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MUST READ:- Kali Yuga or Age of Confusion

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Kali Yuga

or the Age of Confusion


By Michel Danino


Sanskrit Day address (revised here) presented at a function organized by the Chinmaya International Foundation, Veliyanad, at the Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Tripunithura (Kerala), on 15 August 2000.


I am much honoured to be invited to speak on this special day. At the same time, I must admit that I am rather shy of addressing this gathering of distinguished scholars and Sanskritists, I who am neither. For over twenty-five years, if I have studied something of Indian culture, it has not been in a bookish or theoretical manner : experience is what has always interested me—to live at least something of what sent so many in this land, like nowhere else on earth, in search of the truth of this universe and this human adventure. That something I slowly learned mainly from Sri Aurobindo, for although he came to be regarded as a philosopher and a thinker, he really was an experimenter before anything else. It is a happy coincidence that his birthday should fall today, the 128th anniversary of his birth, and I shall take the liberty of quoting him a few times.


If I have honestly warned you about my limitations, it is because I wish to examine with you a few important issues which, in India’s present intellectual climate, are usually regarded as “sensitive” or “controversial”—in other words, fit to be discreetly swept under the carpet. Yet I find that examining them turns out to be immensely profitable, provided we do so from the standpoint of Indian experience, not from dry philosophy or hollow Westernized intellectualism. Conversely, turning away from them or blindly accepting conventional ideas about them is, to my mind, the source of the most serious confusion. Long ago we were warned about this unmistakable sign of our dark age : in the Mahabharata, for example, Markandeya tells Yuddhisthira that in the Kali Yuga, “Men generally become addicted to falsehood in speech,” and “intellectual darkness will envelop the whole earth.”[1] Yet we have done surprisingly little to dispel this darkness from our own minds to begin with. We have allowed others, unfamiliar with or contemptuous of the truths discovered by millennia of yoga and sadhana, to think for us, speak for us, and ultimately to dictate to us.


What are these issues, then ? To discuss them—very briefly, of course—I have chosen a few convenient keywords ; they are : “God,” “religion,” “secularism,” and “tolerance.” Imposing words, no doubt, constantly thrown under our eyes and into our ears. Yet the one thing seldom mentioned about them is that they are Western notions, and correspond to no clear Indian concepts—hence the confusion they generate when mechanically applied to the Indian context. I will keep returning to this central point.


But does not the word “God” at least correspond to an Indian concept, you may ask ? Apparently it does—but only apparently. We all know how Indians love to stress that “God is one” and “all religions have the same God.” We even find respectable swamis eager to get themselves photographed in front of St. Peter’s of Rome or in an audience with the Pope—although they do not realize that the same Pope would never care to visit a Hindu temple and offer worship there. We are also told that “all religions speak the same truth” or “are as many paths to the Truth,” and so on. Nice thoughts, full of goodwill, but unfortunately ignorant ones, and in fact slogans rather than thoughts. I agree that synthesis is desirable and essential in the search for truth, but painting the whole world with a single brush will not produce a synthesis, only a jumble. To reach a fruitful synthesis, we must learn again to make use of viveka, a laser-like spiritual discernment that extracts the truth but also the falsehood in each element. It is with good reason that viveka is the very first qualification required of a seeker, according to Sankaracharya.[2]


The Semitic God


Our first task, therefore, is to examine the Western concept of God. By “Western,” I mean the god of the three Semitic or Abrahamic religions, Jehovah or Allah ; I am not referring to more ancient Greek, Norse or Celtic gods since, as we know, the pre-Christian religions of Europe all but vanished under the onslaught of so-called monotheism (though some are now striving to revive).


The first thing that strikes the unbiased, discerning Indian reader of the Old Testament, especially the Exodus, in which Jehovah (or Yahweh) first introduces himself to Moses under that name, is his ungodlike character. Jehovah is admittedly jealous : the second of the Ten Commandments reads, “You shall have no other gods before me,” while the third explicitly forbids the making and worship of any idols, “for I am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers....” Jehovah does speak as often of punishment as he does of sin, and periodically goes into a state of “fierce anger,” promising the most complete devastation to the Hebrews who reject him. Not content with cursing his reluctant followers, he also curses nation after nation, and finally the earth itself, which he inexplicably holds responsible for man’s sins : “The Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it, he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants” (Isaiah, 24 :1), or again, “The day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it” (Isaiah, 13 :9). In fact, he is so obsessed with sin that one looks in vain in his oppressive berating and legislating for any hint of a higher spirituality, such as the Gita’s final injunction to “abandon all dharmas.” Or contrast his “jealousy” with Sri Krishna’s insistence on spiritual freedom : “Whatever form of Me any devotee with faith desires to worship, I make that faith of his firm and undeviating” (7.21), or again : “Others ... worship Me in My oneness and in every separate being and in all My million universal faces” (9.15). But the god of the Bible and Koran will have none of this universality.


If Jehovah had stopped there, we might have found him to be simply a foul-tempered and libidinous god ; after all, some Puranic gods too have such defects, although they usually retain a sense of their limits and a compassion of which Jehovah is spotlessly guiltless. But he has a clear plan, he means business and knows that coercion alone can establish his rule : when the Hebrews over whom he is so keen to hold sway go back to their older worship of a “golden calf,” he orders through Moses that each of the faithful should “kill his brother and friend and neighbour” (Exodus 32 :27). Instructions which were promptly complied with, for we are informed that 3,000 were killed on that fateful day ; to crown his punishment, Jehovah “struck the people with a plague.” I find it highly symbolic that Judaism was born in blood and fear, not out of love for its god. As Sri Aurobindo put it, “The Jew invented the God-fearing man ; India the God-knower and God-lover.”[3] It probably took centuries for the old cults to disappear altogether, and a stream of prophets who sought to strike terror into the hearts of the Israelites. It was a radical, unprecedented departure from ancient world cultures. Naturally, it did not stop there and was to find more fertile soils in Christianity and Islam : earlier, Jehovah was content with being the god of the Hebrews alone, but in the new creeds, his ambition now extended to the whole earth.


Increasingly aware of this cruel, irritable, egocentric and exclusivist character of Jehovah, many Western thinkers, especially from the eighteenth century onward, rejected his claim to be the supreme and only god. Voltaire, one of the first to ruthlessly expose the countless inconsistencies in the Bible, could hardly disguise how it filled him with “horror and indignation at every page.”[4] In particular, he found the plethora of laws dictated by Jehovah “barbaric and ridiculous.”[5] Jefferson depicted him as “cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust,” while Thomas Paine found the Bible more like “the work of a demon than the word of God.”[6] With the growth of materialistic science, in particular Darwinian evolution, such views, which were revolutionary at the time of a Voltaire, became widespread in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bernard Shaw, for example, describes the Biblical god as “a thundering, earthquaking, famine striking, pestilence launching, blinding, deafening, killing, destructively omnipotent Bogey Man....”[7] Freud, seeing in Jehovah an all-too-human creation, subjected him to psychoanalysis—a dream of a subject for a psychoanalyst. Aldous Huxley called the Old Testament “a treasure house of barbarous stupidity [full of] justifications for every crime and folly.”[8] Huxley traced the “wholesale massacres” perpetrated by Christianity to Jehovah’s “wrathful, jealous, vindictive” character, just as he attributed “the wholesale slaughter of Buddhists and Hindus” by invading Muslims to their devotion for a “despotic person.”[9] Because a few—not all—intellectuals had the courage to state the obvious, the power of Christianity was greatly reduced in the West. Yet I have always marvelled that Indians should learn about Christianity neither from their own inquiry nor from those bold Western thinkers, but from the very zealots who are no longer heard in the West.


But is that all there is to the Semitic god ? Are we simply faced with a man-made demon or the product of some fevered brain ? If you look at Jehovah in the light of Indian experience, it is striking how he has all the characteristics of an Asura. Recall for a moment a being such as Hiranyakashipu : Had he not, too, forbidden all other cults ? Did he not order that he alone should be worshipped as the supreme god ? Did he not use fear and violence to coerce Prahlad ? That he was stopped by a divine manifestation, like many other Asuras eager to possess this world, is another story : the point is that we find here the same seed of pride and cruelty as in a Jehovah, and without a Prahlad and a Lord Narasimha, an exclusivist and cruel religion might well have taken root on Indian soil.


Now, to pinpoint Jehovah’s identity we must remember that he himself acknowledges “Yahweh” to be a name new to the Hebrews : “By that name I did not make myself known to them” (Exodus, 6 :3). He does not say what his earlier name was, but the early Christian Gnostic tradition, which was brutally suppressed by the growing orthodox school, provides us with an answer—or rather two. In the Gnostic Gospels which survived centuries of persecution (most of which were found at Nag-Hammadi in Upper Egypt in 1945), Jehovah is named either Samael, which means “the god of the blind,” or Ialdabaoth, “the son of chaos.” Thus one of those texts contains this revealing passage :


Ialdabaoth, becoming arrogant in spirit, boasted himself over all those who were below him, and explained, “I am father, and God, and above me there is no one.” His mother, hearing him speak thus, cried out against him, “Do not lie, Ialdabaoth ; for the father of all, the primal anthropos, is above you.”[10]


This not only shows that Jehovah was not the supreme god, but also that he had a mother ! For the Gnostics, like the Indians, refused to depict God as only male ; God had to be equally female—and ultimately everything. Another text, in the Secret Book of John, points out pertinently, “By announcing [that he is a jealous God] he indicated that another God does exist ; for if there were no other one, of whom would he be jealous ?”[11] In fact, Jehovah is viewed in the Gnostic Gospels as no more than a demiurge or a subordinate deity—exactly what Devas and Asuras are in Indian tradition.


The French novelist Anatole France, who made use of the apocryphal Gospels in his perceptive novel The Revolt of the Angels, has one of the rebellious angels depict Jehovah thus :


I no longer think he is the one and only God ; for a long time he himself did not believe so : he was a polytheist at first. Later on, his pride and the flattery of his worshippers turned him into a monotheist.... And in fact, rather than a god he is a vain and ignorant demiurge. Those who, like me, know his true nature, call him “Ialdabaoth”.... Having seized a minuscule fragment of the universe, he has sown in it pain and death.[12]


Now contrast this Semitic notion of God as a tyrannical ruler wholly separate from his creation, with the Indian notion of an all-encompassing, all-pervasive, all-loving divine essence. In the language of the Upanishads : “He is the secret Self in all existences.... Eternal, pervading, in all things and impalpable, that which is Imperishable ... the Truth of things.... All this is Brahman alone, all this magnificent universe.”[13] If Jehovah represents a radical departure from ancient worships, it is because he is “wholly other,” as Huxley puts it. Because of the unbridgeable gulf between him and his creation, no Christian would dare declare, “I am Jehovah” or “I am Christ,” no Muslim would dream of saying, “I am Allah.” But to the Hindu, so’ham asmi, “He I am,” or tat tvam asi, “You are That,” is the most natural thing in the world. Again, can Christian parents christen their son “Jehovah” or Muslim parents name theirs “Allah” in the way a Hindu child can be called “Purushottam,” “Parameswar” or “Maheswari” ?


Clearly, if we use a single word, “God,” for such conflicting concepts as the Semitic and the Indian, we land ourselves in total confusion. “God is one,” perhaps, in the Vedantic sense that all is ultimately one, because all is ultimately divine, and yet Hindu inquiry always discerned a whole hierarchy of beings, not all equally true or luminous : a rakshasa, for instance, cannot be equated with a Sri Krishna. Some may object to calling the Biblical or Koranic god an Asura, but I use the word in the deeper sense of a mighty god who comes to his fall owing to ambition or pride ; moreover, the Indian approach has always claimed absolute freedom to inquire into every aspect of divinity, from the most personal to the most transcendent : if the Semitic god has the attributes of an Asura and not those of the supreme Reality, why should we look away from that essential difference ? And if a Christian or a Muslim scholar can examine Hindu gods in the light of his religion, and often deride them, or worse as we still see today, why could not a Hindu similarly look at their god in his own light and come up with his own assessment ?


A more intelligent objection might be that in later Jewish mysticism (especially the Kabala), and in Christian or Islamic mysticism, we do find seekers going far beyond this loud-mouthed self-declared god. That is certainly true, but they did so despite, not thanks to, the Semitic god, because their own nature or spiritual thirst led them beyond to a truer experience. For that very reason they often had a brush with “heresy,” and most were ruthlessly suppressed, the Gnostic Christians to begin with, whose writings were “madness and blasphemy,”[14] for they had no use of dogmas and insisted on self-knowledge and the inner discovery : “Look for God by taking yourself as a starting point,” said Monoimus, “if you carefully investigate ... you will find him in yourself.”[15] Even a Meister Eckhart, whose teaching is so akin to Vedanta, was hounded by the Inquisition. The fact remains, at any rate, that those deeper mystics always were a very small number, and that masses of Europe and her Christianized colonies remained stuck with the cruder notion, their progress slowed down or arrested for centuries.


I am not going here into the more complex question of Jesus, as he is portrayed in the New Testament, except for a brief observation or two. A Hindu would probably have no problem with him as a teacher or even an Avatar, were it not again for his exclusiveness which puts a fatal limit to himself and to God’s power to manifest—for why should God have an only child (a male one, of course) rather than ten or thousands ? Why should he send us only one saviour, and to be saved from what ? God creates us, creates sin and ignorance the better to curse us, sends us one and only one redeemer, and warns us that we shall be tortured for ever if we do not accept him ! Such crude notions are offensive to any deeper understanding. Also, the language of Jesus, though not so much as that of Jehovah, makes liberal use of threat and arrogance : “Fear him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.... Unless you repent, you too will all perish....[16] For judgment I have come into this world.... All who came before me were thieves and robbers.... No one comes to the Father except through me.”[17] How far we are from the Vedic concept of the whole universe as one family, vasudhaiva kutumbakam.


Thus the first and central object of our inquiry, God, tells us that we have surrendered to facile assimilations. We must reject the use of a single word to describe two wholly different concepts. Sri Aurobindo did not fall into this all-too-common trap, and summarized the whole issue in these words :


The conception of the Divine as an external omnipotent Power who has “created” the world and governs it like an absolute and arbitrary monarch—the Christian or Semitic conception—has never been mine ; it contradicts too much my seeing and experience during thirty years of sadhana. It is against this conception that the atheistic objection is aimed—for atheism in Europe has been a shallow and rather childish reaction against a shallow and childish exoteric religionism and its popular inadequate and crudely dogmatic notions.[18]


Religion and Dharma


This takes us to the concept of religion, and here again we have to confront the clumping together of a wide array of dissimilar faiths, creeds and practices under a single term. True, it may be said that all religions are concerned in some way with a supernatural being or creator, but that is not enough, since there is a fundamental disagreement on the said being. Moreover, a number of important differences between the Semitic family of religions and the older faiths cannot be ignored. The most visible distinctions, for instance the complete absence in Hinduism of dogmas, of an absolute authority in the form of an only Scripture or a supreme clergy, or also the belief in reincarnation, have been stressed often enough, and rightly so. But there are radical differences of a more serious nature.


To begin with, the Indian and the Pagan approaches never made a distinction between the “faithful” and the “infidels,” the former to be saved in a single life and the latter to be “eternally barbecued,” as Swami Vivekananda once put it ; humanity was never divided into two irreconcilable camps, or reconcilable only through mass slaughter or mass conversion. Indeed, in the Hindu view, the only thing one may ever be “converted” to is one’s own concealed divinity, and that can only be done through a long and sincere inner effort, not through unquestioning adherence to cruel dogmas. By contrast, a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim can see no hope for a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Parsi or, say, an “animist” Red Indian ; today he may no longer openly spew venom on them (though sometimes he still does), but a close look at his utterances will show that this fatal division is central to his mentality. It is not only humanity that is divided in the Semitic religions, God is also separate from his creation and in particular from man, and by giving man one only Son or one last prophet, one Scripture—“only one book in all these ages,”[19] as Sri Aurobindo remarked—God has in effect ended his communication with man for all time to come. In the Indian view, the Divine is you and me, the bird outside and the wide ocean ; he or she or it is boundless, endless, and cannot be limited to any Book or manifestation or dogma. No Rishi or yogi ever declared his word to be final, or that one could reach salvation only through him ; peddling in tickets to heaven was something alien to ancient India, as was bribing the gatekeeper with a “confession of faith.” There was no easy shortcut on the arduous path to self-discovery.


If one objects that these differences, however deep, are after all only theoretical, or perhaps theological, then we must point out that centuries of bloodshed, holy wars, jihad, plunder, Inquisition and persecution are ample proof that to the followers of Christianity and Islam, the division between the faithful and the infidels was no abstraction. If they indulged in such a barbaric behaviour over such a vast area and such a length of time, it is not because they were intrinsically bad, but because they followed the injunctions of their respective Scriptures and religious instructors. If the Hindu and Buddhist cultures never once tried to conquer other civilizations by force, never persecuted anyone for his beliefs, never waged religious wars, it is not because Indians were intrinsically good, but because their culture never taught them those aberrations, and on the contrary insisted on a complete spiritual freedom to choose or even create one’s own path.


It is only the most superficial and hasty view that can equate such radically diverging phenomena. I used the word “culture” to describe Hinduism and Buddhism, because I cannot bring myself to use the word “religion” in their context : if the three Semitic faiths are religions, then Hinduism cannot be one ; or else call the former dogmatic or exclusivist creeds, not religions. Words should have some clear meaning, as long as we have to use them. Religion is a Western concept ; the Indian concept is neither religion nor even Hinduism or any “ism”—it is sanatana dharma, the eternal law of the universe, which cannot be formulated in any rigid and final set of tenets, because it must be discovered in life and through an inner quest. Still, we may say that pluralism, synthesis, universality, oneness are some of its central pillars, and go on to note that none of these essential values is to be found in the Abrahamic worldview.


I do not mean to denigrate Semitic religions in any way. If any of their followers is happy with his faith and finds it helps him, all to the good. But bringing everything down to a single plane is a distortion and a running away from the truth of things. Recently, the Vatican proclaimed itself forcefully against the idea of “equality of religions.” If Christianity can thus insist on belonging to a separate plane, why could not Hinduism do the same ? And indeed, the ancient Indian culture is not on the same plane as the religions that flowed from the Bible, neither in theory nor in life. There are no doubt a few truths in common here and there, and it is good to note them ; there are also in the Bible (especially the New Testament) considerable borrowings from India, and it is good to be aware of them. But one must also have the courage to see where the two worldviews diverge, and to go to the root of the divergence. Only then can one begin to grasp some of the deeper forces at work in human history.


Secularism and Tolerance


The “synthesizers,” as the remarkable thinker Ram Swarup* calls them, or adepts of all-out sameness—“God is the same, all religions are the same,” etc.—are in love with big words. They bring in another Western concept, that of “secularism,” and tell us that it means “equal respect for all religions.” This too we are supposed to accept unquestioningly, like a sort of magic wand that is going to solve all our religious and social problems. But what really is secularism, in theory and practice ?


I have noticed that the noisiest proponents of secularism in India are always careful not to evoke its historical origin. Secularism was born to challenge theocracy in the Christian and Islamic worlds. In medieval Europe, political power was in almost every country held or at least controlled by one Church or another. It took nearly two centuries, the eighteenth and nineteenth, to curtail that power and establish a complete separation between Church and State—which is what secularism has meant in the West, as any good dictionary will tell us.[20] In France, for instance, the Roman Catholic Church was virtually all-powerful until the French Revolution, and only a century later did it finally lose its control over education. Secularism meant keeping the Church away from political power and from education, it meant a polity free from Christian affiliation. Likewise, when Mustapha Kemal threw out the Sultan in Turkey and established a “secular republic” in 1923, it was because he had abolished the office of the Caliph of the Islamic world ; “secularism” to him meant keeping Islam away from political power.


This notion of secularism has no application in India, where theocracy never existed ; how could it, in the absence of an organized Church or clergy ? Even so conformist a historian as Vincent Smith noted that “Hindooism has never produced an exclusive, dominant, orthodox sect, with a formula of faith to be professed or rejected under pain of damnation.”[21] Political rule was the business of the Kshatriya, not of the priestly class, and although kings often took the advice of a sage or a guru, it was usually in matters of governance. The very notion of a “State religion” is entirely alien to India. We almost never hear of a Vaishnavite or a Saivite raja imposing his creed on his population in the way Catholic or Protestant kings kept doing, and wars between neighbouring kingdoms were never caused by clashes of belief or cult. Quite the contrary, rajas often prided themselves on protecting all sects without partiality. Indians were a practical people, and they knew that political rule calls for expertise—hence the numerous treatises on the art of governance which Sanskrit literature has preserved for us (and from which our modern-day rulers could learn a thing or two if they were at all interested in the welfare of the people).


Moreover, the Indian genius always endeavoured to spiritualize all aspects of life, including the social and political. If spirituality was of any practical value, why should it be kept out of governance ? Sri Aurobindo reflects that spirit when he states, “There is to me nothing secular, all human activity is for me a thing to be included in a complete spiritual life....”[22]


In such a context, why did we have to hear at all of secularism in India ? And why do its loudest champions—apart from opportunistic and largely brainless politicians—happen to belong to the very religions against which Europe had to erect the defence of secularism ? Why are self-appointed leaders of Christian and Muslim Indians lecturing Hindus about the virtues of secularism, when their own religions were always dead against it (and would still be, given a chance) ? Just the other day, a Sikh leader from Amritsar followed suit, asserting that Sikhism is a “secular religion.” Such thoughtless hurling about of words is the bane of modern India. Not that anyone pays much attention anyway, but I feel sorry that we find so few Indian intellectuals to point out the extreme absurdity of the whole thing—they are probably put off by the wall of accusation of “Hindu fundamentalist” that rises before anyone deviating from the politically correct line. And yet, if secularism means, as it does, the separation of religion and State, why is it that the Indian government controls most Hindu temples while never touching churches and mosques, or can take over Hindu schools while Christian and Islamic schools are free to proliferate ? Why is nothing in the shape of Indian culture taught to children born in this land ? Why is a text like the Gita, universally praised as the best guide of ethics, kept away from the sight of Indian schoolchildren ? Perhaps our secularists would like to enlighten us on these questions ?


Another big word the champions of secularism and “minorityism”—for in the end, the two amount to the same thing—never tire of using is that of “tolerance.” A great virtue indeed, one that Christianity and Islam scrupulously steered clear of throughout their history, but which was always so natural in India that there was not even a word for it. What they really mean is that they should have full freedom to prey upon the Hindu masses, with limitless foreign funds to assist them. The harm and disruption they inflict on India’s social fabric is the least of their concern ; tribes which had lived in relative peace and harmony for centuries suddenly find themselves divided into two opposite camps ; we have seen in recent years the tensions among the Santhal and Dangs tribes of Orissa and Gujarat, and I could give examples of cultural alienation among tribes of the small Nilgiris district where I live, which has, I am told, over 350 churches, ninety Bible colleges and 300 full-time and well-paid missionaries. More than forty years ago, the famous Niyogi Committee Report[23] provided a massive documented study of such practices, which should be prescribed reading for all those interested in the subject of religious freedom.


The Hindu certainly needs no lesson in tolerance, especially from such ill-qualified zealots. He is always ready to tolerate and will never object to any Christian or Muslim practising his faith. But true tolerance can only be between mutually respectful faiths or societies or nations. “How is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is ‘I will not tolerate you’ ?”[24] asked Sri Aurobindo. That is why Hindus are growing increasingly restless at devious practises that target the most vulnerable among them with a well-oiled propaganda machine and the lure of monetary or other gain. The growth in tension is palpable year after year, and if we have not had any large-scale conflict as yet (on the level of what we see in Ireland or Indonesia, for instance), it is again thanks to the ever-patient nature of the Hindu. But Christian leaders do not realize that they are aggravating matters by raising the bogey of a “Hindu persecution of Indian minorities” for consumption by the so-called secular press in India and abroad, making up incidents when possible,[25] and hastening to accuse Hindus even when it is plain that others are involved.[26] Once again, note how followers of the two most brutal religions in world history, which stamped out all “Pagans” and minorities wherever and whenever they could, try to paint Hindus with the black brush of their very own past ! Strange that we never hear them utter one word of protest against the horrific treatment of Hindu minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh, or also in Kashmir.


The net result in the Indian context is that, helped by sections of the English-language media, those two Semitic religions have managed to project themselves as tolerant, secular, equalitarian, progressive—an image almost perfectly opposite to what they were in their countries of origin at the peak of their strength. On the other hand, Hinduism is portrayed as retrograde, medieval, superstitious, increasingly intolerant. Oxymorons such as “Hindu fundamentalism” or even “Hindu fanaticism” are used day in and day out, forgetting that Hinduism has no identifiable “fundamentals,” no self-declared mission to convert anyone, no wish even to impose itself on anyone, and cannot therefore give rise to any fanaticism of the Christian or Islamic kind. Of course, Hinduism is also equated to the caste system—as though it were nothing else—whose abuses are blown out of proportion. The far worse abuses perpetrated in the names of Jesus or Mahomet are glossed over, as is the fact that caste discrimination very much persists unchanged among converts to Christianity and Islam.


Such distortions have been steadily gaining ground in recent years ; they are “politically correct,” in modern parlance, but essentially untrue. They will throw in other catchwords of the day for good measure, such as the imposing “human rights” (which, again, Semitic religions never advocated or practised). It is common to see some of our “secular” politicians share a dais with an equally “secular” bishop or imam, while they would shudder to be seen with anyone in a Hindu garb. The Pope’s brazen call to “a great harvest of faith from Asia,” made during his recent visit to India, is a clear sign that the Hindus are simply not expected to protest—or if anyone does, his voice is drowned in the “secular” din. Money pours in from America and Europe to finance extensive missionary plans flaunted on the Internet, to build more churches and Bible colleges, or from Arab countries to build more mosques, madrasas and Koranic institutes.


More than ninety years ago, the famous art critic Ananda K. Coomaraswamy gave this word of warning with reference to the methods of Christian missionaries in India :


All that money, social influence, educational bribery and misrepresentation can effect, is treated as legitimate.... But even Hindu tolerance may some day be overstrained. If it be intolerance to force one’s way into the house of another, it by no means necessarily follows that it would be intolerance on the owner’s part to drive out the intruder.[27]


India’s Heritage in Question


The present intellectual climate in India is so perverted that it would be tempting to go on and expose the workings of the perversion in exhaustive detail. Others have done it better than I could.[28] I will give just one rather minor topical example, since we are gathered here to celebrate Sanskrit Day. Just last month, Tamil Nadu’s education minister, a proud “Dravidian” (whatever the word means), declared that Sanskrit was an “artificial language born in an old ware shop” and clearly inferior to Tamil ; he added (probably referring to himself), “No fool will believe that Tamil was born only after the birth of Sanskrit.”[29] Such unprovoked abuse of Sanskrit (as if the Tamil language could not stand on its own greatness) would not matter much if this were just rhetoric, but we find it reflected in practice, with Sanskrit virtually banned from temple rituals in Tamil Nadu, its teaching curtailed and discouraged at all levels (in fact all over India) and Urdu, for instance, receiving much more favour.


The point I wish to draw your attention to is how catchwords are hypnotically brandished, with no intelligent debate permitted on their real meaning. Indian scholars and thinkers must develop the courage to grapple with the central issues hidden behind those words. If they do not, they in effect abandon the field to the kind of perversion that has been growing in recent years, increasingly eclipsing India’s heritage and its contribution to world civilization, portraying it as retrograde and responsible for all of India’s ills. This school of thought, based on a freak hybrid of Marxist dialectics, psychoanalysis and Christian revivalism, has been steadily invading Western and Indian universities, textbooks, media, public opinion, erasing the last traces of Indian culture from Indian education and uprooting younger Indian generations from a culture which should be theirs by birthright.


Ram Swarup’s warning needs to be heard :


Hindus are disorganized, self-alienated, morally and ideologically disarmed. They lack leadership ; the Hindu elites have become illiterate about their spiritual heritage and history and indifferent and even hostile towards their religion.... India has been asleep for too long, and it needed all these knocks and probably it would get more.[30]


In 1926 Sri Aurobindo put it very simply : “Aggressive religions tend to overrun the earth. Hinduism on the other hand is passive and therein lies the danger.”[31] This renewed aggressive, conquering effort on the part of Christianity and Islam, hiding behind their misbegotten child of false secularism, must be resisted by the Indian intelligentsia for two reasons. One, of immediate urgency, to limit and hopefully reverse the harm done to India’s social fabric by artificial conversions, induced ninety-nine times out of a hundred by pecuniary allurements, not by any genuine religious feeling. Unless the tide is stemmed, the infinite complexity that is Indian society may become irretrievably fragmented into thousands of conflicting groups, with the kind of consequences we can already see in the North-East and many tribal regions of India.


The second reason, more essential, is to pursue and renew India’s perennial search for the Truth. If we unquestioningly accept the falsehoods that are now bandied about, we shall in the end cripple our ability to discern the Truth. “It is Truth that conquers and not falsehood,”[32] says the Upanishad, and to work out that conquest for the world has always been at the core of India’s preoccupation. This is no ideological question, it is a matter of saving or losing our intellectual independence and ultimately our spiritual freedom—the only one left to the common Indian.


As early as 1910, Sri Aurobindo asserted :


Our first necessity, if India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India should learn to think,—to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with the mace of Bhima.[33]


Were Indian civilization, ever in quest of new realms of reality, to surrender its independence of mind and spirit, the loss would be grave not only for India but for the world, for between moribund religious obscurantism trying to revive and grab the earth once more, and the new market fundamentalism that has well nigh grabbed it, humanity’s future appears rather bleak. We must work to see that India fulfils her role and opens a new path. We must make up for lost time.



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I think your perceptions are quite accurate. In answer to your question it may help you to know that we are on a crazy course and have been destroyed and re-created. There is a family of God involved and power, action and reaction. The plan is by the creator to do the best he can (and I have every confidence)_with what he has to work with. There is nothing super-natural in the perfect world but what do you know? To see god's face and realize his importance and realize his are the creations and the mercies and afflictions has been my privledge. Yet as awe-struck and dumbfounded as I was, it was my own identity that I became aware of with a true sense of humiliation. I would advise you to abide by those commandments, however controversial and give my thanks to the one that died for me.

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>>i am really pleased you posted this article and the source page which i like very much. i wish you pick a username and share good things like this.<<


Just a suggestion to JNDas, is it possible for you to turn off the Guest feature? It would make discussion in this forum flow smoother.

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>>I would advise you to abide by those commandments, however controversial and give my thanks to the one that died for me. << - Jinglheimer


if you are happy with xianity, good.

please do not donate to missionaries

who go out in india to convert hindus.

insead, send them in muslim countries and to bin laden.


what you are doing here on a vaishnava site please?

just curious. enjoy it any way.


if you have non-envious curiosity to know hinduism or vaishnavism i could help somewhat.


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I would agree it is an age of confusion. I am a devotee of the one some call Sri Kalki Bhagavan and as some here well know he is legendary for opening channels and affecting the energy and physical body in such a way that profound Divine Mystical Experience is possible. Perception is changed.


I was dragged to a vara yajna as an atheist and within 3 hours with a Kalkidasa saw God. They are like that-immensely powerful. My life was never to be the same. Many of the earlier folowers in the USA were given more encounters with the divine than any in the Old and New Testament combined. Average people. I can remember at a Good Friday satsang one of the monks took us to a state where you could experience the heart of the Christ as he fulfilled his destiny and lived the scrptures at Calvary. I was unprepeared for the state of surrender experienced.


Happily I went through half a decade as a follower of Kalki-the one they call the annihilator of Kali. Until one night after chanting Om Nama Shivaya for half an hour or so, Kali appeared in the flesh. I was totally grossed out as first and scared beyond measure. She called me "Worshipper of One who would destroy me." And she said when she was annihilated it would mean the end of all Time. She said she is the I (perhaps Eye) that sees. And as I wept she said that it was not my desires but aversions that were troubling me so and she embraced me. I would not even attempt to analyse her words. For some time everything was bliss. There was nothing that was not the Divine Mother. The mosquitos, the bats, the birds, the clerk in the store. It was the element common to all mankind. The Mother. There is nothing greater.


That type of occurence is something that would occur only in Kaliyuga. The conflict experienced was unimaginable.

I suppose there are several options in Kaliyuga. You can battle her or embrace her. Still I had been suffering for quite some time-struggling to make sense as thought the world was created of Divine Intelligence. It seemed more as a result of Cosmic Ignorance and in that there is great peace. Everything makes sense from that perspective.



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>>I am a devotee of the one some call Sri Kalki Bhagavan and as some here well know he is legendary <<


the kalki avatar of vishnu has not happened yet in this cylce of yugas. it will take some 432 000 years before he comes. i have not seen any kalki temple.


since he has not come yet but is predicted (as buddha was) in srimad bhagavatam, and may be in bhavishyat, purana it cannot be called "legendary".


i have difficulty believing you had such real experience.

if you say real, i would not argue.


there also seems some confusionabout the word kali.


kali means kali millenium that started when krishna left this earth. the personified asuric character of kali millenium is masculine and is also called kali. king parikshit shaw him.


then kali means Kaali goddess.

so, if you saw female, then it is Kaali goddess, the ferocious and ugnly looking and black.

However, she is shiva's wife, and shiva also is vishnu.

and kalki also is vishnu.


so kalki is not enemy of kaali goddess which is prikriti.


so chant, read gita, and I pray you will feel peace

and see reality as it is.


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I am as open minded as anyone and believe that all good religion hinges on the premise of the golden rule. If you abide by it, at least there are its own rewards. I'm not trying to convert anyone, just relating my own personal experience. I could not possibly justify my looking for a way to manipulate the creator. You seem to have a specific study for me so yes I am perfectly willing to listen to you. I think if it has too much to do with self-absortion though you would be wasting your time with me. Unfortunatly it seems as though there has been a divorce in the family of God and the playground of this earth is where his anxiety and hostility is being vented. I did some automatic writing (3 days in solitude) and that was basically the report.

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In one level the name Kalki, literally translated means "The Annihilator of Kali." Kalki can be considered symbolic of enlightenment while others might consider Kali symbolic of Ignorance.


Such experiences are quite common amongst the devotees of Kalki Bhagavan who may or may not be the avatar spoken about in the later scriptures. He is a great being never the less that some call Kalki.


Kalki did not appear in consciousness as an avatar of Vishnu until around two milleniums ago and like Krishna, the Vedic connection was given to him as an avatar of Vishnu.


Kalki Bhagavan gives such experience as it is an early part of an ancient pattern of enlightenment. If you look into history it is only such mystical experience that leads to transformation. All else is reformation when one is practicing. All the scriptures and practicing morals and codes of conduct does not transform man. It is only experience which makes a siant a saint, a mystic, a mystic. Perhaps that is why one of the Mahavakyas of Kalki Bhagavan says: " I will reveal to you here and now all that has been revealed to every saint, sage, prophet amd mystic."

It would be good if more could check him out and receive such profound divine mystica; experience as well as it would help transform all the chatter and speculation and ceaseless debates and beliefs about God into experience rather than concepts. That would be a blessing in itself.


It is through such personal discovery and experience that his following has grown from 0-over 15 million in less than a decade. Mere reciting of scriptures and empty promises don't generally cause that kind of growth.


As far as timing of an avatar, on another level all of time is similtaneous, the wy we perceive it is an illusion. Kalki Bhagavan can give you this experience as well. In that light there is little difference between those who would worship a being who existed in the past or one who exists in the future.


This is a human imposed limitation. There are many deities who have reveal themselves as time. That would include what we perceive as past present and future.

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>>Unfortunatly it seems as though there has been a divorce in the family of God and the playground of this earth is where his anxiety and hostility is being vented.<<


Sure, and this conflict between divine and demoniac is alwasy there and will be in material worlds. Therefore, krishna's messge in gita (the Book of Hinduism) includes the message that one needs to fight adharma internally as well as externally. Arjun prepared to fight, but out of compassion changed his mind lamenting. Krishna said, "Fight, man."


when US tested first atomic bomb,

the manhatten program mamager mr. oppenheimer

did not find words in xian or other scriptuer to describe the bamb exlposion. he found words in gita

where krishna says,


"kAlo'ham kokakshyakrit pravruddho.."



if conflict's (violent or non violent) are unavoidable,

then the only thing remains for one to decide is which side one wants to be, suras or asuras, divine or demoniacs.

of course one can take no side, even of suras, and the asuras will not spare him/her if they win.

suras will, if they win.


regarding non violent fight,

sri prabhupada was a figher,

yes, a fierce intellectual fighter.

see how many times he has debated like a valient soldier

and never has lost an argument with any one.


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However, she is shiva's wife, and shiva also is vishnu.

and kalki also is vishnu.



We have discussed this elsewhere. Shiva is not Vishnu.


And Kalki (the future avatar) will not be Vishnu either. He will be qualitatively Vishnu, being a saktyavesa-avatar who will be empowered to destroy. This is related in the Krishna-sandarbha of Srila Jiva Goswami, I believe.

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Quote "And Kalki (the future avatar) will not be Vishnu either. He will be qualitatively Vishnu, ...."


Would you say the same could be said of Krishna Avatar? Am asking as Kalki Avatar is also called Sampoorna Avatar.

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Well, where does it say in the scriptures that Kalki is referred to as Sampoorna Avatar ?


We know that Krishna is certainly 'bhagavan svayam' because the Srimad Bhagavatam explicitly says so, whereas Jiva Goswami in his Krishna Sandarbha quite clearly says that Kalki will be a saktyavesa-avatar.

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>>Quote "And Kalki (the future avatar) will not be Vishnu either. He will be qualitatively Vishnu, ...."


Would you say the same could be said of Krishna Avatar? Am asking as Kalki Avatar is also called Sampoorna Avatar. <<


Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.16-17 predicts kalki as a vishnu's avatatar with satva guna. does some one have the exact verse and translation handy?


krishna is vishnu tatva, and krishna is poorna- purushottama. kalki is also vishnutatva but not poorna-purushottama.


this discussion however, have no priority, inmy view,

considering the current terrorism problem the world has.

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Terrorism is nothing new for many parts of the world.

STill that talk of God has no priority for some may be a great sign:


Thereafter, at the end of Kali-yuga, when there exist no topics on the subject of God, even at the residences of so-called saints and respected gentlemen of the three higher castes, and when the power of government is transferred to the hands of ministers elected from the lowborn sudra class or those less than them, and when nothing is known of the techniques of sacrifice, even by word, at that time the Lord will appear as the Supreme Chastiser. Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 2, Ch. 7 Text 38


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That did not answer my question. Would you consider Krishna to be qualitatively Vishnu as well as Kalki?


As for your question I do not know if it is mentioned in scriptures. Perhaps it is infered as many infer that Krihna or Brahman was the "One" in the Vedic hymn of creation (although it very much appears to state that the gods came later). Perhaps it was taken from the following along with the observation that it is not empiracle that previous incarnations of Vishnu have indeed restored righteousness on Earth-particularly in light of the terror situation another poster had just mentioned. Perhaps it would take a total incarnation (sampoorna avatar) to accomplish that:


"When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law,

Shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh,

A portion of that Divine Being who exists of his own spiritual nature,

In the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end,

And who comprehends all things shall descend upon the earth.

He will be born as Kalki in the family of an eminent brahmin,

Of Sambhala village, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties.

By his irresistible might, He will destroy all the barbarians and thieves,

And all whose minds are devoted to iniquity.

He will then reestablish righteousness upon earth;

From Vishnu Purana 4:24


Following is an interesting passage on Sambhala:

"The word Kalki is actually an abbreviation of the word Niskalankh. Niskalankh means the same as My name is, which means Nirmala. That it is spotlessly clean. Something that is spotlessly clean is Niskalankh &#8212; without any spot marks.


Now this Incarnation has been described in many Puranas as will be coming on this Earth on a white horse in a village of Sambhalpur. They call it Sambhalpur. It is very interesting how people take everything so literally. The word Sambhalpur means bhal is the forehead; sambhal means at that state; that means Kalki is situated at your bhal. Bhal is the forehead and here He is going to be born. That is the real meaning of the word Sambhalpur.


In between Jesus Christ and His destroying Incarnation of Mahavishnu called as Kalki there is a time given to human beings to rectify themselves, for them to enter into the Kingdom of God, which in the Bible is called as Last Judgment."


Shri Kama-Rupini Shri Nirmala Devi

Kundalini And Kalki Shakti, Bombay, India &#8212; September 28, 1979



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Please,my name is Juan G. from Spain,I am thinking about attending three courses of mukti 1-3 in Sweden but I am not quite sure about going.According to your experience would you advise me to attend this courses,Does the bliss you once felt remains or you rather loose it as soon you loose contact with the group? thank so much for your advise,Juan,spain..¡¡

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Namaste Juan,

I was an atheist when I was pretty much dragged to a vara yajna in the USA conducted by a Swedish monk of Kalki. (A woman who is now fully enlightened and dwells at Satyaloka monastery). During that yajna I had experiences like those you only read about in books.


One of the mahavakyas in part of Kalki is "I shall reveal to you all that has been revealed to every Saint, Sage Prophet and Mystic throughout time." Many of the people who attended that yajna have had more profound divine mystical experiences than anyone in the Old and New Testament combined. It has totally transformed their lives. Such personal experience with God is a common denominator in the lives of many saints. It is an early part of an ancient path of enlightenment that is apparent in the life of Siddhartha.


The dasa who conducts in Sweden and the former USSR, Freddie, has been tremendously empowered by Kalki Bhagavan himself as has the amazing Sri Rani in San Jose. I met Freddie in India and at the time he spoke over 7 languages, now its more. An extremely brilliant, dynamic and selfless man. I would trust him with my life.


Interestingly when Acharya Ananda Giri a direct disciple of Kalki Bhagavan comes to Sweden more people come to see him than Depak Chopra.


I can not say that the bliss will stay. First you must realize you are suffering in order to be free of it and the nightmarish task of confronting oneself can be quite rough. If you run from it you will suffer. Its kind of like if a blind man is given the ability to see for a day and then is blind the next. On some level he may suffer more. There Alot depends on courage, willing to face suffering-the inner condition tendancy to run from your self. On the other hand Kalki Bhagavan has given mukti to close to 1000. Who else can do that? Who else in the history of man has done that? It is unprecedented. Go for it-be brave.


The journey is very individual and there are few groups. They are loosely knot and not particularly communal. Kind of like Hinduism which is not a communal religion like Christianity or Islam is.


They are very loose knit as there is focus on personal experience. Among the siddhis that have been given to the dasajis is a very high one called Yatkamastadavasyati To obtain Joy by willing it so. A cessation of misery and desire. To attain the Highest State of Bliss. They can give this to others as well but alot depends on the ability to receive.


Definately if you have the ways and means go. I assure you your life will not be the same. Deep transformation will occur.


Here are some site with international schedules:

www.livinginjoy.com (Russia, Sweden)

www.livinginjoy.org (USA, Australia, Italy)

www.vedicshamanism.com (USA)









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