On February 28, Himachal Pradesh became the seventh state in our country to pass the anti-conversion bill (named as ‘Freedom of Religion). Before we begin to answer the anti-conversion, we should read what the Hindu leaders say. Jerry Thomas takes you along with sayings of Hindu leaders.
Swami Vivekananda’s No to Conversion
Let us begin with none less than Swami Vivekananda. His speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions, Chicago are the most famous of his speeches. And we quote the relevant paragraphs from final address verbatim here. “
Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if anyone here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of anyone of the religions and the destruction of others, to him I say, "Brother, yours is an impossible hope." Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.”“The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, not a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.” The entire text of the speech is available in one of the Ramakrishna MISSION’s website http://www.sriramakrishna.org/chicago.htm. Is it not a double standard to speak like this and then come and start a MISSION to convert people? Wait a minute. Swamiji also said yes to conversion. Let us read that. Swami Vivekananda’s Yes to Conversion Hinduism Today has published an article recording the statements of Swami Vivekananda supporting “reconversion” and conversion (of course to Hinduism). Here is the gist of his conversation and a relevant quote.
Since most of the Christians and Muslims inIndia are perverts (and not converts) according to Swami (recorded in the same article), they can reconvert to their own caste (yes caste is important). Conversion:
Swamiji not only supported the reconversions of Christian and Muslim ‘perverts,’ he also welcomed new converts. Here is the passage.“But my next enquiry drew blood. "Would you leave these new-comers, Swamiji, to choose their own form of religious belief out of many-visaged Hinduism, or would you chalk out a religion for them?" "Can you ask that?" he said. "They will choose for themselves. For unless a man chooses for himself, the very spirit of Hinduism is destroyed. The essence of our Faith consists simply in this freedom of the Ishta.” The entire text is available at http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1999/8/1999-8-09.shtml One wonders why is freedom of Ishta restricted to Hinduism. Why not to Christianity? Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam
Swami Dayananda Saraswati has written an article attacking conversion. He categorized Christianity as a missionary religion and therefore aggressive. Hinduism, according to him is a non-missionary religion and therefore non-aggressive.
He then wrote:“Aggressive religions and nonaggressive religions are not on the same plank. Conversion is, therefore, a rank, one-sided aggression. The genius of the nonaggressive traditions cannot change, and therefore, they cannot be asked to do the same thing as the aggressive religions do. Humanity cannot afford to lose any more of its existing living religious traditions and cultures. We want to enjoy the religious cultures of both Christianity and Islam as we also want to enjoy the cultures of Jews, Parsis, Taoists, Shintoists, Hindus and others.” The entire text can be read here (http://www.swamij.com/conversion-violence.htm). Yes, all these sound very similar to what Swami Vivekananda spoke in Chicago. However, if you visit Swamiji’s website you will find that a few of his disciples who are now Swami’s and teach at his gurukulam’s in US and Canada are foreigners. Were they born Hindus or converted?
Does he look like an Indian Hindu?
You can see his site here (http://www.arshavidya.org/teachers_uscan.html)
Why this Double Standard? If you are confused about the double standards of these Swamiji’s then read Gandhiji to know the reason for it. Read this conversion between a Christian Missionary and Gandhiji (Entire content available here http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/mkg/index.html)
J.M. But must we not serve them?
Gandhiji: Of course you will, but not make conversion the price of your service.
J.M. I agree that we ought to serve them whether they become Christians or not. Christ offered no inducements. He offered service and sacrifice.
Gandhiji: If Christians want to associate themselves with this reform movement they should do so without any idea of conversion.
J.M. Apart from this unseemly competition, should they not preach the Gospel with reference to its acceptance?
Gandhiji: Would you, Dr. Mott, preach the Gospel to a cow? Well, some of the untouchables are worse than cows in understanding. I mean they can no more distinguish between the relative merits of Islam and Hinduism and Christianity than a cow. You can only preach through your life. The rose does not say: ‘Come and smell me.’
Yes, some of the untouchables are worse than cows in understanding. And most of the Christians are perverts. In the Chicago speech of Swami Vivekananda, he concluded by saying: “If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.”
Well, we would like to conclude by saying that perverts are not the exclusive possessions of any religions; at least these Hindu leaders are evidences of that.