By Anthony Blute
- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
There was a book written about 20 years ago called The Legend of Krishna, by a British bloke, in which he examined systematically the historic origins of the cult of Krishna. This book was described in detail to me by a certain Mr. Panakkal in Kerala, and his recollections were abundant enough to convince me that this book I must read. The author seems to be able to show from historical references, that the legend and subsequent cult of Krishna in India can be traced to the missionary activity of Nestorian Christians in the fourth century of the Christian era.
It seems that "Krishna" comes from "Krystos," and that, in the legend of the former, there are numerous parallels to the Gospel story of the latter, so that we immediately suspect cribbing on the part of the Indians. He was born of a virgin, in a stable; had to flee at the age of two from a wicked king who killed all the male children in the village where Krishna lived, is represented as a child, usually cobalt blue in color, with a trident on his forehead, showing his filiation from Shiva.
I mention The Legend of Krishna initially to illustrate how false gods arise. In the Scriptures, Solomon relates how it happened in his day, that men who did not know the true God would fashion something from a useless, twisted piece of wood, and in time, would erect it as a god (Wis. 13). Others, by keeping a remembrance of a dear departed son, or a great leader, would honor images made of them. After several generations, the habits would become rooted, and behold, another god.
a deadly cobra,
a woman of Madras tenders it rice and coconut.
When you witness the adoration which youngsters, even well-educated youngsters, exhibit towards Hollywood or rock-n-roll stars, you can see the roots of idolatry. Consider the same phenomenon amongst poor, uneducated villagers, whose minds are already filled with superstitious dread and false notions about gods. Stories, even innocent stories, when told vividly to them, take on a life of their own, so that they can even turn fictional characters, cinema stars, or political giants into gods. For example, a thousand years ago, a poet named Valmiki wrote an epic called the Ramaennam, about a brave prince, Rama. The wife of Prince Rama was stolen away to Sri Lanka–and the epic consists in his valiant deeds to rescue her from the clutches of the giant Ravanna. It is a fictional story, designed to convince the listeners of the evils of adultery, perchance to deter them from the same. But the imagination of the people was so fired by the story, that regardless of reality, Rama became a god, and to this day he is worshipped in numerous costly temples.
Even more compelling is the story of M.G.R., a film actor of the 1950's and 1960's in India. (India, you might know, produces four times the movies that Hollywood does–they hold the world record.) He could dance like Fred Astaire, sing like Caruso, and fight like Jackie Chan. He intentionally selected his movie roles to build for himself the aura of a hero, a liberator. Then, already worshipped to a great degree, he entered politics, and ruled Tamil Nadu for 14 years. On the day he died, one parishioner relates to me, "Not a shop was open. People were stunned, dazed, weeping." Many homes still keep his photo in evidence. Near the market, in Palayamkottai, there is a shrine dedicated to him, and every year his admirers come, garland the picture, and play his songs at ear-shattering volume. He is reckoned venerable.
Hindu holy men, like the Sai Baba from Maharashtra, are invoked and honored as saints. Others claim to be divinities while yet alive, like a different Sai Baba, who lives in Karnataka. This latter Sai Baba counts many ex-Catholics from Italy, Spain, and Germany as his adorers. Other god-men are the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and Osho. They are even referred to by the media as "god-men," without remark. In short, it is possible, in India, for anyone to become a god.
"Ignorance of religious truth," said St. Pius X, "is the greatest cause of evil in our days." This is nothing new. Why was God obliged to destroy the world in the Deluge? Men had forgotten God. Why the Babylonian Exile? Likewise, because no one had taught the young Hebrews their catechism. Although we take it for granted, our detailed knowledge of the nature of God–knowledge which makes us laugh at the thought of idolatry–is the fruit of generations of philosophers, theologians, and holy men and women whose testimony for the truth formed our immediate ancestors.
Witness, then, how quickly superstition returns when catechism is neglected. In Reader's Digest, they advertise that if you subscribe NOW! you will receive FREE! a leather pouch of "POWER CRYSTALS," which you wear around your neck, place on sore joints, or tape to inflamed areas for immediate psychosomatic relief. Wealth, power and good-looks will flow to the holder of power-crystals. In India, following an ancient tradition, shopkeepers will tie a quartz crystal high over the door of their shop, to attract the blessings of Laxmi, goddess of riches.
A small lime, hung by a string outside the window, will avert the evil eye. Buses often depart for long journeys with a string-kebab of limes, red peppers, and new blossoms dangling from their bumpers. My neighbor, who has since moved, was an auto-rickshaw driver, who would return home late at night, and in the dark street "cleanse" his vehicle and himself by waving a camphor ball in close circles all over the surface of the car and himself. Afterwards, with the house door open, he would burn the camphor, and all his sins, on the doorstep.
Businessmen have their lucky ring, with nine stones, each of which, they reckon, IS a god. By rubbing it during business deals, they will confuse their adversary and purchase for themselves wisdom and guile in plenty. One Catholic businessman whom I know wears such a ring: not because he believes in it, but because it unnerves the Hindu businessmen with whom he must deal.
Life in India abounds with superstitions. As an outsider and "unbeliever," I find them quaint and sometimes attractive in their evident symbolism. "Are you suddenly overtaken by a blessed good event?" Quick, go break a melon in the street, so that bad karma will be dispersed. Such a practice also allows you to announce your good fortune to our neighbors without actually gloating. I see here a charming admission of humility and tact–that one should not take good tidings for granted. But to the Indian, it is a great cause for anxiety. Has the child been visited, carried, or even admired by a widow or spinster? The mother will be most anxious, and can only rest after the rituals for removing the effects of envy and jealousy have been performed. Unless that bad luck is dispersed, it will hang over their heads like a dagger of Damocles.
Weddings, of course, being such significant events, are carefully arranged according to the stars. Certain days are good, others less so. Times of the day have also their degree of luck. It goes so far that the very moment at which the wedding-chain (thalla) is clasped is determined, and to delay or anticipate it by even a few minutes can have dire consequences. The night before the wedding, the bride-to-be is urged to stare upon the star Arundadi. That star is said to BE a lady who was so renowned for her chastity and purity that she was divinized. The star itself is appropriate for the contemplation of newlyweds, because its strong light results from its being a double star! Nice, isn't it? My girl English students, 14- and 15-year-olds, told me the story with such ravishing eagerness and innocence that I could see the lesson was not lost to them. A little knowledge could free them from the superstition, while preserving the lesson contained therein.
How, then, do the heathen worship their gods? My Catholic readers may feel a little confusion when they hear that the devout Hindu scarcely misses a day without offering prayers, sacrifices, or penances with regularity. But what spirit, what disposition of soul underlies their devotion? I would say two emotions: Fear and desire of prosperity. I hesitate to say "greed" for the latter, because prosperity is desirable, especially in India, where the opposite is always lurking at every turn. The fear of the gods is not the filial fear of adopted sons, but the servile fear of slaves. Why? Because the gods of the Gentiles are devils, and they keep the people in bondage. Further, the pagan gods are capricious, and can be bribed–they are not bound, as the true God is, to act according to justice and mercy. The legends of the pagan gods show them involved in rivalries, hatred, jealousies, and adultery: just like the worst of men. Prostrate at the feet of an omnipotent cheat, who can feel the love of a son?
In the end, these reflections are written that you, dear readers, may appreciate better the immeasurable benefit of solid knowledge of the true God: a God who is NOT like us–but a God whom we'd like to be like. A Father, a Savior, and a Comforter. Only after we have come to know Him, can we really love Him. Yet by a sort of stunned stupidity, we will carelessly omit to teach our children about this great God, as if such knowledge were in-born. See, then, what are the consequences of such ignorance, and get back to your catechism.
Fr. Thomas Blute is a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X, a native of Texas. Since his ordination he was assigned to the District of Asia, and served as Superior of the priests of the Society in India. His order was excommunicated from the Catholic Church because they would not implement syncretistic rituals of Hinduism with Catholic worship. But, they were asked to remain in India and manage the missionary work. This has been an amazing story of the love / hate relationship the Vatican has developed with the most conservative entities in the Roman Catholic Church in recent years. Thomas Blute is now in the USA serving in a local Parish position. How bad was this? Thomas Blute told me that, though I am a Fundamentalist Bible believer, my relationship with the Vatican (defined by Vatican II) is better than his. When the Vatican gets really rough, it is usually on its own faithful.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Steve Van Nattan
I must add a couple of comments. I would send you back to your Bible rather than the Catechism. Other than that this is an exceptional discussion of Hinduism. Thomas Blute worked very zealously in India for a number of years and told me personally that Indian children back in India were his real family. He gave me a testimony of his faith, and it was totally centered on Jesus Christ.
Also, please understand that Hinduism in India is now persecuting Christian Indians, and some pastors have been killed, while some local churches have been burned. As the end of the Times of the Gentiles is upon us, spiritual war is breaking out in all areas of life worldwide.
What does the Bible tell us about these things?
2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy
mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.