Naturally, the press labelled it a “path-breaking Hindu-Catholic dialogue”. They agreed that there would be:
“No violence against minorities. No forced conversions. A pooling of resources for social work and charity.’’
The first one is supposed to be a Hindu problem. The second one is a Catholic problem. The third one is no problem. Nice.
The Hindu group was led by the Sankaracharya of Kanchi, Sri Jayendra Saraswati. He likes deciding what India should do; very political this swami is. His reason for speaking out on violence against minorities is that India is a deeply spiritual country. So spiritual in fact that it should not be called secular but spiritual. Therefore, if he decides to let out a few secrets of some high-flying politicians, then maybe we will be called The Spiritual Republic of India.
We can then meditate each time there is disaster or even a minor calamity. We do it anyway. No rains? Conduct some havans to propitiate the gods, use up precious wood, ghee and other unguents, feed priests and there will be rains because they are expected within the next few days. If they are delayed, which happens, then no one ever makes these guys accountable. Never. We curse the weatherman, we curse global warming; even these sadhus curse these factors. But they do it spiritually. They meditate to wish global warming away.
The report further added:
The Sankaracharya also made it clear that he did not approve of conversions and foreign funds for running educational and charity projects.
Unless the charities and schools are run by religious institutions, they come within the purview of the state government. The government decides. His approval or agreement will not be solicited in these matters. He was trying to take a shot at such funds for missionary-run establishments. Perhaps, he might like to look into the temple donation lists and check where much of the money comes from. Also, for the saffron parties.
The Catholics on their part were told not to indulge in forced conversions.
This meeting took place in a hall and there was a press conference. Do these discussions serve any purpose? What did you learn from all this? I did. One thing. Did you know that India had a papal ambassador to Delhi, Archibishop Quintana? Why do we need one? Why was he at a meeting to discuss what goes on in India and has political ramifications?
Do such ‘meeting of minds’ result in anything concrete? It is not even a feel-good thing.
Does the poor person in a village who is a victim of violence want such pontificating? Does the convert think beyond the money and hope for a god, which is where this spiritualism comes in and in fact negates the whole idea of the discourse?
Spiritualism does not need an agenda. It is an intensely private belief in seeking something that is beyond oneself. Religion has got nothing to do with it.