[Advaita-l] A news item

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Thu Apr 12 00:19:27 CDT 2012

I am learning sanskrit and it is a matter of time. But my reliance on
translations or experts in vyakharana has not taken away the sense of
dharma in saying, "It is the Bible that inspired Hitler (read Hitler's
God). History shows that for 2000 years Jews have been harassed by
Christian extremism of which Holocaust is just a high peak. And even
remotely linking Gita to Nazism is a blatant lie and missionary

On the other hand, you are still talking about Hitlerian ideology instead
of saying Christian. There are 400+
anti-semitic references in the Bible and the only text to talk about
killing jews. Nazism has nothing to do with perverted interpretation of the

On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> > To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org <javascript:;>
> > From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com <javascript:;>
> > Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 18:57:29 +0000
> > Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] A news item
> >
> > I disagree with the analysis. There are hundreds of interpretations of
> the gita. None of the authors are known to be violent like Hitler. Gandhi,
> for example, did not follow any sampradaya in his interpretation. "bhagavad
> gita kinchita tirtha ganga jalalana ...". A reading of gita mahatmiyam will
> show how even knowing half a verse is beneficial.
> >
> What analysis do you disagree with? The opinions expressed by the authors
> interviewed
> in the quoted news item or my wistful comment that the European world
> would have
> perhaps benefited from understanding Gita through the eyes of Emerson and
> Thoreau?
> No one, least of all I, is claiming that Nazi racist theories were rooted
> in the Indian texts.
> Rather, what I said was that Heinrich Himmler already had his own
> misguided Hitlerian
> ideology through which he perversely viewed the text.
> And that is precisely why sampradAya is important. Just as what has been
> built over
> centuries through the sweat of a million people can potentially be
> destroyed by one man
> in a fraction of a second, one perverted interpretation is enough to undo
> the good done
> by a thousand others. A tradition of interpretation, a sampradAya, is
> safeguarded over
> time by those who have both the philosophical rigor necessary and
> loksaMgraha in their
> hearts. Giving sampradAya its due importance would therefore be a surer
> approach to
> understand complex texts like the Gita.
> Mahatma Gandhi may not have relied strictly on any one pre-existing
> sampradAya, but
> unlike European translators and interpretors, his personal background made
> him quite
> familiar with the text. One may agree or disagree with his
> interpretations, but he made
> Gandhism a sampradAya of its own, with a diminishing number of followers
> today. I
> make a similar point about the American Transcendentalists like Emerson
> and Thoreau,
> by calling them a new sampradAya, sadly also with a diminishing number of
> followers.
> My other point was about relying on translations. Himmler and others
> probably didn't
> even know half a verse from the Gita except through a German translation.
> This is a
> prime example of how relying on translations can be harmful, especially
> when one
> is not ready to divest one's prior intellectual baggage and understand
> things on their
> own merit. Emerson and Thoreau and Einstein and Oppenheimer also probably
> only
> relied on translations, but unlike the Nazis, none of them had delusions
> of grandeur,
> so thankfully, how they understood the Gita in translation didn't leave an
> unsavory
> association with the text.
> Vidyasankar
> ps. bhagavadgItA kiMcid AdhItA gangAjala lavakaNikA pItA - yadyapi
> samprApte
> sannihite kAle naiva rakshati vyAkaraNa-SAstraM, tathApi pAThaSuddhyarthaM
> saMskRta jnAnaleSam avaSyaM bhavati.
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