George Augustine Thundiparambil is a Kerala-born writer and translator dividing his time between India and Germany. He has written a historical novel in English titled Maya and has published many blogs and articles on faith and religion on several Internet forums. He is a partner of Geckolingua Translations International based in Freiburg, Germany. In a series of video talks on ‘faith for adults‘ he offers interviews, discussions and talks on Faith and its terrible consequences.
In the article titled, ‘Pagan India reclaims her spiritual heritage’, written on the occasion of laying the foundation stone for the new Ram temple at Ayodhya, he wrote, “The rebuilding of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya physically signals the redemption of the human evolutionary process that had come to stagnate with the advent of the Abrahamic faiths. This event assumes great spiritual significance and calls for collective introspection. It signals a radical change in the thought process of the species.“
Excerpts from an exclusive online interview with Pradeep Krishnan:
Sir, you were born in a Christian family in Kochi, Kerala. Unlike the Indian/Kerala Christians who by and large follow the dictates of the Church/clergy, how did you come out of the dogmatic beliefs? Are you still a believer? What was the turning point in your life?
Yes, I belong to the Catholic Christian community in Kochi whose members considered themselves Portuguese citizens at the time. It was only during the reign of Sakthan Thampuran (the strong Raja of Cochin) that we were forced to realise we were normal Malayalee subjects. The king quelled our Latin Christian rebellion. My ancestors came to settle in Fort Kochi in 1860 according to church records. We came from the northern villages around Kodungallur to settle in and around Fort Kochi like many other people to make a living.
I left the church when I left school. I was 15. But my atheism carried a reverence for Jesus for a few more years. Then I read Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and ultimately it led me to Adi-Sankara and the pursuit of knowledge as an option for a seeker.
My mental transformation didn’t happen overnight. There were many facilitating agencies responsible for it. My parents were open-minded people and were not in awe of the clergy, like many Indian Christians. They let me be after I became a teenager, particularly in terms of religion. I was free to pursue what I wished. Hindus were among my close friends. After I completed my MA, I had the good fortune to work as an assistant to Leo Panakal, a brilliant religious journalist. I have written an article about him. His findings and religious experience were a catalyst that gave me the courage to examine the various religious claims and evaluate them. It gave me an inner certitude not only to call myself a Hindu and a seeker but also to critique blind faith.
In your novel, Maya, which tells stories of six centuries, you criticize concepts like White Man’s Burden, the slave trade and missionary activities. It also gives insight into the history of spirituality in India. The narrative tells of ancient traditions and belief systems, etc. What prompted you to write this novel and what was the message that you wanted to convey through ‘Maya’?
Sometime in my 20s, a few years after my parents moved house from mainland Ernakulam to Fort Cochin in 1980, I came across the old history of the place and the more I came to know, there was this urge in me to write a novel about it. It was actually my own experience and a search for my roots at a certain period of my life that led me to write this novel.
However, the execution of the book remained a dream as my financial situation was rather poor. I had to work hard to make ends meet. There was no time for novels. I taught English for a while, then an apprenticeship in journalism. Then I switched to the advertising industry and worked as a copywriter and later as a PR director for a little more than 10 years. I began research for the novel only after I arrived in Germany as a visitor in August 1997. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. In a year I had the first draft, but then there were a lot of hurdles. The novel was published in India in 2008 due to the intervention of some of my close friends and Sri Shashi Tharoor.
When I got started with the novel, a message was the farthermost in my mind. My motivation for writing it was simple. I just wanted people to know what really happened in this place back then, the true history as it was, not as it is seen through the prism of some ideology or weighed down by customary inhibitions that have no basis or bearing on the species. The nature of humanity and its real story is much greater for our progeny than any ideology or concept.
Delivering the Sita Ram Goel memorial lecture on 16th September 2012, you said, “Judging the historical impacts made by Jesus Christ’s devout followers during the last 2000 years, the god hasn’t done the human species any favours, but on the contrary has sown and harvested distress and destruction and continues to do so.” You went on to argue that, “Jesus is a fallen deva, an asura to be precise, in the Hindu definition of the word. Therefore, one would be courting certain disasters by accepting Jesus as an ishtadeva, with or without ‘history-centrism.’ Could you please elaborate on this?
We humans judge a thing or phenomenon by its effect on us or on others. If a medicine turns out to be bad for the majority of humans due to its side effects and does more harm than good, we generally reject it and dispose of it. The same applies to a fertiliser that does more harm to the soil than good. Christianity has been a bad influence on the human species at various levels at once and also its adverse effect on the environment. If people don’t realise that, one reason is they are subject to a make-believe worldview that has nothing to do with reality, and second, because of consistent and intensive public relations work done by Christian churches and associated professionals. On top of that, the sheer number of Christians all over the world makes it a colossal political force.
The destruction of old cultures, libraries and temples, just like the degradation of the environment through greedy, unsustainable land use, is a direct effect of Christianity and the Abrahamic worldview. It is like a weed that doesn’t allow other plants to survive. It grows only at the expense of others and by destroying the habitat.
The realm of scriptures reveals an esoteric reality that mirrors conceptual or mental reality. In Indian Puranas, terms like deva and asura (two classes of gods or mind beings) signify certain qualities when translated into real, phenomenal terms. Out of ignorance, people interpret them today as historical struggles between different races of people. Actually, the struggle in the Puranas is one between two sets of values: spiritual (deva) and material (asura). The books also mention that both deva and asura were the same at one time. Both were gods or god-like.
In Abrahamic myth, there are angels and devils, the latter being “fallen angels”, who fell at some prior time. In Christian myth, Lucifer is the singular devil who defied THE God. And in Christian esoteric literature and in at least one Catholic ritual enacted in the Vatican, Jesus is also addressed as Lucifer. Many Christian theologians have come up with incredible explanations, a major one being that Jesus is the “true” Lucifer and the Devil is the “false” Lucifer.
I specifically assess the characteristics of the Christian faith or the quality of the character of Jesus as revealed by the scriptures and also according to the values his followers are upholding and are naturally manifest in them. Several scholars with secular credentials have done research into the bible. If these findings are unknown to common folk it is because of the priorities of a mercenary media. In esoteric parlance, “fall” indicates a lowering of consciousness to base elements, the material world. Christianity is a very materialistic religion. They dream of carrying their gross bodies to heaven or paradise when they die.
I was actually motivated to write about Jesus and also clarify the great difference in the quality of religions and faith only because there were many Christian professionals as well as many respected Hindu intellectuals advocating the sameness philosophy of all religions. Theologically speaking, the Lord God or Jehova of the Bible is not the Hindu Iswara by definition. By characteristic features described in Moses’ books, Jehova actually is just one of many gods. But, if we were to grant that Jesus is an asura, he is one without precedence. For the asuras are devotees of Iswara by definition. But Jesus is no devotee of Iswara but claims to be THE god or at least his son.
All gods and goddesses have specific features or functions, which we may call their signatures. Siva is the destroyer; Vishnu is the preserver, and so on. Likewise, Jesus is a sacrificial lamb, believed to be sacrificed by his father god. He advocates poverty on earth and says the poor will inherit heaven. But heaven is attainable only after you die, and what you attain in heaven is believed to be once again purely material, sensory things. This means Christianity is a purely material philosophy with a hatred for humanity. The level of consciousness of the believing Christian is invariably closely tied up with the body and senses. The same feature is shared by Islam as well. They exalt the physical body and want to preserve it in heaven after death. Very materialistic and hence they are indeed asuric.
In esoteric reality, Jesus, being Lucifer, is a rebel asura, because he claims to be ‘THE’ god instead of being just one out of many. He claims singularity when actually he is one of many, and his uniqueness lies only in his false claim. This is the reason why Leo Panakal calls Jesus the singular Devil.
There are several Hindu intellectuals and yoga gurus who advocate Christians interested in yoga and Hinduism carry on being Christians without believing in the historicity of the incredible virgin birth and so on. They say that having Jesus as an ishtadeva is just like somebody else having Krishna or Durga as his/her tutelary deity. According to modern neuroscience, our particular beliefs have a definite effect on the behaviour of believers. Aggression, violence and irrational zeal to destroy older cultures are defined features of believing Christians and Muslims as demonstrated by history.
As someone who has come to know of the risks, it is only decency that prompts me to warn believers or aspirers that worshipping Jesus has its own perils and costs. It, first of all, imperils the well-being of the subject, and then the well-being of the world at large.
I am a true liberal though, which is actually the nature of the ancient Hindu. I hold that people should have the freedom to believe in and worship even the devil provided that contemporary laws are not violated in the process and their acts do not harm society or the environment. The problem in India is its constitution is flawed. Propagation of religion is a violation of human rights because it impinges on somebody else’s right to practise or not practise religion. In effect, this is empowering the criminal.
Analysing the terror attacks in the name of Islam and the decimation of Indian indigenous faiths and culture in the name of Christianity, when you say that the immediate, as well as long-term threat to India, is of a religious and cultural kind threatening the cultural heritage of India, are you not echoing the views of several Hindu leaders?
Terror attacks are not the only extremist behaviour that is manifest in contemporary society motivated by religious scriptures. Proselytization is an act of naked aggression. These scriptural injunctions to condemn and exterminate the pagans and kafirs are characteristic of only Islam and Christianity.
Many Hindu leaders have become aware of what is going on, especially after reading Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel. So we are on the same platform intellectually and hence, culturally. Irrationality has no role to play in cultural refinement. When people think rationally, ideas converge. Yukti brings us all together and makes us like-minded. But you lose Yuki and you are either a religious fanatic or a lunatic.
The ancestors of all the Christians of India, including in your home state of Kerala were either forced or coerced to convert five centuries ago. However, even now, all major churches in India, especially the Catholic Church, pursue the policy of converting pagans by any means. The difference is only in the fervour, method and frequency. The socio-political environment in Kerala is conducive for conversion activity. What are your views on this situation?
There is no Christianity without proselytization. The act of baptism is what makes you a Christian. Even children of Christians have to be baptise in order to become Christian. This means every Christian is a convert. If you ask what it is from that they are converting, the ultimate answer is you are converting from your inborn and natural organic self, which is considered sinful and evil, into an unnatural creation that is detrimental to yourself as well as nature.
If they stop conversions, Christianity will be wiped out within a couple of generations. In Kerala, the Christians have managed to convert the majority of Hindus into their worldview without baptising them due to their influence in the socio-economic sector today. Children who pass out of their institutions are already virtually converted into their unnatural worldview. This conditioning will bear fruit in due course if the right circumstances prevail at a certain point of time. If there is no resistance from the Hindus in Kerala by way of disseminating true information about their own traditions and history and also about the true activities of the Christian and Muslim religionists, the conversion attempts will continue to be successful. Given the enormous amounts of money in play, this is for the long haul.
In every continent, Christianity spread through the sword and deceit. It paved the way for Christian imperialism everywhere. Is not Christianity a political conspiracy?
To call it a political conspiracy would be to underestimate its true vicious nature. It is much more. Of course, Christianity ruled Europe for a very long time and turned dynamic folks who lived there peaceably into globe-trotting missionary jokers in a cruel and simultaneously ludicrous drama enacted all over the earth, which you say is the “white man’s burden”.
Whatever may be the political situation or system in a nation, the efforts of the churches as a whole is to show themselves as essential institutions much needed by society, seemingly play a morally responsible role in the environment, then gain influence and finally get above the political system and run a parallel system of justice and governance. They have a long experience in manipulating political systems and setups.
Just look at the influence of the churches in India today. It is a Hindu majority democratic state ruled by a so-called Hindu party, but a totalitarian and misogynist institution such as the Catholic Church wields such influence and power through its various agencies such as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. They don’t pay taxes, get government funding for their social and educational projects and act as quasi-governments. Even the Communists are afraid to prosecute the Christian clergy who are accused of the most terrible crimes ranging from real estate frauds and murder up to repeated rapes of nuns. Paradoxically, the strength of the clergy is the ignorance of its congregations. One day this ignorance will disappear as knowledge will rise like the sun in their consciousness. The arrival of light removes darkness.
The problem is the Hindus have lost their bearing and orientation in reality due to the incursion of the flawed Abrahamic worldview into their consciousness. An analogy would be that of moths that lose orientation due to man-made fire. Only a few escape self-immolation. But the new generations of the human species show signs of regaining sense and sensibility.
In Kerala everywhere, one can see big board’s/announcements advertisements proclaiming the miracles propagated by Jesus Christ. How do you view the miracles and other propaganda unleashed by the Church/clergy?
This miraculous hoax is true Christianity in a nutshell. It started to spread like this in the Roman Empire and it will end like this elsewhere. This is the main activity of Jesus in the New Testament. The professed intellectual content, which they call theology, and the John of the Cross-type mysticism, are all a sham.
Christianity is a spiritual fraud. There is no substance, only show and appearance of something deep and sublime. Only the intellectually weak and the most unfortunate, suffering, and poor people will fall for this kind of fraud called miracles. One day, humankind will evolve to such an extent that they will be proud to accept reality as it really is and remain sober, sane and dignified and call out the fraud of these Christian faith-mongers.
I wish Hindu institutions were more dynamic in disseminating true knowledge. They have to capture more presence in the mass media. More Ramayana and Mahabharata on national TV channels are actually a good idea. Their power to sway opinion and behaviour is grossly underestimated.
What are the major differences between European/American Christians and Indian Christians? Are Indian Christians blind believers, unquestioningly accepting the dictates of the Clergy?
The prime difference is that Indian Christians are converted from the various Hindu jatis and are fortunate to still live among their unconverted kin, whereas Europeans have nobody to look up to for tradition. Whatever they had have been lost, and like people who have nothing more to lose, they experiment with everything. As far as temperament is concerned, a convert is a good candidate for another conversion!
In the Indian context, Christians are more community-conscious than faith-conscious, but all the same, confuse community with faith. That is why it is difficult for them to come out of the church, which is their communal anchoring point. Outside the church, they do not have any unified social or cultural platform, which they lost by the act of conversion. In substance, they lost their jati. So they submit to and accept whatever the clergy demand them of, so as not to disrupt their own comfort zone.
For the Westerner, there is no such problem. She or he can easily leave the church. Their church is also not bothered because the guys who leave will come back with their children because there is no other viable religious option for them out there. All options are virtually eliminated and there is no competition in the spiritual market. Some people experiment with Buddhism and oriental paths from charlatans without true knowledge and method, so they remain a confused lot having lost touch with their spiritual roots. And their bodies finally end up in a Christian cemetery without intending to. They are materially successful, but spiritually a failure. Of course, there are exceptions. There are thousands of Westerners who lead a pious and enriching Hindu life in many parts of the world.
If the Indian Christian community were to have a social and communal alternative to the church to fall back on, there would be many Indian Christians leaving the church and even Christianity.
The present Pope has spoken a lot against the atrocities the Christians have perpetrated all over the globe and has apologized for past mistakes. What are your views?
That is another sham. Just look closely at the wordings of these apologies, whenever and wherever any Catholic pope has made it. The wordings are always carefully composed. They ask forgiveness of the Lord God, but not that of their victims. What kind of apology is this? This is the most insincere kind, because it is their god who in the first place ordained the atrocity against the respective victim, whether it is Jew, Muslim or pagan.
A genuine apology should be directed at the victim of the crime, not to the perpetrator or cause of the crime. The Catholic Church is the epitome of hypocrisy. It is so ingrained in their nature that they have no existence without it. It is their dharma.
Inquisitions crusades witch hunting….why did the prince of love reach the world through the sword?
The sword was just one of the tactics. I say “was” because the Christian religionists have banished violence at least from their front office. But they have a long list of various tactical subterfuges that are sometimes even more effective than the sword, especially when it comes to cheating and beguiling innocent, suffering people and stealing their souls as well as money.
The Christians are the pioneers of organised cruelty upon fellowmen. Islamists, Nazis, Fascists and Communists have emulated the Christian methods of oppression, torture and merciless annihilation of their opponents. This is unprecedented in the ancient world. Their god is really the prince of darkness.
In Kerala, a lot of scandals, including sex scandals, involving the Church (different denominations) have come up. A number of incidents of Priests abusing nuns have been reported. But the powerful clergy is able to successfully suppress all these atrocities. How do you view this?
Sex scandals have been the inimitable Christian signature right from the start. There is nothing surprising in it if you were to read their scriptures, old as well as new. The so-called sex scandals are normal occurrences in their books. Just the history of the popes down the ages would put the modern yellow press to shame.
In a proven misogynist institution where young females are sworn in as “brides of god” and made ever-obedient servants of the priests, what would you expect? These girls are beaten to submission physically and mentally so early in their lives that most remain slaves to this monstrous institution until they die. This will stop only after the dissolution of the church as a legal entity.
How do you view Sanatana Dharma and its age-old civilization? Do you now consider yourself a Hindu?
I consider Sanatana Dharma not as a religion in the league of Christianity or Islam. Even for Vyasa Maharshi, it was difficult to explain dharma in words. It can only be demonstrated through actual events in the life of eminent individuals. That is why the Puranas are sacred for all Hindus. And it is once again the Puranas that bring all the various peoples in the Indian subcontinent together. From the forest dweller, like in Wayanad, up to the urban Indian, stories of the Ramayana are still a vibrant part of their lives. The divine in Sanatana Dharma is only manifest in nature and natural interactions. You don’t have to go beyond phenomena to perceive or communicate with the unseen divine.
Yes, I am a practising Hindu. I light the lamp twice when I am at home and observe daily sadhana. I love to visit temples once in a while. At the intellectual level, I subscribe to the Advaita Vedanta, which I consider an intellectual starting point on the path to achieving maximum potential in human life. It opens up a worldview that makes living on earth a joyful and wondrous experience.
What are your views on the Hindu renaissance happening all over the world and in India?
There is certainly a reawakening of the Hindus worldwide. However, the interest in India by the rest of the world is an old story. This interest was due to the Hindu approach to knowledge and spirituality as well as its medical, artistic, technical and scientific achievements in the ancient world. On top of that Hindusthan was materially very rich.
Charlatanism masquerading as religion destroyed the ancient cultures one by one. But it couldn’t completely destroy the Hindu spirit, solely due to the strength of its rock-solid knowledge system. The Vedas and associated books as well as the Puranas and lithiasis are all part of this integral knowledge system that goes under the rubric of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma. This wealth of knowledge should be shared with the rest of the world.
In one of your recent articles you wrote, “The need for Hindu India by the outside world was apparently more than what Hindu India needed from the outside world.” Please explain.
The Indian nation under Narendra Modi transformed overnight into a substantial force nobody could ignore. It may be argued that it is the significant size of the Indian market that is being respected by other nations and peoples and that it is solely economic considerations that command respect and decide strategic relationships. This may be generally true to some extent, but the respect for Modi abroad comes from the solid numbers of Hindus that rally behind Modi and the BJP and the absence of corruption at the top.
There is a marked difference in the perception of India by foreigners before and after Modi. Despite the negative publicity for the nation abroad, enthusiastically hatched and distributed worldwide by the Indian Left, it is undeniable that Modi and the fire-brand Hindus have managed to earn a grudging admiration abroad. Deep civilisational roots that are reflected in the Hindu culture certainly command the respect that money can never buy, especially among those who have lost it irretrievably. Subconsciously, India is their last hope to set things right. Other nations need much more than money from India.
Your message to the readers?
Left and right ideologies are outdated and the ideas of class or gender war and institutional oppression of fellow beings stem merely from an absence of universal justice in consciousness.
As a member of the cosmos, you are subject to the natural eternal laws (Sanatana dharma in Sanskrit) and living in harmony with it alone serves objective and subjective justice.
And this will come naturally to you as a heritage and legacy when you shed your delusions and connect with the real universe. This, I advocate, can easily be accomplished by spurning faith or superstition that goes by any name!