Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Should Christians observe Vidyarambham ?

It is a shame to the Global Christian community that some of our Kerala churches, priests and even some Bishops stand in the front row for observing the pagan celebration of Vidyarambham on the day of Vijayadasami. It is known to everyone that this is purely a Hindu festival, being the legends and beliefs associated with it are related to the Hinduism and its Goddesses Durga (Goddess of War) and Saraswati (Goddess of Wisdom). The term "Harisree" means the union of Hari (God Vishnu) and Sree (Goddess Lakshmi) who are believed by Hindus, to be husband and wife.

Hindu goddess Durga
Still some of our clergymen without even least guilt-feeling, on this day, take part in the ceremony of children's initiation of learning by writing the mantra on sand or in a tray of rice grains. These people are obviously acting against Christian culture and tradition being charmed with the worldly pleasures of praise and publicity. There is no wonder that most of these activities are concentrated in Trivandrum where the Christians are most affected by the Hindu culture and customs. It is natural that the converted Nadars and Dalits of this area having some 'Hindu hangover', but it is very strange that even some Syrians and Anglo Indians whose ancestors were not even Hindus, support the celebration of this heathen festival.

Jesus Christ has said:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
(Matthew 6:24)
Similarly a true Christian cannot believe in Hindu gods such as Durga and Saraswati. Since a Christian does not believe in the Hindu legend of Goddess Durga's assasination of the buffalo demon Mahishasura, the nine nights of Navratri or the days of Mahanavami and Vijayadasami hold no special significance for him than any other days and nights of the year. So, if you want to observe Vidyarambham on the special day of Vijayadasami, you should first believe in the legend behind it, and the existence of gods and goddess and Asuras associated with it. Therefore it is not only against Christian doctrine , but also a violation of God's first commandment "Thou shalt not have other gods".

Those who uplift this as an example for the religious harmony and tolerance are in fact advocating for the infiltration of Hindu customs into Christianity which will help to gradually Hindu-ize the Christians of India. If we learn the history, we shall see that in past the Brahmanic Hinduism has conquered many other religious communities such as Buddhists, Jainists, Dravidianists, etc using the same technique. These communities were not converted to Hinduism overnight. Instead, the Hindu concepts and customs were gradually introduced to them and within some centuries, they became Hindus - UNKNOWINGLY!!!

Therefore we, the Christians should learn lesson from the past and must be cautious before blatantly copying Hindu customs. There is no point in Christianity for observing a particular day for "starting of learning" since The Holy Bible clearly says all days are equal. But if you are one of those people who like 'celebrations', then the perfect day to start learning is the Pentecost, the day of descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The perfect ceremony is as some other Christian communities are observing, children were given candles which are then lit up by some respectable person, such as a Bishop, priest or a college principal. This has more meaning, as it symbolizes the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire. It is a better custom than writing on rice and contains a true Christian spirit.