Archive for the ‘Vaishnanism’ Category

When the Europeans started “Krishna or Christ” assertions, Indians changed to “Christ and Krishna” surrenders! [2]  

June 23, 2020

When the Europeans started “Krishna or Christ” assertions, Indians changed to “Christ and Krishna” surrenders! [2]

T K V Rajan with Jeyaraj, Loyola Principal 2010

Christ and Krishna exhibition continued (Feb.2012): The exhibition organized on Christ and Krishna, an archaeological journey, held by the Indian Science Monitor, reportedly provided more enchanting information about the hidden secrets of a distant age, beyond the images of excavations of skeletons corresponding to the size of Goliath as per the Biblical account[1].  The expo showcased milestones in the arduous effort to find corroborative evidence to the narratives found in the Bible and the Mahabaratha[2]. He added further, “My exhibition CHRIST AND KRISHNA was well received in a number of places[3]. It was through this exhibition that we show the archaeological sites connected with both of them[4]. We should do this exhibition in Coimbatore too. It’s a pure archaeological exhibition and visitors can get to see the image of the Lord Krishna coin issued by Indo Greek ruler Agathocles (the coin was discovered through the Ai Khanoum excavations in Afghanistan). Dr. Nanditha Krishna of the C.P.R Foundation was all praise for this when it was exhibited at Chennai some years ago. The exhibition also includes a number of images of sites connected with Lord Jesus Christ alongside pictures of places like the Prema Sarovara in Vrindavan where Lord Krishna met Radharani. Nanita Krishna was commenting upon the work of Rajan[5]. Western scholars tried to establish a connection between Krishna and Christ, claiming that the former was derived from St Thomas’ teachings about the latter, but literature and archaeology have proved otherwise[6].

TKV Rajan book on Kashmir released

T.K.V. Rajan and Christology linking St.Thomas myth: The activities, speeches and attempts of  TKV Rajan have been intriguing.

  1. He claimed, “My exhibition CHRIST AND KRISHNA was well received in a number of places[7].
  2. It was through this exhibition that we show the archaeological sites connected with both of them[8], i.e, Christ and Krishna.
  3. He claims that “Under the tutelage of Fr James at Loyola College, Chennai, TKV Rajan gathered biblical research.
  4. Between 2016 and 2019 I visited the USA and lectured on “Christ and Krishna -Archaeological Journey” at the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Dallas.
  5. He already appreciated that, “Archeologists in Europe have traced the precise spot of Jesus’s birth, St Peter’s house visited by Jesus, boats used during his time, his crucifix and even skeletons of giants who existed before the reign of King David. On the other hand, Hastinapur excavated in 1952, has not been touched again. There is so much to study in Kurukshetra and Mathura”.
  6. Fr. B. Jeyaraj, S.J., Principal, Loyola College was invited to inaugurate his exhibition and he commented that One should live to the ideals of Bhagavat Gita, which was given to the humanity by Lord Krishna.
  7. Nanditha Krishna of the C.P.R Foundation was all praise for this when it was exhibited at Chennai some years ago. The exhibition also includes a number of images of sites connected with Lord Jesus Christ alongside pictures of places like the Prema Sarovara in Vrindavan where Lord Krishna met Radharani. Nanita Krishna was commenting upon the work of Rajan[9]. Western scholars tried to establish a connection between Krishna and Christ, claiming that the former was derived from St Thomas’ teachings about the latter, but literature and archaeology have proved otherwise[10].
  8. Thus, the whole affair becomes murky and doudy with raising a reasonable question as to why all these have been batting for St.Thomas, Christ, etc.

He goes to Vaishnavite mutt and poses as a Vaishnavite, but, also tries to equate “Christ and Krishna”! Note, he puts Christ always before Krishna in his exhibitions, talks and publicities. As an archaeologist and researcher, he must have known the chronology and then he could not have put cart before the horse. The expression, putting cart before the horse connotes, “The expression cart before the horse is an idiom or proverb used to suggest something is done contrary to a conventional or culturally expected order or relationship”. And he had done and perhaps doing.

TKV Rajan batting for Jesus Christ.USA meeting

Krishna or Christ, or Christ and Chrishna?: Here, I quote the following from K.V. Ramakrishna Rao about the issue[11]:

“In India, the Christian mind was terribly upset by the Puranic narratives of Flood, the Fish God saviour of the humanity, Narayana – the protecting and Saviour God, Christna, Chrishna or Krishna[12] and other related concepts.

From C.F.C. Volney[13] to J. M. Robertson[14], the “Krishna-Christ” binary archetypes baffled the Christologists. Therefore, after discussing and debating about the religious necessity of keeping one God for India with the choice between “Krishna” and “Christ”, the colonial theologians decided to impose the imported Christ replacing Krishna[15]……..John P. Jones[16] carried out his tirade against Krishna delivering lectures at the Andover, Hale, Harvard and other theological seminaries and at the Western Reserve University in 1902 and it was later published as a book entitled “India’s Problem Krishna or Christ”. His tirade against the Hindu religion had been acrimonious, vitrupous and blasphemous, couched with the missionary style of presentation.

TKV rajan - Christ or Krishna, inter-faith presentation!

  1. ……….worship of Krishna and is given to the indulgence of poisonous and characterized by gross licentiousness[17].
  2. …………….cult of Bhakti is connected with Krishnalatory which is the worship of the most unworthy and licentious god of Hindu pantheon[18].
  3. There is no finality of blessing supposed…………………Krishna representing the worst type of sensuality and moral obliquity[19].

TKV Rajan batting for Jesus Christ.Bible archaeology

Thus, the nature of Krishna and Krishna worship are characterized as follows:

  • The worship of Krishna is Krishnalatory
  • It is given to the indulgence of poisonous.
  • It is characterized by gross licentiousness.
  • It is the most unworthy
  • It is that of licentious god of Hindu pantheon.
  • Krishna representing the worst type of sensuality
  • Krishna representing the worst type ofmoral obliquity.

M A Venkatakrishnan, TKV, T S Krishnamurthy, Karthikeyan

Therefore, the Christian hatred, acrimony and virulent attacks are revealing. The same language is only transformed to arrogant language as “…………………the church ignores nothing that is sacred on the earth……………..” (emphasis added), yet, the naïve, gullible, meek, mild and knave Hindus continued to be so, in spite of all onslaughts, inquisition and verbal terrorism. Thus, the elite Vaishnavites of Tamilnadu go on appreciate the comparative study of Christianity and Vaishnavism, Christ and Krishna, Mother Goddess and divine goddess etc., without knowing or understanding their minds. It is not that one Jesuit appreciates and another Jesuit depreciates or deprecates; glorifies and blasphemes; praises and denigrates…….but, the strategy, as practised a tactic by the trained Christian priests is pointed out. Having recorded explicitly[20] that, “……it would be sacrilege to compare the character of any one of them (Hindu Gods) with the wonderful incarnation of Jesus”, what is the fun of again and again to compare Jesus with Krishna or Christ with Krishna? Even today books are coming out making such comparisons[21]. When the Christians have already declared that it is “beyond compare”, what is the compromise made by writers to compare?”

TKV Rajan as Vaishavite

Conclusion: Time and again, unfortunately, educated elite Hindus only fall prey to the sophisticated, well-trained and expertise Christians. Of course, they would be members of the Society of Jesus, but, the meek, mild naïve Hindus do not have such organizations. Many times, Hindus compromise for some benefits, foreign visit, an invitation for a talk, and such other thing, without understanding the nuances of “dialogue,” inter and intra religious dialogues and the processes of inculturation.  The case of TKV Rajan could not have been exceptional, as he has been a knowledgeable and well-aware of person. He goes to Vaishnaviite mutts, moves with Acharya donning traditional dress and sporting sandal paste on his forehead, but, gives lecture on the Christ and Bible with suit-boot-coat attire with books in his armpit, as if, going for a theological war. Therefore, it is unbelievable that he was not aware of the well-researched books written by Constantin-Volney, Charles Dupuis, David Friedrich Strauss, John Remsburg, Arthur Drews, William B. Smith, Paul-Louis Couchoud, J.M.Robertson, and others. Unless, he tells, one could know what happened to him. But, he has affected Hindus and Hindu religion , but compromising, collaborating and co-operating with such comparative studies.

© Vedaprakash

23-06-2020

TKV rajan - Krishna in Radha-krishna temple Dellas 2018

[1] News.18 / Indian Express, Was Goliath for real?, LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 18, 2012, 8:48 AM IST

TKV Rajan, 09380554557

[2] https://www.news18.com/news/india/was-goliath-for-real-447719.html

[3] simpli-city, For assimilating history without bias – Lord Krishna and Jesus Christ on the same palette, Rajesh Govindarajulu, Dec 02, 2017 13:54:04.

[4] http://simpli-city.in/news-detail.php?nid=19598

[5] Vedakrishna.com, Krishna Archeology, Nanditha Krishna, nankrishna@vsnl.com;

[6] http://veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/krishna-archeology.htm

[7] simpli-city, For assimilating history without bias – Lord Krishna and Jesus Christ on the same palette, Rajesh Govindarajulu, Dec 02, 2017 13:54:04.

[8] http://simpli-city.in/news-detail.php?nid=19598

[9] Vedakrishna.com, Krishna Archeology, Nanditha Krishna, nankrishna@vsnl.com;

[10] http://veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/krishna-archeology.htm

[11] K.V.Ramakrisha Rao, A Critical analysis of “Christian-Vaishnavite Comparative Studies” in the context of “Inter-faith / religious dialogue” and “Inculturation”, it was supposed to appear in a book proposed by Sandhya Jain and others. For some reasons, it is yat to see the light.

[12]Christna, Chrishna, Cristna, Crishna are the words and expressions found recorded in the literature denoting to “Krishna”, the Hindu protecting and Saviour God.

[13]C. F. C. Volney, , The Ruins, or Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires and the Law of Nature, Truth Seeker Co., New York, 1890.

[14]J. M. Robertson, Hindu Mythology and Christianity, Swati Publications, New Delhi, 1989.

[15]John  P. Jones, India’s Problem: Krishna or Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, London and Edinburgh, 1903.

[16] John  P. Jones, India’s Problem: Krishna or Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, London and Edinburgh, 1903.

[17] Ibid, p.65.

[18] Ibid, p.76.

[19] Ibid, pp.95-96.

[20] Ibid, p.95.

[21]Steven J. Rosen, Christ and Krishna: Where the Jordan meets the Ganges, Rosen, USA, 2011.

Mary, krishna, inculturation

When the Europeans started “Krishna or Christ” assertions, Indians changed to “Christ and Krishna” surrenders! [1]

June 23, 2020

When the Europeans started “Krishna or Christ” assertions, Indians changed to “Christ and Krishna” surrenders! [1]

Mary, krishna, inculturation

Introduction – Myth of Thomas linked with Christ and floated in India: After 1980s, the English speaking elite Indians and Hindus knowingly or unknowingly involved in the comparison of “Krishna and Christ.” In their Vaishnavite approach to the inter-religious dialogue, the Christian adapted and adopted such myths to rouse the passion of devout Hindus at one side and beat them at the other side declaring that Krishna was Christ! As for as Tamilnadu and Madras / Chennai are concerned, such groups cleverly worked and created rapport with the Vaishnavites of Chennai and Sri Rangam. Francis Xavious Clooney has been the major role played and still playing with the Vaishnavite professors, exerts and bigwigs like M. A. Anathakrishnan, Kannan, V.K.S.N.Raghavan, Velukkudi Krishnan, Agnihotram Ramanujachariyar, Booma Gopalan, and others.

vatican council II

vatican council II

The cultural and archaeological exhibition titled ‘Enchanting Krishna’ (August 2010): T.K.V. Rajan, Editor, The Indian Science Monitor, who organised the exhibition, said several principles preached in the Gita were prescribed as a subject in modern-day business management studies. The objective of the exhibition was to correlate Harappan sites with that of Mahabharata sites in the country. A four-day cultural and archaeological exhibition titled ‘Enchanting Krishna’ was inaugurated here on Monday. Aug. 30, 2010. The exhibition was open between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. at Madurai Meenakshi Bhavan Hotel Complex, G.N. Chetty Road, near Vani Mahal, till Thursday[1]. Speaking after the inauguration, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali said all religions preached tolerance and brotherhood. Indians were a peace-loving community and the Muslims in India were happy unlike their brethren in neighbouring countries, he said. His ancestors lived a harmonious life with members of other community. This was evident by their generous donation of large areas of lands for constructing more than 300 temples in southern India as well as educational institutions by Christian missionaries[2]. One should live to the ideals of Bhagavat Gita, which was given to humanity by Lord Krishna, said Rev. Fr. B. Jeyaraj, S.J., Principal, Loyola College[3]. Whatever was required for human beings had been mentioned in the Gita, he said[4]. It is not known as to TKV Rajan knew the agenda of Vatican Council-II or not.

Christ and Krishna - books produced
Exhibition on the scientific discoveries on Christ and Krishna (Februrary 2012): When TKV Rajan organized an exhibition on “Christ and Krishna,” the Times of India reported in this way[5] – “While the Western world has been doing cutting edge research on Jesus Christ and the Bible, India lags far behind in tracing the legacy, life and times of its kings and heroes, feel archaeologists”. Scientists have discovered the sunken city of Dwaraka, but Krishna still remains more of a mythological figure, they add, mostly because of lack of manpower and funds. “We should start treating our epics as history, not legends. There is enough scientific evidence for this, and a lot more needs to be done,” says T K V Rajan, an archaeologist now organizing an exhibition on the scientific discoveries on Christ and Krishna at Parvati Art Gallery on Eldams Road[6]. “We hardly try connecting our finds to our epics. We find a pot, tank or inscription, but we do not bother to join the dots,” says Rajan.

Dwaraka, S R Rao, NIO

Archaeologists and ocean scientists made a sensational discovery of Dwaraka under the Gulf of Khambat in 2001 and of coins with imprints of Lord Krishna and Balarama, issued by an Indo Greek king in Afghanistan. But precious little was done as follow-up. “Archeologists in Europe have traced the precise spot of Jesus’s birth, St Peter’s house visited by Jesus, boats used during his time, his crucifix and even skeletons of giants who existed before the reign of King David. On the other hand, Hastinapur excavated in 1952, has not been touched again. There is so much to study in Kurukshetra and Mathura,” says Rajan. Dr T Sathyamoorthy, the former superintending archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India, says there is scarce interest in the subject. “In the south, there is virtually no college that offers archaeology as a subject or course. Not many people come for excavations. The northern states are slightly better, but most of the archaeologists don’t study the epics deeply enough,” says Sathyamoorthy. Dr R Nagaswamy, former director of the state department of archaeology, says while Puranas are treated as legends, the Bible is taught as history, with dates. “Now we can trace Lord Krishna back to 1700BC, but we don’t have many people studying epics and Puranas with a chronological sense,” he says.

TKV rajan - do these videos making myth

Many sites belonging to Mahabharata unearthed (December 2008): T K V Rajan, archaeologist and founder-director, Indian Science Monitor, who is holding a five-day exhibition, on search of Lord Krishna,’ in the city from Saturday, December 28, 2008, gave these details:

  1. The conch and the Sudarshana Chakra are unmistakable. Although the figures do not match popular images of Kirshna sporting a peacock feather, archaeologists are convinced that the coins are of Krishna, revered as an avatar of Vishnu.
  2. “These square coins, dating back to 180- BC, with Krishna on one side and Balram on the other, were unearthed recently in Al Khanoun in Afghanistan and are the earliest proof that Krishna was venerated as a god, and that the worship had spread beyond the Mathura region,” says
  3. Having done extensive research in Brindavan, Rajan is convinced that a lot of the spiritual history of ancient India lies buried. “Close to 10,000 Greeks, who came in the wake of Alexander the Great, were Krishna’s devotees. There is an inscription by Heliodorus, the Greek ambassador at Takshila, which reads Deva, deva, Vasudeva. Krishna is my god and I have installed this Garuda Pillar at Bes Nagar (now in Bihar),‘” says Rajan.
  4. According to him the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed many sites that throw fresh light on the era of Krishna. “ASI is expected to release the full findings next year. Many of the unearthed artifacts have a close resemblance to materials of what is believed to be the Harappan civilisation. The findings may show that Krishna’s life was the dividing line between India’s spiritual history and the society’s gradual shift towards a materialistic one,” says Rajan.
  5. Interestingly, a lot of what has been uncovered closely resemble the narration in the texts of Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatham,” he adds. Both the spiritual works are revered by the Hindus as their holy books.
  6. It has been over five years since the discoveries were made at Tholavira near Dwaraka, close to Kutch.
  7. Much progress has been made due to the application of thermoluminous study (TL) in ascertaining the age of the artifact. “It is possible to get the diffusion of atomic particles in the clay pottery unearthed and arrive at an accurate date,” points out Rajan. Tholavira itself is believed to be the capital city as detailed in the opening chapters of Bhagavatham[7].
  8. Rajan points to an image of a plough, made of wood, which is mentioned in the Bhagavatham[8].
  9. The findings could lay a trail to understanding Krishna’s life (said to be 5,000 years ago) and times, as a historical fact, says Rajan.

The exhibition will be open till December 31 at Sri Parvathy Gallery, Eldams Road. Here, it may be noted that already done work, published books, much-discussed coins and inscriptions for the last 50-100 years, are taken by him and assertions made as mentioned above, creating an impression as if he did all the work.

TKV Rajan batting for Jesus Christ

Supporting Aryan-Dravidian race theories: Ironically, in other U-tube talks, he believes in pseudo-scientific, discarded race theories, and thus argues for Dravidians, accepting Aryan race. He takes pro-Tamil stance also. Yet, he bats for “Akhanda Bharat” and “Christ.” Even Romila Thapar has accepted that the race theories are unscientific and no historian believes in race. The UN passed a resolution that the word race should not be used. However, Rajan uses such expression in Tamil and interprets the linguistic processes in the racial connotation. Therefore, it is not known what has made him to contradict,  and continue to lecture such mythical and unhistorical narratives under the guise of archaeology and so on.  More surprise has been that such video talks have been prepared by the Pande company. Anyway, if the disown historical claims, t= let them enjoy such funs.

© Vedaprakash

23-06-2020

Christ and Krishna - Rosen, 2011

[1] The Hindu, Indians, a peace-loving community: Prince of Arcot, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTCHENNAI:, AUGUST 30, 2010 23:26 IST, UPDATED: AUGUST 30, 2010 23:26 IST.

[2] It is a myth that Mohammedans granted lands to build temples and all, because, as putsiders, invaders or even converttef categories, they could not do that as per Quran. Therefore, it is a blatant lie and he has been telling this in most of the platforms. The land of India belong to Indian, Hindus.

[3] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Indians-a-peace-loving-community-Prince-of-Arcot/article16150885.ece

[4] Under the “Inculturation” programme, had be talked in that way, there is nothing surpring, only the point is whow Rajan had taken it. As he started exihibitions and lectures on “Christ and Krishna,” it is clear that he has theologically surrendered to the Christians.

[5] Times of India, Krishna unexplored: Scientists, Pratiksha Ramkumar | TNN | Updated: Feb 18, 2012, 04:12 IST.

[6] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Krishna-unexplored-Scientists/articleshow/11933144.cms

[7] Times of India, New finds take archaeologists closer to Krishna, Bhama Devi Ravi | TNN | Dec 27, 2008, 03:30 IST

[8] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/New-finds-take-archaeologists-closer-to-Krishna/articleshow/3898205.cms

The Christian-Vaishnavite dialogue continues: Clooney’s 2011 visit to Chennai!

August 12, 2011

The Christian-Vaishnavite dialogue continues: Clooney’s 2011 visit to Chennai!

Fr Clooney SJ - lecture -2011

Silent critics, active dialoguers and sleeping theologians: The visit of Francis Xavier Clooney to Chennai / India during July-August 2011 has not been informed, noted or publicized by his critics like last year or so[1]. Those who used to write something to him or to the newspapers have also been silent. Like last year, perhaps he has also not started his blogging at “American Catholic Journal” site[2]. However, from the media (mainly through browsing), I find there has been coverage about him attending seminars, conferences as usual. I have just tried to collect and post here for reference chronologically. Readers and interested dialoguers can add, point out the left outs and other comments as usual.

Fr Clooney SJ - Vidyajoti- lecture -2011

1. Hindu Texts for Christian Theology?—Prof. Francis Xavier Clooney SJ[3]: This was the topic of the special lecture given by Prof. Francis Xavier Clooney SJ at Vidyajyoti on July 27, 2011. He spoke of the importance of reading the texts of other religions while doing Christian theology[4]. Doing theology in the Indian context evidently calls for special attention to Hindu texts. In many ways, reading and reflecting on other religious texts are similar to reading and reflecting on biblical texts. In either case, one needs to give much time and go back to the text again and again. This leads to better understanding and newer insights. One needs to ask: What is the God experience hidden in the Hindu/Christian text? Dr. Clooney illustrated his ideas by bringing together select texts from Song of Songs of the Bible and Tiruvaymoli of the Tamil bhakti tradition.

Dr. Clooney is the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is also the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions. He is well-versed in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India and is an acclaimed contributor in the developing field of comparative theology. The scholarly lecture was very enlightening and led to a lively discussion moderated by Fr. George Gispert-Sauch SJ, an eminent Indologist and emeritus Professor at Vidyajyoti.

NOP Vaishnava college, Clooney- resource person

2. Shape of religious trajectories to come[5]: August 1, 2011:  No amount of praise will be enough for the Principal of the Chennai-based MOP Vaishnav College for Women and the Head of its Department of Sociology for organising an International Seminar on August 2, on the continuities and changes as well as the traditions and improvisations that are likely to influence the dynamics of religious trajectories in the decades ahead.
Not only is the choice of the theme imaginative and inspired in the light of the challenges, problems and dilemmas bearing on the precepts and practices of various religions, but it is also relevant and timely in the context of the debate provoked world-wide by the delusional rantings of Anders Behring Breivik who perpetrated the shocker of a carnage at Oslo (Norway).

The topics covered by the participants are a happy blend of the elucidation of the tantalising aspects such as the secularisation of bindi on the forehead, universalisation of religion in story-telling, Diwali as Nature’s nemesis and the power of Sanskrit, and the exploration of the important “affects” (as the sociologists call them to differentiate them from “effects”) of religion in relation to economics, environment, pluralism, globalisation and modernisation.

NOT A STAND-ALONE CONCEPT Karl Marx’s often quoted statement, “Religion is the opiate of the masses” is actually the concluding part of his observation which is not that censorious: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.” Religion is also the end-product of the quest of humankind for a dispenser of happiness and a refuge from forces of evil to which it finds itself unequal.

Saints, seers and sages have regarded religions as so many paths to the same Supreme Power by whatever name called. Scholarly writings based on a deep study of the real purport and purpose of religions of the world have quoted chapter and verse from every religious scripture to bring out the breadth of vision that looks at the whole humankind as one family and its total well-being as the paramount objective. Religion was never interpreted as a stand-alone concept but as being part of a continuum of religion-spirituality-ethics and morality-humanity.

Indeed, there are many passages in religious books enjoining respect for different faiths, harmony, fellow-feeling and compassion which are almost identical in language and content; if the information about the source from which they have been taken is undisclosed, it will be hard to tell which passage pertained to which religious teaching.

‘HEAVEN OF FREEDOM’ Of late, though, religious denominations are being exposed to severe tensions. First and foremost among them is the spread of religious prejudices, especially after 9/11. The Norway outrage cannot be dismissed as resulting from a single person’s sick mind, because there are many elsewhere too who entertain with varying degrees of intensity and conviction the same fears of being swamped by religious fanatics and immigrants with whom the native populations have little in common.

Second, social mores are undergoing a sea-change, throwing state-religion-society relations into a state of turmoil. As a paper on the subject of religious trajectories puts it, “demands for the recognition of gay marriage, teen marriage and inter-marriage…undermine existing religion-state agreements. Societies can….display secular trends, while state institutions remain bound to religious norms, or societies may become more religious while states remain, or attempt to remain, secular…” Third, the interconnectivities brought about by globalisation and the vast unknown of the new economy pose the dilemma of adjustment and threat of marginalisation to religion.

There are also unresolved questions about the impact on religion of advances in technology, such as space research poking into the Universe and genomics revolution abolishing death itself.

 Finally: Will the cumulative effect of all these changes be a situation in which either there will be no need for religion or the society will on its own be freed from the hold of any kind of religious identities, enabling the world to awake into that “heaven of freedom” described by Rabindranath Tagore in his poem “Where the mind is without fear…”.

Clooney at MOP Vaishnava college, Published on August 01, 2011

3. Religious Trajectories: Continuities and Changes, Traditions and Improvisations[6]:  CHENNAI: In the modern world, understanding of God has become smaller and there is a need to go deeper into tradition to understand what God is like, according to director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, Prof Francis X Clooney.

Addressing a seminar on Dynamics of Religious Trajectories: Continuities and Changes, Traditions and Improvisations at the M O P Vaishnav College here, Clooney said traditions were not the things of the past, they could cha-nge the world.

He said religion was not static and it kept changing as the modern world. “God is like a lover and tends to change. We can’t restrict him saying he belongs to me,” he said.

Clooney, who is also Parkman professor of divinity and comparative theology, said that in the current scenario the focus was more on power, politics as well as material gains and in the process, ireligion and tradition are ignored. He said the world could be changed by one who had religious values.

Clooney- gave Radhakrishna lecture -2011

4. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Endowment Lectures: Department of Philosophy organized Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Endowment Lectures on 5th August 2011. Prof. Francis X. Clooney, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, USA delivered two lectures on theme “Comparative Theology as 21st Century Christian Theology” and “The Drama of a God Who Comes and Goes: Reading the Biblical Song of Songs with the Srivaishnava Thiruvaymoli“.

The Principal, Dr. R.W. Alexander Jesudasan[7] presided over the function and the Bursar, Mr. C. Sundaraj and student and faculty of various departments were present on the occasion[8].

Loving God or devotee or dialoguer or incuturation? Only for the Indian Express report, I could respond as follows[9]: “Your report is partial, as Clooney’s intention has been otherwise. It is not that God is like a lover, but the question is the theologian’s attempt to impose enslaving act of restriction with the assertion that only “I can love him, you cannot”. Or “I can only love more than you”. But the the hidden agenda has been, “I love the God, but you do not; and you love a god that I cannot love”. As long as theocratic arrogance trots under the hypocritical religious superiority, love is lost!


[5] B. S. Raghavan, Shape of religious trajectories to come, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/b-s-raghavan/article2311234.ece

[6] ‘God Is like a lover, can’t restrict him’,  Express News Service, Last Updated : 03 Aug 2011 09:23:22 AM IST, http://expressbuzz.com/cities/chennai/god-is-like-a-lover-can%E2%80%99t-restrict-him/300447.html<

[7] DrR. W. Alexander Jesudasan. Principal. Address: Madras Christian College TambaramChennai Tamil Nadu 600 059.

Francis Clooney’s theological / philosophical quest!

August 14, 2009

Interestingly, Francis Clooney who had been in Chennai having his “dialogue” with many of his “Vaishnavite” friends as pointed out in my previous postings / blogs:

Perhaps, before leaving, his last “encounter” has been as follows:

On a philosophical quest by PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY

http://www.hindu.com/fr/2009/08/14/stories/2009081450950100.htm

What does Vaishnavite scholar Vedanta Desika have in common with Catholic priest St. Francis? Prof. Francis X. Clooney discusses the link in his latest book.

 


Srivaishnavism is an interesting tradition, philosophically and theologically.


Clooney, The Hindu

PHOTO: M. KARUNAKARAN

THEOLOGICAL APPROACH: Prof. Francis X. Clooney. The coming together of any two religions for most of us could mean raised voices and bloodshed… quite paradoxical to what all religions preach. But Prof. Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Harvard University, and author of several books, has a different perspective.

Prof. Clooney spoke about his book ‘Beyond Compare: St. Francis and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God’, during a talk organised by Prakriti Foundation at Madras Terrace House recently. In his work, he compares the two preceptors who were from different times and countries, and practised different religions, but who were united in their approached the concept of surrender to God.

Prof. Clooney pointed out that since his work was like the interpretative work of a dancer or a musician, there was a great deal of practice and hard work that went into it right from the choice of subject. “It took me several years to narrow down on whom to compare”, he said. He added that “the minute you compare to celebrate one over the other, or compare to just get common quotes, it is not comparison in the real term.”

Clooney, Beyond compare -Vedanta Desika, Francis

So what does Vedanta Desika, the 13/14th century preceptor for Vaishnavites, have in common with St. Francis, a 17th century Catholic priest from Geneva? Both valued writing and in their written work, they hoped to pursue the devotee to perform a religious act itself. Both sought to transform the reader and used older texts to reinforce their message. Most important, both urged the reader to introspect and find out what it takes for him to surrender unconditionally to God. The book has several interesting passage on these topics. The audience was treated to a few enthralling readings. Catching up with Prof. Clooney after the session for a short interview, helped put the book in a greater context. Excerpts:

Tell us a little about your research: I work in certain traditions of classical Hinduism, including Mimamsa Vedanta and Srivaishnavism. Of course, my work as a professor leads me to write on other topics and themes at times, but these are my areas of focus in the study of Hinduism. Beyond these, I am also a comparative theologian, and so, I reflect on what I learn from Indian traditions alongside my understanding of my Christian bearings. And, to understand comparative study, I am also a bit of a historian, studying how Western Jesuits over the centuries have understood Hinduism.

What got you interested in Srivaishnavism? It is a very interesting tradition, philosophically and theologically, and it shows us a complete religious way of life. The fact that Srivaishnavism flourishes in both Tamil and Sanskrit makes it all the more beautiful. The poetry of Divya Prabandham in particular is very lovely. I also appreciate the Vaishnava temples, their architecture, imagery, and the worship that takes place there. In many ways, I have found Srivaishnavism to be parallel to Roman Catholicism, with a similar depth, breadth, and wholeness.

Beyond compare book

Beyond compare: Wrapper of the book

What is your mission on comparative religious studies and what forces do you see helping/hindering it? I am a professor at one of the oldest and best universities in the U.S., and also a Catholic priest and Jesuit. So my mission is academic — scholarly writing on topics of religious importance, and doing comparative study. It is also spiritual, in the sense that I believe that inter-religious truths and understanding are valuable to one and all. If my work helps people appreciate and learn from other religions, then I think I would have succeeded and will be very happy. If people become more convinced of the truth of their own tradition, with deep faith, that too is very good. Since there is a lot of religious misunderstanding and intolerance today, my hope is that my work will probably show a way for people to relate to other religions more constructively and positively.

Your future plans and interests…: I have several book projects in mind, including more work on the Srivaishnava Bhagavatha Visaya, certain songs and commentaries compared with medieval Christian commentary on the Biblical Song of Songs. I have also been doing research on the Jesuit tradition of inter-religious learning in India, and may soon have something more to write on that.

Clooney, Hindu God, xian god

Written word: Some of the books written by Prof. Clooney are:

• Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps to Break Down the Boundaries between Religions (2001),

. Teaching Wisdom to the Wise

• Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary (2005),

• Beyond Compare: St Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (2008).