Why our Indian manuwadi sanatandharmi Hindus do not like Christian faith of humanitarian principles?
Before we start getting into the subject, even the question itself may sound a bit harsh to some and therefore I must bring my disclaimer here that my intent of writing the below material is in good faith to alleviate the social status of the dalit (downtrodden) and weaker section of the society through religious discourse and not to harm the prestige or feelings of any person or group of people is intended whatsoever.
Now, having said that, lets agree to start with, that there is truth in this statement that people of manuwadi sanatandharma Hinduism are afraid or at least apprehensive of the biblical faith. They try to resist it to by all means, in India. But why is it so scary to a community which has a long standing and a self-proclaimed merit of flexibility to adapt and accept any approach to attain moksha (salvation) or reach our creator.
There must be something highly dangerous in Christian faith which puts off the allegedly most tolerant faith system of ancient times – it is the seemingly versatile nature of the Bibilical faith. I am trying to put down few my observations here.
Recently, upon seeing a post on the facebook which advocated abolishing of the caste based reservation, I innocently gave a solution – allow intermarriage between different various castes and so there will be no pure high-caste or lower-caste and this will solve the caste problem which can further help eliminating the need of the reservation. I believe, it was a revelation from God which surfaced instantly upon seeing that particular post. The background of my such casual statement may be attributed to the experience of my past, family-background and social interactions.
After this, since I have started taking interest in the socio-religious and socio-political activism to be able to live the manifesto of Lord Jesus Christ to set the captives free, share the good news of salvation to the poor, defend the weak and oppressed (dalit) and become the voice of the mute, as per the Bible which underlines my faith and gives me inspiration to do any good; I have recently started reading various other important documents and books such as constitution of India, Right to information Act, writings of Dr B. R. Ambedkar and things of social concern. I read Dr Ambedkar’s writing ‘Castes in India: their mechanism, genesis and development’ and realized to my surprise that he underlined something which I found as a solution. Before I expound on the solution, let me put across the reason of fear and other rationales to support my understanding.
Biblical faith offers 3 distinct proposition to a human being which are contrary to the philosophy of manwadi (read ‘caste-based’ in leu) sanatandharm aka Hinduism:
• Free Salvation or Mukti (moksha)
• Equality – no gender, class or economical differentiation
• No marriage restrictions – all are free to marry each other as long as they share same faith
If you research intently, these 3 things are the ones which collectively enforces, manages and sustains the alleged sanatan dharma also known as Hinduism in current times. Aforesaid factors are in full contrast to the factor which provide for (a) economical and social basis for sustenance of the religion, (b) key elements for maintaining social fabric in which caste-system is essential and (c) the mechanism by which it is maintained. Let me try to explain them one by one:
Why Christian faith looks dangerous to Caste-Hinduism?
The basic structure of Hinduism is knitted together and sustained based on caste. Dr Ambedkar expressed even to the extent that the ‘untouchables’ were not hindus; rather the term ‘hindu’ came in existence only after Middle Eastern invaders invaded India which was the area beyond Sindhu river. Before such invasion, not any common religion. In fact it is alleged that there was no united country called ‘Bharat’ or ‘India’ but a very vast area covering almost all Indian subcontinent had number of small princely states or groups of people which belonged to a particular caste and had their own history, religious-practises and culture. Therefore these castes as well as sub-caste were the only point of interest (Dr Ambedkar, Annihilation of Castes).
After the invasion, similar faith people kept getting along to fight against the invadors, but the winner established its practices and culture. The original tribes either keep pushing down towards south or accepted and assimilated many Middle Eastern culture and practices. In such manner, the united, oppressive faith-system developed which created the division in the society. People in this subsequently developed hindu faith system were put in hierarchical strata, in which some are big and others small, some are higher and others lower, some are privileged and some under-privileged forever. Biblical faith somehow works exactly in the opposite way and therefore looks like a threat. Let’s try to understand it in a little more detail what are those three main offerings of the Bible which manuwadi are scared of:
Salvation, free of cost:
All religion gives some set of rules, laws, rituals, clothing patterns etc to follow by which you are deemed to be a good and religious person and Hinduism is no different. Religion binds people in set of rules, activities to be carried out, fear of wrath of gods and goddesses if the rituals not performed in the precise time and exact manner. Hinduism proposes the concept of karma (works) without which no one can attain moksha or mukti also known as salvation.
Bible teaches that we are unable to receive salvation by any amount of good works (karma), prayschit (penance), pain, vairagya (stoicism or reclusion) but by faith. Basically, this sets biblical faith completely separate from all religions on the face of the earth (including Christian religion which upholds various rituals, ceremonies, laws, idol-worship and monotony aspects of a religion). Bible says, its only by OUR faith in the love of God, atoning sacrificial death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ and by God’s grace, we are saved and NOT by our works. All are equally sinful and accountable before God and doomed to eternal death and ALL have equal opportunity to repent from sins, put faith in Christ and live in a relationship with personal God and savior. In Christian faith, salvation is free and obtained so simply that it looks too easy to accept.
Equality for all:
Hinduism CANNOT exist except being divided in its classical strata of castes. This is not a fault or a shortcoming but the very nature of manuwadi sanatandharmi Hinduism. This, however, is totally different from Biblical faith where there is no class system. Though there seem a bit of contradiction from distant view where Jews are perceived privileged because salvation belonged to them as per initial plan; however, when we look closely, it is evidently clear that hardening of their hearts and extending of salvation to all gentiles or all other people except Jews was the plan of God from the beginning.
Religious Christianity which went overboard in the last many centuries did so much contrary to the teachings of the Christ that they have painted a very wrong picture of Christian faith by indulging in violence, unequality (class struggle), wars, dubious international politics etc. There were many of them who bore the Christian names but were far away from the Christian attitude who spoiled the name and posed a totally wrong stance to this world. This can be equated to a group of Christianity who followed casteism/groupism of its own kind in which a person born to Christian parents was given Christian name regardless of his personal opinion, worldview and life pattern which may have been totally contrary to the teachings of Christ.
However, Bible makes it clear in many verses very clear, both in OT and NT, that all mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 1:18-27; 3:10, 23) and yet God loves all people (John 3:16-17) and wants to save them. The beauty lies in the fact that prior to salvation all were equally sinner and even after getting saved, we are all equal in Christ, as the children of God (John 1:12, Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 12:13) regardless of which place we were born, what religion we belong to, what language we speak, what color skin we have. Christian faith offers equality to all.
Marriage without restriction of class:
While in hindu system of marriage, only people from the same caste can get married. There are further internal rules as well as incentives to maintain caste-based marriages which makes the basic framework of hindu religious system. If you do not agree, just tell me of one Hindu who does not belong to any caste and I will take my whole statement back. However, as much as soar it sounds, this is the reality. Dr Ambedkar in his writing called ‘Origin of Castes’ makes clear the full mechanism, how it works.
In contrast, Christian faith practically puts only this one condition for marriage that both, the boy and girl must believe in the same God and be faithful believers. While culturally, there may be some changes and additions of certain cultural symbolism, essentially, Christian marriage does not put any restriction based on caste or class because it does not exist scripturally. There are instances noted in Indian context where people coming from Hindu background, carried their caste-based approach for quite some time (or even generation) and practiced unequality in their conduct or marriages but this again is wrong and condemned in the biblical faith. However, since Bible gives freedom of marriage without any restrictions, it poses a threat to the hindu ideology where their can be indulgence or intrusion into their system if a person of external faith comes to marry a hindu because it may disturb the caste-based complex strucuture (and so that will not allow); it poses even greater threat because downtrodden, weaker section may find incentive to be treated equal and abolish the caste-based-exploitation by exiting the caste-system if they adopt Christian faith.
The above mentioned three reasons should give you a clear picture, how being in contrast to the manuwadi sanatandharmi Hinduism, Christianity can become the point of liberation for the oppressed downtrodden weaker section of Hindu society and Hinduism finds Biblical faith dangerous to its entire existence and sustainability because these three main factors seem extremely threatening. This fear in them leads them to take the extreme steps.
There are few other fears to the mind of a Hindu such as:
- They are scared of changing demography as well as culture. It is feared that there is some sort of international conspiracy to increase the number of Christians which will allow them to have an international political advantage. While this is a baseless fear, the related fear is of the change in culture. Unfortunately, not understanding the history of the spread of gospel, many Indians believe that Christian faith is western and therefore embracing the Christian faith is altering indeginious Indian culture to accommodate the western culture. It need to be mentioned here that 2 of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ landed in southern India 2000 years ago and therefore the Christian gospel of God’s love and salvation is sanatan and indeginous to India as much or even more than the west. Bible does not demand anyone to change the culture, clothing, speech, mannerism etc.
- Another thing which sounds so very awful to a sanatandharmi hindu is that Christian believers preach the gospel and look forward to make all people aware of their faith and love of God. There stand is – you do whatever you want and follow your religion but why would you interfere with us and preach to us, try to convert us. They are unable to understand this approach because Hinduism does neither expect nor command its followers to spread their religion. The reason why they would not ask to spread the religion is because it is a closed system and any external person cannot be included in their caste-based religious system as it may cause another problem. You may have seen that cartoon during ‘ghar wapasi’ trend where a person being brought back to Hinduism or converting one from other religion to Hinduism was confused – what would be his caste as there is no hindu without a caste!
In contrast, in the Bible God asks that those who have received forgiveness of the penalty of their sins must tell others that there is a good news – sins can be forgiven. The creator God is not bound by man-made religion and therefore his love encompasses the whole mankind therefore he expects his disciple to tell the whole world that God loves them too. He wants all people to know that God is not a terrible judge who is sitting with sword and balance in his hands to weigh the works and punish people rather he is a loving father who expects people to repent from their sins, accept his love and be reconciled. This expectation of God given to his followers is called Great Commission which encourages all bible followers to go and preach the gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
Precautionary measures to overcome Christian gospel
Professing and sharing its faith is a godly duty for a Christian which seems a threat to a sanatandharmi Hindu, therefore, this contradiction cannot be resolved ever. Christians may die to do the will of God and will not give priority to the threat of man over the command of God. All, who understand this paradigm will give them the liberty to exercise their religious/spiritual duty. This is a matter of accepting it at heart because our constitution while has been able to give protection to Christians as minority, has not been able to change the hearts of people in last 68 years.
However, due to their fear, they have been taking precautionary and corrective measures since centuries as follows.
Measures used to counter
In order to ensure that no hindu is persuaded to look for the truth any where else; several emotional and psychological techniques are used by the sanatandharm or Hinduism. There are various propagandas, slogans and ideologies perpetrated so that even the oppressed, bonded dalit will yet not start looking out for liberation. Following is the partial list of many false ideas propagated:
- Christian persuade and entice using money, jobs etc to convert the downtrodden; whereas I am yet to meet that first person who was personally enticed to believe in Christ using money
- Christians force you to eat cow meat; whereas I have never eaten beef as yet in my 18 years of following biblical faith
- Christians are dirty, they don’t take bath; whereas all disciples of Christ I know today take bath every day, including myself and my family
- Christians force you to eat human flesh and drink wine in the church; whereas this is not true. We eat bread and drink grapejuice which are symbolic of the sacrifice of Christ for our sins
- Christians are immoral. The openness of thoughts and expression is misrepresented whereas Hinduism depicts sex in more open ways such as in the story of Lord Krishna and in the caves of Alora and Khajuraho temples where hindu deities are shown in various sex positions.
Such foolish and unbelievable slogans (as wrong as they are), ideas about Christianity could not have survived for long to an educated, confident, economically affluent society; therefore certain tools where used for centuries (as long as the sanatandharma tradition goes) to ensure that the truth is never scratched, searched, experienced and believed ever in any way. The lower class of the society were entangled in a complex web by the rules set forth for the society by Manu:
Illiteracy: Dalits or shudras were deprived of education. There were rules made to restrict literacy for the lower class so that they are easily forced to do only the dirty jobs in the society.
Untouchability: Since they were forced to do the dirty jobs, they were made untouchables and put separately in different colonies. Their water sources (well, ponds etc) were separated so that their filth may not spoil the upper class.
Superstitions: No one likes oppression and therefore the untouchables might try to get out of this web by force and therefore the learned class spread lot of superstition to scare them off trying to liberate.
Fear of unknown: Also, in the name of god and goddesses, a lot of fear of unknown was added if dalits/shudras tried to leave their dirty job, or marry out of the caste, or educate themselves, or compete with the higher castes at any level etc.
Economical suppression: Rules were also established that shudras/dalits were not allowed to store or save money for future use. Economic liberty could lead to revolution for freedom from oppression and expression of equality. Aggressive financial restrictions, fines and casting out from the society were the measures against the one who tried.
Sati: Hindu woman has faced a similar oppression as dalits/shudras. Since marriage could not be done out of the caste, the man and woman who lost their life partners could turn into menace by expressing their sexual needs. This could lead to moral issues in the society. Man could yet provide financial stability and physical protection therefore rules were made so that he could be provided with a lower age girl (so as to reserve the youth for male or female counterparts); however, woman were forced to die with the departed husband. It was given a divine value and choice/option was not left with the widow but she was forced to sit on fire as ‘sati’. A widow is tried to make look as unattractive as possible by restricting her to not use any cosmetics and colored clothes so that even if she is not sati, she lives celibate. Since inter-caste marriage is abominable to a Hindu, so killing was the first option and celibacy is the next.
Shortcomings of the dalit community
Dalits or shudras have been oppressed for thousands of years. They got accustomed to the lifestyle of oppression, illiteracy, deprivation of rights and religious darkness. Mostly, they do not try to even resist and come out of this oppression and would even try to pull leg of any one who tries to get away from the traditional societal norms. By the efforts of various political activists and specially Dr Ambedkar, who made several provisions in the Indian constitution to abolish untouchability, protect rights, provide additional support in terms of reservation to come at par with the rest of the society. However, various self-imposed evils are still found haunting the society:
- Illiteracy and indifference towards education
- Ignorance and lack of political knowledge and fundamental rights
- Jealousy amongst each other who tries to break away
- No knowledge of the history and religion and keep living life in superstition
- Lack of unity and passion for liberation
Reservation has solved the problem only partially. Reservation can apply only after literacy. There are no great measures taken for education. Without education and knowledge of their own rights, reservation becomes useless. Constitution of India gives several rights like right of equality, right to education, right to information, reservation in the jobs, lesser fee in the schools etc; however, without knowing about them, and without encouragement, they are of no use to the scheduled caste living in the remote villages.
While I stay active on facebook, I see a lot of people talking against reservation. I know, it sounds unjustified to the current generation because they have not see the past. To them, it looks strange why would some people with lesser percentage be allowed to obtain a reserved job. Some might argue that nobody has stopped anybody to educate themselves and compete in general and take the seats. Yes, this is true but this truth is said after overlooking the other side of the truth mentioned earlier that; firstly, society is still poisoned with caste-based notion and so upper-caste would not allow a lower-caste hindu to overcome them, secondly, the deprived class has no motivation, no guidance and no money to achieve good quality education so as to compete with the affluent class which has had access to all level of support, guidance and access to the world class education. It is like asking a fish to compete with a monkey in the competition of fetching the fruits from the mango tree. Disgusting and funny as it may sound, this is the reality of today’s Indian society.
I have only to say, that yes, reservation may be revoked for those scheduled caste category families, in which, at least 2 generations have already obtained government job and whose financial status has been uplifted for 2 generations. However, making an argument for complete abolition is advocating injustice for the class which has been oppressed for centuries. I still maintain that the mentality has not changed and untouchability can still be seen in the society. Few cases keep surfacing in the media too every now and then. Unless a complete change in the mindset comes, abolishing the reservation will only suppress the oppressed class. Only when intermarriage becomes a reality, when the classes will be mixed and there shall be no one strata to boss around on the basis of religion, the reservation can be abolished. Reservation; however, is only one solution to gain equality.
Conversion was found to be another solution and therefore Dr Ambedkar announced that he was born Hindu but would not die a hindu. He sought many religions but decided on Buddhism due to his socio-religious commitments; however, Dr Ambedkar in annhiliation of castes, mentioned favorably of Christian efforts of spreading love and inability of hindus to do so due to their rigid rules of castes. Page 25, portion VIII. Dalits still do not have proper consciousness of the reality of hindu religion and the damage reached to them. As I mentioned earlier, in the earlier years, there was no consciousness of religion or Hinduism but the consciousness of caste. Dalits are yet to form their consciousness of religion but the efforts have started much before independence and the hindu mahasabha started this work. Now, RSS and many other extremist organizations are trying to bring dalits along causing them to feel oneness with the rest of the hindus whereas they were neglected and oppressed for centures. Caste had no religious reason but it was a social separation and suppression of some out of the same race. There was initially no genetic difference between the biological setup of a dalit or a sawarna but later economic, need of labour strata, scientific of purity of race etc rationales were developed but none explains the origina and mechanism of Caste.
However, being the rigid system of faith, Hinduism cannot allow equality and freedom because it will destroy the very fundamental of this empirically derived relgion. We need Christ – for equality, for spiritual knowledge, for confidence, for crossing the barriers of endogamy, for salvation which was prohibited by the use of fear of rebirths in 84 lakh life forms. Christian faith does not necessarily asks for any conversion of religion but it only asks for faith in Christ and conversion of heart from a sinner to saint. A self-seeking person who lives in sin turns into a person who becomes God-fearing and loveable who hates sin.
The majority society (bahujan samaj) needs awareness, unity, political leadership, education and Christ in order to live and experience the freedom in life.
Note: This blog is excerpt from the socio-religious-political book and is copyrighted.