Ishwar Sharan

Ishwar Sharan, also known as Swami Devananda Saraswati, is a Canadian author and convert to Hinduism.

His cult was brought to India by Thomas of Cana and the four hundred Syrian refugees he led, in 345 CE, and even as St. Thomas was identified with Jesus, so Thomas of Cana came to be identified with St. Thomas within a few generations of his death in Malabar.
The consensus among most historians who do not have a theological axe to grind, is that the first Christians to arrive in India, landing at Cranganore, Kerala, came in 345 CE. They were four hundred refugees belonging to seven tribes of West Asia, who were fleeing religious persecution by the Persian Shapor II. Their leader was a Syrian who is known to history as Knae Thomman, Thomas Cananeus, Thomas of Cana, or Thomas the Merchant. It is probably this man whom the Syrian Christians later converted into the first century apostle-martyr St. Thomas.

QuotesEdit

The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva TempleEdit

Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010. Fourth Edition, 2019.
Author’s Note
  • This writer once had the misfortune of meeting The Hindu editor, N. Ram. He arrived one morning in 1992 on our ashram doorstep with a Muslim friend. He did not identify himself except to say that his name was Ram, and was eager to push forward his companion who had nothing to say. Finally, his manner radiating hostility, he asked us our opinion about the demolition of the disputed building called Babri Masjid in Ayodhya earlier in the year. We replied that we did not feel that Muslims had any vested interest or claim in Ayodhya at all. It was a Hindu pilgrimage town for many centuries and had no religious value to Muslims. The disputed building was a victory monument built by a foreign invader’s governor who had wished to subdue and intimidate the Hindu inhabitants of the area. We wondered how Indian Muslims, the citizens of a free and independent India whose religious rights were protected, could place any value on such a structure? There was a dead silence for a minute after this reply, while Ram glared at us menacingly (his companion had closed his eyes and sunk down in his chair). “No use talking to you,” he said loudly. And he got up and stomped out of the room with his Muslim companion in tow. “Who was that?” I asked the Mataji of the ashram later. “Oh, that was Ram of The Hindu,” she said, laughing. “You can be sure of a bad press from now on! You had better find another name to write under. The one Ram knows you by will be on every black list by tomorrow.” And so it has come about. Jai Sri Ram!
Foreword by Koenraad Elst
  • While the belief that Thomas settled in South India came about as an honest mistake, the claim that he was martyred by Brahmins was always a deliberate lie, playing upon a possible confusion between the consonants of the expression “be ruhme”, meaning “with a spear”, and those of “Brahma” (Semitic alphabets usually don’t specify vowels). That was the gratitude Hindus received in return for extending their hospitality to the Christian refugees: being blackened as the murderers of the refugees’ own hero. If the Indian bishops have any honour, they will themselves remove this false allegation from their discourse and their monuments, including the cathedral in Chennai built at the site of Thomas’s purported martyrdom (actually the site of a Shiva temple). Indeed, they will issue a historic declaration expressing their indebtedness to Hindu hospitality and pluralism and pledging to renounce their anti-Hindu animus.
    • Koenraad Elst
Introduction
  • The famous English historian Arnold Toynbee observed that the mission and death of St. Thomas in India was legendary but that his reported burial place in Mylapore was a centre of pilgrimage for Indian Christians. We observe that this pretended burial place of St. Thomas – an empty tomb that has been refurbished at the cost of lakhs of rupees since the publication of this book in 1991 – must now become a centre of pilgrimage for archaeologists, historians and philosophers who do not have a theological axe to grind like the pilgrims of old and the priests of today, but who would know the plain truth about old Mylapore and record it for our children.
Chapter 1
  • The revelation that the tomb of St. Peter is a fake will not come as a surprise to Europeans. They know better than anyone else the deceitful nature of the Roman Church. But the same revelation about the tomb of St. Thomas in Madras will come as a surprise to Indians. They know the story of St. Thomas in India because it has been repeated by interested persons of eminence and enterprise, and sometimes even of scholarship, since the sixteenth century. They accept it “on authority”
Chapter 3
  • The Jesuit Bollandist Peeters and Maurice Winternitz, Professor of Indian Philology and Ethnology at the German University of Prague, categorically deny that St. Thomas came to India. And the Indian “St. Thomas” Christian K.E. Job, a cautious voice among three archbishops, eleven bishops, and fifty-three priests who contributed to the Mar Thoma Centenary Commemoration Volume 1952, writes, “But there are few records enabling one to be positive about the scene of the activities of each of these Apostles [Peter and Paul] and how each of them carried out the commands of their Master ... [and] certain knowledge about the other Apostles [Thomas and Bartholomew] is absolutely inadequate.”
  • This statement is patently absurd in the face of the evidence of the Acts itself. Mylapore has never been “a desert country” as Mazdai’s land is described in the Acts – his city is not described at all – and has never had a Zoroastrian king or a mountain with an ancient royal sepulchre in it. Mylapore has always been known as a Hindu pilgrimage town and busy port, with jasmine gardens, jungles, peacocks and lush coconut groves.
  • There is simply nothing Indian, much less South Indian, in the setting and ambiance of the Acts of Thomas. All internal evidence suggests Syria, Iraq and Persia – or Parthia as it was called in the first century CE – as the place where the drama of the Acts was played out to its preordained end, or to a kingdom on the edge of the Roman Empire – like Edessa itself – as there are strong Greco-Roman influences in the text, India as a specific place and Gundaphorus and Misdaeus-Mazdai as Indian kings appear to be literary devices used by Bardesanes to give credibility to the unconventional religious theme of the book.
  • C.B. Firth could have included the testimony of Origen’s teacher, the Greek missionary theologian Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-235), who had travelled from Greece to Italy, Syria and Palestine before settling in Egypt. Clement is known as an apologist rather than a father of the Church, as he tried to reconcile Platonic philosophy with Christian doctrine. He is the first orthodox Christian scholar to say that St. Thomas went to Parthia.
  • The same could be said of the testimony of the second and third century Clement and Origen, and fourth century Eusebius, but the difference is that their earlier date and closeness to the alleged events and its first traditions – which are not recorded in a stylized religious fiction like the Acts – give them more credibility. They, too, had knowledge of the Acts and Teaching but chose to ignore them and declare that St. Thomas went to Parthia. Eusebius, who had done research at Edessa for his Ecclesiastical History but lived at Caesarea Maritima in Palestine, the port from which St. Thomas would have had to embark for India (unless he used the Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat or the Egyptian ports of Elim or Berenice), certainly knew both traditions thoroughly and is a principal witness. Moreover he held unorthodox religious views and would have been sympathetic to the Christian theosophy expounded in the Acts. Yet he states that St. Thomas went from Jerusalem by land to proselytise the Parthians. This supports the tradition that St. Thomas went to Edessa to meet his disciple Addai, whom he had sent earlier to meet the Abgar – the same Edessa that would later honour him with a book, a mummy, a tomb, and a cult.
  • But Clement, Origen and Eusebius are not the only early Christian scholars to say that St. Thomas went to Parthia. There is also the fourth century priest, Rufinus of Aquileia, who translated Greek theological texts into Latin, and the fifth century Byzantine church historian and legal consultant, Socrates of Constantinople, who also wrote an Ecclesiastical History after Eusebius, the second edition which is still completely extant and considered an indispensable documentary source of early church history.
  • Both Rufinus and Socrates would have known the Greek version of the Acts which was made immediately after the Syriac text was written (if it wasn’t the other way round as some scholars believe). They would also have known the testimony of Ephraim, Gregory, Ambrose and Jerome for St. Thomas in India. Yet Rufinus and Socrates both declare that St. Thomas went to Parthia.
  • The New Testament says almost nothing about St. Bartholomew, but an apocryphal story alleges that he founded a church at Kalyan, near Bombay, and left a Hebrew version of the Gospel of Mathew there. This book was later found by Pantaenus of Alexandria, who is said to have visited India in 190 CE. All historians since Tillemont agree that Pantaenus went to Arabia Felix, which, like Ethiopia, was often referred to as “India” by ancient writers. C.B. Firth says that St. Bartholomew went to a country bordering on the Red Sea, and Donald Attwater says that there is no proof that he visited India, Lycaonia (Turkey), or even Armenia where he was supposed to have been flayed alive.
Chapter 4
  • Bishop Medleycott is the godfather of Thomas-in-India scholarship in India, and even in his day he was accused of working under racial, religious, regional, linguistic, and political influences.
  • But Bishop Medleycott’s victory went further. He got himself named as the St. Thomas authority in the prestigious Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, along with Chevalier F.A. D’Cruz, editor of the old Mylapore Catholic Register and author of St. Thomas the Apostle in India... The unsigned main entry for St. Thomas in the Encyclopaedia is muddled and dissembling and simply wrong in some places.
  • These errors are deliberate and motivated, given their context and arrangement, and this St. Thomas entry in the Encyclopaedia has been written by a Catholic scholar who not only subscribes to the apostle’s alleged South Indian adventure, but wishes to place the Mylapore tale over that of the Malabar tradition. He does this by mixing the North Indian legend, represented by the Acts, with the South Indian fable that the Portuguese left in Mylapore, to promote his particular South Indian masala view. He gets away with the deception because nobody has read the Acts of Thomas and studied its references to the kings Gundaphorus and Misdaeus-Mazdai, and the execution of Judas Thomas on a mountain that contained an ancient royal tomb. On 19 September 1996 we decided to call the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s bluff and sent a letter, with a copy of this book (second revised edition), to the Encyclopaedia’s editor-in-chief in Chicago pointing out the errors in their St. Thomas entry. The editorial division representative Anthony G. Craine replied to us on 18 October 1996. He wrote, "We have received your book, and we have subsequently reviewed our coverage of Saint Thomas. While the Saint Thomas article that appears in the current printing of the Encyclopaedia Britannica differs slightly from the 1984 article to which you refer in your book, the current article does convey the same basic information. We have concluded that the portion of the article that refers to Thomas’ later life places too much emphasis on the unlikely scenario of his traveling to, and being martyred in India (emphasis added). We have referred this information to the appropriate editor so that the article can be revised in future printings of Britannica. We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention."
  • The charge that the Encyclopaedia Britannica is a Catholic encyclopaedia intent on promoting a traditional Christian point of view remains. It has always been that way with the Encyclopaedia: Joseph McCabe, the great linguist and historian of early Christianity, could not get it to correct and change its wrong entries for early Christian history either.
  • This single attributed reference to a Hindu scholar was too much for the Kerala Christian Wikipedia page administrator Tinucherian (Cherian Tinu Abraham). Within an hour of the post, he deleted our reference to Swami Tapsyananda and rolled back the other postings we had made that day. It was a real surprise to us. Where we had made an effort not to interfere with earlier postings, we discovered that the same courtesy was not extended to us and that we would not be informed when we had “offended” Tinucherian's Christian enterprise. We abandoned Wikipedia as a waste of time and effort and our contributions were soon perverted or deleted altogether.
  • The concocted absurdities found in the Wikipedia Thomas the Apostle article today, which has neither citations or credible references, can be exposed with a single example: the statement in the Thomas and India subsection of the main article that the king who executed Judas Thomas for sorcery and crimes against women, Mazdai (also Masdai; Misdaeus in Greek), was "the local king at Mylapore". This is a preposterous statement. The name Mazdai is Persian and specifically identifies a person who is Zoroastrian by religion. Mazdaism identifies a worshiper of Ahura Mazda and is a synonym for Zoroastrianism. Associating the Acts of Thomas and its Persian king Mazdai with Mylapore is motivated Christian scholarship – something "Dr." Deivanayakam of the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese would produce – and the fact that the Wikipedia administrator, Tinucherian, allows such unsupported statements to stand unchallenged shows that he is deeply involved in the crime of writing a deliberately false and perverted history of Christianity in Mylapore.
Chapter 5
  • The first Christians to emigrate to India came in 345 CE. They landed at Cranganore in Malabar, the ancient port of Muziris on the mouth of the Periyar River where it joined the Arabian Sea. They were four hundred refugees from Babylon and Nineveh, belonging to seven tribes and seventy-two families. They were fleeing religious persecution under the Persian king Shapur II. He had driven them out of Syria and Mesopotamia because he considered them a state liability. Rome, Persia’s arch enemy, had begun to christianise under Constantine, and Shapur had come to suspect the allegiances of his Christian subjects.
  • These crosses may be evidence of the connection of the Christian church in India with Persia, but they may also be evidence of temple destruction and the planting of Christian relics in temple foundations – at least the one on St. Thomas Mount may be so considered. The motif on this black granite slab is cut in relief, and on each side of the cross, which is surmounted by a descending dove, are pillars crowned with supernatural composite animals, or yalis, from whose mouths issue an arch that joins together above the dove. These yalis are Hindu symbols, not Christian, and Veda Prakash, Director of the Institute for the Study of Western Religions, Madras, asserts that the cross on St. Thomas Mount is an over-cut temple stone. He claims support for this view from the most unexpected quarter. Dr. R. Arulappa, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of Madras, in Punitha Thomaiyar, says that yantra stones in temple foundations were dug up by the Portuguese at three of the four sites in Madras that they associated with St. Thomas and where they built churches – Mylapore, Little Mount at Saidapet, and Big Mount at St. Thomas Mount.
Chapter 6
  • The Nazarenes were an ancient Jewish sect whose most famous member before Jesus was Samson, 21 known from the Old Testament story. They gave special importance to uncut hair, which they believed to contain divine power, and were later associated with the Essenes, the nationalistic religious community on the Dead Sea to which Jesus and Thomas belonged.
  • The Nazarene hierarchy of Jerusalem had fled to Edessa prior to the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 CE, and it is only after the Nazarenes had lost the national cause that Jesus and Judas Thomas took on divine roles. Paul’s Greek – some say Gnostic – ideas were accepted over those of orthodox Judaism, and for the first time in history the appellation “Christian” came into use in Syria, even as the first Christian church was built at Edessa on the ruins of the demolished Greek temple: Jesus and Judas had ousted Castor and Pollux. Later, near the end of the second century, the Abgar, Edessa’s prince and Bardesanes’s friend, was baptized a Christian and Edessa became a Christian state.
  • But from the beginning of the Christian era to the Arab invasions of the seventh century, Judas Thomas was and remained the central object of worship at Edessa. He had lived and taught in the city and if he did not die there, his body was returned soon afterwards from Persia. His cult was brought to India by Thomas of Cana and the four hundred Syrian refugees he led, in 345 CE, and even as St. Thomas was identified with Jesus, so Thomas of Cana came to be identified with St. Thomas within a few generations of his death in Malabar.
  • This is an old idea. Henry Love had suggested it in the last century, in Vestiges of Old Madras, and before him England’s greatest historian, Edward Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, had asked if the Indian Thomas was an apostle, an Armenian merchant, or a Manichaean. Major T.R. Vedantham had again questioned the identity of St. Thomas in 1987, in the “St. Thomas Legend”, serialized in the South Madras News. He had carefully reviewed the material available and come to the inescapable conclusion that Thomas of Cana was the man whom Syrian Christians had made into their Indian apostle St. Thomas.
Chapter 7
  • The earliest records of the Madras area, including money-lenders' accounts, go back to the fourth century CE. They identify Mylapore, Triplicane and Tiruvottiyur as temple towns. The Nandikkalambakkam describes Mylapore as a prosperous port under the Pallavas, the early-fourth- to-late-ninth century emperors of Kanchipuram, who patronized various schools of Hinduism including Jainism and Buddhism, built temples and generously supported the arts. There is no record of a Christian church or saint's tomb at Mylapore before the Portuguese period, and Olschki is basing his comments on the wrong assumption that Marco Polo did visit Mylapore and that he found a church there. Friar Oderic is describing the original Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple on the Mylapore seashore (see Henry Yule's comment: "This is clearly a Hindu temple."), which the Tamil saint Jnanasambandar has positively identified as being there at least before the sixth century CE.
Chapter 9
  • Vasco da Gama’s mistake was corrected when he returned to Malabar in 1502 and was met by a deputation of Syrian Christians. They identified themselves, surrendered their ancient honours and documents, and invited him to make war on their Hindu king.
  • George Menachery, a Catholic apologist and former adviser to the Kerala State Department of Archaeology, in Kodungallur: City of St. Thomas, writes, “They presented him a ‘Rod of Justice’ and swore allegiance to the Portuguese king and implored Portuguese protection. The Admiral received them very kindly and promised all help and protection. The significance of this event is variously interpreted by historians.” Indeed it is – but only Catholic historians prevaricate on why this high- ranking community of merchants and soldiers had turned on their king in this perfidious way. K.M. Panikkar, in Malabar and the Portuguese, writes, “More than this, they suggested to [Vasco da Gama] that with their help he should conquer the Hindu kingdoms and invited him to build a fortress for this purpose in Cranganore. This was the recompense which the Hindu rajas received for treating with liberality and kindness the Christians in their midst.” The Syrians had of course acted on the exigencies of their Christian religion, which harbours in its heart a demon that divides mankind into friend and foe on ideological grounds. King Shapur II of Persia had not been mistaken about the allegiances of his Christian subjects in the fourth century.
Chapter 10
  • The Portuguese were familiar with the St. Thomas legend long before they arrived in India. They knew Marco Polo’s Il Milione, made popular in Europe in the fourteenth century, and the earlier sixth century Latin romances De Miraculis [Beati] Thomae and Passio Thomae. The Passio Thomae was a redaction of the Acts of Thomas, but both Latin books contained a major diversion from the original story that would, like the seashore tomb in the Milione, permanently alter the course of the St. Thomas legend after the Portuguese had established themselves in Mylapore. The Passio Thomae had St. Thomas killed by a Pagan priest with a sword, and De Miraculis Thomae had him killed by a Pagan priest with a lance. These stories were at odds with the one found in the Acts of Thomas, which had the apostle executed on the orders of a Persian king, by four royal soldiers with spears. The Portuguese preferred the Pagan-priest-with-a-lance story found in De Miraculis Thomae. They added Marco Polo’s seaside tomb to it, and elements from Syrian Christian traditions that they had gathered in Malabar, and concocted a legend, largely European in character, that they identified with various Hindu sites in Malabar and Mylapore. The Portuguese story has not changed very much till today, though it has many variations.
  • One version of the fable asserts that he converted 6,850 Brahmins, 2,800 Kshatriyas, 3,750 Vaishyas and 4,250 Shudras. Another version maintains it was 17,490 Brahmins, 350 Vaishyas and 4,280 Shudras – Kshatriyas are not included except for the Raja of Tiruvanchikulam. In a third version 40 Jews are among the converts, and in a fourth the converts are the Raja’s son and son-in-law, some Brahmins, and a lone barber to keep them all trimmed and shaved (he also would have had to circumcise the male converts, as Judas Thomas was an orthodox Jew and not part of St. Paul's innovations in favour of the Gentiles).
  • Now the fact that the South Indian St. Thomas story was not written down until 1892, as T.K. Joseph testifies, is an extraordinary circumstance for so famous a piece of Indian “history”. It also brings Bishop Medleycott of Trichur back into the picture. He was the great St. Thomas advocate in South India from 1887 to 1896, and had the motive and means to assist Varghese Palayur in writing his “ancient” composition. The Vatican had declared the apostolate of St. Thomas in South India as unverified after studying the Rabban Pattu, but the Roman Catholic Church in India then and now is still the only entity that reaps any benefit from the propagation of the myth among Indians.
  • According to Namboodiri Brahmins themselves, they are the original Vedic Brahmins of Kerala. However there is no historical record to support this claim. Marxist historians claim that Namboodiri Brahmins arrived in Kerala only in the sixth century. If this is true, then we may speculate that the Namboodiri Brahmin community were originally Syrian Christian immigrants who converted to Vedic Hinduism. The claim that St. Thomas converted four Namboodiri families to Christianity was invented by Syrian Christians to give themselves caste status. It is doubtful if Judus Thomas would have called himself a Christian; he was a practicing Jew who would neither build churches nor carve crosses (the latter being abhorrent to his cultural sensibilities and not used as a Christian identity symbol until after the third century). The designation "Christian" was first used for St. Paul's converts in Antioch after 45 CE.
  • This hill is crowned with a Portuguese church dedicated to the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Expectation, and was built around 1547 on the foundations of a demolished Hindu temple. It contains a wooden icon of the Virgin said to have been painted by St. Luke and given to St. Thomas at Jerusalem, an eighth century Persian “bleeding” cross said to have been carved by St. Thomas (which stopped bleeding as soon as the British moved into the area), and two paintings of St. Thomas and his spear-bearing Hindu assassin. The older painting fixed behind the altar suggests an Iyengar Brahmin wearing namam on his forehead, about to stab the praying apostle from behind, and the other painting, one of a series of the martyred apostles, shows an unidentified Hindu as the assassin.
  • This nineteenth century Gothic cathedral is built on a high point of the Mylapore beach and replaces the sixteenth century Portuguese church that was built on the same site. Both the church and bishop's house beside it are built over the area of the original Kapaleeswara Temple demolished by the Portuguese. The church, now designated a minor basilica, is dedicated to St. Thomas and contains two of his tombs, two sets of his relics including the bit of arm bone from Ortona, Italy, and the metal spearhead that is said to have killed him. Other churches in Madras that are associated with St. Thomas and are identified as having been built on temple sites are Luz Church in Mylapore and Our Lady of Health Church on Little Mount at Saidapet.
Chapter 11
  • But when T.K. Joseph wrote to the Encyclopaedia Britannica editor at Chicago in 1950, pointing out the errors in the Encyclopaedia’s 1947 Fourteenth Edition St. Thomas article, he was not successful in getting them corrected. We have shown in this book that the St. Thomas article in the Encyclopaedia’s 1984 Fifteenth Edition and 2010 Internet edition are also grossly mistaken. In 1996 the Encyclopaedia's editor had stated in a letter to us that "we have concluded that the portion of the article that refers to Thomas’ later life places too much emphasis on the unlikely scenario of his traveling to, and being martyred in India" 40 and promised to correct the St. Thomas entry. He has not done so and we can only conclude that the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s editors like their cooked- up St. Thomas story and plan to keep it for more editions to come.
Chapter 12
  • The myth of St. Thomas has also found sponsors in Chennai’s English- language press. Both The Hindu and Indian Express have published sanitized versions of the story on the children’s page of their newspapers after receiving copies of the first edition of this book. Their decision to do this was clearly made with malice aforethought and it has effectively put an end to any serious public discussion of St. Thomas in India. Today The New Indian Express in Chennai remains the chief sponsor of the tale, though it has been displaced in this pious work by the more attractive Congress-Christian newspaper Deccan Chronicle. The New Indian Express is also controlled by Christian interests and the nexus between its Brooklyn-returned pharisee editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha and the Church runs wide and deep. Lots of money and votes are at stake, and even as we write in March 2010 the paper has produced yet another St. Thomas article called “Under the bleeding cross” by Shilpa Krishnan.
Chapter 14
  • The British were generally less destructive than the Portuguese and the French, but they did not hesitate to attack temples that were in the way of construction works or to desecrate them as a means of intimidating the local populace. They fired on the temples of Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh for this last reason; and Victoria Terminus in Bombay is built on the original site of that city’s famous Mumbai Devi Temple. In Madras they obliterated the small Hindu shrines that once stood inside Fort St. George. The fort now contains St. Mary’s Church, the first Protestant church built east of Suez. But it is the French who vied with the Portuguese in their Christian zeal to destroy Pagan places of worship. Henry Love, in Vestiges of Old Madras, records that they used temples as barracks in their military operations against the British. Between 1672 and 1674, at Madras, they fortified the rebuilt Kapaleeswara Temple in Mylapore and the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane when they were besieged by Golconda and the Dutch.
  • On one of these voyages up the Coromandel Coast the Portuguese were blown ashore in a storm, at a fishing village 12 km south of Nagapattinam. They declared that the Virgin Mary had saved them and in thanksgiving took over the local Vel Ilankanni Amman Temple (which was the sister shrine of the Vel Thandakanni Amman Temple at Sikkil, closer to Negapattinam). This village has now become the famous Christian pilgrimage centre of Velankanni. The original Devi temple was enclosed within the first Portuguese church, known as the Mada Koil, that is situated at a distance from the present Basilica of Our Lady of Health. The stone image of the Devi was on public display until some years ago, but has since been removed and an image of the Virgin Mary put in its place. The hundreds of temples and thousands of idols destroyed by the Portuguese in Goa has been documented by A.K. Priolkar in The Goa Inquisition. And the historian T.R. de Souza, quoted by M.D. David in Western Colonialism in Asia and Christianity, writes, “At least from 1540 onwards and in the island of Goa before that year, all Hindu idols had been annihilated or had disappeared, all the temples had been destroyed and their sites and building material were in most cases utilized to erect new Christian churches and chapels.” 48. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is built on or beside this temple site, and the local tradition is that the broken Lingam is hidden under an altar in the church. The Christian practice of covering a desecrated image or sacred stone with an altar is very old and churches in England, France, Italy and Spain that have been built on Pagan sites are found to contain these images and other relics.
Chapter 15
  • San Thome Cathedral and Bishop’s House have been renovated and rebuilt many times over in the last hundred and fifty years, and there is a quiet effort being made by Church authorities to hide the evidence of destroyed Hindu, Jain and Buddhist 54 religious buildings that once occupied this sacred stretch of Mylapore seafront. The clean-up coincides with the work of resurrecting the communal Brahmin-killed- Thomas fable that was first propagated by the Portuguese – Marco Polo cannot be blamed for this story; his St. Thomas was accidentally killed by a pariah hunting peacocks.
  • Indeed, since this book was published in 1995 the clean-up and rebuilding of San Thome Cathedral's compound, the second "St. Thomas” tomb, and the whole area surrounding the church on St. Thomas Mount has been total. All evidence of Hindu temples has been clandestinely removed and the ancient rubble disposed of in an unknown place. We have an eye-witness account of this nefarious work done by the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese later in this book. The Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits who destroyed the temples of Goa, Kerala, Pondicherry and along the Tamil coast-line, were generally more circumspect than their Muslim counterparts. They did not leave much evidence behind in the churches they built on or near temple sites. But it is also true that Indian archaeologists have not studied Christian churches as closely and in the same probing manner that they have studied mosques and other Muslim monuments. The exception is German scholars whose work on Indian churches is yet to be translated and published in English. They assert that most sixteenth and seventeenth century churches in India contain temple rubble and are built on temple sites.
  • Dr. R. Arulappa, the former Archbishop of Madras, is one such facile scholar – and yet he has made some unusual contributions to the study of Tamil history. In his book Punitha Thomayar – where he tries to show that Tiruvalluvar’s Kural is a Christian work – he mentions the finding of yantra stones in ancient foundations on all the sites in Madras associated with St. Thomas. He does not expand on these momentous discoveries or say where the stones are today, and it is not clear why he refers to them, but it is certainly true that the Agama Shastra requires the placing of such stones beneath the foundations of new temples before their construction begins.
  • The Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa, probably the most credulous annalist in history, describes extensive ruins in Mylapore and its environs including Big Mount. He attributes this devastation to the wind and rain and angry sea rather than his bigoted and iconoclastic countrymen. But at the same time he gives backhanded testimony for a Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach.
  • Today Tamil scholars say that Tiruvalluvar lived before the Christian era, usually placing him ca. 100 BCE, but some date him as early as ca. 200 BCE. The Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese claims he lived in the first century CE and that he was a disciple of St. Thomas. It is probable that his samadhi shrine was in or near the precincts of the ancient Kapaleeswara Temple on the beach and was destroyed when the Portuguese destroyed the temple.
  • This is a small building on the northeast end of the estate and is called the San Thome Cathedral Museum. It contains – or used to contain – ancient carved stones and other temple artefacts. In 1990 a friend of this writer was refused entry on three occasions, though it was then ostensibly open to the public. Since the publication of this book in 1991, it was closed and kept in an inaccessible condition, but was opened again in 1995. We don't know its condition or position today in 2010. Its original contents and the carved stones that were lying in the Bishop's estate and San Thome churchyard – which the Church authorities have no moral right to possess – should have been removed to the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology or Madras Museum long ago. It is too late now: the Archdiocese has cleaned up the area and disposed of all Hindu temple remnants in an unknown place.
  • Poompavai was the daughter of a wealthy sixth century Mylapore merchant called Siva Nesan Chettiar. He wanted to give her in marriage to the saint Jnanasambandar, but she died from snakebite before meeting him, when picking flowers for the Lord in the garden. Her father cremated her and kept the bones and ashes in a pot. When Jnanasambandar visited Mylapore, the Chettiar kept Poompavai’s ashes in front of him and narrated the story of her death. Jnanasambandar responded by singing eleven songs in praise of Lord Kapaleeswara, lamenting the death of the girl at the end of each song. When he had finished, the pot of ashes burst and a twelve-year-old girl stepped forth. Jnanasambandar then declined to marry her, saying that she was his “daughter”. Poompavai has her own shrine within the precincts of the Kapaleeswara Temple.
  • Dr. Nagaswamy, in The Hindu article “Testimony of Religious Ethos”, mentions the findings of Buddhist relics and a mutilated Buddha image in Mylapore. The Chola period image is now in the Madras Museum. 55. Many of the famous churches of Europe are built on Pagan temple sites. They include St. Peter’s, Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria Rotunda (The Pantheon) in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris, and St. Paul’s in London. St. Benedict built his monastery on an Apollo temple that he had destroyed himself, at Monte Cassino, Italy. The much revered Black Virgins found in churches and monasteries in Spain and Italy are images of the Egyptian Goddess Isis and Her son Horus. The list is very long. 56. These are at Malinkara, Parur, Gokamangalam, Niranam, Chayal and Kurakonikollam in Kerala, and Tiruvithancodu in Tamil Nadu (this being the “half church”, which is a converted Hindu temple).
  • The lamentable ignorance was with Fr. Hosten of course, for accepting unquestioned Marco Polo’s “tall tale”. He did not know that without Marco Polo there is no St. Thomas in a South Indian seashore tomb; he also did not know that all earlier accounts of the legend have St. Thomas buried on a mountain to the west of sub-continental India – in “India” that is Parthia, or Edessa, or mysterious Calamina.
  • This is an open admission by the Portuguese that a church had been built on a temple site at Mylapore – only they have backdated the event to the first century and attributed the crime to St. Thomas. How extraordinary – or is it? The Portuguese, and Syrian Christians before them, had given the “honour” of temple-breaking to St. Thomas at Palayur, north of Cranganore, where an early seventeenth century Portuguese church built by the Jesuit Fr. James Fenicio rises amidst temple ruins today. Fr. A. Mathias Mundadan, in History of Christianity in India, Vol. I, writes, “The remains of old temples found at Palayur and near the other traditional churches 56 are proof of this.” Proof of what? Proof, it would seem, that St. Thomas destroyed temples at all the places where he is said to have built churches.
  • The practice had indeed been followed from time immemorial, in the first Shiva temple where it originated, whose place on the beach was now usurped by the Portuguese church. The practice was to take the festival image around the temple and lower them three times to the ground, at the sanctum door before the muladeva. The Hindus were continuing the ritual in the second temple, and by taking the festival images to the church on the beach were reverencing the ancient mulasthana – even if Christians and Gaspar Correa vainly thought otherwise.
Chapter 16
  • The best evidence for a Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach is offered by the Tamil saints. Iyadigal Kadavarkon, the sixth century Shaivite prince of Kanchipuram, Jnanasambandar and Arunagirinathar, the sixth and fifteenth century Shaivite poets, consistently mention in their hymns that the Kapaleeswara Temple was on the seashore. Both saints show in these verses that the Lord was on the seashore, and Jnanasambandar marks that He was watching His devotees in the sea – that He must have been facing east. This is not the case today. The seventeenth century Vijayanagar temple is built inland and the Lord faces west, with the all – important flag pole and image of Nandi in the western courtyard before Him. This arrangement indicates that the present temple is a second temple, as the Agama Shastra does not permit a temple that has been moved from its original site and rebuilt to face in the same direction as its predecessor. Neither Jnanasambandar nor Arunagirinathar had reason to sing of the Lord by the sea if He was not there. Their testimony is impeccable and by itself destroys the argument for a seashore tomb of St. Thomas.
Chapter 17
  • They knew Marco Polo's story and knew, too, that the "Thomas" revered by Syrian Christians at Mylapore was not a martyr. This was not a very satisfactory circumstance for them or the Portuguese. Their passionate nature and martyrolatrous religion required a sacrifice. 57 All the apostles had suffered martyrdom except St. John, and St. Thomas was not going to get away with an accidental death in Portuguese territory. Moreover, if the Portuguese knew Marco Polo's story, they knew better the Latin fables Passio Thomae and De Miraculis Thomae, which had been circulating in Europe for a thousand years. Both legends deviated from the Acts of Thomas, in which St. Thomas had been executed by king's men with spears, and described his death as being at the hands of a Pagan priest of the Sun – or Zoroastrian – who, in one, had stabbed him with a lance, and in the other, with a sword. The Portuguese preferred De Miraculis Thomae, in which the priest used a lance, and had the romance published in Portugal in 1531 and 1552 to substantiate the "discovery" they had made at Mylapore in 1523. It did not matter to them that this European story, too, had St. Thomas buried on a mountain, while they had in their possession only a seashore tomb.
  • Earlier, in 1521-22, the Portuguese had opened two tombs in the Shiva temple's northern precincts. One tomb contained a "black" skeleton, which, according to its inscription, belonged to a Chola king. The Portuguese nevertheless "identified" him as being a disciple of St. Thomas. The second tomb revealed a "white" skeleton, which, naturally, "belonged" to the white Jew Thomas. This second skeleton was sent to Goa for verification – where it languishes till today, unsung and unrecognised.
  • As these diggings did not produce the required result, Diogo Fernandez was asked, in 1523, to excavate a third tomb which lay partly under the foundation of a dilapidated building that had been occupied by the Portuguese. He refused at first but was persuaded by the attending priest, Fr. Antonio Gil, who heard his confession and that of the two men, Braz Fernandez and Diogo Lourenco, who would assist him in the pious enterprise. They then began the excavation of a deep and elaborate, and very much empty, tomb. It was Saturday afternoon, and they continued the work into the late evening, when, on the suggestion of Diogo Fernandez, they abandoned their unproductive labours and retired for the night. The excavation was left open and unattended until the next morning, a Sunday, when the men began digging again. It was not long now before the grave disgorged bones that were "much worn out", portions of skull and spine, and a clay pot of earth "bedewed with blood", with a thigh bone in it, and hidden in the red earth an iron Malabar spearhead shaped like an olive leaf, which, after fifteen Christian centuries, still had a piece of wooden shaft miraculously preserved in its socket.
  • The bones of "St. Thomas" were collected – there was no doubt this time in the Portuguese mind that they were his – and later, with due ceremony, placed in a Chinese coffer with silver locks, along with the bones of the Chola king, another "disciple" whose remains had been found nearby, and those of two children. The key to the coffer was then sent to the Viceroy at Goa, but two years later Fr. Penteado broke the locks as he felt that the bones were in a poor condition and needed attention. He transferred them to a wooden chest and hid this in a place known only to himself and Rodrigo Alvares. The chest was then presumed to be lost, and, in 1530, a new search was mounted for the relics. Diogo Fernandez was again called in and through his intercession with Rodrigo Alvares, the chest was found in a decayed condition under the main altar of the church – for a small church, the first Christian church to rise on the Mylapore beach, had been built, in 1523, by Augustinian friars beside the newly found “St. Thomas” tomb.
  • ...But if for the sake of argument it is agreed that the depositions of Diogo Fernandez are not fabricated – he could have been an uninformed witness to the “discovery” (though it is very unlikely) – then it must be said that the relics themselves most certainly are, in keeping with the ancient tradition of fraud so dear to the Church, 60 Veda Prakash, in Indiavil Saint Thomas Kattukkadai, shows that the relics were produced out of materials brought from Goa and then planted in the empty tomb. He also shows that the Portuguese reworked the existing Syrian Christian version of the myth, changing the Syriac be ruhme, meaning “by spear”, to read Brahmins in order to implicate Brahmins in the apostle’s murder. The Malabar tradition was thus brought into line with the European romance, De Miraculis Thomae, where St. Thomas is killed by a Pagan priest with a lance – though the contradiction of lance in the story and spear-head in the reliquary remains today. ... The question of whether the Portuguese relics are genuine or not – and whether the South Indian legend is history or not – will be conclusively answered as soon as the Archbishop of Madras gives them to independent forensic experts for testing. But he may be also aware that such a gesture would be redundant, as all of the bones of St. Thomas were resting in the cathedral at Ortona, Italy, while Diogo Fernandez was digging for them in Mylapore. They had been there since 1258, and before that at Chios, Greece, and Edessa, and in 1566 the Bishop of Ortona had issued a Deed of Verification for these bones, which, in itself, proves that the bones produced by the Portuguese out of the Mylapore tomb cannot possibly be those of St. Thomas. ... The Portuguese themselves appear to have treated this “momentous discovery” in a cavalier fashion, which is why the relics got lost in 1525. When they were located again, in 1530, the bones and spearhead – shaped like an olive leaf, though there are no olive trees in India – were transferred to a small box, locked up in a chapel in the church, and the key kept by the pastor. ... This church, originally built in 1523 and called San Thome or San Thome de Meliapore, was subsequently enlarged and extended, and the encroachment on the Kapaleeswara Temple began in earnest. The Christians had done this before, building a church against a temple wall and then taking over the temple, and that the Shiva temple survived as long as it did, up to 1566 according to some authorities, is grand testimony to the patient and courageous resistance the Hindus of Mylapore had put up against this ruthless Catholic power. Diogo Fernandez’s “St. Thomas” relics still remain in the church today. The iron spearhead and piece of skull are kept in a monstrance, along with the relics of St. Francis Xavier, St. Isabella, St. Vincentio and the Martyrs of Morocco. The first “St. Thomas” tomb, which contained the “white” skeleton that was sent to Goa, is empty and ignored, but the second “St. Thomas” tomb is pointed out to pilgrims and tourists. It contains the remainder of Diogo Fernandez’s “findings”, the pieces of spine and thigh bone, and, presumably, the pot of “blood-bedewed” earth. ... Yet this is not the end of the bones at San Thome. The cathedral also has in its possession a piece of Church-certified Ortona bone which it obtained from Cardinal Tisserant in 1953, after he had deposited the apostle’s right arm at Kodungallur (and demoted him from being the great Apostle of the East to simply being the Apostle of India). The pastor of San Thome can now say with some pride that he is the keeper of a real St. Thomas bone – keeping in mind that the acceptance of the Ortona gift is also an admission that the Portuguese relics in his care are not those of St. Thomas.
Chapter 18
  • This sly communal tale, invented by Jesuits and improved on by Fr. D'Souza, is peculiar to Madras. He tries to establish Hindu support for the story by quoting Hindu publications that repeat it. But Hindu traditions about Little Mount and the other "St. Thomas" sites are quite different and much older than those of the Portuguese. 62 They believe that the hillock, with its cave and spring and imprint of peacock's feet in the rock, was sacred to Murugan, and Hindu women used to visit the site even after the Portuguese had cleared it of shrines. In 1551, a church was built by the cave, called Blessed Sacrement Chapel, and the Jesuits built a second church by the spring of which nothing remains today. The archaeological evidence on the site was destroyed years ago when it was blasted to make way for the modern circular church. Called Our Lady of Health, that now stands there.
  • Dr. R. Arulappa, in Punitha Thomayar, asserts that Big Mount was originally called Bhrigu Malai (Brungi in Tamil) and was the seat of the Hindu sage Bhrigu Rishi (Brungi Munivar) until St. Thomas came and chased him away. This story, like the one above, is another piece of fiction that has at its core a little truth. The hill was sacred to Shiva whom Bhrigu Rishi worshiped, and it is the Portuguese who chased the rishi away, not St. Thomas. The temple was destroyed around 1545, when they gained effective control of the hill, which was the highest point in the area and the southern limit of their territory. Portuguese historians describe it as being crowded with ruins then, and broken temple stones could still be found on its slopes, on the south and west side in 1995. The Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore has since cleaned up the evidence with the connivance of the Archaeological Survey of India, and completely rebuilt the hilltop.
  • The Portuguese had begun to settle around Big Mount as early as 1523 – the same year they "discovered" the tomb of "St. Thomas" – and one of the first to take up residence there was Diogo Fernandez. He would succeed in erecting a small chapel on the hill before 1545, but the construction of the church, called Our Lady of Expectation, did not commence until 1547. It was built on the east-west alignment of the temple foundation – the ancient granite base of the flag pole is on the eastern side of the church and this writer had observed it in 1991 – but the Portuguese reversed this order in keeping with established Christian practice when building on a Pagan site, and the church entrance is on the western side.
  • It was when clearing the rubble for the church, in 1547, that the Portuguese "discovered" the famous Persian "St. Thomas" cross in the temple foundation. Diogo Fernandez is not implicated in this fraud, but the Vicar of San Thome, Fr. Gaspar Coelho, and the Captain of the Coromandel, Gabriel de Athaide, are, as the construction was under their direct supervision. St. Thomas could not have carved this cross; 63 it has been dated to the eighth century, and like its counterparts in Kerala was carved by a Syrian Christian named Afras who inscribed its border in Pahlavi (Persian) script. It was kept inside the church behind the altar, and used to "bleed" at irregular intervals up to 1704. This phenomenon stopped as soon as the sensible and schismatic British began to move into the area and build a cantonment.
  • The church also has paintings of St. Thomas and his Hindu assassin. One of them, on the reredos of the altar, depicts an Iyengar Brahmin with namam about to stab the praying apostle from behind. It defeats its purpose inasmuch as Vaishnavas did not wear namam, the sectarian U- shaped forehead mark, until after Ramanuja introduced it in the eleventh century. The other painting, very large and part of a series of the apostles and their various modes of death, shows St. Thomas with a book, a lance, and his sturdy Hindu assassin, who, this time, does not wear sectarian marks or orthodox dress.
  • And finally there is Luz Church, the first church the Portuguese would build in Mylapore and possibly the oldest standing Portuguese church on the Tamil coastline. It, too, is built on temple ruins, according to Archaeological Survey of India records, and was raised in 1516 by the Franciscan missionary priest Pedro da Atongia. The Catholic fortnightly Madras Musings says, "But with the Portuguese only occasional visitors to this coast from 1509 and settlers only from 1522, the dates on the stone plaque and above the church's entrance seem more likely the date of the establishment of a shrine in the 'grove of Thomas' than the date of the surviving building." Yes, indeed – but the "grove of Thomas" once contained a "pool of Vishnu". What happened to it in 1516?
Chapter 19
  • Muthiah's allusion is to Pantaenus the Alexandrian, who is said to have visited "the land of the Indians" before 190 CE. The first reference is made by Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, which others follow, but Dr. A. Mingana, an authority on the spread of Christianity in India, quoted by C.B. Firth in An Introduction to Indian Church History, asserts, "... the India they refer to is without doubt Arabia Felix. The fact has been recognised by all historians since Assemani and Tillemont, and has been considered as established even by such a conservative writer as Medleycott. It will be a matter of surprise if any responsible author will mention in the future Pantaenus in connection with India proper.
Chapter 20
  • Bishop Giovanni dei Marignolli, the Franciscan papal legate who built a Roman Catholic church in Quilon, in 1348, is the first person to use the appellation "St. Thomas" Christians. He did this to distinguish Syrian converts from low-caste Hindu converts in his congregation. This allowed the former Nestorians to retain their caste status as Roman Catholics. The appellation "St. Thomas" Christian is thus of Roman Catholic origin and indicates a social division within the Roman Catholic Church.
  • We have only the many and various legends and even they continue to change with the changing political needs of the Church.
  • The Rev. Dr. G. Milne Rae, author of The Syrian Church in India, was even more unsparing than T.K. Joseph in his criticism of the St. Thomas fable. He did not allow that St. Thomas came further east than Afghanistan, and told the Syrian Christians that they reasoned fallaciously about their identity and “wove a fictitious story of their origin”. The two “facts” that they worked from, he said, were (1) the ancient beliefs of their church that St. Thomas was the apostle of the Indians, and (2) that they were Christians of St. Thomas. The ratiocination of these points went like this: St. Thomas was the apostle of the Indians; we are Indians; therefore he is our apostle. If this is not proof enough, there is his tomb in Mylapore, and we have been called "St. Thomas" Christians from the first century.
  • Moreover, there is no evidence that there ever was a Church of India, as such an early Thomas-founded church would have been called, though there was admittedly a Church of Persia founded by St. Thomas. Nor is there any record that Malabar ever had its own ecclesiastical hierarchy; hierarchs were always brought into India from Persia or Mesopotamia or, as today, from Antioch.
  • The “martyred” St. Thomas has existed since the Acts of Thomas, ca. 210 CE, in which he is executed by King Mazdai for social crimes and sorcery. The Portuguese added the Brahmin assassin after 1517 and he has remained the first choice of the Roman Catholic Church since, for without him the Hindu community cannot be successfully maligned and the continuing cover-up of the destruction of temples in Mylapore cannot be successfully maintained by the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese and its anti-Hindu secular sponsors in the government .
Chapter 22
  • Arthur Frederick Ide, in Unzipped: The Popes Bare All, writes, "One primary reason Rome turned against the Christians was the Christians were violently intolerant. Christians would not accept altars to gods other than their own even though the Romans offered an altar to the Christian god. Christians spat upon those who would not convert. They hid documents. They alienated families. They prayed for the end of the empire and the enthronement of their god as the new king. These were actions which were socially disconcerting, disrupting, and dangerous. "Contrary to the Christian apologist Justin, the Christians were not dispatched from this life because they were Christians. Christians were executed only after their actions (not their beliefs) were seen as riot- inducing, treasonous, and detrimental to the family unit, and especially dangerous to the children."
  • Most ethnic and religious communities localise their myths of origin when they migrate to new lands and establish themselves there permanently. This is part of the psychological process of becoming a native. The tradition they bring from abroad is altered enough to identify its main themes and characters with local places. Time does the rest and the second and third generation soon forget the original story and its foreign locales. Inter-community relationships will mix in local legends with the imported myth. In the case of the Syrian Christians, the process was irresistible because the charismatic, semi-legendary Thomas of Cana who led the first Christian immigrants to Malabar from Persia and Mesopotamia in 345 CE, was not really any different a community hero than the charismatic, semi-legendary Thomas the Apostle. The fact that both leaders were also known as Thomas of Jerusalem would have made the identification of the fourth century merchant with the first century saint inevitable. None of this would amount to anything more than an ethnological curiosity except that the Syrian Christian tradition of St. Thomas became the property of the Portuguese and the Roman Catholic Church. Both imperialist powers needed more than anything else in their ideological arsenals this emotionally-charged fable to legitimize their presence and justify their violent, viciously bigoted conduct in India.
  • ...the forging of documents to create a fabricated social and religious history that Christians believe will give Christianity authority and prestige, and which disparages the ancient Hindu civilization that hosts it.
  • The seventeenth century Jesuit missionary John de Britto was executed by the Raja of Ramnad for breaking the law. He had been repeatedly warned to stop his antisocial activities and stay out of the principality. Instead, he carefully planned his 'martyrdom' and went to great lengths to provoke the Raja. He was canonised in 1947 by a Vatican decree. On April 7, 1994, the Indian Express reported an assault on a prominent Madras social worker, S. Vidyakar, by a Christian family who lived next door to one of his houses for destitute women and children. Vidyakar states, "For some time now our social worker, Sundari, was being teased and taunted by some members of the family."Sundari adds, "They are Christians and start clapping and dancing whenever we sing [devotional songs] and taunt us about worshipping [stone]. When things went a little too far that evening and I was abused in filthy language, I called up Vidyakar and gave him details. " Vidyakar went to talk to the family the next day, but they attacked him with a log and broke his arm. This is not an isolated incident. It goes on all the time with the connivance of local police and politicians. This writer was also driven from his ashram in Thirumullaivoyal by Christian converts who were provoked by the fact that a white foreigner had become a Hindu sannyasi and lived like a Brahmin among Brahmins.
Chapter 24
  • The myth of St. Thomas in Malabar and Mylapore, which we have reviewed in this essay, is an Indian Christian communal fable that was exposed decades ago by the "St. Thomas" Christian historians T.K. Joseph and Rev. Dr. G. Milne Rae – the latter a reader at Madras Christian College. That it is advertised by the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese as Indian history is to be expected of this criminal branch of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church; that it is accepted without critical review by the Government of India, and promoted by a racist Tamil Nadu state administration on political platforms to disparage Hindus, is quite another. 77 Their conduct as secular administrators is mala fide to say the least. It is a new twist to the old tale of treachery in the Acts of Thomas, but it is in keeping with the spirit of the original Syrian legend. The Acts tells us that Jesus sold his brother Judas called Thomas the Twin as a carpenter slave to the trader Abbanes for a handful of silver. Are we Hindus so ready and willing to do the same today to our own Bharatiya brother with this anti-national, culture- denying Portuguese tale?
Appendices
  • It seems clear from a number of articles published and from the letters of protest or criticism sent to the Madras editor and suppressed (of which I have knowledge – obviously many more letters were received by the editor), that the editor responsible for the material published in the Express Weekend has consistently pursued a policy of promoting Roman Catholic doctrine at the expense of historical truth.... The manipulation of history and the suppression of facts is a major issue in this country.... Christians, Muslims and Communists know how to write history and then how to rewrite it to suit their current ideological needs. When the Indian Express covertly supports one of these parties – in this case the Roman Catholics – in rewriting Indian history, the affair becomes a matter of grave concern to everybody.... The Roman Catholic Church is the richest, largest and most sophisticated private publisher in India and the world. But this is not enough for them. They need the name of a fair-minded and respected daily to give their lies ... credibility – and unfortunately for the people of Madras they have found this in the Indian Express.
    • Letter to Arun Shourie.
  • Whatever the faults of the Indian Express in the 1990s, it had an honourable beginning and still had some of the moral authority it acquired in the Freedom Movement. This is not true of The Hindu which was established with the sole objective of making money from the British Raj. It was known as "The Sapper" prior to 1947 – even the British- owned Mail was more nationalistic - and after the White Sahib went away it was called "The Old Widow of Mount Road". 1 Its formula for success is a studied, high-tech mediocrity – name and form and no content – and a faithful toeing of the Chinese government line. It is class-conscious, casteist and fashionably anti-Hindu. Its moral response to any media- created national crisis – such as the demolition of an unauthorised Muslim building in Ayodhya – is to fill its columns with the lugubrious drivel of various popular Marxist professors. In short, The Hindu is self- righteous and boring unless one is looking for a suitable girl for a suitable boy with B.Com. and an American Green Card.... . Today in 2010 it is called "The Chindu" because of its slavish pro-China editorial policy. The Hindu has been a quisling newspaper throughout its whole career though it calls itself India's national newspaper.
    • Hideaway Communalism In The Hindu – Ishwar Sharan
  • In fact, the Hindu community is doubly wronged. It not only did not kill the fictional St. Thomas but for the saint's cause it lost a number of important temples to the aggressive religious bigotry of the Portuguese. It took more than fifty years for the Portuguese to bring down the original Kapaleeswara Temple and build a St. Thomas Church in its place. I wonder how many Indian lives were lost in defence of the Great God Shiva and His house on the Mylapore beach.... The Archaeological Survey of India is deeply involved in the cover-up at San Thome Cathedral. It is a government department and therefore subject to the dictates of the politicians in power and their policy of minority appeasement. Even former directors of the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology like Dr. R. Nagaswamy, who have all the details of the destruction of the Kapaleeswara Temple by the Portuguese and the building of San Thome Cathedral on the ancient temple site, are not willing to speak out.
    • San Thome Cathedral Cover-up Uncovered – G. P. Srinivasan
  • The Christian claim to the site of the Holy Cross is based on the dream of a gullible but fanatical woman, and fortified with a faked excavation. 4 Remember the Ayodhya debate, where Hindu scholars were challenged to produce ever more solid proof of the traditions underlying the sacredness of the controversial site? Whatever proof they came up with was automatically, without any inspection, dismissed by the high priests of secularism as “myth” and “faked evidence”. It was alleged that there was a “lack of proof” for the assumption that Rama ever lived there. But in the case of the Christian sacred places, we do not just have lack of proof that the religion’s claim is true, but we have positive proof that its claim is untrue, and that it was historically part of a campaign of fraud and destruction.... This massive campaign of fraud and destruction was subsequently extended to the Germanic, Slavic and Baltic countries. Numerous ancient churches across Europe are so many Babri Masjids, containing or standing on the left-overs of so many Rama Janmabhoomi temples. Just after the christianisation of Europe was completed with the forced conversion of Lithuania in the fifteenth century, the iconoclastic zeal was taken to America, and finally to Africa and Asia....the tribal areas became the scene of culture murder by Catholic and Protestant missionaries. There are recent instances of desecration of tribal village shrines and sacred groves by Christians, assaults on Hindu processions both in the tribal belts and in the south, and attempts to turn the Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari into a Virgin Mary shrine. ...In South India, the myth of St. Thomas provided the background for a few instances of temple destruction at places falsely associated with his life and alleged martyrdom, especially the St. Thomas Church replacing the Mylapore Shiva Temple in Madras. In this case, the campaign of fraud is still continuing: till today, Christian writers continue to claim historical validity for the long-refuted story of the apostle Thomas coming to India and getting killed by jealous Brahmins. 8 The story is parallel to that of Jesus getting killed by the Jews, and it has indeed served as an argument in an elaborate Christian doctrine of anti- Brahminism which resembles Christian anti-Semitism to the detail. At any rate, it is a fraud....
    • Why Indians Should Reject St. Thomas And Christianity– Koenraad Elst
  • After all, the Christian conquests in India and in America are two sides of the same coin. In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, the Pope awarded one half of the world (ultimately comprising areas from Brazil to Macao, including Africa and India) to Portugal, and the other half (including most of America and the Philippines) to Spain, on condition that they use their power to christianise the population. The Spanish campaign in America had juridically and theologically exactly the same status as its Portuguese counterpart in India. If the result was not as absolutely devastating in India as it was in America, this was merely due to different power equations: the Portuguese were less numerous than the Spanish, and the Indians were technologically and militarily more equal to the Europeans than the Native Americans were. The Church’s intentions behind Columbus’s discovery of America and Vasco da Gama’s landing in India were exactly the same.....Seldom have I seen such viper-like mischievousness as in the most recent strategies of the Christian mission in India. It is a viper with two teeth. On the one side, there is the gentle penetration through social and educational services, now compounded with rhetoric of “inculturation”: glib talk of “dialogue”, “sharing”, “common ground”, fraudulent donning of Hindu robes by Christian monks, all calculated to fool Hindus about the continuity of the Christian striving to destroy Hinduism and replace it with the cult of Jesus....On the other side, there is a vicious attempt to delegitimize Hinduism as India’s native religion, and to mobilize the weaker sections of Hindu society against it with “blood and soil” slogans. Seeing how the nativist movement in the Americas is partly directed against Christianity because of its historical aggression against native society (in spite of Liberation Theology’s attempts to recuperate the movement), the Indian Church tries to take over this nativist tendency and forge it into a weapon against Hinduism. Christian involvement in the so-called Dalit (“oppressed”) and Adivasi (“aboriginal”) movements is an attempt to channel the nativist revival and perversely direct it against native society itself.It advertises its services as the guardian of the interests of the “true natives” (meaning the Scheduled Castes and Tribes) against native society, while labelling the upper castes as “Aryan invaders”, on the basis of an outdated theory postulating an immigration in 1500 BC. To declare people “invaders” because of a supposed immigration of some of their ancestors 3500 years ago is an unusual feat of political hate rhetoric in itself, but the point is that it follows a pattern of earlier rounds of Christian aggression. It is Cortes all over again...The attempt to divide the people of a country on an ethnic basis – whether it is a real ethnic distinction as in the case of Cortes’ Mexico, or a wilfully invented one as in the case of India – is an obvious act of hostility, unmistakably an element of warfare....
    • Why Indians Should Reject St. Thomas And Christianity– Koenraad Elst
  • While in the post-colonial decades, Church rhetoric has markedly softened, its action on the ground has only become more aggressive. Shourie quotes intelligence reports on the role of missionaries in armed separatist movements in the North-East, and on their violations of the legal restrictions in Arunachal Pradesh on conversion by force or allurement. 12 The World Council of Churches officially supports separatism in the tribal areas (and even among the Schedules Castes, another “indigenous nation”!), in pursuit of the long cherished project of carving out Christian-dominated independent states. In its 1989 Darwin Declaration, the WCC announces: “Indigenous peoples strive for and demand the full spectrum of autonomy available in the principle of self- determination, including the right to re-establish our own nation-states. The Churches and governments have an obligation to see [this] come to reality by providing the necessary means, without any restriction attached.”...Therefore, “without any restriction”, Christians are teaching some sections of Hindu society hatred against other sections. You don’t normally try to create hostility between your friends, so the Church’s policy to pit sections of Hindu society against one another should be seen for what it is: an act of aggression...Exclusivist revelations have no appeal among educated people, especially after they have acquainted themselves with the Vedantic or Buddhist philosophies. That is why the Churches are investing huge resources in the battle for Asia’s mind, where they face their most formidable enemy. That is why they are so active in India: not only is India’s atmosphere of religious freedom more hospitable to them than the conditions of Islamic countries, or even of non-Islamic countries where proselytization is prohibited (countries as divergent as China, Myanmar, Israel, and, at least formally, Nepal); but they also know and fear the intrinsic superiority of the Indian religion.
    • Why Indians Should Reject St. Thomas And Christianity– Koenraad Elst
  • As Hindu spokesman Arun Shourie writes: “By an accounting [of the calumnies heaped upon India and Hinduism] I do not of course mean some declaration saying, ‘Sorry’. By an accounting Imean that the calumnies would be listed; the grounds on which they were based would be listed, and the Church would declare whether, in the light of what is known now, the grounds were justified or not; and the motives which impelled those calumnies would be exhumed.”
    • Arun Shourie quoted in Why Indians Should Reject St. Thomas And Christianity– Koenraad Elst
  • I also wanted to show that there was a carefully orchestrated cover-up in the Indian English-language media regarding the St. Thomas story. Indeed, even after two editions of the book, The New Indian Express and popular Deccan Chronicle remain the main purveyors of the fable through travel features and their christianised “secular” columnists. Little leftist magazines like The Indian Review of Books, edited by the St. Thomas advocate S. Muthiah, also put in a good word for St. Thomas when the opportunity arises. This is their unprofessional response to the exposure of a historical fraud that does not serve their financial interests....In Central India, Orissa, the North-East, even Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal where missionaries cannot officially operate, village temples are demolished and sacred images broken by new converts....Temple breaking in India seems to have originated in the 7th, 8th or 9th century with Nestorian Christian immigrants from Persia. They built churches on the broken temple foundations and then attributed the temple breaking to St. Thomas himself by claiming he built the churches in the 1st century. Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit priests destroyed temples in Goa, Malabar, and Tamil Nadu in the 16th century. St. Francis Xavier left a fascinating written record of his temple-breaking work on the Coromandel Coast. The Portuguese entombed the Vel Ilangkanni Amman Temple near Nagapattinam and turned it into the famous Velankanni church called Our Lady of Health Basilica. The Jesuits destroyed the Vedapuri Iswaran Temple in Pondicherry and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception now sits on the site. The list is very long..... It does not enter the heads of these Indian media worthies that the BBC is a neo-colonialist radio network dedicated to the promotion of Christian culture and values and British government foreign policy, and that it does not have a kind word for Hindus or Hinduism or Hindu issues even though Hindus make up a large part of its world audience. ...The Christian churches are the largest landowners in India after the government. Much of this land is alienated temple land that was given to them by the British in the 19th century. They also own large amounts of prize commercial property in the cities. This fact has become a scandal among many of the Christian faithful who do not feel that their churches should be real estate agents and owners. However, this observation is not true of the newer, smaller American churches like Pentecostals and Evangelicals who have mounted a caste war against the Hindus and seek to provoke the Hindu community at every opportunity. They simply grab land in the towns and districts by painting crosses and Christian slogans on stones and hillsides and then claiming the property as their own.This activity is especially evident in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In Arunachal Pradesh where proselytizing and conversion are illegal, Christians claim whole villages and put up signboards that say “Non-Christians Not Allowed” at their entrances. These Arunachal converts originate from Mother Teresa’s institutions in Assam where they are indoctrinated and baptized and then sent back to their villages to convert the elders. ...They have already claimed the holy hill and all of India for Christ in their writings. I myself hope that the cross-raising comes soon. Perhaps then Hindu leaders and district officials will wake up to the threat that an aggressive, proselytizing Christianity poses to Hinduism’s most ancient sacred sites.
    • Interview – Ishwar Sharan & Rajeev Srinivasan
  • Christian fanatics have sent a letter to Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya Math, Kanchipuram, threatening to bomb the office of Kamakoti, a journal edited by T.S.V. Hari and published by T.V.S. Giri from Madras, if it does not stop a serial on the Hindu temples destroyed by Christians and converted into churches in the yesteryears. The journal has been publishing the serial based on authoritative historical sources and evidences produced by renowned research scholars.
    • Christians Threaten To Bomb Kamakoti Magazine – Hindu Voice International
  • The destruction of the seashore Temple of Kapaleeswara is said to have taken place in 1561. The new temple at its present present site, about one km to the west, was built by pious Hindu votaries about three hundred years ago, i.e., about two hundred and fifty years after its destruction. When the Santhome Church was repaired in the beginning of the current century, many stones with edicts were found there. Among them one mentions Poompavai, the girl whom Tirujnanasambandar is said to have miraculously revived from her ashes kept in an urn.
    • The Legend Of A Slain Saint To Stain Hinduism – Swami Tapasyananda
  • The consensus among most historians who do not have a theological axe to grind, is that the first Christians to arrive in India, landing at Cranganore, Kerala, came in 345 CE. They were four hundred refugees belonging to seven tribes of West Asia, who were fleeing religious persecution by the Persian Shapor II. Their leader was a Syrian who is known to history as Knae Thomman, Thomas Cananeus, Thomas of Cana, or Thomas the Merchant. It is probably this man whom the Syrian Christians later converted into the first century apostle-martyr St. Thomas. Though the myth of St. Thomas coming to Kerala in 52 CE was invented by Syrian Christians, it was resurrected and embellished in the sixteenth century by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries who needed a pious story of persecution to cover up their own persecution of the Hindus. During this period they and their Portuguese masters destroyed the great Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach, the Murugan temple on Little Mount and the Hindu temple on Big Mount, and built Christian churches on the ruins.
    • St. Thomas And Caste – Ishwar Sharan
  • Under the recommendation of Diwan Col. John Munro, a British subject and agent of the East India Company, in 1812, the Queen of Travancore nationalized 378 wealthy temples. The villain Diwan tactically awarded a natural death to the temple with insufficient resources. Considering the geographical area, the number of the temples set ablaze or knocked down or tactically buried down in Travancore was proportionately much higher than that of temples demolished by the Muslim rulers of Northern India or Mysore Sultans.
    • Questioning The St. Thomas Origin Of Indian Christianity C.I. Issac (From Fourth Edition, 2019)
  • As of today, Christians and Muslims remain excluded from the benefits extended to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Indians, as their respective ideologies do not recognise caste. However, to get around this constitutional obstacle, the majority or near majority of Christians and Muslims have been classified by their religious and community leaders as Backward Class (BC) or Other Backward Class (OBC) and are enjoying the benefits extended by the State and Central Government to these classes to the determent of the Hindus in these classes.
  • Around 40% of all Muslims are already enjoying the benefits of reservation under the OBC quota;
  • [In] Kerala, where the Muslims constitute 25% of the total state population, 99% are classified as OBCs and are claiming reservation quota;
  • In Tamil Nadu 93.3% Muslims have been notified as OBC by the state government in 2004-2005 whereas in 1999-2000 83% of Muslims were notified as OBC―a steep increase of 10% in just five years!
  • Only 10% of all Christians in the country are not availing of any kind of reservation and these would be largely the Goan and the Syrian Christians.
  • This cornering is made possible only because of the constitutional right provided to minorities to start and run educational institutions. There is a move now afoot to equate degrees obtained from Muslim madrasas to the CBSE board so that the Muslims in the OBC spectrum may be enabled to corner another major chunk of the benefits of reservation just as the Christians are doing now.
  • Around 70% of Christians and Muslims have been brought into the quota regime as backward communities or backward classes;
  • What can be inferred from this analysis is that Christians and Muslims who do not ideologically recognise caste divisions, have “stolen” most of the benefits meant for Hindu Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and Hindu Backward Classes and Other Backward Classes. If it comes about that “Dalit Christians” and “Dalit Muslims” are recognised by the Government as caste entities, then Christians and Muslims will hog all of the benefits with nothing left for Dalit Hindus. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Hindus will then have to convert to Christianity (or Islam) in order to obtain these benefits. The Indian bishops are aware of this and it is a part of their game plan to decimate the Hindu society in this way.]
  • If we consider the possibility that preference in reservation is given to anti-Hindu, irreligious Dravidian Tamils with marked political affiliations, then we begin to understand what is happening in the Madras High Court and in all other courts of Tamil Nadu. Reservation benefits are being hogged by the minorities and anti-Hindu Dravidian Tamils. Tamil Hindu SCs, BCs and MBCs are being increasingly marginalised and alienated from the mainstream.
    • How Casteless Muslims And Christians Obtain Benefits Meant For Caste Hindus Vigil Review
  • About San Thome Cathedral which houses his fake tomb―the real tomb for St. Thomas is at Ortona, Italy―it has been established by reputed Jesuit and Indian archaeologists that the church stands on the ruins of the original Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. So do the churches at Little Mount and Big Mount stand on ruined Murugan and Shiva temples respectively. The “Bleeding Cross” Fr. Francis refers to and which is kept in the Portuguese church on Big Mount, has these words carved around the edge of it in Pahlavi script: “My lord Christ, have mercy upon Afras, son of Chaharbukht the Syrian, who cut this.” The cross is dated by experts to the seventh or eighth century.
  • Arun Shourie has stated that the apology should include the following items:
    An honest accounting of the calumnies which the Church has heaped on India and Hinduism; informing Indian Christians and non Christians about the findings of Bible scholarship [including the St. Thomas legend];
    Informing them about the impact of scientific progress on Church doctrine;
    Acceptance that reality is multi-layered and that there are many ways of perceiving it;
    Bringing the zeal for conversion in line with the recent declarations that salvation is possible through other religions as well.
  • Dr. Koenraad Elst, educated in Europe’s most prestigious Catholic university in Leuven, Belgium, writes in his foreword to this book: “It is clear enough that many Christians including the Pope have long given up the belief in Thomas’s Indian exploits, or―like the Church Fathers―never believed in them in the first place. In contrast with European Christians today, Indian Christians live in a 17th century bubble, as if they are too puerile to stand in the daylight of solid historical fact. They remain in a twilight of legend and lies, at the command of ambitious “medieval” bishops who mislead them with the St. Thomas in India fable for purely selfish reasons.”
  • Syrian Christians were called Nasranis (from Nazarean) or Nestorians (by Europeans) up to the 14th century. Bishop Giovanni dei Marignolli the Franciscan papal legate in Quilon invented the appellation “St. Thomas Christians” in 1348 to distinguish his Syrian Christian converts from the low-caste Hindu converts in his congregation.
    • A Feast For St. Thomas Ishwar Sharan
  • The article “The Incredible Journey” by William Dalrymple in The Guardian, London, on 15 April 2000, is a wonderful exercise in pushing the beliefs of the “minorities”―in fact local enthusiasts of a global movement, helped by the foreign headquarters with resources and strategy―to the utmost. There is no document supporting the fond belief of the Christians [that St. Thomas arrived in Kerala in 52 AD], ritually incanted by all politicians and journalists whenever they mention Christianity. And there still is none after Dalrymple’s article, a fact that all his innuendo about new insights is meant to obscure.
  • And note the irony: one always speaks of “doubting Thomas”, also the title of Dalrymple’s film, but the finality of this article is to provide intellectual respectability to the all-out secular effort of suppressing doubt about the Thomas myth.
    • The Dalrymple Massage Of The St. Thomas Myth Koenraad Elst
  • And when Christians did reach the coastal area of South India, probably as 4th- century refugees from the Persian empire that had turned hostile after the Christianization of its Roman rival, they were welcomed rather more cordially than any treatment given by Christians to Pagans. Far from being “murdered by the priests of Kali”, they were given hospitality and integrated into Hindu society, without any questions asked about the contents of their religion. Hindus have extended their hospitality more recently to Parsis, Armenians and Tibetan Buddhists; and more anciently to the Jews. That glorious record is the target of gross injustice in the fictional story of Saint Thomas.
    • The Confabulated Leftist Murder Of St. Thomas Koenraad Elst
  • But it was a scholar-evangelist from the Anglican Church, Bishop Robert Caldwell (1814-91), who pioneered what now flourishes as the “Dravidian” identity. In his Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Race, he argued that the south Indian mind was structurally different from the Sanskrit mind. Linguistic speculations were turned into a race theory. He characterized the Dravidians as “ignorant and dense”, accusing the Brahmins―the cunning Aryan agents―for keeping them in shackles through the imposition of Sanskrit and its religion. His successor, another prolific Anglican missionary scholar, Bishop G.U. Pope, started to glorify the Tamil classics era, insisting that its underpinnings were Christianity, not Hinduism. Though subsequently rejected by serious scholars of Tamil culture, the idea was successfully planted that Hinduism had corrupted the “originally pure” Tamil culture by adding Sanskrit and Pagan ideas.
    • How Missionaries Invented ‘Dravidian Christianity’ Rajiv Malhotra
  • With the Pattanam excavations thus taking a serious turn, Delhi based Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) which had earlier attacked former ICHR chairman, Professor M.G.S. Narayanan in 2001 for raising serious allegations against the KCHR has virtually gone underground. Organisations which have currently come out against the KCHR and its Muziris Project have alleged that “these same historians who had earlier rebuffed Ramayana and Sri Ram as fictitious and fabricated are now digging for the bones of Apostle Thomas”.
  • Romila Thapar has put forward the arrival of Apostle Thomas as an outcome of Mediterranean trade links of India in her work, The Penguin History of Early India, published in 2002. In 2006, Professor Kumkum Roy was advisor to NCERT Textbook Development Committee along with chief advisor, Professor Neeladri Bhattacharya, both from JNU.
    • Digging For The Bones Of St. Thomas B.S. Harishankar
  • The effort made by some interested quarters to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St. Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey of India, Dr. R. Nagaswamy. “When looking at the literature on the life of St. Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungallur,” the former visiting professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Express. In fact, the ancient Muziris port must have been located in Kodungallur and not in Pattanam because all major ports in ancient times were situated at river mouths. And so it is safe to assume that Muziris was at Kodungallur, where the river joins the sea. He felt there was a hidden agenda by certain sections to propagate the idea that Muziris was connected to Pattanam, where St. Thomas is believed to have landed, and not with Kodungallur. “Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history,” he said. “There is no substantial evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western coasts of the country,” said Dr. Nagaswamy.
    • Nagaswamy Nails False Propaganda On St. Thomas And Pattanam Express Buzz
  • Dr. R. Nagaswami, eminent archaeologist, who had done some excavations at Santhome Church along with a Jesuit, quoted profusely from the writings of Jesuits and exploded the myth of the visit of St. Thomas to India. It was a Portuguese ruse to spread Christianity in India. He said Deivanayagam had taken the visit of St. Thomas to India as an established fact and, based on that, built his theory and conclusions. The fact was St. Thomas had not visited India at all. According to the evidence available, and books on St. Thomas, he had visited only Parthia, Dr. Nagaswami said. He said it was a sad reflection on the Institute of Tamil Studies which had published the book. It was shameful that Madras University had awarded a doctorate for the book without going into its merits.
    • Christian Author Misrepresents Tiruvalluvar As Disciple Of Thomas R.S. Narayanaswami

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