Rethinking Religions in India

The Rethinking Religion in India (RRI) conference was held in January 2009 at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. RRI is a “five year international conference cluster” organised by the Ghent University of Belgium.

I find it quite curious why a Belgian University would take it upon itself to spend money to hold conferences in India on “rethinking religions,” with provocative topics such as “Are there Native Religions in India?” (Is there any doubt about this?)

I dislike the Western academics from far-away countries coming to India to hold conferences about our civlisation and culture, control our national discourse about these critical issues and produce output that Indians don’t agree with. It is none of their business. Indians are the best judges and commentators about Indian history, religions and culture, thank you.

I mean, how many times has Delhi University organised “international conference” in Washington about “Are Blacks Getting a Fair Deal in the US?” or “The Influence of Bible Thumpers in American Foriegn Policy?” These Western academics have a habit of making everyone else’s business their own business. Instead of welcoming them in India, they should be gracefully shown the door. Do we really need them to prod us Indians to rethink our religions and history?

This kind of behaviour also shows that the Western academics are very much integrated into the power structure of Western countries and work in tandem with their governments to further Western interests and operations in various parts of the world.

I am again and again seeing proofs of this alliance between Western academics and Western government agencies to conduct psyops on various societies of Africa and Asia. The objective is either to make these societies break up by interfering in their national discourse,  or to weaken their native faiths and cultures and cause social strife through contrived criticism, distortions, bogus scholarship and outright lies.

Anyway, the RRI had one good outcome. It held a discussion on “Is Secularism the Solution to Communal Conflict in India?” The participants were Achin Vanaik, Jakob De Roover, S.N. Balagangadhara and Neera Chandhoke. The panelists then took questions from the audiences.

I am glad to say the “secularists” such as Neera Chandhoke had their arse handed out to them on a platter by Roover and Balagangadhara. You can see the video of the conference here. It is a series of 20 videos and is a must-watch. Highly recommended.

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68 responses to “Rethinking Religions in India

  1. Hindu

    Sanatana Dharma has all the answers Humanity has been looking for. It is the duty of Hindus to spread this heritage worldwide.

    Each petal of the flower of Sanatana Dharma – be it Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism, or Smartism – is a religion more ancient, more profound, more rich, more enriching, than anything found elsewhere. Each of these specializes in a different way of union with the divine. But it is only Sanatana Dharma which offers this possibility at all (through any of these paths, or a myriad of other guru lineages). You can experience God. You don’t have to only believe in him.

    I ask all readers of this blog to spread Sanatana Dharma where ever they may reside.

    Om,
    Gary

    • sanjaychoudhry

      Gary, if we have even 100 missionaries of Hinduism like you, Sanatana Dharma will spread to all corners of the world. We really need modern-day Hindu missionaries who will spread the ancient wisdom of the Vedic seers to all continents.

      • Hindu

        Sanjay,

        It has always somewhat baffled me that Hindus did not succeed in spreading such a wonderful Dharma to all corners. Even today I see a strange reluctance to spread this Dharma.

        I should also not neglect to mention the Nastika (agnostic) streams of Sanatana Dharma such as Bauddhika and Jaina. However, I am not inclined towards these since I am not agnostic. To me, the unique feature of Sanatana Dharma is that you can experience the divine. You can experience this union, called Yoga, with the higher reality.

        I have been a practising Sanatan Dharmi (aka Hindu) for about 30 years now. I can honestly say that I have had such experiences. I have seen honest seekers get such experiences in as little as 3 years of sincere effort.

        But I stress that we must be practicing Hindus. Not just nominal ones who visit temples on festivals. You must live every moment as a Hindu. By that I mean you must, though mental conditioning. strive to negate your false ego and strive for union with the almighty. With that, in 2-3 years, you can experience Brahman, in any of the streams of Sanatana Dharma. Choose that which agrees with your personality. Brahman will relate to you as you relate to him – that is the beauty of Sanatana Dharma. Brahman loves you so much that he does not mind how you relate to him as – as Shiva, as Vishnu, as Rama – you decide. All are the same. All are Brahman. All are same, and yet subtly different. If the path of righteous conduct appeals to you, then think of Brahman as Rama. If mystical union appeals to you, then think of Shiva. If you are drawn to a feminine power, then be a Shakta. They are all the same, for how can there be anything different when there is one Brahman?

        Also, being a Hindu is not easy. Because it goes against man’s material nature. But that is the working hypothesis. That this material nature is not the real one.

        If you behave in a gross fashion, if you are given to anger, lust, greed, or any kind of mental impurity, and are not constantly striving for inner purity (which Saivites define as being totally surrendered to Brahman), then you are not trying hard enough to be a practicing Hindu. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in Sanatana Dharma. It is a constant effort we all must make. After 30 years, I know I have made a lot of progress, and I am constantly thinking of Brahman, but perhaps it will take me one more lifetime to complete my union with Brahman.

        Om,
        Gary

        • Hindu

          Sanjay,

          Thought I should clarify – when I say ‘you’ above, I mean it in the sense of ‘one’ or ‘we’ (i.e., “if one behaves in a gross fashion, if one is given to anger…” or “if we behave in a gross fashion, if we are given to anger…”).

          Hari Om,
          Gary

  2. I saw the whole series of 20 videos in one sitting. It was an amazing debate. Bala and Roover’s arguments were extremely lucid and clear. Their logic was impeccable and thought provoking. In contrast, Neera and Achin’s arguments were very long winded and tedious. I was hard pressed to conclude what they were trying to say.

    Bala’s replies to the secularists were the most satisfying in the entire series.

    I have not seen the other session on “Are there native religions in India”. Do you know how that thing went? Are there videos on that available?

  3. Hindu

    Somewhat off-topic (or maybe not). I just read that India will go to polls this month. Is there a likelihood of a party that is more religious conservative and may provide some state support to the spread of Sanatana Dharma outside India? Trained monks (who can provide discourses in English) who can spend a year at a time here would be very helpful. It is not as if there is no interest here in Sanatana Dharma. It is just that there are not enough teachers going around. And of course, the teachers must preferably be monks of established monastic orders, because in matters of religion, personal example and spiritual progress is very important.

    If you want to start an Islamic center in the US, you essentially get a blank check from Saudi ARabia (or the UAE). Where do you go if you want to start a Sanatana Dharma center? We don’t really need money, what we need is people who live Dharma and can explain it to others. Go to college campuses, and provide lectures, for instance.

    Hari Om,
    Gary

    • Incognito

      There are certain realised persons such as Nityananda Paramahamsa
      who are involved in spreading Dharma.

      Religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, which are based on the teachings of one personality are suitable for spreading through missionaries.

      But ancient indian spirituality is more of a personal journey of experience that leads to enlightenment.

      A person who thus attains elightenment can effectively guide others on the path to enlightenment.

      There have been many who are not monks of established monastic orders, yet attained spiritual enlightenment.

      It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
      A teacher can guide spiritual aspirants through thought power which can manifest to the student in different ways.

      The Vedas suggest a path of intense spiritual enquiry such as burning a fire within, which ultimately lead to enlightenment.

      The Vedas quote realised rishis saying- ‘ Aham Brahmasmi’ – I am Brahma
      and ‘ Tat twam Asi’ – That you Are.

      • Hindu

        Incognito,

        I was referring to trained teachers of Sanatana Dharma who can provide discourses in English, suitable to Western audiences. What you say is very apt, but in a culture and environment where Dharma is already present. My question was specific to teaching Dharma at centers in the US.

        • Incognito

          While the intention of spreading Dharma and teaching it to people who are not aware of it is good, I do not know if anybody can be trained to be a teacher of Sanatana Dharma.
          Because Sanatana Dharma is experiential.

          It appears to me that only a realised person can guide another on the path to realisation.

          This is what differentiates a religion like christianity/islam from Sanatana Dharma.

          One thing that we note is that while some of the realised persons have gone on to spread Dharma, such as Paramahamsa Nityananda or Shankaracharya, many others have not, like Ramana Maharshi.

          I think a realised person does not have to go around to spread Dharma.

          Just by his being he spreads Dharma.

          Thanks

        • JGN

          Hinduism is not a religion in its narrow and we do not need our people to go around the world like missionary beggars for selling spirituality. Why don’t you read: YOU INC – THE CEO WITHIN”? Each and every individual is unique and no use creating a herd mentality in them.

          • sanjaychoudhry

            Not all missionaries are bad. Swami Vivekanand himself exhorted Hindus to teach the wisdom of the Vedas to the rest of the world, and this is what he did in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Swami Prabhupad of ISCKON and Bhagwan Rajneesh are shining examples of Hindu missionaries.

            Only because Christian missionaries have a reputation for selling snake-oil by hook or crook does not mean that Hindus should not become missionaries either for their own faith. In fact, the more Hinduism spreads worldwide, the more peaceful the world will become. All religious conflict will cease and man will be taught to control his greed and lust through Yoga.

            It is the duty of every Hindu today to be an active missionary of the Hindu faith or at least support those who preach treasures of Sanatana Dharma to others. It is Krishna’s command.

            • Incognito

              “It is the duty of every Hindu today to be an active missionary of the Hindu faith ”

              I would say, the duty of every indian or for that matter, every human being is to develop spiritually and attain realisation.

              Definitely, it is correct to support efforts to spread Sanatana Dharma.

              But to say ‘It is Krishna’s command’ has an abrahamic-religion-like ring to it.

              Like mullahs say, it is Allah’s command and church says, it is God’s command…

              It appears to me that unless a person is ‘realised’ himself, he cannot guide another on the path to realisation.

              • sanjaychoudhry

                You are not distinguishing between inner spiritual development of an individual and teaching the percepts of Hinduism to non-Hindus who want to know more about the faith. Both are different goals. One occurs in an individual’s pscyhe, the other occurs in the brick-and-mortar world in far away lands. Don’t mix the two. How can people develop spiritually and attain realisation until you teach them the techniques and wisdom laid down by the Vedic seers? There has to be a team of dedicated messengers who will take Hindu spirituality far and wide. The spiritual development you are talking about occurs by sitting upright in a closed room with your eyes closed. It is different from spreading the faith to others who want to learn about it and follow it.

                • Incognito

                  “You are not distinguishing between inner spiritual development of an individual and teaching the percepts of Hinduism to non-Hindus who want to know more about the faith. Both are different goals. ”

                  Teaching the percepts.
                  Issue is that ancient indian spirituality is not bound by certain percepts. It is an almost endless ocean of accumulated spiritual wisdom over thousands of years and millions of sages.

                  Secondly, you cannot distinguish inner spiritual development of an individual and teaching the percepts because the latter cannot happen without the former happening first.

                  Therefore both are not different goals.

                  “One occurs in an individual’s pscyhe, the other occurs in the brick-and-mortar world in far away lands.”

                  It is not correct.
                  Spiritual advance is experiential.
                  It is very much of the brick and mortar realm.

                  To distinguish between physical body and spirit is the mistake that western world view makes.
                  More accurate reality is that body is a creation of the spirit. And the experiences of the brick and mortar realm are also creations of the spirit for the purpose of spiritual advancement.

                  “Don’t mix the two. ”

                  Separating the two, and addressing things separately is, as said before, the mistake of western world view and that is what prevents them from understanding ancient indian spiritual philosophy.

                  “How can people develop spiritually and attain realisation until you teach them the techniques and wisdom laid down by the Vedic seers?”

                  The wisdom of the Vedas are guide posts on the path to enlightenment.
                  They make sense only when one is travelling the path.

                  The ‘technique’ that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to attain realisation is different from that of Adi Shankaracharya which is different from Ramana Maharshi’s.

                  What one can conclude is that there is no particular ‘technique’ that enables spiritual development. Spiritual development ‘technique’ is individual, unique.
                  I suppose, as each person is different from another, each persons’ path of spiritual progress will take different route from anothers’.

                  It is acknowledged that there are certain ‘techniques’ such as Yoga and Meditation practices which assist certain people in travelling the path to realisation.
                  But they are not equally useful to everyone.

                  It would not be correct to say- ‘wisdom laid down by the Vedic seers’. Because the Vedic seers themselves acknowledge that Vedas are ‘heard’ by them.
                  The wisdom is therefore not laid down by them.
                  What the Vedas do is aid a person is ‘hearing’ the wisdom as the seers did.

                  “There has to be a team of dedicated messengers who will take Hindu spirituality far and wide. ”

                  This thought process is natural to western world view, where they consider spirituality as some’thing’ that can be taken to another ‘place’ and distributed, for which they need some ‘messengers’, ‘God’s messengers’ so to say, who can be trained on the percepts to be spread among the ignorant.
                  That is because western world view sees differences rather than unity.

                  “The spiritual development you are talking about occurs by sitting upright in a closed room with your eyes closed.”

                  Maybe that is at the final stage of spiritual attainment. The path that leads upto that stage is definitely outside the closed room.

                  “It is different from spreading the faith to others who want to learn about it and follow it.”

                  It would be wrong to see spiritual realisation as different from giving spiritual knowledge to others.
                  The latter follows the former, cannot exist without the former.

                  “spreading the faith” may not be what you had in mind, since faith is more of a belief which may not be based on verifiable truths.

                  Spiritual wisdom of ancient india is not faith. It is, as said before, guide to spiritual advancement.

                  Thank you.

            • JGN

              My dear Sanjay, to my knowledge ISKON is founded by the support of CIA and most of the white-skinned Christians we see in such organizations are in fact spiecs of one country or the other. I do not think they are “innocent lambs” out to sing the Praise of Lord Krishna. The less we talk about Osho Rajneesh, the better. He was a sexual pervert. I have heard that he used to boost to his followers that he had seen upto “Sixteenth heaven” and when one of them pointed out that there are only upto “Seventh heaven” according to our Scriptures, he rebuffed him telling that other “Gurus” were not as enlightened as he for them to see “Sixteenth heaven”!!! I read all kinds of books from Engg to Philosophy to pulp-fications but I could not read more than four pages of one book of Osho as his main theme was “Everything is me”! I have no respect for the self-styled Gurus out to sell spirituality in wholesale and retail.

              • Suhas

                These agencies get into all religions, bec that is where the guillible are in huge population. The most recent and best example is in Afghanistan , with Charlie Wilson giving the kick start to the formless worshippers in Pakistan/ Afghanistan leading to the present flux of things making the Soviet Union collapse., on the way.

                The founder of ISKON SriLa Prabhupad was a spiritual man, but later on if agencies misuse this , is where alertness is required.

                • JGN

                  The “formless god” was invented when people lost faith in Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc. Yajur Veda, which is the ritual part of Vedas, is in praise of Agni (fire). The primitive tribes were in awe of fire and they worshipped the same. Even now the Parsis worship fire and their place of worhsip is known as “Fire Temple”. There is a fictional account of migration of early civilization by Rahul Sankrityayan named “Volga to Ganga”. This is a very interesting book.

                  • Incognito

                    >>>”The primitive tribes were in awe of fire and they worshipped the same”

                    A conclusion that ‘primitive’ tribes were in awe of fire and therefore they worshipped the same needs more substantiation.

                    First of all, what do we mean by primitive?

                    Does it mean that those people lived long time back and the time gap between those times and the present makes them primitive ?

                    Or does it refer to the relative lack of civilisational values of those people ?

                    Since those people had developed the methods to create fire and to use it to their advantage, is it correct to assume that they were in ‘awe’ of it? something that they could create and use ?

                    >>>”The “formless god” was invented when people lost faith in Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc. Yajur Veda, which is the ritual part of Vedas, is in praise of Agni (fire). ”

                    Why do we say that ‘formless god’ was invented when people lost faith in Indra, Varuna etc..?

                    What is the form of ‘Indra’ ?

                    What is the basis of assumption that people lost faith in Indra ?

                    More important, what is Indra ?

                    How did the concept of Indra come about ?

                    If people of those times were, as supposed by this line of argument, ignorant enough to consider physical things as Gods, where did the concept of Indra spring from ?

                    Not only Yajur, Rig Veda also starts with obeisance to Agni.

                    In fact all scriptures give high place to Agni.
                    The same scriptures declare the supreme philosophy of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’.

                    Isn’t it contradictory to consider that the Agni that is referred here is merely the physical aspect of burning process, when the same texts declare sublime truths which are incomprehensible to most modern intellectuals ?

                    If people of those times were ignorant enough to worship physical objects, how did they become philosophically and spiritually so mature as to declare supreme truths ?

                    It would be therefore incorrect to conclude that Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Indra etc, of the scriptures are only physical processes or objects.

                    It would be too presumptuous to think that people of those times worshipped physical objects and processes because they were in awe of it.

                    It may be right to conclude that the practices of ancient people, particularly of india are like Diamond that occurs in natural state, which appears to some as worthless stone while some others polish it to realise unparalleled brilliance.

                    • Brilliantly put, Incognito.

                    • JGN

                      My dear friend, Indra was not a god but the “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan!! Yes, they worshipped physical objects. Search for “Animal Worship” to know how the system of worhsip originated.

                    • Incognito

                      @JGN

                      >>>”Indra was not a god but the “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan!! ”

                      Where did you get this idea ?

                      >>>”Yes, they worshipped physical objects. ”

                      Ditto

                      >>>”Search for “Animal Worship” to know how the system of worhsip originated.”

                      You don’t know ?

  4. Incognito

    >>>”I find it quite curious why a Belgian University would take it upon itself to spend money to hold conferences in India on “rethinking religions,” with provocative topics such as “Are there Native Religions in India?” (Is there any doubt about this?)”

    I think it is Prof Balu who is interested in conducting the conferences and it is he who is organising them…?

    As to the question about native religions …
    I think there is a difference in what is understood as ‘religions’ by the western world and what was present in ancient india.

    The western world sees religion from the view point of christianity. So there is an authoritative book, a prophet, a God, a church that governs the religion and its theology.

    The westerner looks for similar things in other religions and finds them in islam and judaism.

    When it comes to ancient india, they don’t find one book, one prophet, one god, one temple or one theology. What they find is something that they cannot comprehend by looking through their limited perspective.

    Instead of changing that limited perspective, they tried to force fit whatever they found and ended up with a distorted picture.

    This is what they forcefully taught indians for the two hundred years that they ruled this country. And most indians continues to view ancient indian culture, traditions and spiritual philosophies through the western perspective and sees a distorted picture which they consider to be the true one.

    In this context the question- Are there Native Religions in India? is significant, in that it goes directly to the root of the issue.

    That question may lead one to understand the need for a different perspective to comprehend ancient india, its life and its philosophies .

    A perspective not from outside, but from within.
    Because what ancient india offers is guidance to spiritual enlightenment.
    Ancient india’s culture, traditions, philosophy, spirituality etc., makes sense only from the perspective of a serious spiritual seeker who embarks on the journey to enlightenment with the whole of his will.

    >>>”I dislike the Western academics from far-away countries coming to India to hold conferences about our civlisation and culture, control our national discourse about these critical issues and produce output that Indians don’t agree with.”

    As you later said in the blog, I too found myself in agreement with Prof Balu and Dr Roover of Ghent University, not with those of Delhi University.
    In fact, the performance of those from DU was a downright shameful.

    And I am happy that those guys came from Ghent Univ and conducted the conference.

    >>>” It is none of their business. Indians are the best judges and commentators about Indian history, religions and culture, thank you.”

    The performance of the DU ‘professors’ did not lead to such a conclusion.

    >>>”I mean, how many times has Delhi University organised “international conference” in Washington about “Are Blacks Getting a Fair Deal in the US?” or ”The Influence of Bible Thumpers in American Foriegn Policy?”

    If DU is populated by more of the specimens who were found at the conference, it would be a surprise if DU managed to achieve anything of worth.

    >>>”These Western academics have a habit of making everyone else’s business their own business. Instead of welcoming them in India, they should be gracefully shown the door. ”

    I think we should be discriminating of the good and the bad ones and show no grace while kicking the latter out.
    But I guess the reverse is what happens in DUs and JNUs.

    >>>”Do we really need them to prod us Indians to rethink our religions and history?”

    If they can do so, it would be worth a try.

  5. JGN

    We have been told that all paths lead to Truth – you have your path as a Hindu, someone else has his path as a Christian and another as a Muslim, and they all meet at the same door – which is, when you look at it, so obviously absurd.

    Truth has no path and that is the beauty of truth; it is living. A dead thing has a path to it because it is static; but when you see that Truth is something living, moving, which has no resting place, which is in no temple, mosque or church, which no religion, no teacher, philosopher, nobody can lead you to – then you will also see that this living this is what you actually are; your anger, brutality, violence, despair, the agony and sorrow you live in. In the understanding of all this is the truth, and you can understand it only if you know how to look at those things in your life. And you cannot look through an ideology, through a screen of words, through hopes and fears.

    So you cannot depend upon anybody…There is no guide, no teacher, no authority. There is only you – your relationship with others and with the world – there is nothing else. When you realize this, it either brings great despair, from which comes cynicism and bitterness, or, in facing the fact that you and nobody else are responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think, what you feel, how you act, all self-pity goes. Normally we thrive on blaming others, which is a form of self-pity – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    • kaffir

      So you cannot depend upon anybody…There is no guide, no teacher, no authority….

      …except me, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Why the heads of people don’t explode with this inherent contradiction in Jiddu’s words, is beyond me.

      • Incognito

        @ kaffir,

        Why put your words into Jiddu Krishnamurti’s mouth ?

        I think Krishnamurti made a profound statement.

        Thanks to JGN for posting it.

        • kaffir

          I’m not putting words in anyone’s mouth. The contradiction is so obvious, though if you think of it as profound, that’s your truth and good for you. I find it banal.

          • Incognito

            Either show where contradiction is or accept that you made a mistake.

            • kaffir

              If I accept Jiddu’s wisdom that “there are no teachers, no guides”, then he is my teacher and my guide for showing me that wisdom.
              Besides, he had devoted followers, which goes against his own wisdom (teaching?) of “no teachers”.

              • Incognito

                >>>>>>If I accept Jiddu’s wisdom that “there are no teachers, no guides”, then he is my teacher and my guide for showing me that wisdom.

                How come you are blind to the very next line – “ There is only you – your relationship with others and with the world – there is nothing else.

                If your problem is with accepting wisdom, feel free not to. But there is no call to allege a contradiction where none exists.

                >>>>>Besides, he had devoted followers, which goes against his own wisdom (teaching?) of “no teachers”.

                Are you alleging that he asked for followers, when he has explicitly stated the very opposite ?

                • kaffir

                  Do you think by adding “There is only you..” changes the underlying logic of what I wrote? If so, how?

                  • Incognito

                    What is logical in attributing your words to Jiddu and then alleging a contradiction ?

                    Isn’t it the same technique used by modern day secularist who wants to destroy indigenous pluralist cultures ?

                    Isn’t it this technique that was used by colonial britishers towards Varna system with the intent of misrepresenting it before condemning it.

                    • kaffir

                      Read my comment with the date-stamp of ‘May 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm’ again.

                      As for the rest of your comment, sorry, can’t help you with your paranoia and attempts of guilty-by-association.

                      enjoy your day.

                    • kaffir

                      BTW, Incognito, you can relax. I’m not a modern-day secularist or a brown sahib. Anything but.

                      I just don’t find Jiddu’s words all that useful/practical or logical when it comes to living my life. He gets lost in an intellectual word soup, which may nourish some people’s souls who find it profound, but that’s not me.

    • Incognito

      >>>>>>>”We have been told that all paths lead to Truth – you have your path as a Hindu, someone else has his path as a Christian and another as a Muslim, and they all meet at the same door – which is, when you look at it, so obviously absurd.”

      Dr Frank Morales uses ‘The Mountain Metaphor’ to explain this here- http://www.dharmacentral.com/universalism.htm

      >>>>>>”So you cannot depend upon anybody…There is no guide, no teacher, no authority. There is only you – your relationship with others and with the world – there is nothing else. ”

      This is the begining of introversion and ‘Vairagya’, disenchantment with external attractions and influences, which ultimately leads to realisation of the self.

      >>>>>>>”When you realize this, it either brings great despair, from which comes cynicism and bitterness, or, in facing the fact that you and nobody else are responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think, what you feel, how you act, all self-pity goes.”

      This stage is the begining of self-empowerment, being accountable for your life and being powerful in your life.

      >>>>>>”Truth has no path and that is the beauty of truth; it is living. A dead thing has a path to it because it is static; …”

      This is the fundamental difference between ancient indian spiritual thought and western concepts of christianity, islam, communism, capitalism, objectivism etc.

      Indian spiritual thought is experiential whereas western concepts are dogmatic.

      >>>>>>”…when you see that Truth is something living, moving, which has no resting place, which is in no temple, mosque or church, which no religion, no teacher, philosopher, nobody can lead you to – then you will also see that this living this is what you actually are ; your anger, brutality, violence, despair, the agony and sorrow you live in.”

      This understanding of self paves the way for realising subsequently ‘Aham Brahmasmi’.

      >>>>>”In the understanding of all this is the truth, and you can understand it only if you know how to look at those things in your life. And you cannot look through an ideology, through a screen of words, through hopes and fears.”

      True.

      Thank you.

      • kaffir

        This is the begining of introversion and ‘Vairagya’, disenchantment with external attractions and influences, which ultimately leads to realisation of the self.

        Have you realized this self yourself? Or are you just *repeating* what you’ve read about others’ experiences?

        If someone realized this self and wrote about it, isn’t he a teacher to someone who reads about his experience and has some epiphany/reaches wisdom as a result of reading it?

        • Incognito

          >>>>Have you realized this self yourself? Or are you just *repeating* what you’ve read about others’ experiences?

          Would it matter to you, since what is material to you is that you realise your self yourself.
          Else wouldn’t it be just reading about other’s experiences, which

          >>>>If someone realized this self and wrote about it, isn’t he a teacher to someone who reads about his experience and has some epiphany/reaches wisdom as a result of reading it?

          We learn from everywhere, from each of our internal as well as external experiences, from every interaction that we have with the outside world. You could say that the entire world is our teacher.
          You could also say that we are our teacher because we learn our lessons from these experiences.

          If someone realized this self and wrote about it, isn’t he a teacher …

          Not exactly.
          Even when someone writes about his experiences, his readers would understand what is written based on their own past experiences and the lessons they have derived from them.

          So it is not just the act of reading that helps reach wisdom.
          It is really the contemplation on what is written in the light of one’s personal experiences and then drawing the lessons from the contemplation that really generates wisdom.

      • kaffir

        This understanding of self paves the way for realising subsequently ‘Aham Brahmasmi’.

        1. How do I recognize that I’ve reached the realization of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’? By talking about it and repeating what I’ve read?

        2. I read somewhere that Australia has beautiful beaches, and I keep repeating this to others – “Australia has wonderful beaches” and having intellectual arguments with others about Australia’s beaches, without having *experienced* Australia’s beaches for myself, or without finding out whether those beaches even exist. What’s the use of that?

        • Incognito

          >>>>Have you realized this self yourself? Or are you just *repeating* what you’ve read about others’ experiences?

          Would it matter, since what is material to you is that you realise your self yourself.

          Else, wouldn’t it be, in your own words, just *repeating* the act of “reading about others’ experiences” ?

          >>>>If someone realized this self and wrote about it, isn’t he a teacher …

          Not exactly.
          Even when someone writes about his experiences, the reader would understand what is written based on their own past experiences and the lessons they have derived from them.

          So it is not just the act of reading or what is written that helps reach wisdom.
          It is really the contemplation on what is written in the light of one’s personal experiences and then drawing the lessons from the contemplation that generates wisdom.

          >>>>>1. How do I recognize that I’ve reached the realization of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’?

          How do you realise that you have realised without realising ?

          >>>>By talking about it and repeating what I’ve read?

          Haven’t tried that method.
          You may explore it.

          >>>>>”2. I read somewhere that Australia has beautiful beaches, and I keep repeating this to others…….What’s the use of that?”

          That for you to tell us.

  6. K.Muthuramakrishnan

    Distortions of our Hindu faith is regularly made by other religionists.Islam also has started its evangelism in a forceful way. Dr.Zakir Naik posing as a pofessor of comparative religion, distorts Hindu scriptures as it suits him.
    Refer his site:www.irf.net

    In reply to his lies, one Shri.Arya Bharath has given a nice reply which is also useful to Hindus as well.
    Refer:http://muhamedinhinduism.tripod.com/id3.html

    • JGN

      Mr.Muthuramakrishnan, the religionists cannot stand the scrutiny of a Rationalist even for five minutes. Dr. Zakir Naik can only bluff those who do not have any knowledge about other religions. He (or any one else for that matter) has not entered into any debate with Dr. Ali Sina despite an offer of US$ 50,000 (I think he increased the same to US$ 1,00,000 now) if any can prove him wrong. Visit his web site “Fatih Freedom International and also visit the web of Jihad Watch of Robert Spencer.

      Search for The Skeptics Annotated Bible for category-wise verses like Absurdities, Contradictions, Hatred, Good-stuff, etc from The Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament), the Quran and The Book of Mormon. There is no other Book in the world that contains as much 3X Stories as does the Bible but I have seen hundreds of Christians ridiculing Hinduism quoting just one Story of Draupati having five husbands. Even now Muslims are allowed to have four wives at a time but they also ridicule hinduism quoting the very same story!!

  7. gajanan

    One feels that http://www.dharmacentral.com mentor will be the ideal person to start these activities. His articles are very thought provoking. He has the right vairagya of detachment , Nishkamakarma atitude and a vibrant personality.

    Best wishes to
    http://www.dharmacentral.com/acharyaji.php in the spread Sanatan Dharma

  8. JGN

    @ Incognito

    Chapman Cohen, in his “Theism or Atheism,” clearly states: “We know that man does not discover God, he invents him, and an invention is properly discarded when a better instrument is forthcoming. To-day, the hypothesis of God stands in just the same relation to the better life of to-day as the fire drill of the savage does to the modern method of obtaining a light. The belief in God may continue awhile in virtue of the lack of intelligence of some, of the carelessness of others, and of the conservative character of the mass. But no amount of apologizing can make up for the absence of genuine knowledge, nor can the flow of the finest eloquence do aught but clothe in regal raiment the body of a corpse.”

    Religion arose as a means of explanation of natural phenomena at a time when no other explanation of the origin of natural phenomena had been ascertained. God is always what Spinoza called it, “the asylum of ignorance. “When causes are unknown, God is brought forward; when causes are known, God retires into the background. In an age of ignorance, God is active; in an age of science, he is impotent. History attests this fact.

    • Incognito

      @ JGN,

      >>>”Chapman Cohen, in his “Theism or Atheism,” clearly states: “We know that man does not discover God, he invents him, and an invention is properly discarded when a better instrument is forthcoming.”<<>>”Religion arose as a means of explanation of natural phenomena at a time when no other explanation of the origin of natural phenomena had been ascertained. “<<>>”God is always what Spinoza called it, “the asylum of ignorance. “When causes are unknown, God is brought forward; when causes are known, God retires into the background. In an age of ignorance, God is active; in an age of science, he is impotent. ”

      Here again universalizing the ‘God’ that spinoza refers here and the context that he is making this statement in, without substantiative reasons, is incorrect.

      Spinoza was one of the few western philosophers whose ideas came somewhere near that of ancient indian philosophy.

      This is what wikipedia says about spinoza-
      He contended that everything that exists in Nature (i.e., everything in the Universe) is one Reality (substance) and there is only one set of rules governing the whole of the reality which surrounds us and of which we are part. Spinoza viewed God and Nature as two names for the same reality, namely the single substance (meaning “that which stands beneath” rather than “matter”) that is the basis of the universe and of which all lesser “entities” are actually modes or modifications,

      Thus he approaches the concept of Brahma.

      Further- “…that all things are determined by Nature to exist and cause effects, and that the complex chain of cause and effect is only understood in part.
      For him , even human behaviour is fully determined, with freedom being our capacity to know we are determined and to understand why we act as we do. So freedom is not the possibility to say “no” to what happens to us but the possibility to say “yes” and fully understand why things should necessarily happen that way. By forming more “adequate” ideas about what we do and our emotions or affections, we become the adequate cause of our effects (internal or external), which entails an increase in activity (versus passivity). This means that we become both more free and more like God, as Spinoza argues in the Scholium to Prop. 49, Part II.”

      Thus approaching the concept of Karma.

      And more- “Spinoza held good and evil to be relative concepts, claiming that nothing is intrinsically good or bad except relative to a particular individual.

      Approaching the concept of Dharma.

    • Incognito

      Error in the above reply.

      The first para reads thus-

      >>>”Chapman Cohen, in his “Theism or Atheism,” clearly states: “We know that man does not discover God, he invents him, and an invention is properly discarded when a better instrument is forthcoming.”

      Chapman Cohen’s premises are based on study of western religions. To generalize what he has observed about western religions as representative of the cultural traditions across the world, particularly ancient India, is untenable.

      Meanwhile the earlier questions remain unanswered, regarding the basis of statements such as-
      – Indra was a “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan.
      – That ancient indians worshipped physical objects.
      – That ‘they’ were in awe of fire and worshipped it, when it is evident that they created and used it to meet their daily needs.

      >>>”Religion arose as a means of explanation of natural phenomena at a time when no other explanation of the origin of natural phenomena had been ascertained. ”

      That is a generalised statement which, without supporting reasons cannot be applied to a particular case, particularly to ancient india.

      >>>”God is always what Spinoza called it, “the asylum of ignorance. “When causes are unknown, God is brought forward; when causes are known, God retires into the background. In an age of ignorance, God is active; in an age of science, he is impotent. ”

      Here again universalizing the ‘God’ that spinoza refers here and the context that he is making this statement in, without substantiative reasons, is incorrect.
      …..

      • JGN

        1) Yes, I maintain that Indra was a “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan. To my knowledge there are no temples for Indra anywhere in India.
        2) The worship of Idols (representing various forms of humanbeings and animals) is proof enough for our ancestors worshipping physical objects.
        3) The Ancient sages believed that “fire” will take the offering to some “higher authorty” and would bring peace and prosperity. That was the reason for conducting various Yagnas, etc.
        4) Till a few decades back also it was believed that “Small-pox” is caused due to the curse of some “devis” and efforts were made to propiate the diety but today nobody conducts any poojas for eradication of Samll-pox!! We are now innoculating the infants against such diseases.

        Hinduism is not a religion in its narrow sense. It is a conglomeration of various beliefs and even non-beliefs (Atheism). There are no similarlities between the customs & beliefs of a Tamil Brahmin and an Adivasi of Idukki or Wayanad in Kerala or the tribals of Orissa and MP or the aborigins of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Still they all come under the unmbrella of “Hinduism”.

        • VoP

          > The worship of Idols

          Idols are not “Idols. It’s a misnomer for “murti”. The moment we call our murtis as idols we become idolators, targets for conversion by dogmatic Christists!

        • Incognito

          >>>” To my knowledge there are no temples for Indra anywhere in India.”

          Good observation.

          The question is, why should there be any ?

          >>>1) Yes, I maintain that Indra was a “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan.

          And the question- where did you get this idea ? remains unanswered

          >>>”2) The worship of Idols (representing various forms of humanbeings and animals) is proof enough for our ancestors worshipping physical objects.”

          If idols are merely representing human beings and animals, what is the point in having them, there being enough human beings and animals around ?

          And if idols are representing human beings and animals, worshipping them would mean worshipping human beings and animals, which are living beings, not physical objects, which term is used to imply inanimate object.

          So, even an unreasonable assumption that Idols are representative of human beings and animals does not support the conclusion that ancient indians worshipped physical objects.

          I am of course assuming that by the term ‘our ancestors’ you referred to ancient indians.

          If your ancestors are different, may be you are right in your allegations about their worshipping habits, considering that you may know more about your ancestors than others.

          >>>”3) The Ancient sages believed that “fire” will take the offering to some “higher authorty” and would bring peace and prosperity. That was the reason for conducting various Yagnas, etc.”

          Was this information ‘revealed’ to you by the Ancient sages themselves ?

          Btw, who was this ‘some higher authorty’ ?
          And if that was a ‘higher’ authority, why didn’t the allegedly ‘Ancient sages’ worship that ‘higher’ authority ?
          They appear to have been wasting their time worshipping idols representing human beings and animals instead of the ‘higher authority’.

          The ‘sagacity’ of the so-called ‘sages’ is questionable !

          Btw, the reference to ‘higher authority’ reminds me of a talk of ‘high command’.
          You sure this ‘higher authority’ is not a relation of the ‘authority’ in Rome or thereabouts ?

          >>>”4) Till a few decades back also it was believed that “Small-pox” is caused due to the curse of some “devis”

          Oh ! poor devi. How you misunderstood her!

          >>>”..and efforts were made to propiate the diety but today nobody conducts any poojas for eradication of Samll-pox!!”

          Is it then correct to conclude that you are gradually discarding unreasonable ideas as you age ?

          >>>” We are now innoculating the infants against such diseases.”

          Encouraging.

          >>>”Hinduism is not a religion in its narrow sense.”

          Now that is one of the rare things that ancient indians never investigated at all, as evident from a total lack of reference to such a thing in the vast literature that they created.

          >>>”It is a conglomeration of various beliefs and even non-beliefs (Atheism). ”

          Those who created it would know best.

          >>>”There are no similarlities between the customs & beliefs of a Tamil Brahmin and an Adivasi of Idukki or Wayanad in Kerala or the tribals of Orissa and MP or the aborigins of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. ”

          Why should there be ?

          >>>”Still they all come under the unmbrella of “Hinduism”.

          They do ?

          Well, as said before, those who created this ‘unmbrella’ of ‘Hinduism’, as you referred it, would know best about it.

          • JGN

            >>Those who created it would know best…..there is no “creator” for Hinduism. We are not bound by something written in some books thousands of years back nor are we at the mercy of some High-priests. We can question, analyze, criticize and accept what we find logical from our vast amount of literatures. And don’t fall into the trap of the Christians and Muslims that a religion with a defnite creator only qualifies to be considered as such. Our Epics contains some universal truths and some good morals. I do not read anything more. I do not believe in “divine revealations” like the followers of Christianity and Islam.

            Your messages are more for the sake of argument than for any understanding. So I am refraining from point-wise reply. You can very well get answers to questions raised by you by searching the web. We all belong to the same specie called “Homo sapien sapien”. All other divisions are man-made.

            • Incognito

              >>>”Those who created it would know best…..there is no “creator” for Hinduism. ”

              Oh!. Is this something that got created by itself then ?

              >>>”We are not bound by something written in some books thousands of years back nor are we at the mercy of some High-priests. ”

              Did anybody say it was so ?

              >>>”We can question, analyze, criticize and accept what we find logical from our vast amount of literatures. ”

              True.
              But the difference between ‘can’ and ‘have done’ is evident from your silence on the questions posed to you regarding your statements in previous posts such as –
              – Where you got the idea that Indra was a “Senapati” or Chieftain of the clan.
              – That ancient indians worshipped physical objects.
              – That ‘they’ were in awe of fire and worshipped it, when it is evident that they created and used it to meet their daily needs.
              -The total incongruity of statements that imply that wise people who identified themselves with the absolute Brahma were in awe of physical objects.

              >>>”And don’t fall into the trap of the Christians and Muslims that a religion with a defnite creator only qualifies to be considered as such.”

              Is that statement also as irrelevant to the subject discussion as the earlier talk of being bound to books and mercy of high-priests

              >>>”Our Epics contains some universal truths and some good morals. ”

              So convenient to leave it at that, lest your ignorance be displayed further.

              >>>”I do not read anything more. ”

              In fact the word ‘more’ in the above statement appears superfluous.

              >>>”Your messages are more for the sake of argument than for any understanding. ”

              My questions are meant for understanding the source of your information based on which you have alleged ancient indians of various things which appear totally baseless and incongruent.

              >>>”So I am refraining from point-wise reply. ”

              You have refrained from replying to all the questions that have been put to you from the first post itself.

              >>>”You can very well get answers to questions raised by you by searching the web. ”

              The questions were regarding your source of information, which only you can provide, i.e, assuming that you have made your allegations based on factual sources and not your imagination

              >>>”We all belong to the same specie called “Homo sapien sapien”. All other divisions are man-made. ”

              Now, instead of answering the questions put to you, why are you making statements that have little relevance to the subject discussion ?

              • JGN

                The term “Hindu” was used by the Persians (Parsis) for the inhabitants of the vicinity of River Sindhu. Our belief system was known as “Sanatana Dharma”. During the first census, the Brithshers used the same term (Hindu) for all inhabitants of India except Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews. To my knolwedge even now the Constitution of India recognizes all Indians except the aforesaid “four”as Hindus.

                Pl read “Volga to Ganga” for further details about Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc and how the “formless god” was created when people lost faith in such concepts.

                Also read “God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and The Necessity of Atheism by Dr. D.M. Brooks, freely available at Project Gutenberg. You can get graphic details of NOBLE works done in the name of Religions (especially Christianity and Islam) the world over. Slavery in some form existed in our Country also. All the monuments we see around in our Country were not constructed by paying fair wages to the labours.

                • Incognito

                  Thanks for attempting to answer.

                  >>>”The term “Hindu” was used by the Persians (Parsis) for the inhabitants of the vicinity of River Sindhu. Our belief system was known as “Sanatana Dharma”. During the first census, the Brithshers used the same term (Hindu) for all inhabitants of India except Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews. ”

                  So, would it be correct to draw certain conclusions from the above statement as to who created ‘Hinduism’ ?

                  >>>”Pl read “Volga to Ganga” for further details about Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc and how the “formless god” was created when people lost faith in such concepts.”

                  You have taken efforts to read books that have no relation to Ancient Indian scriptures.

                  And without understanding the ancient indian scriptures yourself, you feel it is alright to criticise the concepts therein.

                  I would recommend a modification to your statement thus-
                  “Please understand the Vedas to know Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc. ”

                  After understanding those concepts, review “Volga to Ganga”.

                  Mind you, the word is understand.

                  It would take more than reading to understand Vedas. It would take application of the mind.

                  >>>”Also read “God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and The Necessity of Atheism by Dr. D.M. Brooks, freely available at Project Gutenberg. ”

                  Found the “Necessity of Atheism” in Gutenberg. And am not impressed. Has some relevance to western system. None to ancient indian thought.

                  >>>”Slavery in some form existed in our Country also. ”

                  Don’t make irresponsible statements without substantiating facts.

                  >>>”All the monuments we see around in our Country were not constructed by paying fair wages to the labours.”

                  Which ‘monument’ are you referring to ?

  9. VoP

    Word as Weapon
    The Misuse of Terminology in the study of Hinduism
    http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/102.htm

  10. sanjaychoudhry

    Instead of idols or statues, we should call them “divine images.” By calling them idols or statues, you fall into the missionary trap and wilfully accept a position that is open to ridicule. So, always say things like “On Shivaratri, we worship the divine image of shiva” and not “we worship a Shiva idol.” Christians and Muslims are so brainwashed about their idol fetish, no argument works with them, even though they are unable to explain what is wrong with “idol worship.”

    Similarly, the stories of Hindu gods and goddesses should never be called “mythology” (with the word “myth” built into it). These should be called “sacred stories” or “sacred literature.”

    You may have noticed that Christians call their own fancy tales (dead man came alive and flew) as “theology” while the stories of the rest of religions, they call “mythology.”

    • JGN

      My dear Sanjay, idolatory exists in all religions. The statue of a dead Jew hanging from a cross an idol, so is the statue of Mother Mary (alone, with infant Jesus in hand and also with infant Jesus in hand alongwith Joseph). The Christians call them “visual aids” but the paagan idols are not “visiual aids”!!!! The Kaaba which the Muslims circum-ambulate is a black-stone (and funnily enough the Muslims claims that it was brought from Heaven but when I asked some of them whether it was brought by FeDex by some special cargo plane, they had no answer). The Buddhists who do not believe in any god have made Gautama the Buddha himself their “god” though he detested all forms of worships. The Jains also do not believe in any “god” but they are worhsipping their “tirtankaras” (24 in all starting with Rishsabhdeva, the founder of religion and Vardhamana Mahavir, the most famous of all). Though it is said that Hindus have 330 million gods, to my knowledge there may not be more than a thousand but Christians have more than 10,000 Staints, each bestowed a particular quality. So other religions also have equal or more absurd beliefs.

      There is nothing “sacred” about the Bible as it contains more 3x Stories than any other Book in the world (and of course there is no basis for their theory of virigin birth and it was in fact a translation error which the Churches very cleverly used to befool the gullible masses). The Quran is also some what similar as it is a rehashing of the Bible stories.

      There is a story about a person with “elephantisis” on both legs burying his legs in the sands and then ridiculing a person with same disease on one leg!! The followers of Semitic religions ridiculing Hindus is similar to that story.

    • Hindu

      I fail to see why we should be so defensive about this. Do you have children? Don’t you hold their picture dear, especially when they are far? That is all a Murti is. It is a consecrated image meant to invoke the divine presence, and evoke such feelings in our heart. I refuse to offer many more defences of this. We Hindus must stop being so apologetic.

      I carry a small image of Lord Rama with me at all times. Should I stop that because some narrow minded person judges me? Let him judge. That is their nature, just as a fly’s nature is to sit on stools. It is not for us to dwell upon others natures. It is for us to dwell upon our own flaws and continually improve on the path of Dharma.

      Om,
      Gary

      • Bikram Das

        I agree with you Gary. We should not be apologetic about idol worship which is merely a place holder of Bramhan. Various scripture described this as the starting point of spiritual evolution since our matterialistic mind and ego cannot comprehend formlessness. When a person has reached a state of consciousness thru yoga and meditation, the form disappears. It’s all about experience not just reading or talking. Although Islam and Christianity talk about formless God, they do not know how one can realize/experience the formless, all pervading (images or idols too), omniscient God.

        You cannot teach Engineering to elementary school children. Everybody is in a different stage of evolution. Therefore arguing is useless. Truth seekers will always arrive at truth. Even if all Hindus disappear, still the eternal knowledge and truth will pop up from nowhere. Thats why the Rishis and Sages of India only gave knowledge to those, who came to them seeking for it. In that spirit, we should serve ourselves first to experience the “Sachidananda” Bramhan and help within our capacity to those who seek for it. We don’t want to compete in the race of conversion because that’s not what Sanatana Dharma is.

        • Hindu

          Hari Om Bikram,

          The idea that there are different levels of spiritual awakening, and that teachings have to therefore carry multiple levels of depth, pervades all of Sanatana Dharma. Indeed, I would say it is one of the unique features of Sanatana Dharma, which distinguishes it from other religions.

          As you so rightly point out – nirguna Brahman is not the best start for one’s spiritual journey. Even the masters have needed visual imagery, though Brahman pervades everything. I have been a renunciate for many years now, but I cannot do without my picture of Sri Rama which I carry with me always. Mentally of course, one is aware that everything is Brahman, but to calm the mind in which we are trapped as long as we live on the causal plane, an image is a great assistance.

          Moslems have calligraphed symbols which serve them the same purpose. In the end, meditating on an attribute-less Brahman is hard except for the most exalted, and Sanatana Dharma is a path for all.

          In the Gaudiya sampradaya, one of the Goswamis has outlined 8 different levels of devotion. The first is merely to pay obeisance to a Murti, and then go off and do what one likes. The idea is that by doing something of a lower level often enough, we awaken to the next higher level. The last level is to simply feel at all times that one is an instrument of Brahman, and lose all individual ego. But how many achieve that? And even the most exalted, such as Sri Caitanya, ended his stay on earth by merging with the deity in the form of a Murti. So if Sri Caitanya had use for Murtis, then for the next 10 lifetimes, I certainly will.

          What is required is humility, and to understand that we are nothing – a speck of dust – in front of God. All else is secondary. He is a holy man who feels his insignificance. Those that argue to get their point are so far away from God, because they are still asserting their ego, which is the biggest hurdle (indeed, the only one) between us and Him/That.

          Hari Om,
          Gary

          • Hindu

            Here is the third verse from the sikhashtakam (the 8 verses of Sri Caitanya), wherein he specifies the quality of heart (the humility) of a devotee:

            “One should chant the Holy Name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the Holy Name of the Lord constantly.”

            It is *this* that takes years of practice. Not the understanding of philosophies, which anyone with a reasonable intelligence can understand in a few months. The removal of the ego, resulting in complete humility and tolerance, is what Sanatana Dharma is about. That is what takes decades, even for those who are striving daily. Every time I meet such a devotee, it is so inspiring. But of course, such people are very few.

            Hari Om,
            Gary

            • Bikram Das

              Gary,

              I can sense the spark of realization in your words. I am still at stage where I have to sense, most likely you have gone beyond your senses at times. Please accept my “Pranam”.

              • Hindu

                Hari Om Bikram,

                The only one who should get our constant Pranams is Him.

                I have been able to transcend the senses at times, but not for the prolonged periods that some do.

                The key is renunciation. Do your prayers daily, and at each prayer, just tell the Lord “whatever joys or sorrows, success or failure I witnessed, it is all at your feet. Nothing belongs to me.” It is ownership that is the cause of the problems. We own nothing, yet we believe we own everything.

                Also, it is said by the great sages, and I have witnessed it in a humble modest way, that the Lord does provide evidence to those asking with a pure and humble heart. Don’t be afraid to ask Him. He will show you signs if you have faith. Sri Krishna has said categorically in the BG that leaving all aside if you seek refuge in him, then he will be a loving friend and guide. Do not doubt him. The way He made this world is that there will always be some doubt. If He spoke from the skies, even thieves would follow, so He must remain hidden from all, but visible to the few who had faith. It is the faith that separates the true at heart from others.

                Have faith. He will not fail you.

                Hari Om,
                Gary

  11. sanjaychoudhry

    I remember an interesting story from Swami Vivekananda’s life.

    Once he was in Rajasthan as the guest of a Hindu king. The king’s prime minister was a Muslim and he soon began to needle swamiji for “idol worship” in Hinduism.

    “Why do you worship idols?” he asked. “These are nothing but a block of stone. You are simply worshiping stones and peices of wood.” Vivekananda kept tolerating him for sometime.

    Finally, he pointed to a painting of the king hanging on a wall and asked the minister to bring it to him. Vivekananda then held the painting in front of minister and told him: “spit on this.”

    The Muslim minister was horrified. He recoiled: “Are you crazy? He is my king!! You want me to spit on him?!”

    Vivekananda said: “Oh no! This is only a piece of paper with some ink. This is not the king. So spit on it.”

    The Muslim minister realised his stupidity. Vivekanda told him: “See! This is not a peice of paper. It represents the king in all his glory. It is his image. The painting represents the king even when he is absent in person. It is the same with idols. They are not merely stones and mud. They are divine images. They represent God. When you worship them, you are addressing God through them.”

    The minister apologized to him for being so stupid.

  12. Incognito

    >>>>>>>Read my comment with the date-stamp of ‘May 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm’ again.

    You fail to show where the contradiction is that you allege.

    >>>>>>>I’m not a modern-day secularist or a brown sahib. Anything but.

    You were not accused of either.
    The point was that the technique of alleging certain baseless things and then making criticisms based on those allegations is what colonial britishers used to denigrate indian culture. That is what secularists are doing now.

    >>>>>>As for the rest of your comment, sorry, can’t help you with your paranoia and attempts of guilty-by-association.

    If you are feeling guilty, it may be appropriate to do some rethinking as to why.

    >>>>>>>I just don’t find Jiddu’s words all that useful/practical or logical when it comes to living my life. He gets lost in an intellectual word soup, which may nourish some people’s souls who find it profound, but that’s not me.

    That may appear to be so to you, but that does not justify alleging Jiddu of being contradictory without supporting reason.
    This tendency to make allegations without reason may be indicative of paranoia.

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