Conversion - Why it is an act of violence and why what Hindus do is NOT conversion.
The greatest challenge to seeing why Conversion is an act of Colonialist violence is the heavy conditioning that already exists in the mindset of those people and groups with long term exposure to the euro-Abrahamic view of existence, especially when it is framed in the idiom-set of the colonialist English language.
The Dharmic perspective is universally acknowledged as being intrinsically wholistic and non-violent, it is a perspective which has given birth to Sanatan Dharma, and therefrom to Buddhism, to Sikhism to Jainism and myriad smaller groups and visions but all of which share the core principles of freedom of thought and religious exploration firmly grounded upon a core principle of non-violence. NONE of these groups engage in conversion and none are expansionary and none have been the cause of religious wars or divinely sanctioned oppression and ethnic cleansing.
What is Conversion?
Interestingly enough there is a legal definition of Conversion which is quite revelatory, of great interest is the principle which is clearly discernible -
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/conversion - “Any unauthorized act that deprives an owner of personal property without his or her consent.”
The wrongdoer converts the property to his or her own use and excludes the owner from use and enjoyment of them. The English Common Law early recognized such an act as wrongful and, by the middle of the fifteenth century, allowed an action in Trover to compensate the aggrieved owner. Today the word conversion is still applied to the unlawful taking or use of someone else's property.
From the Dharmic perspective this is equally applicable to the intellectual, spiritual and physical dimensions.
All of the Dharmic traditions assume that ALL humans are equally divine souls incarnated in human form and on a journey seeking reconnection with the wisdom and life essence responsible for their creation. Importantly they are paths of Seeking and all humans are viewed as Seekers. The two core tools of seeking are the human “faculty of reason” guided by the human “faculty of loving”. The soul is inherently divine merely forgetful of the fact of its own divinity and the journey is to seek and reconnect with its own glorious essence. The soul is often depicted as a swan flying towards the Sun on the two wings of” Wisdom” and “Loving devotion”. Conversion effectively cripples the bird by clipping both wings.
A diametrically opposite perspective is that of the conversionary faiths which propose that Seeking is to be replaced by Believing and that “loving devotion” is replaced by Guilt based submission.
From the perspective of Dharmic understanding, dating back over 5,000 years, to transform a Seeker into a Believer is Conversion which we reject as an act of intellectual and emotional violence. To release and heal the persons faculty of reasoning is an act of liberation and not Conversion, perhaps Reversion. To release and heal the faculty of loving devotion is again an act of Reversion not Conversion. The first release restores peace and tranquillity of mind since unfettered reasoning is a natural faculty of mind. The second release restores fearless love by removing all traces of guilt and again this is an act of reversion.
Hindus do not convert, do not require blind belief nor unjust guilt to be instilled, do not require a believer to be created, do not require a “change of religion”, and do not require blind loyalty to man-made historically mysognist institutions, merely the restoration of the inner seeker of truth, of wisdom, of knowledge and of love. No child is born Christian or a Muslim, they have to be “made” into one by other men, every child is however born with the desire and ability to learn, to reason and to love, ie with Hindu Dharmic values.
Expansionary Christianity converts and expansionary Islam converts people from their natural state of seeking and learning into a state of blindly believing whilst denying the instinctive innate quest for reason and wisdom. This deeply unstable and internally conflicted, belief driven state of being is a relatively new development in the long history of the world and humankind, and has only taken root after a millennium of the application of violence, associated with the colonial aspirations of Europeans and Arabians. Like Colonialism, Conversion too is ready to be consigned to the dustbin of Human History.