Mr. Ashok V. Chowgule, Mumbai, India

Mr. Ashok V Chowgule is a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) President in Mumbai. In a letter to me he writes,

There was this Irishman going about his business, when he noticed a fight going on. He went over and asked, "Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?" I choose to join in your fight with my fellow Hindus, and would like to respond to some of the points that you have mentioned in your letter dated August 20.

You have said that the standard for Christianity is the Bible, the Word of God, and in return you ask what is the standard for Hinduism. A Hindu does not need a standard, because his ethos is Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudda Vadanti. Swami Vivekanand translated this as, "God is one, Sages call him variously". Thus a Hindu chooses his own way of salvation, and we Hindus consider this to be a higher form of spiritualism, since one method does not necessarily suit everyone. A belief in a single method of salvation is an insult to human intellect.

Hindus have a major problem with one who claims to be unique prophet. We think that this gives him power over the minds of his followers, and strait jackets them into doing his bidding, irrespective of whether they think that it moral or not. For, the prophet says that on the day of the judgment, he will be at the side of God, and will advise Him on whom to let through the gates of Heaven. What this implies is that the judgment is effectively delivered by the prophet and not God, and even if God wants to either banish the person to hell or forgive him/her, He is permitted to have His wish fulfilled only if the prophet permits him to do so. The prophet thus places himself above God.

Upon the death of the prophet, this power of deciding is said to be bequeathed to the chosen ones amongst his followers. One such person is yourself at the present time. Like the prophet, you have to misuse this power to keep your hold on your flock. For you claim that you have a direct line to the prophet and/or God, and will intervene on their behalf, particularly if they commit a sin. (If there is no concept of sin, one does wonder if Christianity can survive.) When a person comes for confession, you have to say to him that you will ask the prophet to ask God to forgive him/her, irrespective of the gravity of the crime. Because, you know that if you do not use your alleged intirecessionary power, there may well be another person who may agree to do this. This will reduce the number under your control, which will be disastrous for you. Under the circumstances, an evil person can continue to be evil, knowing fully well that there is person like yourself who will be an accessory to his evilness.

Hindus also think that your claim that a person has only one birth to choose gives you unjustified power over mankind. Here you have to use the concept of heaven and hell to determine to reward or punish a person. Hindus find no merit in you to give you this power. In fact, without this concept of heaven or hell you cannot put the fear in your flock, and you have to perpetuate the fiction that there is one life. Because, a person knows that if he given one more chance, he can experiment with various aspects of salvation, and so take himself to a higher level of intellectualism. Of course, it is well known that an evil person will not find salvation, and any intelligent person will use the freedom to achieve what he thinks is a genuinely higher level.

Similarly, let us look at the Bible which you claim gives you the authority to behave the way you do. The Bible says that God created the universe in six days, and rested on the seventh. In the sequence of events, the Sun and the Moon were created on the third day. This makes me wonder that since the concept of a day was created on the third day, how were the first two days measured? The Bible also says that God created Adam and Eve - obviously one has to believe in the theory of creation and not evolution. My knowledge of the Bible is not complete. Does it say that the Sun revolves around the Earth? I do believe that Galileo landed himself in a real hot soup for taking up such a position. Incidentally, you may be interested to know that the Roman Catholic church accepted that the Earth revolves around the Sun only about three or four years ago, because they pardoned Galileo only then. Poor Galileo, he had to spend a lot of time in hell for no fault of his.

Does the Bible says that Adam and Eve had two children - both sons? I am told that no conceive you need an active cooperation between one man and one woman. Since there were three men and one woman, how were the further descendants of Adam and Eve created? Some very interesting possibilities exist here. Someone else has told me that there are two different genealogy of Christ in two different gospels, as per the attached sheet. I am sure you will have a very entertaining reason for this confusion. I would be very much interested in knowing what it is.

Enough of all this Bible stuff. Let me deal with your hate-filled leaflet about the Brahmins. Christian records clearly show that the first persons that they tried to convert were the Brahmins. This was in line with the successful method they followed everywhere else, where they found that if an influential person was converted the rest of the people would follow his/her example. Since the Brahmin did not have any power of force, it is obvious that the missionaries found that the Brahmin was a highly respected person, and that they people would follow him because he was expected to determine what was good for them. You might also have read about Robert de Nobili who tried to pass himself off as a Brahmin from Rome, and the Bible as a lost Veda - which should also answer your crazy notion that the Hindu scriptures are less than 2000 years old. While this masquerade was successful, Nobili had a substantial following. But when the masquerade was exposed for what it was, and that too by other missionaries who were jealous of his success, the following just melted away. Curious way for people of this country to behave if the Brahmin was a hated person.

Let me end here for the moment, so that I can have something more to write about when I am sure I get your reply. I have the address of Shri Sita Ram Goel and the Hindu Writers Forum. I would request you to send a copy of this letter to the other Hindus who are involved in the fight.

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