By Tara Katir
It’s the trend these days for ancient traditions to speak out against missionary aggression. It is into this emerging courageousness that the work of Ram Swarup (1920-1998) takes on singular significance, as he asserts the value of the Sanatana Dharma for mankind’s future in two volumes of elegantly articulated essays, On Hinduism, Reviews and Reflections and Meditations, Yogas, Gods, Religions (Voice of India, 232 pages, Rs. 250, and 278 pages, Rs. 300 respectively). Published posthumously, these books contain material never before released. Some of the essays included are, “Cultural Self-Alienation Among the Hindus,” “The Hindu View of Education,” “India and Greece,” “Patanjali Yoga,” “Bhakti-Yoga,” “Buddhist Yoga,” “Love–Human and Divine” and “Semitic Religions Versus Hindu Dharma.” These are but a few of Swarup’s eloquent and forthright essays. In “One God of Theology,” Swarup talks about this shifting trend: “The recognition and respect for Eastern wisdom and religions came from nominal Christians, from great humanists and universalists like Voltaire and from men of reason and science who form quite an influential section of the Western society today. An average, simple Westerner is also more open to the appeal of thoughts from different countries. There is even a wind of change amongst deeply religious Christians, particularly those who are not connected with the missionary activities. All this is a welcome development, and it is in keeping with the spirit of the age which demands universality and breaking down of the barriers of prejudice and insularity.”
Meditations by Ram Swarup,
Voice of India, 2/18 Ansari Road,
New Delhi 110 002
On Hinduism by Ram Swarup,
Voice of India
Dr. M.S. Srinivasan, in his new book Conversion to Christianity, Aggression in India (154 pages, First Public Protection Trust, Rs. 35, us$10) details accounts of Christian conversion tactics and practices against Hindus from the earliest Portuguese contact until today. Srinivasan explains that during the colonial period Christian scholars studied Hinduism, intending to use knowledge of its beliefs and practices for their own conversion procedures. In addition, by “creating a racial theory of Aryan migration into India, the Indologists also came up with a pseudo-history for use in the service of religion and politics.” Simultaneously at Oxford University, the Boden Professorship was created with the objective “to promote Sanskrit learning among the English, …to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian Religion.” Additionally, monetary prizes were awarded for literary works that undermined Indian tradition. “By these means, they financed and institutionalized hatred…” writes Srinivasan. Present-day missionaries, Srinivasan asserts, have created a cultural hybrid of Hindu and Christian symbols and practices, deliberately fostering confusion as to their true intentions. Places like Father Bede Griffith’s ashram in Kerala, and Satchidananda Ashram in Kulithalai, Tamil Nadu, were founded by Christian priests. Inside the “missionaries adorn [sic] the Hindu garb, while the heart beneath was beating for Christianity, and fostered antagonism to Hinduism.”
Conversion to Christianity, Aggression in India by Dr. M.S. Srinivasan, First Public Protection Trust, PO. Box 5094, Chennai 600028 India
Jolene L. Roehlkepartain’s and Nancy Leffert’s new book, What Young Children Need to Succeed, (311 pages, Free Spirit Publishing, us$9.95) is a marvelous book for adults who work with children. It helps parents and children from birth to age 11 “build assets” together. They present 40 developmental assets grouped in eight categories: support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and positive identity. Included throughout the book are additional resources, books, websites and organizations for adults to utilize. Barbara Lewis’ Being Your Best, Character Building for Kids 7-10 (155 pages, Free Spirit Publishing, us$14.95) is an excellent companion book. It’s designed to amplify positive qualities such as caring, fairness, honesty, respect and responsibility. Lewis helps children, guided by caring adults, take an honest look within themselves. She asks what is important to them, what do they know about themselves? Children are invited to explore ten important qualities and how they can put those qualities into their lives. Each chapter has a personal anecdote from someone’s life that exemplifies a specific trait. Both books have supplemental Leader’s Guides with an outstanding array of support for adult leaders.
Being Your Best, Character Building for Kids 7-10 by Barbara A. Lewis. Free Spirit Publishing Inc. 400 First Avenue North, Suite 616, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401-1724 USA. 612.338.2068. www.freespirit.com
What Young Children Need to Succeed,
Jolene L. Roehlkepartain and Nancy Leffert, Free Spirit Publishing Inc.