I have been wrongly accused to have written the novel “Hindutva, Sex & Adventures (Roly Books, 2010).  But in my 25 years of journalism, books and conferences, I never hid behind a pseudonym to say what I think and to defend Hindus. There are four other foreign correspondents who could have very well written this book; Mark Tully, John Eliott, Bernard Imhasly and David Housego. Of all these, Mark Tully is the only one who time and again indicated he had ‘soft’ sympathies for Hindutva.

However angry I am at being falsely accused, I do think that Mark Tully, who is a decent guy, or whoever wrote this book, has raised very pertinent issues, by having a dialogue between the hero Andrew Luyt, who slowly sees that Hinduism is the basic structure of India – and Imla, his Indian journalist girlfriend,  who like most Indian journos, is a diehard secularist. Thus I cannot resist posting a few extracts of the books:

…Like most western journalists, and in spite of being born here, Andrew came to India with a fair amount of goodwill and an aspiration to do justice to this huge and diverse subcontinent. But, also like most correspondents, he also landed armed with a number of prejudices, picked-up here and there during his strict protestant education: poverty, castes, gods and goddesses, fakirs, elephants, sacred cows and maharajas…

On the second day, he was invited by a British colleague to a party. He had heard that Delhi parties were famous for being boozy and late. It was in East Nizamudin, a place he would come to love and where he would live. But this time he got lost, not having grasped yet the maddening illogic patterns of street numbers in India. It was in the apartment of another foreign correspondent, a Frenchman, known for his love of women and stupendous capacity for drinking and it was full of journalists, both Indian and Western. The apartment was wide and beautifully furnished with teak antic pieces, there was a lot of alcohol, quite a few stunning women- mostly Indian – the foreign ones did not look like much to Andrew – and one could hardly hear oneself talking. Andrew, still a little shy, in spite of his booming voice, stuck himself in a corner and just observed. The western journalists wore all white cotton trousers, white open shirts, and had a seriousness about them that stuck Andrew. The Indian journalists had a glass of whisky in one hand, a cigarette – or sometimes a pipe – in the other, and loudly talked of politics to the western journalists who listened to them enthralled.

For the first time Andrew heard words, which later would become part of his vocabulary:
– Gosh, said, a chap from the London Telegraph, whom Andrew had briefly met once, these Hindu fundamentalists will bring curse to this country; see how they are claiming that most the mosques in India, including the Babri Masjid, are built on destroyed temples…
– Yeah, replied another chap, whom Andrew had never met, in a German accented-English, we journalists, have to do our bit for India’s persecuted minorities, you know, the Christians who are attacked in tribal ideas, or the Muslims who do not get the same education as Hindus and are nowhere to be found in the top layers of Indian society.
– Right you are, continued the Telegraph chap. I am actually compiling a report of Human Rights abuses in India. We need to preserve Secularism, which I believe we British bequeathed to this country, he concluded, rather pompously, thought Andrew…

All these new words, plus the smoke, noise, and movement, left him slightly stunned after the quietness of British parties. Dinner was served at 11 pm, which struck him as rather late. He ate quickly, mumbled a goodbye to his host and went back by rickshaw to the Claridges, again baffled by what he was encountering in India

He started hunting for a place in Delhi, which was easier said than done. Even in those times, foreign diplomats, who were ready to pay anything for a house in posh areas of Delhi, had helped to make rental prices skyrocket to ridiculous heights: 75.000 Rs for a big flat in Golf Links, or one lakh for a house in Jorbagh. The owners were usually rich Punjabis, who asked for 50% of the money to be paid in black in foreign accounts and demanded one – sometimes two – years in advance. One day Andrew went to see a flat in Sujan Singh Park, near the Ambassador hotel, where lived the famous writer and journalist Kushwant Singh. The owner was a fat Sikh who had rings on every finger. Flat was nice, but when Andrew requested to see the servants’ quarters, he was shown a dump of a room without any windows and when he asked about the bathroom, the fat Sikh replied
– they don’t need bathrooms, they can use the public toilets in Khan Market !
Andrew, in spite of his British self-control, nearly slapped the guy and left without a word. He would discover much later that rich North Indians often paid and treated very badly their servants and whenever he saw in papers that a servant had murdered his or her masters and fled with their money, he remembered the servants’ quarters in Sujan Singh Park. Finally he settled for a run down flat in East Nizamudin,  overlooking the shrine of the Muslim Sufi saint, Nizamud-din Chishti, a district which then was not yet as popular as it would become with intellectuals and journalists. He remodelled it, hunted Delhi’s antic markets for old colonial furniture and made it in a haven of peace. Ultimately, he would become known as the ‘Knight of East Nizamuddin’…


  1. “…who like most Indian journos, is a diehard secularist. …”

    Too many confuse secularism with hatred for religion Across the board prejudice and disdain for religion, especially the religion of the majority of the population, is mistaken for enforcing tolerance.

    The Founding Fathers of America separated the church and state but they saw religion had a place in the country. They were very spiritual people. Even today no one ever elected an atheist for President, and many Presidents have sworn the oath of office on their bibles on their inauguration. President Obama said that his faith “plays every role” in his life.”It’s what keeps me grounded. It’s what keeps my eyes set on the greatest of heights.” America with its separation of church and state is one of the most religious countries.

    True secularism sees and values the positive role religions can play in democracies along with atheism and agnosticism. It is not anti-religion.

  2. Yeah, replied another chap, whom Andrew had never met, in a German accented-English, we journalists, have to do our bit for India’s persecuted minorities, you know, the Christians who are attacked in tribal ideas, or the Muslims who do not get the same education as Hindus and are nowhere to be found in the top layers of Indian society.
    – Right you are, continued the Telegraph chap. I am actually compiling a report of Human Rights abuses in India. We need to preserve Secularism, which I believe we British bequeathed to this country, he concluded, rather pompously, thought Andrew…

    I think European journalists will find plenty of opportunities to fight for secularism in Europe. All is not well there and it did not take long – I’d say less than 100 years – after the European population became more diverse: “Danish Psychologist: “Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is not possible” http://europenews.dk/en/node/21789

    I don’t think it is true that integration into Western societies is not possible. That is going too far. However, in today’s secular Europe there are significant cultural tensions. Secularism when one lives in a more ethnic and religiously homogeneous society, like European countries once were compared to India, is easier to tout. But whether Europe really is more secular or better at it than India when tested with sizable ethnic and religious minorities that it has now is yet to be determined. Right now I’d say we are in the beginning of a long term major test of European secularism.

  3. Not about you

    Besides the banning of face veils in Belgium, and France, and banning of mosque minarets in Switzerland in the name of secularism, there is another tension in England:
    “NHS relax superbug safeguards for Muslim staff… just days after Christian nurse is banned from wearing crucifix for health and safety reasons”


  4. Gautier this may be of interest:

    “…But as an academic who studies the causes and consequences of media misrepresentation, I feel that there is a growing culture of Hindu denial. Curiously, this culture has found its sustenance from opposite ends of the American political-intellectual spectrum. Religious conservatives condemn Hinduism as paganism, much as the first colonizers did when they set forth to save us. But what is new is that enlightened New Age liberals, American and South Asian, shun its mention as if every person who identifies as Hindu is a fundamentalist….” http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/05/the_follies_of_hindu_denial.html

  5. There is a difference between liberal and radical political left/the old left (communist/socialist anti-religionist):

    This is an article from someone who is partisan to the right but in this particular article elaborates on the difference of liberal from the radical political left/oldleft:

  6. That last article may help you understand why the radical old left heirs of socialism/communism (so many in India) hate Hindus. Replace Jew with Hindu.

  7. There is a struggle now between true liberalism against the radical left/old left

  8. Media Money

    Interesting. I came across this – who owns what:

    There is no denying a fact that mainstream Indian media in general are anti- Hindu sentiment. It is the practice of English newspapers and English TV news channels to launch vicious Hate Hindu campaign whenever there is any communal violence. The English media always blame Hindus for instigating riots forgetting to mention that Hindus are the victims of the violence. The English media are playing this mischievous role only to show their loyalty to their owners. In other words, they simply dance with the tunes of their masters. Here we present the inside story about the ownership of Indian English Media only to know who is who?” http://www.indiaworldreport.com/index.html

  9. Gautier,
    Marvellous. Keep them coming. Is the book on Amazon yet?

    Interview of a Christian Evangelist in India

    By: Bandyopadhyay Arindam
    The world today could have been a much better place for all of us, had we all refrained from trying to prove the superiority of our own religion………..

    This is an interview of “Father Johnson’ after his award by the Government of India for his exemplary work in India in enlightening the people in the path of the ONLY God. Father Johnson returned to the USA after 10 years of service, to uplift the people of India in the name of God. The interview was taken in July 2005 by a journalist in Houston, USA……

    Welcome home Father. You have been in India for 10 years, where “our mission’ is still going on. Tell me Father, how is India?

    India is a fascinating country, a land of contrasts. Modern India is the largest democracy, the budding economic superpower, with the second-largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world. India is also the only surviving ancient civilization with over one sixth of the world population. At one time, not so long ago, when Europe was in the “dark ages’ and America was not even “discovered’, India was a far advanced and developed country with a contribution of over 25% of world GDP till the 17th century and far advanced in all aspects of life, be it knowledge, philosophy, science, mathematics, arts, astronomy or navigation.

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850-1919), American poet and journalist, wrote “India – The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.”

    Dick Teresi, American author of “Lost Discoveries’ mentioned “Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic people asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun….Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center….Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together….. The Sanskrit speaking people subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one…..The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years…”

    Despite all its riches, history says that India never invaded any country. On the contrary, India has been repeatedly assaulted and conquered by numerous invaders and has been ruled by “foreigners’, first the Muslims and then the British for over a thousand years. India, before the advent of the British rulers, was a rich and prosperous country.
    Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland (1842-1936), Unitarian minister and reformer, wrote that “…when the British first appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest countries of the world; indeed, it was her great riches that attracted the British to her shores. For 2,500 years before the British came on the scene and robbed her of her freedom, India was self-ruling and one of the most influential and illustrious nations of the world ….. This wealth was created by the Hindus’ vast and varied industries.”

    What about Hinduism as a religion?

    Hinduism has a deep philosophical and spiritual heritage that has repeatedly mesmerized the world including western scientists, leaders and philosophers. Despite propaganda to the contrary, Hindus, like us, believes in one Supreme God but they do so in many forms, that helps to develop personalized relations. Hinduism is the oldest major religion in the earth with 900 million followers. Unlike monotheistic institutionalized, religions like Judaism, Islam or Christianity, it is not based on any single prophet or scripture, but allows its followers all the freedom to pursue God and Truth in their own way, while living harmoniously with all creation.

    We know that the Hindus are tolerant of other religions. Recently, UNESCO pointed out that out of 128 countries where Jews lived before Israel was created, only one, India, did not persecute them and allowed them to prosper and practice Judaism in peace. Similarly the Zoroastrians, when driven out of Persia by Islam were given shelter by the Hindus in India and still coexist in India peacefully. Very recently, the Dalai Lama, driven from Buddhist Tibet, has been accepted with open arms. Such is the ethos of Hinduism and India.

    I have heard that Mark Twain once said that “In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire’. I have also read Arnold Toynbee’s writing “…at the religious level, India has not been a recipient; she has been a giver. About half the total number of the living, higher religions are of Indian origin’. What do you think about it?

    We know India gave birth to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Hinduism, though the predominant religion, has, to quote Aldous Huxley, “never been a persecuting faith, have preached almost no holy wars and have refrained from that proselytizing religious imperialism which has gone hand in hand with political and economic oppression of colored people.’

    What many do not know and I will not elaborate further for obvious reasons, is that there are researchers who think that the teachings of Jesus Christ have something to do with the ancient wisdom of Vedas. The Hindu concepts of “karma’, and “reincarnation’, which are part of the New Age Movement that we see today, were not unknown to Jesus.

    Then Father, why do we need to convert people in India?

    You see, we in the western world, have the “white man’s burden’ of civilizing the rest of the world. We also have the need and desire to spread the message of Christ, since we believe that it is the ONLY way to salvation and all other nonbelievers will go to hell. The faith in Christianity is being eroded in Europe and America. That is why our Pope on his visit to India said, “Just as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent.’

    Why do you target India?

    India is the right country because Hindu Indians are generally peace-loving tolerant, law abiding people who are truthful and virtuous. India”s devotion to being good rather than being clever comes nearer the heart of a true civilization, said W. J. Grant, in his book,
    “The spirit of India’. The unsuspecting Indians have always welcomed everybody on their shore and still keep on doing so. You cannot say the same about a Muslim country or of communist China. You see Hindus are such naive – they go out of their way to say that “all religions are same – they all lead to God’. Christians and for that matter, no other religion, says that.

    Where does your resource come from?

    There are five major aid-giving countries, viz., USA, Germany, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands. According to the available data, in the last decade alone, foreign aid organizations received more than 2.5 billion dollars. This is only official statistics. According to the record and report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the statistics about the foreign aid being received by Indian Non Government Organizations shows that 80% of it is meant only for the Christian organizations that have been buying their ways into the Indian society and converting unsuspecting people under the guise of social service.

    How powerful is Christianity in India?

    Oh, though we are only 2.4% of the population officially, we have a large control over the country because of our economic invasion. You see, the present leader of the main political party-The Congress Party of India is a Roman Catholic with close contact with the Vatican. There are Christian Chief ministers in 5 out of 29 states. Because of the British rule of India, we have a large section of the leaders of India who look up to us. Believe me, we are the second largest land owners in India. We own and control 80% of the Indian media like NDTV 24*7, CNN-IBN ,AAJ TAK, THE TEHELKA etc and newspapers .The best example is how these media made a huge hue and cry over the Gujarat riots.Riots have happened everywhere in India.But in case of Gujarat riots, the reports were deliberately inflated,stories were built up and a systematic,planned malicious and slanderous campaign was launched against the NDA government.
    Inspite of the fact that India took giant leaps in progress in every field and there was a surge in National pride and self confidence for every Indian during their tenure,India’s Most Popular Government led by India’s Finest Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was made to suffer shock defeat. We overtly or covertly have alliance with key political associations. So it is very easy for us to influence the right people.

    You must have a very organized system?

    Yes, we do. Have you heard about the Joshua Project? It identifies and highlights the people groups of the world that have the least exposure to the Gospel and the least Christian presence and shares this information to encourage pioneer church-planting movements among every ethnic group. The Joshua Project has identified the North India Hindi belt as “the core of the core of the core” because of its population density (40% of the Indian population- the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh lies in this region); it is the religious hub of India; and it has the smallest Christian presence in India. Thus detailed plans have been drawn up to target India’s 75,000 Pin Codes.

    The Seventh Day Adventists owes its Indian success to Canadian evangelist Ron Watts, President for the South Asian Division. When he entered India, in 1997, the Adventist Church had 225,000 members after 103 years of operations. In five years, he took it to 700,000.

    Some methods used include the 10-Village and the 25-Village Programs, which involve five sets of laymen, under guidance from a regular pastor, who identify 10 or 25 villages in close proximity. Once the villages were selected, the teams would approach the leaders of each village and invite them to send two leaders to a 10-day seminar at a nearby resort, at the organization’s expense. It is before no time that the local leaders will then start working for our faith and organization. In 1998, there were seventeen 10-Village Programs and 9,337 were baptized. In 1999, forty programs were held and nearly 40,000 people baptized.
    Under the Christian Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. Samuel Rajashekar Reddy, the Adventists shifted to a 50-village plan. They began baptizing at the rate of 10,000 persons per month and have increased it to 5,000 persons per day all over India.

    The US-based Maranatha Volunteers International provides buildings for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They are committed to build 750 churches in 2 years in India. The Oregon based, Fjarli family have a goal to build 1000 churches at a rate of 1 per day.

    How do you carry out conversion attempts?

    You see the local people are so simple and naïve that they do not have any clue as what out motive or means are. We target mostly the poor, illiterate, tribal people because they are the easiest to convert. We do that by various means – we establish schools, hospitals that overtly or subtly promote our faith, we allure them with money or goods to the needy when they convert, we “stage’ miracle cures, we use our influence on the media, we use our experts in propaganda, we promote the influential people and so on. We use the money sent to us by unsuspecting religious and faithful Christians from all over the world. We have numerous NGO and AID organizations to funnel the money into the country. There are a great number of missionaries of various denominations who are working there, all literally competing for the most number of converts. The Southern Baptists alone are a group that has nearly 100,000 career missionaries in North India, all working to spread our “good word.”

    We convince the “natives’ by our appearances and even use their own culture. A native converted person will continue to use his Hindu name so as not to alienate himself. Some of the numerous Catholic priests in Southern India dress like “sannyasis’ (monks), and call their organizations “ashramas’ (hermitage). This is to make Christianity more similar to the Vedic traditions. Bharat Natyam, the classical dance of India, is also taught in the Christian schools, but with Christian symbols and meanings replacing the Vedic. This is all in the attempt to actively sway Hindus over to Christianity. The Evangelical Church of India (ECI), established in 1954, targets the slums, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in cities and villages. Its logo depicts a cross struck deep in a lotus, the seat of Hindu divinity.

    Is the so called caste system in India an advantage?

    The “Caste-ism in India’ is a boon to us. Though Varna or caste was once an essential part of the culture, based on occupation and vocational skills, which kept the civilization going for over 5000 years, caste-ism is a degenerated socio-political system now that has been declared illegal. However it is one big weapon against Hinduism. We have learnt from the colonial British that it is very easy to divide the population on the basis of caste and religion based politics and we use it to our own interest to the maximum. We join the anti-Hindu forces and help to keep the stigma of caste-ism alive for our own benefit. We target the “untouchables’ (the unprivileged people, that has so marvelously crafted to be a result of the Hindu religion and not the social system) and convert them in the lure of “liberating’ them. However I must confess that we maintain their “untouchability’ by not allowing them to mix with the general Christians, maintaining separate entry to churches and even giving them separate churches and cemeteries.

    We also use opportunities that God gives us. During natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and the recent Tsunami, taking advantage of the need, we were able to convert successfully entire low caste villages in Tamil Nadu to Christianity with the lure of money and aid.

    How successful are you in your conversion attempts.

    Oh we are doing a good job. The Northeast Indian states like Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur, have witnessed a surge of nearly 200% in their Christian population in the past 25 years.
    Their grasp is so strong now that practicing Hinduism is forbidden in some areas. Hindus can no longer do worship or “puja’ in the open because of our influence.
    In another northeast state, Tripura, where there were no Christians at the time of India’s independence, 55 years ago, there are now over 120,000 today. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1710 Christians in 1961, but over 1 million today, along with over 780 churches. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming-up every day in far flung villages and there is an attempt to set-up one near Tirupati, the world famous Hindu temple. Many of the North-East separatist movements, such as the Mizo or the Bodos, are not only Christian dominated, but also sometimes function with the covert backing of the missionaries. Christian Nagaland terrorists have been killing non-Christians for decades on end. More than 20,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam and Manipur in the past two decades. We understand that there are some social problems that crept up – the northeast states are the highest in India in terms of drugs and AIDS related problem – but we accept that as “casualties of war” –that should not deter us from our goal.

    Do you face any resistance?

    Of course we do. But we brand any resistance as “Hindu fundamentalism or militancy” and the media and our favorite leaders take care of the rest. We have set the mind of the unsuspecting population in a way, that whenever any of our people are harassed, attacked or killed, from any reason including their own faults, the blame automatically goes to these so called “Hindu fundamentalist and Communal Elements” and even though almost all of these instances are later proved to have nothing to do with these Hindu groups, the initial hue and cry that is raised makes sure the memories persist in the mind of the populace and the sympathy stays with us. There are instances when nuns have been proved to be raped by Christians, but the blames continues to stay with the Hindus.

    Is there any legal barrier?

    Yes there are some rules and laws that sometimes impair our activities. The Indian Supreme Court had declared that: “The right to propagate religion does not mean the right to convert… Conversion done under allurement, use of force and fraud in which the poverty or ignorance of the individual is taken advantage of, is not only undemocratic but also unconstitutional…Respect for all religions is the foundation of secularism whereas the seeds of conversion lie in religious intolerance.”. Anti conversion laws have been passed in various states. But as I said, we have our ways.

    Sometimes the law does get us though. We had some instances where members of our faith have been convicted with resultant imprisonment or expulsion. As in churches all over the world, some clergymen have been penalized for cases of sexual exploitation, including pedophilia. But that does not deter us from our goal and our almighty Lord takes care of our soul.

    How satisfied are you with the progress of the missions?

    It is really satisfying. We find enormous pleasure in converting the Hindu “pagans’. However I wish we could do more. I wish I could say like St Francis Xavier, during the Goa Inquisition in 1560, “When I have finished baptizing the people, I order them to destroy the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters.”

    Thank you, Father for your time and honesty.
    Thank you, my son. God bless you.


    “Christianity offers nothing that is not already available somewhere in the many forms of Hinduism. Hinduism never rejected the teachings of Jesus. Those who have converted either agreed with a gun pressed at their skulls as in Goa, or because it provided an escape from caste tyranny, as well as a guaranteed professional advancement. Through its Vedic legacy, Hinduism respects all faiths. It clearly states that God is one, but has many forms”.
    (Paul William Roberts, author of, “Empire of the Soul: Some journeys in India’)

  11. “Superiority Complex
    The people of most nations have a natural tendency to believe themselves superior because of their culture, religion and way of life. Such a belief not only makes for a healthy dose of national pride, but also serves as an immune system rallying the people to fight off invasions and maintain their way of life against the winds of change.

    Today in the First World however, liberals attack such beliefs in their own countries as reactionary and dangerous. Those who do believe that their country is better or that their culture is superior, are mocked as ignorant, stigmatized as bigoted and routinely compared to Nazis. This is the liberal reductio ad absurdum which reduces all forms of pride in one’s group, any sense of cultural worth and national exceptionalism to jackboots and straight armed salutes. Pinning all the blame on the “National” half of National Socialist, while completely overlooking the “Socialist” part, which had a good deal to do with the economic problems that the Nazis decided to loot their way out of, not to mention the centuries of historical context that made Nazism what it was, was a convenient way for globalists to attack nationalists for reasons that had nothing to do with WW2. And everything to do with their ideological belief that the Nation-State was the great enemy of human progress.

    But what happens when people who do believe that their culture, their nationality and their religion are superior immigrate into nations where the host population has been taught that they are no better than anyone else?

    Contrary to liberal dogma, the result can never be tolerance. Only intolerance. And when the cultural and national sense of superiority of new immigrants is encouraged, while that of the native population is discouraged, conflict is inevitable. Under such conditions, assimilation and adaptation are out of the conquest. Why would you want to adapt to an inferior culture? Why would you respect people who don’t respect themselves?

    Violence by new immigrants is met by appeasement which only feeds an existing superiority complex. Liberals treat every act of violence as a response to discrimination by a racist host society, that must be remedied with more benefits, apologies and kowtowing. A process that only convinces the new immigrants that they really are superior. Because for all the talk of tolerance, they are entitled to special privileges, that the natives not. New immigrants who come from cultures where there is no notion of equality, and a wide gap between the high and the low, may accept tolerance from their betters, but not from their inferiors. Tolerance and charity from your inferiors is an insult that must be answered by showing them their place.

    If liberals treated all cultures, all nations and their historical narratives of greatness as equally invalid, the results would still be disastrous, but less incompatible. But when for example, the American narrative of heroism in the Alamo is disparaged, but the Mexican narrative of heroism in the Mexican-American War is celebrated and affirmed– then a clash of cultures is inevitable.

    So too when European colonialism is depicted as evil, but Muslim colonialism as beneficial, there will be conflict, rather than peaceful co-existence. Rather than defanging nationalism, liberals only cripple the nationalism of their own home countries, while encouraging the nationalism of the new arrivals. Little wonder then that Europe looks the way it does, or that America is facing a critical conflict over its future. Sarkozy is being depicted as the embodiment of evil, because he’s trying to evict illegal gypsies from encampments in France. Israel is being roasted over the coals domestically, because it wants to deport some of its migrant workers, who have managed to drop their own anchor babies in the country. Arizona’s governor is being compared to Hitler for trying to check the immigration status of criminals. Cameron’s immigration cap is meeting with Liberal Democratic hysteria.

    The common denominator is that First World countries with very generous immigration policies are being depicted as monsters for trying to exercise some very limited authority over immigration. The United States is a country of immigrants, France and England are filled with refugees and their children, and their children’s children. Israel has taken in everyone from Sudanese refugees to Vietnamese boat people. But somehow it’s never enough. Because domestic liberals will always insist that immigrants from more backward parts of the world, have more rights than the country’s own citizens, particularly than those citizens who used to be immigrants and actually paid their dues. Instead liberals prefer refugees, bordercrossers and migrant workers, often with shady backgrounds and little to contribute except social problems.

    And their only real argument is the same old reductio ad absurdum. Deporting gypsies is bad, even if their presence is illegal, because the Nazis deported gypsies. Barak suggested that Israel deporting migrant workers with their children who were born in the country, would make Israel appear to be no different than the Nazis. Arizona checking immigration status, again no different than the Nazis. Going by such talking points, you might get the impression that the Nazis were bad because they deported illegal immigrants, not because they were genocidal mass murderers who tried to conquer the world.

    Except of course virtually every country with a functioning government deports people who are in the country illegally. Sometimes it imprisons them. A country that does not control its own borders or make any distinction between citizens and people who just wander on in, is arguably no longer a functioning state.

    And that is the central point of controversy. Whether nation states will continue to exist as entities with representative governments empowered to manage regions by their native populations, or whether they will give way to regional and global organizations that do not represent citizens, but the welfare of anyone and everyone in the area. The left favors accelerating the breakup of First World states using population transplantation. The less compatible the new immigrants are, the more social problems they bring with them, and the more hostile their disposition toward the natives– so much the better. Because the goal is colonization, not integration.

    In its day, the USSR deliberately mixed together population groups, deporting and transplanting different groups, where they would be perpetually in conflict with one another. Uzbeks and Koreans, Russians and Estonians, Chechens and Kazakhs, and so on and so forth. These policies bred a great deal of needless conflict, which still continues to this day. But this Divide and Conquer policy kept different groups at each other’s throats where they weren’t a threat. The Soviet Union did not invent this tactic, it was carried over from the Czars, and was an old tactic of empires. To break up the national resistance of a native population by colonizing it with foreigners.

    But the tactics of empires have a way of turning on them. Today Russia’s future is Muslim, a future that its Ex-KGB rulers embrace in order to keep the Chinese at bay. Europe’s future is not the EU, not even Eurabia, but something closer to the Middle East, a squabbling mixture of angry peoples who are united loosely by Islam, but cannot stop fighting each other long enough to form the much heralded Caliphate. The future is no better for America, where Mexican nationalists will find themselves fighting African-Americans, Hmong and others who won’t be nearly as enthusiastic about Reconquista once the multicultural facade comes off, revealing Mexican nationalism, and second class status for everyone else.

    Liberals have been calculatedly trashing the free market social advancement and legal equality that made it possible for so many different peoples to call America home. On American shores, nationalities who couldn’t stand each other at home, learned to get along. Not because they were forced to by the diktat of some committee, or an educational campaign on tolerance featuring celebrities, but because fighting no longer made sense. They did not for the most part cease to be French, Scottish, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Japanese and all those things, but they could be those things without having to fight each over them.

    Legal equality and advancement through a free market, meant that fighting each other no longer offered any kind of advantage. Working hard and co-existing with others did. At least it didn’t until the 1960’s came along, and suddenly being a member of a victimized group and willingness to riot in the streets became very advantageous. The American experiment fragmented into a gang war, in which success was a badge of shame demonstrating that you were either one of the oppressors or their lackeys, and failure proved that you were the victim of the man. And the American middle class, that great engine of social change that had served as a firewall against socialism, began falling apart.

    Being American used to mean a sense of optimism and confidence in the future. Now it has come to mean always being willing to say sorry. Americans are denounced for denying history, for refusing to admit their culpability and for not being sensitive enough to everyone else’s feelings.

    The great triumph of liberalism has been to hijack a formerly optimistic culture, and transform it into a pessimistic one, feeding it nightmares about nuclear war, global poverty, pollution and global warming. Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, they successfully turned the American dream into the American nightmare. Liberal culture took an America which had been the symbol of commercial triumph, and forced it to see itself as its enemies saw it, glutinous, barbarous, ignorant and violent. And that pattern has held true across the First World, from Australia to Israel to Italy. Only a handful of nations with a great deal of national integrity and resistance to outside influences, such as Japan, have been able to resist being force fed this mirror history of themselves, in which everything that they valued proved to be a crime of one sort or another.

    But the greatest lie is the one that liberals tell themselves. In their self-deception they actually believe that Muslim immigrants will see the EU as a different breed of horse, from the nation states they are hard at work dismantling. They never stop to ask themselves, why in the world would Muslims regard the EU as any worthier of their respect and submission, than the governments of England and France? To Muslims, the EU is a means, not an end.

    Having successfully discredited the histories and cultures of the countries that gave birth to the EU, the left has also discredited the EU itself. Within their ranks, a United Europe might be an event of almost religious significance, but to Muslims, it is nothing more than Europe squared. And if they are taught contempt for the countries and cultures of Europe, why should all of them piled together be any different? What the EU is to the Eurocrat, the Caliphate is to the Muslim. An inspired union that transcends the old laws and norms. And if they have to give their loyalty to something, it will be the Islamic Union of the Caliphate, rather than the secular European Union.

    The situation is no better in America, where every value and tradition is being replaced by a vast bureaucracy and codes that no one knows or understands in their entirety. Without an American patriotism, or a history worthy of respect, there is no bond but that of a popular culture that is saturated with celebrity scandals and the ceaseless tabloid shriek of fame being offered fleetingly to ordinary people who manage to become elevated to a meme of their own. Without legal equality, ordinary people no longer have rights, but connections to people within the bureaucracy who can help them out. Without a free market, the best strategy is to employ those connections to make money off the government. And such a system naturally pits ethnicities and races against one another. Without law or mutual interests, such conflicts will eventually be settled with violence, as they were in urban areas during the seventies.

    Without universally respected laws, the final argument is always force. And the more that argument is used successfully, the more it will be used in the future. The Tough on Crime eighties combined with the economic recovery of the nineties helped check the worst of it in America. But without economic prosperity, only force is left as a counterweight. And force requires that you be willing to use it. Meanwhile Europe is headed into the teeth of that same storm. Before the next decade is through there will be a lot more burning in Europe than cars, entire cities will burn. The left has empowered the use of violence as a tool of social change, over market economics. But their romanticism of revolutionary violence will lead to a revolution that will have more in common with Iran and Pakistan, than with the storming of the Bastille.

    The left has fed the superiority complexes of refugees and migrant workers, even as it has marginalized and criminalized the superiority complex of the natives. It has done this in the name of tolerance, but the collision of two groups, one of whom has a superiority complex, will not lead to tolerance, until that latter group takes power. Then it may bestow some tolerance on those who were its former rulers, but are now its subjects.” http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2010/09/superiority-complex.html

  12. Hindu Temples – What Happened To Them Vol. 1,


  13. Hindu Temples – What Happened To Them Vol.2

  14. Next generation of Hindu Americans speaking up against prejudices against Hindus by both New Agers and Evangelicals, by those on the left and right alike. There is a form of anti-Hindu bigotry expressed by certain New Agers and certain Yoga practitioners – by erasing Hinduism from aspects of Hinduism they appropriate – , and another form of anti-Hindu bigotry expressed by missionaries and Evangelicals – basically demonizing Hinduism just because it isn’t their faith. But they are both forms of anti-Hindu bigotry, which the next generation of Hindu Americans are standing up against.

    “Take Yoga Back
    Bringing to Light Yoga’s Hindu Roots
    The popularity of yoga continues to skyrocket in the Western world as yoga studios become as prevalent as Starbucks and the likes of Lululemon find continued success in the mass marketing of $108 form enhancing yoga pants. As this $6 billion industry completes one Suryanamaskar (sun salutation) after another, there has been growing concern from the Hindu American Foundation about a conscientious delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots.

    From asanas named after Hindu Gods to the shared goal of moksha to the common pluralistic philosophy, the Hindu roots of yoga seem difficult to deny. Yet, more often than not, many Western yoga practitioners are aghast at the very suggestion that the cherished “spiritual practice” of yoga is firmly grounded in Hindu philosophy. In fact, in a letter to Yoga Journal magazine, HAF noted its disappointment at finding countless descriptions of the Upanishads or Gita as “ancient Indian” or “yogic”, but rarely “Hindu”.

    Shortly after being told by Yoga Journal that “Hinduism carries too much baggage,” the Foundation formulated its stance on this important issue with the release of its paper Yoga Beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice, quoting extensively from both the legendary yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar as well as his son, Prashant Iyenagar. The stance paper highlights not only the delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots, but also the erroneous idea that yoga is primarily a physical practice based on asana. Yoga covers a wide array of practices, embodied in eight “limbs,” which range from ethical and moral guidelines to meditation on the Ultimate Reality. Asana is merely one “limb” which as become the crux of Western yoga practice.

    In December 2009, HAF’s Suhag Shukla had the opportunity to bright light to yoga’s Hindu roots at the Parliament of World Religions in Australia during a panel discussion. Shukla spoke out against the commercial appropriation and misappropriation of yoga which purposefully delinks yoga from its roots in Hinduism.

    A piece in the LA Times, Bending yoga to fit their worship needs, quoting yet another yoga instructor denying any and all religious roots lead not only to a Letter to the Editor, but also to the publication of The Theft of Yoga, the beginning of what eventually became know as The Great Yoga Debate: Shukla vs Chopra on the Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith site. As HAF’s Dr. Aseem Shukla proudly brought to light yoga’s Hindu roots, Dr. Deepak Chopra penned his disagreement. Shukla’s reply, Dr. Chopra – Honor Thy Heritage, was met with continued resistance from Chopra.

    The Great Yoga Debate received hundreds of comments from readers across the board. Within days, the Pioneer requested HAF to provide a piece of a similar strain, leading to yet another opportunity to take yoga back.

    The interest of the Interfaith Alliance was also peaked and lead to a radio interview with HAF’s Sheetal Shah (the yoga interview begins approximately 13 minutes into the recorded segment).

    Even months after the initial launch of this campaign, the issue remains very much alive. On September 23, David Waters, the former editor of On Faith, quotes heavily from HAF’s stance paper in his piece “Should Christians practice yoga? Shouldn’t everyone?” And on October 3, Ms. Shukla once again voiced HAF’s stance in the “yoga debate” on air in a segment on Common Threads (click here to listen to Part 1 of the recorded segment and click here to listen to Part 2).”

  15. (cont)

    “Hindu Americans Take Global Stage at Parliament of World Religions
    Melbourne, Australia (December 13, 2009) – Calls for religious understanding, simple living, vegetarianism and an end to religious imperialism were clear and resonant over the last week in Melbourne. As the Australian summer approached, swamis, rabbis, bishops, imams and high priestesses from around the world converged for the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions (PWR). During plenary addresses and intense small breakout sessions, lay delegates mingled with religious and spiritual leaders to discuss issues as complex and diverse as climate catastrophe, poverty, wars, justice, the rights of indigenous peoples and interfaith harmony. The Hindu American Foundation’s (HAF) co-founder and member of the Board of Directors, Mihir Meghani, M.D., and Managing Director, Suhag Shukla, Esq., attended and addressed multiple sessions at the summit.

    The PWR catapulted to prominence in 1893, when the trailblazing Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, became the first to bring Hinduism to a Western audience. The PWR was reconstituted in 1993 for a grand centennial celebration and now meets every five years.

    “This was an awe-inspiring and humbling experience – to simply bask in the presence of our greatest spiritual leaders and re-orient our work for a higher purpose,” said Dr. Meghani after he addressed a session that highlighted the conflict between the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and predatory proselytization and coerced conversions. “We met so many who also agree that the ongoing global mission to harvest souls by some Christians is an affront to religious freedom and a violence on Hinduism and other indigenous traditions. That alone made this perhaps the single most important conference we have attended in recent years.”

    While Meghani addressed religious freedom, Shukla spoke out against what she described as the commercial appropriation and misappropriation of yoga which purposefully delinks yoga from its roots in Hinduism.

    “Yoga is available to anyone regardless of color, caste, creed or country, but we simply cannot ignore, contrary to what’s done by many Western yoga practitioners, the fact that yoga is rooted in core Hindu concepts of divinity in all of existence, karma, reincarnation and moksha (liberation),” stated Shukla. “If along with asana, you’re studying the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita, you’re not just engaged in exercise anymore. Your engaged in a spiritual practice shared by millions of Hindus.” She also addressed a session exploring the challenges of Hindu advocacy in a Western context.

    Shukla said that besides extensive interactions with leaders of all traditions, they also observed the ratification of the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change. This document, released in advance of the Copehagen summit this coming week, calls for a shift to a holistic view of nature and states that, “the Hindu tradition understands that man is not separate from nature, that we are linked by spiritual, psychological and physical bonds with the elements around us.”

    Swami Amarananda of Ramakrishna Order; Swami Avdeshananda Giri, Trustee of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, an apex unifying body of traditional Hindu leaders; Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery; Swami Chidananda Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan; Sri Chinnajeeyar Swami; Dadi Janki of the Brahma Kumaris; Sri Karunamayi Vijayeswari Devi; Sri Swamini Mayatitananda (Mother Maya) of Mother Om Mission; Swami Paramatmananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulum; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living Foundation; and Dada Vasvani, were among the many Hindu spiritual leaders attending the PWR. They mingled with the Dalai Lama, representatives of major Christian denominations, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, pagans and indigenous and aboriginal peoples.

    “The intersection of religions holds the potential for cross-pollination between faiths, and the creating of links and understandings that may, if pursued thoughtfully, even bring into focus solutions to the many plights facing the human race,” said Paramacharya Palaniswami of the Kauai Hindu Monastery and editor-in-chief of the magazine, Hinduism Today. “In Melbourne, Hinduism had a strong voice and with that voice it spoke out the message of dharma, a message of reverence for nature, of a return to the dharmic ideal of restraint, of changing the world through our collectively living in harmony and simplicity on the Earth, our Mother.”

  16. (cont)
    Yoga Beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice
    “There is no physical yoga and spiritual yoga. If it is exclusively physical, it won’t be yoga. Yoga is dealing with the entirety; it is a union.” – Prashant Iyengar, son of B.K.S Iyengar

    Yoga, from the word “yuj” (Sanskrit, “to yoke” or “to unite”), refers to spiritual practices that are essential to the understanding and practice of Hinduism. Yoga and yogic practices date back more than 5,000 years — the Indus Valley seals depict figures in yoga poses. The term covers a wide array of practices, embodied in eight “limbs,” which range from ethical and moral guidelines to meditation on the Ultimate Reality. Yoga is a combination of both physical and spiritual exercises, entails mastery over the body, mind and emotional self, and transcendence of desire. The ultimate goal is moksha, the attainment of liberation from worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and rebirth.

    With the popularity of Yoga skyrocketing throughout the world, particularly in the West, there arise two main points in need of clarification. First, that which is practiced as “Hatha Yoga” – a form of Raja Yoga – in much of the Western world is but merely a focus on a single limb of Yoga: asana (posture). From Yoga studios that recommend room temperatures to be maintained at 105 degrees to 90 minute Vinyasa flow classes that prescribe one Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation) sequence after another, this “asana heavy” form of Yoga – sometimes complimented with pranayama (breathing) – is only a form of exercise to control, tone and stretch muscles. Ignored are both the moral basis of the practice and the ultimate spiritual goal.

    Second, there is the concerning trend of disassociating Yoga from its Hindu roots. Both Yoga magazines and studios assiduously present Yoga as an ancient practice independent and disembodied from the Hinduism that gave forth this immense contribution to humanity. With the intense focus on asana, magazines and studios have seemingly “gotten away” with this mischaracterization. Yet, even when Yoga is practiced solely in the form of an exercise, it cannot be completely delinked from its Hindu roots. As the legendary Yoga guru B.K.S Iyengar aptly points out in his famous Light on Yoga, “Some asanas are also called after Gods of the Hindu pantheon and some recall the Avataras, or incarnations of Divine Power.” It is disappointing to know that many of the yogis regularly practicing Hanumanasana or Natarajasana continue to deny the Hindu roots of their Yoga practice.

    In a time where Hindus around the globe face discrimination and hate because of their religious identity, and Hindu belief and practice continues to be widely misunderstood due to exoticized portrayals of it being caricaturized in “caste, cows and curry” fashion, recognition of Yoga as a tremendous contribution of ancient Hindus to the world is imperative. Yoga is inextricable from Hindu traditions, and a better awareness of this fact is reached only if one understands that “Yoga” and “Asana” are not interchangeable terms.

    Asana aka Yoga

    A perusal of a few of the best known Yoga texts, such as Swami Svatmarama’s Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, will quickly demonstrate that asana (posture) is only one component of Yoga. The Pradipika is divided into four main sections, of which 25% of only the first section focuses on asana. The Yoga Sutras are also divided into four parts, with a total of 196 sutras. The second part, composed of 55 sutras, briefly mentions asana as one of the eight limbs [1] of Raja Yoga.

    In his forward to an English translation of Pradipika [2], Iyengar aptly describes, “Hatha yoga…[to be] commonly misunderstood and misrepresented as being simply a physical culture, divorced from spiritual goals…Asanas are not just physical exercises: they have biochemical, psycho-physiological and psycho-spiritual effects.”

    In a 2005 interview published in Namarupa magazine [3], Prashant Iyengar, son of B.K.S. Iyengar, clearly espouses a similar view when he said, “We cannot expect that millions are practicing real yoga just because millions of people claim to be doing yoga all over the globe. What has spread all over the world is not yoga. It is not even non-yoga; it is un-yoga.” The undue emphasis, particularly in the West, on asana as the crux of Yoga dilutes the essence of the spiritual practice and its ultimate goal of moksha.

    B.K.S. Iyengar again reminds readers of the purpose of asanas in his Light on Yoga, when he states, “Their [Asanas] real importance lies in the way they train and discipline the mind…The yogi conquers the body by the practice of asanas and make it a fit vehicle for the spirit…He does not consider it [the body] his property…The yogi realizes that his life and all its activities are part of the divine action in nature” [4].

    The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) concludes from its research that Yoga, as an integral part of Hindu philosophy, is not simply physical exercise in the form of various asanas and pranayama, but is in fact a Hindu way of life. The ubiquitous use of the word “Yoga” to describe what in fact is simply an asana exercise is not only misleading, but has lead to and is fueling a problematic delinking of Yoga and Hinduism, as described further in the section below.

    This attempt to clarify Yoga as far more complex than just asanas is not intended to discount the array of health benefits gained by practicing asanas alone. Beyond increasing muscle tone and flexibility, regular practice of asana has been associated with lower blood pressure, relief of back pain and arthritis, and boosting of the immune system [5]. Increasingly, many believe asana practice to reduce Attention Deficit Disorder (AD/HD) [6] in children, and recent studies have shown it improves general behavior and grades [7]. But the Foundation argues that the full potential of the physiological, intellectual and spiritual benefits of asana would be increased manifold if practiced as a component of the holistic practice of Yoga.

    Reversing the Efforts to Decouple Yoga from Hinduism

    Although the Western Yoga community fully acknowledges Yoga’s Indian roots, and even requires study of Hindu philosophy and scripture in most of its teacher certification programs, much of it openly disassociates Yoga’s Hindu roots [8]. While HAF affirms that one does not have to profess faith in Hinduism in order to practice Yoga or asana, it firmly holds that Yoga is an essential part of Hindu philosophy and the two cannot be delinked, despite efforts to do so.

    Shyam Ranganathan’s [9] analysis gets to the crux of the issue when he writes, “Though some modern atheistic minds and aspiring yogis may disagree, textually there is no getting around the fact that Patanjali uses words, that in the context of Hindu culture, have obvious theological implications” [10]. Patanjali describes the goal of Yoga as chitta-vritti-nirodha or “the cessation of mental fluctuations”, a core concept also expounded in Hinduism’s Bhagavad Gita: “Thus always absorbing one’s self in yoga, the yogi, whose mind is subdued, achieves peace that culminates in the highest state of Nirvana, which rests in me [Lord Krishna/Brahman/Supreme Reality]” [11].

    Similarly, Swami Svatmarama’s opening line in the Pradipika is in honor of the Hindu God Shiva (Siva): “Reverence to Siva the Lord of Yoga, who taught Parvati hatha wisdom as the first step to the pinnacle of raja yoga.”

    In the same 2005 interview cited previously, Prashant Iyengar expounds upon Yoga with references to both Hindu epics and Hindu philosophy: “Mahabharat has so many aspects of yoga like yama (restraint), niyama (observance), sama (calmness)…Ramayana gives us so many beautiful aspects of bhakti yoga and karma yoga. Essential yoga starts with karma yoga…Without karma-consciousness, there will be no progress in yoga.”

    The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) reaffirms that Yoga, “an inward journey, where you explore your mind, your awareness, your consciousness, your conscience” [12], is an essential part of Hindu belief and practice. But the science of yoga and the immense benefits its practice affords are for the benefit of all of humanity regardless of personal faith. Hinduism itself is a family of pluralistic doctrines and ways of life that acknowledge the existence of other spiritual and religious traditions. Hinduism, as a non-proselytizing religion, never compels practitioners of yoga to profess allegiance to the faith or convert. Yoga is a means of spiritual attainment for any and all seekers.”

  17. I think this person said it best:
    “Just as Native Americans have spoken up about appropriat­ing their culture and spirituali­ty by exploiting and selling it so also Hindus are speaking up and in both cases it is wise and respectful to listen to them not just continue to take from them and rationaliz­e it away.
    There are two ways Yoga has been appropriat­ed and sold.
    One is as a purely physical culture like an exercise.. which is not Yoga.
    And the other is to claim “it is universal”­. Which is used by those selling and buying “enlighten­ment”.
    This exploiting is typical of a culture and people that is used to feeling privileged and superior so it takes only.. and does not give back.. even respect..
    If yoga is union with the source then people trying to “practice Yoga” are cutting themselves off by not respecting the worldly source .. the country and the people from which Yoga came.
    Respect for others opens the heart.
    Rationaliz­ation closes it.

    “In the interests of generosity­, maybe we should refer to a famous Sanskrit aphorism, Vasudev Kutumbukam­: “the world is my family.”- Deepak

    There is also the Sanskrit “sarvodaya­”. Which means “uplift of ALL”. not uplift of ones personal bank account.
    When someone makes millions of dollars by whitewashi­ng and selling a cultural treasure it sounds quite rude to preach to that culture that they should be generous to him and other exploiters by not speaking up. ”

    in the comment section here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/who-owns-yoga_b_790078.html#comments

  18. Sufis were not the peaceniks people make them out to be. Mystical does not mean tolerant as liberals understand tolerance. They ain’t no make-love-not-war hippies – they never were:

    “May 15, 2005
    Sufi Jihad?
    By Andrew G. Bostom

    The Sufi branch of Islam has enjoyed spectacularly good press in the West. Hailed as peaceful mystics who believe jihad is a spiritual quest, nothing violent or unpleasant, Sufism has attracted favorable attention and converts from all sorts of Westerners, from new agers in Marin County, California, to East Coast intellectuals. But Sufis are not necessarily all peace—loving meditative seekers of the divine.

    The formation of the ‘The Sufi Jihadi Squadrons of Shaykh ‘Abd al—Qadir al—Gilani’ in Iraq was recently announced at the jihadist website, ‘Jihad Unspun’. The Al—Gilani (d.1166) after whom they are named was in fact a Hanbali Sufi.

    Sufi jihadists'(?)—a ‘Hanbali Sufi'(??)—haven’t we been lectured at great length about the singular evils of ‘Wahhabism’ —rooted in the Hanbali school of Muslim jurisprudence, epitomized by Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328)—versus its Islamic ‘antithesis’, the ecumenical tradition of mystical Sufism???

    Notwithstanding the musings of a Muslim journalist and neo—convert from Bolshevism to Sufi Islam (see his bizarre and treacly ‘profession of faith’ here, and a clinical description of what this newly described syndrome represents), Sufism has been linked integrally to the Muslim institution of jihad war since the 11th century C.E.

    Consistent with this nexus between Sufism and orthodox Islam, Sufis have supported (fervently) the corollary institution of dhimmitude, replete with all its oppressive and humiliating regulations for non—Muslims. It is also important to highlight, in contrast, the very flimsy theological foundation of the much ballyhooed Sufi notion of the so—called ‘greater’ spiritual jihad. Even the Islamophilic scholar Reuven Firestone has acknowledged the dubious nature of the hadith ostensibly outlining this potential interpretation of jihad: [1]

    Its source is not usually given, and it is in fact nowhere to be found in the canonical collections [of hadith]

    Of course devout Muslims, and influential 20th century scholars of Islam like the Shi’ite leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d. 1989), or the brilliant Sunni ideologue Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), always recognized the marginal Islamic foundations of this putative Sufi construction in their seminal writings and lectures, and dismissed it outright. [2]

    But what have the most important Sufi theologians and jurists written on the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad war, and its corollary institution, dhimmitude, from the Medieval era, through the present? Also, what has been the role of prominent Sufis or Sufi movements vis a vis jihad war, and the implementation of dhimmitude?

    Al—Ghazali, Medieval Sufism, Jihad and Dhimmitude

    Let us begin with a towering figure in Muslim intellectual history, Al—Ghazali (1058—1111), who was born at Tus in Khurasan, near modern Meshed, Iran, and became a renowned theologian, jurist, and mystic. Al—Ghazali’s early training was as a jurist, and he continued to have an interest in jurisprudence throughout his career, writing a work the Wadjiz, dated 1101, i.e., in the last decade of his life. The eminent Islamic scholar W.M. Watt stresses Al—Ghazali’s Muslim orthodoxy. Watt maintains that Al—Ghazali was [3]

    …acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad, and he is by no means unworthy of that dignity…He brought orthodoxy and mysticism into closer contact…the theologians became more ready to accept the mystics as respectable, while the mystics were more careful to remain within the bounds of orthodoxy.

    Al—Ghazali, a Sufi orthodox Muslim, and follower of the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, wrote this about jihad war and the treatment of the vanquished non—Muslim dhimmi peoples, in the Wadjiz: [4]

    [O]ne must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non—Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…If a person of the Ahl al—Kitab [People of The Book — primarily Jews and Christians] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need…

    [T]he dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle…Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non—Muslims]…on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle [—work] is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue….

    Compare Al—Ghazali’s writings, above, to the statements below by two later, prominent Hanbali jurists, Ibn Qudama (d. 1223), and the much demonized Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328). First Ibn Qudama: [5]

    Legal war (jihad) is an obligatory social duty (fard—kifaya); when one group of Moslems guarantees that it is being carried out in a satisfactory manner, the others are exempted.

    The jihad becomes a strictly binding personal duty (fard—’ain) for all Moslems who are enlisted or whose country has been [invaded] by the enemy. It is obligatory only for free men who have reached puberty, are endowed with reason and capable of fighting. Jihad is the best of the works of supererogation. Abu Huraira relates that ‘The Prophet, when asked what was the best of all works, replied: Belief in God [and in His Prophet].— And then? someone asked him. — War for God’s cause, then a pious pilgrimage.’ Abu Sa’id reports also that the Prophet, when asked who was the best of all men, replied, ‘He who fights for God’s cause, personally and with his goods.’… It is permitted to surprise the infidels under cover of night, to bombard them with mangonels [an engine that hurls missiles] and to attack them without declaring battle (du’a’). The Prophet attacked the Banu Mustaliq unexpectedly, while their animals were still at the watering—place; he killed the men who had fought against him and carried off the children into captivity. It is forbidden to kill children, madmen, women, priests, impotent old men, the infirm, the blind, the weak—minded, unless they have taken part in the combat.

    The chief of State decides on the fate of the men who are taken as prisoners; he can have them put to death, reduce them to slavery, free them in return for a ransom or grant them their freedom as a gift. He must choose the solution most in keeping with the common good of the Moslems.

    The jizya can be demanded only from the Peoples of the Book (Ahl—al—Kitab) and from Zoroastrians (Magus), who pledge to pay it and submit to the laws of the community. The Peoples of the Book are understood to mean the Jews and those who follow the religion of the Torah, as well as the Christians and those who follow the religion of the Gospel. When People of the Book or Zoroastrians ask to pay the jizya and to submit to the laws of the community, one must grant their request, and it is forbidden to fight them. The jizya is collected at the beginning of each year. It is set at 48 dirhems for a rich man, at 24 dirhems for a man of moderate means, and at 12 dirhems for a man of lowly estate. It cannot be demanded from children who have not reached the age of puberty, from women, helpless old men, the sick, the blind, or slaves, nor from poor people who are unable to pay it. An infidel subject to the jizya who converts to Islam is free of this obligation. When an infidel dies, his heirs are responsible for the jizya.

    Ibn Taymiyya: [6]

    Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed unless they actually fight with words (e.g. by propaganda) and acts (e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).

    As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians (Majūs), they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (jizya) out of hand and have been humbled.

    Any fair, objective comparison must conclude that relative to the Hanbali jurists Ibn Qudama and Ibn Taymiyya, Al—Ghazali is at least as bellicose in his pronouncements on jihad war, and more bigoted and oppressive in his stated guidelines for the treatment of the vanquished non—Muslim dhimmis. Furthermore, Al Ghazali’s views regarding non—Muslim dhimmis—which were typical of the prevailing written opinions of Muslim theologians and jurists during the Abbasid—Baghdadian Caliphate—resulted in tangible acts of dhimmi persecution, as recorded, for example, in this contemporary chronicle from Baghdad by Obadyah the Proselyte, in 1100 C.E.: [7]

    …the Caliph of Baghdad, al—Muqtadi [1075—1094], had given power to his vizier, Abu Shuja… [who] imposed that each male Jew should wear a yellow badge on his headgear. This was one distinctive sign on the head and the other was on the neck— a piece of lead of the weight of a silver dinar hanging round the neck of every Jew and inscribed with the word dhimmi to signify that the Jew had to pay poll—tax. Jews also had to wear girdles round their wastes. Abu Shuja further imposed two signs on Jewish women. They had to wear a black and a red shoe, and each woman had to have a small brass bell on her neck or shoe, which would tinkle and thus announce the separation of Jewish from Gentile [Muslim] women. He assigned cruel Muslim men to spy upon Jewish women, in order to oppress them with all kinds of curses, humiliation, and spite. The Gentile population used to mock all the Jews, and the mob and their children used to beat up the Jews in all the streets of Baghdad…When a Jew died, who had not paid up the poll—tax [jizya] to the full and was in debt for a small or large amount, the Gentiles did not permit burial until the poll—tax was paid. If the deceased left nothing of value, the Gentiles demanded that other Jews should, with their own money, meet the debt owed by the deceased in poll—tax; otherwise they [threatened] they would burn the body.

    Finally, in the spirit of Al Ghazali’s teachings on jihad war, the Seljuk and Ottoman jihad campaigns which ravaged neighboring Asia Minor from the 11th through 15th centuries, were spearheaded by ‘Ghazi’ (from the word ghazwa or ‘razzia’) movements, ‘Warriors of the Faith’, brought together under the banner of Islam to fight infidels, and obtain booty. Incited by pious Muslim theologians—most prominently, Sufi dervishes—these ghazis were at the vanguard of both the Seljuk and Ottoman jihad conquests. A.E. Vacalopoulos highlights the role of these dervishes during the Ottoman campaigns: [8]

    …fanatical dervishes and other devout Muslim leaders…constantly toiled for the dissemination of Islam. They had done so from the very beginning of the Ottoman state and had played an important part in the consolidation and extension of Islam. These dervishes were particularly active in the uninhabited frontier regions of the east. Here they settled down with their families, attracted other settlers, and thus became the virtual founders of whole new villages, whose inhabitants invariably exhibited the same qualities of deep religious fervor. From places such as these, the dervishes or their agents would emerge to take part in new military enterprises for the extension of the Islamic state. In return, the state granted them land and privileges under a generous prescription which required only that the land be cultivated and communications secured.

    Sufi Ideologues in Pre—Modern India

    The Sufism practiced on the Indian subcontinent was quite intolerant of Hinduism, during both the late Delhi Sultanate and early Mughal periods, as documented by K. S. Lal, a pre—eminent 20th century Indian scholar of Islam. Lal [9] focuses on the writings of the influential Sufi cleric Abdul Quddus Gangoh (~1456—1537):

    The Muslim Mushaikh [Sufi spiritual leaders] were as keen on conversions as the Ulama, and contrary to general belief, in place of being kind to the Hindus as saints would, they too wished the Hindus to be accorded a second class citizenship if they were not converted. Only one instance, that of Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangoh, need be cited because he belonged to the Chishtia Silsila considered to be the most tolerant of all Sufi groups. He wrote letters to the Sultan Sikandar Lodi, Babur, and Humayun to re—invigorate the Shariat [Sharia] and reduce the Hindus to payers of land tax and jizya. To Babur he wrote, ‘Extend utmost patronage and protection to theologians and mystics… that they should be maintained and subsidized by the state… No non—Muslim should be given any office or employment in the Diwan of Islam… Furthermore, in conformity with the principles of the Shariat they should be subjected to all types of indignities and humiliations. They should be made to pay the jizya…They should be disallowed from donning the dress of the Muslims and should be forced to keep their Kufr [infidelity] concealed and not to perform the ceremonies of their Kufr openly and freely… They should not be allowed to consider themselves the equal to the Muslims.’

    Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564—1624) was an eminent Sufi mystic, connected with several Sufi orders (including the Naqshbandi order), who contributed greatly toward the revival of orthodox Islam, following the heterodox experiments of Akbar’s reign (1556—1605). Sirhindi published a number of tracts and letters promoting his views, which condemned the ecumenism Akbar had promulgated towards Hindus, in particular. As opposed to his bigoted views of the Hindus, Sirhindi’s ad hominem attack on Jews must reflect a theological (i.e., Muslim) Judenhass [Jew—hatred], as it is unlikely he would have had any direct contact with the minute and remote Jewish communities in pre—modern India.

    Shariat can be fostered through the sword….Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co—existence between these two contradictory faiths is unthinkable….The honor of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects kafirs, dishonors the Muslims. To respect them does not merely mean honoring them and assigning them a seat of honor in any assembly, but it also implies keeping company with them or showing considerations to them. They should be kept at an arm’s length like dogs….If some worldly business cannot be performed without them, in that case only a minimum of contact should be established with them but without taking them into confidence. The highest Islamic sentiment asserts that it is better to forego that worldly business and that no relationship should be established with the kafirs…The real purpose in levying jizya on them [the non—Muslims] is to humiliate then to such an extent that, on account of fear of jizya , they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It in intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honor and might of Islam…Cow—sacrifice in India is the noblest of Islamic practices. The kafirs may probably agree to pay jizya but they shall never concede to cow—sacrifice…The execution of the accursed kafir of Gobindwal [a Sikh who lead an uprising against the oppressive Muslim rule of his community] is an important achievement and is the cause of great defeat of the accursed Hindus…Whatever might have been the motive behind the execution, the dishonor of the kafirs is an act of highest grace for the Muslims. Before the execution of the kafirs I had seen in a vision that the Emperor had destroyed the crown of the head of Shirk. Verily he was the chief of the Mushriks and the leader of the kafirs…Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam. [10]

    Yohanan Friedmann offers this summary assessment of Sirhindi’s attitudes towards the Hindus: [11]

    Sirhindi follows up his utter rejection of the beliefs and practices of Hinduism with an equally outspoken statement of his attitude regarding the position of the Hindus in the Mughul empire. The honour of Islam demands the humiliation of the infidels and their false religion. To achieve this objective, jizyah should be mercilessly levied upon them, and they should be treated like dogs. Cows should be slaughtered to demonstrate the supremacy of Islam. The performance of this rite is, in India, the most important symbol of Islamic domination. One should refrain from dealing with the infidels unless absolutely necessary, and even then treat then with contempt. Islam and infidelity are two irreconcilable opposites. One thrives upon the degradation of the other. Sirhindi’s deep—seated hatred of the non—Muslims can be best illustrated by his rejoicing at the execution in 1606 of Arjun, the fifth guru of the Sikhs.

    Shah Aladihlawi Wali—Allah (1703—1762), was a theologian, pioneering Persian translator of the Qur’an, Sufi traditionalist, and political activist. Shah Wali—Allah’s letters to Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani), as well as prominent local Muslim leaders urging them to cooperate with Durrani in undertaking a jihad against the (Hindu) Marathas and Jats, reveal his persistent efforts to establish a (foreign, if necessary) and more militant Muslim dynasty within India. Shah Wali—Allah was thus not only an inspiration for Durrani’s invasions of 1756—57 and 1760—61, he was also responsible for helping to organize a confederacy of Muslim powers against the (Hindu) Marathas in Northern India.

    It has become clear to my mind that the kingdom of heaven has predestined that kafirs should be reduced to a state of humiliation and treated with utter contempt. Should that repository of majesty and dauntless courage [Nizam al—Maluk] gird his loins and direct his attention to such a task he can conquer the world. Thus the faith will become more popular and his own power strengthened; a little effort would be profoundly rewarded. Should he make no effort, they [the Marathas] would inevitably be weakened and annihilated through celestial calamities and in such an event he would gain no credit…As I have learnt this unequivocally [from the divine] I spontaneously write to draw your attention to the great opportunity laid before you. You should therefore not be negligent in fighting jihad…Oh Kings! Mala a’la urges you to draw your swords and not put them back in their sheaths again until Allah has separated the Muslims from the polytheists and the rebellious kafirs and the sinners are made absolutely feeble and helpless.’

    In his testament to [subsequent Caliph] Umar, [then Caliph] Abu Bakr had informed him that if he feared God, the entire world would be frightened of him [‘Umar]. Sages and declared that the world resembled a shadow. If a man ran after his shadow it would pursue him, and if he took flight from the shadow it would still pursue him. God has chosen you as the protector of the Sunnis as there is no—one else to perform this duty, and it is crucial that at all times you consider your role as obligatory. By taking up the sword to make Islam supreme and by subordinating your own persona needs to this cause, you will reap vast benefits.

    We beseech you [Durrani, a Muslim ruler] in the name of the Prophet to fight a jihad against the infidels of this region. This would entitle you to great rewards before God the Most High and your name would be included in the list of those who fought jihad for His sake. As far as worldly gains are concerned, incalculable booty would fall into the hands of the Islamic ghazis and the Muslims would be liberated from their bonds. The invasion of Nadir Shah who destroyed the Muslims left the Marathas and Jats secure and prosperous. This resulted in the infidels regaining their strength and in the reduction of the Muslim leaders of Delhi to mere puppets.

    When the conquering army arrives in an area with a mixed Muslim—Hindu population, the imperial guards should transfer the Muslims from their villages to the towns and at the same time care for their property. Financial assistance should be given by governments to the deprived and the poor as well as to Sayyids and the ‘ulama. Their generosity would then become famous with prompt prayers for their victories. Each town would eagerly await the arrival of the Islamic army (‘that paragon of bounty’). Moreover, wherever there was even the slightest fear of a Muslim defeat, the Islamic army should be there to disperse infidels to all corners of the earth. Jihad should be their first priority, thereby ensuring the security of every Muslim. [12]

    S.A.A. Rizvi’s detailed analysis of Shah Wali—Allah doctrine of jihad concludes: [13]

    According to Shah Wali—Allah the mark of the perfect implementation of the Shari’a was the performance of jihad. He compared the duties of Muslims in relation to the law to those of a favourite slave who administered bitter medicine to other slaves in a household. If this was done forcefully it was quite legitimate but if someone mixed it with kindness it was even better. However, there were people, said the Shah who indulged in their lower natures by following their ancestral religion, ignoring the advice and commands of the Prophet Muhammad. If one chose to explain Islam to such people like this it was to do then a disservice. Force, said the Shah, was the much better course — Islam should be forced down their throats like bitter medicine to a child. This, however, was only possible if the leaders of the non—Muslim communities who failed to accept Islam were killed; the strength of the community was reduced, their property confiscated and a situation was created which led to their followers and descendants willingly accepting Islam. The Shah pleaded that the universal domination of Islam was not possible without jihad and by holding on to the tails of cows.

    Shi’ite Sufism and Dhimmitude in Contemporary Iran

    Sultanhussein Tabandeh, a modern Shi’ite Sufi leader, wrote an entire treatise in 1966 decrying various elements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that are incompatible with Islamic law: an ‘Islamic perspective’ on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [14] According to Professor Eliz Sanasarian of the University of Southern California, who has analyzed the plight of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic, Tabandeh’s tract became ‘the core ideological work upon which the Iranian government…based its non—Muslim policy.’ His views on non—Muslims, says Sanasarian, were implemented ‘almost verbatim in the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ [15]

    Tabandeh begins his discussion by lauding Shah Ismail I (1502—1524), the repressive and bigoted founder of the Safavid dynasty, [16] as a champion ‘of the oppressed.’ He then reaffirms the traditional inferiority of non—Muslims to Muslims, as sacralized by the Shari’a: [17]

    Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution…Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non—Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non—Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash. Since Islam regards non—Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non—Muslim…then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain…Again, the penalties of a non—Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed.

    Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non—Muslims to acquire lordship over them. Since the marriage of a Muslim woman to an infidel husband (in accordance with the verse quoted: ‘Men are guardians form women’) means her subordination to an infidel, that fact makes the marriage void, because it does not obey the conditions laid down to make a contract valid. As the Sura (‘The Woman to be Examined’, LX v. 10) says: ‘Turn them not back to infidels: for they are not lawful unto infidels nor are infidels lawful unto them (i.e., in wedlock).

    Sufi Jihad in the Pre—Modern and Modern Northern Caucasus

    Daghestan was originally Islamized during the 7th and 8th centuries by the Arab Muslim jihad conquests of the Umayyads and Abassids. Several centuries later, a wave of invasions by nomadic Turco—Mongol tribes from the east, and their imposition of (or mass conversion to) Islam extended the Muslim population in the northern Caucasus. [18] By the mid—16th century, Russian Cossacks began to settle the sparsely populated Chechen lowlands (the slopes of the Terek Range, and the Terek Valley). These Russian settlers became subjects of Ivan the Terrible in order to gain protection from ongoing razzias launched by the Crimean Tatars and Turks. [19] Imperial Russia advanced actively into the Northern Caucasus and Transcaucasus in 1781, precipitating the anti—Russian jihad of the Naqshbandi Sufi Sheikh Mansur Ushurma. [20] Following his destruction of an entire Russian brigade during the battle of the Sunzha River in 1785, Sheikh Mansur, [21]

    …called the mountaineers to holy war against the encroaching infidels and for some years unified practically the whole of North Caucasus, from the Chechen territory in the west to the Kumyk steppes in the east. His appeal—at least what we know of it—sounds very much like the appeals to jihad by Naqshbandi murshids [masters; leaders of Sufi Brotherhoods] of later date…

    From this watershed late 18th century jihad, through the present era, the Naqshbandi tariqat [Brotherhood] has played a critical role defending and expanding Muslim dominion, in the face of encroachments by both Czarist and Soviet Russia. Transforming ‘half pagan mountaineers into strict orthodox Muslims’, the Naqshbandiya extended Islam into the animist regions of upper Chechnya and the western Caucasus. [22]. Moreover, iron—disciplined and dedicated Naqshbandi followers provided such prolonged, heroic resistance to Czarist Russian conquest, that Bennigsen and Wimbush argue, quite plausibly,

    It can said that the nearly fifty—year—long [19th century] Caucasian wars made an important contribution to the material and moral ruin of the Tsarist empire and hastened the downfall of the Romanov monarchy. [23]

    During the tragic violence of the revolutionary years of 1917—1921, which were particularly sanguinary in the northeastern Caucasus, the Sufi brotherhoods, especially the Naqshbandiya, once again played a pivotal role. Their ultimate goals in resisting the Communists were consistent with precepts of jihad, as both a defensive and expansionist ideology: [24]

    …to restore a theocratic monarchy governed by the Shari’yat law, the expulsion of Russians, and the liquidation of ‘bad Muslims’ who had committed themselves to the infidel rulers. The following was one of the sayings of the Naqshbandi Sheikh, Uzun Haji, one of the leaders of the brotherhood: ‘If so God wills, we shall construct a Shari’yat monarchy, for in a Muslim land there can be no republic. Were we to accept a republic, we would thereby renounce the Calife, which would be paramount of [sic] renouncing the Prophet and finally God himself’. And somewhat more to the point: ‘I am weaving a rope to hang engineers, students and in general all those who write from left to right’

    Despite relentless persecution throughout the Soviet era, which included a massive, brutal deportation of over a million North Caucasian Muslims to Siberia and Kazakhstan in February, 1944, Soviet specialists in anti—Islamic propaganda conceded that they had failed to contain the expansion of Sufi organizations, which emerged even after World War II, [25]

    …more powerful and influential than before the War, probably even than before 1917. V.G. Pivovarov, a leading Soviet sociologist, wrote in 1975: ‘More than half of the Muslim believers of the Checheno—Ingush Autonomous Republic are members of a murid [disciple] brotherhood’

    Presently, a Sufi Naqshbandi leader , Shamil Basayev, who envisions himself to be in the mold of legendary 19th century Naqshbandi North Caucasus jihadists, such as his namesake Imam Shamil, plays a key role in the ongoing Chechen jihad against the post—Soviet Russian government. Basayev, it should be noted, not only appears to have Caliphate dreams , he orchestrated the brutal Beslan massacre of at least 331 schoolchildren in North Ossetia, September 3, 2004.


    Sufism is not an ideological penicillin (let alone a modern, efficacious therapy given evolving drug resistance!) for what a neo—convert Sufi Muslim journalist terms the ‘syphilis’ of Wahhabism , nor is the much maligned Hanbali jurist Ibn Taymiyya the ‘index case’ of Wahhabism, which itself is deeply and broadly rooted in orthodox Islam. In a very sympathetic, but informed analysis of Sufism in the former Soviet Union, Benningsen and Wimbush provided these valid assessments: [26]

    Sufism is not a sect, nor is it a heretical or schismatic movement; it is an integral part of orthodox Islam. [emphasis added] Western analysts in particular are prone to lose sight of this fact, frequently alluding to Sufism instead as something foreign to Islam, indeed something aberrant…the heritage of Sufism [includes] not only in its cultural, intellectual and mystical aspects, but also…its militant holy war [i.e., jihad] tradition, symbolized by the Caucasian Naqshbandiya…[emphasis added]

    Benningsen and Wimbush further warned, with distressingly ignored prescience (i.e., circa 1985)—seen now in light of the brutal actions of the Sufi jihadist Shamil Basayev—of the crucial need,

    …to begin to understand the Sufi phenomena in the Soviet Union before events leave us groping for explanations. [27]

    Throughout the 20th century, and at present, Sufi ideologues and mass movements (especially the Naqshbandiya) have been engaged in defensive—offensive jihad campaigns designed not only to expel real (or perceived) ‘colonial powers’, but also to create supra—national (regional) shari’a states, or even a frank Caliphate (i.e., a single unified global shari’a state). The restored Shi’ite theocracy in Iran, whose contemporary shari’a—based system of dhimmitude was drafted by a leading Sufi—Sultanhussein Tabandeh—provides a sobering example of what ‘Sufi ecumenism’ towards non—Muslims means in practice.

    In his hagiography of ‘the enlightened traditions of Sufism,’ which, he claims ‘stress … respect for all believers, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or other,’ as well as a ‘commitment to mutual civility, interaction, and cooperation among believers, regardless of sect,’ an aforementioned Muslim journalist simply ignores all of the data presented here on the living legacy of Sufi jihad and dhimmitude. Regardless of whether his misleading characterizations are deliberately disingenuous, or just grossly uninformed, their effect is corrosive at a time when global jihad movements, and the sacralized, manichean bigotry which motivates them, remain the most profound existential threat to free and open societies.

    Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine and author of the forthcoming The Legacy of Jihad on Prometheus Books.”

  19. Gautier, this is an article that may be of interest:

    ” The problem with Hindu Universalism, A critique of radical universalism
    Frank Gaetano Morales, Ph.D. (Dharma Pravartaka)

    It is by no means an exaggeration to say that the ancient religion of Hinduism has been one of the least understood traditions in the history of world religion. The sheer number of stereotypes, misconceptions and outright false notions about what Hinduism teaches, as well as about the precise practices and behavior that it asks of its followers, outnumber those of any other religion currently known. Leaving the more obviously grotesque crypto-colonialist caricatures of cow worship, caste domination and sati aside, even many of the most fundamental theological and philosophical foundations of Hinduism often remain inexplicable mysteries to the general public and supposed scholars of Hindu studies. More disturbing, however, is the fact that many wild misconceptions about the beliefs of Hinduism are prevalent even among the bulk of followers of Hinduism and, alarmingly, even to many purportedly learned spiritual teachers, gurus and swamis who claim to lead the religion in present times.

    Of the many current peculiar concepts mistakenly ascribed to Hindu theology, one of the most widely misunderstood is the idea that Hinduism somehow teaches that all religions are equal, that all religions are the same, with the same purpose, goal, experientially tangible salvific state and object of ultimate devotion. So often has this notion been thoughtlessly repeated by so many–from the common Hindu parent to the latest swamiji arriving on American shores yearning for a popular following–that it has now become artificially transformed into a supposed foundation stone of modern Hindu teachings. Many Hindus are now completely convinced that this is actually what Hinduism teaches. Despite its widespread popular repetition, however, does Hinduism actually teach the idea that all religions are really the same? Even a cursory examination of the long history of Hindu philosophical thought, as well as an objective analysis of the ultimate logical implications of such a proposition, quickly makes it quite apparent that traditional Hinduism has never supported such an idea.

    The doctrine of what I call “Radical Universalism ” makes the claim that all religions are the same. This dogmatic assertion is of very recent origin, and has become one of the most harmful misconceptions in the Hindu world in the last 150 or so years. It is a doctrine that has directly led to a self-defeating philosophical relativism that has, in turn, weakened the stature and substance of Hinduism to its very core. The doctrine of Radical Universalism has made Hindu philosophy look infantile in the eyes of non-Hindus, has led to a collective state of self-revulsion, confusion and shame in the minds of too many Hindu youth, and has opened the Hindu community to be preyed upon much more easily by the zealous missionaries of other religions. The problem of Radical Universalism is arguably the most important issue facing the global Hindu community today.

    What’s a Kid to Do?

    Indian Hindu parents are to be given immense credit. The daily challenges they face in encouraging their children to maintain their commitment to Hinduism are enormous and well known. Hindu parents try their best to observe fidelity to the religion of their ancestors, often having little understanding of the religion themselves, other than what was given to them, in turn, by their own parents. All too many Indian Hindu youth, on the other hand, find themselves unattracted to a religion that is little comprehended or respected by most of those around them–Hindu and non-Hindu alike. Today’s Hindu youth seek more strenuously convincing reasons for following a religion than merely the argument that it is the family tradition. Today’s Hindu youth demand, and deserve, cogent philosophical explanations about what Hinduism actually teaches, and why they should remain Hindu rather than join any of the many other religious alternatives they see around them. Temple priests are often ill-equipped to give these bright Hindu youth the answers they so sincerely seek; mom and dad are usually even less knowledgeable than the temple pujaris. What is a Hindu child to do?

    As I travel the nation delivering lectures on Hindu philosophy and spirituality, I frequently encounter a repeated scenario. Hindu parents will approach me after I’ve finished my lecture and timidly ask for advice. The often-repeated story goes somewhat like this: “We raised our daughter (or son) to be a good Hindu. We took her to the temple for important holidays. We even sent her to a Hindu camp for a weekend when she was 13. Now at the age of 23, our child has left Hinduism and converted to the (fill in the blank) religion. When we ask how she could have left the religion of her family, the answer she throws back in our face is: ‘Mama/dada, you always taught me that all religions are the same, and that it doesn’t really matter how a person worships God. So what does it matter if I have followed your advice and switched to another religion?’ ”

    Many of you reading this article have probably been similarly approached by parents expressing this same dilemma. The truly sad thing about this scenario is that the child is, of course, quite correct in her assertion that she is only following the logical conclusion of her parents’ often-repeated mantra all religions are the same. If all religions are exactly the same, after all, and if we all just end up in the same place in the end anyway, then what does it really matter what religion we follow? Hindu parents complain when their children adopt other religions, but without understanding that it was precisely this flawed dogma of Radical Universalism, and not some inherent flaw of Hinduism itself, that has driven their children away. My contention is that parents themselves are not to be blamed for espousing this non-Hindu idea to their children. Rather, much of the blame is to be placed at the feet of today’s ill-equipped Hindu teachers and leaders, the guardians of authentic Dharma teachings.

    In modern Hinduism, we hear from a variety of sources this claim that all religions are equal. Unfortunately, the most damaging source of this fallacy is none other than the many uninformed spiritual leaders of the Hindu community itself. I have been to innumerable pravachanas (expositions), for example, where a guruji will provide his audience with the following metaphor, which I call the Mountain Metaphor. “Truth (or God or Brahman) lies at the summit of a very high mountain. There are many diverse paths to reach the top of the mountain, and thus attain the one supreme goal. Some paths are shorter, some longer. The path itself, however, is unimportant. The only truly important thing is that seekers all reach the top of the mountain.”

    While this simplistic metaphor might seem compelling at a cursory glance, it leaves out a very important elemental supposition: it makes the unfounded assumption that everyone wants to get to the top of the same mountain! As we will soon see, not every religion shares the same goal, the same conception of the Absolute (indeed, even the belief that there is an Absolute), or the same means to their respective goals. Rather, there are many different philosophical “mountains, ” each with its own unique claim to be the supreme goal of all human spiritual striving.

    A Tradition of Tolerance, Not Capitulation

    Historically, pre-colonial, classical Hinduism never taught that all religions are the same. This is not to say, however, that Hinduism has not believed in tolerance or freedom of religious thought and expression. It has always been a religion that has taught tolerance of other valid religious traditions. However, the assertion that a)Â we should have tolerance for the beliefs of other religions is a radically different claim from the overreaching declaration that b) all religions are the same. This confusion between two thoroughly separate assertions may be one reason why so many modern Hindus believe that Hindu tolerance is synonymous with Radical Universalism. To maintain a healthy tolerance of another person’s religion does not mean that we have to then adopt that person’s religion!

    Uniquely Hindu: The Crisis of the Hindu Lack of Self-Worth

    In general, many of the world’s religions have been periodically guilty of fomenting rigid sectarianism and intolerance among their followers. We have witnessed, especially in the record of the more historically recent Western religions, that religion has sometimes been used as a destructive mechanism, misused to divide people, to conquer others in the name of one’s god, and to make artificial and oppressive distinctions between “believers ” and “non-believers.” Being an inherently non-fundamentalist worldview, Hinduism has, by its nature, always been keen to distinguish its own tolerant approach to spirituality vis-Ã -vis more sectarian and conflict-oriented notions of religion. Modern Hindus are infamous for bending over backwards to show the world just how nonfanatical and open-minded we are, even to the point of denying ourselves the very right to unapologetically celebrate our own Hindu tradition.

    Unfortunately, in our headlong rush to unburden Hinduism of anything that might seem to even remotely resemble the closed-minded sectarianism sometimes found in other religions, we often forget the obvious truth that Hinduism is itself a systematic and self-contained religious tradition in its own right. In the same manner that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism or Jainism have their own unique and specific beliefs, doctrines and claims to spiritual authority, all of which fall within the firmly demarcated theological bounds of their own unique traditions, Hinduism, too, has just such Hindu-centric theological and institutional bounds. Like every other religion, Hinduism is a distinct and unique tradition, with its own inbuilt beliefs, worldview, traditions, rituals, concept of the Absolute, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, cosmology, cosmogony and theology. The grand, systematic philosophical construct that we today call Hinduism is the result of the extraordinary efforts and spiritual insights of the great rishis, yogis, acharyas and gurus of our religion, guided by the transcendent light of the Vedic revelation that has stood the test of time. It is a tradition that is worthy of healthy celebration by Hindus and respectful admiration by non-Hindus.

    Such a realization and acceptance of Hinduism’s unique place in the world does not, by any stretch of the imagination, have to lead automatically to sectarianism, strife, conflict or religious chauvinism. Indeed, such a recognition of Hinduism’s distinctiveness is crucial if Hindus are to possess even a modicum of healthy self-understanding, self-respect and pride in their own tradition. Self-respect and the ability to celebrate one’s unique spiritual tradition are basic psychological needs, and a cherished civil right of any human being, Hindu and non-Hindu alike.

    Letting the Tradition Speak for Itself

    When we look at the philosophical, literary and historical sources of the pre-colonial Hindu tradition, we find that the notion of Radical Universalism is overwhelmingly absent. The idea that all religions are the same is not found in the sacred Hindu literature, among the utterances of the great philosopher-acharyas of Hinduism, or in any of Hinduism’s six main schools of philosophical thought (the Shad-darshanas). Throughout the history of the tradition, such great Hindu philosophers as Vyasa, Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha, Vijnana Bhikshu, Swaminarayan (Sahajanand Swami) and others made unambiguous and unapologetic distinctions between the religion of Hinduism and non-Hindu religions. The sages of pre-modern Hinduism had no difficulty in boldly asserting what was, and what was not, to be considered Hindu. And they did so often! This lucid sense of religious community and philosophical clarity is seen first and foremost in the very question of what, precisely, constitutes a “Hindu.” Without knowing the answer to this most foundational of questions, it is impossible to fully assess the damaging inadequacies of Radical Universalist dogma.

    Who Is a Hindu?

    Remarkably, when the question of who is a Hindu is discussed today, we get a multitude of confused and contradictory answers from both Hindu laypersons and from Hindu leaders. Some of the more simplistic answers to this question include: anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu (the ethnicity fallacy); if your parents are Hindu, then you are Hindu (the familial argument); if you are born into a certain caste, then you are Hindu (the genetic inheritance model); if you believe in reincarnation, then you are Hindu (forgetting that many non-Hindu religions share at least some of the beliefs of Hinduism); if you practice any religion originating from India, then you are a Hindu (the national origin fallacy). The real answer to this question has already been conclusively answered by the ancient sages of Hinduism.

    The two primary factors that distinguish the individual uniqueness of the great world religious traditions are a) the scriptural authority upon which the tradition is based, and b)Â the fundamental religious tenets that it espouses. If we ask the question what is a Jew?, for example, the answer is: someone who accepts the Torah as his scriptural guide and believes in the monotheistic concept of God espoused in these scriptures. What is a Christian? A person who accepts the Gospels as their scriptural guide and believes that Jesus is the incarnate God who died for their sins. What is a Muslim? Someone who accepts the Qur’an as their scriptural guide, and believes that there is no God but Allah, and that Mohammed is his prophet. In other words, what determines whether a person is a follower of any particular religion is whether or not they accept, and attempt to live by, the scriptural authority of that religion. This is no less true of Hinduism than it is of any other religion on Earth. Thus, the question of who is a Hindu is similarly easily answered.

    By definition, a Hindu is an individual who accepts as authoritative the religious guidance of the Vedic scriptures, and who strives to live in accordance with Dharma, God’s divine laws as revealed in those Vedic scriptures. In keeping with this standard definition, all of the Hindu thinkers of the six traditional schools of Hindu philosophy (shad-darshanas) insisted on the acceptance of the scriptural authority (shabda-pramana) of the Vedas as the primary criterion for distinguishing a Hindu from a non-Hindu, as well as distinguishing overtly Hindu philosophical positions from non-Hindu ones.

    It has been the historically accepted standard that if you accept the four Vedas and the smriti canon (one example of which would include the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, etc.) as your scriptural authority, and live your life in accordance with the dharmic principles of these scriptures, you are then a Hindu. Thus, any Indian who rejects the authority of the Vedas is obviously not a Hindu–regardless of his or her birth. While an American, Canadian, Russian, Brazilian, Indonesian or Indian who does accept the authority of the Vedas obviously is a Hindu. One is Hindu, not by race, but by belief and practice.

    Clearly Defining Hinduism

    Traditional Hindu philosophers continually emphasized the crucial importance of clearly understanding what is Hinduism proper and what are non-Hindu religious paths. You cannot claim to be a Hindu, after all, if you do not understand what it is that you claim to believe, and what it is that others believe. One set of antonymous Sanskrit terms repeatedly employed by many traditional Hindu philosophers were the words vaidika and avaidika.

    The word vaidika (or Vedic in English) means one who accepts the teachings of the Vedas. It refers specifically to the unique epistemological stance taken by the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy, known as shabda-pramana, or employing the divine sound current of Veda as a means of acquiring valid knowledge. In this sense the word vaidika is employed to differentiate those schools of Indian philosophy that accept the epistemological validity of the Vedas as apaurusheya–or a perfect authoritative spiritual source, eternal and untouched by the speculations of humanity–juxtaposed with the avaidika schools that do not ascribe such validity to the Vedas. In pre-Christian times, avaidika schools were clearly identified by Hindu authors as being specifically Buddhism, Jainism and the atheistic Charvaka school, all of whom did not accept the Vedas. These three schools were unanimously considered non-Vedic, and thus non-Hindu (they certainly are geographically Indian religions, but they are not theologically/philosophically Hindu religions).

    Dharma Rakshaka: The Defenders of Dharma

    With the stark exception of very recent times, Hinduism has historically always been recognized as a separate and distinct religious phenomenon, as a tradition unto itself. It was recognized as such both by outside observers of Hinduism, as well as from within, by Hinduism’s greatest spiritual teachers. The saints and sages of Hinduism continuously strived to uphold the sanctity and gift of the Hindu worldview, often under the barrages of direct polemic opposition by non-Hindu traditions. Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Charvakins (atheists), the four main philosophical schools found in Indian history, would frequently engage each other in painstakingly precise debates, arguing compellingly over even the smallest conceptual minutia of philosophical subject matter. The sages of Hinduism met such philosophical challenges with cogent argument, rigid logic and sustained pride in their tradition, usually soundly defeating their philosophical opponents in open debate.

    Adi Shankaracharya (788-820), as only one of many examples of Hindu acharyas defending their religion, earned the title “Digvijaya, ” or “Conqueror of All Directions.” This title was awarded Shankara due solely to his formidable ability to defend the Hindu tradition from the philosophical incursions of opposing (purva-paksha), non-Hindu schools of thought. Indeed, Shankara is universally attributed, both by scholars and later, post-Shankaran Hindu leaders, with being partially responsible for the historical decline of Buddhism in India due to his intensely polemic missionary activities. No Radical Universalist was he!

    The great teacher Madhva is similarly seen as being responsible for the sharp decline of Jainism in South India due to his immense debating skills in defense of Vaidika Dharma. Pre-modern Hindu sages and philosophers recognized and celebrated the singular vision that Hinduism has to offer the world, clearly distinguished between Hindu and non-Hindu religions, and defended Hinduism to the utmost of their prodigious intellectual and spiritual abilities. They did so unapologetically, professionally and courageously. The Hindu worldview only makes sense, has value and will survive if all Hindus similarly celebrate our religion’s uniqueness today.

    Traditional Hinduism Versus Neo-Hinduism

    A tragic occurrence in the long history of Hinduism was witnessed throughout the 19th century, the destructive magnitude of which Hindu leaders and scholars today are only beginning to adequately assess and address. This development both altered and weakened Hinduism to such a tremendous degree that Hinduism has not yet even begun to recover. The classical, traditional Hinduism that had been responsible for the continuous development of thousands of years of sophisticated culture, architecture, music, philosophy, ritual and theology came under devastating assault during the 19th century British colonial rule like at no other time in India’s history. For a thousand years previous to the British Raj, foreign marauders had repeatedly attempted to destroy Hinduism through overt physical genocide and the systematic destruction of Hindu temples and sacred places. Traditional Hinduism’s wise sages and noble warriors had fought bravely to stem this anti-Hindu holocaust to the best of their ability, more often than not paying for their bravery with their lives.

    What the Hindu community experienced under British Christian domination, however, was an ominously innovative form of cultural genocide. What they experienced was not an attempt at the physical annihilation of their culture, but a deceivingly more subtle program of intellectual and spiritual annihilation. It is easy for a people to understand the urgent threat posed by an enemy that seeks to literally kill them. It is much harder, though, to understand the insidious threat of an enemy who, while remaining just as deadly, claims to seek only to serve a subjugated people’s best interests.

    During this short span of time in the 19th century, the ancient grandeur and beauty of a classical Hinduism that had stood the test of thousands of years came under direct ideological attack. What makes this period especially tragic is that the main apparatus that the British used in their attempts to destroy traditional Hinduism were the British-educated, spiritually co-opted sons and daughters of Hinduism itself. Seeing traditional Hinduism through the eyes of their British masters, a pandemic wave of 19th-century Anglicized Hindu intellectuals saw it as their solemn duty to “Westernize ” and “modernize ” traditional Hinduism to make it more palatable to their new European overlords. One of the phenomena that occurred during this historic period was the fabrication of a new movement known as “neo-Hinduism.” Neo-Hinduism was an artificial religious construct used as a paradigmatic juxtaposition to the legitimate traditional Hinduism that had been the religion and culture of the people for thousands of years. Neo-Hinduism was used as an effective weapon to replace authentic Hinduism with a British-invented version designed to make a subjugated people easier to manage and control.

    The Christian and British inspired neo-Hindu movement attempted to execute several overlapping goals, and did so with great success:

    A. the subtle Christianization of Hindu theology, which included concerted attacks on iconic imagery (murti), panentheism, and belief in the beloved Gods and Goddesses of traditional Hinduism;

    B. the imposition of the Western scientific method, rationalism and skepticism on the study of Hinduism in order to show Hinduism’s supposedly inferior grasp of reality;

    C. ongoing attacks against the ancient Hindu science of ritual in the name of simplification and democratization of worship;

    D. the importation of Radical Universalism from liberal, Unitarian/Universalist Christianity as a device designed to severely water down traditional Hindu philosophy.

    The dignity, strength and beauty of traditional Hinduism was recognized as the foremost threat to Christian European rule in India. The invention of neo-Hinduism was the response. Had this colonialist program been carried out with a British face, it would not have met with as much success as it did. Therefore, an Indian face was cleverly used to impose neo-Hinduism upon the Hindu people. The resultant effects of the activities of Indian neo-Hindus were ruinous for traditional Hinduism.

    The primary dilemma with Hinduism as we find it today, in a nutshell, is precisely this problem of 1) not recognizing that there are really two distinct and conflicting Hinduisms today, neo-Hindu and traditionalist Hindu; and 2) traditionalists being the guardians of authentic Dharma philosophically and attitudinally, but not yet coming to full grips with the modern world–i.e., not yet having found a way of negotiating authentic Hindu Dharma with modernity in order to communicate the unadulterated Hindu Dharma in a way that the modern mind can fully appreciate it. Hinduism will continue to be a religion mired in confusion about its own true meaning and value until traditionalist Hindus can assertively, professionally and intelligently communicate the reality of genuine Hinduism to the world. Until they learn how to do this, neo-Hinduism will continue its destructive campaign.

    The Non-Hindu Origins of Radical Universalism

    Radical Universalism is neither traditional nor classical. Its origins can be traced back to the early 19th century. It is an idea not older than two centuries. Its intellectual roots are not even to be found in Hinduism itself, but rather are clearly traced back to Christian missionary attempts to alter the genuine teachings of authentic Hinduism. Radical Universalism was in vogue among 19th century British-educated Indians, most of who had little accurate information about their own Hindu intellectual and spiritual heritage. These Westernized Indians were often overly eager to gain acceptance and respectability for Indian culture from a Christian European audience who saw in Hinduism nothing more than the childish prattle of a brutish, colonized people. Many exaggerated stereotypes about Hinduism had been unsettling impressionable European minds for a century previous to their era. Rather than attempting to refute these many stereotypes about Hinduism by presenting Hinduism in its authentic and pristine form, however, many of these 19th-century Christianized Indians felt it was necessary to instead gut Hinduism of anything that might seem offensively exotic to the European mind. Radical Universalism seemed to be the perfect base notion upon which to artificially construct a “new ” Hinduism that would give the Anglicized 19th-century Indian intelligentsia the acceptability they so yearned to be granted by their British masters.

    We encounter one of the first instances of the Radical Universalist infiltration of Hinduism in the syncretistic teachings of Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), the founder of the Brahmo Samaj. A highly controversial figure during his life, Roy was a Bengali intellectual who was heavily influenced by the teachings of the Unitarian Church, a heterodox denomination of Christianity. In addition to studying Christianity, Islam and Sanskrit, he studied Hebrew and Greek with the dream of translating the Bible into Bengali. A self-described Hindu “reformer, ” he viewed Hinduism through a colonial Christian lens. The Christian missionaries had told Roy that traditional Hinduism was a barbaric religion that had led to oppression, superstition and ignorance of the Indian people. He believed them. More, Roy saw Biblical teachings, specifically, as holding the cherished key to altering traditional Hindu teachings to make them more acceptable to India’s colonial masters. In his missionary zeal to Christianize Hinduism, he even wrote an anti-Hindu tract known as The Precepts of Jesus: The Guide to Peace and Happiness. It was directly from these Christian missionaries that Roy derived the bulk of his ideas, including the anti-Hindu notion of the radical equality of all religions.

    In addition to acquiring Radical Universalism from the Christian missionaries, Roy also felt it necessary to Christianize Hinduism by adopting many Biblical theological beliefs into his neo-Hindu “reform ” movement. Some of these other non-intrinsic adaptations included a rejection of Hindu panentheism, to be substituted with a more Biblical notion of anthropomorphic monotheism; a rejection of all iconic worship ( “graven images ” as the crypto-Christians of the Brahmo Samaj phrased it); and a repudiation of the doctrine of avataras, or the divine descent of God. Roy’s immediate successors, Debendranath Tagore and Keshub Chandra Sen, attempted to incorporate even more Christian ideals into this neo-Hinduism invention. The Brahmo Samaj is today extinct as an organization, but the global Hindu community is still feeling the damaging effects of its pernicious influence.

    The next two neo-Hindu Radical Universalists that we witness in the history of 19th century Hinduism are Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) and Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902). Though Vivekananda was a disciple (shishya) of Ramakrishna, the two led very different lives. Ramakrishna was born into a Hindu family in Dakshineshwar. In his adult life, he was a Hindu temple priest and a fervently demonstrative devotee of the Divine Mother. His primary object of worship was the Goddess Kali, whom he worshiped with intense devotion all of his life. Despite his Hindu roots, however, many of Ramakrishna’s ideas and practices were derived, not from the ancient wisdom of classical Hinduism, but from the non-Vedic religious outlooks of Islam and liberal Christianity.

    Though he saw himself as being primarily Hindu, Ramakrishna believed that all religions aimed at the same supreme destination. He experimented briefly with Muslim, Christian and a wide variety of Hindu practices, blending, mixing and matching practices and beliefs as they appealed to him at any given moment. In 1875, Ramakrishna met Keshub Chandra Sen, the then leader of the neo-Hindu Brahmo Samaj. Sen introduced Ramakrishna to the close-knit community of neo-Hindu activists who lived in Calcutta, and would in turn often bring these activists to Ramakrishna’s satsangas. Ramakrishna ended up being one of the most widely popular of neo-Hindu Radical Universalists.

    Swami Vivekananda was arguably Ramakrishna’s most capable disciple. An eloquent and charismatic speaker, Vivekananda will be forever honored by the Hindu community for his brilliant defense of Hinduism at the Parliament of World Religions in 1893. Likewise, Vivekananda contributed greatly to the revival of interest in the study of Hindu scriptures and philosophy in turn-of-the-century India. The positive contributions of Vivekananda toward Hinduism are numerous and great indeed. Notwithstanding his remarkable undertakings, however, Vivekananda found himself in a similarly difficult position as other neo-Hindu leaders of his day were. How to make sense of the ancient ways of Hinduism, and hopefully preserve Hinduism, in the face of the overwhelming onslaught of modernity? Despite many positive contributions by Vivekananda and other neo-Hindus in attempting to formulate a Hindu response to the challenge of modernity, that response was often made at the expense of authentic Hindu teachings. Vivekananda, along with the other leaders of the neo-Hindu movement, felt it was necessary to both water down the Hinduism of their ancestors, and to adopt such foreign ideas as Radical Universalism, with the hope of gaining the approval of the European masters they found ruling over them.

    While Ramakrishna led a contemplative life of relative isolation from the larger world, Swami Vivekananda was to become a celebrated figure on the world religion stage. Vivekananda frequently took a somewhat dismissive attitude to traditional Hinduism as it was practiced in his day, arguing (quite incorrectly) that Hinduism was too often irrational, overly mythologically oriented, and too divorced from the more practical need for social welfare work. He was not much interested in Ramakrishna’s earlier emphasis on mystical devotion and ecstatic worship. Rather, Vivekananda laid stress on the centrality of his own idiosyncratic and universalistic approach to Vedanta, what later came to be known as “neo-Vedanta.”

    Vivekananda differed slightly with Ramakrishna’s version of Radical Universalism by attempting to superimpose a distinctly neo-Vedantic outlook on the idea of the unity of all religions. Vivekananda advocated a sort of hierarchical Radical Universalism that espoused the equality of all religions, while simultaneously claiming that all religions are really evolving from inferior notions of religiosity to a pinnacle mode. That pinnacle of all religious thought and practice was, for Vivekananda, of course, Hinduism. Though Vivekananda contributed a great deal toward helping European and American non-Hindus to understand the greatness of Hinduism, the Radical Universalist and neo-Hindu inaccuracies that he fostered have also done a great deal of harm as well.

    In order to fully experience Hinduism in its most spiritually evocative and philosophically compelling form, we must learn to recognize, and reject, the concocted influences of neo-Hinduism that have permeated the mass of Hindu thought today. It is time to rid ourselves of the liberal, Christian-inspired reformism that so deeply prejudiced such individuals as Ram Mohan Roy over a century ago. We must free ourselves from the anti-Hindu dogma of Radical Universalism that has so weakened Hinduism, and re-embrace a classical form of Hinduism that is rooted in the actual scriptures of Hinduism, that has been preserved for thousands of years by the various disciplic successions of legitimate acharyas, and that has stood the test of time. We must celebrate traditional Hinduism. The neo-Hindu importation of Radical Universalism may resonate with many on a purely emotional level, but it remains patently anti-Hindu in its origins, an indefensible proposition philosophically, and a highly destructive doctrine to the further development of Hinduism.

    “We’re Not Superior…Therefore We’re Superior ”

    In addition to demonstrating the non-Hindu nature of Radical Universalism from a historical and literary perspective, it is also important to examine the validity of the claims of Radical Universalism from an overtly philosophical perspective. We need to see if the idea that all religions are the same makes any objective rational sense at all. The problem that is created is that since only Hinduism is supposedly teaching the “truth ” that all religions are the same, and since no other religion seems to be aware of this “truth ” other than modern-day Hinduism, then Hinduism is naturally superior to all other religions in its exclusive possession of the knowledge that all religions are the same. In its attempt to insist that all religions are the same, Radical Universalism has employed a circular pattern of logic that sets itself up as being, astoundingly, superior to all other religions. Thus, attempting to uphold the claim of Radical Universalism leads to a situation in which Radical Universalism’s very claim is contradicted. A good way to see the inherent circular logic of this claim is to conduct a formal propositional analysis of the argument.

    1. Modern Hinduism is the only religion that supports Radical Universalism.

    2. Radical Universalism states that all religions are the same.

    3. No other religion states or knows that all religions are the same.

    4. Since a) no other religions know the truth that all religions are the same, and since b)Â only Hinduism knows the truth that all religions are the same, only Hinduism knows the truth of all religions.

    5. Only Hinduism knows the truth of all religions.

    6. Therefore, Hinduism is both distinct and superior to all religions.

    7. Therefore, given Hinduism’s distinctness from and superiority to all religions: all religions are not the same.

    8. Since all religions are not the same, Radical Universalism is untrue.

    Hinduism: The Empty Mirror?

    A further self-defeating aspect of Radical Universalism is that it severely negates the very need for Hinduism itself, relegating the Hindu tradition to merely being an ideological vehicle subservient to the Radical Universalist agenda, and rendering any meaningful sense of Hindu cultural and religious identity barren. If the Radical Universalists of neo-Hinduism claim that all religions are the same, then each and every religion is simultaneously deprived of all attributive uniqueness. They are deprived of their identity. This is manifestly true of Hinduism even more so than any other religion, since Radical Universalist neo-Hindus would be the sole representatives of Radical Universalism on the world religious stage today.

    If we say that the ancient teachings and profoundly unique spiritual culture of Hinduism is qualitatively no better or no worse than any other religion, then what is the need for Hinduism? Hinduism then becomes the blank backdrop, the empty theatrical stage, upon which all other religious ideas are given the unbridled freedom to act, entertain and perform, all at the expense of Hinduism’s freedom to assert its own identity. Hinduism, subjugated to the Radical Universalist agenda, would find itself reduced to being merely an inert mirror, doomed to aspire to nothing more philosophically substantial than passively reflecting every other religious creed, dogma and practice in its universalist-imposed sheen.

    Brahman and Free Volition

    The primary reason why Radical Universalists claim that all religions are the same is found in the pretentious assumption that the various individual Absolutes toward which each religion aims are, unbeknownst to them all, really the same. In other words, the members of all other religions are also really seeking Brahman; they are just not intelligent enough to know it! As every other religion will vociferously affirm, however, they are not seeking Brahman. Brahman is not Allah; Allah is not Nirvana; Nirvana is not Kevala; Kevala is not polytheistic Gods/Goddesses; polytheistic Gods/Goddesses is not Yahweh; Yahweh is not the Ancestors; the Ancestors are not tree spirits; tree spirits are not Brahman. When a religious Muslim tells us that he is worshiping Allah, and not Brahman, we need to take him seriously and respect his choice. When a Buddhist tells us that he wants to achieve Nirvana, and not Brahman, we need to take his claim seriously and respect his decision; and so on. To disrespectfully insist that all other religions are really just worshiping Brahman without knowing it, and to do so in the very name of respect and tolerance, is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and intolerance. The uncomplicated fact is that, regardless of how sincerely we may wish that all religions desire the same Absolute that we Hindus wish to achieve, other religions simply do not. We need to accept and live with this concrete theological fact.

    Distinguishing Salvific States

    The Christian’s ultimate aim in salvation is to be raised physically from the dead on the eschatological day of judgment, and to find herself in heaven with Jesus, who is to be found seated at the right hand of the anthropomorphic male Father/God of the Old and New Testament. Muslims aspire toward a delightfully earthy paradise in which 72 houris, or virgin youth, will be granted to them to enjoy (Qur’an, 76:19). Jains are seeking kevala, or aloneness, in which they will enjoy an eternal existence of omniscience and omnipotence without the unwanted intrusion of a God, a Brahman or an Allah. Buddhists seek to have all the transitory elements that produce the illusion of a self melt away, and to have themselves in turn melt away into the nihilism of nirvana. To the Buddhist, Brahman also is an illusion.

    Each of these different religions has its own categorically unique concept of salvation and of the Absolute toward which its followers aspire. Each concept is irreconcilable with the others. To state the situation unequivocally, if a Christian, Muslim, Jain or Buddhist, upon achieving his distinct notion of salvation, were to find himself instead united with Brahman, he would most likely be quite upset and confused indeed. And he would have a right to be! Conversely, the average yogi probably would be quite bewildered upon finding 72 virgins waiting for him upon achieving moksha, rather than realizing the eternal bliss of Brahman. One person’s vision of salvation is another person’s idea of hell.

    Reclaiming the Jewel of Dharma

    Sanatana Dharma, authentic Hinduism, is a religion that is just as unique, valuable and integral a religion as any other major religion on Earth, with its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology. The religious tradition of Hinduism is solely responsible for the revelation of such concepts and practices as yoga, ayurveda, vastu, jyotisha, yajna, puja, tantra, Vedanta, karma, etc. These and countless other Vedic-inspired elements of Hinduism belong to Hinduism, and to Hinduism alone. They are also Hinduisam’s divine gift to a suffering world.

    If we want to ensure that our youth remain committed to Hinduism as a meaningful path, that our leaders teach Hinduism in a manner that represents the tradition faithfully and with dignity, and that the greater Hindu community can feel that they have a religion that they can truly take pride in, then we must abandon Radical Universalism. If we want Hinduism to survive so that it may continue to bring hope, meaning and enlightenment to untold future generations, then the next time our son or daughter asks us what Hinduism is really all about, let us not slavishly repeat to them that all religions are the same. Let us instead look into their eyes, and teach them the uniquely precious, beautifully endearing, and philosophically profound truths of our tradition–truths that have been responsible for keeping Hinduism a vibrantly living religious force for over 5,000 years. Let us teach them Sanatana Dharma, the eternal way of Truth.

    About the Author

    Dr. Frank Morales, Dharma Pravartika, 42, is a devout Hindu, a teacher and lecturer on yoga spirituality, an ordained priest in the Vaishnava tradition, founder of the American Institute for Yoga Studies. His commitment to Hindu thought and practice began at age 12. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Hindu Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His website is http : / / www. dharma central. com. There the complete, unexpurgated text of this article ( “Does Hinduism Teach that All Religions Are the Same? A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism “) is available. Dr. Morales’ first book, Experiencing Truth: The Vedic Way of Knowing God, is scheduled for publication in 2005.” http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=1424

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  21. “March 03, 2011
    Jihad Has Come to India
    By Richard L. Benkin
    Jihad has come to India. The Obama administration and the State Department will tell you that it is nothing more than isolated acts by individuals. The government in New Delhi will say you are stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment. The mainstream media will ask how you can say that when we are hearing nothing about it from them. But it is real, and it is happening now. I have seen it first-hand. The Obama administration’s studied denial will find us caught as flat-footed in India as we were in Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere. The difference is that India is an economic and military giant, with nuclear weapons, and could be a cornerstone of any effective fight against radical Islam.

    For several years, I have been talking about the progressive radicalization of Bangladesh. Although it is the only country that ranks among the ten most populous and the ten most densely populated, as well as being the second largest Muslim-majority nation, events there do not capture people’s imagination. When you talk about India in the same context, however, people take notice. The thought of an Islamist dominated India scares the heck out of them and should. While our own strategic thinkers concentrate on internecine struggles in the Middle East, their obliviousness to the significance of an Islamist India has enabled our enemies to further their agenda.

    I have spent several years along India’s 2545 mile-long frontier with Bangladesh, and have seen the impact Bangladesh’s radicalization has had on its giant neighbor to the west. Amitabh Tripathi, who has been fighting against what he calls his country’s “soft policies,” noted that Bangladesh’s Muslims “are not radicalized but their institutions are.” That radicalization and a level of corruption on both sides of the border that makes my fellow Chicagoans look like amateurs has already produced demographic change in many strategic areas of India. It also has given Muslim activists carte blanche throughout the entire country. The process is deliberate, has been going on for decades, and should send us a screaming warning signal, not only because of what it bodes for India, but also because of what sort of future the Obama administration’s soft policies and tolerance for an open border to our south mean for the United States.

    Each year in districts like Uttar Dinajpur and North and South 24 Parganas directly across from the Islamic state, my colleagues and I find that more and more villages which once had mixed Hindu-Muslim populations are now all Muslim or Muslim-dominated. Gone are the roadside temples characteristic of places where Hindus practice their faith openly; gone are the sights of Hindu women dressed in their colorful saris and other vestments. They have been replaced by mosques and burqas. Last year, Tripathi and I met with Bimal Praminik, Director of the Kolkata-based Centre for Research in Indo-Bangladesh Relations and arguably the foremost authority on these population changes. He is convinced that this population shift is a deliberate and an integral element the jihad that threatens all of us: “Bangladeshi infiltration with Pakistani ideas… trying to ‘Pakistanize’ the entire region,” he said adding that that the dominant culture for South Asian Muslims has become more “Arabic,” than South Asian.

    In 1947 when the British left, they partitioned the Indian subcontinent into Hindu and Muslim states. West Bengal went to Hindu India, and East Bengal (now Bangladesh) became part of Pakistan. While Hindu and Muslim majorities respectively, remain, exhaustive studies by Pramanik and others hold out little hope that things will continue that way. During the second half of the 20th century, the Muslim proportion of West Bengal’s population rose by 25 percent and its Hindu population declined by nine, a process that has continued into the 21st. At the same time, Bangladesh’s Hindu population dropped from almost a third to nine percent. The process has not been pretty and has involved murder, gang rape, abduction of women and children, forced conversion to Islam, and legalized thievery of ancestral Hindu lands under Bangladesh’s anti-Hindu Vested Property Act. And now it is happening in India.

    Between 1981 and 1991, Muslim population growth in West Bengal actually exceeded its growth in Bangladesh. The South Asia Research Society concluded that Hindus have been fleeing Islamist persecution in East Bengal since the partition; but that since Bangladesh’s emergence as an independent nation in 1971, “there has been large scale voluntary infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims…to West Bengal and other parts of India” as well. The actual Muslim population growth exceeded Indian government projections that were based on demographic factors (fertility and mortality), internal migration, and the influx of Hindu refugees; thus, there had to be another element driving the change. Pramanik identifies it as “illegal immigration from across the border.” Islamist plans have been so detailed and longstanding that since 1951 the Muslim growth rate exceeded that of Hindus in each individual district of West Bengal.

    Statistics might be the “smoking gun,” but jihad’s impact is far more powerful in the testimony of individual non-Muslim residents who are its victims. One elderly woman in the Howrah district told us how Muslims are taking over her property piece by piece. She even showed us a wall with a star and crescent on it that local Muslims built to identify it as dar al Islam. In another village, residents showed us the remains of a Hindu temple that Muslims recently destroyed after urinating on its holy objects. Most poignant was the testimony of a crestfallen mother whose 22-year-old daughter was abducted weeks ago by local Muslims. Abduction of Hindu women and girls in the name of Islam has been common in Bangladesh for years and is a key element in jihad: eliminating females of childbearing years from the gene pool and forcing them to “produce” Muslim offspring instead. It is now happening in India, according to victimized parents who told me about it in India’s North and Northeast.

    Residents of Deganga, only 40 kilometers from the West Bengal capital of Kolkata, lived through an anti-Hindu pogrom last September. The pogrom started — as these things are wont to do these days — with a fabricated land dispute in which Muslims claimed a wooded area off the region’s main road that Hindus own and on which sits a Hindu shrine that is considered very sacred. As the 2010 Islamic observance of Iftar came to an end, a large group of Muslims attempted to seize the land until local Hindus stopped them. It was then that they started attacking Hindu households and shops indiscriminately, forcing many to flee the area with little more than the clothes on their backs.

    I returned to Deganga last month to find that while many homes and shops have been rebuilt, a sense of security by Hindus in their ancestral land has not. Most of the residents spoke about leaving the area; others talked about being fearful of attack, their children unable to attend school, and Hindu women being harassed whenever they go to the market or other places in the area. Many of them showed us charred pieces of their former residences; in other cases we were able to see signs of it bleeding through a new coat of paint. Hindu women and girls showed us where they hid during the attack to avoid being raped or abducted and made concubines; a fate that likely has befallen the missing 22-year old daughter of the mother above.

    In every single one of these cases, local authorities have refused to take action. In fact, during the Deganga pogrom, they arrested the community’s wealthiest Hindu on the false charge of firing on the jihadis. In the past, this official inaction has been purchased; but it is also a product of the alliance between Islamists and Communists in India. That alliance was announced publicly at a meeting in the south Indian state of Kerala; and it has been policy for West Bengal’s three-decade old communist government. Wherever we spoke with these villagers, Muslim neighbors would gather menacingly in an attempt to intimidate our informants. In some cases, they attacked after we left — again with no action by the authorities.

    In Meerut northeast of New Delhi and far from Deganga, the population of this once Hindu-dominated town is now split down the middle between Hindus and Muslims; and the Hindus are living in fear. Just five days ago before my arrival, a Hindu was burned to death and shortly before that a community leader was targeted and killed. These actions are becoming more common in this substantial-sized town with no police re-action; and according to residents and activists, it is only a matter of time before things explode.

    Our State Department will tell you that there is no jihad in India. They will hew the official line that the liberal Awami League government in Bangladesh has put an end to anti-Hindu actions there. A similarly weak government in New Delhi will parrot the same platitudes. Yet, their false palliatives bring no comfort to the scores of victims who have told us their stories; or the many others now unable to do so.

    They cannot explain away major terrorist attacks in India’s largest cities like Mumbai, Pune, in New Delhi, and elsewhere. They cannot explain how insurgents can regularly kidnap minor officials and receive their ransom (usually release of prisoners, cash, and government forbearance from counter terrorist action) every time they do. If the Obama administration and its left-wing counterparts in India do not replace their studied ignorance with effective action, we will be as “surprised” over what becomes of India as we were with Iran, Egypt, and a host of other nations.

    Imagine what an Islamist India would mean for us.” http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/jihad_has_come_to_india.html

  22. I dont know abt journalists being diehard secularists. But they sure are pseudo-intellectual wannabe secularists ! Cuz they have completely killed the meaning of ‘secularism’ by being anti-hindu and pro-every-other-religion !

  23. “Gosh, said, a chap from the London Telegraph, whom Andrew had briefly met once, these Hindu fundamentalists will bring curse to this country; see how they are claiming that most the mosques in India, including the Babri Masjid, are built on destroyed temples…”

    Hmmm… speaking of destroyed Hindu Temples, here is a current destruction of a Hindu Temple by Muslims – IN MALAYSIA by the police no less
    “SHAH ALAM: The Human Rights Party (HRP) has denounced yesterday’s demolishment of a Hindu temple in Glenmarie and demanded from the Selangor government an acre of land for a new temple.

    S Thiagarajan, a pro-tem central executive committee member of the party, said Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim must take “full responsibility” for the violation of the Sri Muneswarar Temple by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) and make amends by granting the acre of land.

    He said he learned of the destruction when a local resident telephoned him while it was going on. The caller told him 30 police and MBSA officers were using sledgehammers to carry out the demolition.

    “A Malay haji sprinkled something around the shrine and then some 10 uniformed enforcement officers started the ruthless act,” he told FMT.

    He added that six Hindu deities were smashed into pieces.

    “The Hindu devotees there could not stop the bloodletting; they were blocked by policemen,” he said.

    “This is a clear cut case of the city council violating Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, and Article 8, which provides of equality before the law and equal protection before the law.

    “We demand that the state government allocate one acre of land to the temple committee to build a new temple.”

    He also said the state should grant permanent land titles for all Hindu temples in Selangor so that “such flagrant acts of transgression” would not recur.” http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/11/25/hrp-decries-%e2%80%98ruthless%e2%80%99-razing-of-temple/

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