Who's Afraid Of Dan Brown?

By Sunaina Kumar for TNN, Bombay Times, page 5, Tuesday, March 29, 2005.
The Times of India does not permit any opportunity to insult Christians and Christianity, to glorify Indian paganism and to celebrate Indian paganism-triumphalism, to pass unexploited.—Lúcio Mascarenhas.
Text follows the Bombay Times version, with some minor edits by me —Lúcio.

Who's afraid of Dan Brown?

...Not India at least. Because, unlike the West, India has always venerated the sacred feminine.
Delhi Times on why the bestselling author, now facing the ire of the Vatican, would have had no 'mythology' problems in apna desh...

Even as the Vatican launches a crusade to ban Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, fans of the book are outraged. The book deals extensively with Mary Magdalene, her 'marriage' to Christ and a child with him. It also promotes the Holy Grail as a quest for the lost sacred feminine and undermines the patriarchal roots of Christianity. Delhi Times on why India can understand Da Vinci's code—and Dan Brown—so easily...


The Vatican has called on Catholics around the world not to buy or read The Da Vinci Code and has appealed to bookshops to stop selling it, denouncing it as a "rotten food" and "a sack of lies". Here's why the Church is angry...

Extract: 'The Holy Grail is not a thing. It is a person. A woman in fact... The Grail represents the sacred feminine and the goddess, which has not been virtually eliminated by the Church. It was man, not God who created the concept of original sin, whereby Eve tasted of the apple and caused the downfall of the human race. Woman, once the sacred giver of life, was now the enemy... The Holy Grail was not just any person... (It was) A woman who carried with her a secret so powerful to devastate the very foundation of Christianity.'


Unlike the West, the East, specially India, has always venerated the feminine. Theatre person Shaoli Mitra, who has won applause for her stage rendition of Draupadi's version of the Mahabharat (Naathbati Anathbat), elaborates: "The feminine has always been a part of the pantheon of Indian goddesses. She is a symbol of fertility. She is Devi and Shakti. She is also the consort of the gods. But in Western religions, the mother-goddess cult is a pagan cult and is not a part of thematic religion. Feminine rituals that the secret society, the Priory of Sion in The Da Vinci Code, indulge in have parallels in our culture."

According to Sandhya Mulchandani, writer: "If Dan Brown were to write his work in the Indian context, there would be no problems. Indians portray our female characters with insight and are comfortable with the female aspect of our divinity. As a society, we're a lot more enlightened and liberal."


According to sociologist Anand Kumar, "The Church has always been nervous about female sexuality. Mary Magdalene is a 'fallen woman' and Virgin Mary could conceive only through Immaculate Conception." According to Ashok Banker, writer, "Views that Brown has tried to propagate have been around for a long time, it's just that he's made them accessible. He's touched a nerve that needed to be touched and the popularity of the book shows a latent desire in people to hear this kind of story."
By Sunaina Kumar, Bombay Times, Pg. 5, Tuesday, March 29, 2005.
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