„It is only when we move to modem times that we find the first traces of sarva-dharma-samabhâva surfacing in India in the form of the Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohun Roy, the founder of this cult, was a votary of Islamic monotheism, and later on became infatuated with Jesus Christ. He confused the monism of the Upanishads with the monotheism of Biblical creeds, and gave birth to a lot of confusion. But, by and large, he stayed a Hindu who had some very hard words to say about the doings of Islam and Christian missionaries in India...“

S.R.Goel, Preface, in Goel, Sita Ram (ed.) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy.

Last update Oct. 16, 2020. History
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Ram Mohan Roy4
Indian religious, social, and educational reformer, and hum… 1772 - 1833

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„Sarva-dharma-samabhAva was unknown to mainstream Hinduism before Mahatma Gandhi presented it as one of the sixteen mahAvratas (great vows). in his booklet, MaNgala-PrabhAta. It is true that mainstream Hinduism had always stood for tolerance towards all metaphysical points of view and ways of worship except that which led to AtatAyI-AchAra (gangsterism). But that tolerance had never become samabhAva, equal respect for all points of view. The acharyas of the different schools of Sanatana Dharma were all along engaged in debates over differences in various approaches to Sreyas (the Great Good). No Buddhist acharya is known to have equated the way of the Buddha to that of the Gita and vice versa, for instance. It is also true that overawed by the armed might of Islam, and deceived by the tall talk of the sufis, some Hindu saints in medieval India had equated Rama with Rahim, Krishna with Karim, Kashi with Kaba, the Brahmana with the Mullah, pUjA with namAz, and so on. But, the sects founded by these saints had continued to function on the fringes of Hindu society while the mainstream followed the saints and acharyas who never recognized Islam as a dharma. In modern times also, movements like the Brahmo Samaj which recognised Islam and Christianity as dharmas had failed to influence mainstream Hinduism, while Maharshi Dayananda and Swami Vivekananda who upheld the Veda and despised the Bible and the Quran, had had a great impact. This being the hoary Hindu tradition, Mahatma Gandhi’s recognition of Christianity and Islam not only as dharmas but also as equal to Sanatana Dharma was fraught with great mischief. For, unlike the earlier Hindu advocates of Islam and Christianity as dharmas, Mahatma Gandhi made himself known and became known as belonging to mainstream Hinduism.“

—  Sita Ram Goel Indian activist 1921 - 2003

History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)

„Monotheism came to this country for the first time as the war-cry of Islamic invaders who marched in with the Quran in one hand and the sword in the other. It proclaimed that there was no God but Allah and that Muhammad was the Prophet of Allah. It claimed that Allah had completed his Revelation in the Quran and that Muslims who possessed that Book were the Chosen People. It invoked a theology which called upon the believers to convert or kill the infidels, particularly the idolaters, capture their women and children and sell them into slavery and concubinage all over the world, slaughter their sages and saints and priests, break or at least desecrate their idols, destroy or convert into mosques their places of worship, plunder their properties, occupy their lands, and heap humiliations on such of them as cannot be converted or killed either due to their capacity for fighting back or the need of the conquerors for slave labour. The enormities which the votaries of Islamic Monotheism practised on a vast scale and for a long time vis-a-vis Hindu religion, culture and society, were unheard of by Hindus in the whole of their hoary history. Muslim theologians, sufis and historians who witnessed or read or heard of these doings hailed the doers as soldiers of Allah and heroes of Islam. They thanked Allah and the Prophet who had declared a permanent war on the infidels and bestowed their progeny and properties on the believers. They quoted chapter and verse from the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet in order to prove that what was being done to Hindus was fully in keeping with the highest teachings of Islam.“

—  Sita Ram Goel Indian activist 1921 - 2003

History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)

„What has caused confusion and misunderstanding about his Hinduism is the concept of sarva-dharma-samabhAva (equal regard for all religions) which he had developed after deep reflection. Christian and Muslim missionaries have interpreted it to mean that a Hindu can go aver to Christianity or Islam without suffering any spiritual loss. They are also using it as a shield against every critique of their closed and aggressive creeds. The new rulers of India, on the other hand, cite it in order to prop up the Nehruvian version of Secularism which is only a euphemism for anti-Hindu animus shared in common by Christians, Muslims, Marxists and those who are Hindus only by accident of birth. For Gandhiji, however, sarva-dharma-samabhAva was only a restatement of the age-old Hindu tradition of tolerance in matters of belief. Hinduism has always adjudged a man’s faith in terms of his AdhAra (receptivity) and adhikAra (aptitude). It has never prescribed a uniform system of belief or behavior for everyone because, according to it, different persons are in different stages of spiritual development and need different prescriptions for further progress. Everyone, says Hinduism, should be left alone to work out one’s own salvation through one’s own inner seeking and evolution. Any imposition of belief or behaviour from the outside is, therefore, a mechanical exercise which can only do injury to one’s spiritual growth. Preaching to those who have not invited it is nothing short of aggression born out of self-righteousness. That is why Gandhiji took a firm and uncompromising stand against proselytisation by preaching and gave no quarters to the Christian mission’s mercenary methods of spreading the gospel.“

—  Sita Ram Goel Indian activist 1921 - 2003

History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)

„Kautilya has elaborated in his Arthashastra the psychological principles which alienate some people from their own society, and lead them straight into the lap of those who are out to subvert that society. The first group of people who can be alienated are the maneevarga, that is, those who are conceited and complain that they have been denied what is their due on account of birth, brains or qualities of character. (…) the Church was instinctively employing the psychological principles propounded by Kautilya. …Christian missionaries could find quite a few and easy converts amongst these upper classes precisely because the Church had declared war on their society. … By the time the French, the British and the Dutch appeared on the Eastern scene, Christianity had been found out in the West for what it had always been in facto power-hungary politics masquerading as religion. The later-day European imperialists, therefore, had only a marginal use for the christian missionary. He could be used to beguile the natives. But he could not be allowed to dictate the parallel politics of imperialism. … The field for the Christian politics of conversion has become considerably smaller in Asia due to the resurgence of Islam, and the triumph of Communism… It is only in India, Ceylon and Japan that the missionary continues to practice his profession effectively.“

—  Sita Ram Goel Indian activist 1921 - 2003

Genesis and History of the Politics of Conversion, in Christianity, and Imperialist ideology. 1983.

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„The first Christian who can write decent Latin is Minucius Felix, whose Octavius, written in the first half (possibly the first quarter) of the Third Century must have done much to make Christianity respectable. He concentrates on ridiculing pagan myths that no educated man believed anyway and on denying that Christians (he means his kind, of course!) practice incest (a favorite recreation of many sects that had been saved by Christ from the tyranny of human laws) or cut the throats of children to obtain blood for Holy Communion (as some groups undoubtedly did). He argues for a monotheism that is indistinguishable from the Stoic except that the One God is identified as the Christian deity, from whose worship the sinful Jews are apostates, and insists that Christians have nothing to do with the Jews, whom God is going to punish. What is interesting is that Minucius has nothing to say about any specifically Christian doctrine, and that the names of Jesus or Christ do not appear in his work. There is just one allusion: the pagans say that Christianity was founded by a felon (unnamed) who was crucified. That, says Minucius, is absurd: no criminal ever deserved, nor did a man of this world have the power, to be believed to be a god (erratis, qui putatis deum credi aut meruisse noxium aut potuisse terrenum). That ambiguous reference is all that he has to say about it; he turns at once to condemning the Egyptians for worshipping a mortal man, and then he argues that the sign of the cross represents (a) the mast and yard of a ship under sail, and (b) the position of man who is worshipping God properly, i. e. standing with outstretched arms. If Minucius is not merely trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible pagans, it certainly sounds as though this Christian were denying the divinity of Christ, either regarding him, as did many of the early Christians, as man who was inspired but was not to be identified with God, or claiming, as did a number of later sects, that what appeared on earth and was crucified was merely a ghost, an insubstantial apparition sent by Christ, who himself prudently stayed in his heaven above the clouds and laughed at the fools who thought they could kill a phantom. Of course, our holy men are quite sure that he was "orthodox."“

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