Tuesday, September 4, 2012


www.nytimes.com - The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean evangelist, businessman and self-proclaimed messiah who built a religious movement notable for its mass weddings, fresh-faced proselytizers and links to vast commercial interests, died on Monday in Gapyeong, South Korea. He was 92.  His death was announced on his church’s Web site, which said he had been battling complications from pneumonia, including kidney failure.  Mr. Moon courted world leaders, financed newspapers and founded numerous innocuously named civic organizations. To his critics, he pursued those activities mainly to lend legitimacy to his movement, known as the Unification Church, although his methods were sometimes questionable. In 2004, for example, he had himself crowned “humanity’s savior” in front of astonished members of Congress at a Capitol Hill luncheon. Building a business empire in South Korea and Japan, Mr. Moon used his commercial interests to support nonprofit ventures, then kept control of them by placing key insiders within their hierarchies. He avidly backed right-wing causes, turning The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles. An ardent anti-Communist who had been imprisoned by the Communist authorities in northern Korea in the 1940s, he saw the United States as the world’s salvation. However, in 1991 despite his anti-Communist teachings, Moon negotiated business deals with the then North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung. In its early years in the United States, the Unification Church was widely viewed as little more than a cult, one whose polite, well-scrubbed members, known derisively as Moonies, sold flowers and trinkets on street corners and married in mass weddings.

In one of the last such events, in 2009, 10,000 couples exchanged or renewed vows before Mr. Moon at Sun Moon University near Seoul. Such weddings were the activity most associated with Mr. Moon in the United States. In 1954 in Seoul he founded the Unification Church - a mix of Christianity, Confucianism, Shamanism and anti-Communism - and claimed he would create perfect families and unite all religions through arranged marriages. Aged 40, Moon then wed 17-year-old follower Hak Ja Han. They were called the True Parents of Mankind. The “perfect family” was floundering too, with allegations about Moon’s relations with other women and scandals involving the lavish lifestyles of his kids. In 1998 his eldest son, Hyo Jin Moon, was revealed as a violent cocaine addict - he died of a heart attack aged 45 - and in 1999 another son, Younjin Phillip Moon, killed himself aged 21. Nansook Hong, the wife of Hyo Jin Moon, said that the entire Moon family as dysfunctional, spoiled and divided by intrigue and hypocrisy.  One of the more bizarre moments in Mr. Moon’s later years came on March 23, 2004, at what was described as a peace awards banquet, held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. Members of Congress were among the guests. At one point Representative Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat, wearing white gloves, carried in on a pillow one of two gold crowns that were placed on Mr. Moon and his wife.  Some of the members of Congress said they had no idea that Mr. Moon was to be involved in the banquet, though it was hosted by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a foundation affiliated with the Unification Church. Speaking Korean, Moon declares himself the Messiah and says he'd spoken to the spirits of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, both of whom he said found strength in his teachings and mended their ways.

From early on Mr. Moon was revered by his followers as the messiah, and in 1992 he conferred that title on himself. He also declared that he and his second wife, Hak Ja Han, were the “true parents of all humanity.” In Moon’s view, Jesus had failed in his mission to purify mankind because he was crucified before being able to marry and have children. Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them; thus weddings were in keeping with a central tenet of his theology, a mix of Eastern philosophy, biblical teachings and what he called God’s revelations to him. “God is living in me and I am the incarnation of Himself,” he once said. In 2004 he told an audience in Washington that emperors, kings and presidents - including Hitler and Stalin - had “declared to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s saviour, messiah, returning Lord and true parent”. Being a billionaire tycoon, be surrounded by luxury in this material world and declare himself the Messiah, seems somewhat contradictory, if not a complete hoax.

Sometimes the Personality of Godhead descends Himself; otherwise, He deputes His confidential servants to do this act of kindness. All the messiahs - saints who have come before or who will come in the future to preach the transcendental message of the kingdom of Godhead - are to be understood as the most confidential servants of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Jesus Christ appeared as the son of Godhead, Muhammad introduced himself as the servant of Godhead, and Lord Caitanya presented Himself as the devotee of Godhead. But whatever may be their identity, all such messiahs were of the same opinion about one thing. They preached unanimously that there is no peace and prosperity in this mortal world. All of them agreed that we have to go to a separate world, where peace and prosperity have their real being. We have to search out our eternal peace and prosperity in the kingdom of God, which is a place other than this mortal world. Even such messiahs and reformers as Lord Buddha - who did not accept the existence of Godhead and preached morality and ethics in the spirit of atheism - and Śankarācārya - who did not accept the Personality of Godhead and preached morality and ethics in the spirit of pantheism - never preached that there is any possibility of attaining eternal peace and prosperity in this material world.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Message of Godhead”
Chapter One: “Transcendental Knowledge”
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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