A Response to Sameer Thakkar’s ‘Max-Muller Syndrome: Distorting Hinduism’

by Robert E Wilkinson
2 July 2011

Debate and discussion of spiritual and esoteric philosophy is a time honored and established tradition in India and throughout the world. Its goal is to question, dispute, and continually challenge established dogma in order to arrive at a greater, more current, and integral truth. As someone who regularly participates in these debates and discussions I am used to the rough and tumble dialogue that arises from people with strongly held opinions and beliefs, but Sameer Thakkar's article goes beyond the bounds of intelligent discourse into fear mongering, misrepresentation, and lies. Instead of responding to issues of knowledge made in my original article, Sathya Sai Baba: the Counterfeit Avatar, Thakkar has introduced passages from my older articles, quoted completely out of context, in order to make Thea (Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet) and not me, the true focus of his attack. Why he would wish to do this becomes evident as we examine his claims.  

Beginning with the title of his article, ‘The Max-Muller Syndrome: Distorting Hinduism’ Thakkar seeks to invoke the spectre of a colonial Christian missionary agent bent on the abuse and distortion of the Hindu religion. But curiously he makes no mention of Max Muller in his article. He immediately shifts his attention to a woman, Wendy Doniger, the controversial writer and Indologist who, according to Thakkar, is out to distort and demean the Hindu scriptures. He compares Ms. Doniger’s scholarly work to that of Christian missionaries and pseudo-mystics who wish to ‘exploit the tolerance of Hindus, deceive, manipulate, instill inferiority complexes, psychological slavery, hate, and the abuse of Hindu literature’. His attempts to cultivate an attitude of fear and distrust of foreigners was at first confusing but in the pages that followed It becomes clear that his intention is to associate in his reader’s mind Doniger’s unspeakable treason to Hinduism with another foreign woman, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet who he also wishes to demonize. While this may serve to inflame his readers, it is a specious comparison made by someone with no appreciation of the profound differences in consciousness that distinguish a scholar from a sage, let alone the quality of their work. But in either case Thakker, is plainly threatened by ideas and interpretations that run counter to his own rigid dogma and has an abhorrent distrust of foreigners and women in particular especially those in positions of authority. 

Contrary to Thakkar’s backward beliefs, Hinduism is not a rigid monolithic system. It is a multi-faceted, constantly evolving, many staged quest of the human spirit seeking new and more complete aspects of the Divine consciousness. ‘It rejects nothing’, said Sri Aurobindo, ‘but insists on testing and experiencing everything and when tested and experienced turning it to the soul’s uses.’ This process is the very heart of Yoga and an indispensable necessity of the evolution. Indeed the whole edifice of Hinduism was built on the sacrifice, testing, realization, and experience of impeccable souls like Shankara, Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Ram Chandra and more recently Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea. Each of these great realizers have produced numerous volumes of written works describing their discoveries and new application of their knowledge. What, we might ask, has Sameer Thakkar produced?

It is clear however, especially with regard to Vedic knowledge, that there is more to be done. The evolution continues and there are many more discoveries to be made, as Sri Aurobindo explains:
 ‘…because we do not understand the Vedas three-fourths of the Upanishads are a sealed book to us. Even of the little we think we can understand, much has been insecurely grasped and superficially comprehended.... For want of this key profound scholars have fumbled and for want of this guidance great thinkers gone astray.’  Sri Aurobindo, India’s Rebirth
For those of us who have bothered to study Thea’s works on the Veda and applied her incomparable knowledge to our own lived experience, it becomes self-evident that her cosmological discoveries will be the crown jewel of future spiritual realizations. She has unveiled that ‘Key’ to the mysteries of the Veda and opened the door to its greatest treasures. [Link to written works of Thea] Because of this she speaks with the same confident authority and power as Swami Vivekananda did when he was challenged by a Madras pundit objecting to something he said that went beyond the teachings of Shankara. Vivekananda shot back, saying to the pundit, ‘Shankara does not say so, but I, Vivekananda say so’. Sri Aurobindo later pointed out that, ‘…what to the ordinary eye may seem as the Himalaya of egotism is not what it seems. It is the truth of Vivekananda’s spiritual experience, and the attitude of the fighter who as the representative of something great cannot allow himself to be put down or belittled.’

Religious fundamentalists like Sameer Thakkar who live in fear and suspicion, nursing old hatreds and prejudice find this kind of authority both threatening and infuriating. They believe that by attacking a Sage with accusations and ridicule they can undermine their authority and somehow elevate themselves. Producing nothing of their own, they find a kind of perverse power in the suppression, distortion and destruction of the achievements of others. Over the years I have come to think of these kinds of people as living reflections of our own darkness and negativity to be given no quarter and no basis for existence. Like the legendary vampires they hide in the shadows where they can wreak their havoc unobserved, but drag them out into the light of day and they will sputter and spit and burst into flames. 

Moving on to Thakkar’s charges that my articles constitute a battery of assault on Lord Buddha, Sathya Sai Baba, Ken Wilber, Deepak Chopra, and David Frawley, it is evident from his comments that he has not bothered to read any of them. What we see instead throughout Thakkar’s article are unfounded accusations and innuendos that seek to discredit anything I might write and excusing anyone from actually reading it. But for those who insist on facts and want to make up their own minds about Thakkar’s veracity, here are the links to the articles on Deepak Chopra, Sathya Sai Baba, and David Frawley. Read them and draw your own conclusions. I will be happy to respond to any serious questions about their knowledge content. Contrary to Thakkar’s accusation I have written nothing that can be construed as an attack on the Buddha and my conversations with Ken Wilber took place on the pages of his own magazine, ‘Quest’. It was hardly an assault but rather a discussion of Wilber’s misunderstanding of Sri Aurobindo and his epochal work.

Perhaps one of the most glaring examples of Thakkar’s limited knowledge is his treatment of a passage from one of my postings about the objective cosmic credentials of the Avatars. His complete lack of understanding of what was written about Time and Number is a perfect example of how certain higher truths can appear unintelligible to the uninitiated. Most scholars familiar with the writings of Plato and Pythagoras are aware of their profound discoveries in Number theory. ‘Numbers’, said Plato, ‘are the highest degree of knowledge’. Pythagoras went a step further saying that ‘Numbers constitute the true nature of things and set a limit to the limitless’. Thakkar, on the other hand, ridicules this knowledge as ‘exotic magic formulas of numbers, contrived theories and fancy terminologies ripped off from Sri Aurobindo’s work, designed to make his [rw’s] theories look intelligent’, and he makes this appalling statement with unabashed authority. He appears to have no understanding whatever of the deeper function of number and their relation to the very structure of creation. Like Pythagoras and Plato before them, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother both acknowledged the symbol powers of Number and their relation to Sacred Geometry and Vedic Architecture. The basis of their Supramental Formula; the numbers 3-6-9, were also discussed by the scientific genius Nicola Tesla who once wrote, ‘If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.’

When you weigh the wisdom of Plato, Pythagoras, Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Nicola Tesla against Thakkar’s statement that the numbers 9-6-3 are ‘nothing but an absurd formulae to predict the nature of the inconceivable Brahman’, you may begin to understand the depths of his ignorance. He has been through no initiation, engaged in no practice of yoga and yet he considers himself a credible authority equal to the greatest souls in human history.

Throughout the pages of his article Sameer Thakkar has viciously attacked and slandered Ms. Norelli-Bachelet and her work. I will not address his comments as she is quite capable of responding to this and has done so herself. Her reply may be found on:   http://circumsolatious.blogspot.com.

Finally I would like to comment on Mr. Thakkar’s unsupported and erroneous claims about Sai Baba’s age and his reputed prediction of his own death. Any astrologer worthy of the name can look at Sai Baba’s true horoscope based on the date of birth in his original school records (October 4th, 1929) and see the correspondences to his actual life. In astrology this process is known as ‘rectification’. In his true horoscope Baba had the planet Saturn at 24 degrees Sagittarius, a placement that indicates a problem with the bones of the hip and thigh, the part of the body ruled by Sagittarius. It is well known that Baba had a serious hip injury on August 9, 1988 when he slipped on the soap in his bathroom. On that day, the transiting planets Saturn and Uranus were both conjunct Baba’s natal Saturn, an event that only happens once every 28 and 84 years respectively. [Link to chart 1] On June 4th, 2003 Baba fell in his bathroom once again this time breaking his hip in three places and requiring a surgical hip replacement. Once again, transiting Saturn and the progressed position of Uranus were in a malefic aspect to his Natal Saturn indicating further problems with the bones and hip. [Link to chart 2] When you can see these kinds of events (not one but both) within the context of measurable astrological transits, there can be no question that October 4th, 1929 was Baba’s actual birthday. You see none of these indications in a chart dated November 23, 1926. In addition you can also see the deaths of Baba’s siblings in the October chart as well as his own death in 2011 when Pluto, the planet of Death progressed into an exact conjunction with his natal Sun. [Link to chart 3] Thakkar will no doubt dismiss this as simply another contrived theory but it clearly and scientifically establishes Sai Baba’s age at 81 instead of 85 and refutes the mind-boggling claim in a Chakra News article that his 85 solar years map out at 96 lunar years fulfilling Baba’s prediction of his own death. 

I could go on and on pointing out the errors and inconsistencies in Mr. Thakkar’s article but I believe that I have given his readers more than enough information to expose his hidden agenda and counter his lies and misrepresentations. His article does not rise to the level of even mediocre scholarship. It is rather a fundamentalist tantrum, a disrespectful rant, full of denial, ignorant opinions, faulty logic, and unexamined prejudices. He offers no knowledge, no facts, no clarity yet he expects his readers to accept him as a credible scholar. This evidently is what now passes for the new level of philosophical spiritual discourse. When opinion is taken for wisdom and sensationalism poses as scholarship, when religious pathology becomes the accepted norm, and psychological projection is welcomed as objectivity, when slander and ridicule become the new standard of journalistic integrity, you may know without the slightest doubt that a great reckoning is at hand.


For those who may be unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding Sai Baba’s age I am including the relevant passages from my article, ‘Sathya Sai Baba: the Counterfeit Avatar’. A copy of his original school records may be found at:

‘…After predicting that he would live for 96 years as his present avatar, Sai Baba died in April, 2011 at 81 years of age. This was the last of a mind boggling web of lies spun by Sai Baba to convince his followers that he was the living embodiment of Vishnu and the Avatar of the Age...'

'Sai Baba never missed an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. He took great delight at playing an Avatar, appropriating their sacred symbols such as Kalki’s White Horse and Shesha, the Aeonic serpent which he had made into a bed. But his most outrageous stunt by far was deceitfully insinuating himself into one of the most important events in Indian spiritual history. On 24 November, 1926, after a lifetime of yoga, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother sent word to their sadhaks asking them to assemble in the upper verandah of the Library House in their Ashram in Pondicherry to hear about something of supreme importance that had happened in the history of the Earth and Universe. On what was later to become known as ‘Victory Day’ or the day of Siddhi, Sri Aurobindo announced that Krishna, the Overmental Godhead had descended into the physical, meaning Sri Aurobindo himself. As the Mother explained, ‘…Krishna consented to descend into Sri Aurobindo’s body – to be FIXED there. Then I saw him – I saw him with my own eyes (inner eyes, of course), join himself to Sri Aurobindo’.

'With the integration of the Overmental consciousness begun by the 8th Avatar Krishna, Sri Aurobindo could now retire to his rooms and begin the establishment of the Supramental Consciousness-Force. This event marked the true beginning of his mission, the platform from where he could carry the evolution to greater heights. Sri Aurobindo’s Siddhi Day coincides with the close of the Age of Pisces and the beginning of the Aquarian Age that year. It was a victory for the whole world, because without it transpiring right on time, the Avatar could not have begun his transformative mission to bring down the Supermind. Upon learning of this momentous event many years later, Sai Baba changed the date of his birth from 4 October, 1929 to 23 November, 1926 and claimed that Sri Aurobindo was obviously referring to Baba who was supposedly born on the previous day (Nov. 23), and that he (Sri Aurobindo) had taken voluntary retirement after handing the reins over to the new God incarnate. While his followers continue to insist that November, 23, 1926 was Baba’s true birthday, a horoscope cast for 4 October, 1929, the birth date on Baba’s original school records, removes all doubt by indicating his passing in 2011 when Pluto, the planet of death, moved by progression into a conjunction with his natal Sun.’ [Link to chart]


  1. Sameer Thakkar's response to Robert (along with a heap of other criticisms of Robert and name calling and bickering and such) can be found at the comments under his article, "The Max - Muller Syndrome: Distorting Hinduism, Part I" on The Chakra news site, posted at July 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm.

    See: http://www.chakranews.com/the-max-muller-syndrome-distorting-hinduism-part-1/1348/comment-page-3#comments


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