[Advaita-l] Inter Religious Dialogue - Part 2

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 01:48:39 CST 2011

*War Office for Inter-religious dialogue
*As a special department of the Roman Curia, Pope Paul VI, in 1964 set up
the Secretariat for Non-Christians, a body that would decide, regulate and
monitor the Catholic Church’s relations with other religions;
inter-religious dialogue was going to be the medium of this communication.

In 1988 however, Pope John Paul II transformed the innocuous secretariat
into a full-fledged ministry and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious
Dialogue (PCID) came into being. Working closely with the Protestant World
Council of Churches, the PCID was mandated to promote study of other
religions and also promote persons capable of dialogue. From 1988 onwards
the PCID would work closely with another important Vatican ministry,
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

To emphasize that inter-religious dialogue did not mean the white church
was stepping back from evangelization or that it was re-thinking its
ultimate objective of converting the whole world to Christianity, the papal
encyclical and the PCID commentary on Redemptoris Missio, which came forth
a year later, make the intention behind inter-religious dialogue amply

Inter-religious dialogue is a part of the Church's evangelizing mission.
Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment,
dialogue is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has
special links with that mission and is one of its expressions.

All of this has been given ample emphasis by the Council and the subsequent
Magisterium, without detracting in any way from the fact that salvation
comes from Christ and that dialogue does not dispense from evangelization.

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict
between proclaiming Christ and engaging in inter-religious dialogue.
Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission
ad gentes.

I recently wrote to the bishops of Asia: "Although the Church gladly
acknowledges whatever is true and holy in the religious traditions of
Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam as a reflection of that truth which enlightens
all people, this does not lessen her duty and resolve to proclaim without
fail Jesus Christ who is 'the way, and the truth and the life.

Indeed Christ himself "while expressly insisting on the need for faith and
baptism, at the same time confirmed the need for the Church, into which
people enter through Baptism as through a door." Dialogue should be
conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church is the
ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of
the means of salvation. (Redemptoris Missio)

Within a year of Redemptoris Missio, the PCID, created specially as the
Vatican government ministry in charge of inter-religious dialogue, issued,
in May 1991, the defining commentary Dialogue and Proclamation. The
commentary on Redemptoris Missio left no one in doubt if inter-religious
dialogue with other religions cancelled evangelization and religious
conversion of non-Christians.

It is 25 years since "Nostra Aetate", the declaration of the Second Vatican
Council on the Church's relationship to other religions, was promulgated.
The document stressed the importance of inter-religious dialogue. At the
same time, it recalled that the Church is in duty bound to proclaim without
fail Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, in whom all people find
their fulfillment. (PCID, Dialogue and Proclamation, Rome 19, May) 1991)

The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue comprises of thirty
members who constitute its apex body and fifty advisers who are called
‘Consulters’. These consulters are experts and specialists in religious
studies and inter-religious dialogue. Francis Clooney, a Jesuit priest is a
regular visitor to India. In Chennai he had made great advances in
penetrating the Srivaishanava mathams.

Such is the monumental ignorance of important Hindus about the politics of
religion that Clooney was a welcome visitor in several Srivaishnava homes;
Chennai’s Srivaishanava scholars fought among themselves for the honour of
teaching Clooney the nuances of Srivaishnava texts. Clooney is the author
of several books on comparative religion and Srivaishnavism.

The writer is convinced that Clooney is quite possibly one of the fifty
Consulters of the PCID to implement the war strategy called inter-religious
dialogue. Monumental ignorance and towering arrogance have always done the
Hindus in. Our enemies know our weakness for flattery, disunity and the
crustacean tendency to pull our own down.

There are three levels at which this Christian strategy called
inter-religious dialogue is held - at the level of local churches, at the
national level and international level. Dialogue by local churches is not
the concern of this column; but the participation of Hindus in these
pre-determined national and international dialogues is not only a matter of
deep concern but also merits severe criticism.

Dialogue implies two sides. On one side is the army of the PCID with or
without the World Council of Churches waging war for the white church. The
white church must engage Hindus in dialogue to further the diabolic agenda
that was hidden behind the smiley mask; but which Hindu? By speaking to
which Hindu will the white church’s agenda be effectively fulfilled? And
what was the hidden agenda of inter-religious dialogue?

*The Hindu penchant for inter-religious dialogue
*The PCID and World Council of Churches have no use for dialogue with the
writer and the writer’s Hindu neighbors. If the agenda of the white church
and the white state had to be effectively implemented, then Hindus with
whom the Vatican had to engage, had to be influential Hindus, politically
powerful Hindus and Hindus of great pre-eminence in Hindu society.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha between
the two of them wield formidable influence on the Hindu nation. The RSS was
the first to be bitten by the inter-religious dialogue bug. In-house
intellectuals and important functionaries in the RSS organized and
participated in inter-religious dialogues with Muslims and Christians -
with nothing tangible for Hindus coming out of them.

It Islam will not give up jihad and if the church will not give up
religious conversion, what is there to talk about with the adherents of
these religions? But a very large section in the RSS and its other
affiliate organizations had very strong reservations about the entire
exercise and mercifully, after the change of guard in the leadership of the
RSS in 2009, this grand expedition seems to have come to a deserved end.

Keeping channels of communication open among all sections of the Indian
populace is vastly different from participating in this Christian jamboree
called inter-religious dialogue. The RSS has always kept communication
channels open with all sections of the Indian populace, with all political
parties and with all shades of opinion and ideology. That is conduct
befitting an organization seen to be the voice of Hindu society. But it is
not for the RSS to endorse a stratagem devised by the Vatican and the World
Council of Churches to get the Hindus to let their guards down.

What the RSS may never have known was that the thirty members of the PCID
spread across continents are mandated to travel extensively to meet with
local church leaders and important members of the laity who would have been
trained to participate in inter-religious dialogue; these individuals and
groups which would have accepted RSS invitations for dialogue and those at
whose invitation the RSS participated in dialogue would all have been
directed by the invisible hand of the PCID.

The RSS may not have succeeded in procuring any tangible result in favor of
Hindus from these dialogues but it is just as certain that they would not
have surrendered Hindu interests either. Until 2002, the PCID could engage
Hindus in inter-religious dialogues only at the level of local churches.
The year 2002 was a turning point for inter-religious dialogue; the HDAS
came into being in 2002 and the PCID carried inter-religious dialogue or
inter-faith dialogue as it is commonly known in India to the international

In part two of this series we saw how inter-religious dialogue, with
Christian NGO foray into organized charity and service, a new paradigm in
public discourse in politics of religion enforced by the white state
(Europe and America), marked the new era in the church’s evangelizing

US enforced and UN mandated obligations of member-states to abide by the UN
charter on human rights came with the add-on that freedom of religion was
inherent to human rights. Freedom of religion in turn came as a package
deal with the church’s right to undertake religious conversion of
non-Christians. The entire edifice of inter-religious dialogue was intended
only to legitimize through dialogue this pointed and well-aimed predatory
political discourse on human rights, freedom of religion and right to
religious conversion.

To the best of this writer’s knowledge, Hindus who participated in the
white church crafted inter-religious dialogue exercise have not managed to
loosen or shake even a single brick of this edifice. On the contrary,
Hindus who participated in this PCID initiative have surrendered Hindu
interests or endorsed the white agenda or remained helpless spectators in
the drama.

The HDAS is an august assembly of Hindu dharma gurus from different
sampradayas with a long and hoary lineage. It is these sampradayas which
give Hindu Dharma its character and its continuity. The roots of every
Hindu lie in the village, village temple, jaati, kula, kuladevta and varna
of his forefathers. A Hindu’s roots also lie in the matham, matahthipathi,
adeenam, and sampradaya of his forefathers. The HDAS is thus the most
important and influential Hindu body in the country today and the custodian
of Hindu interests.

Knowing the church’s genetic propensity to prey upon the best and brightest
among its target victims, the PCID zeroed in on the HDAS for its
inter-religious dialogue expedition. We may never know the process by which
it was decided to appoint a non-member as Convener of the HDAS; the writer
believes that a group of individuals within the country and outside, who
had decided that one of the tasks of the HDAS would be to engage with a
certain kind of groups and institutions, influenced a powerful section
within the HDAS to agree to a English-speaking sanyasi as Convener.

It is after 2002 when the HDAS came into being that PCID’s inter-religious
dialogue with Hindus acquired international dimension. A detailed critique
of the HDAS in five parts where every resolution agreed upon or endorsed
has already been undertaken by the writer. Hindus participating in these
dialogues have agreed in principle to religious conversion, have conceded
that right to freedom of religion is inherent to human rights, have
conceded that the United Nations is the ultimate custodian and protector of
human rights and freedom of religion around the world and that Hindus in
India must hold inter-religious dialogues with Islam and the Church in the
spirit of the May 2006 Vatican meeting on religious conversion.

*The enemy as monolith
*When Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati feels compelled to explain Hindu
worship to the Jews as not being idolatrous, when the Convener of the HDAS
feels compelled to declare that he will fight to defend the right to
freedom of religion of every Christian and Muslim, when Shri Advani feels
compelled to condemn the angry retaliation by our tribal people against the
Christians of Khandamal for killing a Hindu dharma guru, when Hindus at the
Vatican meeting in Italy accept that Hindus have been as guilty as Islam
and Christianity for crimes against people, then we know that the Vatican
war doctrines Ad Gentes and Redemptoris Missio have succeeded even beyond
the Vatican’s wildest beliefs.

At these inter-religious dialogue meetings we have actually accepted the
Abrahamic tenet that worshipping idols or idolatry is a terrible wrong and
so we are not idolatrous. Despite the rapid and alarming incursions of the
church and Islam in our public spaces, in spite of the alarming change in
the religious demography of our coastal villages, border districts and
entire districts, regions and even states, Hindus have still not summoned
the will to move away from these coercive and imposed idioms on religious
conversion and intyer-religious dialogue.

Despite knowing the cancerous role played by Muslim and Christian charity
organizations with foreign funds, Hindus like Sri Sri feel compelled to
extol the service activities and charity work of Christian NGOs at
inter-religious meetings, to members of the PCID from Rome!

Important Hindus suffer from the fatal Arjuna-weakness for failing to see
the enemy as a monolith. Arjuna saw Bhishma, Dronaand Kripacharya as
individuals and not as important warriors of the adharmic Kaurava army.
Srikrishna’s Bhagavad Gita is only about instructing Arjuna to see the
enemy as a monolith and wage war against him in his entirety.

Gandhi’s stubborn insistence on Hindu-Muslim unity in the face of repeated
jihadi attacks the Hindus, Gandhi’s stubborn insistence that we must not
consider every British person as our enemy effectively imposed the
Arjuna-weakness on Hindus within the INC and outside it of not perceiving
our enemies as a monolith. The only way we could have averted vivisection
of the Hindu nation was for a Hindu uprising against the Muslim League’s
demand for vivisection in the name of their religion.

The war stratagem of Inter-religious dialogue as crafted and implemented by
the Vatican and World Council of Churches is succeeding in turning our eyes
away from our enemies and the threat they pose to our dharma and dharti
through religious conversion, occupation of public spaces and flow of
foreign funds for their political objectives to Islamise and Christianise
the Hindu nation.

Inter-religious dialogues have forced our leaders to concede every
principle, policy and tenet which furthers religious conversion, promotes
NGO activity in the guise of charity and service, and stopped us from
taking effective measures to combat and destroy this cancer.

The RSS has stepped back from this exercise. It is a mind-boggling thought
that the Sankaracharya of Puri or the Mathathipathi of the Pejawara Matha,
Udipi or the Mathathiptahi of the Sri Ahobila Matham, all members of the
HDAS would actually agree with the Vatican that Hindu dharma is as guilty
as Islam and Christianity or that the right to religious conversion is
inherent to human rights, or that idolatry is wrong and that Hindus, to
assuage Jewish religious sensibilities accept we are not idolatrous or that
they, the tallest religious leaders in Hindu dharma agree to abide by the
UN charter on human rights. And that is why the HDAS fielding its
non-member Convener to speak on its behalf is like Gandhi speaking on
behalf of the entire Hindu community in India.

The HDAS must officially reject every resolution endorsed and passed which
have the potential to weaken us in our war against these two Abrahamic
religions. We may never know the forces which created the HDAS in 2002 and
for what purpose. But having created it, Hindus who understand the dirty
war of politics of religion must strive to make the HDAS serve the cause of
Hindus on Hindu bhumi. The HDAS has no need for inter-religious dialogue,
has no need to endorse foreign idioms, foreign concepts and foreign agendas
which have nothing to do with Hindu dharma and dharmi.* *

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list