By BosNewsLife News Center
AMSTELVEEN, NETHERLANDS (BosNewsLife)– Citizens in the Dutch town of Amstelveen have condemned plans by local authorities to support a controversial Hindu festival that would involve praying to a Hindu goddess from India, in the heart of the town.
The nearby Dutch capital Amsterdam and Amstelveen-based KPMG, one of the world’s largest professional services providers, also finance the October 10 festival on Amstelveen’s ‘Stadsplein’ (Town Square).
Local officials said the ‘India Diwali Festival’, or ‘Festival of Lights’, is part of a policy to accommodate the Indian community in Amstelveen, a European gateway for international companies due to its location near Schiphol Airport and key highways.
Goddess Lakshmi is a key attraction during the festival, which symbolizes the victory over evil, according to organizers.
Young visitors can receive Hindu make-up and dresses, and also paint their own small clay lamp, while the event will also feature Hindu tattoos, music, dancing, and hundreds of small lights, reported the influential Amstelveen-based news website amstelveen.blog.nl.
Several Amstelveen citizens, including Christians, have expressed shock about the event and demanded that the local Christian party ChristianUnie (ChristianUnion) protests the planned festival in the local council.
“This seems idolatry. Why is the ChristenUnie not asking questions about [this],” wrote Hans van der Liet in a reaction on amstelveen.blog.nl. “It is strange that the municipality sponsors [these] religious activities. When can my Roman Catholic parish pick up a bag of money?”
Questions have been raised whether financially troubled Amstelveen, which lost 15 million euro ($22 million) due to investments in Iceland’s collapsed banking sector, should spend money on the Hindu event at a time of budget cuts elsewhere.
The ChristenUnie’s Amstelveen representative, Jacqueline Koops – Scheele, did not reply to BosNewsLife’s requests for clarification whether her party would protest the event.
The founder of Christian online news agency BosNewsLife Stefan J. Bos, who lived in Amstelveen before moving to Budapest, Hungary, said authorities were overlooking “credible reports that minority Christians in India have no right to openly pray to their God.”
“While Amstelveen wants to honour a Hindu goddess, Indian Christians are jailed, tortured, and even murdered for honoring their God and Lord Jesus Christ,” said Bos, who also participated in the expanding forum discussions on the Amstelveen news Website.
Organizers defended the festival saying Indians are “one of the fastest growing communities in the region” and that they wanted to encourage non-Indians “to learn about the culture of their neighbors.”
That prompted someone to write that Amstelveen is using the festival as another way “to attract Indians with their big wallets.” Other writers disagreed, describing the festival as “harmless”and a “cultural event.”
The controversy in the strategic town comes amid concerns among some Christian and political leaders in the Netherlands about what they regard as the growing influence of Muslims, Hindus and other groups in the predominantly Catholic and Protestant nation.
Far-right politicians have criticized what they view as the attack on the Netherlands’ Christian-Jewish traditions. Last month the controversial politician Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) proposed in parliament to tax the Muslim headscarf.
Any Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf – which he described as a ‘head-rag’ – would have to apply for a licence, and pay one thousand euros (about $1,500) for the privilege. Wilders said the money raised would go toward women’s emancipation programmes.
However other politicians questioned the plan, saying it would also impact for instance nuns and elderly ladies wearing a headscarf for weather reasons. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).
Historically Christian and Muslim faiths have their roots in Judaism,
so at their core concepts about the soul, creation and God are all the same.
I would like to address certain linguistic and philosophical similarities common to both Jews and Hindus, which may open up a broader discussion.
1. Names of God,
a. The most holy of all names of God for a Jew is KNA or KANA, Rabbi’s have slapped my face when I have said this name out loud.
This is considered to be the most intimate name for God in the Old Testament. Where it is translated, “I am a jealous God,
have no other gods before you”, the literal Hebrew translation is, “My name is EL KNA, have no other gods before you.”
This name expands to KRE ShTN as Rabbi Aryeh Kapln,in Meditation and the Kabbalah explains
“On Monday, you must intertwine the associated name “KRE ShTN””
b, From a Vedic (Hindu) view point, Kana is also an affectionate name of Krishna, The pronunciation used above “KRE ShTN” is very similar to
the way south Indians pronounce Krishna.
2. Abraham and Brahma: Very few know that there are two Abrahams in Jewish philosophy
a. There is a description of how the universe was in chaos until Abraham appeared. It is said, “Over the whole, there hovered Tohu (chaos)
and as long as Tohu dominated,the whole world was not in being or existence. When did that key open the gates and make the world fruitful?
It was when Abraham appeared.” [Genesis II 4] As explained in the introduction to the Zohar The Soncino Press LTD–London New York
There is also this reference one needs to ponder It is said, “Angels are supposed to have no back and four faces, so always to be able to behold God.”
[Talmud, cf. Ezek i. 6]
b. In the First Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a long description of how Brahma created the planets, stars etc. It is well know that the Brahma
of this universe has 4 heads.
3. DEMIGODS AND ANGELS have the same function in both traditions.
a. The Midrash teaches, “There is no blade of grass that does not have a constellation (Mazal) over it, telling it to grow.” [Sefer Yetzirah 4.6]
“As commentaries explain, ‘God’s providence works through the angels, but the angels, in turn, work through the stars and planets. As some authorities put it,
the angels are, in a sense, like souls to the stars. Thus, for example, some sources speak of the stars as having intelligence, but the commentaries note
that this is actually speaking of the angels that are associated with them.'” [Sefer Yetrzirah 4.6]
b. The Vedic conception is that there are many specially empowered demigods who help manage the affairs of the universe including the planets of our solar system.
The controlling demigods, although not eternal them selves, function within various posts that exist as long as the universe exists. For example,
one of the principle demigods is Lord Indra. Indra is the name of the post, but the particular demigod who occupies that post during a given period
has his own personal name. Just like President of the United States is a post, but there have been many presidents throughout history.
4. Durga in the Bible?
a. “He summoned to issue from the side of Darkness a kind of female moon, which rules over the night, and is associated with Adonai, the Lord of all the
earth. In his days, the moon was magnified and reached her fullness. A thousand mountains rose before her, and she blew them away with a puff. A thousand
mighty rivers flowed before her, and she swallowed them at a draught. Her nails reached out in a thousand and seventy directions and her hands in twenty-
four thousand, so that nothing could escape her. Thousands of bucklers clung to her hair. From between her feet went forth a youth who stretched from one
end of the world to the other with sixty clubs of fire…” [Zohar]
b. The Vedas describe the ghastly form of Goddess Kali, another name for the Goddess Durga. There is a reference of Goddess Kali in the Srimad-
Bhagavatam in the history of Jada Bharata, when she manifested herself to protect him. It is stated, “Intolerant of the
offenses committed, the infuriated goddess Kali flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her
fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she
immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jada Bharata. She then began to drink the hot
blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor.
5. (BRAHMAN) EFFULGENCE
a. “The Most Recondite is beyond cognition, but reveals of Himself a tenuous and veiled brightness shining only along a narrow path which extends from
Him, and this is the brightness that irradiates all. This is the starting point of all esoteric mysteries, itself being unknowable.” [Zohar IV 146b]
b. The Absolute Truth is expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan.” [Srimad Bhagavatam.1.2.11] Brahman refers to the impersonal all-pervasive spirit.
That is the same as the brahmajyoti, the effulgence of the Lord.
6. METATRON AND MAHA-VISHNU
a. It is said that a personality named Metatron cooperates with God to teach the young. While God devotes the last three hours of the day to this work,
Metatron is in charge during the remainder of the day. (A.Z. 3b) [Everyman’s Talmud, II, III] Regarding the revolving sword or flaming sword that
revolves, it is said “the manner in which the sword rotates depends on the readiness of the individual attempting to enter. If he is worthy, it becomes the
mirror through which he perceives, while if he is not worthy, he is burned out and cut off by the fire of this sword. The one who oversees the sword,
preventing the unworthy from entering, is the angel Metatron.” [Meditation and Kabbalah p 80 Chapter 4, Teachings of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia]
“Metatron is therefore not a proper name at all but a designation for the whole category of celestial powers performing a mission.”
[Origins of the Kabbalah, III, 6]
b. In the creative process,it is from Maha-Vishnu that all of the universes emanate, Sudarshan Cakra (flaming sword that revolves) controlled by Visnu similarly
punishes and grants liberation. “Without illumination,nothing can be seen, especially in this material world.
The illumination in this world emanates from the effulgence of Sudarshan, the original vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The illuminating principles of the sun, the moon and fire emanate from Sudarshan.
Similarly, illumination by knowledge also comes from Sudarshan.” [Srimad Bhag. 9.5.7, Purport]
Also there is a series of Visnu expansions each with a chakra.
7. THE LORD IN THE HEART
a. When the soul is about to descend to this world, it first goes down to the terrestrial Garden of Eden and sees there the glory
of the souls of the righteous, and then goes down to Gehinnom and sees the wicked who cry “Woe, woe”, and find no compassion. That holy form (God)
stands by him until he emerges into the world, after which it keeps him company and grows up with him.” [The Zohar 43b] [KI TAZRIA (LEVITICUS)]
b. In the Bhagavad-gita “Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as
the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul, Paramatma.” [Bg. 13.23]
8. GURU AND RABBI
a. In Judaism, knowledge is also passed from the rabbi to his students, but not everyone is qualified to become a student. “As a matter of law, the
sages state that these mysteries ‘cannot even be taught to a single individual, unless he is wise enough to understand with his own knowledge.’ Even in
such a case, the complete tradition was only given over to the head of the group, and he would then only instruct those whom he saw fit. Only individuals
possessing the highest qualities of scholarship and piety would be admitted to the circle of initiates.” [Introduction to the Bahir, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan]
It is also stated that “One who reaches the highest level cannot reveal it to anyone. All he can do is give over the keys, so that the enlightened individual
can open the gates which are sealed to exclude the unworthy.”
[Meditation and Kabbalah, p 79]
b. In Vedic culture, although a guru would speak to whoever wanted to learn the Vedic science, he was traditionally very selective whom he would
initiate as his disciple. He would only accept those persons who qualified themselves by humble submission and service. Lord Krishna states in the
Bhagavad-gita, “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized
soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”
9. VEDIC AND JEWISH CALENDARS
a. The current Hebrew year is 5767. In this calendar, the year in which Adam was created is counted as year one. If we then count the Biblical
genealogies from the time of Adam, we find that over 5,000 years have elapsed since the time he was formed. However, the Kabbalists clearly say that other
human beings existed before Adam, and this is even supported in scripture [Drush Or HaChaim] The fifth cycle was the one that brought life, and this took
place around two and a half billion years ago. Around 974 generations before Adam, or some 25,000 years ago, man developed all of the physical and mental
capabilities that we possess today…but he still lacked the divine soul that would make him a spiritual being. God then created Adam, the first true human
being with a soul, ‘and He blew in his nostrils a soul of life’. [Genesis 2.7] [Sefer Yetzirah 4.15]
b. The Vedic calendar states that Kali-yuga lasts 432,000 years, out of which we have passed about 5,000 years.
10.The Ecstasy of Chanting The Names Of God
a. People who have dedicated their lives to the service of God may at times feel unlimited joy or ecstasy while engaged in prayer. It is said, “Permute
the letters back and forth, and in this manner, you will reach the first level. As a result of the activity and your concentration on the letters, your
mind will become bound to them. The hairs on your head will stand on end and tremble. Your lifeblood is in your heart, and regarding this it is written,
“the blood is the soul” [Deuteronomy 12:23]. It is likewise written, “The blood in the soul will atone” [Leviticus 17:11]. This blood within you will begin
to vibrate because of the permutations that loosen it. Your entire body will then begin to tremble, and all your limbs will be seized with shuddering. You
will experience the terror of God and will be enveloped with fear of Him. You will then feel as if an additional spirit is within you, arousing you and
strengthening you, passing through your entire body and giving you leisure. It will seem as you have been anointed with perfumed oil, from head to foot.
You will rejoice and have great pleasure. You will experience ecstasy and trembling–ecstasy for the soul, and trembling for the body.
[Meditation and Kabbalah, Treasury of the Hidden Eden p85-86]
b. The stage of bhava, love of God, is manifested by eight transcendental symptoms, namely inertness, perspiration, standing of hairs on end, failing in
the voice, trembling, paleness of the body, tears in the eyes, and finally trance. [Srimad Bhag. 2:3:24 Purport]
11. GOD’S BEAUTY
a.The Jewish scriptures describe a vision of God. “His head is a treasure of fine gold. His locks are hanging, black like the raven.” In both
Talmudic and Kabbalistic traditions, one of the interpretations is that it relates to a vision of God; “when He is visualized in battle, He is seen as a
young man with black hair.” [Sefer Yetzirah Ch 6.1]
b.The Vedas refer to the form of the Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, “the Lord is super excellently beautiful on account of His
open and merciful smile and His sidelong glance upon His devotees. His black hair is curly, and His garments, waving in the wind, appear like flying
saffron pollen from lotus flowers. His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle bells, waist belt and various other bodily ornaments
combine with the conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower to increase the natural beauty of the Kaustubha pearl on His chest.” [Srimad Bhag. 2.24.47-48]
There are regular christians like any regular human. And then there are devout christians like any other devout of other religion. And finally there are devout christians who think it is ok to go convert non christians to christianity by going to their countries. But when those non christians come to christian countries and work on their religion, these christians start feeling completely unsecured about their religion. This is nothing short of hypocracy.
Interesting window into Hinduism, WIlliam.
But the God of the Bible, Yaweh, is not at all concerned about outward show or appearances, neither in buildings (as He created humans to be His dwellings instead). Nor does He want us to be overly caught up in our own self-centered works or with our own appearances or attainments.
All religions seem to be either based on our own works, efforts or pleasures, vs His Grace and His Finished perfect work of redemption by Grace alone thru faith alone, in His chosen vessel, the Annointed Messiah alone. Not in any politician either.
So we are told not to seek or get caught up in any “anointed with perfumed oil, from head to foot…great pleasure. .. experience ecstasy and trembling–ecstasy for the soul, and trembling for the body. [Meditation and Kabbalah, Treasury of the Hidden Eden p85-86]; nor is love of or for God manifested by eight transcendental symptoms, namely inertness, perspiration, standing of hairs on end, failing in the voice, trembling, paleness of the body, tears in the eyes, and finally trance. [Srimad Bhag. 2:3:24 Purport]; These are NOT the concern of the Almighty of Scripture. RATHER HE IS CONCERNED ONLY WITH PRODUCING LOVE &OUR HOLINESS OF LIFE. This is demonstrated by living in obedience to His 10 Commands and His Command and Example of Perfect Sacrificial Love. Of course, we cannot do so on our own, but only by LETTING HIM LIVE OUT HIS LIFE OF LOVE IN & THRU US. Once again, only “By Grace thru Faith, or as Paul put it in Romans 1 & 15 both, by the “Obedience of Faith” to which a true understanding of the Good News of Grace will always lead. Receiving it, His Spirit’s Fruits will naturally follow. They are ever all and only an outworking of His wholly undeserved Grace, His totally unmerited Favor.
b.The Vedas refer to the form of the Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, “the Lord is super excellently beautiful on account of His open and merciful smile and His sidelong glance upon His devotees. His black hair is curly, and His garments, waving in the wind, appear like flying saffron pollen from lotus flowers. His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle bells, waist belt and various other bodily ornaments
combine with the conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower to increase the natural beauty of the Kaustubha pearl on His chest.” [Srimad Bhag. 2.24.47-48]
However, little is said of Messiah’s form, other than how terribly bruised it was for us (Isaiah 53). Much is made and told of His perfectly pure and loving character and Power over sickness, sin and death, however. We ignore Him and His proferred Salvation only at our eternal peril and loss.
You showed a very sophisticated approach focussing on the unity instead of fighting about the differences. I like to add one more aspect concerning the controversy which may result only from a misunderstanding. When the British invaded India they did not in general speak Sanskrit and the Indians no English. It may be that when the British soldiers seeing a picture of Laxmi asked: Who is that. The Indians’ answer may have been: Devata. Because Deveta sounded like divine the soldiers thought it was a God.
But the Sankrit expression for God is Bhagavan not devata. Devata is the intelligence of a specific law of nature. God is one even in the Vedic literature like Bhagavad Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam. If we stopped calling Laxmi, Ganesha and Saraswati Gods, Godesses or Semigods but only devatas or laws of nature nobody would have any problems to celebrate the festival of lights.
Nobody in Christian or Islamic belief would think that Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, etc. are Gods or Demigods. They are angels. There’s no harm in celebrating angels. In Christianity we have festivals for celebrating angels as well.
Why not forgetting about many Gods or Demigods because there’s only one or as in Islam the writing of the word Allah is with a long line meaning THE God. Again, there’s only one in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
What a wonderful unity in diversity.
In the Matthäusevangelium chapter 5-7, Sermon on the Mount, Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
What a wonderful time for the coming of Dipavali to bring the light into the hearts of all men to show mercyfulness as the ripe fruit at the altar of God in the heart of men.
Jesus: “You will know them by their fruits.
What a wonderful this could be.
In northeast india where christians are a majority , hindus have been killed by christian militias .why are you so hell bent on demobising hindus and their culture which is olderthan christianity and all other religion….read history, you will know about the barbaric christian warlords