The Gift of Difference

[This post by Brad Hirschfield is part of a roundtable discussion on the new book Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism by Rajiv Malhotra, now featured at the Patheos Book Club.]

Being Different is a bold attempt to harness the insights and inspiration of dharmic tradition which is almost always limited, at least in popular conception, to being about personal issues, and applies those insights and wisdom to larger social policy and perspective.  It is an attempt that reminds us of the profound wisdom which can be found in that tradition – wisdom whose preciousness is directly related to its being different from what most people have come to expect from the Judeo-Christian worldview that has most significantly shaped the popular and political cultures of the United States and much of the western world.

Rajiv Malhotra has, in fact, written a wise and important book – one whose greatest contribution is to wrestle with genuine difference not simply as something to be overcome, but as a gift to be cherished.  Malhotra argues that ignoring difference in favor of a Pollyannaish, if well-intentioned, flattening of distinction, is not only foolish but arrogant and even dangerous.  I could not agree more.

As one who spends a fair amount of time in both the inter-faith world and the world of public affairs, I regularly see the limitations of the approach where differences are ignored or explained away out of the belief that if we could just locate our “fundamental commonality”, all would be well and the world would be at peace.  Not quite!

In fact, pretty much all people tout the value of commonality, until they find it impossible to locate, and then they typically lash out at those with whom they disagree.  Having believed that they have charted a course which honored that which is common to all people, those who run “off course” are seen not simply a different, but as somehow flawed in their own humanity, or even less than fully human.

Malhotra devotes himself in this book, to getting beyond that flattening-for-peace impulse, and to the nurturing of a world-view which can tolerate, and even respect, genuine difference and unresolved distinctions.  If there is any weakness to Malhotra’s argument it is that he too easily finds the solution to the flattening of difference, and the cultural superiority complex, which usually comes along with it (again, typically well-intentioned) on the part of those doing the flattening, in one particular tradition – his own.  That is problematic, but it should not distract one overly much from the most importance insight in the book i.e. that unresolved difference can be a remarkable gift and is certainly necessary to appreciate.

Don’t get me wrong.  When I place fundamental commonality in quotes, as I did above, it is not because I don’t think that such a thing exists – I do.  But I also believe that fundamental difference exists right alongside it, and that the two together are what make us who we are – a people, as communities and as spiritual traditions.

To be sure, there are limits to the appreciation of difference and the book does little to help us determine where that line falls, and what to do when it has been crossed.  For example, it is not enough to explain, as the author does at the end of the book, that we can know how to distinguish between those issues over which we will have confrontation and those over which we will not by sighting the Bhagavadagita story of Arjuna.

Mr. Malhotra explains that this story serves as a model because “Arjuna is not simply fighting for his side, but for justice and broader establishment of dhama, one that is in line with the ritam (inherent nature) of the cosmos.  The adversaries’ fight is not due to any righteousness in their cause but to ignorance, attachment and greed”.  The problem?  Change a few words and the same claim has been made by most religious terrorists across history.

They too believed what Arjuna believed and simply saying that they were wrong but Arjuna was right, doesn’t work.  In fact, to hold that belief would render this otherwise fascinating book rather useless, which I do not think is the case.

Being Different solves fewer problems than it imagines, but it remains a rich and wonderfully challenging read – one which opens doors into a deeply humane and powerful process – that of finding the greater peace which comes with enhancing our ability to experience the gift of difference.

Visit the Patheos Book Club on Being Different for more conversation here.

Listed three years in a row in Newsweek as one of America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis, and recognized as one of our nation’s leading Preachers & Teachers by Beliefnet.com, think tank President, talk show host, interfaith activist, and diversity expert Brad Hirschfield is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism(Harmony, 2008).

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    Mr. Malhotra explains that this story serves as a model because “Arjuna is not simply fighting for his side, but for justice and broader establishment of dhama, one that is in line with the ritam (inherent nature) of the cosmos. The adversaries’ fight is not due to any righteousness in their cause but to ignorance, attachment and greed”. The problem? Change a few words and the same claim has been made by most religious terrorists across history.

    In the last chapter, Mr. Malhotra also explains how Mahatma Gandhi was “like a twentieth-century Arjuna”, who “attacked adharma and challenged the judges, politicians and lawyers who guarded the British empire”.

    Does Mr Brad Hirschfield claim to be able to turn Mahatma Gandhi into a religious terrorist by simply changing a few words? I would love to see him perform that miracle. I’m sure the British Empire, if it still existed, would be happy to have Mr. Hirschfield on their side to prosecute their case against Mahatma Gandhi.

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    Now that I’ve been just as flippant as Mr. Hirschfield, perhaps a real dialog can begin. What are the roots of Mr. Hirschfield’s discomfort with Mr. Malhotra’s invocation of the example of Arjuna in the Gita.

    Ostensibly it is because “change a few words and any religious terrorist could have said it” – “the adversaries’ fight it not due to any righteousness in their cause but to ignorance, attachment and greed.”

    It is true that many who fight justify their violence by a similar sounding claim. The problem with Mr. Hirschfield’s complaint is that it seems to imply that all such claims are purely subjective, that we cannot objectively judge whether an injustice has been done – or not done – to someone. It would seem we have very little common ground.

    I think Mr. Hirschfield is mistaken – consider the golden rule. “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma” is from the Mahabharata. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is from the Torah. Or, as one of my dharma teachers says – we do not need any scriptures for this, even a child understands the golden rule. On this much we stand on common ground?

    If that is conceded, then can we not agree when someone has violated the golden rule? Can we not then agree on the resulting injustice? Proceeding on that basis, I think we can agree that it can be legitimate to forcefully resist injustice – we may simply not agree when that line is reached. We can perhaps also agree that given the relatively lawfulness of the world at this time, violence in the name of righting an injustice is rarely justified in this era; non-violent methods have to be tried first. Of course sometimes one simply cannot avoid the fight – World War 2 in Europe comes to mind.

    Since all that I wrote above is really trivial, and surely has occurred to Mr. Hirschfield, I cannot fathom the basis of his discomfort. Perhaps he will elaborate.

  • Surya

    Brad Hirschfield raises two key issues:

    Brad’s first issue is that he agrees with the need to not flatten differences just for flattening-for-peace.  He then turns it around and says that Dharmic differences should not be flattened either.  

    His second issue is on whether there should be a limit to appreciation of differences. That it is not very clear where you draw a line and what to do when the line has been crossed.

    “Being Different” (BD)  responds to these issues by saying that we should see commonalities where they exist but also recognize and respect differences.  In an environment of mutual respect, there can be an acceptance of commonalities and differences without creating any anxieties about either.   

    When parties with vested interests (in this case, to convert people to their faith) make a deliberate effort to create differences and drive wedge between people of traditions that have lots of key commonalities, that is where you draw a line and say that the line has been crossed.

    When parties with vested interests (again, to convert people to their faith) make a deliberate effort to proffer “sameness” arguments even in the face of irreconcilably incompatible differences, that is where you draw the line and say that the line has been crossed.

    Both these issues are dealt with in greater detail below.

    “Being Different” (BD) is not a generalist book against flattening-for-peace as Brad suggests.  BD’s focus is much narrower and sharper: BD is specifically targeting followers of Dharmic traditions and is trying to teach them to break out of the reverie of gazing at everything, even their own native traditions, with Western goggles.  This is particularly important for followers of Dharmic traditions whose field is dominated by Western writers many of whom are trained in Abrahamic religious studies and many of whom are actively practicing one of the Abrahamic faiths.  

    BD is asking followers of Dharmic traditions to find their comfort in being different and then reverse the gaze to look at the other side from the perspective of their own traditions.  BD is doing this by providing a rationale that helps them see in what ways their traditions have:

    (1) Irreconcilable incompatibilities with Abrahamic faiths.  Why is this important? There has been a spate of deliberate conversion efforts that are approaching Dharmic religious followers with the “sameness” argument.  Their goal is to sufficiently mislead and convert.  Understanding the incompatibility helps see through the veil of intended confusion.

    BD makes it amply clear that there are differences between Dharmic traditions but these differences do not create incompatibilities the way Abrahamic faiths do.  For example, one prominent difference is the exclusivity to Divine Will that each of the Abrahamic faiths claims for its special Prophet.  Thus, history becomes central to Abrahamic faiths.  For example, are Jews or Muslims willing to accept that Jesus is the Son of the God?  Are Christians willing to accept that Jesus is no more than a messenger?  Clearly, the point of contention is the issue of exclusivity of Jesus as a historical fact and not his message itself. 

    (2) Commonalities that bring Dharmic religions closer.  Why is this important?  The second tactic used by deliberate conversion efforts is to create divisions and drive a wedge.  This prepares the divided people better for conversion efforts when approached by a more friendly and “similar” Abrahamic religion.  Some of these efforts are well detailed with references in Rajiv Malhotra’s earlier book “Breaking India”.  

    In Dharmic traditions, there is no special access to divine will and what one experiences or realizes is available for others as well.  It is this lack of exclusivity that gives Dharmic systems their open architecture of critically debating and peacefully coexisting – integrating while retaining their differences.  Thus, while believing in the history may strengthen ones faith, it is not necessary for a follower of Dharmic traditions to tie his faith to history.  This is akin to how physicists having different theories have no fundamental history-centric differences.  Followers of Newton have no heartburn that a later Einstein comes up with an alternative theory.  Their Prophet Newton does not have exclusive access to God that makes all other religions incompatible including that of a later Prophet Einstein.

  • Kartik M.

    Brad Hirschfield:
    “Malhotra devotes himself in this book, to getting beyond that flattening-for-peace impulse, and to the nurturing of a world-view which can tolerate, and even respect, genuine difference and unresolved distinctions. If there is any weakness to Malhotra’s argument it is that he too easily finds the solution to the flattening of difference, and the cultural superiority complex, which usually comes along with it (again, typically well-intentioned) on the part of those doing the flattening, in one particular tradition – his own. That is problematic…”

    I don’t understand why Mr. Hirschfield considers this a “weakness,” when Malhotra explains that the impulse to flatten difference simply does not arise in Dharmic tradition. Or indeed, what makes such a point of view “problematic”, apart from the fact that it happens to have endured for thousands of years in Malhotra’s own heritage.

    “Being Different” establishes that Dharmic traditions have never been inclined to flatten or eliminate difference in the first place; since they assume the integral unity of the cosmos as axiomatic, all diversity within creation is to be welcomed and celebrated… not merely “tolerated”. Malhotra is not “easily finding a solution”, but simply elucidating the precepts of a tradition in which the very problem of flattening difference does not exist.

    On the other hand, the compromise of a patronizing “tolerance” (as opposed to genuine mutual respect) often seems the closest thing to a solution that the Western world, steeped in Judeo-Christian traditions, has been able to provide.

    In Malhotra’s view, this has much to do with the precepts of these traditions, wherein creation is seen as intrinisically disperse, atomistic, and even flawed (consider the “Original Sin”) and therefore, as plagued by a fundamental disunity that must be set to rights by the active efforts of the faithful.

    It is this urge to impose a synthetic unity on the fractious (and hence “flawed”) mosaic of humankind, with the authority conferred by divine revelation according to a preferred historical narrative, that breeds “Difference Anxiety”– a phenomenon Malhotra has discussed at length in his book. Cultures which suffer from Difference Anxiety are predisposed to approach inter-faith dialogue from the point of view of emphasizing “fundamental commonality”– as Mr. Hirschfield correctly observes — simply because they are not comfortable with difference.

    It is this very Difference Anxiety that appears to plague Mr. Hirschfield when he expresses a need to determine “where the line falls” that delimits the extent to which appreciating difference is possible (or does he mean “permissible”?) The book does not provide an answer to the question of “what to do when the line is crossed”, simply because there is no prescribed “limit” to the appreciation of difference… or to the accordance of mutual respect to different spiritual paths… in a Dharmic tradition wherein all spiritual paths are, in fact, seen as equally valid.

    The Bhagavadgita story of Arjuna has been entirely misinterpreted by Mr. Hirschfield in this regard. It is not meant to illustrate an axiomatic, one-size-fits-all injunction by commandment as to when it is appropriate to take up arms (if it were, then it would indeed be applicable to religious terrorists as Mr. Hirschfield claims.) Arjuna is not compelled to fight by divine revelation (though some scholars from Judeo Christian tradition, with its inherent history-centrism, may misinterpret the Bhagavadgita in such facile terms by applying their own ethical constructs of moral authority as universal.)

    The Bhagavadgita is not the story of a warrior receiving divine sanction to smite his foes under the aegis of an all-encompassing absolute morality. It is an allegory that depicts a man who has trained his entire life to excel at the art of war, and yet, at the moment of truth, is faced with grave doubt in the morality of using that art to resolve a conflict.

    It is not the mere fact of Krishna appearing to Arjuna in divine form that inspires him to go ahead and fight. Krishna merely informs Arjuna about the nature of the universe, consciousness and the mind; shows how the ego sets traps in the form of self-imposed limitations to personal growth; and explains the virtue of action rooted in complete and detached awareness. Arjuna is then left to determine his OWN answer to the quandary of the forthcoming war’s morality… it is not prescribed to him by Krishna in a “Burning-Bush-Stone-Tablets” type deal. The Gita is not a scripture that sanctifies any specific action (let alone war) as absolutely moral; rather, it inspires the reader to seek a degree of self-awareness, through personal spiritual exploration, that best empowers him to gauge the morality of his actions in a given context.

    Perhaps if Mr. Hirschfield studied the Bhagavadgita in greater depth, he would feel confident in his own ability to determine the limits of appreciating difference… or to question whether such limits must necessarily exist… rather than faulting Malhotra’s book for failing to provide that answer.

  • Rajiv Malhotra

    Hirshfield suggests that I privilege dharma in showing differences, which I do, and I say this upfront as my intention. For I do not believe that we humans at this stage are capable of assuming “God’s view” or some neutral posture. We are, consciously of unconsciously, superimposing and projecting our conditioning. Thus far it has been the western assumptions and presuppositions that have dominated such comparative works. I present the view from the dharma side so that each side knows how the others sees things.

    In the absence of a purely “neutral” view, the best we can do (and indeed we must do this) is to make sure that we have a poly-view or pluralism of views for people to become aware of. The level plying field is defined as one where both (or multiple) views get equal play, not as a place with a single “God’s view” being pontificated.

    When women challenged the male view of gender, they did so from an avowedly female gaze, not a neutral one. That was useful in that it showed each side how things look from the other.

    Hirshfield is being too idealistic if he feels that there can be a view from nowhere. The postmodernists attempted that, but a whole section of my book is devoted to show that that enterprise has produced either nihilism or stealth privileging of the west. The point Hirshfield needs to appreciate is that its better (and desirable) to have a view that is explicitly stated as coming from a certain vantage point, rather than the pretense of a view from nowhere – which tends to be the claim of the humanities.

  • http://dogmatoxin.wordpress.com DogmaToxin

    there are limits to the appreciation of difference

    I guess you reached your limit very quickly.

    Change a few words and the same claim has been made by most religious terrorists across history.

    You are right. One of these days, I would like to see someone research and find out where exactly the dangerous ideas of exclusivism, only one true god, us -vs- them, intolerance, bigotry and religiously motivated wars, massacres and genocides etc started. It must be somewhere in the dharmic scriptures like Bhagavad Gita or Ramayana.

    I must say IMO Joshua Stanton was more sincere, open and engaging in his interview with Rajiv Malhotra and his follow up blog at Huffington Post:

    [http://beingdifferentbook.com/joshua-stanton-video-1/]

    [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joshua-stanton/is-history-centrism-an-ab_b_894260.html]

  • http://None Mikki

    OK, please someone tell me: What wars or killings came out of those who follow Bhagwad Gita during the past 2,100 years ? None- other than at the initiation of the China in 1962 and at the initiation of Pak in 1971…
    Then, tell me: What wars or killings came out of those who follow Avista, Torah, Bible & Koran ? Just take a glimse at the list in the Bible. Avista-Torah gangs did the killings for thousands years until Alexander the Great put an end to it in ~325BC; then, the left overs went on with relious Wars, WW I & WW II … not to forget the Iraq war, and want to begin a new war… (with Iran- an old parter in war to the war-mongering Avista-Torah gangs…).
    By the way, Arjuna who did his righteous duty could not clean-up these gangs then, nor Alexander the Great in 325BC…. So, the differences between ‘dharma’ v. ‘greed’ may remain eternal?

  • ANKUR KAKKAR

    1. “Don’t get me wrong. When I place fundamental commonality in quotes, as I did above, it is not because I don’t think that such a thing exists – I do. But I also believe that fundamental difference exists right alongside it, and that the two together are what make us who we are – a people, as communities and as spiritual traditions.”

    My response :-
    Firstly, Malhotra is not denying that commonalities exist between different religions. However, the objective of “being different” is not to explore these commonalities. Rather, the endeavor is to understand the fundamental differences which are often obscured (intentionally or unintentionally) because of such commonalities which give a false impression that all religions are ‘same’.
    Secondly, we need to figure out at what level commonalities exist between the Judeo-Christian and Dharmic traditions. It is possible that commonalities exist only at a superficial level, and when we go deeper to the basic assumptions – we see fundamental differences. If we are genuinely open-minded, we should consider all possibilities in our exploration, even if we find that our observations contradict our previous notions.
    As Malhotra says, “At the level of popular culture, India and the West may meet as equals. But at a deeper level, where the core assumptions of a civilization reside, the playing field is tilted”. Hence, it would be naïve to assume that commonalities and differences exist at the same level and both are equal in every respect.
    Thirdly, as Sita Ram Goel said “They (Christians) want us to accept that Christianity has a lot in common with Hinduism, that Christianity is a great and unique religion, that Jesus is a spiritual power and that Hindus should have no objection to Christian missions. We will not walk into the trap.”
    A blatant example of elucidating the rules of purva-paksha described by Malhotra in BD, is the following statement by S.R.Goel “Jesus has a relevance to the dialogue (between Hindus and Christians) if the Christian side allows us to present him as we and not they see him”.

    2. “Mr. Malhotra explains that this story serves as a model because “Arjuna is not simply fighting for his side, but for justice and broader establishment of dhama, one that is in line with the ritam (inherent nature) of the cosmos. The adversaries’ fight is not due to any righteousness in their cause but to ignorance, attachment and greed”. The problem? Change a few words and the same claim has been made by most religious terrorists across history. They too believed what Arjuna believed and simply saying that they were wrong but Arjuna was right, doesn’t work.”

    My response :-
    Mr. Brad, your assumption is that the perception of ‘dharma’, ‘freedom’, ‘justice’ etc. is the same for all. However, that may not be always true.
    When an Islamic terrorist says “We are defending Islam and its sanctity” does he imply the same sanctity as implied in the Bhagvad Gita?
    When a suicide bomber says “I am proud and honored to be a terrorist for the sake of Allah. This is Islamic religious law. I don’t invent anything. I follow Islamic religious law in this.”, does he have the same justice in mind as Arjuna had ?
    What you are implying is that motivations for violence are the same for everyone and therefore none can be relatively evaluated – this is equivalent to moral relativism, which is already discussed by Malhotra in his book.

    When a terrorist claims he is fighting for his ‘dharma’, he means ‘his duty to fulfill the cause of allah’ as ordained in the Quran.
    In the case of Arjuna, the motivation for violence comes from his own realization that ‘dharma’ is above material relations. ‘Dharma’ is difficult to explain in a single word or sentence because it has multiple meanings which depend on the context. For the sake of this context, when arjuna is fighting for the establishment of ‘dharma’, he is fighting for the establishment of ‘a sustainable society – a stable society based on dharma’.
    ‘Dharma’, ‘justice’, ‘freedom’ etc. may mean different things in different religions. That is why we are seeing a ‘clash of civilizations’.

  • http://dogmatoxin.wordpress.com DogmaToxin

    Change a few words and the same claim has been made by most religious terrorists across history.

    I know some “holy” scriptures where we don’t even have to “change a few words”. How neat? Let us do some inter-faith, Brad. Let us compare those “few words” in Abrahamic and Dharmic scriptures. Shall we?

    In the book, Rajiv Malhotra offers this great suggestion. Based on our modern values and ethics, let us examine ALL supposedly holy books, and remove those lines that are obviously objectionable – this means pro-slavery, pro-untouchability, pro-bigotry, pro-terrorism, pro-ignorance etc statements must be removed. Are the Abrahamic clergy ready for this kind of inter-faith?

  • http://digestingveda.blogspot.com/ Digesting VEDA

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2012/03/confessions-of-a-western-universalist/

    Carl Gregg started with great confidence that he had blown my thesis apart. But the responses and comments to him were very solid. After he failed to deal with them using facts and reason, he resorted to quoting what Nussbaum wrote about me back in 2006/7 – unrelated to anything to do with BD. Then someone pointed out the rejoinders given to Nussbaum’s statements (which she refuses to debate publicly), and how Gregg was being a loser by resorting to such an “amendment”.

    So finally, Gregg asked the web site to stop accepting any comments for his blog. Just like Vijay Prashad many years ago ran away after debating me on OutlookIndia.com (the posts are still available in the archive), Gregg has chosen to run away.

    The archive of back and forth comments on his thread is extremely educational, because many westerners have similar ideas as Gregg that dont stand scrutiny. For example, they tend to say:

    Similar mysticism has also existed in Christianity. To which I point out that (1) those rare mystics were persecuted by the church for 2 millennia, and (2) it was recent dharma influence upon the west that led uturners to look for similar resources in western traditions, often with great exaggeration.
    That I am ill informed about the bible, to which I ask for specifics and then give my rejoinders. (The assumption is that most of us will either get scared and run away or turn abusive, both of which are unfortunately common responses from Hindus.)
    That Christianity has evolved, ironically by virtue of those theologians who have digested dharma into Christianity – Wilber, Berry, Swimme, Teilhard, Ryan, Panikkar, Bede, Keating, Teasdale….) Being a Christian Centering Prayer follower, he was unable to respond to my explanation of the history of how this got appropriated from Maharishi’s TM via Bede to Teasdale to Keating. (My smoking gun is an audio recording of a talk at Maharishi Univ given by Keating himself thanking them for teaching his monks how to meditate. Likewise his citing Wilber’s Integral Christianity was a great opening for a response.

    You can see what a war my Uturn Theory book will start. The foundation on which much the new/liberal western Christianity is being taught is built on digesting dharma.

    regards,

    rajiv

  • Stone

    I wanted to post this in Carl Gregg’s blog but he choose to close it unable to rebut the points raised by many knowledgable people.

    This article in Newsweek may be related to what was being discussed about (The Hindu influence on “Progressive Christians” which is conveniently labelled as “Eastern thought” in western discourse.)

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/08/14/we-are-all-hindus-now.html
    We Are All Hindus Now

  • http://None Mikki

    Rev.Gregg and I exchanged e-mails on 03/09/12- here is a copy of that exchange:
    03/09/12

    You have my permission to post our correspondence, deleting email addresses — with the following clarification of “I will be back.” As I said before, “In the future, I suspect that I will once again find myself in a healthy Indian-Western / Hindu-Christian dialogue, and I will bring what I have learned from this exchange over Malhotra’s book to that discussion. Perhaps he, or you, or others will even be part of that future event.”

    And you or anyone is certainly welcome to visit our church anytime.

    Peace to you this day,

    Carl

    03/09/12

    Thank you Rev. Gregg for your prompt response- I have no complaint for your closing of the Blog.- others might have.
    So, do you mind if I post our correspondence (deleting e mail address…etc.) on another Blog. to advise others that you will be back and like to continue the conversation on the issues that interest all of us?
    By the way, I am only few miles away from your Church- may be I will visit with you and attend your Church service, one day !
    Mikki

    03/09/12

    Mikki,

    Thank you for your email, but let me expand on the reasons that I closed the blog comments. (For clarification, I did not delete your two additional comments on my other post; I did not approved them to be posted in the first place. Patheos grants me full control over moderating comments, and closing posts against further comments.) I have a full-time job as a pastor in addition to many volunteer responsibilities. I am not compensated for my work blogging at Patheos. I am grateful for the dialogue to date, but the comments are now closed because I do not have the time or energy to continue to moderate and respond to them. I have, for example, two more books to review for Patheos before the middle of March, as well as some conferences this weekend. In the future, I suspect that I will once again find myself in a healthy Indian-Western / Hindu-Christian dialogue, and I will bring what I have learned from this exchange over Malhotra’s book to that discussion. Perhaps he, or you, or others will even be part of that future event.

    Namaste,

    Carl

    03/09/12

    Dear Brother Rev. Gregg:
    Namaste !
    By the time I saw your comment “Confessions of a Western Universalist”, you closed the Blog. Therefore, I placed my Reply (or facts) as a part of your “New Sermon: Confronting the Unconscious: From Supernatural to Natural Spirituality”… Not only you did not respond, but my 2-postings are deleted- I can understand why? Therefore, I chose to contact you directly with my factual Qs, and I hope you will take time to agree or disagree to the facts I cite below.
    To begin with, you made some good points being a ‘Western Universalist’; but, I believe Brother Rajiv is correct when it came to Dharma v. Greed- by the way, greed is the bottom line of ‘Pharisee, Jew and those who became “subservient” to the confused Jew in the name of Universalism’. My point is- Pharisee has no dharma, only greed for power. Pharisee came up with ‘Avista’, a twisted version of ‘Veda’ in ‘Avistan’, a right to left script of Sanskrit.
    First of all, I hope you know all our-languages Greek, Latin, Germanic, English etc.. or even the Aramaic that Jesus spoke are rooted in Sanskrit- please advise if you disagree?
    Going back to Pharisee-Avista gangs: See your own Bible (mostly a fiction of the Jew) lists Wars-Killings carried out by those who, once, were the “subservient” to the Pharisee greed- until Alexander the Great in 334-324BC destroyed the Persian-empire, burnt Avista, and took ‘Veda’ with him…
    Thus, Pharisee lost in his own game… Shall we say it is the ‘god’s will?’ Please wait, we will find ‘where is god?’- in the next phase of our conversation!
    So, 300 years later, our good-Brothers, the godly-Brahmins in ‘Indoos’ (the name Alexander gave to the heart of our-Motherland, beyond Indus-river), in an attempt to save the confused-Pharisee dispatched a godly-man (whom we call Jesus, the son of Father- we will talk about Father later).
    The rest you know- ‘god’ is not the guide to the Pharisee greed is, and without ‘subservient’ Pharisee is lost…
    Therefore, Pharisee quickly got ride of ‘Jesus’, changed cloths as Jew, re-wrote Torah or Bible (in Greek, a left to right script), and dispatched Paul (a Jew and a known murderer) to sell the Bible to the innocent ‘Paganu’ (Nature worshippers…or ‘Veda’ followers) making Jesus the ‘god’. You know how this Paul sold the Bible: ‘when I fell off of a horse, Jesus appeared and saved me….’ (that is in ~100AD? or ~70 years after Jesus is gone…). Steadily, the Jew managed to convert the innocent Paganu as the new ‘subservient’, comparing Jesus to Krishna- although Roman-emperor Constantine did not convert himself to Jesus, in ~350AD Constantine proclaimed both Paganu & Christian worship is allowed…Etc. (Constantine Prayed ‘Sun-god’ on his death bed…).
    Thus, now- we all- are the new ‘subservient’ to the Jew- you can see that, can you? If Jew wants to start a War with his old-partner or ‘subservient’, like Iran ( Persia ) do we have a ‘free will’? No, we must do it to save the greedy- correct?
    If and when you decide to keep this dialog going- we both can learn from an honest talk.
    Please do not get me wrong- most of the Jews, the common People, are good !
    Mikki


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