The Arati in the Liturgy Indian or Hindu?

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APRIL 2015

The Arati in the Liturgy – Indian or Hindu?

My inclusions and comments are, as always, in green colour font.
The Bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) had, with the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) according to several Catholic sources, “fraudulently” obtained permission from Rome for the "TWELVE POINTS OF ADAPTATION" of the “Indian Rite” Mass (see pages 13, 15ff.) including the use of the Hindu religious ritual, the arati in April 1969. We shall examine that all-important issue later.
Point no. 12 of the "TWELVE POINTS OF ADAPTATION" reads:

In the Offertory rite, and at the conclusion of the Anaphora the Indian form of worship may be integrated, that is, double or triple "arati of flowers, and/or incense and/or light. (Emphasis CBCI’s)

So what is the arati?

Aarti also spelled aratiarathiaarthi (from the Sanskrit word aratrika with the same meaning) is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Source: (Plenty of evidence that the arati is Hindu follows)
The inclusion of the arati in the Indian Rite Mass is described in the TWELVE POINTS as "the Indian form of worship" whereas it is exclusive to Hindu temples and rituals, and is not used in the rituals of other Indian religions such as Buddhism. It is a daily feature in the syncretized liturgies of the Catholic ashrams movement.

It is as much an actual act of veneration of the deity as it is a superstitious propitiation or appeasement of the object to which arati is offered or a ritual to ward off the “evil eye”, like much else in the Hindu religion.

It is not “inculturation” or “Indianisation” as some of our Bishops have had us -- and Rome -- believe because the use of arati is not indulged in by Indian Protestants, Indian Muslims, Parsis or Sikhs. Its performance is conducted only by those who worship idols and “graven images” as in the sanatana dharma of Hinduism.

Amritsari Sikhs in particular and Sikhs in general are forbidden to perform the arati. See pages 61-63.

It was originally not used by Jains, but as Jainism became increasingly indistinguishable from Hinduism with the adoption of Hindu rituals, it is now practiced by Jains who also worship the pantheon of Hindu deities.
Is that the future of Catholicism in India too in the name of “inculturation”?

That is a moot question because the clergy already appear to be obsessed with Ganesha, a Hindu deity. See





The laity of the Catholic Church in India, and even Her religious and priests, as in the case of the 2008 St. Pauls New Community Bible with its heretical and syncretized commentaries and line-drawings (later pulled for revision after an incensed faithful including this ministry protested), WAS NOT CONSULTED AT ALL on the formulation of these “Twelve Points”! It was the handiwork of a coterie of Bishops who very hurriedly pushed through a move (page 13) in which several Bishops did not participate or dissented, Fr. D.S. Amalorpavadass of the CBCI’s NBCLC in Bangalore and his Rome-based brother Cardinal (then Archbishop) D. Lourduswamy!!

When it was first introduced in the Anaphora, the Arati adopted from Hinduism was the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent of the Catholic Church in India. It did not take long for the entire camel to ease its way in.

Today it’s not just the NBCLC and the Ashrams; Hinduisation of the Mass is rampant in the entire Church.

A brief history of the background:

The Future of Christian Mission in India EXTRACT Pages 202, 203 (Emphasis mine)

By Fr. Augustine Kanjamala SVD, former Executive Secretary of the CBCI’s Commission for Proclamation and Communication

Liturgical inculturation

With the promulgation of the Conciliar Document “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy”, liturgical adaptation was considered urgent because it seriously touches the identity of the Church both in terms of her mystery as well as in terms of the world in which it lives and works. (Sacramentum Concilium #7) The first General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in Delhi, in October 1966, provided broad guidelines for inculturation.

“All liturgical adaptations must be based on the norms of the Constitution of Sacred Liturgy (SC #37-40)”.

The same meeting appointed late Fr. D. S. Amalorpavadass (1932-1990) as the founder-director of National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre, Bangalore, of which he took charge in February 1967. In the following decade he, together with many dynamic collaborators, played a very crucial role in liturgical inculturation in India.

The second All India Liturgical Meeting, Bangalore, on January 27-31, 1969, prepared a long-term plan for liturgical inculturation consisting of four phases.

1. Creating an Indian atmosphere through music, postures, decorations, objects, and other elements of worship

2. Translation of liturgical rites into vernaculars and original composition of new texts

3. Use of scriptures of other religions

4. Compose a new Indian anaphora

The first step towards inculturation was the introduction of twelve external elements for creating an Indian atmosphere of worship. With the recommendation of the Indian Bishops, fifty one Bishops out of seventy one in March 1969, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship gave the approval on April 25, 1969, with the provision that it was left to the discretion of the Regional Council of Bishops and the local ordinaries to implement them. (30% of the Bishops did not approve it.)

The twelve items are squatting posture instead of standing; anjali hasta and panchanga pranam as forms of reverence; arati as form of welcome to the main celebrant; use of a shawl instead of the traditional liturgical vestments; tray to keep the offering; oil lamps instead of candles; a simple incense bowl; touching objects to one’s forehead instead of kissing them; anjali hasta to share peace; spontaneous prayer of the faithful and maha arati at the doxology.
An Order for Mass in India: An Indian Anaphora

Spurred by the post-Vatican enthusiasm for inculturation in the context of the three ritual churches in India, creation of “a basically common liturgy of the Church in India” using Indian cultural and religious traditions and elements was recommended. In 1968, the Congregation for Sacred Liturgy published three new Anaphoras in addition to the existing Roman Canon. “The second All India Liturgical Meeting in January 1969 constituted a committee to compose a new Indian Anaphora, a basically common liturgy of the Church in India.” “The All India Seminar” (1969), in the light of liturgical renewal recommenced by SC exhorted to live an Indian way of life, spirituality and liturgy.

The preparation for an Indian Anaphora was initiated in 1968. Passing through different stages of modifications, it was finally approved by the CBCI meeting in Madras in April 1972 receiving sixty votes out of eighty bishops present. (Again, 25% of the Bishops did not vote in favour of the Indian Rite Mass.)

The Indian Anaphora is characterized by copious use of Indian objects and symbols in addition to the use of vernacular language as well as Sanskrit.

The third All India Liturgical Meeting in Bangalore on 28th November to 4th December 1971, taking note of difficulties and differences of three different rites, discussed how to respect and preserve their identity…
30 years after its Indian approval in 1972 and 10 years from the submission of the proposed Indian Anaphora to the Vatican, we see that it has NOT been approved but the Indian Bishops still demand that Rome clear it.

Bishops regret Vatican disallowing inculturation in liturgical texts

Also see

November 1, 2002

Catholic bishops in India’s Hindi speaking region say the reluctance of some Vatican officials to incorporate local cultural ethos in liturgical texts could hamper inculturation.

Liturgical books in Hindi "cannot and should not mean dry literal translations of Latin versions," Archbishop Benedict John Osta of Patna said at a recent meeting that involved 29 bishops from India´s northern region.

During their Oct. 20-21 meeting, the bishops discussed obstacles they face in having the Vatican approve Hindi translations of liturgical texts, including the Roman Missal, which contains Mass texts, and the Indian Anaphora (Eucharistic Prayer).

The Indian Anaphora was submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 1992. The Hindi translation of the Roman Missal was sent in 2000. The next year, however, the congregation issued "Liturgiam Authenticam" ("The Authentic Liturgy"), an instruction on liturgical translations. The document insists on almost-literal translations and close adherence to the style and structure of the original Latin.

Jesuit Archbishop Osta told fellow bishops that liturgy in Hindi was meant to generate greater participation of the faithful, but that would be impossible unless the translation "is in tune with the broader cultural canvas and creativity of the faithful." Several other bishops at the triennial gathering in Patna, the capital of Bihar state, some 1,015 kilometers east of Delhi, agreed that the reluctance of Vatican officials to reflect local culture in the liturgy would impede the inculturation process.

Belgian Jesuit Father Jos De Cuyper, 82, who convened a committee set up for the translations, told the meeting his group completed most of the work, including a translation of the Roman Missal "as per the directive of the Second Vatican Council," which encourages local cultural creativity in the liturgy. "But we abandoned publishing," he said, because the congregation "directed" translators to "skip local cultural creativity and meticulously revise the texts in accordance with their authentic Latin versions."

Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi said the Vatican had also specified that the directive for inclusion of local cultural aspects in liturgy was not official. "This could greatly hamper the pace of inculturation that not only the Second Vatican Council emphasized, but all the popes have been repeatedly stressing," Archbishop Concessao said.

Archbishop Osta, a Sanskrit and Hindi scholar who pioneered the translation, said he had personally discussed the issue with leaders of the congregation, "but they did not respond very positively." Instead, he said, they "parried" by "saying they would deliberate over it in their plenary and then only would they be able to say something concrete."

The congregation, he added, insisted that the literal rendering of the Latin texts "is an attempt at safeguarding the ‘unity of the Roman Rite’." But "we simply cannot accept such logic, and we must make concerted and collective efforts to remove such restrictions," Archbishop Osta asserted.

Jesuit Bishop John Baptist Thakur of Muzaffarpur used the words "beyond comprehension" to describe the Vatican position. "Actually, it is not a question of translation," he observed. "It is a question of the mentality of the people in Rome" who want to control "from above" even the expression of devotion of culturally different people.

"We should not accept such dictates that could potentially hamper our mission of inculturation, which is indispensable for the Indian Church," Bishop Thakur continued. If cultural aspects are not given expression in faith life, he said, Christianity "would remain an alien faith, a foreign culture." That, he concluded, would only help Hindu groups to propagate their theory that Christians are foreigners and should be opposed.

Retired Jesuit Bishop J. Rodericks of Jamshedpur said the new statutes of the national conference of Latin-rite bishops authorize local bishops "to okay changes in the liturgy and then seek confirmation from Rome."

"Are Roman congregations authorized to restrict in a very substantial manner a decision taken by the Vatican council that allowed local cultural ethos to be incorporated in the liturgy?" Bishop Rodericks asked.

He said the region’s bishops could take up the matter with Pope John Paul II when they go for their next ad limina or five-yearly visit to Rome later this year. Accurate literal translation of the Latin versions of the liturgy is "not possible theologically and culturally," the retired bishop added.

Archbishop Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi said the Vatican congregation lately has "mellowed down a bit and is willing listen to our problems." The archbishop, who is president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (Latin Rite), said the conference’s next biennial meeting in January 2003 will discuss the matter to prepare a paper for presentation to the pope.

"We must tell everyone firmly that the march of inculturation that followed Vatican Council II cannot be reversed," Archbishop Toppo said. "Any attempt to do so would only hurt the sentiments of our people. I am sure the Roman Curia would appreciate our views and needs." He also said the need of the region compels the Church to prepare a liturgy comprehensible to "even children and illiterates."

It was "impossible" to return liturgy to the "cultural background of the 7th-8th centuries in Rome when liturgical texts were composed in the language of Pope Leo the Great," he asserted. "We live in the present, and the local people yearn to live their faith within the indigenous cultural ambience."
I emphasize this: the so called 'Indian Rite Mass' and the 'Indian Anaphora' have never been approved.

Yet, numerous rituals that are intrinsically Hindu have wormed their way into the Liturgy of the Holy Mass that is offered in our churches Sunday after Sunday. Bishops, Cardinals, Apostolic Nuncios and even Vatican officials concelebrate at such “Indian Rite” Masses without so much as batting an eyelid.

That the CBCI’s NBCLC and the Catholic Ashrams circuit are having a field day innovating and extrapolating the “Twelve Points” is no secret, and certainly no surprise. In my October 2005 report CATHOLIC ASHRAMS, I had stated that the swami-theologians of the Catholic Ashrams movement are advocating an autonomous Indian Church. And there are Bishops who stand by them.

Formation in our seminaries is heavily compromised because these theologians exercise control over the philosophates and theologates (and most Bishops too) and there is little if any place for the few conservatives and orthodox among them. I know this because of my personal contacts with seminarians and theologians. Apart from that, I will provide enough documentation in this report to reinforce my claims.
There is this interesting 1969 exchange of letters between one Dr. Eric M. de Saventhem and Monsignor (later Cardinal) Simon Pimenta (then Episcopal Vicar of Bombay) that I came across:

Mgr. Simon Pimenta writes:

Sir, I was quite amused by the letter of Dr. Eric M. de Saventhem in your issue of 12 July, entitled "Sanskrit and Latin".

He makes two points out of his reading of the report that appeared in your issue of 21 June, page 629, which states that Mgr. (sic—he is not yet one!) Bugnini, secretary of the "Consilium", had "welcomed another proposal by the Indian bishops, namely the composition of a new Indian anaphora, probably in Sanskrit".

Dr. de Saventhem's first point is that an anaphora in Sanskrit would lend powerful support to those who, for the Western Church, uphold the pastoral and apostolic value of liturgical Latin. I do not blame the doctor. I blame your reporting. I do not know from where your reporter gathered the information that the new Indian anaphora might probably be in Sanskrit. At no time have the Indian bishops asked for an Indian anaphora in Sanskrit. And they have not done so for the very pastoral and practical reason that practically no one speaks Sanskrit and it is unintelligible to almost all. The people would certainly not want an anaphora in Sanskrit. What the bishops have asked for is simply to have a "new Indian anaphora "; and Fr. Bugnini's words in his letter of approval are: "The proposal to compose a new Indian anaphora in collaboration with experts in different fields is most welcome." The whole argument of Dr. de Saventhem, therefore, has no ground to stand on.

Dr. de Saventhem also feels that a new anaphora would compromise the necessary degree of uniformity in other parts of the Mass as well. I think by now we should be agreed that what has to be preserved is unity, not uniformity. And a new anaphora, as the introduction of a new vernacular in the Mass, new gestures and postures in keeping with the cultures of different peoples, provided this is done with the approval of competent authority, will not and should not compromise our unity. Have not the Oriental Catholic Churches had several Anaphoras for the last so many years? The Oriental Catholic rites in India have more than one anaphora. I believe that if we in India do ultimately have a new Indian anaphora, we shall not be the first to do so. Perhaps we have already lost any claim to be the first.

Dr. de Saventhem writes:

Obviously, with Mgr. Pimenta's authoritative denial of any intention on the part of the Indian bishops to have a new anaphora in Sanskrit, all argument related to this part of your news item has become meaningless. What a pity, though - it would have been marvelously appropriate for the bishops of a people steeped in a culture so much older than ours to have risen, in their own contribution to liturgical reform, above the shallow motive of "intelligibility".

As to the second part of Mgr. Pimenta's letter, it surely reinforces what I have said. Liturgical fragmentation is round the corner, if not already an established fact. Nor should we be lulled into a false sense of security by the bland assurance that such pluriformity will not compromise our unity. Mgr. Pimenta would probably agree that one cannot have "pluriformity" in the tenets of the Creed (nor, since tenets do not exist in the abstract, in the formulae used for expressing them) without compromising the unity of the Catholic faith. How then can we face with equanimity a fast-growing crop of formulae used for expressing (nay: for enacting) the central mystery of that faith, on which the Creed itself is silent so that there is no safeguard for the one-ness of our belief except in the essential one-ness of our Anaphoras? The multiplicity of Canons in the oriental Churches is a different matter altogether: they are a legacy from the "age of faith" which it was decided to respect rather than suppress when these Churches re-joined Rome—just as the Indian bishops recently decided to respect (and, indeed, promote) rather than suppress the as yet un-reformed Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites still in use among a third of their people.

Ours is decidedly not an age "of faith" but of the crisis of the faith, and the feverish wave of liturgical productivity is one of its major symptoms. "Approval by the competent authority" is but a negative guarantee and not a very reliable one at that, since authority will be driven to condone what, in its present enfeeblement, it cannot effectively forbid. No, sir—or rather, monsignor: if we are really agreed that what has to be preserved is unity, we shall have to return to that degree of uniformity which is its natural expression, and its guarantee.

Re-discovering it in the Mass of St. Pius V, the next generation will be our judges. Merciful ones, let us hope.

From: Name Withheld To: prabhu Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 8:38 PM Subject: Info. As per your request

I'm forwarding the 'Times of India' item "Church walks it to Mandir" sent by Martin Rebeiro & also an extract of my reply to him. It is self-explanatory & may be of some help to you.

The day I received your email I was watching NDTV (26th, 10.30 pm) and the 'Mumbai Live' programme came on - an Interview - Srinivasan Jain interviewing Rev. Fr. Anthony Charanghat, Rev. Fr. Dominic (?) and Swami Agnivesh

It was about the deliberations taking place at the Papal Seminary, Pune and the Catholic Church wanting to introduce rituals in the Mass - Inculturation! The Catholic Priests were most favourable to the proposal but Swami Agnivesh stunned me! All the more because he was dressed from head to toe in saffron and looked so cold and indifferent! This is what he said (paraphrased) What the Catholic Church wants to do is meaningless as the rituals they want to introduce (the arati, etc) are a degenerate form of Hinduism. And then added "True Religion aims at inner and social transformation". Bravo!! And this coming from a staunch Hindu! Well said, I thought, as this is exactly what Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees of his day - for whom religion consisted of observing laws & rituals!! 

Swami Agnivesh, a leading Hindu spokesperson, rejects the arati that the Indian priests and Bishops have introduced in the Eucharistic liturgy of the Church.

On the following pages, there are images of the performance of arati by individuals on Hindu deities as well as on individuals themselves.

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