Being involved a dialogue with some Christians, I had an opportunity to perusematerial relating to Christianity and its relationship with other faiths. While I concentrated onthe encounter with Hinduism, I studied other encounters too, and what Christians have to sayabout themselves and their own system.Looking at the totality, I was surprised at the vast chasm between what the impressionmost Hindus have about Christianity and what the fact is. I also realised that the Christianhierarchy and the apologists have mounted a sustained campaign of misinformation.The compulsion of writing this book was the way the issue of the attacks on Christianestablishments has been politicised. In the programme, the Christian clergy has been amplysupported by the laity and those who go under the rubric of ‘secularist’. The objective of thewhole exercise is not only to put Hinduism in bad light, but also India.This book will not deal with the attacks, but will present the sociopolitical issues thatare important to be tackled if Christianity is to co-exist in harmony with Hinduism. Carefulthought will have to be given to them, since the history of Christianity in India is notsomething to be proud of The sad part is that this history is sought to be negated, and the‘secularists’ are as much at fault as the Christian clergy. At least one can rationalise the behaviour of the clergy. But what is the excuse of the ‘secularists’ to authenticate the clergy’s programme?Much of the book is devoted to quotes from already published material. Many of themare from Christian sources. The objective is to inform the reader that the points being made arenot new. However, they have not been addressed, and that the same old issues’ are raked upagain and again.This book has four appendixes. They have to be read in totality to understand theflavour of the argument. As above, another objective of reproducing the whole texts is toinform the reader that the points made are not new.Hindu philosophy has always been accommodative. It will continue to be so, providedChristianity reciprocates the tolerant spirit of Hinduism.
IA Pluralistic Hinduism
Before we address the issues concerned, there is a need to appreciate that there is adifference in which religion is looked at in the Hindu and Christian viewpoint. For a Hindu,religion is not a mere ritual, but a philosophy of life. We know that Hinduism does not have a book, a prophet, or a centralised hierarchy. The correct description of Hinduism is
has an English equivalent, meaning eternal, translating
asreligion is not proper.
encompasses religion. Confusion prevails when
isequated with religion.Hinduism has a religious connotation in the Western sense, as well as a philosophicalconnotation in the Eastern sense. Hinduism believes in pluralism - that is there are multiple paths to salvation and one chooses the path that one thinks is valid for oneself. This is thehallmark of its tolerance. Its ethos is expressed in the shloka
Ekam Sat, Viprah BahuddaVadanti,
which is best translated as follows: “There is an eternal Truth, but there are many