Interculturality and intermediality in the Hindu/Jewish relationship Timoschuk Alexey (Wladimir)
Swami Prabhupada is an interesting case because he comes to USA in the 1960-s from India in order to establish religious movement. Besides his traditional teaching he brings Indian concepts on topics of nationalism, race, feminism, homosexuality. Since main business of Swami Prabhupada was not to speak on politics but to organize a new religions movement, his statements on controversial issues open to us what is social memory, how do social relays work, where does mass-media fit into it. In the 1960-s, when Swami Prabhupada travelled on board the ship from India to USA, globalization effects were not so distinct. Thus, the political discourse was clearly divided. India followed the Soviet line in political thought and didn’t recognize Israel. There existed also many popular attitudes, which labeled everything British as bad, and what was anti-British, as good.
Swami Bhaktivedanta as intercultural agent India had it’s own auto-mediatic discourse on II World War etc., which was different from the dominant European and Atlantic one. As a result, when Swami Prabhupada came to the West in the 1965, he brought this auto-mediatic discourse as well. Though these controversies were certainly not the main topic of Swami Bhaktivedanta, nevertheless it affected some of his disciples and he had to publicly dismiss accusations and correct his statements. Later these statements were analyzed in the book: Ekkehard Lorenz's 'Race, Monarchy, and Gender: Bhaktivedanta Swami's Social Experiment', in Edwin F. Bryant and Maria L. Ekstrand (eds.), The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant (New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
AUTO-MEDIA 01:Hitler and Jews Prabhupada: Therefore Hitler killed these Jews. They were financing against Germany. Otherwise he had no enmity with the Jews. … Prabhupada: And they were supplying. They want interest money—“Never mind against our country.” Therefore Hitler decided, “Kill all the Jews.” >>> Ref. VedaBase => Conversation -- January 23, 1977, Bhubaneswar
AUTO-MEDIA 02: Hitler and atomic bomb Prabhupada: No. It was in possession of Hitler. And your American stolen and kept it. Hitler wanted to use it, but, good sense, he did not like. He said that "I can do it immediately, but I will not do it." So three bombs they kept ready, and when Germany was in awkward condition these Americans, they stolen, and they used it in Japan. This was manufactured by the German. >>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- June 16, 1975, Honolulu) So these English people, they were very expert in making propaganda. They killed Hitler by propaganda. I don't think Hitler was so bad man. What do you think? You are Englishman. (laughter) >>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- June 17, 1976, Toronto
AUTO-MEDIA 03: Hitler and Indian national state Indian Man: ...got the British out. Prabhupada: Hitler one side, fought with the Britishers, smashed them. This is one cause. Another cause: Hitler helped Subhas Chandra Bose to organize I.N.A. [Indian National Army]. Two causes, the Britishers to go away. Otherwise, Gandhi's noncooperation movement was started in 1917, and we got our independence in 1947. Indian Man: Thirty years. Prabhupada: Thirty years he could not do anything. And Subhas Chandra Bose in 1940 or '42, he went out of India and organized this I.N.A with the help of Hitler, and the Britishers were obliged to leave India. What do you think? That is my estimation. Indian Man: Yes, I think so too. Yes, and he is also... Prabhupada: And Hitler not only helped Subhas Chandra Bose to organize this I.N.A. organization, but by fighting with the Britishers, he smashed... The British lion was bandaged. There was a cartoon picture. I've seen in that way. The lion is lying down and bandaged, (makes some gestures) here and here and here, there, patched: British lion. (laughter) That's a fact. >>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation Excerpt -- June 8, 1976, Los Angeles
AUTO-MEDIA 04: Hitler as “not so bad man” Dr. Patel: Yes, sir, but it is said that the German scientist ran away to America because they were afraid of Hitler. If Hitler gets the secret of atom, he would bomb out the whole world. Prabhupada: No, no. Hitler knew it. Dr. Patel: No. They were not able to be successful to... Prabhupada: No, no. He knew it, everything, but he did not like to do it. He said. He said. He was gentleman. But these people are not gentlemen. He knew it perfectly well. He said that "I can smash the whole world, but I do not use that weapon." The Germans already discovered. But out of humanity they did not use it. And all the, your American, other countries, they have stolen from German ideas. >>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- November 20, 1975, Bombay Professor Einstein, he was living here in America. He was a German Jew, and I think he was living in America. He was a great student of this Bhagavad-gita. Hitler. Hitler was a great student of Bhagavad-gita. And there were many scholars still reading Bhagavad-gita, trying to understand. >>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita lecture 2.7-11 -- New York, March 2, 1966
These were the statements taken from conversations. In the public statements Swami Prabhupada supported general line of negative assessment of Hitler There were so many asuras in this world. There were Lenin, there were Stalin, there were Hitler, there were Hiranyakasipu. So many. But they could not survive. It is not possible. They’ll be finished. Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture 1.8.20 -- Mayapura, September 30, 1974 Just like Hitler, he declared himself only, “The Germans are only Aryans, and Jews are not Aryans,” like that. You can manufacture. But real Aryan means one who is advanced in spiritual consciousness. He is Aryan. Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture 1.15.25-26 -- Los Angeles, December 4, 1973
Letter from German disciple "His final letter of the day went out to Dr. Wolf-Rottkay, a friend of Svarupa Damodara's currently visiting with him in Atlanta. He is German and wrote expressing his distress at hearing devotees suggest that Hitler may not have been as bad as made out by his victor's propaganda. This apparently stems from comments Srila Prabhupada has previously made that the Germans were forced to go to war because of restrictive economic practices by the British. Dr. Wolf asked Prabhupada to please speak out against this, because after having spent sometime as a draftee into what he termed "the Demon's army" he at that time had felt ashamed of being part of the German community." >>> Ref. VedaBase => TD 2-4: Honolulu
"His final letter of the day went out to Dr. Wolf-Rottkay, a friend of Svarupa Damodara's currently visiting with him in Atlanta. He is German and wrote expressing his distress at hearing devotees suggest that Hitler may not have been as bad as made out by his victor's propaganda. This apparently stems from comments Srila Prabhupada has previously made that the Germans were forced to go to war because of restrictive economic practices by the British. Dr. Wolf asked Prabhupada to please speak out against this, because after having spent sometime as a draftee into what he termed "the Demon's army" he at that time had felt ashamed of being part of the German community." >>> Ref. VedaBase => TD 2-4: Honolulu Letter to: Dr. Wolf -- Honolulu 20 May, 1976 76-05-20 Atlanta My dear Dr. Wolf, Please accept my greetings. I beg to inform you that I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 16, 1976, and I have noted the contents with care. Why should our temples support or denounce Hitler. If somebody says something in this connection it must simply be some sentiment. We have nothing to do with politics. It is after all sentiment, you say something and I say something. In this material world, to say this is good and this is bad has no value. To us, everything material is bad as it is lacking Krsna Consciousness. Just like wet stool and dry stool. Stool is stool, but somebody is saying that wet stool is better than dry stool. What is this good and bad? The top side of some stool is dry and the bottom side is wet, but anyway that you take it, the material world is stool, and it must be given up. Therefore, we are trying to get out of the material world and go back to Home, Back to Godhead. But, of course, everyone has got some sentiment. If you want that my sentiment be decried, what is the wrong if I say that your sentiment should be decried. In this world of duality, this is good and this is bad has no meaning, it is called manodharma, mental concoction. However, the real truth is that Krsna says that: duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15], the world is a place of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. Now this is good misery or bad misery? Misery is misery; and you have to die, good die or bad die? So to us everything material, without connection to Krsna, is to be rejected as stool, otherwise we willwaste valuable time needed to solve the real problems of life, namely, birth, death, disease, and old-age. I hope that this meets you in good health. Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami ACBS/pks >>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Dr. Wolf -- Honolulu 20 May, 1976
Interpretation of auto-mediatic discourse Swami Prabhupada experienced World War II from India, and for many people there, the real enemy was England. Hitler was seen as a kind of liberator, debilitating the power of the British Empire. Therefore he said Hitler was a gentleman, once, in the context of the idea that he had atomic bombs and did not use them. He also said, that Hitler was not so bad man as the Allied propaganda and historiography say. Prabhupada was an Indian, 1930s perspective on all of this and supported Gandhi (and Bhose).
Reconstruction of the “atomic bomb auto-media” Farrell produces evidence that a German U Boat, the U 234 was loaded with gold cylinders containing some kind of refined uranium (Farrell says enriched weapons grade uranium) and special advanced fuses along with their inventor. They were bound for Japan. The US captured the U Boat at the end of the war in Europe. Farrell's theory is that the US used the enriched uranium to complete its uranium bombs and used the fuses to complete its plutonium bomb. Reich of the Black Sun by Joseph P. Farrell, Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, Illinois, 2004. P. 70-71 Mussolini wrote a Political Testament, dated April 22, 1945 . Mussolini said that Hitler had some mystery weapons, some very powerful bombs that he was about to use. Hitler und die Bombe, by Edgar Meyer and Thomas Mehner, Rottenburg, Kopp Verlag, Rottenburg, 2002, p. 87. Das Geheimnis der deutschen Atombombe, 2001, same publisher, p. 146.
To sum up: in the late 1940s and early 1950s there were publications that expressed the idea that the atomic weapons the US used on Japan actually came from Germany. By the way, Hitler had less in common with India, as Indian nationalist thought. From Mein Kampf and from the minutes of his meeting with Congress leftist Subhash Bose, it is clear that Hitler had a steep contempt for Hindus, much in contrast with his high esteem for Islam. The support of Hitler by S. C. Bose, the pro-German position of the radical, non-Gandhian nationalist circles during the war, and the lasting popularity of Hitler in India after the war, all seem to me to speak in favour of the assumption that there existed in India autonomous media discourse on II World War, persecutions in Germany and other issues. This auto-mediatic discourse is still viewed in the attempts to defend the caste system and even a laudatory account of Hitler are being pointed to as examples of an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the dominant partner of the ruling coalition, to influence attitudes by stealth, or to use as a advertisement for the café.
A restaurant named Hitler's Cafe that enraged Jewish community has been re-christened The Cross Café. There are about 5,500 Jews in India of which about 4,500 live in Mumbai. They met with the owner Puneet Sablok and demanded the name be changed. When the controversy first broke, Sablok said the name and the big picture of Adolf Hitler outside the restaurant were only meant to attract attention. Some Indians regard Hitler as just another historical figure and have little knowledge about the Holocaust, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically killed during World War II.
CONCLUSION • there is auto-media together with mass-media that are responsible for the formation of social reality; • different symbolic structures in mass-media may have another interpretation in auto-media; • mass-media display a intermediary, regulative function when one changes autonomous auto-mediatic discourse to a dominant one