The following interview with Sita Ram Goel was first published in The Observer on February 22, 2003.
Who are you? How do you define yourself?
I am a Hindu, which to me means the inheritor of the oldest and the highest spiritual culture known to human history. Although I have been in service and business to earn my living, I define myself as a writer. I started as a poet, became a novelist, and have ended as a commentator, on cruel, crude and imperialist ideologies Christianity, Islam, and Communism.
Could you explain your spiritual and culture background, your evolution?
As a young man I was influenced by Vaishnavism, Arya Samaj and Mahatama Gandhi. In college I was under the spell of Marxism and became a Communist.
In 1949, Ram Swarup cured me of Communism, and after that I returned to Hinduism. I have been strongly influenced by the Mahabharata, discourses of the Buddha, Sri Aurobindo and Plato.
My masters have been Vyasa, Buddha and Sri Aurobindo, as elucidated by Ram Swarup.
What does the idea of Paganism mean for you? Are you a Pagan? A Polytheist?
‘Paganism’ was a term of contempt invented by Christianity for people in the countryside who lived close to and in harmony with Nature, and whose ways of worship were spontaneous as opposed to the contrived though-categories constructed by Christianity’s city-based manipulators of human minds.
In due course, the term was extended to cover all spiritually spontaneous culture of the world – Greek, Roman, Iranian, Indian, Chinese, native American.
It became a respectable term for those who revolted against Christianity in the modern West. But it has yet to recover its spiritual dimension which Christianity had eclipsed. For me, Hinduism preserves ancient Paganism in all its dimensions. In that sense, I am a Pagan.
The term “Polytheism’ comes from Biblical discourse, which has the term ‘theism’ as its starting point. I have no use for these terms. They create confusion.
I dwell in a different universe of discourse which starts with ‘know thyself’ and ends with the discovery, ‘thou art that’.
Could you explain your position towards monotheism and the main differences between semitic religions and Hindu traditions?
The literal meaning of monotheism, namely, that God is one and not many does not interest me.
What bothers me is the monotheism known to history: Christianity and Islam, religions which have prompted aggression, massacres, plunder, pillage, enslavement and the rest. Histories of Christianity and Islam tell the full story. Honest gangsters do all this in a straightforward manner, “I want your land, your wealth, your women and children and you yourself as my slaves. Surrender or I will kill you.” Dishonest gangsters have done the same in the name of the ‘only true God’. God is not needed by them except as an alibi. Communists have done the same in the name of History, and the Nazis in the name of the Master Race.
Christianity and Islam do not need any supernatural scaffolding for doing what they have been doing. The mainstay of their monotheism is gross materialism.
I do not regard Christianity and Islam as semitic. The semites of west Asia were Pagans with pluralistic religious traditions before the Biblical God appeared on the scene. I, therefore, call both Christianity and Islam the Biblical creeds. Both of them have their source in the Bible.
And as I do not view them as religions at all, I refuse to compare them with Hinduism. I have found it quite apt to compare Christianity and Islam with Communism and Nazism.
What about the negative role of Christian missions in India?
Christian missions in India have been the Devil’s workshop to use their own language. I need not tell you about the ‘science’ of ‘missiology’.
Christian missionaries had perfected the art of manipulating human minds quite early in the history of their cult. of their cult. The amount of mischief they have done defies description.
They have received a help from the Communists. I am not going into the history of Christian missions and the various mission strategies for converting Hindu India.
(Muslims were ‘spared’ because of fear for their lives). Here I am taking up their role in the present.
As soon as they sensed that the anti-Hindu coalition was cracking and a Hindu reawakening was around, they became hysterical in their anti-Hindu tirades. I have in my possession a 400-page script of a study sponsored by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, which presents the Hindu movement as Nazi.
We hear the same refrain from the powerful and extensive Christian media in India and abroad.
In the Ayodhya dispute they have joined the Muslim-Marxist brigade in crying ‘wolf’, while concealing the fact that thousands of mosques and hundreds of churches stand on the sites of deliberately demolished Hindu temples and have been built with temple debris.
It is mostly Christian missionaries who are responsible for the negative publicity which Hindus have been getting in the West recently.
They have immensely financed the media-power in India, and can mobilise any number of mercenaries and hired hoodlums.
And their men are everywhere in the media and academia of the West. It was a shocking experience for me to read an article in The New York Review of Books written about Ayodhya by the South Asia correspondent of the Time magazine a few years ago.
He had invited me for presenting the Hindu case on Ayodhya.
I had given him documented studies on what happened to Hindu temples under Muslim rule.
Also a study by Koenraad Elst on Ayodhya. But he [the Time correspondent] ignored everything in his article and, after quoting from a few books cooked up by well-known Communist writers hired by the Muslim lobby, he dismissed the Hindu case as bogus! There are many other scoundrels like him functioning in the Western media and academia.
The mischief created by Christian missionaries and their mouthpieces In India and the West has to be known in order to be believed.
Mother Theresa is a part of this gang, presenting India as a starved, diseased and corrupt country to her Western audiences and collecting fabulous sums for the missionary machine.
I met her briefly in Calcutta in 1954 or 1955 when she was unknown.
I had gone to see an American journalist who was a friend and had fallen ill, when she came to his house asking for money for her charity set-up. The friend went inside to get some cash, leaving his five or six year old daughter in the drawing room. Teresa told her, “He is not your real father. Your real father is in heaven.” The girl said, “He is very ill.” Theresa commented, “If he dies, your father does not die. For your real father who is in heaven never ‘dies.” The girl was in tears. My friend came back and gave her the money. She departed. He saw his daughter in tears, and turned towards me.
I reported the dialogue. He was furious, and said, “Had I known what sort of a bag she is, I would have thrown her out. I am not a Christian. I was never baptised. Nor do I care for Christianity. I was only moved by her appeal in the name of the poor, and gave her some money. I hope she does not come again, and try to poison my daughter’s mind. ”
The closed mind of Mother Teresa was revealed a few years back in an interview published In India Today, a prestigious fortnightly (then, now weekly -ed) which had devoted a special issue to her. One of the questions put to her was: “Where would you have been between the Church and Galileo?” Came the reply, “With the Church. ” That is a measure of her intellectual equipment.
But Western establishments have built her up into a colossal myth with Nobel Prize and all.
Who is your tutelar God/Goddess? Why?
I have no use for God. In fact, the very word stinks in my nostrils. This word abounds in the Bible and the Quran, and has been responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.
On the other hand, saints who have used this word in a spiritually wholesome sense have seldom warned us against its sinister use; most of the time they have been confused by the criminal use of this word, and have confused others. I do not feel the same way about the word ‘goddess’ because the monotheist who happen to be male chauvinists, have not used this word for their purposes.
In fact, the only thing which softens me towards Catholicism is the figure of the Virgin Mother even though theology has not permitted her to soar up to her highest heights.
Having been a student of Hinduism, I find that our tradition knows no God or Goddess as the creator and controller of the Cosmos.
The Vedas know no god or goddess in that sense, nor the Upanishads, nor the six systems of philosophy, nor Buddhism, nor Jainism. It is the Puranas which speaks for the first time of a paramatman (Highest Self), or a purushottama (Highest Persona). But that is not the extra-cosmic and blood-thirsty tyrant of the Bible and the Quran.
We do have in Hinduism the concept of ishtadeva, the highest symbol of a person’s spiritual aspiration.
In that sense, I am devoted to Sri Krishna as he figures in the Mahabharata, and the Goddess Durga, as she reveals herself in the Devi-Bhagvata Purana. I feel free and shed all fear when I meditate on them.
They promise to clean up the dross that I carry within me.
They prepare me for battle against forces of darkness and destruction.