“Hinduphobia is a widespread disease in the American academy. It is a general belief that the academia mainly consists of liberals who come to the support and defense of the minorities who are abused and put down in more than one way. However, this conception of academic liberals is not true in regard to the Indic traditions in general and Hindus in particular. Whenever other minorities, such as Blacks and Hispanics, are abused and put down, as in the case of Don Imus, the academic liberals immediately come to defend the minorities, under the umbrella of human rights. But when Hindus and the Indic tradition are misrepresented and misinterpreted in books and articles, the so-called academic liberals defend the critics and abusers; yes, there are a few academic liberals with the courage and integrity to put their names and prestige to defend the Indic traditions and Hinduism against the Eurocentric attacks.

This book is a serious and significant response to take up the challenge against Hinduphobia and hence some of the so-called academic liberals. I am most happy that the response to such challenge has now come. I most enthusiastically admire the writers of the essays and editors of this volume, which I deem is the most powerful weapon to combat the disease of Hinduphobia. I wish that all fair minded Americans and Hindus will read the book, and take steps to bring the disease to an end.”
Ramakrishna Puligandla, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Toledo, USA

This is a thoughtful, reasoned, yet passionate plea that the perspectives and sensitivities of Hindus be considered in the presentation of Hinduism in scholarship, textbooks and the media. What is remarkable is that many western academics are so resistant to it.
Nathan Katz, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Spirituality, Florida International University in Miami, USA. Among his 15 books are “Buddhist Images of Human Perfection” (Motilal, 1984), “Who Are the Jews of India?” (Univ. of California, 2000), and “Indo-Judaic Studies for the Twenty-First Century,” (Palgrave, 2007). He was awarded the Vak Devi Saraswati Sanman award in 2004.

Rajiv Malhotra is a prominent and insistent voice questioning and inviting dialogue with the scholarly community, on the content and methodology of studying and teaching Hinduism at institutions of higher education in North America. This initial collection offers a salient summary of his critique and concerns, and is a valuable historical resource for those who want to understand better this debate, and those who wish to become participants in the conversation that he has passionately initiated and sustained. Scholars should welcome a critical voice from the community that is the focus of their study, for a mutually enriching dialogue.
Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Saint Olaf College, Northfield, MN, USA

This book is the effort of those Indian scholars who follow the adage that where and when dharma is abused, it is your dharma bound duty to do pratikara, to counter it with all the force at your command. Today Hinduism is under siege by forces who have found their playing fields in a section of the American Academy of Religion and the Departments of South Asia Studies. Their game plan is to denigrate Hinduism by focusing narrowly on its perceived social ills, its complex, basically ‘pagan’ symbiology, and by relying heavily on overused shibboleths – democracy, human rights – presuming a rationality that is superior to the logic of what may be termed as non-Western cultures and assuming an unexamined superiority of bibliolatry over idolatry, of successful economics over ethics and overlooking in the process the substantial content of Hinduism, its unequalled intellectual wealth, the fact that India has, by virtue of Hinduism and Sanskrit, ‘a place in the history of the human mind’ as Max Mueller once noted.

19th century Europe had taken to Hindu/Sanskrit studies like fish to water and considerable European thought right down to Post-Modernism is the product of the interaction between all the major European minds and Hindu thought – philosophy, aesthetics, poetry, grammar, drama and so on – via Ferdinand de Saussure who was a Professor of Sanskrit at Geneva. Sanskrit had replaced Hebrew, which had earlier replaced Arabic, as the mother language in European Universities around 1808. Hindu thought was treated with deep respect by eminent thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Schiller, Schelling, Saussure, and Trubetzkoy, for example. I think we have to look at Said’s intervention to understand what Rajiv Malhotra described so aptly as the U-Turn Syndrome. Said’s “Orientalism” is about western rubbishing of Islam/Arabic scholarship. The absence of reference to Hindu/Sanskrit scholarship is telling.

Then suddenly we see the rise of anti-Hindu scholarship in a section, influential no doubt, in the American academy and a number of co-opted Indian scholars to find suitable quotations and extracts from Sanskrit texts in support of a purvagraha, a pre-determined thesis.

The intellectuals featured in this book, with their bold decision to take on this scholarship, have entered into a serious dialogue about motives, methodology and substance and, using their own tools, have reversed the gaze back on to the scholarly establishment to their understandable discomfort. This book is important because it records the background, the issues and the arguments in this debate, and the debate is not over. This has been a historic intervention. The record of this enterprise is a lesson for a large number of young Hindus who must learn to combat adverse western scholarship by using the weapons of the enemy.
Kapil Kapur, Former Chair of Department of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi; Former Dean of School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies, JNU; Former Pro Vice Chancellor, JNU; Presently Chief Editor of Encyclopedia of Poetics of Sahitya Kala Academy.

This book is a serious attempt to defend the Indic traditions against barbaric Eurocentric attacks. It is distressing that some American professors are attacking the most sacred Hindu symbols without understanding their nature and deep meaning. Such assaults on the faith and sensitivities of millions of Hindus violate America’s sprit of liberal democracy. I congratulate the team of authors of the book for shaking us out of historical amnesia and political schizophrenia, and reminding us of the importance of our own conceptual categories instead of intellectual colonization of the West. The book will provoke debate on the differences between formal rationality and substantive rationality, and between individualistic values and collective spiritual values as a part of cosmic order.
Chandrakala Padia, Professor of Political Science and Director of Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

The struggle between Modernity and Tradition is an old one. Within the Academy, unlike ‘out there’, this has been, until recently a highly unequal struggle with Modernists in charge of all parameters of debate, the Traditional ‘Other’ wholly silent, largely setting up straw-men/women to knock down. With the gradual growth of so-called Post-Colonial Studies, this imbalance is now being, ever so slowly, rectified.

No human outlook is entirely chaste, true, or ideal: so, Tradition may well be as rent with human flaws as Modernity – however, what is owed it is the minimal respect of accurate portrayal, not loaded prejudgments based on first principles alone.

I welcome this work as a step in that direction, of allowing Tradition the honor of Self-Representation, rather than by having its contours defined for all of us, as has been customary, via an Outsider’s obloquy. It is enough for me here to note that the European experience is not a universal one, and the judgments reached within that world (the “Whig View of History”, as but one example) cannot be mechanically applied to Non-European civilizations. Human Culture is based on difference, and defies homogenizing from any outside perspective. Modernism is not Culture-Free, neither is Social Science: so, a work like this might well advance our trove of knowledge of the real world of ideas and practices , and also the biases inherited via the long legacy of EuroModernism. Indeed, I rather think that the times now are quite propitious for such efforts.
Rajani Kannepalli Kanth, Visiting Fellow, Harvard University

There are no Religious Studies Departments in Indian universities while in the West there are many. Like missionaries of yore, some of their writings have distorted and ridiculed the Indic heritage. For example one has said of the Indian popular God Ganesha that his elephant trunk exemplifies a limp phallus! This would be worse than saying that the Christian ritual of drinking wine as the blood of Christ is symbolic cannibalism. Today however the economic centre of the world is shifting towards Asia including India. This shift is accompanied by a new confidence from Indian points of view as well as inevitable changes in the future global academic landscape. This perceptive and path breaking book reflects this new confidence of regaining accurate perspectives on Indian culture. Just like Silicon Valley was fruitfully encroached upon by Asians, the detailed information in this book signals that Asians will no longer stand for misrepresentations.
Susantha Goonatilake, Author of “Anthropologizing Sri Lanka: A Civilizational Misadventure”(Indiana University Press, 2001); “Toward a Global Science: Mining Civilizational Knowledge” (Indiana University Press 1999, Sage India 2000)

The Indian diaspora of over 20 million around the world faces the acute problem that much of its civilizational portrayal has been controlled by outsiders for many centuries. However, a sharp increase in the prominence of Indians in the global scene has forced a showdown between the old guard’s established ideas and the young, vibrant community. “Invading the Sacred” is a first serious, albeit provocative, effort to challenge the parochial characterization of Hindus by western and/or westernized scholars. The book is path-breaking and takes to task those scholars who have been falsely stereotyping Indian culture, and shows the importance of challenging such biases. It will hopefully lead to more balanced and respectful discourse, debate, and discussion on many issues facing humanity as a whole, for which Indic civilization is an important resource.
Bal Ram Singh, Director, Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

“Invading the Sacred” is a timely and superlative response to the distorted rewritings of the history of Hindu culture and civilization. This book, in answering the distortions, definitively, is in the spirit of promoting an appreciation of cultures in the pursuit of a fundamental unity of all peoples, clearly a necessity in today’s multiethnic world. Invading the Sacred stands tall and honorable against the ethnocentric writings on Indic thought.
Prem Misir, Pro-Chancellor, University of Guyana

American Hindus are being forced to educate mainstream American to counter obvious prejudice to its public image. This image has been formed by “new age” superficiality, the obliterative gaze of the “psychoanalytic scientia sexualis” (as irked Foucault), gross media stereotypes, Eurocentric intellectual biases rooted in racism, and the innocent lack of reliable information. The new book, “Invading the Sacred- Postcolonial Challenges to American Hinduphobia,” accomplishes a grand first step in this illuminating and highly moral process. It clears the space to enable a deeper, more authentic encounter with this old tradition that will bring profound benefits to the non-Hindu world, just as it stirred many thinkers from Heidegger to Wittgenstein. It is also critical that the children of Hindu American families be spared the debilitating effects of derogation that have sadly beset one minority group after another, as each makes its way into American life.
Stuart Sovatsky, Professor and Psychotherapist, author of, “EuroHinduism in America,” in the “Columbia Desk Companion on Eastern Religion” and “Words From the Soul: Time, East-West Spirituality” and “Psychotherapeutic Narrative”.

Nearly a century ago, some believed that Indian art constituted ‘multiheaded monsters’ and horrendous sculpture with multi arms. An animated and well informed response came from Sri Aurobindo, A.K. Coomaraswamy and E.B. Havell. Not only was a corrective ensured in the comprehension of a complex multilayered culture, also it initiated a serious and in depth studies of the dimensions of the mythic image in many cultures where cosmogony and cosmology is encoded in the mythic narrative and the symbolic visual image. Eliade’s work assumes importance as a pioneer of such studies, withstanding recent critiques of his work. As general editor of the Encyclopedia of Religions published in USA, he sought to place the diversity of religions, traditions both from within the context of the particular tradition but also in a comparative context.

Against the background of this limited reference to the historiography of the interpenetrative domains of myth, artistic manifestation and studies on religion and the religious, one has been dismayed to find that certain scholars nearly five to eight decades later should confine themselves to the interpretation of the complex multilayering of the ‘mythical’, iconic, and symbolic image through a single perspective of a Freudian psycho-analytical approach applied to the exclusion of the others. Also there is a sense of bewilderment when one notes that rather outdated and almost passe theories of the psycho-analytical are being applied, when the discipline has taken in many more penetrative paths. The question then arises why some academics in some departments have chosen to undertake such studies with a single-minded pursuit of reading myth and symbol at particular level i.e. sexual. This exclusive preoccupation could have been overlooked or contested and a healthy discourse begun, had it not been for the fact that ‘scholarship’ and cognitive tools are being used for purposes other than intellectual or scholastic. This brings up issues of organizational structures of empowerment of certain ideological positions, and the consequent potential of influencing young minds not exposed to alternate interpretations. Exclusion of such material from reading lists appears to be motivated by considerations other than purely academic. The space for intellectual enquiry shrinks verging on dogmatism of a particular view point. In turn such subtle or not so subtle strategies become the instruments of creating deep fissures in the socio-cultural fabric of a democratic country like USA with the rhetoric of upholding the values of multiculturalism.

Doubts arise whether at the ground reality it is not a case (at least judging from this debate) of a deeply entrenched subscription to the validity of assessing all plurality through a single parameter of mono culture. The essays in the volume reignite a debate which has politico historical antecedents. They bring to fore the varied dimensions of comprehending ‘world views’, mythic narratives, visual imagery and socio-religious cultural movements at the level of comprehension of text, academia legitimatization and organizational mobilization. It is hoped that the volume will be read with serious interest and introspection.

Both S.N. Balagangadhara and Arvind Sharma have broadly outlined these issues in their respective contributions. As a former member of the US academy although intermittently over a half century, I have been bewildered and nonplussed, at the turn of ‘gaze’ and the narrowing of gaze, which seems to have taken place in the departments of religious studies. I hope that the infection will not spread to other disciplines where one has enjoyed utmost freedom in a participating in some of the most stimulating intellectual discourses.
Kapila Vatsyayan, Academician and Rajya Sabha member

This book tells quite a horrific tale. I take it those RISA scholars, i.e. “Wendy and her children” have some “large” influence outside academia?
Setting the record straight is no easy task. They have a strange inquisitorial air much like the Protestants in England drawing and quartering such catholic folk as Thomas Campion.

Of course “religion” is grotesquely displaced in academia. These Sacred texts belong to the Seeker, not the academic who must live in such narrow halls of traditional academia. . . dare we say wholly left-brained making them unfit to read a text written solely for Seekers? Religion belongs to the Seeker, not the academic nor the Inquisitor. The crucial question is a radical shift in consciousness, not easy for the hot house academic.

I have told the story of my Navajo student who returned to his reservation after graduating from ST. John’s, closed down the BIA’s “school” of desks, blackboards, and podiums, then brought the students back to the fires of their ancestors where the Singers taught them how to sing.

Yes! These academics do not know how to sing!
Concerning this fundamental shift in consciousness, I wrote a short piece called “Dead or Alive.” It concerns the 48th Koan in the Mumonkan, a very serious book indeed! Fortunately, the academics have not touched it! One might just read the last part called “A Sacrifice on the Ganges.”

One of the reasons I appreciate “Finnegans Wake” is its very anti-academic stance in that whenever the academics try to say something about it, nonsense seems to fly out of their mouths! A former student of mine went to an academic congress on Joyce and heard lots of lectures on everything Joyce wrote EXCEPT “Finnegans Wake.” On that book, they fall silent. As Joyce himself said he wrote it to keep the academics busy for a 100 years!

I must say, reading the book raised my blood pressure. I had really forgotten how limited and even vicious most academics really are
Vern Rutsala in his little book called “A Handbook for Writers” has this to say about Professors:


Many talk of dedication, service to youth and knowledge, scholarship and independent inquiry. This sort of talk is quite simply a ruse. Professors are voluptuaries of the dull and the real masters are those who conduct themselves so cleverly that no one ever discovers that their dullness is, in fact, a brilliantly feigned act.

Tom Harris, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy & Religions; St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM, USA.

I have read Invading the Sacred with much sadness. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, who had been an esteemed colleague at Dalhousie University, used to say of scholars like Wendy Doniger that they had much erudition and little understanding. Such scholars are wholly unable to grasp the subtle vibrations resulting from great spiritual austerities of generations of rishis of sanatana dharma, and they cope with their inadequacy by reducing the material to their own level. Sometimes they behave like shape shifting rakshasas claiming to love what they belittle or destroy by reduction.

I have myself had to wrestle a great deal with the difficulties inherent in the task of writing something about a sacred text of another tradition, while writing The Yoga of the Christ (now issued in a slightly revised form under the title The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism). It requires a great deal of humility and a recognition that the profundity and the grandeur of another tradition always remains a mystery, as do these in one’s own tradition. I have been immensely gratified by the reception given to the book by Christian scholars and practitioners who felt that their tradition was honoured and loved and that they were assisted in deepening their love of Christ. My special satisfaction lay in the fact that several Christian ministers and monks, in spite of my clearly stating in the Introduction that I am not a Christian, ended their letters with feelings such as ‘your brother in Christ.’ I doubt very much that a Hindu monk would make a similar remark to Wendy Doniger or her intellectual playmates about their writings about Ramakrishna or the Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

However, I do not believe that these scholars of very low spiritual sensitivity are especially serving the cause of Christianity. There can be no doubt that there are sacred treasures in Christianity, as in all the great traditions. I suspect that Wendy Doniger and her fellow scholars will be as unable to recognize the subtle levels in Christianity as in Hinduism. The real struggle is not between profound Christianity and profound Hinduism, but between superficiality and profundity in every tradition.

Rajiv Malhotra is to be admired for his tenacity and persistence in the face of ad hominem attacks against him in exposing the low level occupation of what he has termed ‘Wendy’s children’ and who have to a large extent hijacked Hinduism studies in the West. His chakra hermeneutics is a good way to understand their anal and sexual fixations in the presence of the Sacred. A good reminder from the Talmud that ‘We see the world not as it is, but as we are.’ It may take time, but as the Mundaka Upanishad (III.1.6) says, Satyameva jayate nanritam -Truth alone triumphs, not untruth.

Ravi Ravindra, Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University from where he retired as Professor and Chair of Comparative Religion, and Professor of Physics. His most recent book is The Spiritual Roots of Yoga. He is the Series Editor of an eight-volume series of books titled The Inner Journey: Views from the Great Traditions, being published by the Morning Light Press.

“Malhotra has pointed out that while Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Korean, Arab, and even various European cultures–such as Irish, Italian, and French, for instance–have actively funded and managed the American academic representation of their cultural identities, Indian Americans have not done so to a comparable extent. They have been content with building temples, while their portrayal in the educational system and in the media has been abandoned to the tender mercies of the dominant Western traditions.” But, “the view from the business world and from top business schools is increasingly upbeat.” {p. 8 of Book.}

In my view, Malhotra has identified the very first problem for the current representation of Hinduism in America, and this problem cannot be laid at the doorstep of the academy. The problem is with the Hindu community. They do not demand a center for Hindu studies at the universities that they attend, as do other minorities in America, such as Muslims. And for the most part, the only subjects they want to study are medicine, business, and engineering; very few of the Hindu students I have taught have been involved with the social sciences or the humanities, where Hinduism naturally is aired in the university.

What we need is an army of believing, practicing Hindus to take up advanced studies of Hinduism in the university and address the imbalance that has been rightly delineated in Invading The Sacred.
Michael J. Gressett is the Vice President of the VFA. He graduated from U. C. Berkeley in 2000 with a degree in Religious Studies. He holds an M. A. in Hinduism from the University of Florida, and has completed his course work for the Ph D. Gressett currently teaches Sanskrit at the University of Florida in the Department of Religion.


Today’s global wars give the Indic religions a relevance they have never had before, because they stay firmly outside the nebulous and dangerous territory of trying to prove whose God is better and whose prophets came equipped with better received wisdom. It is distressing that several Western scholars should be blind to this enlightened idea of faith, and instead base their analysis on misinterpreting sacred narratives. This is an important book because it exposes their bias.
Tavleen Singh, Journalist

This is a much-welcomed volume that is long overdue. It goes to the heart of Hindu oppression in mind, words and deeds. However it is essential that this volume moves rapidly from the bookshelf to one of calculated motion that comes in the form of symposiums, study-directed pro-action workshops, which should traverse not just the halls of learning but through the corridors of power and the strategic embrace of the mass media. The book has the edge to empower reasonable thinking individuals and groups to wake up from their long slumber of passive acceptance and demand the kind of change that is necessary to reorient respectability to the oldest religion in the world.

Indeed, two years ago I addressed the issue in my book, “The Yoga of Love”. There I traced the problem through the eyes of the narrator, who then (in the 1850’s) saw a systematic attempt to undermine the guru system by a powerful military family that was in the employment on the East India Company. As a reincarnated person in the twenty-first century he made the linkages that connected powerful secret societies in places like Oxford and other like institutions in the United States. For this reason I wholly endorse the arrival of this book and hope it will engineer the kind of response in those parts of the world where change can positively affect minds as well as hearts.
Balkrishna Naipaul, Novelist

In an age when worldwide human societies are trying to integrate in a spirit of peace and non-violence, it is truly shocking and deeply distressing that a section of American academicians, researchers and scholars are bent upon applying irrelevant theories and research to Hindu symbols and divinities and creating untenable interpretations of them to hurt millions of people who hold them sacred. Such interpretations hurt the cause of peace and human rights and must be opposed with all the might that sensible people everywhere can bring to the effort. This book is a major contribution to this effort. It should spur millions to condemn the demonizing of Indian religion and culture by American researchers and scholars.
Vimla Patil, Former Editor of Femina (Times of India Group), and renowned writer on culture


Hinduism, and Indian thought and culture more generally, has much to contribute to the development of a healthy multicultural society in the UK. Hinduphobia is a serious threat to this ethos of pluralism and unjustly brands and stigmatizes an entire minority community. Similar hate speech against other minorities has resulted in attacks upon them. Phobias are mostly caused by a lack of understanding of the past. This book offers a better understanding of the Indian Culture. This groundbreaking book documents the rise of Hinduphobia in sections of the American academy and highlights the danger it poses to other parts of the world. Leaders and thinkers in the UK should learn from this book and invite debates and discussions with the Hindu community and other minority communities to expose and counter Hinduphobia in the greater endeavor to create a truly diverse and pluralistic society.
Lord Rana, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom

How can a subcontinent’s four thousand years or more of history be stolen and obliterated? It has not only happened but is continuing to happen. Earlier our heritage was taken away by colonizers and missionaries who propounded the unsustainable Aryan Invasion. This theory truncated our history by a few thousand years and wiped out our contribution to every branch of science and knowledge and ascribed them to Greek, Egyptian and Babylonian cultures. Now Indian civilization is being set up as a human-rights nightmare, and the Indian nation-state is being pilloried as the source of oppression of minorities, children, women and the poor. Overtly or covertly this is being ascribed to Indian (read Hindu) religion. The people doing it are not old-style avaricious colonialists, theocratic mullahs or racist missionaries – this new colonialism is very respectable and thrives in American universities, masquerading as the fruit of well-researched scholarship. What hundreds of years of invasion and colonizing by Islamic and European forces could not do – undermine the faith of Indians in their culture -is being achieved on a fast track by this process, ably supported by billions of dollars worth of funding by Christian and Islamic missionaries.

For decades, ever since I began to slowly realize the fraud and misinterpretation, I have been in anguish, anger and frustration. This is not just about our national pride or even just about setting the record straight- this poses a very real threat to India’s future, sovereignty and security: Attempts are being made to portray our culture as devilish and narrow minded, whose religion basically entails oppression of the weak and the worship of weird and pathological deities and immoral god-men.

In such an environment, acts of aggression against us- such as by sanctions, wholesale conversion, terrorism or ‘insurgency’, can be ‘justified’. Violent separatist movements which claim the lives of our brave soldiers and innocent civilians alike through terrorism, will gain respectability as ‘legitimate’ fights against an abusive culture. At the very least our geopolitical standing will diminish, and we will become economically and culturally isolated. Studied foundations are being laid for this, under advice and prompting from “Scholars” and “Faith Based” organizations (read evangelical Christian), by The State Department declaring year after year that India is a country lacking in respect for Human Rights and Religious freedom. This totally ignores the realities in India, the most secular nation in the world.

I cannot say how thankful I am that a group of people, lead by Rajiv Malhotra and the Infinity Foundation, have started a move to question this gigantic fraud – the belittling, trivializing and denigration of the history and culture of India. Every patriotic Indian of every faith needs to read this book and call for an open debate to clean up the halls of academia of hate and fraud masquerading as objectivity. It should be required reading for every Indian diplomat, the defense department and those in foreign affairs, and especially for Indian scholars. Indians contemplating giving grants to US universities also should do their due diligence and develop a game plan that encourages balanced scholarship, not biased and slanted views, served up as ‘authentic’ research and study.
Air Marshal S Raghavendran PVSM AVSM (Retd)

It is surprising that after the interest and admiration shown by the early European scholars in all things concerning the Hindu thought and civilization a totally new trend began towards the end of the 19 th century to begin the denigration of the Hindu religion. The western mind has not been able to accept the assimilative strength of Hinduism which not only absorbs the finer ideas of others but also finally asserts itself and prevails. The anger of the American academics and their resort to distortion and abuse of Hindu religious symbolism perhaps spring from the frustrations of their evangelistic attempts to make Christianity acceptable in any significant measure.

However this should be no excuse for complacency; it is time that Hinduism went on the aggressive, something that we have neglected in the past and thereby suffered unjustifiable opprobrium at the hands of spiritual Lilliputians. I admire the concept of this book and commend all those who have made valuable contributions in rebutting undesirable innuendos about our religion. We must now organize readings, debates and discussions to spread the true word and dispel wrong notions from ill-informed minds.
Wg Cdr (Retd) DS Jafa, Veer Chakra, Vayu Medal, Fighter Pilot of Supersonic Sukhoi-7 aircraft, PoW (1971 Indo Pak war), Samaj Ratna (Vice President of India Award)


I am deeply distressed to learn that certain powerfully placed western scholars insult and misinterpret our sacred symbols, Gods, Goddesses and rituals. This book should wake up the world artist community who travel and perform all over the globe, to expose the horrific and disgusting interpretations of Indian Divinity by sections of western academia. Scholars, scientists, educationists, businessmen, social workers, statesmen and sensitive people from all walks of life with basic virtues and responsibility towards Indian culture, must speak up and take action immediately.
Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj, renowned Indian Classical dance maestro

To American scholars whose negative scholarship on Indian Divinity has been highlighted in this book-If you do not have enough knowledge about a culture and religion, you should not write about it!
Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Martand, Pandit Jasraj- renowned Indian classical music maestro.

I am shocked at American scholarship in which Freudian theories are used as the tool to interpret Indian culture. The way in which American professors have made disgusting sexual statements about our most sacred Gods and Goddesses is no less than a criminal assault on the faith and sensitivities of millions of Hindus. This book, ‘Invading The Sacred,” is a true eye-opener for all Indians who have been ignorant of the serious abuse of Indian scared symbols by many biased scholars in prestigious American Universities. I recommend that people from all religions and cultures, academicians, artists, youth, educational, cultural and spiritual institutions, should condemn such Hinduphobia in America or anywhere else.
Padma Bhushan Pt. Rajan Sajan Misra, Indian Classical Music maestro

Community Leaders

In the current time, it is necessary to bring out a proper and clear understanding of Hinduism and its culture, among the masses of people who do not have any primary knowledge of the subject. For the present and future generations to have a realization of the value of our religion, this work with its extensive descriptions and lessons, can play a major role. We pray to Lord Udupi Shri Krishna to Bless all the contributors of this work, with the strength and enthusiasm to continue such efforts in the service of the world community.
His Holiness 1008 Shri Shri Sugunendra Thirtha Swamiji, Jagadguru Shri Madhvacharya Moola Maha Samsthaanam, Shree Puthige Matha, Udupi, Karnataka

Some American scholars seem intent on denigrating and running down our Sanatana Dharma through articles and books. These tracts are viciously misleading and often betray shockingly ignorant and uninformed “scholarship”. They distort the symbolism and meaning behind the most sacred and profound elements and icons of Sanatana Dharma—such as Sri Ganesha, Sri Ramakrishna, Shiva, aspects of Tantra and Yoga, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the bindi worn by devout Hindu women. It is the duty of all Hindus to fight such slanderous representations of our religion and to defend our Dharma from such unwarranted attacks, through vigorous and scholarly rebuttals.

I strongly endorse this (and other similar) books and the related efforts by its editors and authors to safeguard traditional Hinduism from such academic attack. It is our duty to protect the vulnerable and impressionable minds of our youth from such vulgar and incorrect characterizations of Sanatana Dharma, which have no basis in either practice or scripture. These scholars who call themselves authorities on Hinduism must be willing to debate with those who are the true acharyas of Sanatana Dharma.

As practitioners and true scholars of diverse traditional Sanatana Dharma sampradayas and paramparas, it is our duty to stand by books such as this one and counteract false and negative scholarship on Sanatana Dharma. We must ensure that the world’s leading universities and schools transmit correct and proper knowledge and understanding of our great religion and culture.

His Holiness Swami Sarvanand Saraswati, Vedantacharya; Chancellor, Bhartishreepeetham University, New Delhi; President, All India Quami Ekta Committee, New Delhi; Board of Directors, OISCA International, Tokyo, Japan; Chairman, Bhajan Sukhsewa Mission, U.S.A., U.K., Canada, France.

There are 20 Million people of Hindu origin living overseas. Their children are attending schools and universities in the industrialized countries in an environment where the faculty in Comparative Religions and Religious Studies departments display astonishing ignorance about the anaadhi (not circumscribed by Time) and Sanatana (eternal, perpetual, primeval) dharma adumbrated by the Vedas, Upanishads and noble Vedantic thought. Granted that such studies are not within the easy reach of even many living in India, one can at least ask the teachers of Hindu students overseas to stay away from beating the dead horses of caste, Sati, dowry and pursuing the sterile psychoanalytic approaches to the teaching of Hindu religion .

These ignorant faculty and “research scholars” parade their painfully accumulated litany of superficial knowledge and strut about as experts, in a situation like the blind leading the blind. These teachers and scholars would benefit from education at the sacred feet of our Acharyas in India, who are shining beacons of light about the ancient Hindu dharmas and Saasthras. Our AchAryAs are the most compassionate souls, who never turn down anyone asking for VidhyA dhAnam (the gift of knowledge).

Meanwhile, the wasted and mischievous efforts of incompetent scholars are causing irreparable damage to the self-esteem of young Hindus, who are exposed to the prattling of these pompous peacocks parading their ignorance and arrogance. The need for the teaching of the authentic aspects and core doctrines of the Hindu religion by faculty here has taken on an urgent note now, as the economic interests from the western hemisphere are pushing hard to build alliances with India’s scientific and technological elite for advancing their commercial agendas. Indifference to the cultural sensitivities in the areas of Indian religious customs, philosophy and rites will set back rapid advances to cooperative programs that would be mutually beneficial.

India will be a global player, and it is time that the pseudo-scholars in the west recognize that Indians are a deeply religious people and that a fair presentation of Hinduism in scholarship, textbooks and the media would offset the academic misrepresentations of Hinduism, which in turn will lead to a healthy respect for what is sacred and sacrosanct.

In this context, I am delighted to learn about the plans for the publication of the important and timely monograph edited by Dr. K. Ramaswamy , Professor A. de Nicolas and Ms. A. Banerjee with the title of “Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in the American Academy”. May this monograph serve as an important communication tool to address a serious academic problem in the teaching of Religion in general and Hinduism in particular at our (American) Universities.”
Dr. Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan, President, Networked Multimedia Services; IBM Research ((Retired Executive); Kaimkarya Ratnam and Sri VaishNav Srinidhi

Hindu religion has always been a symbol of love, peace and unity. If anyone tries to attack Hinduism it means attacking peace and love, which will not be tolerated. I was aghast to hear about American scholars insulting and interpreting wrongly the messages of Hindu religion and Indian culture in their universities. I strongly condemn these kinds of acts which are going to break the emotions of people rather than joining them.
Moulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, General Secretary, All India Organization of Imams and Mosques; President Bhartya Muslim Parishad

This book is the beginning of much needed and very important work of bringing out publications counteracting the western Eurocentric misrepresentations of Hinduism (or Sanatana Dharma). Hinduism demands integrity and honesty in addition to academic scholarship and practice for its understanding. However several Eurocentric scholars have done disservice through their misrepresentations in the name of academic scholarship, because they lack practical aspects of Hindu religion and a thorough knowledge of Sanskrit.

The capable editors of this book through its four well developed sections present the important and critical issues of misrepresentations of Hinduism. The book not only cites the various glaring misrepresentations but also brings out the negative short-term and long-term impact on Hindus. In addition the editors point out how such misrepresentations in the name of scholarship misguide the curious and impressionable non-Hindus. This book also helps Hindus to understand the nature of misrepresentations so that proper efforts can be put by the Hindu community to clear such misrepresentations.

It is well known that over the course of history that there have been innumerable seers, sages, saints and scientists in Hinduism who have obtained their findings based on intense and thorough practice and deep insights. This book also marks the beginning of effort by several knowledgeable and practicing Hindus to present their understanding of Hinduism. The writings by practicing Hindus not only counteract the misrepresentations but also provide the valuable representations for the benefit of community eager to understand Hinduism. This book is to be read by all interested to know and spread the universally relevant Hinduism that can only benefit humanity.
Dr. M.G. Prasad, professor of mechanical engineering specializing in acoustics and vibration at Stevens Institute of Technology and a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. The benefits of sacred sound through mantras, music, phonetics etc have been scientifically studied and documented well in Hindu literature. Dr. Prasad’s findings in this area of research are in consonance with Hindu literature. He has presented his studies at the national meetings of the Acoustical Society of America. He has been serving the cause of education of Hinduism through a variety of outreach activities.

The religious landscape of America has changed radically over the last four or five decades, but many have not yet internalized the dimensions and the scope of the change. Throughout history the United States has been dominated by the influence of Christianity. At the same time, the Constitution of the United States has enabled a plurality of ways to flourish because of its strong stand for freedom of conscience. Thus, the positive civic view of pluralism of religion in the Constitution clashes directly with the negative religious views of pluralism held by some conservative Americans. Hindus bring something unique to America – a theology of religious pluralism in keeping with the ancient Rig Vedic saying ‘Truth is one; the wise call it by many names.’

We Hindus are fortunate to have had the opportunity to build Hindu Temples all over the United States. The Temple is a sacred place just as other places of worship such as Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques. Unfortunately, some Temples have been subjected to discrimination and undue interference from Courts although there acts are much against the Constitution. Hindu forms of worship are ridiculed, derogated and even labeled as ‘cults’. Hindu symbols and icons have been ridiculed and passages from Hindu scriptures are misquoted and misrepresented. Hindu Deities are subjected to mockery, and temples vandalism.

Tragically, it is not just right-wing evangelical groups that alone vilify Hinduism, the American academy has also played a key role by demonizing Hindu conceptions of the divine, Hindu religious figures and by trivializing and denigrating revered Hindu symbols and icons. This is done often under the guise of (ethnocentric and non-reproducible) Freudian “analysis”, besides outright misquoting of Hindu scriptures and fabrication of data. Thus rather than challenge the bigotry of some in the majority community, such scholarship has striven hard to reinforce and lend respectability to these prejudices, and ignored calls for open debate. It is truly commendable that several distinguished scholars in this book have carefully evaluated and documented the facts and have asked for open investigation of cases of hate and fabrication. As a Hindu-American, I am proud and grateful for the courageous call for openness and debate in this book. Both the academy and American pluralism stand to benefit from this book.”
Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of Hindu Temple, Flushing, New York

It is very unfortunate that some academic quarters in the West are trying to misinterpret and misrepresent the eternal truths and spiritual gems of India. They are falling prey to ignorance and vested interests. Besides jeopardizing the academic system, this is detrimental to global peace. The pioneers featured in this book are trend setters in creating awareness of these issues logically and systematically. Their patience and perseverance has inspired other similar movements. Scholars must be cautious about surface analysis and reaching conclusions without the experience of going deeper.
Virendra Qazi, Scholar of Kashmir Shaiva Agamas, Chairman of Lalleshwari International Trust.

Dear Sudhir:

Thank you for the invitation for the conference. Unfortunately, we will be India at that time but we will try to attend it next time.

I have recently read a book called “Invading the Sacred.” It is published by Rupa publications in India. It is quite revealing how certain American academic “scholars” are misinterpreting, distorting, and even insulting some of the Hindu-Vedic texts and Divine images like Ganesh and Shiva to a ridiculously insulting level and how such twisted interpretations are appearing in school textbooks and art museums etc. This is being protested by a groups of concerned Hindu-Americans and academicians from all over the world. The book is about this whole debate. You should definitely read this book before the next conference and raise some of these issues.

I was given a copy of this book by my good friend Prof. Antonio de Nicolas, who is also one of the editors of this book. After I finished reading it, I have given my copy to John Peterson, who is very much interested in reading it.

Please do look it up. It is quite revealing and challenging to all Hindu-Americans and to any fair-minded humanbeing.

I will forward your announcement letter to Antonio and John.

Vinod D Deshmukh, MD PhD

Dear Antonio:

Thank you. Please do forward the email to your friends. We have to continue our efforts to keep up the collective voice of reason, goodness, and civility.

“Invading the Sacred” is quite a revealing book. I learnt a lot about the current debate with its two antagonistic views that have wide implications on Hindu American community and the humanity at large.

I liked your comments and writings in the book. I will write about it in greater details when I will have the book back with me. I have made notes to comment.

Thank you for your efforts to defend the truth and goodness in Sanatan Dharma.

Vinod D Deshmukh, MD PhD