Dr. Jai Maharaj
2005-07-29 19:50:28 UTC
Forwarded message from "vavamenon" <***@yahoo.com>
[ Subject: Latest Missionary Hoax: Christianity Older than Hinduism
[ From: "vavamenon" <***@yahoo.com>
[ Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE SHOULD BE A GOOD EYE OPENER FOR
CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE A THINKING MINDS OF THEIR OWN AND FOR
HINDUS WHO MEEKLY ACCEPT THE VALIDITY OF OTHER RELIGIONS
WITHOUT STUDYING THE BASICS OF OTHER RELIGIONS.
CHURCHIANITY / CHRISTIANITY IS FOUNDED ON LIES. TO
UNDERSTAND AND REALISE THIS, THEIR BOOKS SHOULD BE
STUDIED PROPERLY. READ "AGE OF REASON" BY THOMAS PAINE
TO REALISE THE DEPTH OF FRAUD COMMITTED BY THE PRIEST
CLASS ON THE BLIND FOLLOWERS OF THIS FAITH.
IT IS HIGH TIME, EVERYONE REALISED THIS.
WITH BEST REGARDS,
See the complete article "The Hill of Thomas" (www.hinduonnet.org) on
The Hindu website Swami Devananda (Ishwar Sharan) interview of August
26, 2001 (revised January 26, 2003)1. Can you tell me a little about
your background? How long have you been in India? What prompted you
to become a monk?
I was brought up in the foothills of western Canada. My family was
middle class and God-fearing and I was fed from birth on the strong
meat of the Old Testament prophets. But in my early teens it was
discovered that I did not love Jesus and was not afraid of Jehovah. I
was excommunicated from my father's small Protestant church. It was a
very liberating experience and I left home soon afterward.
I began to read Buddhism and existential philosophy. Perhaps as a
legacy of my early years, I retained an avid interest in Christian
history. I read Gore Vidal's book Julian about the last pagan emperor
of Rome. Julian became my hero along with Alexander the Great. Julian
was the great ascetic and Alexander the great king and traveler. I
followed in Alexander's footsteps, visiting as nearly as possible
every place that he had visited.
I reached India in 1967 and immediately fell in love with Hindu
civilization. It is the best civilization of the Great Mother
Goddess. She is called Asherah in the Bible and the prophets are
always cursing Her. As a small child I had seen Her once in a
garden, and later I had read about Her in the Golden Bough. She has
always cared for me, and like the great guru Shankara I believe that
She is the liberator of man and the revealer of truth. I became a
sannyasi because of Her. It is a sacrifice of love that I am still
trying to perfect.
2. What was your objective in writing The Myth of Saint Thomas and
the Mylapore Shiva Temple? You are quite critical of the Christian
establishment and their fellow travelers in the Indian media.
Most historians will tell you that St. Peter never went to Rome and
did not establish a Christian church there. Yet the very authority of
the papacy rests on this fiction and most educated people accept
their claim. I was interested in the Indian parallel, in seeing what
the historians had to say about the coming of St. Thomas to India and
his establishing a church in Kerala. I soon discovered that the most
reputed historians of Christianity including Eusebius, von Harnack,
de Tillemont, Latourette, Winternitz and. Bishop Stephen Neill, all
denied the coming of St. Thomas to India. Some denied his very
In writing The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple
(which I did under the 'secular' pen name Ishwar Sharan), I also
wanted to show that there was a carefully orchestrated cover-up in
the Indian English-language media regarding the St. Thomas story.
Indeed, even after two editions of the book, The Indian Express and
The New Indian Express remain the main purveyors of the fable through
editorials and their columnists A.J. Philip and Renuka Narayanan.
Little leftist magazines like The Indian Review of Books, edited by
the St. Thomas advocate S. Muthiah, also put in a good word for St.
Thomas when the opportunity arises. This is their unprofessional
response to the exposure of a fraud that does not serve their
Yet in writing the book and giving the source material for the
legend, the 3rd century Syrian religious romance called the Acts of
Thomas, my sincere hope was that Indian scholars would take up the
study of the legend seriously. But this has not happened. Indian
historians with their Marxist bent of mind are not willing to touch
it. They are afraid for their tenures and their politically correct
professional reputations. For the English-language newspaper editors,
all of them brown sahibs with brown noses, the St. Thomas fable is a
useful stick to bash Hindus with when the occasion arises, as the
story is a vicious blood libel against the Hindu community.
3. You allege that there is, in effect, a conspiracy of silence to
hide a lot of uncomfortable facts about Christianity in India. Why?
The establishment of the Christian church in India was intrinsically
part of the European colonial enterprise. Its history is shocking for
its violence and duplicity. Read the letters of St. Francis Xavier or
the diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai.
The Indian church today is not so much different from the original
17th century church. It is very wealthy and corrupt and politically
ambitious. But it has learned the propaganda value of social service
and is making a great effort to disassociate itself from its colonial
origins. This involves a lot of deceit, of course, and a massive
cover-up of past deeds. But as the late Archbishop Arulappa of Madras
would say, the end justifies the means even if that is not exactly
what Jesus taught.
The Christian church uses the St. Thomas legend to claim a 1st
century origin for Christianity in India. It also claims St. Thomas
to be a martyr at the hands of a wicked Hindu priest and king. Better
still, Christianity becomes the 'original' Indian religion, as it
would be older than many of the sectarian Hindu cults practiced in
the country today.
The whole idea is a gross perversion of truth and a grave injustice
to the Hindu community that has offered refuge to persecuted
Christian refugees down through the ages. It is Hindus who have been
martyred by these same Christian refugees starting in the 8th and 9th
centuries when Syrian and Persian immigrants in Malabar destroyed
temples to build their St. Thomas churches. It is Hindus who were
martyred in Goa by Catholic inquisitors and in Madras by Jesuit,
Franciscan, and Dominican priests who operated under the protection
of the Portuguese. And it is Hindus who are martyred today by the
Christian churches and the secular press who support them, including
the BBCall of whom have mounted a base campaign of vilification and
calumny against Hindu religion and society.
4. You make the startling revelation that the fondly believed story
of St. Thomas, an apostle of Christ, coming to India and
establish­ing an Indian church, is a convenient fiction. What was
the original rationale for this story? Who propagated it? What has
been the consequence?
The original rationale for the St. Thomas story was to give the first
4th century Christian immigrants in Malabar a local patron saint. The
story also gave them caste status that was important in integrating
them into Hindu society. There is nothing unusual in a refugee
community creating this kind of mythology of identity and it is part
of the process of getting established in a new land.
The St. Thomas legend, which they brought with them from Syria, was
easy enough to adapt to India. St. Thomas was already the patron
saint of "India", "India" being not the subcontinent that we know but
a synonym for Asia and all those lands that lay east of the Roman
Empire's borders. 'India' even included Egypt and Ethiopia in some
geographies, and China and Japan in others.
The Syrian Christian refugees had been led to India by a merchant who
is known to history as Thomas of Cana, i.e. Canaan, but is also known
as Thomas of Jerusalem. Over time it was natural enough for the
Syrian Christian community to identify their 1st century patron saint
Thomas the Apostle with their 4th century leader Thomas of Cana. As a
result of this process it is now mistakenly accepted by most educated
Indians that St. Thomas came to India in 52 CE and established a
Christian church at Cranganore in Kerala.
5. The great Kapaleeshwar Temple in Mylapore, Madras, was demolished,
according to you, and that is where the San Thome Cathedral now
stands. This is news to many people who believe temple demolition was
largely a Muslim act. The evidence for the demolition of the original
Kapaleeswar Temple is according to a variety of sources including
government records and archaeological reports. There is the presence
of temple rubble in the San Thome Cathedral walls and in the grounds
of Bishop's House (removed since my book's publication). The news of
the demolition of the original temple was not news to anybody of a
past generation and was discussed in the Madras newspapers during
British times. The origins of the present Kapaleeswar Temple are
recorded and directly reflect and confirm the destruction of the
It is true that Hindus do not associate temple breaking with
Christians. That is due to the success of the historical cover-up of
which the ASI and the state archaeological departments are partly
responsible. But we in the West know better about Christian history
and have access to a vast stock of published material that is not
usually available in India. We know that every great pagan temple in
Europe and the Mediterranean basin was destroyed and replaced with a
church after Christianity gained political ascendancy in the Roman
Empire. We also know that it is not any different in India today
where Christian missionaries hold sway in remote tribal areas)
because we have seen the evidence.
In Central India, Orissa, the Northeast, even Arunachal Pradesh and
Nepal where missionaries cannot officially operate, village temples
are demolished and sacred images broken by new converts. The video
films of these "good works" are then shown on TV in Europe where
missionaries go to collect funds for their evangelizing effort.
Temple breaking in India seems to have originated in the 8th or 9th
century with Nestorian Christian immigrants from Persia. They built
churches on the temple foundations and then attributed the temple
breaking to St. Thomas himself by claiming he built the churches in
the 1st century. Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit priests destroyed
temples in Goa, Malabar, and Tamil Nadu in the 16th century. St.
Francis Xavier left a fascinating written record of his temple-
breaking work on the Coromandal Coast. The Portuguese entombed the
Vel Ilang Kanni Amman Temple near Nagapattinam and turned it into the
famous Velankanni church called Our Lady of Health Basilica. The
Jesuits destroyed the Vedapuri Iswaran Temple in Pondicherry and the
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception now sits on the
site. The list is very long. Christians were destroying temples long
before the Muslims got into the act.
6. I have heard some Christians say that they believe that the Bhakti
movement in Tamil lands was influenced by Christian ideas of a
personal god. How do you respond? Christian missionaries and Marxist
intellectuals have a mantra: There is nothing Hindu in Hindustan and
nothing Indian in India. According to them everything of value in
Indian civilization came from outside, from someplace beyond the pale
of Sindh. They are aware of the Hindu's low self-esteem and seek to
undermine it further.
Be that as it may. Devotion to a personal god is there in the Rig
Veda itself: "Oh, Agni, be easy of access to us, as a father to a
son." Dr. Pandharinath Prabhu tells us in his much-acclaimed book
Hindu Social Organisation that the very term bhakti first appears in
the Svetasvataropanishad. Bhakti is there in the Puranas and finds
its best _expression in the Bhagavad Gita; a better _expression, I
must say, than is found anywhere in the Bible. Tamil bhakti has its
roots in the Tirumantiram, ca. 200 BCE.
So there is no influence from Christianity at all. But even if it was
true that Christianity influenced Hindu concepts of a personal god,
what do Christians gain by making such a claim? Hindu bhaktas direct
their love and devotion to Shiva and Murugan, Vishnu, Krishna and
Rama, not to Jesus. Jesus has failed in India! And failed and failed
and failed again in India!
7. There appears to be an effort on the part of certain Christian
groups to 'indianize' the church: for instance, they have created a
cult of the Infant Jesus to compete with the worship of the Baby
Krishna, and a cult of the Madonna to compete with the worship of the
Mother Goddess. Is this a genuine effort at cultural synthesis? The
Pope has made it absolutely clear in the Vatican document called
Dominus Jesus that enculturation and indigenization are the means by
which the Indian heathen is to be evangelized. Enculturation is not
an effort at cultural synthesis but a means of conversion. Its object
is to undermine the integrity of Hindu religion and culture and
subsume it into Christianity. It is a tried and true method. It is by
this method that Christian mission­aries starting with St. Paul
undermined Greek and Roman religion and culture and. took it over for
Christianity is a simple personality cult with an elitist ideology.
It can be insinuated into any open society. It is parasitical in
nature and feeds on the spiritual and cultural body of the society it
invades. In the process it destroys the invaded culture and absorbs
it into itself. This is what happened in Pagan Europe.
Hindus do not understand this process because Hinduism is spiritually
self-sufficient and does not require outside nourish­ment. At the
same time Hindus are flattered by the attention given to their
religion and culture by Christian operators and are vulnerable to
their overtures. See my dialogue with Fr. Bede Giffiths in Sita Ram
Goel's book Catholic Ashrams concerning this important subject.
8. Some Christians have written to me quoting various Sanskrit texts
to 'prove' that they foreshadow the arrival of Jesus Christ. What do
you think of this?
Prophecy is the last refuge of the religious scoundrel and
unfortunately the Indian missionary community is made up entirely of
scoundrels. They can find and foreshadow whatever they like in
scripture (be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian) because of scripture's
obscure language and context and the poet's use of allegory and
metaphor. For example, Bible scholars know that the Old Testament
"prophesies" concerning Jesus' birth are forced contrivances of
interpretation and editing used to give Jesus divine legitimacy and
royal linage. They know that these prophecies are false but because
they appeal to the believer's imagination and reason and help
inculcate faith in Jesus, they continue to be quoted as divinely
inspired and true.
In India a favorite method of foreshadowing from Vedic texts is
closely related to the enculturation process. Christian preachers
simply appropriate the meaning of Sanskrit terms and claim them for
Jesus. They argue in a round about way that terms like Isa, Ishwara
and Parameswara only ever referred to Jesus in the first place! I
have got letters from Baptist converts who claim that Prajapati is
If Christian missionaries want to find Jesus in the Veda and Christ
in India they can do so with the help of clever and amoral scholars
like Fr. Raimundo Panikker. He and they should carefully consider
that these "inspired" claims, and, indeed, the inducement to convert
by means of these claims is a sin against the Holy Spirit. According
to their own doctrine, there is no forgiveness for a sin against the
Holy Spirit. But the real problem is not that Christian religious
entrepreneurs invent prophecies and manipulate the mean­ing of
Sanskrit texts, the real problem is that Hindus accept their claims
at face value and do not know how to reply.
People who follow prophets invariably become idolaters of The Word.
They believe that the prophet's word is divine word, that a man's
word is God's word. It is the worst kind of idolatry and leads to the
religious fundamentalism and violence that we are witness to today
throughout the world.
9. If you criticize Christians in any way, their immediate response
is. "We are a tiny minority of two per cent of India's population,
and see how much social work we are doing." How do you respond to
this? The question of numbers of population, which for Christians is
something like three per cent, is very misleading. Not long ago
India's millions were ruled by a cadre of 30,000 Christian
foreigners. It is not a question of numbers but of institutional
wealth and influ­ence, of organization, political ambition and
high ideological motivation, and, especially, of undue control of
institutions like education and health care that counts. And then
there are the special constitutional privileges for minorities that
make Hindus second-class citizens in their own land, and the
uncritical sympathy for all things Christian in the English-language
It is an absurd situation. No country in the world allows a minority
community to dictate to the majority the way India does, or to allow
a foreign-trained minority community to proselytize in a society that
has never proselytized and cannot protect itself against the
psycho­logical and emotional assault and material inducements
that go with proselytisation. No country in the world would allow
virtually unchecked the foreign money and expertise that flows into
the Indian churches, much of it under the guise of social aid, when
the bigoted leaders of these churches have declared over and over
again that they intend the religious and spiritual annihilation of
the Hindu community.
10. There is a shadowy group called Opus Dei that is supposed to be
doing significant theoretical work to help spread Christianity around
the world. I believe the well-known Indian-Spanish Jesuit priest
Raimundo Panikker is associated with them. What do you know about
them? Opus Dei is everywhere but nobody really knows anything about
them except their Vatican banker and the Pope who is their special
advocate and patron. They are an authoritarian secret society with
members in such places as the CIA and MI5. I am inclined to doubt
that they would employ a theologian like Fr. Raimundo Panikker
because he is a married priest and they are advocates of strict
church discipline. Their fronts in India (and other developing
countries) are scholars associations, history conferences, Hindu-
Christian dialogue seminars, certain NGOs and aid agencies (all
missionary outfits use NGOs and aid agencies as cover for their
proselytizing activities), some Western embassies and the English-
Opus Dei is especially interested in creating favorable public
opinion for the Catholic Church and has infiltrated every major
English-language daily. Read the op-ed page and letters column in any
big city newspaper and you will probably find the handwork of Opus
Dei. They want to manipulate and control public opinion. They would
never employ a venomous journalist like A.J. Philip but soft
columnists like Renuka Narayanan are definitely on their list of
honorary lady Jesuits.
11. Arun Shourie and other scholars have detailed the on-going
assault on Hinduism by Christians from British times. Do you see this
clash of civilizations abating any time soon?
The clash of civilizations will continue, indeed, will become more
pronounced, unless Christianity and Islam give up their religious
bigotry and worid-conquering ambitions. This is very unlikely as
bigotry and religious imperialism are inherent within their belief
systems. These systems have to be reformed, but can­not be
reformed because their adherents believe that they are the work of
Gods of divine revelation. As the systems cannot be changed, the
adherents of the systems have to be weaned away from them. This has
happened in Europe and, to a lesser extent in America where
Christ­ianity has been abandoned for a rational humanism and
Vedantic spirituality. But it has not happened in the Islamic and
Marxist worlds of Asia and will not happen without a war.
12. In your book Koenraad Elst quotes the fact that the place where
Jesus is alleged to have been crucified was "divined" by Emperor
Constantine's mother in a dream. What similar stories do you find in
Christian mythology in India?
In the 4th century when Christianity gained political clout in the
Roman court, the Emperor's mother Helena "divined" various sites in
Palestine which, she claimed, were associated with the life and death
of Jesus. These sites already had old Roman temples sitting on them.
Nevertheless, in Bethlehem the Church of the Nativity was built on
the ruins of a demolished Adonis temple and in Jerusalem the Church
of the Holy Sepulcher was built over a Venus temple that had been
destroyed on Constantine's personal order. See Joan Taylor's book
Christians and the Holy Places.
The parallel in India is the identification of various temple sites
in Kerala with St. Thomas and the building of churches on them by
Christian immi­grants from Persia in the 9th century. Nestorian
Christian mission­aries were active on the West Coast and up into
Kashmir and Ladakh in the 9th and 10th centuries, and it is they who
left crosses carved on rocks and various Christian signs and symbols
that later European writers of historical fiction have associated
with a life of Jesus in Kashmir.
In the 16th century the Portuguese "divined" various sites in Madras
at Mylapore. Saidapet, and Big Mount (now known as St. Thomas Mount)
that they claimed were associated with the martyrdom and burial of
St. Thomas. The temples that occupied these sites, including the
original Kapaleeswar Temple referred to in the hymns of
Jnanasambandar and Arunagirinathar, were demolished and churches
built on their ruins.
13. There is a certain school of thought that says Jesus Christ came
to India and that a lot of what he taught is based on Hindu and
Buddhist ideas. Comments?
The idea that Jesus came to India as a boy and studied in a Buddhist
monastery or, alternatively, came to India after the crucifixion and
married a princess of Kashmir, tickles the romantic imagination of
Western travelers and quite a few Indiana too. The story originates
in a clever piece of fiction by the Russian forger Nicholas Notovich
that was published in Paris in 1894.
It cannot possibly be true, and if it is true it destroys completely
the special claims made by Christian doctrine, of the sacrifice made
on the cross and the resurrection, and the vicarious salvation of the
Christian believer. The Buddhist monastery where Jesus is said to
have studied did not exist until the 16th century, and the Srinagar
tomb where he is allegedly buried is really the tomb of a Mogul
ambassador to Egypt who converted to Christianity while on tour
there. The key to unraveling the tale is to study the activities of
the 10th century Nestorian Christian missionaries who passed through
Kashmir on their way to China and left crosses on rocks and an
abundance of children with biblical names in their wake.
The Hindu and Buddhist ideas found in the New Testament books,
including the Sermon on the Mount, were picked up by the gospel
writers in Alexandria from Indian pundits and monks who were teaching
there. But it should be remembered that the New Testament books
contain ideas quite the opposite of Hindu ideas of pluralism and
tolerance. For example, there is the virulent anti-Semitism and
religious bigotry of the gospels. Jesus was perhaps the first
religious teacher in history to threaten his critics with eternal
14. There is another school of thought that says Jesus Christ did not
actually exist and that the legends about him are a collection of
stories about several other leaders and teachers of the time.
Comments? It is quite true that the New Testament books as we know
them today are composite works edited and rewritten a number of times
after the 4th century Council of Nicea. Christian doctrine was
formalized as this council and Jesus was raised from mortal prophet
to immortal God by a vote of the collected bishops. (Two bishops from
Libya voted against deification and were soon murdered by their
Some years after the Council, Emperor Constantine sanctioned and
financed a new edition of the Bible. As there were no original
documents to work from (they had been destroyed by Emperor
Dioclet­ian), the bishops were free to edit, revise, and rewrite
the Bible according to their own tenets. (The Old Testament books are
also compiled from many sources and they are not a true history of
the Jewish people.)
The result of all this 4th century religious activity is that the
Pauline salvation cult that we know today as Christianity came into
being. It was modeled on earlier Greek salvation cults except that
Jesus replaced Apollo as the saving god. The famous Sermon on the
Mount that so appealed to Mahatma Gandhi, is a later literary
interpolation from a Pagan source. It may even be of Indian origin.
The Jesus of the Bible is a literary creation not a real historical
person, though it is probable that his character was modeled on that
of a real person, say, the Teacher of Righteousness of the Essenes of
the Dead Sea. The evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dated 100-200
BCE, bears out the fact that there is nothing new or true in
Christianity. The Catholic Church has for decades tried to suppress
the evidence of the Scrolls as they virtually prove that there was no
historical Jesus as depicted in the New Testament stories.
I do not think that St. Paul believed in a historical Jesus either,
which is why he preached a Christ of faith rather than a Jesus of
history. The term 'christ' is a Greek title not a proper name. It can
be used as an appellation for any person so deserving and there were
many christs in the Roman world of the 1st century CE. St. Paul is
the true founder of the Christian religion. He was a Gnostic and a
very forceful character who has left his imprint on all aspects of
Does Jesus exist? Yes, indeed, he does. He exists in the romantic
imagination of every Christian believer (and not a few Hindus too).
He is a dark knight of the soul, an asuric being not a human being.
15. If Jesus did not really exist, how does that affect the organized
church and its shibbohths? Christianity is not going to collapse just
because it has been discovered that Jesus was not torn of a virgin
mother (as a recent BBC programme declares), did not die on the cross
for our sins, and did not bodily rise to heaven on the third day to
sit at the right hand of God. People believe what they want to
believe, and, more important, what they are taught to believe as
children. The Pope or any dictator will tell you in private that
there are not many people in this world who are willing or able to
think for themselves, and those few who do are to be eliminated (like
the courageous Giordano Bruno who we burned at the stake for teaching
that the universe was infinite).
It is not a question of seeking truth, as the naive Hindu pilgrim
seems to think, but of ideological indoctrination, of repeating the
shibboleths over and over again until the believer is "saved". But
salvation theories aside (and Marxism is also a salvation theory),
there is the more important business of Big Business. The Christian
churches are Big Business. They employ hundreds of thousands of
people who are otherwise unemployable. They are important cultural
and political institutions. The Vatican itself is Europe's most
famous circus and the Pope her best-loved clown.
More importantly, the churches, and especially the Orthodox,
Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Baptist varieties, are important
international financial institutions. They hold all, the ready
capital, not only in souls but also in dollars. They are not going to
disappear just because their doctrines have been proved false and
their god has been found to have feet of clay.
16. There have been recent admissions from the Vatican itself about
nuns being raped and sometimes murdered by missionaries and priests.
Similarly, there was a startling expose in the Kansas City Star about
the rate of AIDS among Catholic priests in the US being four times
the national average. Does this imply that the system of celibate
nuns and monks is not quite working? Incidentally, these reports died
quiet deaths in the Indian Press whereas they regularly jump all over
allegations of misconduct by Hindu sadhus and saints.
Sodomy, incest, the abuse of nuns and the molestation of children
have been endemic in the Christian church from its very origins. Read
the fascinating book A Testament of Christian Civilization by the
famous Jesuit-ex-Jesuit historian Joseph McCabe. He was a linguist
and had access to documents that are never published in Christian
histories. He records the extraordinary sexual, license among
ecclesiastics from the first centuries of Christianity up to the
At the various church councils where the Christian creed was
formulated, the bishops would quarrel over doctrine during the day
and dancing boys during the night. More shocking than the sex was the
violence and cruelty that went with it, which found its high point in
the Inquisition. This institution was run by Dominican monks and was
an orgy of sadism and unspeakable cruelty. It was introduced into
India by St. Francis Xavier, whose tomb sits on the site of Old Goa's
most important Shiva temple. In the medieval period in Europe,
convents became high-class brothels and their bishops forbade priests
to live with their mothers and sisters because of the moral dangers
involved. The then pope introduced a rule of chastity for priests and
nuns but it was never taken very seriously.
Today there are thousands of priests involved in various kinds of
sexual relationships and thousands more who seek to be relieved of
their vow so that they can marry. Abuse of children in church-run
institutions has become rampant and recently in Canada a major
Protestant church has gone bankrupt paying the lawsuits brought
against it by hundreds of victims who were sexually molested in
church boarding schools. All of this is not very surprising to those
who have read history and know the moral rot that has always existed
within the Christian church even at its highest echelons. After all,
it was not very long ago that the Pope was collecting a tax from the
lepers and prostitutes who operated in St. Peter's Square.
Of course, the great irony in this sad state of affairs is that in
Christian doctrine sex is a sin, indeed, it is the original sin
invented by woman to bring about the downfall of man. In fact it has
brought about the downfall of the Christian churches. They have tried
to deny this state of moral debasement but modern human rights and
instant exposure in the Western media do not allow the deceit to
continue except in India. In India the churches are protected from
scandal by state authorities, minority commissions and the English-
language press. If the allegedly impartial editors of our national
newspapers and news magazines spent as much time at the local convent
or seminary or church-run boy's school as they do at the ashrams of
Premananda and Satya Sai Baba, they would get a story much more
satisfying of their prurient interests. All of these editors are
sewer inspectors at heart but they will not touch a Christian sewer
with a barge pole. Such is the power of the Christian church in India
and the overt bias of the national English-language press.
The Christian church in India is still an 18th century colonial
church financed from abroad. It has a sophisticated international
support system in place (and this is especially true of the newer
American evangelical churches). It is very arrogant and corrupt, a
quasi-independent state that is coddled and pampered by the Indian
government and media alike. It is answerable to nobody, which is
reason enough for a responsible government to order a white paper
investigation into its finances and activities.
Calumny and more calumny is the Church's current weapon of choice and
all of the bad press India and Hindus get in Europe and America
originates in bishop's houses, church councils and the offices of
Christian NGOs in India. Their "authoritative" and "secular" views
are picked up by an accommodating English-language press and
broadcast abroad with alacrity.
The truth of this observation can be verified by listening to Indian
editors and Christian fathers reporting from Delhi and Madras to
their English masters in London on the BBC's various religious
programmes and South Asia news services in the morning. It does not
enter the heads of these Indian media worthies that the BBC is a neo-
colonialist radio network dedicated to the promotion of Christian
culture and values and British government foreign policy, and that it
does not have a kind word for Hindus or Hinduism or Hindu issues even
though Hindus make up a large part of its world audience.
(It may be noted that this interview was given to Rajeev Srinivasan
with the understanding that it would be published in his column on
the rediff.com web site. However, the editors of this website have
not published it allegedly because of my criticism of their
col1eagues in the English-language media. They have unwittingly
proved my point about the pusillanimity and bias of Indian editors
and their inability to tolerate any kind of criticism.)
17. There seems to be a large element of land-grab in the actions of
Christians in India. They buy land, get it ceded by the authorities,
and then grab the hillsides by painting crosses on rocks and.
claiming the area as Christian.
The Christian churches are the largest landowners in India after the
government. Much of this land is alienated temple land that was given
to them by the British in the 19th century. They also own large
amounts of prize commercial property in the cities. This fact has
become a scandal among many of the Christian faithful who do not feel
that their churches should be real estate agents and owners.
However, this reservation is not true of the newer, smaller American
churches like Pentecostals and Evangelicals who have mounted a caste
war against the Hindus and seek to provoke the Hindu community at
every opportunity. They simply grab land in the towns and districts
by painting crosses and Christian slogans on stones and hillsides and
then claiming the property as their own.
This activity is especially evident in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu. In Arunachal Pradesh where proselytizing and conversion
are illegal, Christians claim whole villages and put up signboards
that say "Non-Christians Not Allowed" at their entrances. These
Arunachal converts originate from Mother Teresa's institutions in
Assam where they are indoctrinated and baptized and then sent back to
their villages to convert the elders.
In Tamil Nadu Christian slogans appear on Hindu pilgrim routes to
Tirupati and on the route around Arunachala Hill at Tiruvannamalai
that pilgrims circumambulate on full moon days. I am told that
Christians plan to raise a cross on the hill's summit when the
opportunity arises. I am not at all surprised. The theoretical ground
for this "good deed" has been laid years ago by Catholic theologians
and missionaries like Fr. Raimundo Panikker and the Benedictine monk
Abhishiktananda. They have already claimed the holy hill and all of
India for Christ in their writings. I myself hope that the cross-
raising comes soon. Perhaps then Hindu leaders and district officials
will wake up to the threat that an aggressive, proselytizing
Christianity poses to Hinduism's most ancient sacred sites.
18. There are detailed war-game scenarios on the Internet by various
Christian fundamentalist groups who have identified India as a soft
target for conversion. India is a soft target for the Christian
missionary for a number of reasons. Firstly, Hindu society still
suffers from many social ills that the missionary can exploit;
secondly, Hindu society is by nature pluralistic and accommodating of
all ideological views including those that would destroy it; and
thirdly, Hindu society is divided against itself and its religious
and political leaders have failed it totally. These leaders with few
exceptions are not willing or able to challenge the ideological
forces that would destroy Hindu religion and society.
The result is that Christianity and its younger sister Marxism have
the ideological upper hand in India today. They have an unhealthy
influence on government, education, publishing, the English-language
media, and some vital social services. It is a shocking situation for
which Hindus themselves are to blame (even if the overall situation
is a legacy of British days). The very fact that Hindu intellectuals
and entrepreneurs are not able to publish a national daily newspaper
and present their own point of view to the world is sad proof of Sri
Aurobindo's observation that Hindus have lost the power to think.
19. There is the decline of the church, particularly the Catholic
Church, in Europe and the Americas. Hence the need to find new
recruits to man the barricades in the growing clash of
civiliza­tions with Muslims. There is the need to create nuns and
priests in Kerala as they provide a lot of menial labour in European
convents and monasteries. Is there a pattern? Is there an element of
racial exploitation as well?
As this is the last question, I would like to make a digression
before replying to it. New converts to Christianity like to tell me,
a white foreigner of European descent who has lived among the white
Jews of Israel, that Jesus was an Asian and by extension he was
therefore an Indian. I am very much amused by this rhetoric. It is so
juvenile and simplistic. There is a whole world of difference between
Semitic West Asia and Hindu South Asia. To begin with, one is white
and the other is brown.
But were Jesus born in Asia, Africa or Antarctica (we must assume
here that he bad a human birth), he is verily the white man's god and
personifies the white man's race and values. Look at any statue or
painting of him. He has red or brown hair, blue eyes, a Roman nose,
and lily-white skin. If you take a peek under his Roman toga you will
find that he has been circumcised (a very un-Indian custom except
among Muslims who follow a West Asian religious code).
Now, it is true that Hindu sadhus had penetrated the Egyptian desert
as early as the 4th century BCE and that Brahmin pundits and Buddhist
monks taught at the great university of Alexandria in the first
centuries BCE-CE, but their contribution was to Jesus' philosophy not
to his ethnicity and culture. Where then is the Indian Jesus? And who
is fooling whom by pretending that Israelite is synonymous with
St. Thomas too had a Roman nose, blue eyes, red hair, and a lily-
white skin. He too was circumcised. He was Jesus' look-alike twin
brother according to the Acts of Thomas. He wore a Roman toga and lay
at table to eat and drink just like a Roman aristocrat. All of these
facts require some explaining by the local Indian priest if we are to
accept him as our own Indian apostle. And I am talking here only
about physique and culture, not about the vexatious doctrinal problem
of there being TWO only sons of God, Jesus and Judas (for St. Thomas
was known as Judas Didymus).
Now to your question. Indian priests and nuns are the peasant workers
of the Catholic Church. They are welcome in Europe and America to
clean the toilets and scrub the floors of the empty convents and
seminaries, nurse the sick and dying, present the news in funny
English on Vatican Radio, write lengthy disserta­tions on
indiginizing the church in India, and get trained as native
missionaries for work in the jungles and outback.
This is the pattern and it has been followed for decades. Indian
priests and nuns are numerous and expendable. They are everywhere
there is dirty work to be done. They are the first victims of the
white man's most elitist institution. Casteism is rampant. They
seldom if ever move up the ecclesiastical ladder if there is a
European available to fill the post. There are in South India only
two or three Dalit bishops and one of them is an Anglican (CSI).
Everybody knows that if a black pope were ever elected (and Indians
are black people according to Europeans) the Catholic Church would
lose half of its membership. It cannot be otherwise in a European
feudal institution whose bishops wrote the first theoretical
justification for slavery in the 16th century. After all, the Bible
says (1 Peter 2:18-25); "Servants, be subject to your masters with
all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward."
I have had more than one Dalit convert tell me that the racism and
caste prejudice within the Christian churches is a crime against
human­ity. I have to agree. I have to say after a lifetime of
study, that the advent of Christianity and its forced establishment
in the Roman Empire under the wicked Emperor Constantine is one of
the great disasters in the history of mankind.
Author's correspondence with the Vatican regarding St. Thomas in
Sacred Congregation of Rites
Vatican City, Italy
26 August 1996
I am doing research on St. Thomas in India and have learned that your
office issued a letter on November 13, 1952 which stated that the
landing of St. Thomas at Cranganore in 53 A.D. is unverified.
I would like to know if in fact the said letter was issued and, if
that is not the case, whether you can confirm that St. Thomas was
martyred and buried in Madras.
I would be most grateful if you could direct me to any authentic
evidence supporting the story of St. Thomas in India.
- - -
This Congregation for the Causes of Saints has received your letter
of 26th August last in which you have asked for information regarding
Saint Thomas' presence in India.
We have not found in our Archives the letter supposedly written by
this Congregation on 13th November 1952, of which you speak, because
of a lack of more precise data (Diocese, destination, etc.).
Nor do we have other data regarding Saint Thomas since this Archive
was begun in 1588. His life is the object of the research of
historians which is not the particular competence of this
Rome, September 11, 1996.
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
10, Piazza Pio XII
Rome - 00193 Italy
- - -
Acknowledgement of correction to Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on
The Christian legend of Saint Thomas carrying Christianity to India's
southwestern shores and dying there a martyr is being downsized and
rewritten in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ishwar Sharan, author of
The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, successfully
demonstrated to the editors of the illustrious reference that the St.
Thomas-in-India legend is highly suspect.
Sharan pointed out that the legend was created by three Christian
scholars with no historical evidence, relying solely on "Thomas
romances." Sharan cited another Christian researcher-Bishop Stephen
Neill-as a prime debunker of the apocryphal theory. Agreeing to a
future revision, an EB representative stated in a letter to Sharan
that the Britannica's entry on St. Thomas did indeed "place too much
emphasis on the unlikely scenario of his traveling to, and being
martyred in India."
- Hinduism Today September 1997
310 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60604 USA
Sept. 19, 1996
This has reference to the article "St. Thomas" in the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, Fifteenth Edition, 1984.
I have been through the source material for the St. Thomas legend and
feel that the Encyclopaedia's article is a misleading concoction. It
has been written to promote a particular theological view without any
regard for the facts available. It names Bishop A.E. Medlycott and
Dr. F.A. D'Cruz as references. Yet in his authoritative review of
Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 A.D. Bishop Stephen
Neill writes, "A number of scholars, among whom are to be mentioned
with respect Bishop A.E. Medleycott, J.N. Farquhar and the Jesuit J.
Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what can only be called
'Thomas romances', as reflect the vividness of their imaginations
rather than the prudence of rigid historical research.
I have located a large number of historians whose respected views
agree with those of Bishop Neill. They are collected in my book, The
Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. I am sending you
a copy by registered air mail book post. Kindly acknowledge receipt.
- - -
18 October 1996
Mr. Ishwar Sharan
Dear Mr. Sharan,
Please accept our apology for the delay in responding to your letter.
We have received your book, and we have subsequently reviewed our
coverage of Saint Thomas. While the Saint Thomas article that appears
in the current printing of the Encyclopaedia Britannica differs
slightly from the 1984 article to which you refer in your book, the
current article does convey the same basic information. We have
concluded that the portion of the article that refers to Thomas'
later life places too much emphasis on the unlikely scenario of his
traveling to, and being martyred in India. We have referred this
information to the appropriate editor so that the article can be
revised in future printings of Britannica.
We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.
Anthony G. Craine
ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC.
310 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60604
IACA <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
Latest Missionary Hoax: Christianity Older than Hinduism
World Syriac Conference 2002
The below text from the World Syriac Conference 2002 claims that
Christianity is older than Hinduism in Kerala:
01.01 When it is suggested that, Christianity is older than Hinduism
in Kerala it is quite likely that much may be argued in favour of the
opposite view, as it has been argued, in place and out of place, by
many, down the decades of the past century or two. Only there is
something to be said against the stand often taken for granted that
Hinduism was here in Kerala from time immemorial, and that
Christianity here was the late-comer, and that is what, on the
present occasion , I have to say.1 As Stevenson goes on to say, to
state one argument is not necessarily to be deaf to all others.2 All
the same the title Christianity Older than Hinduism in Kerala, even
if it appears like an Irish Bull3 or ludicrous inconsistency in
speech, in truth only states a fact, a fact often well understood by
scholars of Kerala History, but generally not honestly admitted or
boldly stated. It may even be that the Syriac script and liturgy -
surely the pahlavi script - were in Kerala much before the Devanagari
and the Vedas found their foothold here. In spite of the many
statements in Keralolpathy most historians today believe that the
Parasurama story is only a legend and Brahmins arrive in Kerala for
all practical purposes only in the 4th century or later, and the
Brahmins or Namboodiris establish dominance only around the end of
the first millenium C.E. In the time available for this paper it will
be possible merely to have a passing glance at some facets of the
problem, and that too in a most cursory manner.
02.01 To commence with, it may be useful to examine a few definitions
/ descriptions of the terms Hindu and Hinduism.Hinduism is the
religion of the Hindus, the people of Hindusthan. The land lying to
the east of the river Sindhu was called Hindusthan by the Persians,
the word Sindhu being pronounced by them Hindu. Thus the name
Hinduism is geographical in origin.4 Even today the river Sindhu for
the westerner is the Indus.In this sense Hinduism is a western term
for religious beliefs and practices of most of the peoples in India5
referring to almost everything in the land or lands across the Indus
sometimes even up to China.6 In this broad sense Kerala formed a part
of India and thus could be considered Hindu from the first century
onwa ds (cf.the first century B.C./A.D. writings of Roman authors
like Pliny,7 which author calls Muziris primun emporium Indiae). It
is possible that many Greek and Roman writers when they spoke of
India had mainly Kerala in their mind.8 In this geographical sense of
Hinduism, and only in that sense, was Kerala the abode of Hindus and
Hinduism from the earliest centuries.
02.02 However there is another definition for Hinduism. It (i.e.
Hindu) is not a very ancient name, for it is not found in any of the
early literatures. The original name for it (Hinduism) was Sanatana-
dharma, meaning the Eternal Religion. It is so named because it is
based on certain eternal principles, beliefs and practices. Another
name for it is Vaidika-dharma, the religion derived from the Vedas.
In this sense it is also known as Brahmana-dharma, Brahma here
standing for the Vedas.9 Vedic Hinduism, i.e. the religion now
considered Hinduism, does not have a very long history in Kerala. In
fact Vedic Hinduism in Kerala is not as old as Christianity in
02.03 Before proceeding further, for a clearer understanding of what
is today understood by Hinduism, let us examine the rest of the
modern description of Hinduism earlier quoted: [I RUSH THRU THIS
PART] For the religious beliefs and practices of most of the people
of India the Corresponding Indian term is dharma [law]. It has no
fixed scriptural canon, but Veda, Brahmanas, and Bhagavad-Gita have
elaborate theological commentary. Brahmanism substituted (c.550 B.C.)
for Vedic religion a complex system of ritual and theosophy expounded
in Brahmanas and Upanishads. Brahmanas regulate sacrifices to gods
and personify moral qualities. Upanishads, foundation of modern Hindu
philosophy, develop doctrine of a universal soul or being to which
individual souls will be reunited after maya (illusion of time and
space) is conquered. Buddhism and Jainism, which flourished from
c.300 B.C. to A.D. c.400 in India, attacked this complex ritual and
theology. However, Brahmanism adopted features of those religions and
codified its own ritual in Laws of Manu. Several schools of
interpretation of Upanishads appeared and Yoga was developed. A later
stage of Hinduism is represented byTantras and Puranas. Tantras are
mainly prescriptions for securing divine favor; Puranas comprise
poems addressed mainly to Siva (or Shiva) the Destroyer and Vishnu
the Preserver. These and Brahma, a remote deity who created the
universe and is equated with it, form triad at center of modern
02.04 Even much before the nineteen-seventies historians were fully
convinced that Vedic Hinduism and the Brahmins must have arrived in
Kerala only much later than the first centuries B.C./ A.D. The
extensive studies made by Dr. M. G.S. Narayanan, the then head of the
department of history at the University of Calicut, and at present
the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)
together with Dr. Veluthat Kesavan, now in the department of history,
Mangalore University, shed much light on the beginnings of the
Brahmin community in Kerala. Here it is important to note what Dr.
Narayanan says concerning the new trends in Kerala Historical
studies, Historicalresearch had a delayed start in Kerala in the
absence of History Departments in the University until the sixties of
the last century. This gave the opportunity for interest groups to
popularize their pet ideas and pass them on as authentic hiistory.
They had come to associate these myths with their own status and
privileges. Once the community leaders and political leaders
published their theories about ancient history, their followers
developed a frame of mind that resisted interpretations based on
evidence. With the establishment of History Departments in the
Universities it was ...3 -3- possible for the present writer and his
colleagues to build upon the foundations laid by Professor Elamkulam,
sometimes extending and modifying the conclusions, sometimes
demolishing and re-building too. This introduction becomes necessary
because it is often found even today that the discussion of problems
in ancient history are cluttered and obstructed or vitiated by
earlier legendary notions which have been thrown out and exposed long
ago with the availability of contemporary evidence.11
02.05 To understand the origin and spread of Brahmins or Namboodiris
in Kerala let us go through the words of Dr. Kesavan Veluthat in some
detail:The Brahmans of Kerala are known as Nambudiris. Historical
eviden! ces as well as their own traditions suggest that they came
from North India and settled down in Kerala, migrating along the West
Coast. It is clear that they constitute links in a long chain of
migration along the West Coast of India, carrying with them the
tradition that Parasurama created their land and donated it to them.
In fact, one sees this tradition all along the West Coast from
Sourashtra on; and the Brahmanical tradition in the Canarese and
Malabar Coasts is nearly identical to one another. According to that
tradition, Parasurama created the land between Gokarna and
Kanyakumari and settled Brahmans there in sixty-four gramas or
villages. As a result, the Brahmans of Kerala share several common
features with the Brahmans of the Canarese coast; this also
distinguishes them from their counterparts in the rest of South
India. In a historical inquiry, this is extremely important. What is
necessary is not to look for the place of their origin or the
identity and date of ! Parasurama but to ascertain the social
function of such a tradition and examine the extent of linkages
between the two regions and their cultures. It is stated that thirty-
two out of the sixty-four gramas are in the Tulu speaking region and
the remaining thirty-two in the Malayalam speaking region in Kerala.
Recent historical research has identified these settlements on either
side of the border. Those in Kerala proper are listed in the
Keralopatti, the narrative of Kerala history.
a) Between rivers Perumpuzha and Karumanpuzha:
1. Payyannur, 2. Perumchellur, 3. Alattiyur, 4. Karantola, 5.
Cokiram, 6. Panniyur, 7. Karikkatu, 8. Isanamangalam, 9.
Trissivaperur, 10. Peruvanam.
b) Between rivers Karumanpuzha and Churni:
11. Chamunda, 12. Irungatikkutal, 13. Avattiputtur, 14. Paravur, 15.
Airanikkalam, 16. Muzhikkalam, 17. Kuzhavur, 18. Atavur, 19.
Chenganatu, 20. Ilibhyam, 21. Uliyannur, 22. Kazhutanatu.
c) Between river Churni and Kanya Kumari:
23. Errumanur, 24. Kumaranallur, 25. Katamaruku, 26. Aranmula, 27.
Tiruvalla, 28. Kitangur, 29.Chengannur, 30. Kaviyur, 31. Venmani and
32. Nirmanna Of these,most survive today with the continuing
Brahmanical traditions and the structural temples known as
gramakshetras. Many find mention in the epigraphical ...4 -4- records
dating from the ninth century and a few are mentioned in literature.
Moreover, every Nambudiri house claims to belong to one or the other
of these thirty-two settlements in Kerala. The historicity of the
grama affiliation of the Nambudiris, therefore, cannot be doubted. It
is possible that these (Brahman) settlements came up between the
third and ninth centuries of the Christian era, i.e., the close of
the early historical period in the history of South India, which
historians describe as the Sangam Age, and the establishment of the
Chera kingdom of Mahodayapuram.12
02.06 And Dr. M. G. S. Narayanan concurs: This situation helps us to
confirm that the ancestors of present day Nambudiris established
their temple-centred Gramas in the span of the 8th-9th centuries. As
the Brahmins in the historical epochs have always been clan-conscious
and conservative, they must have been Brahmins by birth only. They
are found to have followed the laws of Dharmasastra texts according
to the internal epigraphic evidence. There is no question of
conversion of non-Brahmins or therecruitment of non-Brahmins as
Brahmins into the Brahmin fold, as these practices are foreign to
Dharmasastra literature. As we know from the contemporary records
that these Brahmins had brought all the paraphernalia of the Vedic-
Sastric-Pur! anic Brahminism of the Gangetic valley, they could not
have been indigenous to Kerala.15
02.07 The above authorities incontrovertibly establish the fact that
Brahmins and Brahminism along with Vedic Hinduism arrive in Kerala
only many centuries later than the commencement of the Christian era.
The Nairs, who belong to the Chaturvarna or four castes, though they
form the lowest rung of the caste system as they are Sudras, appear
on the scene even much later than the Brahmins, perhaps as late as
the 12th century C.E. Centuries before there is any trace of Vedic
Hinduism in Kerala there are many well established evidences for the
existence of Christians in Kerala. Christianity would appear to be
the oldest existing religion in Kerala, much older than any other
organised religion including Islam.
03.01 Vigrahas or images of vedic Hindu gods and goddesses appear in
Kerala only after the 11th century, much later than the rock
crosses.14 Even at the Salem, Erode portions of the Chera Kingdom and
the Venad, Kanyakumari sector they appear only mostly after the 9th
century. In fact all the Vigrahas or images of Hindu gods and
goddesses appearing anywhere in Kerala are datable to a period much
later than the time of the Pahlavi crosses of St. Thomas Mount,
Kottayam, Kadamattam, Muttuchira, and Alangad. 03.02 For example,
according to the studies published by K.P.Soundrarajan, Directoe,
Archaeology Survey of India, 1978 the Vigraha of 1.Aja Eka Pada first
appears in Thondamandalam in the 8thC, in Cholamandalam in the 11thC,
in Pandimandalam in the 13thC. (2) ArdhaNareeswara appears in S.India
only after the 7thC and in Kerala only after the 9thC. (3)
AnanthaShayi S.I. 6thC and Kerala 8thC. (4) DakshinaMoorthy Kerala
8thC. (5) Ganesha Kerala 8thC. (6) Harihara Kerala 1 1thC. (7)
Jvarahareshvara 13thC. (8) Jeshta 11thC. (9) Lingothbhava post-11thC.
(10) SapthaMatha 14thC. (11) TriMoorthy 8thC.15 Oldest Hindu idols of
Kerala are found in areas outside our present Kerala, beyond the
ghats in Kongunadu from Salem- Dharmapuri or beyond Trivandrum. Thins
would mean that in central Kerala the homeland of most of the ancient
christians Hindu images appear even later. The oldest Hindu and even
Buddhist statues of Kerala are attributed to the 9thC or later by Dr.
M.G. S. Narayanan also.16 Hence of all the rock images in existence
in Kerala the Pahlavi crosses are much older than any Hindu Vigraha.
03.03 One might here genuinely ask about the existence of innumerable
old temples in Kerala, and temple festivals. Most of these temples
are Kavus dedicated to Bhagavathy or an ancient mother-goddess. The
well-known Trichur Pooram festival, for example, is only a get-
together of a dozen Bhagavathies, and Shiva or Vadakkumnathan has
nothing whatsoever to do with it, although the festivities rtake
place around the Vadakkunnathan or Shiva temple. The Thidambu or
image in gold or silver carried by the elephants depict only or
chiefly the Bhagavathy of Paramekkavu, Thiruvambady etc. and there is
no proper Hindu god or goddess honoured during these festivals.
04.01 Any discussion of Hindu origins and development, especially
w.r.t. Kerala, would be quite inadequate without reference to Adi
Sankara, the great reformer, teacher, scholar, and author.
Sankaracharya flourished ca. 8th C C.E. or in the first century
before or after the commencement of the Malayalam or Kollam Era in
825 C.E. The great sage was born at Kalady or at Veliyanadu on the
opposite shore of the river in his mothers house. In either case he
was born in the midst of a great christian population affiliated to
churches established many centuries before his birth at nearby places
like Malayattoor, Angamaly, Parur, Edappally &c. on the river banks
or Churni or the Periyar. How far his life and thoughts have been
influenced by this strong christian presence around him remains to be
explored in full.
04.02 Sankara in his 64 Anacharams or code of conduct for Namboodiris
or Malayalee Brahamins specify that only white dress must be worn by
members of the community. Now it is well known that Brahmin women in
S. India in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu or Andhra wear only dark coloured
Chelas from Kancheepuram or elsewhere. The christian women of Kerala
are well known for their white dress with the beautiful fan-like
arrangement at the back called njori which adds to their beauty and
testify their admirable modesty. By adopting the white dress and the
njori the Brahmins of Kerala were trying to ensure their aristocracy.
04.03 Sankara further enjoins his community to eschew all nasal
ornaments: Nasabharanam Nishidham, although Brahmin women elsewhere
in India are addicted to nasal ornaments. It is for the christian
community of Kerala alone that Nasabharanam is Nishiddham and nasal
ornaments still remain taboo to ancient christian women of Kerala and
to the Antharjanams.
04.04 Into the similarity of many other customs of Brahmins and
christians it is not necessary to enter here. Although the
similarities in the birth ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, and
funeral ceremonies of these two communities are quite striking, often
indicating that, the Brahmins when they arrived in Kerala borrowed
the customs of the then ruling community of Kerala viz. the
05.01 Although many of the matters mentioned in this paper must have
been well understood by the Brahmin and upper caste scholars, somehow
efforts to make these matters common knowledge were never made or
suppressed. One theory that helped keep things hidden was the Lacuna
theory or Dark Chapters theory. Those who wrote history said that the
second half of the first millennium in Kerala history was a dark age
and a lacuna existed in our knowledge of this period. These 500 years
between 500 C.E. and 1000 C.E. were precisely the centuries when age-
old christian dominance in Kerala declined giving way to Bramin
asendency.However there are many documents dealing with this period
which are ignored or deliberately overlooked by such historians.
05.02 Many of the earliest existing documents in Kerala history deal
with the Christians or Mar Thoma Nazranies of Kerala often called the
Syrian Christians. The half a dozen Pahlavi crosses are one set of
such records. The kinayi Thoman copper plates, the Thazhekkad Rock
inscription, the Tharisappalli copper plates, are another set of
records. All these belong, certainly, to the first millennium C.E.
05.03 The oldest places in Kerala are connected with the encient
christian community of kerala. Palayoor, Parur,and Kodungalloor are
instances of this. It may be remembered that these three places,
which occupy a place of pry in the St.Thomas Apostolic stroy are all
on the oldest and bigest geoliliogical plate underground, so that
generally these places were never affected by earthquekes.
05.04 By the reverse projection of Keralas population we may arrive
at a figure like 300,000 for the population of Kerala in the Ist
century.If the stories of convertion of people by St.Thomas has
anycredibility the majority of people in Kerala, mostly inhabitting
the 7 places where the apostle worked, must have become Christians-
and the types of political and social systems and institutions of the
Sangham age were perhaps very much influence by this huge and
powerful Christian Community.
05.05 The large of Ist century BC/AC Roman Gold coins of Agustus,
Tiberius and Nero discovered from the Palayoor and Parur belts
indicate the close contact these areas had with conuntries and
cultures on the western side of the Arabian Sea.
05.06 They are recods from practically every century, every
civilisation, every church, and in every language, not only about
Kerala and her products but also about the begainings and
developments of christianity in Kerala and India.All that can be done
here is to give a short list of these writings:
06.01 Just two more paragrphs: One about the status and social
possition of the christians in the early centuries. Only hundred and
fifty years back when women in Kerala tried to cover the upper part
of their body there was a huge commotion which resulted in the
Channar Lahala or the mutiny of the Channar caste. But then 1500
years back christians in Kerala were wearing silk gowns, silk
turbans, gold ornaments above their head and on their body. Even
today the gold business in Kerala is mostly in the hands of
Nazranies: Alappatt, Palathingal, Josco, Thottan, Alukkas..etc.The 72
privileges enjoyed by christians even before the different copper
plate grants reassured their right to continue to enjoy those
privileges indicate that the christians were the predominant and
ruling community of Kerala before the Brahmins gained dominance
towards the end of the first millennium. The marriage customs of the
christians described here yesterday will throw considerable light on
the royal privileges and aristocratic status of the christian
community in Kerala during the past well-nigh 1900 years.
06.02 The art and architecture of these christians - with their rock
work, metal work, wood work, ivory work and artistic creations in
every known medium - and with their deepastamba or lampstand,
dwajasthamba, or flagstaff, rock crosses inside and ooutside the
churches, their baptismal fonts-bear ample testimony to their place
in society in bygone centuries. The base or pedestal of the open-air
crosses are like the balikkallu or Sacrificial altar stone of the
temples. But the bali on the balikkallu in the rock crosses is the
supreme bali of jesus symbolises by the cross - the MahaBali. Also it
is interesting to note that all the crosses rise up from the lotus.
In fact the national flower lotus, the national bird peacock, and
perhaps even the nationall an,mal the tiger first appear in kerala
art on the rock crosses.Some of these you must have seen yesterday
when you visited the Valiyapalli.
07.01 All these facts indicate that Brahmins and Brahminism and Vedic
Hinduism arrive in Kerala at a very late date and become powerful
only by the end of the first millennium, while christianity was here
many centuries prior to that, and was here perhaps a strong presence
even in the first centuries.
07.02 These facts are presented here to elicit your valuable opinions
and comments. Thank you.
1.&2.R. L. Stevenson, An Apology for Idlers in Virginibus Puerisque.
3. But see: G.K.Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw, Bodley Head Library,
1937, chapter one, third paragraph.
4. Swami Siddinadananda, Hinduism, in the St. Thomas Christian
Encyclopaedia of India, Vol.III (in the press), Ed. Prof. George
5.The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia, Dell, 1964, p.803.
6.Here is an early 20th century definition of Hinduism (The New
Standard Encyclopaedia, 1936, p.641): Social and religious
organisation in India. It is a development of Brahmanism and is
divided into a number of groups. There were in 1931 altogether
239,195,140 Hindus in India, and they are thus the dominant people in
the land. Early Brahmanism was affected by Buddhism and both existed
down to about A.D. 800, when the latter disappeared from the
peninsula, leaving a new Brahmanism, the product of both
philosophies. This modern Hinduism, based on the Puranas, gives less
prominence to Brahma than to his associates Vishnu, the preserver,
and Siva, the destroyer and reproducer. They are worshipped in
innumerable forms, both in their male and female aspects, the latter
being emphasised by Saktiism, which derives its teaching from the
7.Pliny described Cranganore (Muziris) in Kerala as primum emporium
8.For a scientific but short discussion and proofs of early Greek and
Roman knowledge of India and Kerala nothing better can be suggested
than The Apostles in India, Fact or Fiction ? by A.C.Perumalil S.J.
first published in 1952 (Patna). Also cf. Pliny, 6.23 (26); Schoff,
H. Wilfred, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Longmans, 1912,
p.232; McCrindle J.W, Ancient India as described in Classical
Literature, Westminister, 1901,p.111.
9.Swami Siddinadananda, op. cit.
10.The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia, id.,pp.803,804
11. M.G.S. Narayanan, Namboodiris - Background and Early Settlements
in Kerala, paper presented at LIREC, Mt. St. Thomas, 4th Sept., 2000.
12.Kesavan Veluthat, The Nambudiri Community: A History, paper for
the LIREC seminar, Mt. St. Thomas, 2000.
13. Emphais by the present writer.
14. Kesavan Veluthat, op. cit.
15. M.G.S. Narayanan, op.cit.
16.Prof.George Menachery, Social Life And Customs Of The St.Thomas
Christians In The Pre-Diamper Period, in The Life and Nature of the
St.Thomas Christian Church in the Pre-diamper period, Ed. Bosco
Puthur, Kochi, 2000, p.197.
17.Id., Ibid, p. 202, f.n. 27
End of forwarded message from "vavamenon" <***@yahoo.com>
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