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Monday, December 5, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi on Christian Conversions

Mahatma Gandhi on Christian Conversions
Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi on Christian conversions, compiled by Swami
Aksharananda and produced by Vidya Bharati, New York
Gandhiji was not awarded the Nobel peace prize because he refused to
be converted. Now that missionaries are spreading their tentacles far

and wide in India, converting people by allurement, inducement and

fraud (in north east India, killings and threats are becoming

commonplace), Gandhiji's message is all the more relevant in

understanding and reacting to this problem. Missionary Terrorism will

become as dangerous as Islamic terrorism if ignored. Please read &

I Call Myself a Sanatani Hindu
I call myself a Sanatani Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the
Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu

scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth; I believe in the

varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion strictly Vedic but not in

its presently popular and distorted crude sense; I believe in the

protection of cow. I do not disbelieve in murti puja.
(Young India: June 10, 1921)
Why I am Not a Convert
Hinduism as I know it entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole
being. When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the

face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to

the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately

begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been

full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible

effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
(Young India: June 8, 1925)
I Disbelieve in Conversion
I disbelieve in the conversion of one person by another. My effort
should never to be to undermine another's faith. This implies belief

in the truth of all religions and, therefore, respect for them. It

implies true humility.
(Young India: April 23, 1931)
Conversion: Impediment to Peace
It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion
after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an

error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress

toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to

Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or

godly man?
(Harijan: January 30, 1937)
No Such Thing as Conversion
I believe that there is no such thing as conversion from one faith to
another in the accepted sense of the word. It is a highly personal

matter for the individual and his God. I may not have any design upon

my neighbour as to his faith which I must honour even as I honour my

own. Having reverently studied the scriptures of the world, I could no

more think of asking a Christian or a Musalman, or a Parsi or a Jew to

change his faith than I would think of changing my own.
(Harijan: September 9, 1935)
No Conversion Designs Upon Me
I am not interested in weaning you from Christianity and making you
Hindu, and I do not relish your designs upon me, if you had any, to

convert me to Christianity. I would also dispute your claim that

Christianity is the only true religion.
(Harijan: June 3, 1937)
Conversion must not mean denationalization. Conversion should mean a
definite giving up of the evil of the old, adoption of all the good of

the new and a scrupulous avoidance of everything evil in the new.

Conversion, therefore, should mean a life of greater dedication to

one's country, greater surrender to God, greater self-purification.
(Young India: August 20, 1925)
Aping of Europeans and Americans
As I wander about through the length and breath of India, I see many
Christian Indians almost ashamed of their birth, certainly of their

ancestral religion, and of their ancestral dress. The aping of

Europeans by Anglo-Indians is bad enough, but the aping of them by

Indian converts is a violence done to their country and, shall I say,

even to their new religion.
(Young India: August 8, 1925)
Why Should I Change My Religion
I hold that proselytisation under the cloak of humanitarian work is
unhealthy to say the least. It is most resented by people here.

Religion after all is a deeply personal thing. It touches the heart.

Why should I change my religion because the doctor who professes

Christianity as his religion has cured me of some disease, or why

should the doctor expect me to change whilst I am under his

(Young India: April 23, 1931)
Missionary Aim: Uprooting Hinduism
My fear is that though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit
it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast

that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it,

is the only true religion. So far as one can understand the present

(Christian) effort, it is to uproot Hinduism from her very foundation

and replace it by another faith.
(Harijan: March 13, 1937)
Undermining People's Faith
The first distinction I would like to make between your missionary
work and mine is that while I am strengthening the faith of people,

you (missionaries) are undermining it.
(Young India: November 8, 1927)
Physician Heal Yourself
Conversion nowadays has become a matter of business, like any other.
India (Hindus) is in no need of conversion of this kind. Conversion in

the sense of self-purification, self-realization is the crying need of

the times. That however is never what is meant by proselytization. To

those who would convert India (Hindus), might it not be said,

"Physician, heal yourself."
(Young India: April 23, 1931)
Missionaries: Vendors of Goods
When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a
vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will

distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess

material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold.
(Harijan: April 3, 1937)
If I had the Power and Could Legislate
If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all
proselytizing. In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has

meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of

dress, manners, language, food and drink.
(November 5, 1935)
The Only Begotten Son of God?
I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him
as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material

interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons

of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a

special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of

God. God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive

divinity to Jesus.
(Harijan: June 3, 1937)
Western Christianity Today
It is my firm opinion that Europe (and the United States) does not
represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan.

And Satan's successes are the greatest when appears with the name of

God on his lips.
(Young India: September 8, 1920)
I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of
Christ's Christianity. I cannot conceive Jesus, if he was living in

flesh in our midst, approving of modern Christian organizations,

public worship, or ministry.
(Young India: September 22, 1921)
Christianity and Imperialistic Exploitation
Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one
hundred and fifty years with British rule. It appears to us as

synonymous with materialistic civilization and imperialistic

exploitation by the stronger white races of the weaker races of the

world. Its contribution to India has been, therefore, largely

(Young India: March 21, 1929)
No Room For Them
In the manner in which they are working there would seem to be no room
for them. Quite unconsciously they do harm to themselves and also to

us. It is perhaps impertinent to say that they do harm to themselves,

but quite pertinent to say that they do harm to us. They do harm to

those amongst whom they work and those amongst whom they do not work,

i.e., the harm is done to the whole of India. The more I study their

activities the more sorry I become. It is a tragedy that such a thing

should happen to the human family.
(Harijan: December 12, 1936)
Only the other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money
in his pocket, distributed it among the famine stricken, converted

them to his fold, took charge of their temple, and demolished it. This

is outrageous.
(Harijan: November 5, 1937)
Let the Hindu be a Better Hindu
I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and
also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I

should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are

Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu. But our innermost

prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better

Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.
(Young India: January 19, 1928)
Welcome Them Back
If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation, or for material gain
or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call

it conversion. Most cases of conversion have been to my mind false

coin. I would therefore unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all

such repentants without much ado. If a man comes back to the original

branch he deserves to be welcomed in so far as he may deem to have

erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents his

error and retraces his steps.
(Collected Works: Vol. 66, pp. 163-164)
Original Source of This Article : -
Mahatma Gandhi on Conversion - Compiled by Swami Aksharananda and
produced by Vidya Bharati, New York
NOTE: As a Hindu courtesy, please acknowledge Swami Aksharananda ji
who compiled this information and Vidya Bharati, New York who produced

it. Please circulate as widely as possible.
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