INTERVIEWS


A Muslim’s Way Out of Islam

FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 03, 2008

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hossain Salahuddin, a poet, essayist and an ex-Muslim who is the author of several books. He is the editor of the magazine Maverick, which promotes literature, freethinking and rationalism.

FP: Hossain Salahuddin, welcome to FrontPage interview.

HS: Thanks very much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here.

FP: Tell us about your childhood and your upbringing within Islam.

HS: I was born in 1984, into a Muslim family in Bangladesh . My family was rather orthodox and they made sure I learn the Quran properly even before they enrolled me in a school. I had a home tutor Mullah, who taught me reciting Quran in Arabic- and I was actually good at it. I remember completing the whole Arabic Quran three times before I turned 12 without even understanding a word of it. If I try to remember, I can feel that it was pretty suffocating with all sorts of do’s and don’t. You can’t do this, you can’t do that, and there was that constant reminder- “You are a Muslim, you should act like one.”

So, yeah, my childhood was not something that I am really proud of. There were all sorts of religious restraints around my neck and that actually affected my relationship with my family members. But, I should say I was still a believer back then; only there was a slight discomfort in me with the practicing form of Islam. I admit that I had a rather troubled childhood but I didn’t turn into a rebel just yet.

FP: What caused your second thought and your ultimate abandoning of Islam?

HS: Well, when I was around 13 or 14, I developed a great interest in creative writing, especially in poetry and I started to spend a lot of time reading books and writing poetry. I remember borrowing up to ten books at a time and reading them in a row. History, Science, Philosophy, Religion, Literature name it, all sorts of books. It was a fascinating time I can tell you that. I guess I was mentally a bit matured than my actual age, and I really cherish that part of my life as a period of illumination.

I think books taught me to think and judge things rationally, to escape from the world of prejudice and irrational beliefs. Books were my true liberator, it’s the best companion I ever had. But, it wasn’t always fun. My family didn’t take it lightly as they were noticing some change in me and also my teachers at school. In fact it was the teachers who gave me all sorts of trouble. Unfortunately, most of my teachers were very orthodox Muslims and they didn’t like my writings. They even banned my writings from the school magazine which really upset me given that I was probably the only student who could write creative things. And they were constantly reminding me that Islam doesn’t approve poetry, music, painting, mixing with non-Muslims or reading texts of other religion and it really confused me.

There was only one way to find out: by reading Quran and Hadith in my mother tongue. I read the Quran over and over again and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I started to mark the questionable verses and wrote comments beside them. I wondered, are these versus full of hate being spread and preached everyday in all corners of my town? I was completely dumbstruck. Initially, I thought it was the translation that was to be blamed. But I collected many different translations of the Quran and very reputed Islamic scholars translated some of them. You can say I was really shocked and I spent almost two years of my year 9 and 10 searching for answers.

At year 10, my first book of poems was published and by year 11, I was convinced that Islam itself was a very violent belief. By reading Quran or any other Islamic text in your mother tongue, there can be two effects on you: you could either turn into a violent, brainwashed Muslim ready to eliminate anything that opposes you, or you could abandon Islam altogether and become a free man. I choose the former path and at a very young age.

FP: Did you face the threat of violence for leaving Islam? Are you still in danger today?

HS: Well, leaving Islam was not an instant decision; it was rather a gradual process. I think by the time I reached 12, I consciously abandoned Islam altogether. And some of my closest friends knew about my views on Islam. I think some of them were really shocked. So, leaving Islam was a private matter at the beginning, I didn’t share it with lot of people initially.

Obviously there was the fear of making a majority of Muslims upset. So, what I did was, I started to question a lot to spread my message. I learned it from the life of Socrates, that’s what he used to do, and it can be very effective sometimes. I started to question Islamic beliefs and traditions in a lot in my writing and that put me in trouble. Although I had some like-minded friends and we used to call ourselves Freethinkers, I made some nasty enemies as well and I was aware that they were watching my every step. But, you know I was young and careless—so I kept going.

Finally, the waiting game was over and they physically attacked me one night- I was very lucky to escape only with some sharp cuts and bruises. After that incident I slowed down a bit, stopped going outside and tried to concentrate on writing at home. I think it was in 2002, when an Islamist organization published a book and declared me a Nastik-Murtad or “Apostate-Infidel”. So, I didn’t really have to declare leaving Islam publicly, they did the honor for me.

After that I decided to leave the country and in 2003 I came to Australia as a student. And if you are asking whether I am still in danger today, well all I can say is that I never underestimate their reach. It’s not just me, anyone who is non-Muslim, or a born-Muslim who doesn’t care about Islam much — anyone who is different from them is in danger today and it’s the sad reality.

FP: What are your thoughts on Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism? And how does a non-Arab convert’s mind work in this context?

HS: What always struck me the most was that Islam is another form of Arab colonialism in disguise. In South-east Asia you will see people constantly cry about the British Colonialism and how they are still a victim of it. However, no one ever talks about the Arab colonialism which is very active in every single non-Arab Muslim country. Islam is in its origin an Arab religion, and it is not a religion of conscience, private belief or spirituality; it is very political and imperial. Its holy places are in Arab lands, its sacred language is Arabic, and its historical figures are all native Arab. So what happens to a non-Arab convert’s mind is very interesting.

A convert starts to dislike his own culture as non-Islamic and he becomes fascinated by the Arab influence and wants to be a part of the Arab story; ironically, he starts to praise the Arab Warrior who conquered his land. And to do that the first thing he does is to turn away from everything that is ethnically his and he lives in a world of fundamentalist fantasy to purify his non-Islamic culture.

You can see this neurosis and nihilism in the mindset of converts and you can say it is an incurable mental disease which has been affecting them and disturbing the societies for thousands of years. Arab colonialism is both political and cultural and I think it is the longest surviving form of colonialism. You see it is now a fashion to blame European Imperialism and colonialism, west and Israel in general – for every ill in this planet; Muslims are never ashamed to join this blame game. But, when it comes to Arab imperialism or Islamic colonialism, Muslims feel proud and they admire the warriors who once came from the Arab world and conquered their forefathers’ land.

This way, Islamic colonialism and Arab imperialism together have conquered and destroyed many advanced and ancient civilizations and brought catastrophic changes in the cultures of the conquered lands. You can say Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, because the faithful converts love to be conquered by the legendary “Holy Warriors” of the “ Holy land ” – it is some sort of salvation for the converts.

FP: Your interpretation of Islam’s holy war?

HS: Islam has always been associated with political expansion and that’s where Jihad or holy war comes into affect. Quran and Hadith repeatedly say that nothing is greater, so far as goodness goes, than Jihad in the name of Allah. Some apologists will try to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace, Jihad is allegorical, and it does not mean violence etc. But the bloody history of Islam tells us a very different story. And the Quran is actually supposed to be taken literally. Muhammad repeatedly said that the Quran is not poetry or allegory; it is the clear voice of Allah himself so that everyone can understand and take it seriously; it is actually blasphemous even to think the Quran as an allegory.

In Hadith, the collection of traditions, Muhammad asked his followers to stop any un-Islamic practice by force many times. As a religion, Islam has a long tradition of deep rooted hatred towards unbelievers. In the Quran, Allah repeatedly commanded Muslims to engage in Holy war and promised unlimited reward in the afterlife if one becomes a martyr in the war for the glory of Allah.

If you ask a Turkish Sufi Dervish who does that beautiful swirling dance, you won’t get the literal picture of Islam. You will rather get a pleasant humanitarian view of the Mystic Sufi philosophy. But, unfortunately, Mainstream Islam considers Sufis heretics and they were regularly persecuted by orthodox Muslims throughout history.

To find out the true meaning of Jihad, you have to look at the life of Muhammad, his companions and the later rulers and thinkers of Islam. You will get an extremely violent picture. Even Muhammad’s immediate successors used the term Jihad to refer to the conquest of new territory, so I don’t see much scope for misunderstanding here.

No matter what apologists try to tell you about the meaning of Jihad, to most Muslims it simply means Expansion of Allah’s Kingdom in the command of Allah himself. If they die in the pursuit they are a martyr or Sahid, someone who is guaranteed by Allah to go to heaven straightway without facing the trial in the judgment day.

Islamic scholars like Taqi al din ibn Taymiyyah, Mohammad ibn abdul Wahhab, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Mawdudi, Hasan al Turabi have a lot to answer for in this matter. Modern Jihadists frequently cite these scholars as their source of inspiration. They argued that Muslims are in a cosmic battle against the force of darkness. These forces of darkness should not be tolerated, and although Allah is ultimately responsible for the destruction of darkness, Muslims are required to fight it. That’s why as of today no famous Muslim cleric or Muslim country condemned terrorism. You see, almost everything of the western way of life contradicts Islamic belief – the West automatically becomes the target, hence, Islamic scholars divided the whole world into two different spheres: Islamic World or Land of Peace and Un-Islamic World or Land of warfare.

FP: So Islamic terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam?

HS: No, terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam; in fact they are interpreting Islam very correctly. Theologically, it is a Muslim’s holy duty to fight until the whole world turns to one Allah because there can not be any other God. Allah is pretty autocratic among the Gods and he doesn’t like to co-exist with any other deity. It sounds funny but its true; how many Muslim countries practice democracy? Liberalism, individual privacy and freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of belief – all of this and any other component of modernity you can think of directly contradicts Islamic belief.

No matter what apologists say, “Islam” and “freedom” are two opposite words with opposite meanings. You see, unlike Christianity and Buddhism Islam is not a personal religion; Islam is very practical, social, highly political, and unspiritual and its goal is to win the world empire. Islam penetrates even very personal aspects of human life and dictates. Islamic law or Sharia is considered divine legislation and it dictates every single aspects of human life, from using toothpicks to how to perform sex; from slaughtering animals to what verse you should recite when you are in a toilet etc. Anything you can think of.

FP: What are your views on Muhammad and his worshippers?

HS: To me, Muhammad is undoubtedly one of the most influential characters of human history in the sense that billions of Muslims are still ready to die for him, and it is unique given the extent of his influence. However, one of Muhammad’s few likable characteristics was that he never claimed himself to be perfect although billions of Muslims think so today.

I think Muhammad was always aware of his human shortcomings and he did everything to ensure that he is not worshipped instead of God. But, to Muslims Muhammad is sinless, the most perfect and greatest man who ever lived in this planet, and he is even the greatest of all prophets. Every Muslim worships Muhammad, knowingly or unknowingly and reacts with unprecedented violence if he is defamed by a cartoonist or a novelists or anyone in that matter.

However, if you follow Muhammad biography recorded by famous Muslim scholars such as Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq, Al tabari you will find many incidences of Muhammad being far from a perfect, sinless man. His cruelty towards Jews, Meccan Pagans and his rivals is well recorded by Muslim historians. He massacred three entire Jewish tribes – Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayaza and Banu Qaynuqa; killed the prince of Khaibar and made his wife captive to his tent: there are numerous examples; you just have to read the Muslim biographers in any translation you wish.

Apologists of Islam will try to justify these actions with there hollow logics; but if you are a prophet you should have a better moral outlook than the average human. Muhammad married 12 or 13 times — which contradicts his own preaching of a maximum four marriages, but what I find most disturbing is, Muhammad married his closest friend Abubakkar’s 6 year old daughter Ayesha. Now if you do that in a modern civilized world, you will be disgraced as a pedophile and spend the rest of your life in prison.

In another disturbing incident, Muhammad was attracted to his adopted son’s wife Zayanab and later even married her. As a leader, he failed to announce his successor which led to the bloody Shia-Sunni division in Islam and you see the second, third and fourth Caliphs of Islam all were assassinated as a result of this power struggle. These are just a few of the incidents of a very eventful life of a very influential man. But, as far as I am concerned, Muhammad was no saint. No doubt he is extremely influential, but I don’t see a perfect-sinless man in him as Muslims try to idolize.

FP: Let’s talk a bit more about Islam as a totalitarian belief system – as you discussed earlier.

HS: As I said earlier, Islam is in a cosmic battle against the un-Islamic world. I think – apart from the mystical Sufi sects, who are mostly branded as heretics by mainstream Muslims – the rest of the Islamic world and its belief systems are undoubtedly totalitarian in nature.

You see, followers of no other religion try to create international associations of nation-states that are based on religion. Only Muslims do and they call it ummah or followers of Muhammad, very similar with socialists and communist revolutionaries.

In personal label, Islam tries to penetrate every phase of life; the sole purpose of Sharia law is to control religious, social and political life of mankind in all of its aspects. Jihad and Sharia are two ultimate tools of Islam’s control mechanism. Muhammad’s life reflects the very nature of a totalitarian system. There was no separation of church and state; not just a prophet Muhammad performed as a statesman, lawmaker, judge, community leader and in many other roles.

So, you can clearly see the beginning was totalitarian in nature. Muslims are required to follow the Quran, the Hadith (deeds and words of Muhammad) and the verdict of Islamic scholars in case the answer is not found in the scriptures. Interestingly, while all other law is human and constantly evolving, Sharia is divine and immutable – human intelligence cannot criticize it, it must be accepted without any doubts and questions.

So, you can see a very tightly controlled society here without any hope of individual freedom. Sharia contains all sorts of crazy principles, such as, intolerance towards pagans and Jews, inequality between man and woman, religious, social and financial restrictions for non-Muslims citizens, acceptance of slavery and polygamy, barbaric punishments like chopping hands and feats from opposite sides to pulling out eyes and beheading — all sorts of things.

These laws were handed down over a thousand year ago and they didn’t evolve since then. Clearly Sharia is out of touch and not compatible in our twenty-first century. In the last thousand years we have progressed a lot, but the Islamic law and its worldview is stuck in the medieval desert, for generations Muslims are stuck with it as well and they need rescue. No surprise, there is hardly any intellectual progress in Muslim societies. How can there be progress if they regard the Quran as eternal truth and the final solution for all the problems? Progress requires change, Islam is unchangeable. This is why Islam is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian belief system and Muslims are the first victims of it — but very few of them realize that.

FP: How about those Muslim reformers who are trying to bring Islam into the democratic and modern world? Is there any hope for their efforts? If they asked you for help, what advice would you give them?

HS: Look, I don’t think you can be a Muslim and a reformer at the same time; it’s a paradox and contradictory in terms. Islam forbids reformation, and Muslims feel proud boasting that unlike the Bible, the Quran didn’t go through different editions and versions; it is pure, holy and untouched.

Muhammad insisted throughout his life that the Quran is the literal word of God – the truth once and for all, that’s it. So how can you bring reformation and remain a true Muslim? That’s a puzzling contradiction and I think it is misleading too. These reformers will keep telling you that Islam is the religion of peace and real Islam doesn’t approve the actions of the Talibans, Islam has nothing to do with Jihadists etc. You will eventually get tired of that. This denial is pathetic, you don’t have to go that far to see if real Islam has anything to do with these barbaric acts or not. Just read the Quran, Hadith, Sharia – Islamic texts and they are everywhere. That’s why it is so important to permit debate and criticism about Islam across the globe. Honest and sharp intellectual engagement is very crucial to create a democratic and modern nation.

FP: What advice would you advise to those who want to save western civilization? How best can we fight our enemy in the total war?

HS: London , New York , Sydney – all these big cities have one thing in common: most Muslims go there to improve their economic condition – big cities are like beauty queens- used by all and loved by none.

Most Muslims have already made it very clear that they have no intention of being assimilated into the host society; instead they are repeatedly asking to implement Sharia Law in Canada , UK , and Australia — as if it is up to the host society to change instead.

To a Muslim mind, Islam is a universal religion and he hopes some day the whole of humanity will embrace Islam. So, there is an element of expansion mentality in them, because Islam is not limited to home and personal relationship. To Muslims, Islam is a complete code of life and society must adhere to that code. So, you see, the world view of Islam is very totalitarian and you have to fight it intellectually, not just militarily. It is also a war of ideologies, we must not forget.

Unfortunately, some western societies continue to turn a blind eye when there is a Muslim-on-Muslim violence: such as, teenagers forced by migrant parents to follow Islamic codes. Some western societies are too politically correct to take any action when a freethinker is attacked for his unbelief, scared of losing the popular Muslim vote or political support. I believe that the West must always adhere to its secular principles and take prompt actions when there is violence against women or somebody is forced to follow Islamic codes. This will send a very clear message to Islamists and potential jihadists. There are an increasing number of Islamic schools in western countries, this is another way to brainwash children at a very early age and isolate them from the mainstream society by implying that We are Muslims, they are Christians; we are different. They eat pig, we don’t; we are different, by forcing girls to wear hijab sends a clear message: we are sacred, they are not, and they are whorelike.

So, it is very dangerous to turn a blind eye in such incidences in the name of promoting multiculturalism. Respect for other cultures, other values is important and a crucial component of secularism and democracy; but, if these other values are here to destroy our own civilization and modernity – then we have fight them vigorously- with reason, argument, criticism, legal and military means if it turns into violence- so that our values of civilization are protected.

Religious belief is fine; but the practices, literal submission to scriptures; religious institutions should not be tolerated. By saying that, a Muslim should have absolute freedom to his personal religion; but if he jumps up and demands the death penalty of a writer or preaches hatred in a community he should be disciplined accordingly by law.

As I said, the West must adhere to its secular principle and defend its democratic right and freedom at all costs and politicians should stop being too politically correct and they should be unapologetic when it comes to defending the core values of civilization.

However, we should remember it is not necessarily a battle between the west and Islam — as some like to portray it to fulfill there own agenda. As I said before, Jihadists divide the whole world into two spheres – Islamic world and un-Islamic world. I won’t do that. To me, it is the ultimate battle between those who value freedom, peace and humanity and those who do not, and we must triumph at all cost for the sake of our own existence.

FP: Hossain Salahuddin, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. Thank you for your bravery and your fight for freedom and truth.

HS: It’s an honor. Thanks.

 

Advertisements

Evangelical Christianity: Devils in high places

DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:00 IST

 

In his explosive new book The Armies Of God: A Study In Militant Christianity, British-born, Malaysia-based academic Iain Buchanan blows the lid off a subject that most scholars and journalists tend to shy away from: the rise of US evangelism as a force in global affairs. 

His book looks at how some of the powerful evangelical outfits operate — often as US government proxies — in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and of course, India, and the disastrous effects this has had on the relationship between the Christian West and non-Christian cultures, religious communities and nations. He also unmasks the role played by the seemingly secular ‘success motivation’ industry, and its leadership gurus such as Zig Ziglar and Ken Blachard, who are not only management experts but also conscious agents of US-style Christian evangelism.

Excerpts from an interview:

What led you to write this book?

I grew up in an agnostic family with respect for spirituality of all kinds — from animism to true Christianity. I suppose one of my strongest incentives for writing the book was to show how, in the West, inherently decent things like liberal secularism and Christian spirituality (no necessary conflict here!) are so deeply corrupted by political power and so dishonestly vaunted as marks of cultural superiority.

Not many would want to come out in the open and talk about the issues raised in your book. Was that a concern for you?

In the West, certainly, there is a reluctance to enquire too deeply into the affairs of organised Christianity — both at home and overseas. Western culture is a deeply, subliminally Christian culture, and even committed secularists have trouble avoiding Christian parameters in their arguments, and recognising the Christian capacity for wrong-doing. Among other things, this leads to a rather benign view of the behaviour of our missionaries overseas — fed partly by ignorance, and partly by a sense that the Christian mission can be equated with civilisation. And such myopia has increased dramatically over the past 40 years, as the secular West has managed to define a global order largely in its own terms, with decisive help from its Christian missionaries. By contrast, of course, the behaviour of non-Christians (especially Muslims) is scrutinised ruthlessly, misunderstood, and demonised.

Academics who have attempted to study the work of missionaries in India have been accused of helping the right-wing Hindutva brigade. Has this been your experience too?

The glib response to this would be to say that religious extremism of any kind needs to be exposed. But it is more complex than this. There is a need to go beyond the purely religious objection to Christian missionising, and examine the global forces which define it, and which are subverting countries like India in a far more comprehensive and profound way than most people realise.

A key contention of my book is that the extremism of Christian evangelicals is no more benign than the extremism found in non-Christian religious groups. Indeed, its local impact can be hugely destructive — precisely because of its ability to draw upon a vast global network of forces (including powerful secular ones), and its ability to penetrate and shape local forces, whether they be ethnic, religious, political, or social, according to alien priorities.

You speak at length of the US’s use of Christianity for it own geopolitical designs. Is this manifestly part of US strategy worldwide?

Most Western leaders (not just Bush and Blair) will claim they are inspired by their Christian beliefs. Sometimes, as with both Reagan and George W Bush, they quote chapter and verse in support of policy, although usually it is not so blatant. Certainly, deep in Washington, self-professedly Christian pressure groups (like the Fellowship Foundation and the Council for National Policy) have a highly influential membership and a powerful grip on policy.

Of course, one can debate whether US strategy is manifestly Christian in inspiration — few Americans would say it is not, although most would probably insist that such strategy is guided primarily by secular concerns.

But there is no doubt at all that US strategy makes deliberate (and somewhat cynical) use of Christian agencies in pursuit of foreign policy — and that the distinction between the religious and the secular is deliberately blurred in the process. There are over 600 US-based evangelical groups, some as big as large corporations, and between them they constitute a vast and highly organised network of global influence, purposefully targeting non-Christians, and connecting and subverting every sector of life in the process.

Most of the major evangelical corporations (like World Vision, Campus Crusade, Youth with a Mission, and Samaritan’s Purse) operate in partnership with the US government in its pursuit of foreign policy goals. World Vision, which is effectively an arm of the State Department, is perhaps the most notable example of this. There is also the benefit of a custom-built legislation, with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 providing necessary sanction to bring errant nations into line.

This means that evangelisation is an intensely secular pursuit, as well as a religious one. In turn, of course, the secular powers, whether they be departments of state or corporate businesses, find such evangelicals to be very effective partners.

Indeed, most missionaries are not obviously religious. A case in point is the Success Motivation industry.Many of the most popular ‘leadership gurus’ — Zig Ziglar, Paul Meyer, Os Hillman, Richard DeVos, John C. Maxwell, and Ken Blanchard, for example — are not just management experts, they are also evangelical Christians and conscious agents of US-style evangelisation. Conversely, groups which, on the face of it, are primarily religious, may also serve a powerful secular agenda, such as the collection of intelligence, the grooming of political or commercial elites, or the manipulation of local conflicts.

Some accuse the church of fomenting dissent among poor tribals by exploiting them; others say the church is a liberating force. This debate has gone on for decades in India’s North-East. What is your view?

The situation of India’s tribal people, like that of tribal people elsewhere in Asia, is certainly tragic. And it may be that Christian activity offers an opportunity to escape the various forms of homegrown oppression — state and corporate abuse, Hindu contempt, and so on. But Christianity in India is a very diverse thing. There are many situations where the Christian church has taken firm root, and is deeply involved in local administration, social welfare, education, and so on. Nagaland is a case in point. There are movements for tribal welfare elsewhere which are Christian-inspired and doing excellent work.

But there are many cases, too, of evangelical missions which go into tribal areas with little respect for local realities, and with an agenda far removed from tribal welfare. In this, they may be no better and no worse than the home-grown oppressor. But there is an important difference. Such missionaries often belong to an evangelical network whose strategic purpose is defined elsewhere, and which has little loyalty to the local population, its cultures, its communities, and its welfare, let alone to the nation as a whole. This is particularly true of the new breed of US-inspired evangelicals, led by Baptists and Pentecostalist/Charismatics, who have spearheaded evangelisation over the past 50 years. It is the working of this wider, and self-consciously global, structure of behaviour which is of concern.

It is unfortunate that missions doing good work in tribal areas have their efforts tarnished by others whose approach is more opportunistic and exploitative. For the new evangelicals, distaste for paganism is just part of the equation — oppressed tribal groups are a relatively easy target to penetrate in a much wider war against non-Christians generally, and for influence in strategic (especially border) areas. In this respect, even a relatively long-established Christian presence — as in Nagaland — has utility as a strategic outpost.

These are turbulent times for India as its number of hungry and poor are growing exponentially even as the wealthy in the cities are becoming billionaires. Does this make harvesting of souls easy? Do missionaries love turbulence?

It certainly seems, sometimes, that evangelicals thrive on suffering and disaster. India’s own KP Yohannan, for example, welcomed the tsunami of 2004 as “one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share His love with people” — and he was only one of many expressing such sentiments. There is no question that many evangelicals exploit the poor and marginalised for reasons which have a lot to do with narrow theology and political self-interest, and relatively little to do with long-term practical help.

But evangelicals court the wealthy and the powerful of a society with equal passion. One of the most telling features of the new evangelism is the way it has turned Christianity into a force for protecting the rich and powerful. US Protestantism, in particular, has worked hard to undermine the impulse in the church towards social justice and reform. A measure of its success has been the defeat of Liberation Theology and the remarkable expansion of US Pentecostalism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. More than a quarter of all Christians now belong to Pentecostalist and Charismatic churches.

In these, as in most new evangelical churches, great attention is paid to a ‘theology’ of economics which stresses individual profit, corporate obedience, the sanctity of making money, and the power of “miracles, signs, and wonders.”This ‘theology’ is a key part of modern imperialism: it offers something to both rich and poor, it is safely counter-revolutionary, and it ties tightly into the wider global network of more secular influences (in business, government, education, the media, the military) which underpins Western expansion.

So the evangelical church has a key role to play in a society as disparate as India’s. It is a form of social management: it gives divine sanction to the rich, it gives hope to the struggling middle class, and it cultivates discipline (and distraction) amongst the poor — and it does all this with a keen eye to the West’s self-interest. This is not to suggest that India does not have its own mechanisms for doing the same things. But such evangelisation, as a concomitant of Westernisation, is bound to strengthen as India urbanises and looks ever more Westwards.

A recent issue of the Texas-based magazine, Gospel For Asia, says: “The Indian sub-continent with one billion people, is a living example of what happens when Satan rules the entire culture… India is one vast purgatory in which millions of people …. are literally living a cosmic lie! Could Satan have devised a more perfect system for causing misery?” How and why does such propaganda work in a developed country like the US in the era of the Internet and the media?

There are two important points here. First, we must not assume that the ‘developed’ West is free from wilful ignorance. Indeed, wilful ignorance is often a very useful weapon. We need enemies, and, as religious people, we need demons. The utility of Islamophobia is a case in point.Besides, there’s a useful role for such bigotry within the system: as a foil for the liberal powerful to prove their liberal credentials.

But such attitudes are nothing new, of course. Christians have waged such ‘spiritual warfare’ against their enemies for centuries, and with the same kind of language. What is new is the vastly increased facility, offered by the electronic media, for fighting such a war. And this is the second point.

New technology is spreading, and hardening, such bigotry. Since the mid-1960s, the evangelical movement has systematically computerised its entire global operation, creating huge databases of information on its non-Christian enemies, centralising administration, and linking some 500 million ‘Christian computers’ worldwide for the purposes of fighting ‘spiritual warfare’ against non-believers in strategic places. And ‘spiritual warfare’, for the evangelical Christian movement, is not just a matter of prayers and metaphor: it is also, very decisively, a matter of ‘virtuous’ troops, tanks, and drones.

Jeffrey Armstrong on the Mysteries of Indian Culture, the Relevance of Hindu Vedas and the Reality of Ancient Flying Machines

Sunday, December 19, 2010 – with  Anthony Wile

 

The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Armstrong.

Introduction: Jeffrey Armstrong is an award-winning author of numerous books on Vedic knowledge including his recent book: Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, Ancient Wisdom for a New World. He is a philosopher, practitioner and teacher of the Vedas for the past 40 years. He has degrees in Psychology, History & Comparative Religions, and Literature and had a successful career as an executive in Silicon Valley before turning to teaching full time. Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi) is the founder of VASA – Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts in Vancouver Canada. His work aims at promoting higher education in the Vedic sciences, showing their roots in Veda and Vedanta, taking an integrated approach with the different Vedic disciplines. As the Vice President and International Media Coordinator for the Vedic Friends Association (VFA), Jeffrey Armstrong is a global advocate for the Sanatana Dharma Culture.

Daily Bell: Give us some background, where did you grow up?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I am one of those people that people often ask: How did you do all that in one life? I was born in Detroit, Michigan and by the time I was 13 I had become more interested than anyone I knew in questions such as: Who are we? Why are we here? What is life? I was a philosopher in the making, but I sure wasn’t surrounded by many others in the suburbs of Detroit. Eventually, everything I did became directed toward answering these questions.

Daily Bell: Did you focus on these issues in college?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I went off to university and spent five years working on a double major, one in psychology and one in creative writing, literature, and poetry. During that time – which was also the 60s – I was intensely involved in social developments and what was going on in the world and the experiences of the time. From that I was led, in almost every subject that I entered into, toward India. It is my opinion that if one studies most any modern subject with real diligence, they will be led, as I was, to India. India has the largest simultaneously scientific and spiritual ‘library’ known to exist.

I then spent five years in a Yoga ashram, as a celibate monk, being trained in the knowledge and practices of India. At the end of that time I spent two years learning Vedic Astrology. In the west, Astrology is mostly considered entertainment but in India it is a very serious and rigorous science. Then I went back for another degree in History and Comparative Religion where I spent 3 more years and then a year of graduate work in South Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin. I also studied modern dance, various forms of martial arts, fencing, Chinese herbal studies and rode and trained horses for many years.

Starting in 1980 I began working in corporations in Silicon Valley. I first worked for Apple Computer as their Middle Eastern Sales Manager and then spent the next 7 years at the heart of the explosion of Silicon Valley, in various Executive Sales & Marketing positions. Finally, I decided I would prefer to work outside the corporation, as a consultant, rather than inside. So, I built a career for myself as a corporate motivational speaker and spent the next 10 years speaking to Fortune 500 companies around the world. That was my work until 14 years ago, when I made the commitment to be a full time spiritual teacher. During all these years, I have been an avid Mystical poet and have written over 1,600 poems describing the philosophy of India in modern English.

Daily Bell: How did you get interested in Indian culture and religion?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Religion is the wrong word to use for India’s teachings. Religion is a word that is more accurately applied to the Middle Eastern Abrahamic cultures. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions. The origin of the word religion, from the Latin, is re-legare (a legalistic system of rules given by God) or ‘bound by rules.’ Re = tied up or connected by, and ligion = legare = ligaments = to tie, bind or bandage. The usual idea is that the practitioner of a religion is bound up in rules or laws. This especially applies to the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, whereas the spiritual practices of India are called a Dharma Culture. The main difference is religions generally have one book of rules and stories whereas a Dharma culture has a library of spiritual and material knowledge aimed at understanding who we really are and how to properly use everything around us. The phrase Dharma Culture is a more accurate descriptor for India, as compared to the ‘Indian religion’ or ‘Hindu religion.’

At the core of the Abrahamic Religions is a set of rules given by God that we are told we must follow because a specific vision of God and His prophet said so. That is not the basis of the Vedic Spiritual Library of India. India does not have a single book or an authoritarian/disciplinarian God, it uses an entirely different approach to the question of who we are and it is certainly more philosophical than a Religion, but it also contains many other components. It has a library of self-actualizing sacred knowledge, rather than just one dogmatic book.

Daily Bell: What do you believe in and why? What application does it have to the West?

Jeffrey Armstrong: My lifelong effort has been to try to find things that are universally true rather than relatively true and I believe that the largest library of that information exists in India in spite of the fact that India is a very fragmented culture right now due in large part to 1200 years of violent colonization by outside invading forces. This library of knowledge stretches back for thousands and thousands of years and is, as far as I know, the largest repository of the universal truth that exists on our planet.

What we now call the West is the outgrowth of a tribal or city/state approach to living on the planet. This means if you take care of your tribe, you are seen as good. So, to all those tribes who were fighting against each other for thousands of years in a series of wars, that essentially meant that as long as the spoils of the wars were brought back and shared amongst the tribe, they were good. Alexander the Great was a prime example of this. He went out to rape, pillage and conquer, and was a monster to the rest of the world, but was considered great by his people, hence the name. He was really great at being a warmonger, and a rapist and a pillager. But he brought his people back the spoils of war. India, on the other hand, is the only culture of its size in the world that has never gone out and tried to spread its beliefs by war. In fact, it has consistently given shelter to anyone from any culture. So, to compare histories, the west is a competitive, war-based civilization and India has been a nurturing, cooperation-based civilization on an epic scale. I am involved in the process of practicing and transferring that cooperative culture of India to the war-based culture of the west at a crucial time when it is needed very much.

Daily Bell: Let us go back in time. How old is humankind?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This is one of the most striking things about India. Indians of pre-modern history calculated the age of the universe in trillions of years. This is also the culture that gave us zero, the numerals that we use – so-called Arabic have their roots in India – as do trigonometry and calculus, astronomical calculation and a view that says the universe is not only billions, but trillions of years in age and that we are eternal beings who are simply visiting the material world to have the experience of being here. So, the point is, India holds a massive cosmological view of us – and that humans have existed for trillions of years, in varying stages of existence. And further, over time humans will continue to populate the many universes again and again.

Daily Bell: You wrote a book about this. Can you explain?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The book I wrote is called: The Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, published by Atria/Beyond Words an imprint of Simon and Schuster. The word Avatar means the descent of the Transcendental Divine or Supreme Being to the Earth for the purpose of revealing things we need to know about both living here and the nature of the Transcendental itself. In other words, to inform us of that which is currently beyond our sight.

Daily Bell: Are there lost Indian cities under the sea?

Jeffrey Armstrong: There is at least one that was discovered in 2001 in the Bay of Cambay, which is off the west coast of India. In a routine, environmental scan of the bottom of the sea, a city was discovered which turns out to have the largest megalithic stones of any city in ancient times; artifacts were dated to about 10,000 years ago. This find hasn’t yet been recognized in mainstream intellectual and academic circles but is nonetheless a momentous discovery which I am sure will eventually contribute to the review of our current theories of the age of human civilization. The city sits in about 150 feet of water, which indicates it was built before the last melting of the polar ice caps, which most geologists date conservatively at about 12,000 years ago. It appears to have had a building format similar to the cities of Harappa and Mohendro Daro (3000-5000 BCE), which were previously thought to be the oldest cities of India (and located in what is now called Pakistan). But this underwater city off the coast of India suggests, conservatively, 15,000 years of sophisticated human history in India.

Daily Bell: Did the ancient Indians know how to fly and to build flying machines? Are there replicas of these machines on the tops of ancient temples?

Jeffrey Armstrong: On the latter question, I am not sure I have heard that there are replicas of the airplanes or Vimanas as they were referred to in the epic histories of India. But there are two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two epic poems that supposedly took place 5,000 years ago and over 1.2 million years ago in India, and the Ramayana actually begins with a scene in which a very sophisticated stolen airplane is being flown all over the Earth. Such ancient stories, thousands and thousands of years old, have no logical reason for talking about airplanes in any modern sense. Yet they do.

Daily Bell: Did this civilization possess nuclear weapons?

Jeffrey Armstrong: It did not possess nuclear weapons as we know them and there is no evidence that India cultivated radium or other atomic materials at all. There is reference to a particular kind of mantra-based weapon that was used along with bows and arrows and is called a “Brahmastra.” This weapon supposedly could release nuclear-like energy with pinpoint accuracy. So not exactly nuclear, but its use produces the same consequence of bringing an intensely powerful explosion to a targeted area: complete and fiery destruction. But in the epics there is nothing that resembles the nuclear reactors or nuclear contamination we see today. India is also unique in that, historically, none of their wars were fought with or against civilian populations. Even in the massive Mahabharata war, warriors fought warriors on a sequestered field of battle, leaving civilians untouched.

Daily Bell: Are there lost power sources and other ancient technologies that we could perhaps reclaim with enough study?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This is a question that is once again coming to light. For example, there is a recent though controversial book out called 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, by a British submarine captain, Gavin Menzies. Regardless, China and India had very sophisticated sea faring technology, which is now proven, and with that technology and with the many inventions that both cultures created, it is becoming more and more clear that there was an extensive technological culture at an earlier time period in history than generally thought, that was spread all over the planet. It is now considered very likely that China and India had the ability to circumnavigate the entire planet. The ships that were launched from China in 1423 were 300 feet long and double-hulled and could stay at sea for 300 days at a time. Menzies further suggests that many inventions attributed to Leonardo de Vinci were actually from a book that the Chinese brought to Italy in 1423 on a global, seafaring expedition. Either way, China and India and Egypt appear to have had sophisticated technologies for thousands and thousands of years before modern times. And for the record, it is also common historical knowledge that both Egypt and China acknowledge their debt to India as the oldest culture.

Daily Bell: How were the great stone blocks used by ancient builders moved from place to place?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This still remains a mystery. There are actually conjectures that this was done with so-called psychic ability and powerful sound vibrations called mantras, yet there is no proof of this theory. All that aside, so-called modern man constantly and profoundly underestimates the brilliance of so-called primitive man.

Daily Bell: What happened to this ancient civilization? Was it worldwide?

Jeffrey Armstrong: There is a lot of evidence that it was global and as I mentioned many were seafaring and using extremely accurate astronomical, heliocentric calculations for both Earth and celestial motions, indicating an understanding that the Sun is at the center of the solar system and that the Earth is round. Elliptical orbits were also calculated for all moving celestial bodies. The findings are remarkable. What India calculated thousands of years ago, for example the wobble of the Earth’s axis, which creates the movement called precession of the equinoxes – the slowly changing motion that completes one cycle every 25,920 years – has only recently been validated by modern science.

Was this knowledge given to them by divine beings as they claim? Was there inter-galactic travel? Did the people in India have contact with beings or knowledge from other planets? We don’t know, but what is certain is that they had mathematical/astronomical understanding that is extremely precise and agrees with many of the results of astronomy today. There is no other way to explain why India and these ancient cultures would have such precise knowledge other than the fact that they were in a period of impressive technology and culture beyond our present understanding.

Daily Bell: The modern Hindu spirituality is a reflection of this ancient civilization and its knowledge?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Reflection is probably a good word because India has been aggressively colonized for the last 1200 years. Some scholars have suggested that as many as 60 million people died in the process of both the Muslim and British colonization of India. Whatever the numbers, that a holocaust of this proportion hasn’t even been discussed in terms of history speaks for itself. But what is simultaneously amazing is that the culture of India is as intact as it is compared to what one would expect from such extreme abuse and what we usually see with other decimated indigenous groups all across the world.

Sixteenth century India has been described as the wealthiest country in the world, with the best universal educational system – all of which has obviously become seriously damaged. India of today does not accurately represent the ancient culture, but what is amazing is that the India of today, without funding or resources, has spread its knowledge around the world. Today, there are probably as many as 100 million people practicing aspects of yoga – not because India spent a lot of money trying to spread its culture, but because that knowledge is, I would say, innately desired and needed by people all over the world.

So, to look at current India and then ask if their deep cultural knowledge is useful for today is misguided and ignorant. Present day India is damaged badly by recent colonization, internally corrupt and in many ways ruled by foreign interests opposed to its basic culture. But if we look deeply into the storehouse of ancient knowledge that the original culture possessed, we will find a legacy profoundly useful for the world we live in today.

Daily Bell: Did ancient Indians consort with aliens and travel through time or to other dimensions?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The cosmology of India describes our universe as having fourteen parallel realities on multiple levels, all existing and intersecting within the material realm in which we are currently living.

One of those levels is called the Deva realm. The Deva realm is supposedly the home of the beings who actually conduct the laws of nature to which we are subject. This view of Divine helpers is much misunderstood as the so-called many gods or also as demi-gods, but in India they were never viewed as God, gods, demi-gods or in competition with God. They were, instead, viewed as souls (or more accurately atmas) like us, but living on another plane of material reality and performing specific jobs as administrators of the laws of nature. So, gods is the wrong word for many reasons, the main one being it implies ‘God,’ which is not an Indian word in the first place. These beings are called Devas, meaning beings who ‘work in the light’ assisting the Supreme Being by enforcing the laws of nature that allow the universe to function as it does.

Different yet similar to us, Devas are viewed in India, by analogy, much as someone who works in the passport department giving out visas. Devas give out the passports (enforcing the laws of Nature) and we are people using and receiving the passports (obeying the laws of Nature).

So as for the alien question, it was always the view in India that there are other dimensions of intelligent life in our universe who communicate with humans and that the Devas specifically are the intelligences operating behind the laws of Nature. But the Vedic culture wouldn’t have described these beings as aliens in the way we currently think of aliens, as coming from another planet in a metal ship, parking their ship (or crashing their ship in Roswell) et cetera. The Vedas describe infinitely multiple universes filled with many Earth-like and other diverse planets and many kinds of intelligent beings living in these other dimensions, some in contact with this realm.

The closest modern analogs are found in some of the theories of quantum physics, one being string theory, which suggests there are something like eleven parallel realities that are running simultaneously with ours. This idea in physics, of parallel realities crisscrossing, is undeniably reminiscent of the ancient teachings from India.

Finally, beyond these many material realms, the Vedas state that there is an eternal Transcendental realm or abode which, though non-material, makes periodic visits to our physical plane here on Earth. The Transcendental is not considered a material realm and thus represents yet another form of visitation that sometimes takes place. In the Vedas, these intentional visitations from the Transcendental are called Avatars – literally the descent of higher beings from the Transcendental to the material realms.

Daily Bell: How did such a powerful civilization perish and why?

Jeffrey Armstrong: By a definition given in the Vedas, everything within matter changes and is in flux, eternally. Specifically, younger, more physically vital cultures from the cold climates came in with a new power, technology and energy that was able to, let’s say, exploit the situation of a diverse and cooperative India that had also become somewhat corrupt and decrepit. Ancient India is probably the poster child for a diverse, complex, cooperative society that by this definition allowed a lot of bio-diversity. Ironically, that was actually a weakness when Europeans came in and wanted to conquer India, to rape and pillage her wealth or to religiously convert the population, as with Islam and Christianity. After all, might does not make right.

Daily Bell: We believe the West is afflicted by money power – a group of wealthy families that want to centralize control over the world and are causing misery. How does your philosophy account for this?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The philosophy of India is very clear. We human beings are here with the ability to utilize our free will and the spectrum is anywhere from enlightened to ‘endarkened.’ The enlightened end of the spectrum is where the laws of Nature reside, and is called the Deva view. The ‘endarkened’ view is the philosophy of the so-called Asuras, who are always against the enlightened way of being. We humans can choose to cooperate for the good of all and align ourselves with the Devic view or we can choose to be entirely selfish and only concerned for the personal gain and pleasure of a few. The dark Asuric choice brings fear, destruction, chaos, exploitation and is always imposed by a small uncaring minority, enslaving the masses and farming them like animals to steal their life energy. All the Vedic stories show this human potential for abuse of free will and the problems it can create.

The Indian epics are rife with classic conflicts involving those who care only for themselves, subvert the laws of nature, create artificial inorganic societies, cannibalize other living entities and make a few people very wealthy and powerful at the expense of large numbers of innocent people.

It is the Avatars who come to fight against these dark beings. So anything like a global world government or a single global power or technology that subverts a freedom-based and sustainable reality with a manufactured and degrading pseudo-reality is considered, in the Vedic way of thinking, as Asuric, or against the light, against truth and blind to the good of all. The likelihood of such groups being out there is considerable. They are only acting in their selfish interest and do not care if they cause harm to large numbers of people. Ironically, the Vedas make it very clear that massive so-called wealth is actually most efficiently and easily acquired by literally not caring at all about sucking the life-force out of people and the Earth.

Daily Bell: What is the fusion between “Western technology and Eastern wisdom [that] offers a revolutionary new vision for multiculturalism and responsible expansion?”

Jeffrey Armstrong: The most scientific language that exists on our planet is Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language has four thousand grammatical rules, making it more precise than either Greek or Latin. Sanskrit by its sheer specificity explains why the citizens of India have never made a wide distinction between material science and spiritual science. Sanskrit also helps explain how a so-called primitive, ignorant and Pagan people were able to so rapidly take over the IT industry. Behind Sanskrit is a temperament that is not against science but rather weds science and our spiritual nature together into a single important subject: Divine Intelligence. The key principal here is that the original culture of India thinks in the longest possible cycles and believes that we are not supposed to brutally exploit the resources of the planet, the non-renewable resources of the planet, let alone control or enslave people in the process. We are supposed to use our scientific and technological abilities to work in harmony with the laws of nature.

This is based on the belief that nature is intelligent, conscious, purposeful, and not random – and that the natural order of the universe is to be supported by us, not subverted by us. In the future, if we are fortunate, the technological capabilities that have now been developed will be wedded with a renewable idea of energy and we will stop exploiting the non-renewable energy resources of our planet and use our abilities to create a recycling, renewable and therefore a good-for-the-future way of living on the planet. Because right now, in so many ways, from energy to money, we are living as if there will be no future – and we will certainly leave a terrible mess for our children given what is being done. Regardless of what we see today, India’s teachings have always stood for a renewable and cooperative relationship with the resources of the universe and the freedom of individuals.

Daily Bell: You write of your views “this will help take our success beyond the present-day definitions of a profit-only marketplace.” How so?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The large corporation as we know and define it now generally has a financial responsibility (which encompasses most of its other responsibilities) to its Board of Directors, only to bring in profit. It has the rights of an individual with no moral responsibilities.

Corporations are still based on the colonial ethos that we can go out and harm the rest of the world as long as we bring the results back to our own country. These giant corporations become ‘too big to fail,’ are often deeply subsidized by taxpayer money, are products of the State in many nefarious ways and often have a revolving door of positions and lobbyists between themselves and government. Of course this isn’t good for the planet and it creates animosity among many groups. Given the immense powers of technology, this rape and pillage attitude will inevitably lead to more and more war, more destruction and misery, and more debt. It continues at a rapid pace right now with the corporate world trying to own more and more resources like, for instance, water, with the idea that individuals or corporations should be able to own non-renewable, life-sustaining resources, neither of which is acceptable morally, as history has shown and the Vedas have warned.

This robber baron mentality needs to be replaced by a new mentality. I call it the CCO and every corporation should have one – the Chief Conscience Officer. Why? Because as I said, and as it is said in the Vedas, massive wealth in the material world is most easily acquired via the exploitation of both resources and people – and is therefore always tempting to certain beings. Ideologies aside, without compassion and corporation, there is no well-being.

Daily Bell: What is the ancient Yoga philosophy and how does it teach valuable skills that are applicable to all areas of life?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The purpose of Yoga is two-fold. One is the purpose to live in harmony with the laws of nature. The second is to empower each individual spiritual being to be autonomous and ultimately to be able to fly their airplane, (their divine consciousness), back to the Transcendental realm from which they originally came. This leads to a political viewpoint that says our education should maximize as many human beings as possible to achieve their highest human potential and not put them in positions of bondage where they are degraded in any means whatsoever. The yogic ethos is that we should arrange life so that, as far as is possible, human beings are not degraded in consciousness by performing their work but have the greatest possible opportunity to remain conscious of their true, Divine Nature, which will lead them as far as possible in that direction. All of this, by definition, has to be accomplished without the use of intimidation, forced-conversion or coercion.

Daily Bell: You write, “The real treasures of the East weren’t jewels, spices or exotic perfumes – but the amazing treasure house of sacred and universal knowledge. This knowledge, increasingly validated by modern science, is now being embraced by leading edge corporations, professionals and leaders throughout the world.” What are some examples?

Jeffrey Armstrong: As I mentioned earlier, what is unique about the library of India is that it was recorded in the Sanskrit language, which has not degraded over time to any significant extent. This is unlike other religions and spiritual paths and bodies of knowledge that were written in languages which have often become obsolete or are no longer clearly understood. Thus, the treasure house of knowledge that I am talking about goes back accurately for thousands and thousands of years. The literature contains the precise understandings of the ancients and is still being transmitted by traditional teachers in India to the modern world.

It is well known that Greek advancements in knowledge have affected our world for a couple thousand years. Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, was the teacher of Plato. Socrates of course claims to have been enlightened by the teachings of Pythagoras who preceded him by 200 years. It is also historically known and should be remembered that Pythagoras studied in India; he was a vegetarian, virtually unheard of anywhere else, and learned the philosophy of India and taught it in Greece.

So if we are to accept the well-known saying in academia that western philosophy is simply footnotes to Plato, it is then logical to say that the knowledge of India has been leaking into our culture for thousands of years. That this is not understood is a shame because it’s both extremely exciting and a huge aspect of our human heritage. The Abrahamic religions, however, especially Islam and Christianity, have been very resistant to this idea because of their own institutional agendas. So knowledge from India that leaked in to other cultures has often remained either hidden or was simply incorporated into western thought without credit to India.

The so-called American ‘transcendentalists’ – Emerson and Thoreau et cetera – are one tiny example of this. Today – and for the last 100 years and perhaps especially the last 50 years – the influence of ancient India is being revealed in full force and clarity. As part of that knowledge are a number of things, including the empowerment of women as seen clearly in the view of a feminine as well as masculine Divine and the consciousness that the Earth is in very tangible ways a living entity described as Gaia, Bhumi (In Sanskrit) or Mother Earth.

The awareness of how we eat and how we live in our bodies is also vital to the Vedic philosophy and Yoga. It is also a viewpoint promoting bio-diversity both personally and sustainably. Firstly, individuals should never be coerced into a particular spiritual viewpoint. Secondly, we are living on a single organism, planet Earth, and it is in everyone’s best interest to cooperate with one another since we ultimately all breathe the same air and drink the same water. This is initially accomplished by developing a vision of ALL living beings as divine in nature.

Finally, it is a bio-diverse vision that both creates and supports an open Internet, considered by many technological idealists to be one of the great hopes of our planet trying to find a way to know and cooperate with each other instead of being in a competitive and destructive relationship. If we can keep the Internet open, then that is one of the key places where bio-diverse ideas in a potentially open and cooperative environment can meet and are meeting.

This interview, for example, with less than mainstream ideas, could be distributed in a short time to millions of eager listeners who hope that this is possible. That positive and idealistic ethos also lives in some corporations, more each day – of course, not all of them are robber barons. Indeed, there are so many negative invisible and unseen forces that exist in the background for the purpose of manipulating our economy, our private lives, our food source and what is defined as medicine and so forth. For those invisible forces to be brought out into the open requires communication environments that allow for that possibility. This publication is an example and there are many others. Monopolies are dangerous in government, corporations and ideas. The saying in Sanskrit is, ‘Satyam eva jayate- the truth will always eventually prevail’.

Daily Bell: You write, “We are all becoming global citizens. The next evolutionary step requires us to blend the advances of modern science with the time-honored secrets of ancient wisdom to create a sustainable and successful future throughout the world. Does this involve one-world governance as well? Who governs?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The answer to that again, in clear English, straight from the Vedas, is NOTHING COULD BE WORSE THAN A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. Extreme centralization – a single, domineering and autocratic control-based system is entirely antithetical to the Vedic way of thinking. We need regional wisdom at every level in order to interact successfully and cooperatively with the laws of nature, the environment and individual local needs as they are playing out in a given area. Regional and bio-diverse management combined with a global awareness of ourselves as part of the universe, as part of a larger planetary perspective, is the ideal. The goal of government is to serve, not to create a bureaucracy that is a burden on everyone and helps create a group of robber barons who serve only themselves, under some false flag of so-called freedom.

Daily Bell: You write, “According to Yoga philosophy there are a few easily recognizable body-types that determine many of our specific behavior patterns. Every professional will benefit from learning how to recognize these important body types. Once you’ve learned the body types, you’ll know who you’re talking to and how to communicate with them effectively.” What are these body types?

Jeffrey Armstrong: These body types are the basis of the practical everyday lifestyle science of the culture of India. It is rooted in the notion of universal elements, just as our modern science has divided matter into the atomic periodic table of elements. The problem is we can’t see those minute atomic elements in our day-to-day life, even though we are composed of them. In ancient times there was (and still is) a more practical approach using the table of the five visible elements of nature. These elements are earth, water, fire, air and space, and they are visible to everyone using their perceptive senses.

Everything is composed of these five ingredients, which are present in a specific ratio in all of our bodies. That proportionality or ratio can be translated to mean that each one of us has a certain body ‘type’ and that body is our vehicle. Each vehicle has a particular nature that is best suited for particular functions. I have described this in some detail in my book: ‘God/Goddess the Astrologer, Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation: How we continually create our own destiny’.

We as individuals are empowered by understanding what particular kind of body we are inhabiting, just as we need to know the make and model of our car in order to maintain it properly. This then forms the basis of the preventive, healing and organic science that is called Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurveda, or the science of the life force, is based on knowing our nature and then using the natural remedies and foods that enhance and balance that nature. Because we all have a physical nature that is knowable, this knowing allows us to cooperate with Mother Nature, of whom we are a part. Conversely, not knowing our specific body type causes needless friction and damage to our bodies and minds and ultimately obscures a relatively easy understanding of each other’s particular physical and mental nature and needs.

Daily Bell: These would be called the 3 Doshas?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Yes these would be the 3 Doshas, which give rise to the 10 basic body types. This means the particular mix of the five elements, in other words the characteristic design elements of each person’s body/mind complex. We could also call this the recognizable form of one’s underlying genetic structure. As an example, if you had a Maserati and took it to a mechanic who said: ‘Sure, I can repair your car, all cars are all the same’, you would never believe him. It’s a bad diagnosis, and currently there are a startling number of medical conditions in hospitals that are actually doctor or pharmaceutically induced. One of the reasons is an unnecessary ignorance of the Ayurvedic body types, which means modern physicians simply do not know the make and model of their patient’s body. For this reason, modern allopathic medicine, which is undeniably brilliant in repairing serious trauma, is not preventive. Combining that ignorance with Big Pharma and their excessive and relentless use of chemical-based pharmaceutical medicines instead of using either nothing or, when needed, safe, organic herbs, causes a great deal of suffering and unnecessary environmental damage. Ayurveda says: ‘Live according to your body type,’ let organic, nutritious food be your medicine and use pure herbal remedies as far as possible. Then allopathic and pharmaceutical medicines and surgery will become what they should be, remarkable last resorts.

Daily Bell: What are the “Vedas” and Vedic values?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Veda means ‘to see’, and gave us our modern word, video. Its root is ‘vid’, and from that comes, wit, meaning ‘knowledge’ or ‘what we know,’ so Veda, first of all means the knowledge that we need in order to exist and fulfill our purpose for existing. That knowledge is considered to be eternal and to co-exist with both this world and with the eternal Transcendental world. A student of the Veda, or the study of the knowledge of India, would be studying a library of knowledge. There is not one, single dogmatic book, which takes precedence over the others. To be a student of the Veda then, is to be a student of a library of knowledge concerned with all subjects that support a sacred lifestyle and our true spiritual nature. That library has been passed down from antiquity and is thought by practitioners to have emanated from the Divine mind of the Supreme Being. It is the many ‘users manuals’ for the material world.

Daily Bell: What was the vision of the Hindu Vedic Sages?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Hindu came about when the people of Persia were describing the people on the other side of the Sindhu (Indus) River (India). They could not pronounce the river’s name properly, saying the ‘s’ as an ‘h’ and thus they called the people on the other side the Hindus. Technically, Hindu is now used as a word to describe the whole culture of India but it is more specifically a generic term meaning all of those people who probably are taking some inspiration from the Veda – so card – carrying Hindus would really also be card – carrying members of the Vedic library. But that doesn’t tell us – which books within the library an individual favors. This choosing within the library is why there is such diversity in the Hindu Dharma or culture, and consequently confusion over what a ‘Hindu” is or believes. The Sanskrit word dharma means learning the essential nature of everything, including your true self-nature, and then using it all accordingly. Knowing your own nature and the nature of everything and using it according to its Divinely intended purpose, is the basis and goal of the Vedic Hindu Dharma Culture.

Daily Bell: Expand on the word Avatar and the relevance of the original Avatars of India for today’s world?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Avatar is two Sanskrit words: ‘ava‘ which means to descend and ‘tara‘ which means to heal, restore or replenish. The concept of ‘Avatar’ is different than that of a Prophet. The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered Prophetic religions, meaning a human acted as a mouthpiece for some version of the Supreme Being. Moses and Mohammed are considered prophets, not Avatars. Even Jesus, by strict definition, is not an Avatar. Avatar means the actual appearance in a bodily form here on earth of the Supreme Reality, the Supreme Being, variously called God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. Those are some of the names that the Middle Eastern tribes have used for this Ultimate Being. In India that Being has thousands of names but is ultimately called ‘Bhagavan‘, which means the “Person of the Supreme Being, the One who has all the possible Divine qualities.”

According to the historical record of India, that Supreme Being has come to Earth twice, and these visits or descents are described in detail in the two longest poems that exist on our planet, both written in Sanskrit. The Ramayana (24,000 verses) and the Mahabharata (100,000 verses), are the two great Avatar epics of India. The well-known Vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita is 700 verses taken from the Mahabharata, wherein Bhagavan Krishna explains in summary all the key spiritual teachings of the Vedic library.

The descent of the Supreme Being, aka, GOD, to Earth, takes place with a large group of friends, to teach the purpose of our existence, to fight the previously mentioned Asuras who, indeed, were trying to make a repressive and destructive ‘one world’ government, at the expense of sustainability, compassion and individual freedom.

Daily Bell: Perhaps they ought to visit again. Is the world heading toward collapse? What will be the outcome?

Jeffrey Armstrong: It is inevitable that we are headed toward some kind of collapse or major contraction because we are violating the primary law, even of modern science, which is the law of entropy. The two laws of thermodynamics – that matter is neither created nor destroyed and always going from a higher to lower state of energy – were initially described in the Vedas as the laws of Nature, and were called ‘The Gunas.’ The Gunas are a description of the cyclic states and processes of matter.

The point is, as long as we are simply extracting energy from the world around us and not replenishing or giving back or finding balance, then we are inevitably creating a world that is headed for collapse, population imbalance and exploitation. We are doing this through factory-farming animals, by factory farming the land. We are doing it by not recycling correctly, by not replenishing the growth and vegetation of the planet. We are doing it by an exploitation-only attitude in economics, by a currency and a monetary system that is not rooted in real, sustainable value, by the manipulation of human beings at the most fundamental level in their real estate, their property, their resources, the water they drink, etc.

Because exploitation and the irresponsible use of power is the fastest way to acquire wealth at the expense of others, the Vedic culture says that anyone who has great power has great responsibility and is accountable to use that power for the well-being of everyone. This idea is clearly not being exercised sufficiently on the planet. This process is based on the ancient Vedic principle of Karma – that every action has an equal and opposite reaction both with matter and in the moral actions of humans. I describe this in depth in my book ‘Karma – The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect‘. The resources of the Earth are meant for the good of all, they do not truly or ultimately belong to anyone – as even death reminds us. So right now, we are on a crash course with destiny and the karmic laws of nature as a result of our incorrect attitude toward Mother Earth. We are stealing the future and wealth (and therefore freedom) of our children and their children by our actions in the present, and leaving them a pile of waste and debt as our legacy, instead of protecting their future.

Daily Bell: Why is ancient Hindu knowledge being suppressed, if it is?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The honesty of the Hindu knowledge is that we are accountable to, to put it colloquially, Mother Nature, who is Divinely intelligent. The world that we live in, however, is really being controlled by a variety of interests that are negatively polarized. In my opinion, the knowledge of India has been and is still being repressed so that certain interests can continue colonizing both India and the planet, and to prevent it being a viable alternative to more aggressive religious and political worldviews.

The deeply spiritual, cooperative message of the Hindu Vedic Dharma Culture would shine light on the various selfish and harmful activities of the powerful interests who are harming the world. The rapid spread of Yoga in recent years shows that previous attitudes of repressing information are not nearly as effective in our current world of global communication. Freedom of speech is a crucial right to defend at this dangerous moment in history.

Daily Bell: Why does the modern power elite not want the world to know about ancient Hindu civilization?

Jeffrey Armstrong: At the crux of both of the epics and of the Avatar’s descent to Earth is the message that anyone who has power has responsibility. This is the one message that those who are abusing power do not want to hear. The concept of stewardship had its home in India. Anyone who was a ruler in India had the responsibility of caring for every living entity. The intentional degradation of human beings for personal gain is simply wrong – despite its effectiveness as a means of rapidly acquiring wealth.

It is written that many of the greatest kings and queens and dynasties in India had a rule; that before they ate a meal, they would ring a bell. The bell meant if you are hungry, we have a kitchen open where you can come and eat. We are going to eat now, but we will not eat if you are hungry. Why? Not because of ideology, but because massive wealth and power is generally acquired on the backs of others. So, I would challenge any leaders of the world to ring a bell in your country and if no one is hungry, unsafe or uncared for, then you can have your dinner. You should listen carefully to what the Avatars and honorable ancient leaders have said is your responsibility as a so-called leader.

Daily Bell: Recommend some books and websites for further study, please.

Jeffrey Armstrong: Too many to mention, but if you go to my website, http://www.jeffreyarmstrong.com, I have made a list of useful people and sites, and I have personally given many lectures on these topics which reader’s can request. There are numerous sources of information on India and her ancient culture but the genuine teachers of her wisdom should all lead you back to the Vedic Library, grounding their opinions in that ancient wisdom.

Daily Bell: What is next for you? Where do you go from here?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Well, my goal is to reach a billion people with this knowledge that pushes for individual autonomy and empowerment in the most positive sense of those terms. I believe that a real problem is that good people who have good intentions often do not have the knowledge-tools necessary to give them a scope of vision and daily empowerment that will help them to implement the goodness and greatness that’s inside of them.

Even though the journey of life is cyclic and eternal, I believe we are here today at a sort of tipping point and that this point will be turned positively by autonomous and knowledgeable individuals who use their eternal free will to choose a universal view that is for the good of all. We don’t need more ignorant armies, better weapons or sadly victimized civilian populations. We need a large body of informed and compassionate citizens from diverse cultures and viewpoints. Humans, through non-violent enlightenment on many levels and subjects, can change the world. I am ever hopeful that this is possible. We do NOT need more technology, we need smarter technology and a less-is-more attitude (less debt, less waste, less violence) to build a sustainable future.

Daily Bell: Anything else you want to mention?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I always like to stress the importance of broadening the scope of one’s thinking to envision the idea that all the living entities on our planet have a right to be here, learning and growing happily. Be a philosopher and poet. Become broad-minded. Be local but don’t live in a small bubble of reality ignoring the larger world. Inform yourself. Try not to become a Darwinian human, believing only in the survival of the so-called strong or well-armed, try to become a feeling being, an empathic human feeling the pain of others and helping them where you can, to heal.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘the Supreme Being has provided enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.’ Certainly we know that not everyone will have the same amount as everyone else but surely a world can be built in which more people instead of less people have enough, and our children have a future not oppressed by waste, debt, propaganda and tyranny. The Hindu Vedic Dharma says that exploring ‘Inner Space‘ is much more important than exploring ‘Outer Space‘, while always hoping that all may be fed, protected and find peace within and in the world. Hari Om! May this knowledge bless all.

Daily Bell: Thank you for sharing your time so graciously. It has been most interesting.

Jeffrey Armstrong: Thank you for the opportunity.

‘Lord Krishna existed. School texts are wrong’

 

Last updated on: August 29, 2009 

Raj Nambisan

Did Krishna exist?

Most certainly, says Dr Manish Pandit, a nuclear medicine physician who teaches in the United Kingdom, proffering astronomical, archaeological, linguistic and oral evidences to make his case.

“I used to think of Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. Imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (a professor of physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy. I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions [as him],” Pandit says.

Which meant, he says, that what is taught in schools about Indian history is not correct?

The Great War between the Pandavas and the Kauravas took place in 3067 BC, the Pune-born Pandit, who did his MBBS from BJ Medical College there, says in his first documentary, Krishna: History or Myth?.

Pandit’s calculations say Krishna was born in 3112 BC, so must have been 54-55 years old at the time of the battle of Kurukshetra.

Pandit is also a distinguished astrologer, having written several books on the subject, and claims to have predicted that Sonia Gandhi would reject prime ministership, the exact time at which Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati would be released on bail and also the Kargil war.

Pandit, as the sutradhar of the documentary Krishna: History or Myth?, uses four pillars — archaeology, linguistics, what he calls the living tradition of India and astronomy to arrive at the circumstantial verdict that Krishna was indeed a living being, because Mahabharata and the battle of Kurukshetra indeed happened, and since Krishna was the pivot of the Armageddon, it is all true.

You are a specialist in nuclear medicine. What persuaded you to do a film on the history/myth of Krishna? You think there are too many who doubt? Is this a politico-religious message or a purely religious one?

We are always taught that Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. And this is exactly what I thought as well. But imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (of the Department of Physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research somewhere in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy.

I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions. This meant that what we are taught in schools about Indian history is not correct.

I also started wondering about why this should be so. I think that a mixture of the post-colonial need to conform to western ideas of Indian civilisation and an inability to stand up firmly to bizarre western ideas are to blame. Also, any attempt at a more impartial look at Indian history is given a saffron hue.

I decided that I could take this nonsense no more, and decided to make films to show educated Indians what their true heritage was. The pen is mightier than the sword is an old phrase but I thought of new one: Film is the new pen.

Any ideas I have will receive wide dissemination through this medium.

I wanted to present a true idea of Indian history unfettered by perception, which was truly scientific, not just somebody’s hypothesis coloured by their perceptions and prejudices.

Why not a documentary on Rama, who is more controversial in India today? Proof of his existence would certainly be more than welcome today…

A documentary on Rama is forthcoming in the future. But the immediate reason I deferred that project is the immense cost it would entail. Whereas research on Krishna and Mahabharata was present and ready to go.

Further more, Rama according to Indian thought, existed in the long hoary ancient past of Treta Yuga, where science finds it difficult to go.

There is a controversial point in your documentary where someone Isckon monk alludes to Krishna as being the father of Jesus. How can you say that since there is an age gap of roughly 3000 years between the two spiritual giants?

Is Krishna the spiritual father of Jesus? That is what the person who was training to be a Roman Catholic priest, and who now worships Krishna, asks. The answer comes within the field of comparative religion and theology.

The Biblical scriptures qualify Jesus as the son of God. Most Indians have no problems accepting this as Hindus are a naturally secular people. However, then the question that arises is, if Jesus is the son, then who is the Father or God Himself?

Now, Biblical scriptures do not really give the answer except to say that the Father is all-powerful and omnipresent. Now, of course, we know that Jesus does not say that he is omnipresent or omnipotent.

Now, no scripture can live as an island, all by itself, and the Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures such as the Bramha Samhita all call Krishna as an all powerful, omnipresent being.

So, if we use these words of Bhagavatam, there can be no other truth, which means that Krishna is the father of all living creation.

But it does not mean that Jesus is not divine. Jesus is indeed divine. What I liked about the monks in my documentary is that they do not denigrate Jesus although they worship Krishna as God. They keep Jesus in their hearts, while worshipping Krishna. What could be more secular or more Christian?

3067 BC is when the Mahabharata war took place, says Dr Achar. How did he arrive at this?

There are more than 140 astronomy references in the Mahabharata. Dr Achar used simulations of the night sky to arrive at November 22, 3067 BC, as the day the Mahabharata war began.

He used the references common to Udyoga and Bhisma Parvan initially, and so Saturn at Rohini, Mars at Jyestha with initially only the two eclipses, Lunar at Kartika and Solar at Jyestha.

Let me tell you how rare this set of astronomical conjunctions is.

The Saros cycle of eclipses is periodic at 19 years and so is the Metonic cycle of lunar phases.

So if I say that Amavasya has occured at Jyestha, then this will occur again in 19 years, but if I say that a solar eclipse has occured at Jyestha, then this occurs again at Jyestha only after 340 years. Add Saturn at Rohini and we take this to 1 in 7,000 years. This set of conjunctions takes all of these into consideration, but also takes all the other data into consideration.

So now, we know about Balarama’s pilgrimage tithis and nakshatras, and believe it or not, all that fits the 3067 BC date perfectly.

And to top it all, so does the repetition of the three eclipses described at the destruction of Dwarka 36 years later.

This would explain why so many other researchers tried and failed to find the date of the Mahabharata war as it is based on such a unique set of astronomy that it occured only once in the last 10,000 years.

So essentially, your thesis is that since the Mahabharata war actually happened, as confirmed by astronomical deduction, Krishna was also a living entity since he’s the fulcrum of the Great War?

Not just that, but the fact that archaeology, oral and living traditions point to the same. And yes, we cannot separate the Mahabharata war from Krishna. If one is shown to have happened, then the other must be true as well.

What’s your next project?

The next project is called Indian Jesus. It is already 80% complete. It is very controversial but needed to be done. Living in India convinced me that there are definitely many paths to God. Anybody who lives in India and does not subscribe to that concept should be termed intolerant, but instead the opposite is happening. There are some people today who call their God as God and mine as the devil, this is unacceptable, and I will see to it that those intolerant concepts are demolished. I long to see a one borderless world where we live in mutual respect. I cannot say much on the project but to say that I will prove that the underlying basis of religions is the same.

There is talk of a banyan tree which the documentary says was a witness to the Battle of Kurukshetra, where 4 million people are said to have died in 14 days. Where exactly does this exist? Has the tree been carbon-dated to confirm its age?

There is indeed a banyan tree at Jyotisaar in Kurukshetra which is worshipped as such. This concept is similar to the tree in Jerusalem, which is thought to have witnessed Jesus’s arrival. Carbon-dating of this banyan tree is unlikely to give any concrete answers. I have included it in the documentary to show the living tradition of India — like worship of the Ganges cannot be carbon-dated to give any answers.

There is a gentleman named Ram Prasad Birbal, who said he has found many bones which are said to belong to the Kurukshetra battle. Has this been scientifically proved?

Ram Prasad Birbal is a resident of Kurukshetra. I am not aware of carbon dating of those bones. But I am informed that thermo-luminescent dating of other relics as well as carbon-dating at other sites in Kurukshetra have given dates far older than the Indus valley civilisation. Further, Euan Mackie, an eminent archaeologist, had found a clay tablet of Krishna’s Yamalaarjuna episode at Mohenjedaro, a site of the Indus Valley civilisation proving that even in 2200 BC, there was a culture of worshipping Krishna.

You said Hinduism spread across South East Asia in those times … how big was this religious empire?

The Hindu religious empire extended across the whole of the Asian sub-continent to South East Asia, from Afghanistan to Thailand (where Ramayana and Krishna are still shown through dances), Burma, Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, etc), Vietnam, Laos (little Kurukshetra and temples), Malaysia (which was Hindu until recent) up to Java (more temples), Bali (where Hinduism is still the religion) and Indonesia, where Bhima’s grandson is said to have performed a thousand fire rituals at Yogyakarta. Afghanistan was of course home to both the Yadu race and Shakuni (Kandahar or Gandhar).

Dr Achar said the Kurukshetra war must not have happened on a full moon day…

The Mahabharata war did not start on an Amavasya. That is straight forward.

Krishna tells Karna “Saptama chappi divasat Amavasya Bhivasyati” and says that Karna should tell Drona and Bhisma to do the ayudha (weapons) pooja on that date. But not start fighting the war on that date.

The documentary is quiet crisp. I am told this is the first time you held a camera, and learnt how to shoot. How many days did this take and what was your budget?

I learnt film editing first using a variety of software such as Final Cut 6 as I realised that a film director must be able to do decent basic editing to realise what to shoot, from what angles and for what duration.

I bought a professional grade HD movie camcorder initially and then learnt to shoot before we went filming in 8 major Indian cities, the US, UK and Cambodia.

However, nothing prepares you as thoroughly as filming on your own. Most of this was done with a skeleton crew, mostly handling audio.

I later was funded to buy the latest Cinealta tru HD movie cameras, which are not available in India, and which I am now proficient in using. I also taught a few crew members how to shoot.

Then came the task of assembling a team of professionals to do editing, graphics, voice over and all else, so that I had a team of people for my next set of documentaries.

It was a steep learning curve, as I never went to film school, but it has worked out well, with people within the industry who are veterans complimenting my work. I personally think that it was all God’s grace.

The budget was 15,000 pounds or approximately Rs 12 lakh. It took me 18 months to complete.

Your documentary says India did not have a tradition of putting down everything in writing till 325 BC, when Alexander the Great arrived. How did you come to this conclusion?

This is what the current scientific belief is. Although people have talked about deciphering the Indus Valley “script”, there is no straightforward conclusion about the same, so we stuck to the “official line” there. We will deal with these issues in a future documentary.

S R Rao, the marine archaeologist from the National Institute of Oceanography, found a 9th century building, and an entire city. Where was this and when did he find it?.

S R Rao found the sunken city of Dwarka a few years ago at Beyt Dwarka in the early 1990s.

Apparently, this city near Dwarka was set up 36 years after the Mahabharata war. Is this the summation of Rao?

It is believed that due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dwaraka has submerged six times and the modern-day Dwarka is the 7th such city to be built in the area. Scientifically speaking, we see that 36 years after the war there were the same repetitions of an eclipse triad as we have shown in the documentary.

From Dwarka to Kurukshetra is more than 1,000 km. How do you think Krishna travelled to help the Pandavas?

As a scientist, I believe that they travelled on horses which would enable them to reach pretty quickly. If you consider 1,000 km, that should take him 7 days if he had a string of horses. Of course if you take faith into account, then it could happen in a twinkling of an eye.

What’s the link between the two comets that Sage Vyasa talked about, the retrograde motion of Mars (Mangal or Kuja) at Antares (Jyestha) to all this

The idea that comets are harbingers of doom is well-documented. The thing is that there is a set of statements describing comets and their positions. Only Dr Achar has arrived at the correct deduction, that those sentences in Bhisma Parvan relate to comets, not planets — which is where previous researchers found it difficult.

We know that Halley’s comet was seen in that year as well.

Dr Achar interpreted verses from the Bhism Parvan and Udyog Parvan to arrive at various conclusions. One of them is that when Saturn in at Aldebaran (Rohini) it brings great bad tidings. The last time this happened was in September 2001, when 9/11 happened. When does this happen next?

Actually Saturn at Rohini is long known to be a bad omen by astrologers. Rohinim Pidyannesha Stitho Rajan Shanischarah. This transit happened in 1971 where a million or so were killed, and again in 2001 September, when 9/11 happened. The next time is in 2030/2031 AD approximately.

When is the next time Mars will be in Antares?

Mars at Jyestha has to be taken in conjunction with the other things mentioned by Karna when he talks to Krishna, as it occurs every year. In any case, those people were great astronomers and not just warriors, so we don’t know what the extent of their knowledge was regarding these events, In my personal humble opinion it was perhaps even better than that which we have today.

Contact Dr Pandit at manish@saraswatifilms.org 

It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu: Francois Gautier

 

07/08/2009

NEW YORK: Noted French journalist and writer Francois Gautier who has made India his home and propagation of Hinduism his cause and mission for over three decades, is currently traveling across the US to raise funds through his foundation, FACT-India, for the setting up of an Indian history museum in Pune, India.

Gautier, perhaps one of the very few Westerners to have unconditionally adopted a Hindu way of life, feels the widely prevalent distorted image of Indian history as propagated by the British, Christian missionaries, communists and the western world in general for over two centuries, has necessitated the museum to portray Hindu civilization in the right light.
In an interview with India Post during his visit to New York last week, Gautier spoke about his ambitious museum project, the many threats to Hinduism in today’s world and how Hindus can gain the respect of the world.

IP: Can you tell us about the Museum of Indian History?
Gautier:
I have been donated some land in Pune by a private trust where I want to build the museum to be called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History.
I see in India there are no museums of Indian history worth the name. So the idea is to start from the Vedas, go on to talk about the greatness of the whole of India and the entire drama of the invasions through history, the Hindu holocaust, and then portray India of today and tomorrow.

IP: What kind of funds do you need and how long will it take to complete the museum?
Gautier:
It’s a huge project but definitely it will happen. It’s about $40m dollars, and I don’t know how long it will take — perhaps 10-20 years, because I don’t have the money right away. But I am ready to start, once I start, the donations will come and people will understand the importance of this museum.

IP: Why is it important to have such a museum?
Gautier:
As a journalist and writer, when I started documenting for my book, I realized that most history books on India are based upon very old theories considered defunct or debatable such as the Aryan invasion theory, which evidence shows has never taken place.

Both British historians and later Nehruvian historians have toned down the considerable impact on Indian culture of the invasions starting from Alexander the Great to the Arabs, the Muslim invaders and the British — that entire part of the history has been swept under the carpet. And even later, the history of India’s Independence is very unfairly portrayed. The need of the museum is very important so we can look at India’s history in a very scientific manner, which is what my organization FACT India is doing.

IP: Will the museum focus only on the Hindu history of India?
Gautier:
The museum will also broach upon many of India’s dark periods in its history like the inquisition in Goa by the Portuguese, the Sufi persecution, the Ahmedi Muslim persecution in Bangladesh, how the Buddhist history was wiped out and how some of the early Syrian Christians of Kerala were persecuted. And of course the Hindu holocaust right from Hindu Kush (massacre of Hindus) to the current terrorist activities against them.

I want school children to come to the museum and learn of their own culture and be proud. Kids in Indian schools are learning about Shakespeare and Milton, not about their Hindu or Indian culture. In my country we are taught about great French people like our poets, social reformers, artists etc… so I grew up proud of my culture, but Indian kids do not grow up learning about or feeling proud of their culture.

IP: Do you see any kind of opposition to your project from either the government or any section of the Indian society?
Gautier:
Of course there’s bound to be some opposition, you can’t make everybody happy. But one has to go by the truth. Whatever one’s limitations, if backed by truth, even if it is opposed, there will be some kind of direction and protection.

In fact, there are three reasons for setting up the museum in Pune: One– of course the land donated is in Pune; second– since I work in Pune, I found that people of Pune, irrespective of their political affiliations, are quite nationalistic in nature. I feel my museum will be more protected in Pune than anywhere else in India; thirdly– Pune is Shivaji’s birth place. There is no museum of Shivaji anywhere in Maharashtra though he is a true hero. So naming it after Shivaji will be a protection for this museum.

IP: Over the many years of your career, how successful have you been in changing western perceptions of Hinduism?
Gautier:
It’s a very difficult task, because unfortunately the image of Hinduism is not that good. But, there is more ignorance than hostility. Westerners do not know that it is a monotheistic religion. Secondly, Hindus, especially Brahmins have been at the receiving end of many like the British, the missionaries, the Islamic invaders all of who created a very negative image of Hinduism — particularly the missionaries emphasized only the negative sides of Hinduism and amplified them a thousand times. Today we still find that even after 200 years, these negative images have survived even in the minds of Hindus in India.

Unfortunately it is a great handicap for journalists like me who like Hinduism and want to defend it. I can’t say I have been very successful, but at least now westerners are open to going to India and understanding Hindus.

There are so many good things to be said for Hinduism, but unfortunately there is no will among Hindus to try to explain to westerners. Hindus are just content to come to the West and melt into local cultures or at best keep their spirituality and religion to themselves.

IP: What do you think of the role of the Indian intellectual elite and media in projecting the image of Hindus?
Gautier:
The British have left such a mark on the minds of much of Indian intelligentsia and elite, right from the erstwhile Maharajas who have copied the British way of life that it has left a deep impression on generations after that. Today Indians think that everything that comes from the West is good. It’s very stupid, because many things in the West have failed like family values etc.

This generation of Indian intelligentsia is aping Marxism so brilliantly, which is dead even in Russia, and is probably only left in Cuba, but I don’t see why Indians should copy Cuba (laughs).

Look at the Chinese, they are so proud of their culture; nobody dares to fiddle with them, even America will not dare to interfere with their affairs.

IP: Many Hindus fear the very survival of Hinduism in the face of Islamic fundamentalism. How real are their fears?
Gautier:
The fear is very real. I see there are five or six enemies that may be covertly or overtly attacking Hinduism. In the past there was any one threat at a time like the Greek, British or Muslim invasions. But today, there are the threats of Muslim fundamentalism, Christian conversions, Marxist onslaught, Westernization and so on which are eroding the Indian culture all at the same time. However, there are many great gurus today like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others who are repackaging the Hindu tenets like spirituality. pranayama, yoga, ayurveda etc for everyone’s easy consumption while not associating them with Hinduism. Though I do not agree with that, it’s an important movement today and helping to preserve that culture.

It’s true that Hinduism is under attack and it looks frightening at times. That’s why the museum is so important.

IP: Have you ever felt conflicted about the culture you were born into and the one you adopted?
Gautier:
Personally I have never felt conflicted, but people of my country often do not understand why I defend the Hindus– that has been a bit of a problem. Though my country is sympathetic to India, when you touch the intellectual layer – people who are fed on the Nehruvian history and the downgrading of Hindu culture, I have come into conflict sometimes with these people. But for me living in India is a protection; people often appreciate the work I do. Some of my friends do not understand why I poke the dangerous Islamic fundamentalism by defending Hindus. I started speaking about it (Islamic fundamentalism) 20-25 years ago when it was not at all politically correct to speak about it. Even those friends who like me sometimes do not really understand me. I have faced a lot of hostility also.

IP: What can Hindus living in America do to preserve their culture?
Gautier:
For Hindus living in the US, whether fist or second generation, it is important that they carry their Hinduness. It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu, because you inherit the knowledge which is very ancient and very practical. Also the many Hindu groups which are scattered should unite to become a lobby like the Jews. They should teach their children to be proud of being Hindu while being faithful to their Americanness. They should create a lobby in the US to be able to influence South Asia policy at the administration level and see that it does not cap India’s nuclear policy.

IP: Is there something that really frustrates you?
Gautier:
Hindus don’t think big. Most Hindu movements in the US have mostly people without a vision, they don’t unite; it’s very frustrating. When I last visited the US in 2002, the Hindu community was more vibrant, today I find many of the Hindu leaders of that time burnt out or taken a back seat or gone back into mainstream life; that is saddening. If only Hindus knew their own power — there are one billion in the world — Islam is conscious of its might and its numbers; Christianity though on the decline, is conscious of its greatness in terms of technology and power. Hindus, who are not all that small in number, have to use more muscle. Meekness and submissiveness will not take them far, they have to show muscle power. That’s the way to get respect in the world.

SRIREKHA  N. CHAKRAVARTY
India Post News Service

Reproducing  an old article. The relevance never ceases…..

 

Interview of an ‘honest’ Christian Evangelist in India

 

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

 

“The world today could have been a much better place for all of us, had we all refrained from trying to prove the superiority of our own religion”

This is a hypothetical interview of ‘Father Johnson’ after his award by the Government of India for his exemplary work in India in enlightening the people in the path of the ONLY God. Father Johnson returned to the USA after 10 years of service, to uplift the people of India in the name of God. The interview was taken in July 2005 by a journalist in Houston, USA.

 

Welcome home Father. You have been in India for 10 years, where ‘our mission’ is still going on. Tell me Father, how is India?

India is a fascinating country, a land of contrasts. Modern India is the largest democracy, the budding economic superpower, with the second-largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world. India is the only surviving ancient civilization with over one sixth of the world population. At one time not so long ago, when Europe was in the ‘dark ages’ and America was not even ‘discovered’, India was a far advanced and developed country with a contribution of over 25% of world GDP till the 17th century and far advanced in all aspects of life, be it knowledge, philosophy, science, mathematics, arts, astronomy or navigation.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850-1919), American poet and journalist, wrote “India – The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.”

Dick Teresi, American author of ‘Lost Discoveries’ mentioned Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun….Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center….Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together….. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one…..The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years…”

Despite all its riches, history says that India never invaded any country. On the contrary, India has been repeatedly assaulted and conquered by numerous invaders and has been ruled by ‘foreigners’, first the Muslims and then the British for over a thousand years. India, before the advent of the British rulers, was a rich and prosperous country. Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland (1842-1936), Unitarian minister and reformer, wrote that “…when the British first appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest countries of the world; indeed, it was her great riches that attracted the British to her shores. For 2,500 years before the British came on the scene and robbed her of her freedom, India was self-ruling and one of the most influential and illustrious nations of the world ….. This wealth was created by the Hindus’ vast and varied industries.”

What about Hinduism as a religion?

Hinduism has a deep philosophical and spiritual heritage that has repeatedly mesmerized the world including western scientists, leaders and philosophers. Despite propaganda to the contrary, Hindus, like us, believes in one Supreme God but they do so in many forms, that helps to develop personalized relations. Hinduism is the oldest major religion in the earth with 900 million followers. Unlike monotheistic institutionalized, religions like Judaism, Islam or Christianity, it is not based on any single prophet or scripture, but allows its followers all the freedom to pursue God and Truth in their own way, while living harmoniously with all creation.

We know that the Hindus are tolerant of other religions. Recently, UNESCO pointed out that out of 128 countries where Jews lived before Israel was created, only one, India, did not persecute them and allowed them to prosper and practice Judaism in peace. Similarly the Zoroastrians, when driven out of Persia by Islam were given shelter by the Hindus in India and still coexist in India peacefully. Very recently, the Dalai Lama, driven from Buddhist Tibet, has been accepted with open arms. Such is the ethos of Hinduism and India.

I have heard that Mark Twain once said that ‘In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire’. I have also read Arnold Toynbee’s writing ‘…at the religious level, India has not been a recipient; she has been a giver. About half the total number of the living, higher religions are of Indian origin’. What do you think about it?

We know India gave birth to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Hinduism, though the predominant religion, has, to quote Aldous Huxley, never been a persecuting faith, have preached almost no holy wars and have refrained from that proselytizing religious imperialism which has gone hand in hand with political and economic oppression of colored people.’

What many do not know and I will not elaborate further for obvious reasons, is that there are researchers who think that the teachings of Jesus Christ have something to do with the ancient wisdom of Vedas. The Hindu concepts of ‘karma’, and ‘reincarnation’, which are part of the New Age Movement that we see today, were not unknown to Jesus.

Then Father, why do we need to convert people in India?

You see, we in the western world, have the ‘white man’s burden’ of civilizing the rest of the world. We also have the need and desire to spread the message of Christ, since we believe that it is the ONLY way to salvation and all other nonbelievers will go to hell. The faith in Christianity is being eroded in Europe and America. That is why our Pope on his visit to India said, Just as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent.’

Why do you target India?

India is the right country because Hindu Indians are generally peace-loving tolerant, law abiding people who are truthful and virtuous. India’s devotion to being good rather than being clever comes nearer the heart of a true civilization, said W. J. Grant, in his book, ‘The spirit of India’. The unsuspecting Indians have always welcomed everybody on their shore and still keep on doing so. You see Hindus are such naive – they go out of their way to say that ‘all religions are same – they all lead to God’. Christians and for that matter, no other religion, says that.

Where does your resource come from?

There are five major aid-giving countries, viz., USA, Germany, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands. According to the available data, in the last decade alone, foreign aid organizations received more than 2.5 billion dollars. This is only official statistics. According to the record and report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the statistics about the foreign aid being received by Indian Non Government Organizations shows that 80% of it is meant only for the Christian organizations that have been buying their ways into the Indian society and converting unsuspecting people under the guise of social service.

How powerful is Christianity in India?

Oh, though we are only 2.4% of the population officially, we have a large control over the country because of our economic invasion. You see, the present leader of the main political party of India is a Roman Catholic with close contact with the Vatican. There are Christian Chief ministers in 5 out of 29 states. Because of the British rule of India, we have a large section of the leaders of India who look up to us. Believe me, we are the second largest land owners in India. We control 80% of the media. We overtly or covertly have alliance with key political associations. So it is very easy for us to influence the right people. 

You must have a very organized system?

Yes, we do. Have you heard about the Joshua Project? ‘The mission and passion of Joshua Project is to identify and highlight the people groups of the world that have the least exposure to the Gospel and the least Christian presence in their midst. Joshua Project shares this information to encourage pioneer church-planting movements among every ethnic group.’

The Joshua Project has identified the North India Hindi belt as “the core of the core of the core” because of its population density (40% of the Indian population- the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh lie in this region); it is the religious hub of India; and it has the smallest Christian presence in India. Detailed plans have been drawn up to target India’s 75,000 Pin Codes.

The Seventh Day Adventists owes its Indian success to Canadian evangelist Ron Watts, President for the South Asian Division, who entered India on a Business Visa. When Watts arrived in 1997, the Adventist Church had 225,000 members after 103 years of operations. In five years, he took it to 700,000.

Some of their methods used are the 25-Village and the 10-Village Programs. These involved five sets of laymen, going two by two, under guidance from a regular pastor, identifies 25 villages in close proximity, with people of the same family groups and castes. Once the villages were selected, the teams would approach the leaders of each village and invite them to send two leaders to a 10-day seminar at a nearby resort, at the organization’s expense. It is before no time that the local leaders will then start working for our faith and organization. In 1998, there were seventeen 10-Village Programs and 9,337 were baptized. In 1999, forty programs were held and nearly 40,000 people baptized. Under the Christian Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Samuel Reddy, the Adventists shifted to a 50-village plan. They began baptizing at the rate of 10,000 persons per month.

The US-based Maranatha Volunteers International focused on providing buildings for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Fjarli family, who own a construction company, Southern Oregon Builders, went on their first Maranatha project in 2001. They raised funds with a goal to build 1000 churches at a rate of 1 per day.

How do you carry out conversion attempts?

You see the local people are so simple and naïve that they do not have any clue as what out motive or means are. We target mostly the poor, illiterate, tribal people because they are the easiest to convert. We do that by various means – we establish schools, hospitals that subtly promote our faith, we allure them with money or goods to the needy when they convert, we ‘stage’ miracle cures, we use our influence on the media, we use our experts in propaganda, we promote the influential people and so on. We use the money sent to us by unsuspecting religious and faithful Christians from all over the world. We have numerous NGO and AID organizations to funnel the money into the country. There are a great number of missionaries of various denominations who are working there, all competing for the most number of converts. The Southern Baptists alone are a group that has nearly 100,000 career missionaries in North India, all working to spread our “good word.”

We convince the ‘natives’ by our appearances and even use their own culture. Some of the numerous Catholic priests in Southern India dress like ‘sannyasis’ (monks), and call their organizations ‘ashramas’ (hermitage). This is to make Christianity more similar to the Vedic traditions. Bharat Natyam, the classical dance of India, is also taught in the Christian schools, but with Christian symbols and meanings replacing the Vedic. This is all in the attempt to actively sway Hindus over to Christianity. The Evangelical Church of India (ECI), established in 1954, targets the slums, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in cities and villages. Its logo depicts a cross struck deep in a lotus, the seat of Hindu divinity.

Is the so called caste system in India an advantage?

The ‘Caste-ism in India’ is a boon to us. Though it was once an essential part of the culture, based on occupation and vocational skills, which kept the civilization going for over 5000 years, it is a degenerated social system now that has been declared illegal. However it is one big weapon against Hinduism. We have learnt from the colonial British that it is very easy to divide the population on the basis of caste and religion based politics and we use it to our own interest to the maximum. We join the anti-Hindu forces and help to keep the stigma of caste-ism alive for our own benefit.

We target the ‘untouchables’ (the unprivileged people, that has so marvelously crafted to be a result of the Hindu religion and not the social system) and convert them in the lure of liberating them. However I must confess that we maintain their ‘untouchability’ by not allowing them to mix with the general Christians, maintaining separate entry to churches and even giving them separate churches and cemeteries.

We also take help of opportunities that God gives us. During natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and the recent Tsunami, taking advantage of the need, we were able to convert successfully entire low caste villages in Tamil Nadu to Christianity with the lure of money and aid.

How successful are you in your conversion attempts.

Oh we are doing a good job. The Northeast Indian states like Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur, have witnessed a surge of nearly 200% in their Christian population in the past 25 years. Their grasp is so strong now that practicing Hinduism is forbidden in some areas. Hindus can no longer do worship or ‘puja’ in the open because of our influence. In another northeast state, Tripura, where there were no Christians at the time of India’s independence, 60years ago, there are now over 120,000 today. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1710 Christians in 1961, but over 1 million today, along with over 780 churches. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming-up every day in far flung villages and there is an attempt to set-up one near Tirupati, the world famous Hindu temple. Many of the North-East separatist movements, such as the Mizo or the Bodos, are not only Christian dominated, but also sometimes function with the covert backing of the missionaries. Christian Nagaland terrorists have been killing non-Christians for decades on end. More than 20,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam and Manipur in the past two decades. We understand that there are some social problems that crept up – the northeast states are the highest in India in terms of drugs and AIDS related problem – but we accept that as ‘casualties of war’ –that should not deter us from our goal.

What is your goal?

The Joshua project, a pioneer church-planting movement that I mentioned before, has a target to set up as a minimum, 100 or more Christians in one or more reproducing churches, within every ethno-linguistic people of over 10,000 individuals.

Do you get any resistance?

Of course we do. But we brand any resistance as Hindu fundamentalist or militants and the media and our favorite leaders take care of the rest. We have set the mind of the unsuspecting population in a way, that whenever any of our people are harassed, attacked or killed, from any reason including our own faults, the blame automatically goes to these so called ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ and even though almost all of these instances are later proved to have nothing to do with these Hindu groups, the initial hue and cry that is raised makes sure the memories persist in the mind of the populace and the sympathy stays with us. There are instances when nuns have been proved to be raped by Christians, but the blames continues to stay with the Hindus.

Is there any legal barrier?

Yes there are some rules and laws that sometimes impair our activities. The Supreme Court had clarified that: “The right to propagate religion does not mean the right to convert… Conversion done under allurement, use of force and fraud in which the poverty or ignorance of the individual is taken advantage of, is not only undemocratic but also unconstitutional…Respect for all religions is the foundation of secularism whereas the seeds of conversion lie in religious intolerance.”. Anti conversion laws have been passed in various states. But as I said, we have our ways.

Sometimes the law does get us though. We had some instances where members of our faith have been convicted with resultant imprisonment or expulsion. As in churches all over the world, some clergymen have been penalized for cases of sexual exploitation, including pedophilia. But that does not deter us from our goal and our almighty Lord takes care of our soul.

How satisfied are you with the progress of the missions?

It is really satisfying. We find enormous pleasure in converting the Hindu ‘pagans’. However I wish we could do more. I wish I could say like St Francis Xavier, during the Goa Inquisition in 1560, When I have finished baptizing the people, I order them to destroy the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters.”

Thank you, Father for your time and honesty.

Thank you, my son.

 

Epilogue

“Christianity offers nothing that is not already available somewhere in the many forms of Hinduism. Hinduism never rejected the teachings of Jesus. Those who have converted either agreed with a gun pressed at their skulls as in Goa, or because it provided an escape from caste tyranny, as well as a guaranteed professional advancement. Through its Vedic legacy, Hinduism respects all faiths. It clearly states that God is one, but has many forms. The Christian message must sound preposterous: that God is indeed one, but has only one recognized form, his son. The “savages” of India were sophisticated – so sophisticated that the imperialist mixture of church and state in Europe could not grasp such sophistication….”   (Paul William Roberts, author of, ‘Empire of the Soul: Some journeys in India’)

 

References

  1. Stephen Knapp: The war against Hinduism 
  2. Indian contributions to American and Global progress
  3. Francois Gautier: Are we heading towards a Christian India?
  4. Sandhya Jain: Is there imperial design behind conversion overdrive?
  5. Joshua Project Overview

***************************************

Related posts

Christian God’s moments of lies for India

Christian lies and deceptions in Khandamal, Orissa

India: losing herself to globalization

This is but only one example of how ugly politics has interfered in the discoveries of ancient heritage that would reinforce the antiquity and brilliance of Indian, Vedic and thus Hindu civilization, solely because it would establish Hindu glory.  

A section of our historians, patronized by the government that ruled post independent India for ninety percent of the last sixty years, would like us to believe that history of India started with the fictitious, sword-swinging, horse-riding, nomadic, fair-skinned, blue- eyed Aryans invading India from ‘the land of nowhere’ and driving away the existing native Dravidians down South.

Any history before that is superstition or mythology. It is especially so if it is of Hindu interest.

One wonders what revolution it will take to bring out the truth about the past glories of India. Why can’t modern scientific methods be applied honestly to prove or disprove the claims made about the Ram Sethu or the Taj Mahal or the Babri Masjid. Why should such effort be given political and communal color? Why should such truth be concealed from public?

Past truth may be bitter but ‘modern secular India’ has to face it someday.

 

Sarasvati project is on, under a new name

  

NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has quietly continued with its controversial search for the mythical river Sarasvati despite strong disapproval from the UPA government.

Though the project has been officially denied funding, parts of it have been relabelled the Ghaggar project to continue with the research.

The Ghaggar is an “intermittent river” that flows westwards during the monsoons from Himachal Pradesh towards Rajasthan.

The Sarasvati heritage project was launched in 2003-04 by Jagmohan, culture and tourism minister in the BJP-led NDA government, to prove that the Sarasvati mentioned in the Rig Veda was the same as the lost river connected to the Harappan civilisation.

The project had strong support from the Sangh Parivar and Hindu historians for obvious reasons. Left and non-Sangh Parivar historians do not deny the existence of a dried up river near old Harappan sites, but say that it would be a stretch to connect this river to the mythical Sarasvati. Not unlike the Adam’s Bridge-Ram Setu controversy, this is another project where faith muddies the waters of research.

In November 2003, Parliament’s standing committee on tourism, culture and transport, which had begun an inquiry into ASI’s functioning, sought details on the project. With a change in government at the centre in May 2004, funds were withdrawn and the project was officially abandoned.

But the ASI funded the project from its own resources. “We wanted to bring the search to a logical conclusion,” RS Bisht, former joint director, ASI, who coordinated the project during the NDA regime, told DNA

 

 Is Ghaggar Sarasvati? It depends whom you ask 

   

ASI camouflaged the search for Sarasvati to make it palatable to the new political dispensation

NEW DELHI: Despite strong disapproval from the UPA government, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) decided to go ahead with its controversial search for the mythical river Sarasvati.

Enquiries by DNA based on a detailed perusal of official documents and extensive interviews with a cross-section of ASI officials show that the ASI has effectively camouflaged the search for Sarasvati.

“The project has been kept going by renaming it to make it palatable to the new political dispensation at the centre, and by breaking it into several smaller projects across Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan,” said a senior official of the ASI, who declined to be identified. Bisht confirms this. “It was suggested by many people that to counter Leftist propaganda we should call the Sarasvati (project) as Ghaggar in future proposals.”

Like Ram Setu, there are deep divisions among historians and archaeologists over the existence of the river Sarasvati. While Left and mainstream historians point out that there is no evidence to show that the river ever existed, right-wing scholars argue that Harappan civilisation’s lost river was indeed the Sarasvati.

“Ghaggar is Sarasvati,” asserts S Kalyanaraman, director of the privately-funded Sarasvati Research Centre, Chennai. Outside the Sangh Parivar, the consensus is that there is indeed a lost river from the Harappan civilisation, but it has been identified as the original and bigger version of today’s Ghaggar.

“The underlying historical assumption made by a section of ASI officials is that the mythical Sarasvati and the real Ghaggar are one and the same. No scientific evidence to prove this has ever been found,” says Dr RS Fonia, director, exploration and excavation, ASI.

The ASI admitted before a standing committee of the Parliament that “no academic body or university has recommended the project.” The Parliamentary standing committee asked the ASI not to pursue such projects, yet excavations continued.

 

 “We are part of the Sarasvati civilisation” 

 

S Kalyanaraman, a PhD in Public Administration, University of Philippines, and director of the privately-funded Sarasvati Research Centre in Chennai, spoke to DNA on the Archaeological Survey of India’s findings, and why he thinks the mythical river mentioned in the Rig Veda is none other than the Ghaggar.

The ASI conducted excavations envisaged in the Sarasvati heritage project with its own money. What are the findings that you know of?

Bhirrana is a remarkable excavation. The discoveries there point to the possibility of identifying the Vedic people. This site shows that the origins of civilisation are in the Sarasvati river valley, circa 6000 BC. There are as yet unexcavated sites which are larger than Harappa or Mohenjodaro in Bhatinda, Gurnikalan, and Lakhmirwala.

If that is the case, then why does not the ASI go ahead with these plans?

 They should. Unfortunately, Jaipal Reddy (information minister) and Ambika Soni (the culture minister) assisted by Sitaram Yechury (of the CPM) have killed Jagmohan’s systematic approach. A section of ASI officials who believe in the Sarasvati are quietly working on it by calling it Ghaggar in their proposals.

Has the river been found?

The river has been found, foot by foot; unfortunately ASI doesn’t talk to the ministry of water resources and the regional remote sensing services centre at Jodhpur (ISRO) to get the details of the scientific seminar on the subject. Ghaggar is Sarasvati.

The ASI should read the brilliant work by the most eminent Himalayan ecologist, Prof KS Valdiya, ‘Sarasvati: The River That Disappeared’. It is a brilliant scientific document which can provide a basis for a journey into the past along the Sarasvati river basin of periods prior to 2000, before the common era.

But there is considerable dispute about whether Sarasvati is the lost river of the Harappan civilisation. Isn’t it?

Romila Thapar (historian) asked KS Valdiya, “OK, professor, you have found the river, but how do you say she is Sarasvati?” The professor replied: “OK, madam, you look like a woman, but how do you know you are Romila? Our ancient texts, our mothers are emphatic that a mighty river Sarasvati drained in Bharatam.”

So then, does this mean the Indus Valley civilisation and the Vedic civilisation or Sarasvati civilisation are one?

 Yes. Indus valley was so called because the site Mohenjodaro was on the river Sindhu (Indus). Now that over 2,000 of the 2,600 sites are found to be on the river Sarasvati, the civilisation should be called the Sarasvati civilisation. It is a continuum into Bharatiya sabhyataa (culture). Every Bharatiya is a child of Sarasvati ancestors. I have proved it in eight volumes. Let Yechury and company read them and come back to me for a debate. ISRO’s map of river Sarasvati adorns the PM’s office and is shown to foreign dignitaries with pride.

Do you think that the ASI is an ideologically divided institution?

Yes. Ideologically driven politicians control ASI. The river’s presence is so dominant, that Sarasvati cannot be wished away by mere name-change. Ghaggar is river Sarasvati’s ancient channel.  

Next Page »