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Chapter Nine

The Coming of Christianity

Chapter 9

The Coming of thomas 

What we have seen is that there is a total discontinuity in the basic concept of God in the history of Indian religions. Suddenly, in the first few centuries of the Christian era there arose a religion, which was very distinct from Vedism along with large number of written scriptures, which explained those principles.  These cannot be explained except by recognizing the coming of St.Thomas the Apostle of Jesus into the Indian scene.   

Thomas came to India in AD 52
and
India was never been the same after him.

There are a few specific items that cannot be explained in any other way. Yet these are the core essence of Hinduism as is claimed today. These are:

Monotheism – A persons God who is above all gods who is involved in the matters of man.  The concept of Isvara.  The very name Isa to mean God came in only after the arrival of St. Thomas. 

Trinity – God appeared in three distinct personal forms of Father, Sakti and Son. We have traced the development of Trimurti earlier.  It was a very new concept and was eventually degenerated with the essential unity and oneness of Godhead was lost through Gnostic duality and conflict. .  Gods themselves were in constant fight in Vedism as it is also true within modern Hinduism.  We will discuss what happened in a later chapter.

Incarnation – God incarnates into this world out of his intense of love for humankind to provide redemption and salvation through faith in Him.  This also includes the idea of Logos, the Word, which was translated as AUM and has now become the central symbol of Hinduism.  AUM is found in the front of all early Christian churches in Kerala predating any mention of AUM in the Upanishads.  It represents the oneness of the Trinitarian God who is the revealed to humankind through Sages.

 

    

Another symbol, which is closely connected with Christianity, is Lingam, the Form of the formless God, which is worshipped by the Saivites.  It was initially the symbol of word becoming flesh.

The Formless took Form.
”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”
”By His stripes we have been healed”

All these were very new to the Indian religions.  I see no way of explaining these away as something, which was hidden in the Vedas, because that will require twisting of the truth and unacceptable hermeneutics.  The usual method employed to accomplish this is to use allegorical interpretation.  Anyone who had used allegory knows that any body can establish anything using allegory because there the interpreter imposes his own meaning and symbolism without justification on the text.

Bhakthi or faith itself took up a new meaning with the coming of Christianity.  Puja and sacrifices were indeed in existence even in the Vedic religion.  However, the intent of those was to give gods something in exchange for something the yajamana of the yajna can get from them. Gods liked Whisky (Soma drink) so we give it to them. In return, the Yajamana gets prosperity, children etc. 

That is barter, not Bhakthi.  Bhakthi towards a loving God is in response to who God is, whom we know in our daily life through his faithfulness, provision and love.  Man cannot bribe God. This is what Christianity presented.  God drank the poison vicariously to save mankind. In response, he demands total surrender.  This was the basis of the later Bhakthi movement of South India.  Bhakthi movement was a resurgence of the lost concept of Bhakthi as brought in by Thomas.  It somehow got lost.  We will discuss the mechanism and the agent of such heresy in another chapter.  Evidently, something happened during the period soon after the advent of Christian Era in the history of Indian Religions.

     

Vedism disappeared totally which was reeling under the pressure of rationalistic atheistic religious movements of Buddhism and Jainism.  There were only three choices for common man – rigorously ascetic religions of Jainism and Buddhism or primitive village gods and goddesses.  Brahmins were at the verge of extinction and were scattered throughout India as minority groups trying to clasp at the final straw.  The straw came in the form of a foreigner who brought in a totally new religion, which no one has ever heard of before.  This was good news – that there is indeed a Supreme God of all creation who cared enough for mankind that he incarnated himself on this earth to redeem those who are heavy laden. 

Brahmins all over India took this message seriously.  After all they had very little to survive.  In Kerala alone seventy five families of Brahmins – all who were in that part of India – took shelter under the new religion.  The cases elsewhere were no different.  However, in Kerala we know that there were no Brahmins until the seventh century showing thereby that it was a people’s movement. The whole Brahmin community surrendered to Christ.  Kerala Christians still claim descend from those seventy-five.  The story of these conversions is handed down orally through the powerful medium of folk songs and arts.  These include:

1 The Song of the Deacon – the Chapter on Thomas known to us as “Rambaan Pattu – Thoma Parvam” 

 2. The Morality Plays of the Christians.  - The Drama of the Way
known in Malayalam as “Margam Kali”

3.  The Songs of the Sons of the Great Kings : known in Malayalam as Maapilla Paattu.

4.  Songs on Stringed Instrument - Veeradian Pattu – Villadichan Pattu

5.  Chavittu Nadakam : Tap Drama

 

The Malabar (Kerala) and Indian traditions are referred to by the early Church Fathers   all through the history of the church.  Among them are the following references:

Clement of Alexandria  3rd C AD ( 235) 
Doctrine of the Apostles  3rd C AD Syria
Oriegen  3rd (185-254 AD) quoted in Eusebius  Alexandria
Eusebius (early 4th cent.) Caesarea
St. Jerome (342-420 A.D.) about the mission of Pantaenus, to India   . 
 St. Ephrem (306-373 A.D.),
St. Gregory of Nazianze (324-390 A.D.),
St. Ambrose (333-397 A.D.),
St. Jerome, St. Gregory of Tours (6th cent.)
Isidore of Seville (7th cent.) 

 

 

 St.Thomas the Apostle

Thomas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus who had been with him for over three years as a witness to his teachings and actions.  He himself was a hard-core scientist who would not believe in anything true just because some one told him and would trust them only after verification.  Thus, he insisted that he touch the wound of the resurrected Jesus to confirm that it was Jesus himself and not any apparition.  Having confirmed he became the most powerful Apostle.  No wonder Jesus wanted him to go to India into the midst of the Rationalistic Atheistic Buddhists, Jains and to other groups who were materialists.  He was himself all that and he could bear witness in their midst.

Thomas himself was no Gnostic, as some would like to him to be represented.  Later Syrian (Aryan origin) Gnostic would write up and make Puranas (as is the character of all Gnostic religions) which we have as Gnostic Gospels, written as late as third century, soon after the appearance of modern Hinduism. Christian sacred text would not include any document written after the death of the last of the Apostles, John, to ensure the accuracy of the testimony.

Apocryphal records do bear some witness and are valuable historical documents once its purposes are understood.  In a world where a continued attempt is made to destroy and distort truth about Jesus, it is at least something to go about.  We have at least the historic presence of the persons and places given to us in these books. 

Acts of Thomas is one such important document.  It was not written as history but as a fiction using the style of the period.  However, in it and through it we have the names and the places and events in history regarding the ministry of Thomas in India.  One thing is certain.  His ministry covered the entire India from Taxila in the North to Malabar Coast in the South.  However, something happened to the records in India that we have a blank period of history indicating an intentional destruction of historical documents for this period and the growth of the church in India.  This period is known as Kalabhra Inter-regnum – the dark ages.  We have only scattered information essentially handed down in the form of folk art and songs – tribal memory and faithful transference of faith from fathers to their children.

Information on Acts of Thomas
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/actsthomas.html
Harold W. Attridge describes the Acts of Thomas as follows: (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 531):

Pseudepigraphic text which relates the adventures of the apostle Judas Thomas as he preaches an ascetical or encratite form of Christianity on the way to and from India. Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. In addition to narratives of Thomas' adventures, its poetic and liturgical elements provide important evidence for early Syrian Christian traditions.

Attridge writes about the attestation to the Acts of Thomas (op. cit., p. 531):

The major Syriac witnesses (B.M. add. 14.645) dates to 936 C.E. the earliest Syriac witnesses to the text, a fragmentary palimpset (Sinai 30), dates from the 5th or 6th century. The major Greek witnesses (Paris. gr. 1510 and Vallicel. B 35) date to the 11th century, although there are partial Greek witnesses dating from the 10th. Some form of the work was clearly in circulation by the end of the 4th century when testimonies begin. Epiphanius (Anac. 47.1 and 60.1.5) records its use by Encratites. Augustine (de serm. dom. in monte 1.20.65; c. Adiamantium 17; c. Faustum 14 and 22.79) attests its use by Manicheans, and allusions are found in the Manichean Psalms.


 

Attestations continue sporadically until the 9th-century Byzantine patriarch Photius (Cod. 114) and the 11th-century archbishop, Nicetas of Thessalonica, who paraphrased the work. The original composition is probably to be dated in the first half of the 3d century, slightly later than the Acts of Peter, John, and Paul, which are attested in the 2d century. Some sections, particularly the originally independent Hymn of the Pearl, presuppose conditions in the Parthian period, which ended with the establishment of the Sassanian Empire in 226 C.E. It is likely that Acts Thom. underwent redactional development, including adaptation by Manicheans, in the late 3d or 4th centuries.

The author of Acts of Thomas is considered to be Bardesanes (Bardesan)

Bardesanes was born in 154 CE, became a Christian c. 180 CE, and died in 222/223 CE.

Bar-Daisan  (Catholic Encyclopedia)

At the age of twenty-five he happened to hear the homilies of Hystaspes, the Bishop of Edessa; he received instruction, was baptized, and even admitted to the dioconate or the priesthood.  …..when Abgar IX, the friend of his youth, ascended the throne (179) he took his place at court.

His acceptance of Christianity was perfectly sincere; nor do later stories, that he left the Catholic Church and joined the Valentinian Gnostics out of disappointed ambition, deserve much credit. His royal friend became  the first Christian king; and both king and philosopher labored to create the first Christian State. Bardesanes showed great literary activity against Marcion and Valentinus, the Gnostics of the day. But unfortunately, with the zeal of a convert anxious to use his previous acquirements in the service of the newly found truth, Bardesanes mixed his Babylonian pseudo-astronomy with Christian dogma and thus originated a Christian sect, which was vigorously combated by St. Ephrem.

World map according to Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (ca. 40 A.D.) and probable route of Thomas from Israel to Malabar along the pepper route.

The Commercial Routes of First Century



 

Traditional site where St. Thomas landed - Cranganore (Kodungallur) in Malabar Coast -in 52 AD. 
Here he preached to a Jewish community who accepted mesia and their synagogue became a Christian church.

The Church in Cranganuur – near Muziris

There were settlements of Jews in southwest India from at least the first century of the Christian era. Their main centre was the seaport of Cranganore. From the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, the Jews in this area had virtually an independent principality ruled over by a prince of their own tradition and choice. The Jewish community was enriched by the arrival of Jews from Spain and other European countries. In 1524, however, Jewish homes and synagogues were destroyed by Moors, and survivors fled to Cochin (Kochi).

The Tabula Peutingeriana is the only known surviving copy of the Roman cursus publicus; it was made by a monk in Colmar in the thirteenth century.  It shows Muziris as a major port. There is also a Temple of  the Great God (Augusts) marked nearby.  It is unlikely that it refers to Augustus Ceasar as some seem to suggest. The marking is Augusts not Augustus. 

The Apostle Thomas is said to have arrived in India, at Cranganore on the Malabar Coast, in 52CE. According to tradition, he was welcomed by a Jewish flute girl.  He stayed in the Jewish quarter, and baptized some of the Jews there.  He finally settled at Mylapore, near Madras (Chennai) on the south east coast, where he lived in a cave.  He was martyred in 72CE and buried beneath what is now the Basilica of St Thomas built in 1898. A bone from his hand remains in the crypt.

http://www.sln.org.uk/re/southindiaimages.htm

Probable land route of Thomas during his 20-year ministry within India
(52 – 72 AD)
 

Vestiges of North Indian Christian Churches

“Bardaisan in his Book of Fate (AD 196) speaks of Parthian Christians living among pagans, which might be a result of the destruction of the Indian Parthian empire by Kushan invaders about AD 50.

There are also said to be Christian tribes still living in north India, but holding their faith a secret from all others.  For example, at Tatta in Sind (the ancient port of Pattiala at the mouth of Indus), there is a fakir community which calls itself by an Aramaic name, something like ‘Bartolmai’, and claims to have been descended from St. Thomas’s converts and to have books and relics to prove it.”

 T.V.Phillip

In general, we have no reason not to believe the story as given by the traditions. We cannot exactly trace the cris-crossing intertwined routes of Thomas over the 20 years.  We are however certain that Thomas visited Kerala twice and he might have visited China at least once.  It evidently covered the entire Indian continent - North and South, East and West. Below is a map showing the possible areas of the ministry of Thomas based on the trade routes of the period and taking into consideration the placement of early Christian churches for which we have definite evidence... 

The extent of the ministry of Thomas

   In the recent years four coins said to have been given by Thomas to a family in Kerala has come up.

Thondachan and the Four Silver Coins

http://nasrani.net/2007/05/22/hindu-traditions-of-st-thomas-%e2%80%93thondacchan-and-the-four-silver-coins/

The worship of Thondachan, a Hindu family deity, by a particular lineage of Nairs (native martial clan) of Malabar, Kerala and especially the manner and ritual of this worship is noteworthy. Though a family deity, Thondachan is never worshipped within the Nair household. Nor has this deity been ever given a berth among the pantheon of Hindu gods at any of the Hindu temples presided over by the Brahman priests (called Namboodiris). Thondachan has a special altar built outside the Nair family compound, where non-Brahmin priests perform rituals. While Chaamundi, Vishnumoorthy, Pottan, Rakteshwari and Bhagavathi became the non-Aryan, non-Brahmin deities for the village folk of Kolathunaad (an ancient province of North Kerala) along with other primitive spirits and folk-heroes, Thondachan has an even smaller following among a select Nair clan. It is believed, that up to the present day, altars for Thondachan’s worship exists in the Cherukunnu area in Kannur (Cannanore) district, especially in the lands surrounding old tharavad (family) houses - ancestral mansions - of the Nairs.

 

When Thomachan (the Apostle St. Thomas - Achan signifying father) came ashore, landing at Maliankara near Moothakunnam village in Paravoor Thaluk in AD 52 (this village is located five kilometers from Kodungallur), some of his followers as well as other sailors and merchants were suffering from a severe form of scurvy. Thomachan himself suffered from a sore throat which he chose to ignore, and which grew steadily worse, until no voice emanated from his lips for many days. A local Jew named Matan took the weary travelers to a local Nair Tharavad (locally known as Kambiam Vallapil), in the province of Kolathunaad, a territory comprising the present Cannanore District and Badagara Taluk of Kerala. It is said that at the time of Thomachan's arrival at the tharavad, the Nair Karnavar (landlord or head of the family) lay injured from a grievous wound that had been inflicted upon him in a feudal duel. Upon seeing this, Thomachan sat beside the injured man and meditated, laying his hands on the man’s head, his throat, his chest and his groin.

 

 Immediately the karnavar felt relieved from pain and his healing was hastened. Within a day he was up and about, his wounds having nearly healed. In return, the Nair household offered shelter to the strangers and called upon their family physician to cure the scurvy that the travelers suffered from, as well as Thomachan's severely infected throat. Nellikaya (Emblic Myrobalan or Indian Gooseberry) based potions prepared by the tharavad was used to cure the sea-worn voyagers. In an act of gratitude, Thomachan is said to have blessed them and gave them four silver coins saying, "May these coins bestow my guru’s blessings upon you and your household, for take heed when I tell you that the money I pay you today is anointed with the blood of my guru." This holy man, Thomachan, is believed to have related a curious story to the members of the tharavad, which has been passed down the ages. The story states that before Thomachan set sail from a seaport in the region called 'Sanai' somewhere in the western seas, he had witnessed the persecution of his guru, who was tortured and nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. He spoke of how his guru returned from his ordeal three days later, fully cured. His guru handed him the silver coins saying, "My body was sold with these, and now they have been returned to me, all thirty pieces. Put them to good use, as I have. Though you shall choose to travel by sea, I shall meet you again in the mountains of the land where you will finally arrive."

 

The Nair Tharavad later migrated further north to the Cherukunnu area of present day Kannur. They referred to the four silver pieces as 'Rakta Velli' (Blood Silver) or 'Parindhu Velli' (parindhu for eagle, as one face of all these four ancient coins bear the figure of an eagle). They also decided never to utilize the silver as it was the custom then not to part with the gift of a guest.

 

Over time, and with the advent of Christianity, the significance of the four silver coins received by the Nair Tharavad was understood, but family history is still obscure as to whether Thomachan possessed, or what he did with the remaining twenty-six pieces of silver his guru gave him. This Nair family never converted to the Christian faith as many others did in that region. Subsequent migrations of Nair clans continued throughout history, but the story of the four rakta velli pieces was passed down the generations, as did their veneration for the holy sanyasi Thomachan (later called Thondachan, a nickname perhaps coined from the story of his sore throat - thonda for throat).

 

Another story goes that the name Thondachan was adopted in the early 16th century to avoid persecution by the Portuguese. Thus by a curious turn of events, the apostle St. Thomas was transformed into a Hindu deity for an ancient Nair clan of Kerala. A present day member of this family is still in possession of the four pieces of silver. The four pieces of silver have identified as the Shekels of Tyre, a common coinage of Judea of the time of Christ.

A present day member of this family is still in possession of the four pieces of silver  and they  have been identified  as the Shekels of Tyre, a common coinage of Judea of the time of Christ.

The back and front of the four coins gifted down by Thondachen

Thomas was commissioned by King Gondaphores of Taxila from where his ministry extended all over India.  In fact the success of Thomas in India was much vaster and deeper than the success St.Paul had in Rome and Greece.

The Indo-Parthian kingdom with its capital at Kabul barely lasted one century. It started to fragment under Gondophares' successor Abdagases I. The eastern part was conquered by the Kushans around 75 CE.

Coin of Gondophares (20-50 CE),
 king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom.
Obverse: Bust of Gondophares and Greek legend:
BACIΛEΩC CΩTHPOC VNΔOΦEPPOV
 "King Gondophares, the Saviour".
Reverse: Winged Nike holding a diadem, with a Kharoshti legend: MAHARAJASA GUDAPHANISA TRATARASA 
 

King Gondophores  

Takthi-Bahi Stone, which says:
Maharaja-raja-raja-samahatha –dramia- devawratha Gundaphorasa

This stone writing was found in the nearby

Buddhist Vihar in a place called Takthi Bahi.

 

Into this spiritual vacuum without a God, Thomas brought in the concept of Parameswara –the Most High God  - and his incarnation as Man in the person of Nazarene and he transformed India totally.

 

Parameshwara.  [Iswara is God.  Param means Most High.]  There never was a concept of Most High God in India until the coming of Thomas. Much more strange will be the fact Issa came to mean Supreme God and gave rise to Iswara, Maheswara, Parameswara.  Without doubt, Isa is the name, which derived from the name of Jesus. The prescript Param can be replaced with Maha meaning “The Great” to give Maheshwara – The Great God.   These words Parameswara and Maheswara occur in Indian religious scenario only after the first century. 

 

This was very new to the Indian continent.  It transformed all the religions of India – Vedism, Buddhism, and even Jainism to some extent.  The idea that there is a Personal God who is Omnipotent and loving changed the whole theology of Indian continent as the later religious scenario shows.  The extent of this impact indicates that Thomas established churches with Jesus as center of worship as the Parameshwara throughout India.   

Gold coin of Vasudeva I.
Obv: Vasudeva in tall helmet, holding a scepter, and making an offering over an altar. Legend in Kushan language and Greek script "Shaonanoshao Bazodeo Koshano" which means: "King of kings, Vasudeva the Kushan".
Rev: Indian god  “Oesho” (Easow)  holding a trisula (Trinity) scepter, with the bull.
Is this Jesus?
Monogram ("tamgha") to the left.

Vasudeva I (Kushan:  "Bazodeo", Chinese:"Bodiao") was a Kushan emperor around 195-225 AD. He was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sassanians as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sassanians or Kushanshahs from around 240 AD.  Vaseduva may have been the Indian king who returned the relics of the Apostle St. Thomas from India. It was probably during this time the poetic work of  “Acts of Thomas” was written. The relics were transfered triumphally to the town of Edessa, Mesopotamia. The Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources, has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva   

The martyrologist Rabba Sliba dedicated a special day to both the Indian king, his familly, and St Thomas:

"Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huisque mater Tertia" ("Coronation of Thomas the Apostole, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a Latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia") Rabban Sliba. (Mario Bussagli, "L'Art du Gandhara", p255)

Kushan Emperor Vasudeva I and the Christian Connection

 

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) was a state that at its cultural zenith, circa 105–250 CE, extended from what is now Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan (in the general area where the initial labors of St.Thomas was concentrated ) and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan tribe of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, China.  Thomas’s mission extended to China in the very same regions. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China.  By the beginning of third century Christianity was a powerful presence in all these countries..

As late as the 3rd century CE, decorated coins of Huvishka indicates that they were strong proponents of Buddhism.  The greatest ruler of the dynasty, Kanishka, had adopted Buddhism and it was during his period that both Buddhist religion and Greek art reached their zenith which is known under the nomenclature of Gandhara Civilization. It was again during his regime and because of his efforts that Buddhism spread in Central Asia and China. This period is regarded as the most important in the history of Buddhism

However the coins of Vasudeva I presents Siva in his coins.  Historically it is known that it was Vasudeva I who carried the bones of St. Thomas from Mylapore to Edessa and the Acts of Thomas was written to commemorate this even.  This at least indirectly suggests the Saivism as a Christian Sect associated with the Thomas Churches.

 

 Main Kushan rulers

o        Kujula Kadphises (30–80)
Kujula Kadphises  established the Kushan dynasty in 78 AD by taking advantage of disunion in existing dynasty of Pahalava (Parthian) and Scytho-Parthians, and gradually wrested control of southern prosperous region, which is the northwest part of ancient India, traditionally known as Gandhara (now Pakistan).

  Most Kushan Emperors were Buddhists

o        5.2 Vima Taktu (80–105)

o        5.3 Vima Kadphises (105–127)

o        5.4 Kanishka I (127–147)

o        5.5 Vāsishka

o        5.6 Huvishka (140–183)

o        5.7 Vasudeva I (191–225)

The Kushan religious pantheon is extremely varied, as revealed by their coins and their seals, on which more than 30 different gods appear, belonging to the Hellenistic, the Iranian, and to a lesser extent the Indian world essentially Saivite. 

 

Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are: Helios, Hephaistos, Selene, Anemos, Further, Heracles (whom Vaishnavites tries to make Krishna), and Sarapis. The Indian religion: Buddha, bodhisattava, Mahasena,  Skanda Kumara, Ganesha. The Iranic gods: Ashi Vanghuhi ,  Asha Vahishta, Atar,  Khwarenah, Drvaspa  Vohu Manah, Mah,   Mithra,  Ahura Mazda etc

         

Thomas’ journey covered the whole of India for two whole decades, very similar to the travels of Paul.  Paul transformed the Greco-Roman world into Christian faith.  Did Thomas achieve the same?  There are indications even today to show that he did just that.  Scattered groups of Christian sects can be found all along the route of Thomas, claiming their root from Thomas.  From Malabar Coast (In South India) Thomas traveled along the West coast to Kalyan, (Bombay) and then onto Sind (Pakistan) and Tibet returning along the East cost through Kaveri area to Mylapore (“The city of Peacock”, Madras, South India.)  They are there even today.  Some of them remain as secret communities in the face of later persecution.

Sufficient records are there to show that:

*   There existed a thriving Christian community in Kerala at that time.

There are palm leaf records, which show that:

 

* Among the Dravidians in Central India (Kaveri Area)  there was a Church   as early as 293 AD.  These documents show that, Seventy-Two families of Christians of Vellala origin from Kavery Poopatanam of Puhur

 District on the River Kaveri arrived in Kollam  (Quilon) in Kerala as refugees fleeing from the persecution in AD 293. 

 

Historically well-documented Christian Kingdom of Villarvattom Pana Dynasty (near the present-day Cochin) lasted nearly a millennium from 510 to 1439 AD, until the coming of the Portuguese.  There are documents indicating powerful Christian Kingdoms in Kerala, particularly in Ayr (referred to in Greek documents- Ayroor) and Ranni and Vel (Velnad).  There must have been other major churches all over India other than in Kerala.  However, the problem is “Where are they?”  It is this question we are trying to answer.  The basic reason why we do not see them is that we may be looking for the wrong clues and so we do not recognize them for want of familiarity.

 

What are we really looking for? 

  • Church buildings similar to the Greek and Roman churches.

  • Worship forms like the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Churches

  • Out stretched arms of Praise and Worship

We are simply assuming that these are the norms of the Christian Churches.  It is these basic expectations that put us off  track

In time various denominations began to evolve with emphasis on specific aspects of god and gospel with syncretization with local religions.   Two such denominations were Vaishnavism and Saivism.  Saivism emphasized the love of god and the Sacrifice of God for the redemption of Mankind, while Vaishnavism emphasized the glorious almighty God of the Skies.  In Kerala Christians were called  Nasranees (One who follow the Nazarene) and Isanees (or Isanuvadikal – one who are followers of Isa)

 

 

 

 

These denominations evolved out of specific emphasis on aspects of God.   They all started as Christian Churches but became heretic through syncretization and Gnostic influence from Babylon.   We will now look into the forces that transformed Indian Catholic Church to modern Hinduism as it is today.

Saivism 
and 
Vaishnavism 
are the offshoot of
 Early Indian Christianity.

 

 

 

 

“Saivism and Vaishnavism are the offshoot of Early Indian Christianity. Early Indian Christianity observed the elements of Dravidian worships that prevailed in the pre - Christian era, and developed as Saivism and Vaishnavism.   Saivism and Vaishnavism developed as a Bhakti movement around 6th, 7th c. A.D. in South India and spread to the North. Since it is now totally camouflaged by the Brahman concept under the name of Hinduism, it is generally thought that the Vedas are the basis for the development of this Bhakti Movement. Generally Saivite Siva is identified with Vedic Rudra and Vaishnavite Vishnu is identified with Vedic Vishnu. An in-depth study of the Vedas will unveil the hidden truths. Saivism and Vaishnavism have nothing to do with the Vedic Rudra or Vishnu.”

Thus Dr. M. Deivanayagam  and Dr. D. Devakala in The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion lists the follwing factors which emerged independent of Vedic influence.

1.       Emergence of the basic doctrines of Saivism and Vaishnavism depending not on Aryanism or the Vedas.

2.       Development of these doctrines which are not seen in the Vedas

3.       Emergence of new Agamas, totally contrary to the Vedas

4.       Emergence of temple worship, contrary to the Vedas.

5.      Emergence of Nayanmars and Alwars who did not belong to the Vedicreligion.

6.      The doctrinal explanation of Sankara, Ramanuja and Mathva which arecontrary to the Vedas.

7.      Emergence of the names of Gods viz. Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Sakthi ....who are contrary to the Vedic deities.

8.      Emergence of the worship of God in Triune form instead of worshipping the Vedic deities'.

They conclude thus:

When Christianity came to India, the New testament was not compiled at that time. Naturally this would lead to the lack of historicity. The need of presenting Christianity at the grass root level in the later period led to the development of myths. Since the doctrine of trinity, doctrine of avatar, and the doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice have to be explained in the mythical aspect at the grass root level, mythical Christ is seen in the Indian religions in different languages in different terms.

Though the terms are different and seem to be different Gods and Goddesses, they all refer to one God. An unbiased examination of myths would unveil the hidden Christ.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/1412/origin.html

 

 

Biblical Christianity, Judaism and Shaivite Hinduism Share the Same Names for God.
http://www.viewzone.com/matlock.html   (See the Chapter on Saivism)

Similar sacred symbolism and iconography are associated with both the Hebrew Yah-Veh and the Kashmiri Shaiva: The Holy Trinity; the flame; the cherub; the guardian angel; the snake; the bull; blowing of bull's horn, etc.

Hebrew and Kashmiri Cabalistic Terminology Is About the Same. (See the Chapter on Saivism)

 

The basic creed of the saiva sidhantha correspond closely with the Nicean Creed.  (See the chapter on Saivism)

What is expressed in both the creeds are identitical and we know that this was the faith that existed until the third and fourth centuries in India when the idol worship became prevalent and the inner core of faith was lost to the general public.

 “Taproot of the Hindu religion:

  • Doctrine of Avatar - God becoming a man in order to redeem human beings. (Unborn Prime God was born in order to give us eternal pleasure)

  • Trinity or Triune doctrine - God in triune stage - Appan, Ammai, Makan (Saivism); Siva, Vishnu, Brahma (Vaishnavism)

  • Doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice - The offering of sacrifice has ceased even though there is sacrificial altar in the temple. People do not offer sacrifice while they worship God.

  • Doctrine of forgiveness of sin - There is forgiveness for the sins of human beings by the grace of God and this doctrine is totally controversial to the saying that ‘the actions of one person would definitely yield its fruits’.

  • Doctrine of bhakthi - Appreciating the bhakthi which is in ones heart irrespective of one’s appearance, color, culture etc. (Kannappa Nayanar)

The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion Dr. M. Deivanayagam, Dr. D. Devakala

These are some of the basic teachings that are still embedded in the Hindu Scriptures even after severe Brahminical tampering.