssofindia.org/programmes/150-Years-of-Kriya-Yoga
- http://www.saivaworld.org/pageview.cgi?iD=201&cat=2 and http://www.saivaworld.org/pageview.cgi?iD=1016&cat=10
- http://www.hindu.com/2006/06/13/stories/2006061310820400.htm and http://www.kutcheribuzz.com/news/20030124/phd.asp
- (http://www.agniministries.org/ and http://www.agniministries.org/Testimony.aspx).
- (http://www.agniministries.org/AboutUs.aspx and http://www.agniministries.org/EATI.aspx )
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=778 Christian Sadhus and Sastris: shameless conversion games
- http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/the-fable-of-martyr-devasahayam-pillai-churchs-lies-stand-exposed-b-r-gauthaman/ The fable of 'Martyr' Devasahayam Pillai: Church's lies stand exposed – B.R. Gauthaman
- Bill on Pongal as New Year day introduced http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/30/stories/2008013060271000.htm Tamil New Year and the Tamil Nadu Government http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=510 and http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=516
- Chennai Sangamam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chennai_Sangamam
- 37. Popularity of 'Samathuva Pongal' heartening: Stalin http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article1093094.ece
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8AHoIKHGwM Ponguthae Inbam (Pongal Song)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHtdV75rkRM Tamil Christian Program by Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy 2003. This program organised by Fr.Bernard Regno when he was the director of Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy, Germany.
- http://newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=29&id=8512 'Inculturation' - A danger to communal amity!
- http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=638 Inculturation: Crime and cunningness of Catholic Church
- Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works (1990), VIII.213.