Some time or the other, many have faced the denigration of Hinduism by people of other faiths. Similarly, we all know of someone who was vigorously converted by a congregant of a church. You are bombarded with dreams of enlightenment if you choose, for instance, Jesus Christ and the promise that life will somewhat miraculously be solved with the simple gesture of conversion to Christianity. The idea that life is so simple that changing your religion will suddenly fix your money or family problems is nothing short of ludicrous. Among the many flaws that converts face, the most glaringly obvious is the lack of compassion and humanity. For in God we learn the acceptance of everyone regardless of their denomination or beliefs. As the Bhagavad-Gita (6.32) states: “When he sees all beings as equal in suffering or in joy because they are like himself, that man has grown perfect in yoga.” The message from the Gita is therefore: “All humans are ultimately divine souls”. It is up to each individual to work towards realising it. I am a witness to the cruelty of conversion by a Christian pastor. But I am not alone in this. Many families have faced the cruelty of conversion of loved ones under the pretence that Christianity will make their worries and pain less intolerable, especially the converting of the frail, old, demented, and poverty stricken elders of the Hindu community. Not only in South Africa do we see the poor forced into conversion in the hopes that the church will help them financially, we see it in India as well. Church members would ostensibly do the basic duties of a human and make it seem that only Christianity can deliver you (allegedly from your sins). I think the most shocking part isn’t that they prey on the old and vulnerable but rather that they prey on their indefensibility and innocence. I have faced moments when church members have chosen to stand before me and rebuke my religion, in the same breath, barely a few minutes prior that preached the love of God. Conversion of the old and vulnerable is often accompanied by ruthless denigration of the Hindu religion, sometimes in front of devoted Hindus. There is one such family who not only faced the conversion of their revered elder but also received a cruel testimony against their Hindu religion over the deceased body of their converted loved one. Big Attai, as she was fondly known by everyone, was a revered and high standing Hindu of her community. She came from a family of devoted Hindus, with her brothers being held in high regard within the Merebank and Shallcross temples (suburbs in the city of Durban, South Africa). Her commitment and dedication to the Hindu religion was obvious by the lead she took in almost every family prayer. More than just a generation benefitted from her knowledge, aura and simplicity. Her life was a living example of a role model in the traditions of south Indian Hinduism. But her personal experience of Hinduism was something that could not be taught or understood by her weak minded children. While they always participated in Hindu ritualism and religious singing, the attraction towards Christianity overpowered their Hindu upbringing. All but one of her eight children have converted to Christianity. Attai’s humility was demonstrated by her acceptance of her children’s personal choice of religion. At no stage did she ever attack or belittle them for their personal choices. However, the indoctrination her children were exposed since joining the Church brought out more intolerance than demonstrating their “love for God”. Eventually 10 years had passed since her son’s conversion. Unfortunately for Attai, by her mid-80s illness and a restricted mental capacity led to her conversion to Christianity without her being of sound mind. Her mobility too was hindered by her inability to walk easily. We could see that she had no recognition of what was happening around her and neither was she able to make decisions on her own. At this point her youngest son took it upon himself to convert her to Christianity (prior to this he didn’t worry about her condition). He had told her Lord Jesus Christ would heal her painful leg and deliver her from evil when she dies. Attai was 86 years old; she could not talk or walk and she suffered from mild dementia. She had no real understanding of what was happening. Her son gave her no chance to consider the option of conversion at that stage of her life. He unscrupulously converted her without making her understand what he was doing. Without the consent of the woman who had spent 86 years of her life as a Hindu, she was unknowingly dragged into a religion she knew nothing about and was unaware of her situation because of her dementia. Her extended family showed obvious signs of disapproval, but were hamstrung by the fact that her own son converted her. Barely a year later their prominently Hindu family was forced to have a Christian funeral in a church and by the pastor who had converted their Attai. The pastor took it upon himself to denigrate Hinduism. He started his preaching by saying: “Before this funeral service is over, half of you would become Christians!” and he urged those among the mourners who were not Christians to “come to the one true God”. It was a clearly disrespectful statement to the bereaved Hindu relatives and friends who had come to say goodbye to their Attai. The pastor took every opportunity to berate Hinduism and provoked them into considering conversion to Christianity. Blasphemy was an obvious norm in his style of preaching. However, the pastor’s rudeness was not left unchallenged. One family member could not stand the denigration and decided to retort, but with measured respectfulness. He expressed how he had felt throughout the pastor’s rant: “I would appreciate it if you don’t use a funeral as a platform to convert Hindu relatives of the deceased. I don’t appreciate you using this funeral to denigrate Hinduism. I feel it is disrespectful to the deceased and insensitive to her Hindu relatives who have to deal with her passing and are now being forced to contend with unfair and unjustified attacks against their religion”. The humiliation was obvious to the pastor and his followers. The deceased’s son who had her converted, confronted the family member, saying: ‘How dare you embarrass my pastor like that?’ to which the family member replied curtly, “How dare your pastor humiliate the Hindus amongst the mourners?” However, a conciliatory gesture was made when Christians standing outside acknowledged a statement that “he doesn’t speak for all Christians, we are accepting of all religions, he simply embarrassed us all”. Against the background of such fanaticism, pastors who preach with such immaturity might find Lord Krishna’s statement (The Uddhava Gita, 15:35) quite humbling: “The greatest contentment comes from devotion alone and not from its rewards, therefore one who has this devotion seeks nothing else”.