Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter in 1895 to his disciple talking about what a certain Ramabai was doing against him.
I am astonished to hear the scandals the Ramabai circles are indulging in about me. Don’t you see, Mrs. Bull, that however a man may conduct himself, there will always be persons who invent the blackest lies about him? At Chicago I had such things every day against me. And these women are invariably the very Christian of Christians!
Ramabai was born Rama Dongre in a Marathi Brahmin family. She learnt Sanskrit under her father – Anant Shastri Dongre – and then learnt the scriptures. Her parents died in the Great Famine in 1877 and she roamed the country giving lectures. In 1883, now “Pandita Ramabai” went to Britain for her medical study There she converted to Christianity.
In 1886, she went to US and Canada and there she wrote a book – The High-Caste Hindu Woman-to be specific a Brahmin woman. She also translated the Bible into Marathi.
The Church she followed was the Pentecostal denomination, specifically the Assembly of God. The “Mukti Mission” she created was instrumental in spreading the Pentecostal Christian denomination in India. In 1945, Minnie Abraham wrote an essay on how Ramabai helped spread the Assemblies of God variety of Pentecostal Church in India – How Pentecost Came to India.
And, now Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra married Nick Jonas. The Jonas brothers are devout Assembly of God adherents and ideological Pentecostals. They were homeschooled by their father who was a Pastor and religiously wore their “Purity Rings”
The trio of brothers were homeschooled in an Assemblies of God household. Joe, Kevin and Nick were a family band that eventually became the darlings of the Disney channel. They came on the scene in 2005, but hit it big two years later with their self-titled album that climbed all the way to No. 5 on the charts. They remained outspoken Christians and even publicly sported purity rings during the height of their career.
Nick has been a gospel singer, who was highly supervised, along with his brothers – at home and in the Church. Although he discarded his purity ring, his faith in his Church and its principles remained strong.
“I’ve had an incredibly intense journey with faith and religion and my growth. My belief in God is still very strong and important to me as a person, and I think that’s all that should matter. The other things around it are not as important to me as my relationship with God. There are a lot of things that I feel I agree with and things I don’t. I grew up in a church environment, and still have love for the Church, but what’s important to me now in my life is my relationship with God and that I not be judged and that I not judge.” (Source)
It is in this context that you see how when it came to the wedding, while focused on her “culture”, Nick focused on his religion.
Per People, “It is super important to Priyanka to have an Indian ceremony that honors her heritage and culture, just as it’s important to also have a Western ceremony that honors Nick’s Christian upbringing. They are doing both.” (Source)
And that is how they were married. Officiated by Nick’s father as per the traditions of Assemblies of God rituals.
People is reporting that Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra are now officially married. Apparently the Western wedding ceremony has now taken place, and was officiated by the groom’s father, Pastor Paul Kevin Jonas Sr., with Jonas and Chopra exchanging Chopard rings. (Source)
They were married at Umaid Bhawan amidst full fireworks – which Priyanka Chopra, btw, had warned against for Diwali celebrations, which in itself is very interesting!
It is important to understand what the Assemblies of God Church is – in which Nick Jonas is steeped in and his father is an ordained Minister.
What is Assemblies of God and What marrying a Pentecostal mean?
Theologically, the Assemblies of God has the doctrinal position by classical Pentecostal and evangelical denominations. Its central positions remain:
- Bible is divinely inspired and infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct
- Baptism by immersion is an ordinance from Christ to save the masses
- Fulfillment of the Great Commission. Great Commission is the instruction of Christ to spread his word to all nations of the world.
As per the Assemblies of God, India website – there are currently 8,000 churches. Dr. David Mohan, the founder and Chairman of the Indian National Prayer and Church Planting Initiative as well as on board of directors of Church Growth International and is the first pastor to receive the Bill Bright Leadership Award for International Pastors – has established a goal for his denomination of 25,000 new churches by 2020.
As an aside, it must be remembered that Congress Party had worked actively to encourage Christian conversions in India.
During debates between 1947 and 1949 in the post-independence Constituent Assembly, Christians strongly support a draft article that protects the right to profess, practice and “propagate” religion. Key Congress Party leaders support the Christian position, and in 1950 the Assembly ratifies the Constitution with protection for the right of religious propagation. Jawaharlal Nehru helps to defeat subsequent attempts, in 1955 and 1960, to limit this right by restricting conversion. (source)
Now, with how the Government is clamping down on the NGOs which are bringing in money via FCRA and using for conversions, a high profile catch like Priyanka Chopra could be a coup for the Pentecostals!
And, that is called Grooming or Missionary Dating. Missionary Dating has been defined as – “act of a person of one religious faith, commonly Christianity, dating a person with differing beliefs for the purpose of changing that person’s beliefs or religion.”
As per the position document of the Assemblies of God church, a Christian is prohibited from marrying a non-Christian. And in cases where they do marry thinking that they will convert their partners – such actions “may seem pure” but are fraught with great “risks”. Why?
At stake are the Christian’s personal testimony as well as his/her own physical and spiritual well-being. Many who have involved themselves in such dating practices have unexpectedly found themselves caught in an unhealthy relationship, one without God at the core. Some have even chosen to marry unbelievers thinking they can win their partner later in marriage. Although there have been instances where unbelieving spouses have been won to the Lord, many Christian spouses have either been restricted in their faith or tragically fallen away from Christ as a result.
So the ONLY concern is not living as per norms and rules of their Church.
Pandita Ramabai was steeped in Sanskrit learning and Vedic scriptures. Yet, once she converted over to the Assemblies of God Christian beliefs, all her knowledge and understanding could do for her was to abuse Swami Vivekananda and spread lies and scandalous nonsense about him. If a belief system can make so spiritually tone-deaf as to even throw mud at a being like Swami Vivekananda, its negativity must be especially potent.
Or as Swami Vivekananda called it “baneful influence” under which even the “best of us behave like demons”.
My master used to say that these names, as Hindu, Christian, etc., stand as great bars to all brotherly feelings between man and man. We must try to break them down first. They have lost all their good powers and now only stand as baneful influences under whose black magic even the best of us behave like demons. Well, we will have to work hard and must succeed.
It is not our place to dictate personal lives of other people, but in this case, it may very well turn out that in pursuit of growing the Church despite a non-Congress regime may actually be accomplished by this one Grooming endeavor. A popular singer, son of an ordained minister marries one of the most popular celebrities of India – who parades her “culture” but loses her religion (if she hasn’t already, she will convert eventually). To spawn inspired conversions.