Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

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.

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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).

“The Myth of St. Thomas in India” – the greatest historical fraud in the world

July 27, 2009
“The Myth of St. Thomas in India” – the greatest historical fraud in the world
Published on November 25th, 2007 In Uncategorized, Blogging, Philosophy | Views 1095 <!– by Vedaprakash –>

“The myth of St. Thomas in India” has been the greatest historical fraud in India and the world also and the historians have been shameless even to question such myth. Instead, they go on promote such myth aiding and abetting, as is evident from appearing so-called “research papers” in the proceedings of South indian History Congress, Tamilnadu history congress, textboks etc. It is a blot on historians, whenever, that fraud is perpetuated, nurtured or quoted in the name of history.

So I post the following article of K. P. Sunil appeared in 1987, which has bearing on the subject matter.

Archbishop Arulappa Makes History 1

By K.P. Sunil

Ganesh Iyer, Sri Rangam

Ganesh Iyer, Sri Rangam

The case has been closed. And the dramatis personae prefer to maintain a studied silence. For fear that a post-mortem would reveal hidden cadavers in their cupboards. For even a superficial examination of the fraud that shook the foundations of the Catholic Church in Madras in the late seventies and early eighties indicates that a lot of embarrassing details have been swept under the mat.

Reverend Dr. R. Arulappa, former archbishop of the Madras diocese, who claims to have been duped by one Acharya Paul, also known as Ganesh Iyer, is ill. Incapacitated by serious cardiac problems. In fact, it is his ill-health that forced him to retire from his post as head of the diocese. So the infamous scandal had to be pieced together from court records, police files and the ramblings of the main character-Ganesh Iyer.

It all began in the early seventies. Ganesh Iyer, who had adopted the Christian faith and was a self-styled Bible preacher known as John Ganesh, went to Tiruchi in the course of his evangelical journeys and met a Catholic priest Father Michael of the Tamil Illakiya Kazhagam (Tamil Literary Society). He is reported to have presented himself to the priest as Dr. John Ganesh, professor of philosophy and comparative religions at the Banaras university, and recently returned from Jammu and Kashmir where he was involved in research on Christianity in India. Michael put him on to another priest, Father Mariadas of Sriviliputhur.

John Ganesh impressed Mariadas with his mastery over Christian theology. He showed him copies of notices extolling him as a speaker. He reportedly produced letters written to him by various scholars in the fields of education and religion. He is also reported to have shown Mariadas photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions several centuries old.

These documents, he reportedly claimed, traced the origins and development of the Christian faith in India. Since further research on the subject required money which John Ganesh claimed not to have, Mariadas took upon himself the task of locating funds for the project the successful completion of which, he felt, would provide a shot in the arm for Christianity in India.

Mariadas gave John Ganesh something in the range of Rs. 22,000 toward the research. And as his own funds were depleted, he introduced the researcher to the head of the Catholic Church in Madras, R. Arulappa.

thomas-myth-manufacturers-Ganesh Iyer etc

Arulappa was a Tamil scholar who also had the reputation of being a researcher. He had translated the New Testament into Tamil and set to tune the Book of Psalms. He had also rendered in Tamil the life of Christ, Ulagin Uyir ( A The Life of the World ). He had learned Sanskrit and translated several Christian tenets into that language. He had also done extensive research on Tirukkural, the creation of the Tamil bard, Tiruvalluvar.

Tiruvalluvar is known to modern generations through his immortal literature. The exact time of his existence is lost in the mists of the hoary past. Some historians believe Tiruvalluvar to be a product of the early Sangam period in Tamil literature, several centuries before Christ. The Tamil Nadu government bases its calendar on the year of his birth. For this purpose, it is assumed that Tiruvalluvar was born exactly 2018 years ago, i.e. in the first century before Christ. Some literary experts place Tiruvalluvar in the first century after Christ, others date him 300 years after.

Just as little is known about Tiruvalluvar”s origins, his religious beliefs are also shrouded in some mystery. Attempts have been made, going by the precepts contained in his verse, to speculate about his religion. While he is widely believed to have been a Hindu and the Tirukkural considered a revered Hindu scripture, other religions too have staked a claim on him. Since the Tirukkural enshrines the ideals of ahimsa , dharma and asceticism, many experts consider Tiruvalluvar to have been considerably influenced by Jain thought.

A recent paper presented by Dr. S. Padmanabhan makes Tiruvalluvar out to be a Hindu chieftain from the Kanyakumari district. Archbishop Arulappa felt that the Tirukkural was so profound and filled with compassionate sentiments that it must have been influenced by early Christian missionaries who came to South India in the first century after Christ, notably St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ.

The Christian Church of India, considered to be amongst the oldest in the world, is believed to have been founded by St. Thomas in 52 A.D. Arulappa held the view that St. Thomas, before his martyrdom on a hill near Madras, now called St. Thomas Mount, met Tiruvalluvar and influenced the bard to the extent of converting him to the nascent faith. The theory had been propounded. What remained to be obtained was proof of such an occurrence.

It was this that Ganesh Iyer, posing as John Ganesh, reportedly promised to unearth for the archbishop.

Since this suited the archbishop”s scheme and since Arulappa was convinced that Ganesh was in a position to ferret out the evidence necessary to prove his pet theory, he engaged him to take up the research. The archbishop was apparently lulled into complacency by Ganesh”s mastery of Christian theology and his apparent sincerity of purpose. As if establishing a nexus between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar were not enough, John Ganesh also informed the archbishop that he could bring evidence that the three wise men from the East who prophesied the birth of Christ were none other than the epic Hindu sages, Vasistha, Viswamithra and Agasthya.

In 1975-76, John Ganesh began his research. And the archbishop started funding the same.

Ganesh produced photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions at periodic intervals. When the archbishop asked to see the originals, he was informed that they were stashed away in the safe custody of the archaeological departments and museums all over the country. It would therefore, not be possible to persuade these agencies to part with the priceless documents. He, however, promised to get his photographs authenticated by the respective agencies themselves. Thereafter, all photographs produced by Ganesh Iyer before the archbishop bore seals of the museums and departments from which he claimed to have obtained them.

Using the funds provided by the archbishop, Ganesh Iyer made a pretence of travelling extensively. It was a well-orchestrated programme. He would first inform the archbishop that he was going to Kashmir in connection with his research.

Next, the archbishop would receive letters from some Christian and Hindu religious heads in Kashmir informing him that they had come across Ganesh Iyer or, as he now called himself, Acharya Paul. The letters spoke in superlative terms about his sincerity of purpose and his noble research.

Whatever doubts the archbishop may have entertained about his researcher vanished in the face of these letters from eminent personages. More money changed hands. Though he was quite poor when he first met the archbishop, by the time he was through, Iyer had his own house in Srirangam. He owned two cars. He had purchased considerable gold jewellery for his wife and daughters. He had substantial deposits in banks in his name.

Most of the funds for the research had come from individuals and organisations abroad. If Iyer is to be believed, the archbishop even made out his personal car in Iyer”s name for a nominal Rs. 25,000. .i.Iyer;Iyer himself claims that he had not paid anything.

Questions were being asked around this time about the large sums of money being given to Acharya Paul for his research. The sceptics demanded proof that something tangible, that would benefit Christianity in the long run, had indeed been achieved. Only the archbishop”s pre-eminence prevented a direct confrontation.

Ganesh Iyer met Pope at Vatican

In 1976, Iyer obtained a passport in the name of Acharya Paul. In 1977, accompanied by the archbishop, he went abroad. To the Vatican, among other places, where he had a lengthy audience with Pope Paul VI. The duo then visited several religious congregations and spoke about comparative religions. Everywhere he went, he spoke about the origins of Christianity in India and about his A monumental research while the archbishop displayed the evidence. Money was collected for funding further research.

Ganesh Iyer met Pope at Vatican.Arulappa took him

During their absence from India, individuals inimical to John Ganesh had organised themselves into a powerful force. Even as he was relaxing in his home in Srirangam after his return, the archbishop was pressurised to file a complaint with the police. That he had been duped by Ganesh Iyer who had claimed to be a bachelor, but was in reality a married man. That he had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of around Rs. 14 lakhs in the name of research into Christianity.

Investigations into the sordid episode began. The police, led initially by Inspector Seshadri and later by Inspector Chandraya-perumal, searched Iyer”s residence. They unearthed the A originals of all the photographs produced by Iyer as proof of his research-writings on strips of brown paper cut to resemble medieval palm frond writings, pasted on sheets of white paper. The police learnt that the photographs had been taken at a studio in Tiruchi and this led to the seizure of all the relevant negatives.

The police discovered how the photographs had been authenticated by various institutions-seals and rubber stamps of all the concerned institutions were lying in Iyer”s home. Letter-heads bearing the names of various Hindu and Christian scholars were recovered. The letters purported to have been received by Iyer from these personages, which he allegedly used to dupe Mariadas and later the archbishop, were declared to be clever forgeries by the state handwriting expert Srinivasan. The writing on these and the writing on the brown paper, though cleverly disguised, compared favourably with Iyer”s specimen. Account books showing details of amounts received from the archbishop and the amounts spent by him were recovered.

Iyer”s antecendents were thoroughly investigated and it was proved that he was a middle school dropout, not having studied beyond standard seven. Further confirmation was obtained from the Banares university that they did not have Dr. John Ganesh on their staff either teaching or doing research into philosophy and comparative religions.

The police case was complete. On April 29, 1980, Iyer was arrested and placed under remand, while prosecution proceedings were instituted under sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 473 (making and possessing counterfeit seals with intent to commit forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and under section 12-B of the Indian Passports Act (obtaining a passport supplying false information).

Archbishop Arulappa testified against Iyer before the court. Iyer initially pleaded innocence, but later admitted to the fraud on all counts. He prayed that in view of his advancing age and critical family circumstances, he be shown leniency.

Arulappa vs Ganesh Iyer

On February 6, 1986, P. Aruvudayappan, second metropolitan magistrate, Madras, delivered his judgment in case number 100087/82: A Taking advantage of the soft attitudes of public witnesses 2 and 3 (Father Mariadas and Father Arulappa), he averred, A the defendant (Ganesh Iyer) had taken from them about Rs. 13.5 lakhs between 1975 and 1980. This has been clearly established. Taking into consideration the nature of the offences, the defendant is being held guilty under various sections of the I.P.C. and has to undergo 10 months imprisonment and 5 month”s rigorous imprisonment under section 12-B of the Indian Passports Act. These sentences are to run concurrently. He had been arrested on April 29, 1980 and let off on bail on June 27, 1980. These 59 days of imprisonment are to be deducted from the total sentence as required under section 428 of the code of criminal procedure.

The magistrate”s judgment notwithstanding, doubts still linger. Why were the archbishop”s suspicions not aroused until he had handed over a whopping Rs. 13,49,250 (according to records, though Iyer claims to have received far in excess of that sum) on a spurious research project? Why had the archbishop not bothered to verify the authenticity of the A documents produced by Iyer with the museums and other institutions concerned, directly? Why did he not bother to accompany Iyer to the actual site of his A research when he had found time to accompany him to Rome, the Vatican, Germany, France, Spain, the United States?

With the archbishop still indisposed, answers to these questions are not forthcoming.

What is even more curious is that even as criminal proceedings against Iyer were in progress in the magistrate”s court, a civil suit for a compromise had been filed in the Madras high court. The compromise decree was taken up immediately after the conclusion of the criminal case. Since Iyer had admitted the offence, his jail term was reduced to a mere two months imprisonment. And since he had already served 59 days of remand, this period was adjusted against the sentence.

r-arulappa-biodata

In other words, Iyer, who had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of about Rs. 14 lakhs, was let off without any further punishment. He was ordered to forfeit all claim on the money given to him by the archbishop. Accordingly, the ornaments and money seized from him by the police were returned to the archbishop. As part of the compromise, Iyer was allowed to retain the large bungalow he had purchased with the archbishop”s money.

A I agreed to this compromise because there was nothing else I could do, says Iyer. His viewpoint in understandable. For, going by the lower court”s verdict, he would have not only had to serve 5 months of rigorous imprisonment, but would have automatically had to forfeit all his properties including the house. Why the archbishop agreed to the compromise is not understandable.

Today Ganesh Iyer lives on the first floor of his house in Srirangam—the lower portion is let out on rent, enabling him to receive a monthly income. He is by no means affluent, but is certainly a far cry from the penury to which his family and he would have been consigned, if it were not for the compromise. Father Arulappa is convalescing, recovering from a major surgery. He has handed over the mantle of archbishop to Reverend G. Casimir on A health grounds .

And the case, though officially closed, remains in many minds, an unsolved mystery.

[1] Originally published under the title “Hoax!” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26 – May 2, 1987, Bombay.

VEDAPRAKASH
25-11-2007

Jesus trail in India: A Hollywood movie for Indians!

July 27, 2009
Jesus trail in India: A Hollywood movie for Indians!
Published on November 22nd, 2007 In Blogging, Philosophy, Politics |  Views 933
 

Jesus trail in India: A Hollywood movie for Indians!

Jesus married to Mary Magdalene, raised children and died in Kashmir! Perhaps, no true Christian would believe in such stories. Yet, “The Hindu” carries such myths under the guise of “history, theory….” and so on!

Jesus trail in India, The Hindu 20-11-2007

It has to be noted that “The Hindu” has been involved in spreading the “Thomas myth” in India, in one way or the other and now, it lends its promotion to spread the “myth of Jesus in India”! Therefore, the Christian or Catholic hold on the “Mount Road Maha  Vishnu” [as Karunanidhi used to mention] is intriguing.

Producer Anil Kumar Urmil with Associate Producer for India Sanjay Shetye at the Rozabal Tomb where filming took place in war-torn Kashmir

Producer Anil Kumar Urmil with Associate Producer for India Sanjay Shetye at the Rozabal Tomb where filming took place in war-torn Kashmir

Date:20/11/2007 http://www.thehindu.com/2007/11/20/stories/2007112058852200.htm

By Randeep Ramesh (The Hindu 20-11-2007)

Film to cover the years left out of the New Testament

Coming up in 2009: The Aquarian Gospel

Action adventure account of Jesus’ lifeNew Delhi: Hollywood is to fill in Jesus’ “missing years” in the Bible with a story about him as a wandering mystic who travelled across India, living in Buddhist monasteries and speaking out against the caste system.

Film producers have delved into revisionist scholarship to piece together what they say was Jesus’ life between the ages of 13 and 30, a period untouched by the gospels.

The result is The Aquarian Gospel, a $20-million movie which portrays Jesus as a holy man and teacher inspired by a myriad of eastern religions in India. The movie takes its name from a century-old book that examined Christianity’s eastern roots and is in its 53rd reprint.

Casting begins

The film’s producers say the movie will be shot using actors and computer animation like 300, the retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, and will follow the travels of Yeshua, believed to be the name for Jesus in Aramaic, from West Asia to India. Casting for Bollywood and
Hollywood actors has begun.

“The Bible devotes just seven words to the most formative years of Yeshua’s life saying: ‘The boy grew in wisdom and stature’. The [film] will follow Christ’s journey to the east where he encounters other traditions, and discovers the principles that are the bedrock of all the world’s great religions,” said Drew Heriot, the director, whose credits include the cult hit The Secret.

The film, due for release in 2009, sets out to be a fantasy action adventure account of Jesus’ life with the three wise men as his mentors. Although the producers say the film will feature a “young and beautiful” princess, it is not clear whether Jesus in the movie is to have a love interest.

The producers say they are hoping for commercial and spiritual gains. “We think that Indian religions and Buddhism, especially with the idea of meditation, played a big part in Christ’s thinking. In the film we are looking beyond the canonised gospels to the ‘lost’ gospels,” said William Sees Keenan, the producer, who is currently making Lindsay Lohan’s Poor Things. “We are looking at new themes. In our story Jesus was loyal to the untouchables and he defended them with his life by saying that everyone could read the Vedas,” said Mr. Keenan.

The myth-makers and gullible swamis

The myth-makers and gullible swamis

Earlier book

The theory that Jesus’ teachings had roots in Indian traditions has been around for more than a century. In 1894, a Russian doctor, Nicholas Notovitch, published a book The Unknown Life of Christ, in which he claimed that while recovering from a broken leg in a Tibetan monastery in the Ladakh region, close to Kashmir, he had been shown evidence of Christ’s Indian wanderings. He said he was shown a scroll recording a visit by Jesus to
India and to the Tibetan region as a young man. Indian experts claim that documentary proof remains of this visit.

“I have seen the scrolls which show Buddhist monks talking about Jesus’ visits. There are also coins from that period which show Yuzu or have the legend Issa on them, referring to Jesus from that period,” said Fida Hassnain, former director of archaeology at the University of Srinagar.Mr. Hassnain, who has written books on the legend of Jesus in India, says there was extensive traffic between the Mediterranean and India around the time of Jesus’ life. The academic pointed out that in Srinagar a tomb of Issa is still venerated. “It is the Catholic Church which has closed its mind on the subject. Historians have not.”

More dramatic are the claims that Buddhism had prompted the move from the “eye for an eye” ideology of the Old Testament to “love thy neighbour” in the New Testament.

In 1995 a German religious expert, Holger Kersten, claimed that Jesus had been schooled by Buddhist monks to believe in non-violence and to challenge the priesthood. Mr. Kersten’s book is a bestseller in India.

Church’s view

The Catholic Church in India dismisses the film as just “Hollywood filmmakers in search of a new audience rather than the truth.” Aware that religious passions are easily inflamed, after the Da Vinci Code film sparked protests among Indian Christians, its spokesman said that a movie about Jesus in India was “fantasy and fiction.”

“I have personally investigated many of these claims and they remain what they first seem: fiction,” said John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2007

E xperts for the dubious film

E xperts for the dubious film

Comments:     The Christians give one more opportunity to read and understand the Bible to find out the myths, forgeries and manipulations in making of Christianity. As for as Christianity and Islam is concerned Indians and rather Hindus go by what others say about these non-Hindu, non-Indian religions. As Christians and Muslims have studied, researched and handled Hindu religion, scriptures and Hindus, the Hindus never studied, researched and handled Christianity and Islam. Even at elite, secular or atheist level, an impression has been formed that such study should not or need not be there. Most of the Indians do not know about the “Jesus Myth” – http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

  • Hollywood can fill in Jesus’ “missing years” or anything in the Bible with a story about him as a wandering mystic or adventurer or revolutionist, but it has no business to spread myths and lies as such motive raise other questions.
  • Indians have to be told clearly that there had never been any historical Jesus and while dealing with mythical Jesus and connected so-called fabricated bibles, there have been many such fables making him to travel to Egypt  and so on, but to bring him to India is totally unimaginable even for Christian mind.
  • To say or claim that he “travelled across India, living in Buddhist monasteries and speaking out against the caste system” etc., as mention clearly expose that the film-makers have other political and social manipulative agenda under the guise of film and myth-making .
  • Film producers with revisionist or any scholarship with $20-million or more can produce any movie, as Indians or Hindus have no match for such sophistication and trickery and they can never produce any counter-movie.
  • It can be a fantasy action adventure account of Jesus’ life with the “three wise men” as his mentors, but such exigency exposes the aiding and abetting the frauds and forgers of many scholars who have been notorious enough to indulging in such shameless act. The Madras Archbishop Arulappa did it with just Rs. 14 lakhs in 1980s, but got red-handed as his accomplice got exposed for his spurious research on the same subject matter!
  • Although the producers say the film will feature a “young and beautiful” princess, it is not clear whether Jesus in the movie is to have a love interest. So what, Mary Magdalene was there according to them!
  • William Sees Keenan, the producer has made another point: “In our story Jesus was loyal to the untouchables and he defended them with his life by saying that everyone could read the Vedas,”! So, he is going to defend the cause of Dalits! All Christians go to take the movie and use for their evangelical activities as a part of their “Liberation Theology”! Pope Gregory, who is very often blamed for nurturing “Caste system” in Indian Christianity for the issue of the Bull would be exonerated as Jesus himself supported the Dalits that to he had been very loyal to them! An Indians or Hindus would hope that William Sees Keenan would print Vedas and circulate everywhere as anyone can read Vedas!
  • From where they got such wonderful and fantastic ideas? It is answered: The theory that Jesus’ teachings had roots in Indian traditions has been around for more than a century. In 1894, a Russian doctor, Nicholas Notovitch, published a book The Unknown Life of Christ, in which he claimed that while recovering from a broken leg in a Tibetan monastery in the Ladakh region, close to Kashmir, he had been shown evidence of Christ’s Indian wanderings. He said he was shown a scroll recording a visit by Jesus to India and to the Tibetan region as a young man. Indian experts claim that documentary proof remains of this visit. And what about the veracity and authenticity of such scrolls?
  • Russian journalist Nicholas Notovitch’s 1894 The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ more modestly claimed to be based on scrolls in a Tibetan lamasery ‘proving” that Christ studied the Veda in India before mastering the Buddhist Scriptures in Kashmir and Tibet. That tale is debunked in The Issa Tale That Will Not Die, Nicholas Notovitch and His Fraudulent Gospel (Lanham: Rowman ” Littlefield 2003) by Louis Fader. http://www.caslon.com.au/forgeryprofile3.htm
  • Just another reference: “A number of religious books–perhaps a dozen or more–mostly written within the last hundred years and purporting to add to the revelation of the Bible. They claim to be based upon genuine documents of Christian antiquity, but every one has been shown by scholars to be a hoax..The Unknown Life of Christ, published in 1894, and written by a Russian named Nicolas Notovitch, on the basis of information he said he received from the chief lama of a Tibetan monastery. It is claimed that Jesus spent the years between thirteen and twenty-nine in India,Tibet, and Persia, and then returned to Palestine. The monks at Tibet denied ever seeing Notovitch or knowing anything about the ancient manuscript about Christ they allegedly showed to him…(Concerning this view of the young adult life of Jesus I have the following questions: (1) Why didn”t the people in Jesus” own hometown know about such supposed travels? Mark 6:2-3 (2) Why did the Son of God need to go to India? To learn?).. The Lost Books of the Bible. This book, published in 1926, is claimed by the publishers to include religious books deliberately kept out of the NT by the early bishops of the Church..It is actually nothing more than a reprint of an edition of the apocryphal NT which had been published in 1820, and an edition of the Apostolic Fathers which had appeared in 1737.” (Zond. Ency. pp. 213-214) This entire article can be seen here: http://www.lincolnavenue.org/grapevine /beavertonLostBooksOfTheNT.html
  • Fida Hassnain, former director of archaeology at the University of Srinagar claims, “I have seen the scrolls which show Buddhist monks talking about Jesus’ visits. There are also coins from that period which show Yuzu or have the legend Issa on them, referring to Jesus from that period”. Mr. Hassnain, who has written books on the legend of Jesus in India, says there was extensive traffic between the Mediterranean and India around the time of Jesus’ life. The academic pointed out that in Srinagar a tomb of Issa is still venerated. “It is the Catholic Church which has closed its mind on the subject. Historians have not.” However, why he has not mentioned the full story that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, begot children and died there like men. Note, all these narrations would go against the basic tenets of Christianity, as crucifixion, resurrection, ascension etc., are totally denied here. We do not know as to whether Fida Hassnain has made such comments as Muslim, believer of Quaran or otherwise, as Quaran says Jesus was taken to an elevated place, where waters were flowing and he was survived thereafter. That is he was not crucified! Anyway, it would be interesting for Indians to watch the movie with a lot of romantic theology at the cost of Hollywood!
  • John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union claims that “I have personally investigated many of these claims and they remain what they first seem: fiction,” but he has never questioned such frauds already taken place in India!
  • The Catholic Church in India could dismiss the film as just “Hollywood filmmakers in search of a new audience rather than the truth.” Aware that religious passions are easily inflamed, after the Da Vinci Code film sparked protests among Indian Christians, its spokesman said that a movie about Jesus in India was “fantasy and fiction.” But, they cannot be double-speak as in the case of “Inculturation”, “Inter-faith / religious dialogue” etc.
  • Hope Hindus, secular Indians and others have wonderful enjoyment after “Da Vinci Code”! As one Pope claimed, “The Jesus Myth always serve the purpose”!

Meanwhile, we can consult Romila Thapar about the truth as she has already recorded that the biographies of Jesus, Mohammed etc., have been well accepted and so on in “The Hindu” and “Economic and Political Weekly”. We can consult Karunanidhi also so that he would ask so many questions:

  1. How he came to India?
  2. How many days, he took?
  3. How he took Mary Magdalene with him?
  4. In which route he came?
  5. Which vehicle he used?
  6. By cart, bus or plane?
  7. Whether he purchased ticket or not?
  8. Who was the driver and conductor?
  9. Whether they knew driving or not?
  10. Whether they had licence to drive and carry Jesus?
  11. The 17 years period is not a joke. How he spent the time?
  12. He may compose a poem also about his sojourn!

VEDAPRAKASH

22-11-2007