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Other Natural Religions

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Our community now extends to the resurgent Zoroastrians of Tajikistan, Ukraine and Russia and the neo Zoroastrians in South America and elsewhere. This is their decade. The 3000th anniversary of Zoroastrian culture celebrated under the aegis of UNESCO was mooted by the Tajiks. And so our tribe increases.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Tajikistan is a nation with an Iranian population, and was Zarathusthrian.
Russia at one point in its early history was significantly Zarathushtrian, so "Ukraine and Russia" mentioned above makes sense.
South America I don't understand. What are neo-Zoroastrians?

Some photos. On p.3 of the PDF there's a black and white photo from the 1920s showing people of a Zoroastrian community in Iran (Kerman) including kids as well.
Zoroastrians (Iranians) - at least back then - had a wide range of complexions, naturally including many browns.
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Sep 7 2008, 12:55 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Sep 7 2008, 12:55 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://derafsh-kaviyani.com/english/resurgence.html

Husky these Zoroasterians look a bit wacky to me. They want to identify with Abrahamistic monotheism rather than the actual cult of zaratuShTra or the religion of ahura yasna. They are as much or even more subverted than the Hindus in their sensibilities.
<!--QuoteBegin-Hauma Hamiddha+Sep 8 2008, 02:50 AM-->QUOTE(Hauma Hamiddha @ Sep 8 2008, 02:50 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Sep 7 2008, 12:55 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Husky @ Sep 7 2008, 12:55 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://derafsh-kaviyani.com/english/resurgence.html
Husky these Zoroasterians look a bit wacky to me. They want to identify with Abrahamistic monotheism rather than the actual cult of zaratuShTra or the religion of ahura yasna. They are as much or even more subverted than the Hindus in their sensibilities.[right][snapback]87669[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Eeewwww. Ok.
Though that page didn't seem to mention christianism, or maybe I overlooked the essential paragraphs.

The PDF link (the one with the photo from the 1920s) only mentions christianism in the same way Hindus used to do: Hindus do so-and-so, similar to how christians do something-else. That is, to compare a less well-known tradition to one better known to the rest of the world. I certainly could never abide by such comparisons that demote Natural Traditions; but, predictably after christoBritish contact, Hindus always tried to justify our ways with reference to what they imagined were similar ways in christianism.

Derafsh Kavyani I did find confused on several issues. Back when they had an English language thread in their forums, many missionary types donning Iranian names used to come in and do their gawd-peddling. Iranians from America and UK who imagined they were now Mazdean just by willing it (while knowing barely anything about the tradition actually, since they were making comparisons with the christoterrorist ideology) started becoming uppity as well vis-a-vis ancient Arabians. It was christoconditioning.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"For zeal to do all that is in one's power is, in truth, a proof of piety." - Julian<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"The first thing we ought to preach is reverence toward the gods. For it is fitting that we should perform our service to the gods as though they were themselves present with us and beheld us, and though not seen by us could direct their gaze, which is more powerful than any light, even as far as our hidden thoughts."
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Antiochean philosopher <b>Libanius</b> (?-393) author of discourses and letters that constitute the greater source of information on the oriental part of the Roman empire in the IV century. He was <b>friend of Julian</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Assuming it's the same Libanius here:
(And is he the same as the Libanius who wrote Pro Templis? - Timeframe matches, profession of speaker matches too...)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->As the Greek rhetorician <b>Libanius described Julian's conversion</b>,
"He met with people who were steeped with the learning of Plato, and he learned of gods and spirits and the real creators and saviors of the whole universe; he gained knowledge of the nature of the soul, its origin and destination, the causes of its glory and elevation, and of its ruin and debasement: he discovered its bondage and its freedom, and the means to avoid the one and attain the other, and he washed a sour story clean with sweet discourse, casting out all that earlier nonsense and in in it's place introducing into his soul the beauty of truth."

This vision of a restored Hellenism and a true love of the gods guided Julian through numerous dangers and challenges. When he became Emperor of Rome he immediately sought to bring to life this vision of spiritual renewal, a restoration of the balance between Hellenism and Romanitas that would bring peace and prosperity both to the state and to it's Citizens. As Plymnia Athanassiadi expressed it in her book, "Julian an Intellectual Biography",

"For him <b>true paideia (learning) means an understanding of the Graeco-Roman cultural tradition</b> in all its aspects and implications; only through this knowledge can man hope to begin to know himself, and thus ultimately be led to union with the divine. <b>Like all truly great human achievements, Graeco-Roman culture is for Julian the product of divine revelation...Thanks to the revelation of Apollo-Helios the Greeks developed an admirable religious, philosophical and artistic tradition which their kinsmen, the Romans, were to perfect by enriching it with the best political constitution the world had known... For Julian, the sanctity of Greek culture was ensured by the fact that Apollo-Helios</b>, the patron of culture and the god of truth, acted as the teacher of humanity and, in special cases, could also bestow his divine grace through instant illumination."

Julian himself had experienced this illumination. He discovered not only that the Classical tradition was a continuous and living spiritual force, but that the gods *are* eternal and even if forgotten by a confused and disgraced populace, are still present and willing to share their blessings with those who recognize and honor them. Julian's vision was one of renewal - he worked to train priests, to rebuild temples, to reinstitute ancient rites. He did not shy away from debate, discussion and teaching, and his two most spiritually profound works, "Hymn to Helios" and "Hymn to the Mother of the Gods" are still unsurpassed as theurgic expositions reflecting the highest spirit of devitional Neoplatonism. In Libanius words,

"He divided his life into care for the state and devotion to the altars, associating with the gods in countless initiations, mourning for our desecrated temples, when mourning was all that he could do, but then, when the opportunity came, taking up arms for them. He restored the ruined temples to their places, and he restored their ritual back to them and all others: he brought back, as it were from exile, sacrifice and libation, and renewed the festivals that had fallen into abeyance. He did away with the danger that was attached to the worship of higher powers, never allowed his intellect to be diverted from his consideration of the gods, dispersed the mist that enveloped so many, and would have done the same for us all, had he not been untimely taken from us."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Now where's history's Rewind button that his murder and all the subsequent/consequent horrors may have been prevented.

Somewhere above:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Pagan Romans listed above were philosophers and/or natural traditionalists and at least some of them like Julian and possibly Aurelius had wives<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Aurelius was married to one Faustina. Resort to google to find the source of the following quoteblock - I don't have it here in my text file. It may be christianism.com
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Many coins issued in the name of Annia Galeria Faustina the wife of Antoninus Pius, and by Marcus Aurelius (A.C. 161—180), and in the name of his wife Annia Faustina<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

EDITED: Added bold emphasis to Plymnia Athanassiadi's statements on Julian and on the obvious Source of Greco-Roman Culture.
^ Statements by and about Julian

Don't know if these belong here.

Have different excerpts on Greece and Rome here in a text file that are marked as coming from christianism.com (possibly some come from elsewhere). Though none of this is really stored in any organised form, have put them into some makeshift categories for the purposes of posting here.

Thoughts on death and suicide in Rome and Greece:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"We do not fear death, but the thought [mental horror vacui? (see 2897-2898)] of death" (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters, 63).
"Death is such that, like birth, it is a mystery of nature" (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, c. 170).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[footnote] "2This tendency to suicide began with the cynics, one of whose most noted disciples, Diogenes, caused his death by suffocation (Diogenes Laert, Life of Diogenes, xi.), and Stilpo, his favorite disciple, also destroyed himself, as did also his colleagues Onesicratus, Metrocles, and Menippus. Demonax, a cynic, also ended his life because he had outlived authority. Peregrinus, of the same school, burnt himself alive.
The stoic heirs of the cynic school were the first to erect suicide into a dogma, and create an enthusiasm for it. Many stoics committed suicide under circumstances which show how little regard they had for life. Their founder, Zeno, took his own life. His successor, Cleanthes, showed an equal contempt for life. Diodorus cut his throat, Cassius fell by his own dagger, Pomponius Atticus, Cicero's friend, starved himself to death. Nearly all of these crimes were committed to escape some real or imaginary evil, mostly the dread of imperial vengeance; many that their estates might be saved to their heirs, a provision of Roman law.--Cf. Suicide, Studies on its Philosophy, Causes, and Prevention, by James J. O'Dea, M.D. (New York, 1882), p. 50, etc." [156]. [See: Appendix VII, 784 (van Hooff)]. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[footnote (not referenced above)] '1Every true disciple of the Stoa [see 1240-1241] believed that it was his privilege to embrace death "when no higher duties bound him to life," and in his morality and high sense of honor the stoic is in advance of all his contemporaries and has been from the establishment of his philosophy to the present. "To a reasonable creature," says Epictetus [c. 55 - c. 135 C.E.], "that alone is insupportable which is unreasonable; but everything reasonable may be supported. See how the Spartans bear whipping after they have reduced it to reason. Hanging is not insupportable; for as soon as a man has taken it into his head that it is reasonable, he goes and hangs himself." "God be thanked," says Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], "that no one can be forced to live longer than he desires." Among all the stoics, whether Greek or Roman, Seneca was preeminent as an advocate of suicide. He did not content himself with reserving it for desperate emergencies; he advised it for almost any evil. "Does life please you," he says, "live on."

Epictetus could feel no sympathy with a life full of murmurings. "Either live contentedly," said he, "or be gone; at all events, don't live a life of peevish complainings. The door is open; go if you do not wish to suffer, but if you choose to stay, don't complain."

<b>Marcus Aurelius [Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)] declared "that a man was the arbiter of his own life."</b> Cicero is made the exponent of the sentiment, "To depart out of this life when it no longer pleases." Cato approved of suicide as a means of escaping personal humiliation and enhancing personal dignity. The elder Pliny vaunted man's superiority to the gods in that he may die when it pleases him.

Themistocles [c. 524 - c. 460 B.C.E.] committed suicide, as did Diogenes, Menedemus (successor of Stilpo), Onesicratus, Metrocles, Menippus, Italicus Demonax, Perigrinus, Diodorus, and Cassius.--Suicide, Studies on its Philosophy, Causes, etc., by James O'Dea, M.D. (New York, 1882), p. 30.' [301-302].
[See: Appendix VII, 784 (van Hooff)].<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Ouch. OK, now let's not overdo it. How did this contribute to my having read somewhere the factbite that the avg lifespan of the Roman male was about 32 or was it 34... Don't know the period of Roman history to which this estimate applied, though.

Seneca's reasoning and that of Epictetus I do understand. Epictetus' is in fact quite memorable "If you choose to stay, don't complain". <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> Have to remember that one.

Never did understand christians terrorising everyone else when it came to suicide (isn't suicide considered a cardinal 'sin' or something), all while taking it upon themselves to murder heretics and heathens.

Personal opinion, based on the Japanese saying(?) "Only Death Cures Stupidity", is that all terrorists should kill themselves (without taking innocents along for the ride, of course). One could therefore argue - and quite reasonably so - that, in certain circumstances at least, I actively <i>encourage</i> suicide.

Don't see why good people had to go about taking their own lives, though. For what? So they can leave the world to villains? 'Tis why we're all in this mess in the first place: useful people playing fast and reckless with their lives. If people <i>will</i> choose to go, why not take one or more terrorist villains with them? Be useful in life <i>and</i> in dying.
^ Greco-Romans on "voluntary retirement" (in its life-and-death meaning)

All following excerpts seem to be from http://christianism.com

Marcus considered himself a Stoic, but was apparently an Epicurean:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->During the lifetime of Epicurus and his three colleagues the chief competitors and adversaries were the Platonists and Peripatetics.
During the last two centuries B.C. the chief competitors and adversaries were the Stoics.
With the death of Cicero in 43 B.C. the stage of controversy came to an end, and after the turn of the century [first century C.E.] the process of syncretism was accelerated. This was the work of Stoics, and the chief names are those of Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"SENECA...DISSEMINATED EPICUREAN TEACHINGS UNDER THE BANNER OF STOICISM.87 [see 1602, 1603, 1604]" [315].<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By the time of Marcus Aurelius [Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)] they [Stoics] had incorporated so much of Epicureanism into their teachings that the guileless emperor in his Meditations is not even aware when he is voicing the precepts of the anonymous philosopher. Often only the label is Stoic. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Two interesting things:
1. Real roots of True Humanism and Secularism (as opposed to the fake christo-conditioned kind we see today and which is claimed as a product of enlightenment and which the holy-moly church says christoterrorism gave rise to).

2. The principles of free society in the west - not invented by founders of America but first proclaimed and implemented by the usual.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->'"Nature endears man to man."1 ["1Cicero." [106 - 43 B.C.E.]]

It was Cicero who first [?] uttered the word "Humanitas." With him there was no Jew or gentile, no Greek or barbarian. It was he who pronounced the immortal words, "Charitas Generis Humanae" and "Totius Complexus Gentis Humanae." He [Cicero] had no classification,--no sinners, no saints, no heirs of glory, or inheritors of damnation.4

"The world is my country."2 ["2Seneca." [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]]

"To do good my religion."1 ["1Thomas Paine." [1737 - 1809]]' [55-56].
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Actually Paine first repeated Seneca's line and thereafter the one on "doing good is my religio". See further below.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[footnote (not referenced above)] '2How much the ethics of stoicism, as known in later times, was due to Zeno [Zeno of Citium c. 335 - c. 263 B.C.E.], the great master and founder of Greek stoicism, we do not know.--See The Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics (E. Zeller, London, 1870). He came to Athens from Cyprus after the conquest of Alexander, and established his school in the poecile stoa [see below]; he was a faithful and worthy successor of Socrates and Stilpo.--Reign of the Stoics (Holland, 1879). "The true philosopher," said Zeno, "is ever ready to serve the state."--Zeno in Seneca's Dialogues. He also declared "that he did not contend for his own liberty--not himself to live free, but to live among freemen."--John Stuart Mill on Liberty, 1874; Cato [?] on Seneca's [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] Epistles [?]. "I am human," said he, "therefore, no man is a stranger [echoes of Terence c. 190 - 159? B.C.E. "I am a man, I count nothing human foreign to me." (Ox. Dict. Quotations)]." Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>"Secularists. Secularism."</b>
'The founder of popular secularism in England seems to have been Mr George Jacob Holyoake, who formulated the system while imprisoned, with his friend Mr Charles Southwell, for blasphemy in 1841-1842. But such belief is as old as Confucius in China, and lay at the root of the Stoik philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. It was voiced in the life-long cry of <b>Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion."</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Paine has doubled Seneca's statement there.

While that Christian Heritage site on christoterrorism's genocides of native Americans shows how the idea of "United States" was based off the native American system of their United Nations, the remainder of the ideas can be traced back to here:
Can we believe a being of infinite mercy gave this command: "Put every man his sword by his side; go from the gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. Consecrate it, yourselves this day. Let every man lay his sword even upon his son, upon his brother, that he bestow blessing upon Me this day." Surely that was not the outcome of a great, magnanimous spirit, like that of the Roman emperor, who declared: "I had rather keep a single Roman citizen alive than slay a thousand enemies." Compare the last command given to the children of Israel with <b>the words of Marcus Aurelius: "I have formed an ideal of the State, in which there is the same law for all, and equal rights and equal liberty of speech established for all</b>--an Empire where <b>nothing is honored so much as the freedom of the citizens</b>." I am on the side of the Roman emperor.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"Epicurus rebelled against the highly regimented polity of Plato's Republic and the Laws and advocated instead a minimum of government. The function of government, he believed, was to guarantee the safety of the individual. This doctrine was anonymously revived by John Locke and espoused by Thomas Jefferson, who was an avowed Epicurean. It is consequently not surprising that Safety and Happiness, catchwords of Epicurus, should be named in the Declaration of Independence as the ends of government. Neither is it surprising that the same document should mention Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; these concepts also are Epicurean....

In the main stream of prose and poetry it [EPICUREANISM] OFTEN SURVIVES UNDER STOIC LABELS. In the terminology and thought of religion it survives in spite of the obliviousness of New Testament scholars. In politics it has been a dominant, though nameless, influence ever since the succession of modern philosophers was started by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke during the brief vogue of Epicureanism in the Restoration period. In North America the Epicurean doctrine that the least government is the best government was virtually made to order for the circumstances of the Revolution, even if not a single Jeffersonian democrat was ever aware of its origin." [35]. [End of Chapter 1 ("A Synoptic View of Epicureanism" (see 1529))]. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
America ain't the land of the free. And it's certainly not an original, contrary to its common modern pretence aka delusions of grandeur. Copycatting without (properly or clearly) attributing the source is called plagiarism. Ergo, America is itself a plagiarism. <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo--> And a failed one at that. Tsk, tsk. Spilled milk and all.

But self-deluding desperado Dinace Da Sauce <i>will</i> keep advertising his ignorance by writing that it was the christowest that 'ended slavery' and invented all the grand things that their real authors - them heathen Greco-Romans - had done almost 2 millennia prior.
Oh but yes, I know: we must spare Two Hoots For KKKolonialism.

And psecular ignorants in India <i>will</i> fawn over America like it's The Great Idea.
No - they're pirated ideas, and what's worse - badly executed ones. Still, there's all this annoying howling for implementing the christo American brand of secularism in India and whining for introducing fake progressive modernism in India.
If we're *going* to be copying people, can't we copy from the originals who at least had a clue as to what they were doing. (Not advocating wholesale copying, since there's a lot in our own history that Bharatam may find useful to pursue and reimplement as well, and which may work out better for its situation.)

Whenever Indian christoists say "christo American ideal" this or that, don't know why Hindus don't retort with the obvious facts: "Nah. It was the Greco-Roman Traditionalists that came up with it. How could christoism *ever* have? All they could do was destroy Rome." And then ref Gibbon with his Decline and Fall of Roma, and ref McCabe or someone like that.
juliansociety, that's great.

BTW Husky, have you read the historical novel by Gore Vidal? Its called Julian. Very well researched and presented. Highly recommended.
<!--QuoteBegin-Pandyan+Sep 28 2008, 06:37 PM-->QUOTE(Pandyan @ Sep 28 2008, 06:37 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->juliansociety, that's great.

BTW Husky, have you read the historical novel by Gore Vidal? Its called Julian. Very well researched and presented. Highly recommended.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I frantically looked for it in the library here just this last week. No dice so far. But had asked my sister if she'll get me a copy in case I can't find it in the uni library either. Ishwar Sharan had mentioned it on his site, and I wonder that it's taken this long for me to get it into my head to pick up the book.

Thanks for the recommendation.
Most - possibly all - excerpts in this post are from christianism.com.

Modern western rationalists like to present all of the learned Greco-Romans (including at least one of the two only philosopher-emperors of Rome - Marcus and Julianus) as "rational" to the core, in a bid to thus make themselves the heirs to/descendants of philosophy and more importantly the origins of ('European') rational thought and science of inquiry. (What 'Europe' existed back then, is another question.)

Yet in reality, many of those historic people were just your average Greco-Romans:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[footnote (not referenced above)] '4Pagan antiquity, says Lecky [W.E.H. Lecky 1838 - 1903], has left us no grander example than that of <b>Epictetus</b> [c. 55 - c. 135], who, while sounding the very abyss of human misery, and looking forward to death as simple decomposition, was yet so filled with a sense of divine presence that his life was one continued hymn to Providence. <b>The great stoic himself says, "What else can I do, a lame old man, but sing hymns to the gods?"</b>--Reign of the Stoics, p. 32.' [51].<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Down to the Christian era the fear of magic rarely led to any persecution very systematic or very cruel. While in Greece and Rome laws were at times enacted against magicians, they were only occasionally enforced with rigour, and finally, toward the end of the pagan empire, the feeling against them seemed dying out altogether. <b>As to its more kindly phases, men like Marcus Aurelius and Julian did not hesitate to consult those who claimed to foretell the future.</b> As to black magic, it seemed hardly worth while to enact severe laws, when charms, amulets, and even gestures could thwart its worst machinations.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[footnote (not referenced above)] '2Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, and the stoics considered the daemons to be physical beings; that the heroes are souls separated from the bodies; some are good, some are bad, and the bad those whose souls are worthless.--Plutarch, Sentiments which Delighted Philosophers, i. 8. "The great mind of Zeus who loveth men disposeth for thee, the Demon."--Pindar Pyth., v. 164. "Men are good and wise as the Demon orders."--Olympia, xi. 41. Cf. Plutarch, Discourse Concerning the Demon of Socrates, ii. 4.' [289].<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Then, when the modern western secular 'rational' people find out that there was all this sort of 'stuff' going on among many philosophers (I have no comment either way, so not using the word 'superstition'), they turn around and try to knock the people they had set up as their idols:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The STOICS bestowed many magnificent and even impious epithets on their sage; that he alone was rich, free, a king, and equal to the immortal gods. They forgot to add, that he was not inferior in prudence and understanding to an old woman. For surely nothing can be more pitiful than the sentiments, which that sect entertained with regard to religious matters; while they seriously agree with the common augurs, that, when a raven croaks from the left, it is a good omen; but a bad one, when a rook makes a noise from the same quarter. PANAETIUS was the only STOIC, among the GREEKS, who so much as doubted with regard to auguries and divinations.[76] MARCUS ANTONINUS[77] tells us, that he himself had received many admonitions from the gods in his sleep. It is true, EPICTETUS[78] forbids us to regard the language of rooks and ravens; but it is not, that they do not speak truth: It is only, because they can foretel nothing but the breaking of our neck or the forfeiture of our estate; which are circumstances, says he, that nowise concern us. Thus the STOICS join a philosophical enthusiasm to a religious superstition. The force of their mind, being all turned to the side of morals, unbent itself in that of religion.[79]
[77]Marcus Aurelius Antonius, Meditations, Bk. I, Ch. 17,<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Afijn, before someone thinks I am knocking oracles or divination or something or other - I make it a point not to have an opinion on these matters (it's stuff I don't know about and not really interested in). Still, in their defense, at least here's a Greek (or Roman) who was proven right in his foresightedness, so possibly some may have been genuine:
On 27th February, Christianity becomes the exclusive religion of the Roman Empire by an edict of Emperor Flavius Theodosius, requiring that "all the various nations, which are subject to our clemency and moderation should continue in the profession of that religion, which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter". Non-christians are called "loathsome, heretics, stupid and blind". In another edict Theodosius calls "insane" those that do not believe in the christian god and outlaws all disagreements with the Church dogmas. Ambrosius, bishop of Milan, starts destroying all the Pagan Temples of his area. <b>Christian priests lead the mob against the Temple of Goddess Demeter in Eleusis and try to lynch the hierophants Nestorius and Priskus. The 95 year-old hierophant Nestorius, ends the Eleusinian Mysteries and announces the predominance of mental darkness over the human race.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->"mental darkness over the human race" - No kidding.

Apparently even McCabe starts judging people with respect to what they understood. In the following excerpt, am in agreement with McCabe in the first para. In the second para, however, he thinks his own views disprove Aristotle's and Plato's. Where these differed from McCabe's own views, he finds they were "leading human thought astray" - hmmm, maybe McCabe still had some remnant of the monotheistic tendency ("I'm Right Just Because"), in spite of his deconversion from christianism into atheism. But then modern western atheism is actually a negation of the christian worldview even while it yet lives inside the christian worldview and consequently works by christian rules - as I think Dhu had earlier explained with reference to the "His Dark Materials" books (Golden Compass, Subtle Knife, etcetera).
No, no, I'm not picking on McCabe.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In fact, they prove in another way a truth which I have previously established: that a man's philosophy of life, whether materialist or spiritualist, religious or non-religious, makes no difference to his moral ideal. The materialist Democritus had as lofty sentiments as the mystic Pythagoras or the spiritual Plato. The skeptical Alcidamas, a Sophist and Agnostic, was the first man to denounce slavery; hundreds of years before anybody discovered that it was condemned by Christian principles. The Agnostic Epicurus had as sane and sober a conception of character as the Theistic Aristotle. Morality is a human matter. It has its roots in human experience, not in speculation.

I have said the "Theistic Aristotle," but that great thinker was far less mystic than Plato. His god, or Supreme Mind, was unconscious of sublunary matters, and therefore not a universal providence or a creator. Nor did he believe in personal immortality. His system of thought is one of the most learned and original ever given to the world. He summarized all the science of his time, and he made a science of ethics and politics. Unfortunately, he was also a metaphysician. He thought that besides our knowledge of nature (ta physica) it was possible to get a knowledge of things beyond the physical (ta meta ta physics, or metaphysics), and these were more important and more worthy of the mind. In that sense Aristotle, though for his time a great scientific man, joined Plato in leading human thought astray.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
^ Western 'Rationalism' Strikes Back at the Empire

Marcus Aurelius acknowledges an Apollonius in his Meditations - IIRC from what I read, it was an Apollonius of Nicomedia who taught Marcus.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Marcus Aurelius [Roman Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)] had had a similar chapel, in which he kept statues of his teachers; see Marc., iii. 5."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Hindus have a lot in common, in terms of reverence for teachers. Nice to know there were many normal people all over the world once upon a time.
Both excerpts from http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/toj/toj04.htm

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The EMPEROR JULIAN'S ORATION to the MOTHER OF THE GODS</b>

But what will be the end of this discourse? Is it not evident that it should close with a hymn to the mighty goddess!

A mother of gods and men! O assistant and partner in the throne of mighty Jupiter! O fountain of the intellectual gods! O thou whose nature concurs with the uncontaminated essences of intelligibles, and who, receiving a common cause from all intelligibles, dost impart it to intellectual natures! Vivific goddess, Counsel and Providence, and the fabricator of our souls! O thou who didst love the mighty Bacchus, who didst preserve the castrated Attis, and when he had fallen into the cavern of earth, didst again lead him upwards to his pristine abode! O thou who art the leader of every good to the intellectual gods, with which thou dost likewise fill this sensible world, and who dost impart to us all possible good in every thing belonging to our nature! Graciously bestow upon all men felicity, the summit of which is the knowledge of the gods: but especially grant to the Roman people in common, that they may wipe away the stains of their impiety; and that they may be blessed with prosperous fortune, which, in conjunction with them, may govern the empire for many thousands

p. 144

of years. But with respect to myself, may the fruit of my cultivation of thy divinity be the possession of truth in dogmata concerning the gods, perfection in Theurgy, in all the actions which I shall undertake, both political and military, virtue, in conjunction with good fortune; and lastly a departure from the present life without pain, and attended with glory, together with good hope of a progression to thy divinity.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
On GrecoRomans' <b>Vigrahas</b> and their purpose:
(The person called Sallust, who is mentioned below, may even be the person of the same name who was a comrade of Julian)
102:1 To believe that the statues of the gods, such as they were fabricated by the ancients, participated of a divine influence, as much as the substances from which they were composed is capable of admitting, must appear ridiculous to every one who is ignorant that the construction of these statues was the result of the most consummate theological science, and that from their apt resemblance to divine natures they became participants of divine illumination. For, as Sallust well observes, in his treatise On the Gods and the World, (chap. 15) "As the providence of the gods is every where extended, a certain habitude or fitness is all that is requisite in order to receive their beneficent communications. But all habitude is produced through imitation and similitude; and hence temples imitate the heavens, but altars the earth; statues resemble life, and on this account they are similar to animals; and prayers imitate that which is intellectual; but characters, superior ineffable powers; herbs and stones resemble matter; and animals which are sacrificed the irrational life of our souls." Statues therefore, through their habitude or fitness, conjoin the souls of those who pray to them with the gods themselves: and when we view the ancient mode of worshiping images in this light, we shall find it equally as rational as any other mode of conduct in which a certain end is proposed to be obtained by legitimate means.

p. 103

Some of these statues were called Diopeteis, or such as descended from heaven, "because, (says Jamblichus apud Phot. p. 554) the occult art by which they were fabricated by human hands was inconspicuous." And we are informed by Proclus on Euclid, in his comment on the definition of Figure, "that this occult or theurgic art fashioned some of the resemblances of the gods, by characters, in an ineffable manner; for characters of this kind manifest the unknown powers of the gods: but others it imitated by forms and images; fashioning some of them erect and others sitting; and some similar to a heart, but others spherical; and others it expressed by different figures. And, again, some it fabricated of a simple form, but others it composed from a multitude of forms; and some of these were sacred and venerable, but others domestic, exhibiting the peculiar gentleness of the gods: and some it constructed of a severe aspect; and lastly, attributed to others different symbols, according to the similitude and sympathy pertaining to the gods." Let not the reader, however, confound this scientific worship of the ancients with the filthy piety, as Proclus in his hymn to the Muses justly calls it, of the Catholics: for it is surely one thing to worship the images of those giant-like Barbarians called Saints, and another to reverence the resemblances of divinity; since the former conduct is horridly impious and full of delusion and insanity; but the latter is beautifully pious, is replete with real good, and is divinely wise.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->It all sounds very Hindu to me. But that's the thing: <b>it is christoislamism that is the oddity</b>, has ever been the oddity. Yet they're making Hindus forget that.

More. Not sure if these were pasted earlier by anyone:
1. http://www.juliansociety.org/bookstore.htm
Links to books containing translations of what remain of his works
2. http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/toj/toj01.htm
5 pages. Keep pressing the link labelled Next.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->TWO ORATIONS of the EMPEROR JULIAN
one to the SOVEREIGN SUN
and the other to the MOTHER OF THE GODS;

Translated from the Greek

And a copious introduction, in which some of the greatest arcana of the Grecian theology are unfolded.
[by Thomas Taylor (1758-1835)]
Continued from above.

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Oct 10 2008, 01:16 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Oct 10 2008, 01:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/toj/toj04.htm
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The EMPEROR JULIAN'S ORATION to the MOTHER OF THE GODS</b>
Graciously bestow upon all men felicity, the summit of which is the knowledge of the gods: but especially grant to the Roman people in common, that they may wipe away the stains of their impiety;<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]89019[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->The following is interesting - it's a different translation of this same statement, but from a christian site about the 'fathers of the church':
www.tertullian.org/fathers/julian_apostate_2_mother.htm - emphases as in original
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Grant unto all men happiness, of which the sum and substance is the <i>knowledge of the gods</i>; and to the Roman people universally, first and foremost to wash away from themselves the stain of <i>atheism</i>,37

37.  By the complete eradication of Christianity, the denial of <i>his</i> gods.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->That is, in this translation, 'atheism' is equated with 'christianism' (while it was translated as 'impiety' in the first quoteblock).
It could be that this christian site thinks that everything revolves around them (centre of the universe delusion) and that therefore Julian must also have been referring to them with this statement. On the other hand, it is still possible that Julian in this instance did in fact refer to them. I can understand how impiety=christianism in the Greco-Roman world. And it is no secret that Julian wanted to remove the terror that is christianism from the globe.
This is very nice. Youtube video.
Looks like Hong Kong Buddhists who are proud of their Buddhism and putting up videos to show it.

<b>Former Miss HK is buddhist beauty</b>
Video description:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From: scmp888

Thousands of Hongkongers have lost money during the financial meltdown, but former beauty queen and singing star Cally Kwong Mei-wan is not among them. She left the market last year when prices were climbing but had not peaked.

<b>A devout Buddhist and philanthropist, Ms Kwong uses the principles of her religion to guide her</b> through the treacherous shoals of the investment world.

Ms Kwong is an example of Hong Kong's growing number of philanthropists, at ease in talking of the material as well as spiritual side of being wealthy. More than just a pretty face, she has made a fortune through clever investment and has given much of it away.

Interview in Cantonese with English subtitles.
Category:  News & Politics
buddhism  buddhist</b>  cally  former  hong  kong  kwong  mei  miss  money  <b>philanthropist  philanthropy</b>  scmp  wan  wealth
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Oh come on, click on it. She's lovely IMO.

I absolutely love how they start the video with:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Cally Kwong Mei-wan,
a successful entrepreneur, singer
and former Miss Hong Kong,
shares her views on
the financial crisis.

<b>Ms Kwong is also a
devout Buddhist</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> (The beautiful Zhang Zi Yi and Michelle Yeoh are also devout Buddhists.)

In the middle of it, the subtitles to her speaking reads:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Through Buddhism I also learned to not be so selfish and materialistic
and it has so much resonance now that the markets are in such bad shape.
Money truly isn't everything and it certainly isn't that easy to earn.
Those who earn a lot of money ought to do more charity work.
After all, we can't bring our money into the afterlife.
Someone who spends their life accumulating so much wealth
will eventually have to depart from this world.
So why not use your excess money to help those less fortunate.
I believe it is a very fulfilling way to spend one's money.

I think happiness is more important than money.
Then again what constitutes as being rich or not rich?
Each and every one of us is capable of finding happiness.
What's important is being in the right state of mind.
A wealthy person is not always necessarily happy.
Whereas a relatively not so rich person who has good health or a loving family
or does volunteer work can be just as happy.

Money can't always buy you happiness.
The real task is to know what you want in order to lead a fulfilling life.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->So different from the annoying christian characters who are always trying to do a one-upmanship on how they donate 'so much more money' than other people.

The contrast with the Bauddha Miss HK is stark: she doesn't try to score points like the christos with their "my christianism makes me a better person than you". (Although, if she ever <i>were</i> to say "my Buddhism makes me a better person than christos", she would be absolutely right.)
Being Buddhist, she simply says something very universal yet personal like "Someone who spends their life accumulating so much wealth will eventually have to depart from this world. So why not use your excess money to help those less fortunate. I believe it is a very fulfilling way to spend one's money." Very like my Taiwanese Bauddha friend. They never brag, they just do <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> and you never know it unless you ask them (or interview them, as above).

I like this sort of active promotion of Bauddha Dharma. Whoever posted this youtube video may have partly done it in response to the annoying number of christian braggarts out there who regularly like to boast about 'pretty' christians doing charity (Indian christians are also notorious for bragging in vain in this manner). But missionizing money is not charity - World Vision and other christoterror orgs is not charity - that's funding terrorism. Theirs is money that buys death (of persons, communities and natural traditions), instead of sustaining life for life's sake. Theirs is money used to intrude on and invade others - for the selfish purpose of conversion, unlike Natural Traditionalist orgs that try to improve the welfare of their own and any others that are in need, for no other end than that. A world of difference.
This is good news. In this era of globalisation and European unionising, Greenland votes to be free:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Greenland Votes for Independence</b>
Greenland, the world's largest island, has voted overwhelmingly for independence. They are finally taking the bold steps necessary to achieve independence from European rule. While their population numbers in the mere tens of thousands, the natural resource wealth of their budding nation will open up tremendous opportunities for them in the future. Hopefully India will reach out to this fellow developing nation and facilitate its entry into the international community.
Posted by san at 11/26/2008 05:29:00 AM 1 comments
Labels: europe, global economy

<b>nizhal yoddha said...</b>

    most interesting. the indigenous peoples are now hitting the white guys were it hurts, i take it. bolivia did it first, electing morales -- a native american -- with a thumping majority. now the inuit are getting their act together too. india should (but won't) immediately offer its solidarity with the oppressed native populations of the world.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Greenland votes massively in favour of self-rule</b>

1 day ago

NUUK, Greenland (AFP) — Greenland voted massively in favour of self-rule in a referendum that paves the way for independence from Denmark and gives it rights to lucrative Arctic resources, final results showed.

A total of 75.54 percent voted "yes" to greater autonomy, while 23.57 percent said "no."

A self-rule proposal hammered out with Denmark earlier this year gives Greenland, which was granted semi-autonomy from Copenhagen in 1979, rights to potentially lucrative Arctic resources, as well as control over justice and police affairs and, to a certain extent, foreign affairs.

The new status will take effect on June 21, 2009.

The head of the local government Hans Enoksen hailed the outcome in an emotional televised address.

"I say thank you to the people of Greenland for this overwhelming result. Greenland has been given a mandate to take another step" toward independence, he said.

In Nuuk, the capital that is home to a quarter of the island's 57,000-strong population, fireworks lit up the night sky even before the final results were announced.

Opinion polls prior to the referendum had suggested the result would be a clear "yes."

Anne Sofie Fisker, a voter in her 60s, was prophetic as she left a Nuuk polling station earlier in the day. "It's a day to celebrate, a historic day, one that I have waited for for years and years," she told AFP.

"It was time for us for to regain our rights and freedoms that were stolen from our ancestors, a people of free and proud hunters whose lands were colonised" by Denmark 300 years ago, said David Brandt, a former fisherman.

Others however, including Johannes Mathiassen, feared the self-rule "is too early, and the country is not ready to assume these new responsibilities."

There are potentially lucrative revenues from natural resources under Greenland's seabed, which according to international experts is home to large oil and gas deposits.

Melting ice in the Arctic owing to climate change could make the region more accessible to exploration in the future.

The countries ringing the Arctic Ocean -- Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States -- are currently competing over territorial claims in the region and Greenland is keen to garner its share.

A Danish-Greenlandic commission that studied which policy fields would be transferred to the local government in Nuuk in the event of self-rule proposed among other things that "the revenues from activities related to raw materials be distributed to Greenland" in return for reducing annual subsidies from Copenhagen.

<b>"Self-rule will bring with it only good things for Greenland,"</b> said Lars-Emil Johansen, who was prime minister of the island from 1991 to 1997 and who helped bring about its semi-autonomous status in 1979.

Home to the US Thule radar base, Greenland will also with its new status be consulted on foreign and defence policy, which are now decided by Copenhagen, but Nuuk would not have the final say and little is expected to change in that area.

Greenlanders, who voted to withdraw from the European Union in a 1982 referendum, will be also be recognised as a distinct people in line with international law, and Greenlandic will be recognised as the official language.

Most of the parties in the local parliament were in favour of self-rule, but a fringe movement, backed by a single political party, the Democrats, had opposed it.

"With such a tiny population it is impossible to provide the human contributions needed to turn Greenland into a modern and independent state," politician Finn Lyng said.

With its 2.1-million square kilometre (840,000 square mile) surface, 80 percent of which is covered by ice, Greenland is the world's largest island and contains 10 percent of the world's fresh water reserves.

It counts 57,000 inhabitants, 50,000 of whom are native Inuits.

In 2007, the territory received subsidies of 3.2 billion kroner (432 million euros, 540 million dollars) from Denmark, or about 30 percent of its gross domestic product.

The local government said 71.96 percent of the island's 39,000 eligible voters had cast ballots.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->If they vote for total independence from christoism, they will finally be completely free.
<b>Little Nezha Fights Great Dragon Kings</b>
Chinese <b>animation</b> "Nezha Nao Hai (1979)", about heroic child <b>God from Taoism and Chinese/Japanese Buddhism</b>

BBC's <b>English dub</b> (with a Japanese voice cast I think) on Youtube over 7 parts - very beautiful and moving film:
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iZ-fz8Xk...re=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-kXIpur0...re=related
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43WJsiH9a...re=related
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du_VU4lCX...re=related
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8THpvyba3...re=related
6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-tCf42jI...re=related
7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZP90dauA...re=related

If you haven't seen it, it's highly recommended:
Very profound film with deep insights - perfect for all ages. Kids also universally love it, making this exceptionally suitable for any Hindus/Natural Traditionalists with children. Note that while at one point the wonderful little Nezha is unfortunately forced to take its own life in order to save his country and other children, it is reborn more powerful and fights off the baddies. All ends well. Children don't mind this sort of thing, my sis and I never did when we were little.
The animation is very fluid: movements are very graceful. And the little multi-armed and multi-headed Nezha's fighting the dragons at the end is very cool no matter what your age.

What wacky currently says about this God:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Nezha (deity)</b>
Nezha or Na Zha (Chinese: 哪吒; pinyin: Nézhā; Japanese: Nataku or Nata) is a deity, the enfant terrible trickster, originally of Chinese mythology, though in the West he is perhaps more well known from Japanese anime. His official <b>Taoist deity</b> name is Zhongtan Yuanshuai (中壇元帥) or Nezha Qiansui (哪吒千歲).

Nezha is often depicted flying in the sky with a wheel of fire under each foot, a golden hoop, the "cosmic ring", around his shoulder and a spear in his hands. Sometimes he is given multiple arms. Nezha is usually depicted as a youth and rarely as an adult.

As the third son of a military commander called Li Jing, a military leader in Chentangguan Fortress, his birth was peculiar. When his mother Lady Yin got pregnant, she waited for three years and six months to deliver the boy, but unfortunately a ball of flesh was born. His father got so angry that he split it with a sword, which caused Nezha to jump out and grow fully, even though his mind and temperament were that of a child.

After he killed Li Gen, a <b>yaksha</b>, and Ao Bing, the third son of East Sea Dragon King Ao Guang, Nezha flayed and disemboweled himself in order to save his parents that were taken hostage by Ao Guang, but was brought back to life by his master, <b>Taiyi Zhenren, a Taoist immortal sage</b> who used lotus blossoms to reconstruct a body for his soul to inhabit.[1]

Nezha's two elder brothers are also powerful warriors. The eldest is Jinzha (金吒), who is a disciple of Manjusri <b>Bodhisattva</b>, and the second eldest is Muzha (木吒), a disciple of Samantabhadra <b>Bodhisattva</b>.

<b>Some</b> traced his origins to the <b>Vedic</b> god Nalakuvara, and legend goes that he was born in the Shang dynasty<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->A photo of what's apparently a Nezha vigraham from someone's puja room:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Appearance in ancient Chinese mythology and literature</b>
Nezha has frequently appeared in Chinese Mythology and ancient Chinese Literature such as the Fengshen Yanyi (or <i>Investiture of the Gods</i>), although the story of <i>Nezha conquering the sea</i> is the most famous among Chinese households. In <i>Journey to the West</i>, Nezha was a general under the leadership of his father Li Jing. He entered into combat against Sun Wukong when the latter rebelled against the Jade Emperor, ruler of Heaven, but Nezha was beaten by Sun Wukong and had to retreat.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I think "Journey to the West" is the story of the Monkey King travelling west to India (Buddhism-related). IIRC, Sun Wukong is the Monkey King about whom there are Chinese animations as well (such as "Uproar in Heaven" and entire animated series).
Aren't you in Deutschland, Husky?


Do you understand that? It's Danish. Sounds similar to German for me.
<!--QuoteBegin-Pandyan+Dec 29 2008, 12:44 PM-->QUOTE(Pandyan @ Dec 29 2008, 12:44 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Do you understand that? It's Danish. Sounds similar to German for me.
[right][snapback]92375[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The Valhalla animation! Thanks <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Hmmm, I actually do understand some words of each sentence. And when I read the subtitles I understand *all* of it <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Pandyan+Dec 29 2008, 12:44 PM-->QUOTE(Pandyan @ Dec 29 2008, 12:44 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Aren't you in Deutschland, Husky?[right][snapback]92375[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->No, I'm not.

Some Scandinavian movies I think people will like in general:
- 13th warrior
famous movie about Vikingen, in English (American movie with some Scandinavian actors, including the beautiful Maria Bonnevie). Though there's no sight of the Gods themselves, they are at least mentioned and the characters are loyal to them
- Ronja Rauebertochter
Ronja "Robberdaughter" - it's a surname. German title of Swedish children's film about two competing bands of robbers. They're heathens, but at one point hold up some christianised urban persons. Fortunately the christian intrusion is over quickly. Don't know if all Hindus will be okay showing this to their families: it's got full-frontal male nudity when the clan of Robbers goes swimming.
- Auge des Adlers
This is the German title (Eagle's Eye) of a brilliant heroic Danish children's film, sadly set in medieval times, but the villains are christian priests <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
- Snow Queen
I saw this a long time back. Finnish movie of Andersen's tale, original title is Lumikuningatar or something.
13th Warrior is a good movie. Its an adaptation of Beowulf mixed with the story of the travels of Ibn Fadlan.
For Pandyan, Bharata and Dhu - I think you may like this. Others may find this worthwhile too, but I'm not going to guess in their case.

<b>Rurouni Kenshin: tsuioku hen</b> (Masterless Samurai Kenshin: reminiscence)
Released in English-speaking countries under the title "Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal".

<i>Not for those who are underage. Certainly <b>not for children.</b></i>
Please be aware that this contains extreme - but not misplaced or gratuitous - katana-based violence. It does not offend, IMO.

The opening contains the most violence, so if you can live with that, the remaining sporadic bursts of violence in this animation hardly attains to (and certainly never exceeds) that in the opening.

It is a simply amazing film, very stirring and encompasses a sincere love story besides.
4 episodes of <30 min each.
Worth sticking with it - every bit of the film makes sense and the pay off is big by the time it ends: all stops pulled out for the finale.

<b>Two ways of watching:</b>
A) Lower quality with fansubs (occasional spelling error from what I can tell by sampling the first few minutes). But this way there's no need to download their software or create an account:
1. http://www.veoh.com/videos/e148657A3QhjpQw - episode 1
(also at http://www.veoh.com/videos/v671284BQmE4SY5
and http://www.veoh.com/videos/v6576711dGRRymDx)
2. http://www.veoh.com/videos/e148659KHGCj6WS - episode 2
3. http://www.veoh.com/videos/v675307mKwtXweE - episode 3
4. http://www.veoh.com/videos/e152451atdAGAJH - episode 4

B) High quality and professional subs of western release (this is the version I bought long ago).
Since each is about an hour, need to download veoh software and create an account.
<b>But you can watch a 5 minute preview of each in high quality with decent subs here:</b>
1-2. http://www.veoh.com/videos/v812924hYCX6mDq - episodes 1 and 2
3-4. http://www.veoh.com/videos/v814040aCYSrD9y - episodes 3 and 4

Note that there's no point watching the OVA sequel called Seisouhen. Tsuioku hen stands on its own and Seisouhen's plot looks to ruin this one, in my view. Also, never watch the movie Samurai X or the series. In any case, can't blame me if you do and then hated them.
Am re-posting this here so that I don't end up playing Parrot every year out of forgetfulness.
Plus a minor addition.

About the "New Year" celebrated in the west:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It's the <i>Roman</i> New Year - it has NOTHING AT ALL to do with christianism.

It was a sacred Roman festival. January being the month of the God Janus, a two-faced God whose one face looked to the past and the other to the future. That's why Ancient Romans celebrated the Old Year (remembering) and New Year (looking forward, resolutions).

What my sister told me about Ovidius' <i>Fasti</i> (which is a work on sacred Greco-Roman Feasts, ~8 CE?), is that Ovid asks Janus why the New Year is celebrated at winter time instead of livelier spring. And Janus answers that that's when the Sun is reborn (new Sun during the solstice).

Christians ought not to be celebrating the Roman New Year at all. It is a celebration of <b>Roman Gods</b>. And jeebusjehovallah - the evil non-existent gawd of christianism - will not like christos joining in. If the gawd had existed, it will be busy preparing its non-existent hell for all the christos celebrating the Roman New Year or even wishing "Happy New Year" to others. Christians should stick to their festivals... their festival.... - can't think of any christian festival... they should just stick to worshipping their non-existent dead man suspended on a stauros (stake).

Hindus of course have their own sacred New Years. But there is nothing wrong in honouring the ancient Greco-Romans and particularly their Gods by wishing others a Happy Roman New Year - if any feels so inclined.

The most important point to remember is that the Roman New Year is NOT a secular festival at all, but a Roman religious one.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Not really about the New Year, but still on the matter of Janus and Ovid's Fasti, the following is still from what I remember my sister telling me:
In Fasti, Ovid asks Janus that since the other Roman Gods can be traced to a Greek origin, what is Janus' Greek equivalent? And Janus identifies himself as Kaos, the God from which all things originally came, the one who was always there (primeval, the origin).
I wonder whether Chaos implies the beginning of the Kosmos <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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