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Advaita Ashrama &
Ramakrishna Ashrama Marg, New Delhi – 110055
I see that my thread posted on the wall of Ramakrishna Mission New Delhi has been abruptly taken off, and with it all the comments in which people had articulated their concerns. I re-post my letter addressed to them here and invite an open debate:
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS IN RAMAKRISHNA MISSION MATH(S)
I begin with a humble salute to the monks and ascetics of Ramakrishna Mission, who live the eminent principle of renunciation in sanatan dharma. Several members of my direct & extended family have been blessed through initiation received from the RK Mission acharyas and I personally (though not initiated) deeply love and revere Sri Ramakrishna not just as a spiritual master but as a gentle instructing parent who guides through the labyrinth of life.
It is with great consternation therefore that I have noted that RK Missions, a leading light in Vedantic studies and a renewed, resurgent Hindu consciousness, continue the practice of celebrating Christmas, perpetuating a practice of an exclusive Abrahamic religion, which in very character and spirit is antithetic to sanatana principles. In my view, it is a futile pursuance of the lately popularised superficial idea which equates all ‘religions’ irrespective of the fact that there is no concurrence between Abrahamic and dharmic faiths, even equating the giant vedantic philosophy with primitive, doctrinal Abrahamic religions, thereby undermining the very spiritual ethos which RK Missions are committed to spread.
Needless to say, and as far as my knowledge goes, the Archbishop to whom you extend an invitation each time with a generous heart has till date not felt inclined to honour these gestures even once, and expectedly so, since such an idea of unity of mankind, oneness of Divine and his creation is inconsistent with the precepts of Christianity and other Abrahamic faiths which declare emphatically that all other gods but their own are false and no redemption possible except through Christ/the creed of Muhammad, in effect discrediting any other spiritual stream as Hinduism or a movement like the Ramakrishna Mission as a falsehood. A mutuality of this celebration is completely out of question and the church would never consider celebrating Ram Navami or Shri Krishna Janmashtmi. In the face of such stark divergence in spiritual philosophy and the very approach towards the Divine, it makes little sense to continue meaningless observances like celebrating Christmas for the sake of forcing a faux ideal of unrealistic equality of religions, much less, one-sided overtures towards religions who’s validity rests on denial of all others. Even so, one would wonder why the partiality towards Christianity? If the idea is to honour all spiritual paths as leading to the same God, why are important events of other religions not celebrated, indeed even those of exalted spiritual leaders of other schools within Hinduism and other dharmic streams not marked by RK Missions?
The purpose of persistence with this (in my understanding) meaningless observance by RK Missions is wholly unclear, and I would request to be enlightened in this regard. I moreover request to be informed about the origin of the practice: who was it started by? I shall be grateful if the express instruction/ incident from Sri Ramakrishna’s or Swami Vivekananda’s life is cited to help clear my doubt.
With my limited understanding and scholarship, I understand that Sri Ramakrishna’s ‘joto mot, toto poth’ experiences were but a demonstration of the sanatana principle of ‘ekam satya, vipra bahudha vadanti’, which is in line with Hindu spiritual ethos. It was not meant as a cue to dilute Hinduism by equation with Abrahamic faiths and their practices. He was in fact severely critical of infantile Abrahamic binaries of heaven-hell, sin-piety, and on an occasion severely scolded a person for having converted to another faith from Hinduism.
I would also like to draw your attention to a problem of much larger dimension which imperils the very existence of sanatan dharma today, that of aggressive, predatory proselytisation and the insidious manner and deceptive means through which this force is rapidly eroding Hindu cultural and spiritual values. Among the cunning subterfuges employed by proselytisers to gain favour among Indians is, appropriation of Hindu cultural symbols like yoga, meditation and other memes, and portraying Jesus in these themes to gain acceptance. By adopting Jesus into institutions and practices of primarily Hindu character and origin (inculturation), RK Mission is giving strength to exactly these sly agents of evangelism which directly undercut Hinduism and its bedrock, Vedantism, instead of strengthening it, which is the mission’s stated goal. I not only see this practice of celebrating Christmas as a corruption of this goal and the Missions’s Hindu character, but in not recognising the ways in which these pernicious forces work, intent upon disrupting the spiritual, cultural and moral fabric of India, the RK Missions unwittingly contribute to their cause by reinforcing the cult of Christ (wholly inconsistent with the Hindu concept of ‘ishwara’), and demonstrate an extremely grave lapse in discernment and lack of greater spiritual perspective, unbecoming of the stature of the institution and undermining the thought of its founding spiritual fathers. Is the RK Mission truly not in knowledge of the history of atrocities perpetrated by Jesuits, just as their Mohemmedan brethren, upon native Hindus?
To impress upon you the peril of corruption of Indian society and nationhood, I may quote Swami Vivekananda here, who perceived it much earlier than now when we see it manifested before us, and gave the strongest statement yet cautioning against such (he used the word “perverted away”, rather than converted away):
“…and then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.”
In fact, I see it so much as a duty of the Ramakrishna Mission, as the foremost organisations of resurgent Hinduism to fight the malaise of evangelism, rather than acting contrary to the interests of Sanatan Dharma, compromising it through adharmic practices.
I pray that my earnest request is conveyed to the senior leaders of the order for consideration and I sincerely beg forgiveness if I may have overstretched propriety in addressing my fears and concerns to the RK Mission.
Yours in the lord,
It is brought to our attention by some devout Hindus that, Christmas Eve will be celebrated in the Ramkrishna Mission’s Math(s) on 24th December 2015, in which the Archbishop of Delhi and others are expected to participate.
Given below are excerpts of a letter sent by a concerned devout Hindu to Ramakrishna Mission
It is a great consternation that Ramakrishna Mission, a leading light in Vedantic studies and a renewed, resurgent Hinduconsciousness, whose goals and objectives are based on the principle of Practical Vedanta (a part of the core of SanatanDharma), continue the practice of celebrating Christmas, which in very character and spirit is antithetic to Sanatan dharmic principles. It is thereby undermining the very spiritual ethos which Ramakrishna Missions are committed to spread.
The problem that plagues Sanatan Dharma today is aggressive, predatory proselytisation and the insidious manner and deceptive means through which destabilizing forces are rapidly eroding Hindu cultural and spiritual values. By adopting Jesus into institutions and practices of primarily Hindu character, Ramakrishna Mission is like giving strength to exactly these sly agents of evangelism which directly undercut Hinduism and its bedrock, Vedantism, instead of strengthening it, which is the Mission’s stated goal.
A mutuality of this celebration is completely out of question and the church would never consider celebrating Ram Navami or ShriKrishna Janmashtmi.
In fact, it is so much as a duty of the Ramakrishna Mission, as the foremost organisations of resurgent Hinduism to fight the malaise of evangelism, rather than acting contrary to the interests of Sanatan Dharma, compromising it through adharmic practices.
Posted by HENB on 24 Dec. 2015/Source: HJS.