Why is Bajrang Dal troubled by Christmas celebrations?

Christmas celebrations were met with fear and threats in Assam and Meghalaya as Bajrang Dal questioned the Mission’s ideology

Image Courtesy:news.abplive.com

Ramakrishna Mission has a long tradition of celebrating Christmas and worshipping Jesus Christ. Portraits of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary are placed next to the idol of Sri Ramakrishna and Mother Sarada and cakes are decorated the same way every year to mark the birth of Jesus.

No religious/ non-religious organisation has ever questioned this belief but this year seems to serve as an exception. In a first, the doors of every church in the city of Silchar, Assam were closed on Christmas eve with Police and CRPF deployed inside in anticipation of violence by Bajrang Dal, as reported by the media.

As per the media, the Shillong Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Cultural Centre was also locked down by Khasi Student Union Members in Meghalaya. Once this news spread, the Bajrang Dal intimidated a Hindu family saying that if their children went to the church for Christmas celebrations, stern action would be taken. The Bajrang Dal had started threatening Hindu’s from visiting the church to celebrate Christmas in early December itself. In addition to this nuisance, this right-wing outfit went a step ahead and protested in Hailakandi Ramakrishna Mission in Assam against the worship of Jesus.

On December 25, Bajrang Dal members arrived at the Ramakrishna Halaikandi Seva Samiti office to ask, “why Jesus Christ was worshipped in Ramakrishna Mission?”. The reason behind this question was the alleged torture of Hindus by Christians in Shillong where Hindus are not allowed to practice their religion freely.

Vikramjit Bhattarjee, a member of the Hailakandi branch of Bajrand Dal said, “we oppose Jesus worship at Hailakandi Ramakrishna Mission because we are protesting against what happened at Shillong. They have listened to us and promised to think about it in the future. We just want to send a strong message that if anyone hurts our religious beliefs then we won’t tolerate it”, reported Barak Bulletin.

In response, Premangshu Paul from the Ramakrishna Seva Samiti said that they worship Jesus every year as part of the rules of Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. He also remarked that if celebrating Buddha Purnima is not wrong, Christmas celebrations cannot be deemed wrong either.

According to some devotees, in December 1886, four months after Sri Ramakrishna passed away, Swami Vivekananda (Narendranath Dutta at the time) and some of his monastic mates had gathered at Antpur, in Serampore subdivision of Hooghly district.

According to the Telegraph, one night, Swamiji sat with his brothers the whole night before a fire and exhorted them to take sannyas (life of renunciation). In the morning, they came to know it was Christmas Eve (December 24). Eventually, they took sannyas, and the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission was formed. “In remembrance of that great beginning, Christmas Eve is observed as a sacred day by the monks and devotees of the order”, said a senior monk.

Even when Sri Ramakrishna was alive, he practised all religions before arriving at the realisation ‘Jato mot, tato poth (As many faiths, as many ways) according to Swami Suvirananda, the general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission who revealed this while speaking to The Telegraph.

Bajrang Dal, in the past has been involved in anti-Christian violence such as the Kandhamal riots and the murder of Graham Staines and his two minor sons in Odisha.


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