Malaysia Hindus Protest Christian “Sadhu”1
On November 8th and 9th, about 1,000 Hindus gathered at the Methodist Church in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur to protest and confront the Pentecostal Christian, “Sadhu Chellapah,” who was making his third visit to Malaysia. An active propagator of the Christian faith in Malaysian estate and rural areas, he wears the orange robes (kavi) of Hindu monk and styles himself as a Sadhu (Hindu term for a wandering monk). The “Sadhu” declined a challenge to public debate with members of the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and the Sri Maha Mariyamman Temple over his statements on Hindus scriptures.
In his speeches, video cassettes and cassette tapes, “Sadhu” condemns, ridicules and misinterprets the Vedas, Upanishads and the Tirumurais to suit and explain his Christian faith. For instance, he interprets the mantra “Panchakaya Namaha” as “Lord with five wounds” meaning the crucified Jesus and the Rig Vedic phrase “Ekam Tat Sat” as “the One Lord who descends to earth only once,” again implying Jesus.
At a meeting showing a video-tape by him containing his unreasonable interpretations and interpolations of the Hindu scriptures angry Hindus bombarded him with questions and demanded a public apology. Shaken by the raving crowd, some of whom promised him a coffin for his next visit, the “Sadhu” went up on stage and tendered his public apology.
However, three days later prior to his departure back to India, he summoned a press conference and said he made his apology under duress, hoping to avoid unwanted incidents.
Dr. Thomas Thangaraj, a Protestant from India who was in Kuala Lumpur as a delegate for the Second International Saiva Siddhanta Seminar was asked for his views about Sadhu Chellapah. He said “You can’t interpret Hindu scriptures in such a way to suit Christianity, which is wrong and unfortunate. People are so gullible that they would swallow anything you say, it’s part of psychology.”
The Chairman of the Maha Mariyamman Temple, Mr. V.L. Kodivel said he will complain to the Prime Minister and the Home Affairs Minister.
Hinduism Today, Indian Ocean Edition, February-March, 1987. ↩