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ISKCON: It's Role, Idealogies, And World-view.

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ISKCON: It's Role, Idealogies, And World-view.
#21
Sankara, India's Greatest Impersonalist Meditated on Lord Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Srila Prabhupada chastises impersonalist yogis and swamis, the nominal followers of the ninth-century teacher Sankara, in this commentary on Sankara's Meditation on the Bhagavad Gita: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Whereas Sankara, the greatest of the impersonalists, offers his due respects to Krishna and His book Bhagavad Gita, the foolish say that we need not surrender to the personal Krishna. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (11-23-04)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The biggest difference between Shankara's attitude to Gita and the Vaishnava attitude is between the meanings they attach to 'I'.

When Sri Krishna says somethiong in Gita in first person with an 'I', Shankara interprets it as spoken by the Highest Atman (the deepest universal self which is identical to Nirguna Brahman). While Vaishnavas interpret them in a theistic way.
  Reply
#22
My take on ISKCON. Yes, I have been to their temple in the city where I live, for over 23 years. I believe I may be on their list of donors, though I specifically declined to be called a "member". One does not have to be a "member" to pray.

ISKCON set up roots in the most virulently bigoted parts of the world, at a time when no other Hindu temples existed in those parts (e.g., where i live). They collected money by preaching a very simple faith. In the process, they suffered a tremendous amount of bullying and snickering - and they took it all and survived. No way could I have done what they did.

They did not set up temples just for rich desis to go buy credits towards "moksha" - where I live, the "temple" is simply a converted old house that they slowly renovated, room by room, as their finances slowly improved. Their temples were genuinely places where the poorest of the poor could come and be fed, no questions asked about faith. They set up "explanations" and "texts" that were tailored to their local audience - NOT a very "intellectual" or snooty clientele, but very ordinary people, who would come in off the street seeking solace. If they "converted", it was simply by offering an alternative system of belief.

I did note with concern the issues about the child molestation lawsuit etc. I wondered if they would survive that - but like all other problems they have faced, they seem to have come through that.

Incidentally, they did once ask me for special assistance to renovate the "temple" house, but never to help pay off the lawsuit judgement.

Over the years, where I live and work, I have heard a heck of a lot negative about them - and very little positive except for what we have seen with our own eyes, and reasoned with our own brains - but my informed judgement is that this is the same cra* that the locals spout about all forms of faith other than their ownGoddamned narrow bigotry. The child-molesters, meanwhile, as recent news has proved beyond doubt, are far more secure and dominant in the established Churches of the majority religion here, so they can take their bigotry and stick it where they stick u-no-what, as far as I am concerned.

In reading the history of the persecution of the Mormons, the Jews, and even the Catholics in the US, I can see where 99% of that negative propaganda comes from. Nothing new there. I still get plenty of "literature" from the majority "Church" here, seeking to save my soul and telling me how former Hindus have saved themselves from all those reptiles and devils etc. and Seen Da Light etc.

In recent years, the more fancy forms of Hinduism have established themselves where I live. Fine temples with prices set for "moksha" of various kinds, and grand support from rich desis. A fine re-creation of much of the temple culture of India, including all the caste hangups and micro-divisions.

Bottom line: we still go to pray at, and support, the ISCKON temple. We've been to the other temple(s), to know what they are, but that's it. No hurry to go back there.

As for the fine details of what the ISKCON texts say, the precise relevance of their rituals and their association with micro-divisions of Indian hangups, etc., I don't give a damn. Being Hindu, I don't need all those micro-classiciations, and I don't need to be told what to believe, so I just tune out what I don't agree with, and let them believe what they want to believe. The fact remains that their temple is a place of peace and meditation, and they are genuine, simple believers. They still feed the poorest and neediest, regardless of loyalty agreements, which is a heck of a lot more than I can say about the fine recent temples and other Yindoo organizations.

People should be a little less judgemental about the pioneers who had to go to extreme difficulties to survive in hostile places in hostile times, and gradually induce lessons in tolerance. They should also be a little less quick to put down the pioneers and blindly believe the crap put out by bigots.

Cheers
  Reply
#23
Ashok Kumar,

Can you give me your email

thanks
  Reply
#24
<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+May 21 2005, 05:17 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ May 21 2005, 05:17 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> My very limited experiences with ISKCON have so far been on the positive side.  I like the books and the paintings etc.  ISKCON has done great work in making Vaishnava litearture available all over the world in nicely edited and illustrated form.
...
In clothing, paintings, bhajans, books ISKCON is more Indian than Indians.  But in religion per se it often seems to have a striking non-Indian character too. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ashokji, I agree with you there completely. I am definitely an admirer of paintings by ISKCON, and had spent many many cumulative hours relishing the famous Krishna-Arjuna painting. When it comes to the culture of the inmates, it is more "Indian' than most Indians. The clothes, the earnest belief in Krishna, the bhajan tradition, "spreading the message" in the face of ridicule inside and outside India are qualities worth admiration.

Narayanan ji, you do make a good case about the origins of Pioneers who had faced a hostile host. I agree that the Akshaya patra scheme etc run by ISKCON is quite laudable. This however does not explain their supercilious attitude towards other Hindu schools while bending over backwards to try and accept Allah/Christ as equals for Krishna. After Srila Prabhupada, Iskcon now has a GBC controling it. Where can I find more info about the GBC?
  Reply
#25
Sunder:
See above re: refusal to be called "member". My key to peaceful existence is to do what cats do when drinking milk. Close ur eyes to extraneous stuff unless forced to take note and bare claws, canines etc. or to run.

With all religions and sub-classes thereof, one has to carefully hunt for the good and ignore the other cra* as long as it is not really hurting other people.

My view is the the ISKCON does not actively conduct anti-Hindu or anti-Indian propaganda or proselytization, and they generally mind their business. Not much danger, IMHO, regardless of their "acceptance" of other religions, of Abdul Musharraf or Pat Robertson going around singing and dancing to "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama", so I don't worry about whatever they say about those religions. My take on their policy there is that they operate in the depths of non-Hindu-majority places, and of course they have to project themselves as accepting of all faiths. Fundamentally, I see nothing there that conflicts with the basic "all paths lead to ME" belief.

ISKCON, by its mode of evolution and its history of survival, bridges western (and eastern, non-Hindu) society to Indian Hinduism. It does so not at the university academic level, but at the level of street people. This is where I think its largely a waste of time to analyze the statements they make in their propaganda books.

I have spent some time observing the people who sit through their "discourses". Many are really down-and-out in their own societies, and come there, really looking for solace. They have their own childhood religious upbringing, and they hear the news and talk to others, and they are good citizens of their own countries. What would you have ISKCON do? Tell them to

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> "Accept ****** as the Only ****** or Burn in The Fires of He**! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

or

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hey, dear child, the Almighty welcomes you, whatever your basic beliefs and upbringing, u r part of Creation. Ur *** is fine, same as ours. Sit and pray with us, and u may feel better and get some strength  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I vote for the latter. These people have no lack of powerful entities hammering them with the former, and they are running away in disillusionment and fear from that sort of cra*, trying to find someone who will accept them for what they are, with all their faults and failures, and not browbeat them, while still giving them a chance to reflect and have some hope of improving.

The cuisine doesn't hurt either. For many of those I see there, that's not just a tasty meal, its the ONLY meal they've had in a while. At the same time, the ISKCON does enforce some common-sense discipline about not showing up intoxicated, and having to behave - and to be treated with respect, with no patronizing stuff. EXCELLENT strategy, very conspicuously absent from most "Places of Worship" which rate devotion and human worth on the $$ scale.

You sit there and consider the prospect of getting through to those good people with deep nuances of the differences between Yindooism and other religions, and you quickly see why the ISKCON's approach is a heck of a lot more pragmatic.

Supercilious attitude towards the rest of Hinduism? Well.... I haven't asked them about that, but my guess is that dedicated (some may say "indoctrinated") "members" of any sect will launch into fierce defenses of their own superiority. It comes with the mindset that makes one a dedicated member, willing to devote full-time to the welfare and propagation of the sect. My deep-down guess is that if u go ask someone in the Chinmaya Ashram what they REALLY think of, say, Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamai or Sri^2 Ravishankar, you will hear something that can again be described as "supercilious attitude". No need to go that far - my buddies who were in the Chemical Engg. branch in the IIT had that attitude about other branches. Its mostly insecurity and ignorance (as we tried to explain to them, to get a rise out of them). Same as asking a Microsoft employee about Linux, or a Boeing employee about EADS.

I know dam* well that if I discuss deep philosophy with (or spend more than 2 minutes listening to) almost any of the "experts" at ANY religious institution - I will lose my temper and make some nasty crack. So I just eat and shut up and think of the good they do.

By the same token, I don't discuss ISKCON with my local Yindoo friends who go to the fine, huge $$$-based temple south of town. I would think "supercilious" would be too weak a term to describe THEIR attitude. Same for other sects. Recently, I heard a member of one such (very rich) sect declare in a meeting with the City Mayor present, that "civilization is about to arrive in ******" (their temple was slated to open in a few months). One just sits back, allows such hot air to wash over, and enjoy the samosas.

I think one thing our Yindoo friends need to learn is actual, understanding tolerance. Not "Ich bin sehr Tolerant uber alles!" as a philosophy. We have too little resources to fight the REAL bigots, to waste it on the relatively harmless types such as ISKCON, who share most of the same problems, and many of the beliefs, that the rest of us do.

So my advice there is "accept what you sensibly can, disagree when needed, ignore otherwise unless its really harmful". Enjoy the food and the rhythm, help them do good, and don't get too far taken in. Spend ur energies attacking some REAL oiseules such as the RISA or the South Asia baboons.

Actually the best discourse on Yindooism I've ever heard is one I heard by accident - the only reason I was hanging around there (futilely as it turned out) was in the forlorn hope that someone else might be around there - <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo--> but the discourse was by Swami Ranganathananda of the Ramakrishna Ashram (who passed away a couple of weeks back). Set me straight on a LOT of things about belief, ritual, why different forms of worship are needed to make sense to different people, etc. etc. Took about 15 to 30 minutes max, and I had completely forgotten why I was there in the first place.

Awesome. And when he was done (it was the most lucid, simple presentation I've heard) the local Holy BigShot of the Ashram (or maybe he was from the Chinmaya Ashram - can't remember) came on to "Explain" to the assemblage what the Swamiji had just said. And proceeded to proclaim the absolute opposite of everything he had said. The difference in mental quality between the two was like the difference between Gandhiji and Laloo.

So much for organized religion and its Holy Netas. <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  Reply
#26
Sunder, one other basic question related to what Ashok Kumar said.

If Hinduism is a universal religion (and I assume that no one here disagrees with that?) why should it be always cast as only INDIAN? To me, Hinduism will become truly successful as a religion again, when it is followed by people all over the world (and in Space colonies when they start up) as THEIR religion, adapted to the way THEY look and think.

Religions would do well to evolve and accept the more recent past, rather than be tied completely to an ever-receding and ever-less-relevant ("way things were done right"). And Hinduism is by far the best-equipped to make that leap, because there is a built-in timelessness and cyclical model that incorporates the whole universe. The basic precepts are as relevant to a kid in a colony in Andromeda, as long as one is willing to disregard the parochial stuff about precise birthplaces and Holy Places.

So, in this regard, I would say ISKCON is far ahead of the rest of Hinduism.
  Reply
#27
This thead is full of misconceptions... so much that I even don't know where to start.

The first post by Sunder claims: <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Many traidional Vaishnavas do not feel comfortable with Iskcon Idealogy and the method in which it propogates it's idealogies. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

What do you mean by 'many'?? Where did you get that statistic?

I am a traditional Sri Vaishnavite, belong to a Sri Vaishnavite Mutt of 700 year history and Parampara and have a Guru Acharyan. I follow strict Agamic and Vaishnavite lifestyle - I have read Vaishnavite as well as Shaivite Literature under Authorities. Thus I consider myself to be competent enough to talk about ISKCON.

I do not see anything wrong with ISKCON ideology as well as the method in which it propogates 'its' ideologies.

Neither does any real Vaishnavite do. To condemn even mentally those who have given up their lives unto the control of Lord Hari is so unbecoming of a Vaishnava that it is a Bhagavat Aparada, the greatest aparada, much greater than even blashphemy against the Lord.

Lord Hari will even forgive anybody who is his own enemy and grant Moksha to them out of his causeless mercy, but he does not forgive those who disrespect Vaishnavas.

Thus, a Vaishnavite is required to withhold judgements unless called for by the authority of a position he/she holds.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> While many are enchanted by the "Hare Krishna" groups spreading the message of Krishna Consciousness, there is also an undercurrent that's quite unclear <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Unclear to YOU is clear. The only way to get to know Vaishnavism is to accept a Guru. Without a Guru, nobody can claim himself to be a follower of the Vedas. Hinduism is not a relaxed 'anything goes' religion that many mistakenly think, but it is a religion of Sadhana and Ascetism.

One has to have a Guru to learn the Scriptures and undergo the Brahmacharya Ashrama. Without undergoing this first and foremost Ashrama, he is a Naastika.

Sunder: <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Infact the belief is that a Muslim man get's 72 beautiful houris in heaven and all the above seems to be purely materialistic rewards. Now <b>Krishna on the other hand preached Karma Yoga </b>(doing works without expecting rewards), on the ohter hand the only thing Allah seems to be saying is that he will give his followers materialistic things, so how can they be the same.

It seems that while they have no problem with ridiculing Vivekananda for his fascination with Buddhism they themselves seem to not follow what they preach. They seem to have no problem with sucking upto Muslims by preaching false truths like the above one.

Also if Allah and Krishna are the same then what is the whole point of Krishna Conciousness movement among Muslims if they already worship him under the name Allah. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Total misunderstanding!

Vaishnavism realises that from time to time as per the mental abilities of humans, certain teachers appear who tend to put forward teachings that reflect the mentality of their students.

Thus we have Rajasic and Tamasic Shastras too devoted to the worship of Kali and even Ghosts. We also have the left handed Tantrik Schools and such.
The point is that the world needs teachings of many kinds to accomodate the mentality and bhava of 400,000 types of Human beings.

The Muslim religion is a Rajasic+tamasic religion meant for the upliftment of the totally irreligious Arabs.

It is not sucking up to Muslims, but recognising their position. The Quran is right that if the muslims follow their religion of worshiping their version of Lord five times a day and inspite of eating meat and being unclean they will surely attain Swarga or Heaven of Indra where they can enjoy Wine and Apsaras. Vedic scriptures too promise Swarga with Apsaras to those who do enough piety or even less - by just a simple fire sacrifice.

But Vaishnavas do not care for Swarga which is inside the Material Universe. The lotus feet of Lord Narayana is the only refuge and goal of the Vaishnavas.

The Muslims however are most welcome to follow their own religion to attain Swarga from whence they have better chances of evolution.

Ditto for Christians. Jesus just wanted to teach them simple 'love thy neighbour as yourself' stuff to the barbarians. It is not a chance that Jesus has so many followers that we can just regard it as a accident of history. No, Jesus must have some power which in turn must come from the Lord of the Universe. Also Jesus himself mentions that whatever he teaches was just the basic. That means the Christians will have to seek beyond the teachings of their Guru for the real whole thing.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> On the one hand Christ (or Krista), and Allah are mentioned as Godhead. On the other hand, Shiva is pushed as a demi-god whose worship is shocking to Devotees of Iskcon <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Here is the challenge: Where is Christ mentioned as Godhead? He might be accepted as an 'empowered Avatara', but never as God himself.

The Signs and Symptoms of Lord and his Avataras are mentioned clearly in the Scriptures.
Christ is not Lord Narayana. He does not exhibit the six qualities required of Bhagavan.

Also, ALL Vaishnavites, not just ISKCONites, do not worship Lord Shiva, but accept Shiva as the Param Vaishnava, or the Best of Vaishnavites, the First of Devotees.

It should be mentioned that Shiva is a partial avatara of Hari to lord over the mode of Ignorance.
Lord Shiva is almost equal to Narayana. Lord Shiva is a Demigod who should be shown uttermost respect, but worship is meant only for the Divine Couple, Sri Sriman Narayanan.

Ashok Kumar :<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> I wonder whether hinduism is in danger from its non-Indian protagonists. It just seems that they get it only partially, in a cosmetic sort of way. While the substructure remains of the dominant non-Indian religions of monotheistic variety <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
No, the non-Indians in ISKCON seem to have adopted to Vaishnavism MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Indians who are lost to their lofty culture but have adopted meat-eating.

What Indians' dont' realise is that they have long lost their own religion. They think that they still define what Hinduism is from their cultural followings, but the truth is that Indians are just clinging to a figment of what is the original Vedic Civilization. 99.99999999999% is lost.

The Vaishnava dress is not cosmetic. It is a total definition of what and who you are.
The real challenge is if an Indian.. ok, lets take you for example, Ashok Kumar, can wear a traditional Indian dress to work everyday and feel comfortable it it?

To wear this Indian dress is by itself a Sadhana. Dress codes are strict in Vaishnavism. If you visit any orthodox South Indian Vaishnavite temple, you will have to forgo your shirt and trousers, but wear a Dhoti and go bare chested in front of the Lord. This is the Standard.
In the North, where orthodox traditions have worn thin, even socks and jeans are standard in temples. This is what we are at last left with.

Vaishnavism is Monotheistic. NOT MONISTIC. Ditto with Shaiva Siddhanta school of philosophy of South India (Hinduismtoday.com). Their might be various doctrinal differences between various schools of thought in Vaishnavism (Shuddha Dwaita, Vishistadwaita, Advaita dwaita, etc), but the common element which holds all the schools of Vaishnavism is the fact that Lord Narayana/Vishnu/Hari is the One and Only Supreme Lord. He is a person with innumerable auspicious qualities and attributes. His impersonal aspect as Brahman is one of those atributes, but not a supreme attribute.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> I wonder whether hinduism is in danger from its non-Indian protagonists   <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Do not worry! The Lord has promised to descend from time to time to defend his own teachings and Dharma.
Vaishnavites such as ISKCON have therefore nothing to worry from the Christians nor Muslims. ISKCONites have proved the true spirit of Vaishnavism by taking the teachings of Vedas to the heartland of Bhoga-bhummis where today MOST (not All I say!) Indians go only to enjoy materially but not to practise their own Religion.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> It is perhaps due to Buddha's rejection of a God. ISKCON appears not to tolerate divine without a personality. Buddha's formless Nirvana would be an anathema to someone who thinks God must have a personality. The same way Advaita's Nirguna Brahman would be an anathema too. There would be nothing to adore, love, worship and submit. Just a formless absolute, and not the most favored of a person with devotional attitude.

In comparision Jehova and Allah are clearly described as having a 'personality'. That perhaps makes them more acceptable to ISKCON than the truly formless versions. It is curious that even though Allah ( and in some ways Jehova, although bible says God made man in his own image, so there is perhaps a form) is supposed to have no image, but he has a personality. Philosophically speaking an 'image' is just a bundle of attributes. A personality must have attributes. So Allah with a personality but without an image or form is a philosophical black hole for me.

ISKCON Krishna has personality and form. Krishna is also special that he is the Narayana (who dwells in all people) and Antaryami (who rules from within), or soul of all souls. So he is one with all the beings and still separate from them (achintya-bheda-abheda). <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Atlast you come a bit nearer to Vaishnavite viewpoint, abeit this is a small step, you can go further!

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> I absolutely disagree with this, we have overwhelming evidence now which shows that evolution did really happen. The main diff between Eastern religions and Christian lunatics is the fact that Eastern religions always changed with times and also never opposed scientific facts. The Dalai Lama once clearly stated that if science proves a central Buddhist belief as wrong then Buddhists have to accept the new fact. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

If you disagree, it does not affect the traditions of Vaishnavism.

Darwin's theory is to be rejected by Vaishnavism, since it does not include the 'design by intelligence' but instead awards the reason for evolution to 'chance'.

Also, the evolution theory is not yet complete nor does it answer all of nature's mysteries. It is still a developing subject, while the Vedic verdict on the natural history is total, all encompassing, complete and irreversible. This knowledge comes down to us though an unbroken line of Parampara. This knowledge will never be modified or adapted to the whims of any number of Scientists.

The views of Dalai Lama might be acceptable for the Tibetian Buddhists, but Shruti is the corner stone of Vaishnavism and its interpretation by Acharyas is the be followed, not scientists' speculations.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> We believe that there is a planet called Vaikuntha where Krishna lives.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes, this is a basic teachings in all schools of Vaishnavism. Vaikuntha is the Spiritual Dimension, if which the material world is but a speck.

Don't tell me you never knew this before!!

---------------------------------------
<!--emo&N^3--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/n3.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='n3.gif' /><!--endemo--> Sir, Salutations to you. Your posts were impeccable...... as ever.

Jagan Mohan.
  Reply
#28
"Thus we have Rajasic and Tamasic Shastras too devoted to the worship of Kali and even Ghosts. We also have the left handed Tantrik Schools and such."

But ISKCON seems to say that kali worship is a deviation from Hinduism so why do they accept Islam.

"The Muslim religion is a Rajasic+tamasic religion meant for the upliftment of the totally irreligious Arabs. "

Your statement is very insulting to the pagan Arabs who were forcibly converted to islam, they had their own religion before islam so why do u assume they are irreligious.

"Ditto for Christians. Jesus just wanted to teach them simple 'love thy neighbour as yourself' stuff to the barbarians. Also Jesus himself mentions that whatever he teaches was just the basic. That means the Christians will have to seek beyond the teachings of their Guru for the real whole thing."

You are assuming that somehow the pagans and jews were barbarians and Jesus taught them religion. The statement about "love thy neighbour as urself" is found in the old testament so there is nothing new that jesus taught, contrary to ur claims, sometimes Jesus claims that he is God himself and at other times he addresses God as his father, but the Christian belief is that Jesus is God. Christians do not believe what u say, they believe that the whole truth is in the Bible and u can only be saved through jesus and Jesus himself claims that those who do not accept him are going to hell.

"It is not a chance that Jesus has so many followers that we can just regard it as a accident of history. No, Jesus must have some power which in turn must come from the Lord of the Universe"

It is not because of Jesus' power that he has so many followers but because the Church forcibly converted pagans of Europe and other continents. In India itself there was the Goan Inquisition in which thousands of Hindus were tortured and forcibly converted, the African slaves were forcibly converted to Christianity, the Natives of South America like the Mayas and Incas were also forcibly converted to Christianity. In Australia and North America Native children were sent to residential schools where they were forced to give up their language, dress, culture and religion (and were forced to practice Christianity) which is why Jesus has so many followers, not because of his power but because of the crimes of christians. By this logic Hitler should also have had some divine power because he had so many followers among Germans, number of followers prove nothing.
  Reply
#29
I think the word for the type of Vaishnavism explained above is <b>Henotheism</b>. i.e the abject faith in a single deity without actually denying existence of other deities. The Jews originally had this type of faith comprising of Yahweh/El Lohim and Sophia among others.... before a Patriach (Moses probably) turned them into strict Monotheism. A nation or people who have a henotheistic outlook has a good chance of going dangerously monotheistic...... to the extent of destroying anyone who doesn't fit into their worldview. The dynamics in the Jewish nation, the cult wars of the Persians etc are pointers to this. We have to see to it that there is always dialog between the sects and that we present a united front when it comes to the crunch.


Though not 100% in agreement with my "personal" Hindu faith, I guess Vaishnavites have every right top practice and preach their version. <b>I suggest we start a thread where people can describe and discuss their ideas about their "personal" Hinduism, their favourite deity, shaping experiences etc</b>. Maybe we will understand why Hinduism is so timeless and all encompassing. The dialog might also help us appreciate each other and give us a chance to iron out or at least understand differences. I always have a fear that due to millenia old experiences from the desert faiths, Hinduism might be go into inflexible mode and be tainted by ideas like apostasy, unending hellfire, sin etc.... Think of this as Hindus Anoynomous counselling group or something <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  Reply
#30
Hyagriva,May 21 2005, 09:39 PM Wrote:This thead is full of misconceptions... so much that I even don't know where to start.

The first post by Sunder claims: 
Quote: Many traidional Vaishnavas do not feel comfortable with Iskcon Idealogy and the method in which it propogates it's idealogies.

What do you mean by 'many'?? Where did you get that statistic?
Before I begin answering your questions, I have to clarify something. This thread is not a triade against Iskcon. We are not out to seek and destroy mission, and if that is the perception, I would like to dispell that. I DO visit the Iskcon temple (which is only a stone's throw away from my place) during Janmastami, and I enjoy the Rath-yatra that Iskcon organizes. I also contribute dollars whenever I do go to Iskcon, but cannot bare to sit thru the lectures. Overall, nice chaps at the grassroot level.

Hyagriva, I do not have a percentage statistics. But I DO know from my own friends cricle who are Madhvas, Iyengars of Vadagalai, Thengalai, and also Vaishnavas of UP, Orissa and Andhra. To save words, I will post from the DVAITHA Website about ISKCON. Position Paper on ISKCON by the Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha


Quote:A Response to Our Critics

There is a widespread misunderstanding in re the relation -- or, more accurately, the lack thereof -- of our tradition to ISKCON.  This is primarily due to ISKCON's doublespeak on the question of their alleged allegiance to the Mâdhva tradition -- they claim it for propaganda purposes and to claim approval of their system, but they do not in fact follow Mâdhva texts and principles.  They say our tradition is one of the four ``authorized'' ones based on a spurious verse attributed to the Padma Purâna, and then proceed to reject, without refutation, most of the core tenets of our tradition such as paJNcha-bheda, tAratamya, svagata-bheda-vivarjitatva of Vishnu, jIvottamattva of Vâyu, etc.  They further claim that there is nothing unique about Madhva's doctrine, as those of Râmânuja, Vishnuswâmi, and Nimbârka all will lead to moksha as well.  No attempt is made to seriously analyze the drastic differences in philosophical positions (such as differing conceptions of moksha itself!) between these four schools.  In all, ISKCON can hardly claim status as a serious school of thought, no matter that its adherents shout its praises.  No sane person would take their claim of affinity with Madhva's system seriously after careful study, either.  It is merely a fig leaf for hiding the complete lack of traditional authenticity in the Gaudiya school itself.

However, even with all that, there would not be much cause for any serious concern, were it not the case that so many of our own people are seriously misled in respect of ISKCON -- and this includes, as we have seen, even leaders of our tradition. <b>In this day and age, neo-Vedanta &c., the schools like ISKCON which claim to offer something for nothing, are a more serious threat to our society than any traditional counter-doctrine. We have come across or heard of many who, though born into Mâdhva families, adopt ISKCON as their philosophy of choice, but have never come across or heard of any contemporary Mâdhva who was swayed by reading Srî Shankara's commentaries and became an Advaitin.</b> As such, it would seem to be fair to say that our community as a whole needs to re-train its efforts in preserving the sanctity and purity of Srî Madhva's philosophy, rather than merely be content with the classical approach, which focuses almost entirely on refutation of other standard doctrines, and which is not as relevant to today's circumstances as it once was.

Quote:
Quote: While many are enchanted by the "Hare Krishna" groups spreading the message of Krishna Consciousness, there is also an undercurrent that's quite unclear

Unclear to YOU is clear. The only way to get to know Vaishnavism is to accept a Guru. Without a Guru, nobody can claim himself to be a follower of the Vedas. Hinduism is not a relaxed 'anything goes' religion that many mistakenly think, but it is a religion of Sadhana and Ascetism.

Yes, this is what I meant when I said unclear. It is unclear to me, and I am willing to learn more about it. The word unclear is not an accusation that there is a deliberate attempt to hide something. There however is a necessity for many who would like to know more about ISKCON. Thanks in advance, and I look forward to your contribution in this direction.

In my case, Appa is my Guru. He is the one who had done my Brahmopadesam, and my father is the one who answers my questions and clarifies my doubts when I have them. (I Have a LOT of questions and counter questions by the way. I and Appa have heated discussions on the nitty-gritties sometimes. The topic is charged, but no ill-will is meant from any side. It is only by questioning and challenging that we learn.) I am looking forwards to learning about ISKCON from you in the same way.. No ill-will meant.

Quote:Ditto for Christians. Jesus just wanted to teach them simple 'love thy neighbour as yourself' stuff to the barbarians.
First off, Jesus - if he existed - was not addressing a barbarig crowd. Secondly, you quote one message from the Old testament, and forget the other one - Matthew 10:34 where Jesus is supposed to have said, " Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."(10:34-36), I will reserve this and other thoughts on Christianity for a different thread. Suffice to say bible is not all goody-goody.

Quote:
Quote: On the one hand Christ (or Krista), and Allah are mentioned as Godhead. On the other hand, Shiva is pushed as a demi-god whose worship is shocking to Devotees of Iskcon

Here is the challenge: Where is Christ mentioned as Godhead? He might be accepted as an 'empowered Avatara', but never as God himself.

Challenge accepted. http://krishna.org/sudarsana/a026.html


Christ or Krishna The Name is The Same
Quote:hristos is the Greek version of the word Krishna. When an Indian person calls on Krishna, he often says, "Krista." Krista is a sanskrit word meaning attraction. So when we address God as Christ, Krista or Krishna, we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead.When Jesus said, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name," that name of God was Krista or Krishna. Actually it doesn't matter -- Krishna or Christ -- the name is the same. The main point is to follow the injunctions of the Vedic Scriptures that recommend chanting the name of God in this age.Our request is that you please chant the name of God, the Bible also demands this. Everyone should cooperate and chant. If someone has a prejudice against chanting the name Krishna, then they can chant Christos or Krista -- there is no difference.

You Can Pronounce Krsna in Any Way [Prabhupada Speaks Out]

Quote:Srila Prabhupada: I have read one book, the Aquarian Gospel, wherein it is explained that Krist means love. Christ means love. And Krsna also means love. So from Krsna this word Krist has come. And in India sometimes people say Kristha. Instead of Krsna, they say Kristha. And in various regions has come the word Kestha. Generally, instead of pronouncing very precisely Krsna, if somebody's name is Krsnacandra, they say, "Hey, Kesthara."

Allen Ginsberg:  Where is this?

Srila Prabhupada: In India everywhere. Kestha. So Kestha, Christ, Krist, Kristha, or Krsna--they're in the same group. Pronouncing Krsna is not difficult.

Quote:It should be mentioned that Shiva is a partial avatara of Hari to lord over the mode of Ignorance. Lord Shiva is almost equal to Narayana. Lord Shiva is a Demigod who should be shown uttermost respect, but worship is meant only for the Divine Couple, Sri Sriman Narayanan.

Tempted as I am to say something, I agree with you on this one. What is in a name?? The Name-form combination gives us the freedom to assume such. The Higher entity (Narayana, Sadashiva, or Parabhattarika Lalitha Mahatripurasundari) is the Supreme, while Ishwara (Hari, Hara etc) are the Saguna/Saakara form. Hara over Hari or Hari over Hara is not the center of contention here. It is Sriman Narayana is the same as Jehovah or Allah, while Sadhashiva is the servant is what is being questioned.

Quote:
Quote: I wonder whether hinduism is in danger from its non-Indian protagonists 
Do not worry! The Lord has promised to descend from time to time to defend his own teachings and Dharma.
And I AM here. <!--emo&Wink--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /><!--endemo--> (j/k - do not take this up in the next post as a serious topic please.)

This line of reasoning - why do YOU worry, let the Lord take care of it - is what is wrong with Hinduism. There are some ground work to be done by Hindus, and leave the final arrow to the Lord.

Quote:Vaishnavites such as ISKCON have therefore nothing to worry from the Christians nor Muslims. ISKCONites have proved the true spirit of Vaishnavism by taking the teachings of Vedas to the heartland of Bhoga-bhummis where today MOST (not All I say!) Indians go only to enjoy materially but not to practise their own Religion.
Good to hear that they have taken the teachings to Bhogha Bhoomi. Where has Iskcon then failed in making Alliances with the non-practising Indians? Why is it unable to reach the Indians who have degenerated from practising their own Dharma? (This is a LEGIT question I ask in all humility, it would be a good theme to discuss how Iskcon, which has successfully spread the message amongst Christians and Muslims focus strategies on regaining Indians who are lost to Commuism. mainly the Sabrang/foil Akila Rahman types.)
  Reply
#31
Discussion: What are Hare Krishnas
I like this link, it makes a good reading, and paints a good Picture of Hare Krishna.

Here is some disturbing one:


Vaisnava Philosophy
The <b>Vedic scriptures state</b> that spiritual life begins when one inquires into the nature of the absolute truth, the Supreme Godhead. Gaudiya <b>Vaisnavas are monotheists and know the personality of Godhead as Krishna,</b> the All-attractive. But it is <b>also recognised that the Supreme has unlimited names such as Rama, Buddha, Vishnu, Jehovah, Allah, etc.</b> The ultimate goal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism is to develop a loving relationship with the Supreme Godhead.
  Reply
#32
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> also contribute dollars whenever I do go to Iskcon, but cannot bare to sit thru the lectures. Overall, nice chaps at the grassroot level.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
That is condescending enough!

The Skanda Purana lists six types of spiritually deadly Vaisnava Aparadhas:

hanti nindati vai dvesthi, vaisnavan nabhi-nandati
krudhayate yati no harsam, darsane patanani sat

1. One who kills a devotee
2. one who blasphemes devotees
3. one who is envious of devotees
4. one who fails to offer obeisances to Vaishnavs upon seeing them
5. one who becomes angry with a Vaishnava
6. One who does not become joyfull upon seeing a Vaisnava

"These six classes of foolish men who blaspheme Vaishnavas go to the worst kind of Hellish planet along with generations of their ancestors"

To say that a lecture is so unbearable that one cannot bear to sit through it is terrible.
I am sure any lecture of a Vaishnava has some kind of Glorification of the Lord.
If one says that this Glorification of the Lord is unbearable, it is an Offense I am afraid.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hyagriva, I do not have a percentage statistics. But I DO know from my own friends cricle who are Madhvas, Iyengars of Vadagalai, Thengalai, and also Vaishnavas of UP, Orissa and Andhra. To save words, I will post from the DVAITHA Website about ISKCON. Position Paper on ISKCON by the Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

You just took advantage of the traditional Inter-Vaishnavite theological differences to make it seem as if each School totally condemns the other.. That paper merely tries to win back the Madhavites from becoming too involved with ISKCON and it does it the wrong way.
In anycase, that is not MANY, but just one Vidyapeetha or College... Not a Matha!

Since you brough it up, here is what Acharyans from Dwaita Mathas have to say about it:
The letters are here: http://gosai.com/dvaita/udupi/index.html
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sri H. H. Sri Vidyadisa Tirtha Swamiji
Car Street, Udupi

Sri Prabhupada has accepted Sri Madhwacharya as his "Acarya."

He has put manure and water to the seed sowed by Sri Madhwacharya. Sri Prabhupada is responsible for the spread of the branches of the tree of "Bhakti cult" all over India. It is the duty of all Madhwas to recognize the sadhana of Vaishnavite Sri Prabhupada.

It is true that there is a difference between "Chaitanya school" and "Madhwa school." In spite of the difference between the two schools of thought, one has to look into the similar thoughts that exist between the two. Therefore, the followers of these two cults should never blame each other nor envy each other.

One should not use bad words on the other. One should respect the other and vice-versa. All Madhwas should unite themselves.

Sri H. H. Sri Vidyadisa Tirtha Swamiji

Palimar Swami
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From:
Sri Shiroor Mutt, Udupi
Jadadguru Sri Sri Madhwacharya Peethan
Udupi, South Candra

To: Friend of our Samsthanam Poojya
Sri Narasingha Swamy Sri Narasingha Chaitanya Mutt,
Sri Rangapatna, Mysore

Ref: Re: Mispropoganda in www.Dvaita.org between "Sri Madhwacharya and Chaitanya Pantha."

Sri Chaitanya Sampradaya is a branch of Madhwa philosophy. there are historic proofs to substantiate this fact. The sadhana achieved by Sri A. C. Prabhupada, Acharya of "Chaitanya Sampradaya" is to be welcomed by all Vaishnavites. It is due to him people all over the world have learned about Lord Krishna. This work should have been accomplished by Madhwa followers. But Prabhupada has served the world in propagating this cult. Even in the western world he has attracted a large number of devotees of Lord Krishna, through his discourse on "Bhagavat Geeta." The book on "Bhagavat Geeta" of Sri Prabhupada is allowed to be sold in front of Krishna Mandira at Udupi. This fact is known to all eight mutts of Udupi. As well as all devotees of Udupi Kshetra.

Therefore, the blame cast on Sri Prabhupada is to be deemed as the blame on Sri Hari, Vayu and Guru. This type of behavior is not to be found in a brahmin. As such, it is a bad affair to note that a Vaishnava has exhibited such a behavior. Such contradictory statements do create split in the Vaishnava Society and do not promote any good on the Society.

Therefore we oppose the points relayed through the website.

Sri Laksmivara Tirtha Swami

Sriroor Swami
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
More Mathas :
http://gosai.com/dvaita/udupi/asta_matha/k...or_english.html
http://gosai.com/dvaita/udupi/asta_matha/s...ya_english.html


Also, here is what the ISKCONites have to say about the controversial 'position paper'!
http://gosai.com/chaitanya/saranagati/html...radayas_fs.html


But according to me, its correct Vaishnavite ettiquite to stay away from all controversies.
As adequetely said by Lakshmivara tirtha Swami of Sriroor Dwaita Matha:

Therefore, the blame cast on Sri Prabhupada is to be deemed as the blame on Sri Hari, Vayu and Guru. This type of behavior is not to be found in a brahmin. As such, it is a bad affair to note that a Vaishnava has exhibited such a behavior. Such contradictory statements do create split in the Vaishnava Society and do not promote any good on the Society.

Therefore we oppose the points relayed through the website.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->First off, Jesus - if he existed - was not addressing a barbarig crowd. Secondly, you quote one message from the Old testament, and forget the other one - Matthew 10:34 where Jesus is supposed to have said, " Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."(10:34-36), I will reserve this and other thoughts on Christianity for a different thread. Suffice to say bible is not all goody-goody.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Well, if the Shastras are to be read superficially and literally, they will seem to be cruel and more inhuman than any other scripture on the earth, including the Quran.

According to Vaishnavism, if one is attached to his/her family, he would not be able to do Bhakthi effectively. If one loves his/her Father or Mother more than the Guru, he sure is not worthy of a true Vaishnavite Guru.. now, those words which you quote seem to make perfect sense to me if seen through true Hindu perspective. The worldly relations are like straw coming together in the waves of the ocean, only to seperate... love for wife or attachment to home and family is one type of sense enjoyment too, arising from egoistic notions of 'mine' and ownership. My Father, My Mother, My Children, etc are all nothing but bondage.

A Guru brings not peace to this material world which can never have peace. Utopia is a dream in the Material realm. A Guru brings a sword to cut Ignorance, egoism and materialism.

Jesus was grossly misunderstood by 'Christians' and by Indians too.
Its ok for Indians to misunderstand Jesus, but its a tragedy that the Christians who claim to follow Jesus totally and irrevocably forgot his teachings while they deitified Him alone minus his words.

The crowd was indeed barbarian.
According to Hinduism, just be taking birth as a Human does not automatically make one Human.
A Man (/woman) needs Samskaras to qualify him/her as a Human.
Apart from Samskaras, some basic qualities that come with conscience like mercy and ahimsa truly qualify a human.

The crowd to whom Jesus preached were clearly naastikas. Naastikas means barbarians as per Vedic outlook.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->hristos is the Greek version of the word Krishna. When an Indian person calls on Krishna, he often says, "Krista." Krista is a sanskrit word meaning attraction. So when we address God as Christ, Krista or Krishna, we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead.When Jesus said, "<b>Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name," that name of God was Krista or Krishna</b>. Actually it doesn't matter -- Krishna or Christ -- the name is the same. The main point is to follow the injunctions of the Vedic Scriptures that recommend chanting the name of God in this age.Our request is that you please chant the name of God, the Bible also demands this. Everyone should cooperate and chant. If someone has a prejudice against chanting the name Krishna, then they can chant Christos or Krista -- there is no difference<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes, but where is the Historical Jesus of Nazareth made God??
Only the word Christos is identified with attraction which indeed is the name of God, All Attractive.
Prabhupada makes it still clearer when he says that Jesus Prayed to KRISTA or Krishna. Not that Jesus himself is Krista.
Kindly read without prejudice and you will understand what the author wishes to convey.. that one must Chant the holy Names of the God.. it does not matter whether one chants Christos or Krishta, which mean the same....
This is not the same as saying that Jesus is the same person as Krishna is.
My name is Jagan Mohan which also means the same as Krishna, but doesn't mean that Jagan Mohan and Krishna are one person.
The name Christ and Krishna might mean the same, but it does not mean that Jesus Christ is the same as Krishna.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You Can Pronounce Krsna in Any Way [Prabhupada Speaks Out]


QUOTE
Srila Prabhupada: I have read one book, the Aquarian Gospel, wherein it is explained that Krist means love. Christ means love. And Krsna also means love. So from Krsna this word Krist has come. And in India sometimes people say Kristha. Instead of Krsna, they say Kristha. And in various regions has come the word Kestha. Generally, instead of pronouncing very precisely Krsna, if somebody's name is Krsnacandra, they say, "Hey, Kesthara."

Allen Ginsberg:  Where is this?

Srila Prabhupada: In India everywhere. Kestha. So Kestha, Christ, Krist, Kristha, or Krsna--they're in the same group. Pronouncing Krsna is not difficult.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes.. true.. You can pronounce Krsna in anyway! Whats wrong with this teaching? Frankly, this is like trying to find fault where there is none.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tempted as I am to say something, I agree with you on this one. What is in a name?? The Name-form combination gives us the freedom to assume such. The Higher entity (Narayana, Sadashiva, or Parabhattarika Lalitha Mahatripurasundari) is the Supreme, while Ishwara (Hari, Hara etc) are the Saguna/Saakara form. Hara over Hari or Hari over Hara is not the center of contention here. It is Sriman Narayana is the same as Jehovah or Allah, while Sadhashiva is the servant is what is being questioned.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sorry, but this is gross Mayavada.
Names do have significance because a seperate personality named Shiva actually exists.
But there is NO ALLAH OR JEHOVAH existing.

Therefore, we ASSUME that the names Allah and Jehovah belong to Krishna since they are supposed to be the name of ONE SUPREME CONTROLLER.

DO YOU Get the gist of what I am trying to convey??

We cannot call Krishna or Narayana with the name Shiva or Hara or anyother name that rightly belongs to Lord Shiva, but we can call Narayana with the name Allah or any other speculative name that one might invent to represent the Supreme God.

If tomorrow a new language is made and some word like 23942 is meant to be the Name for God, it will represent Narayana, but not the word Shiva or Shakti or any name of the million Demigods because these Demigods acually exist!

The Vishnu-rahasya says:
alinganam varam manye vyala-vyaghra-jaaukasam
na sangah salya-yuktanam nana-devaika-sevinam
"One should prefer to embrace a sname, a tiger or an alligator rather than associate with persons who are worshipers of various demigods and who are impelled by material desire'.

Katyayana-samhiti:
varam huta-vaha-jvala- panjarantar-vyavasthitih
na sauri-cinta-vumukha- jana-samvasa-vaisasam
"It is better to accept the miseries of being encaged and surrounded by burning flames than to associate with those bereft of Bhakti. Such association is a very great hardship''

Ramanuja Acharya warns that Vaishnavas must strictly avoid Demigod worshippers. he once said, "If you are about to die in a fire but can save yourself by taking refuge in a nearby temple where people are worshipping the Demigods, you had better die in the Fire. It would be better to die in the fire than enter that temple of demigod worshippers'.

I hope I have adequetely conveyed the gravity of how much emphasis Vaishnavism places on non-worship of Demigods.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Where has Iskcon then failed in making Alliances with the non-practising Indians? Why is it unable to reach the Indians who have degenerated from practising their own Dharma? (This is a LEGIT question I ask in all humility, it would be a good theme to discuss how Iskcon, which has successfully spread the message amongst Christians and Muslims focus strategies on regaining Indians who are lost to Commuism. mainly the Sabrang/foil Akila Rahman types.)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

You see, Indians come with a baggage of rampant Demigod worship and Neo-Advaitic contamination which is quite difficult to get rid of before one can become a Vaishnava.

Indians tend to believe that all religions are one and that the many paths are same.

ISKCON FAILS with Indians because ISKCON as any true Vaishnavite organisation demands only the best and full adherence to Vaishnavite practice including Vaishnavite dressing.

Indians are only looking for quick fix temples and hamburger/fast food ceremonies... they dont really care for Hinduism. All the mumbojumbo at a Vedic Sacrifice makes no sense to them and they simply don't connect with it.

Sabrang/Foil is a direct result of this Indian civilizational disrespect for Hinduism.

If we have adequete respect for Hinduism like the Jews have for Judaism, we would be walking in Dhotis with Tilaks on our forehead on the streets of New York.

Indians have learnt only to flaunt their intellectual capacities in the US, but don't want to follow Vedic Scientific Heritage which gave us the Zero and Aryabatta for example.

Sabrang/Foil is the child of our failure. We have only ourselves to blame.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Vaisnava Philosophy
The Vedic scriptures state that spiritual life begins when one inquires into the nature of the absolute truth, the Supreme Godhead. Gaudiya Vaisnavas are monotheists and know the personality of Godhead Krishna, the All-attractive. But it is also recognised that the Supreme has unlimited names such as Rama, Buddha, Vishnu, Jehovah, Allah, etc. The ultimate goal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism is to develop a loving relationship with the Supreme Godhead. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes, quite right.

Supreme God has unlimited names.

But Shiva is NOT one of them. Shiva, Indra, Brahma, etc etc are all names of real personages. NOT some imaginery names.

On the other hand, as I have mentioned earlier, any other name not mentioned by the Scriptures as belonging to distinct Demigods, but followed by some race as the name for the Supreme God and has RESEMBLENCE to some Supreme Aspect or Attribute or GOD as given in the SHastras can be accepted as proper names of GOD.

This is the universality of Hinduism! You can call God with any of his innumerable names, but one has to make sure that it belongs to the Supreme God and not to any Devata or Demigod.

If Jehovah means Supreme God, it can only mean Narayana and not otherwise. There can be no other Supreme God. Ditto with Allah.
  Reply
#33
<!--QuoteBegin-Hyagriva+May 23 2005, 09:06 PM-->QUOTE(Hyagriva @ May 23 2005, 09:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> If Jehovah means Supreme God, it can only mean Narayana and not otherwise. There can be no other Supreme God. Ditto with Allah. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
So ISKCON does believe Buddha, Allah, and Jejovah/Christ are equivalent to Narayana or Krishna? Does it also endorse that the Bible (like the mention of Aquarian Gospel) are also "True" texts that a "Bhaktha" should follow?

As I see it, Iskcon endorses and gives validity to Bible/Qoran and places them at a much higher level and closer to it's Idealogies. While on the one hand bashing Buddhism, it says Buddha is the same as Krishna (perhaps the name and not the personality is meant here.)

Am I right in assuming that Buddha mentioned by Prabhupada means "Enlightened One" and not Siddhartha Gautama? I only wish they are more explicit on their stand. On the one hand they bash Hindus, and on the other hand bend over backwards to please Islam/Christianity. So, is Iskcon all inclusive or just plain exclusive?

Here is the attitude we are currently discussing:

An excerpt from "Who is a Hindu", by Koenraad Elst.

6.7. Are travelling gurus Hindus?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) generally denies that it is Hindu, in spite of practising purely Hindu rituals and a purely Hindu lifestyle in the service of a purely Hindu god.44 That this policy is guided by petty calculations of self-interest is clear from the cases where ISKCON exceptionally does claim to be Hindu, viz. when collecting money from Hindus.

A former ISKCON member explains: that ISKCON is non-Hindu “is clearly evident in the writings and lectures of Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON’s founder, as well as in the day-to-day preaching statements of its members and current-day leaders.  What is especially troubling is that ISKCON periodically does claim to be a Hindu organization.  Unfortunately, these claims on the part of ISKCON occur when, and only when, it serves the legal and financial interests of the sect.  Thousands of unsuspecting Indian Hindus have been persuaded to contribute funds to the group with the reassurance that they were supporting ‘Hinduism’, ‘Hindu’ temples and the printing of ‘Hindu’ books.”45

But these peculiar elements of separatism in this sect or that can only occur because of the general background of the depreciation of Hindu identity.  In Christianity and Islam, only the reverse case exists: sects claiming to be Christian (Mormons) or Muslim (Ahmadiyas, Alevites) but being denied that label by the orthodox.  The day Hinduism gets respected again, these sects will probably reaffirm their Hindu identity, and the RK Mission will preface its publications with Vivekananda’s appeal: “Say with pride, We are Hindus!” <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#34
Narayanan,

Thanks for couple of great posts. It appears this debate will proceed nicely, without much mudslinging. Nice to know that ISKCON is working with the needy people instead of only the rich & famous.
P.S. krishna.com is giving away free CDs of Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary.

Acharya,

The email is: ashokk2004 AT netscape DOT net

Hayagriva/Jagan Mohan,

Thanks for all the comments. But I am still unconvinced by the explanations given towards explaining Sunder's argument about Allah, Jehova equated with Krishna but not Shiva.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If Jehovah means Supreme God, it can only mean Narayana and not otherwise. There can be no other Supreme God. Ditto with Allah. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

If you go by Shaiva agama texts, Shiva is very much the supreme godhead, the basis, the light of existence. So would you say Shiva as explained in Shaiva Agama can only mean Narayana and not otherwise?

Now, as I see it, Shiva is declared as a demigod because the vaishnava texts say so. But since the texts are silent about Jehova or Allah, it leaves the interpretation part open. ISKCON has chosen to interpret Allah and Jehova's role as described by their believers. But in the case of shaivism, it doesn't show the same sympathy with the view of the shiva-worshippers.

I think this is all due to history. If Jehova and Allah were known during ancient India, I have no doubt that in the vaishnava literature, Krishna and most probably shiva too, would have been portrayed as superior to Allah and Jehova.

I think it is how a monotheistic type of religion behaves. Other deities have to be shown inferior. Allah and Jehova escaped the censure perhaps due to their being unknown to vaishnava writers of vaishnava texts.
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#35
The Vaishnava downgrading of Shiva (and Kali) is quite amusing since the Vaishnavas have to work very hard to explain away the awkard fact that Vishnu Sahasranama mentions that Shiva (Name #27) and Rudra (Name #114) are names of Vishnu. They also have to ignore the Harihara murti.

The biggest problem with Vaishnavism is that it encourages bigoted behavior.
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#36
Interesting thread.

Question. Did Srila Prabhupada give his speeches in bengali or english ?
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#37
Does Srimad Bhagavatam talk about what a vaishnava should do or not do? From Jagan Mohanji's post, It sound as if the entire Vaishnava sampradaya as one defined by Madvacharya or Ramanuja. There are lot of Vaishnava Smarta like me who follow Adi Sankara and we have our own brand of Vaishnavism who do not deride Shiva

Within the Mayic domain, there may be heirarchy, but it is much restricted to the way the sampradaya is defined. Claiming absolute superiority of his sampradaya for me is bigotory. Shiva may be accorded a lower state in the vaishnava literature, and Vishnu a lower status in Saiva literature. The way i see it is all the same Narayana seen from a different standpoint. The same narayana for a Kashmiri Shaivite / is Para-Siva or SadaShiva, where for a Saktha he is Maha tiripura Sundari. What matters is the supremeness of the Brahman. Jesus might have referring to the supreme as the eternal father (paramapitha of paralokha) and the same might have been with Mohammad and Allah. The problem comes after this definition.

Regarding what ISKCON does, i am with Narayanan. I visit ISKCON temple in Brooklyn and participate in their sunday Bhajans. One great thing that i notice with the devotees is that in the temple they mainly talk about Krishna with very little of o others, while the people at the other big temples, i hear most people talk all stuff other (amway, H1Bs, green cards etc. ) than God.

But what i dont like is when they ask whether i am inititated into Krishna conciousness . With all that I take the best that ISKCON has to offer i.e the love for Krishna, the Bhajans, the painting, the nama sankirthanam, propogation of Bhagavat Gita and the Bhagavatam and leave the rest (their perception/ comments about the other sampradayas.,etc ) at the feet of Krishna himself. They are Krishna devotees i will not worry about them . Krishna will take care of them even if they are bad as he said in the Gita.
Sarvam Krishnarpanam.

as an aside, are you the Dr.Jagan Mohan who used to post in BR?
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#38
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One great thing that i notice with the devotees is that in the temple they mainly talk about Krishna with very little of o others, while the people at the other big temples, i hear most people talk all stuff other (amway, H1Bs, green cards etc. ) than God.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Exactly. As for suggestions of "initiation" etc we just politely smile at any such suggestions. A long time ago, we discussed these things with the top person at the temple (a gent who happens to be black, incidentally) and he understood that we would not become "members" etc. That's it. He never asked anything like that, and accepts us for what we are. There are other subordinate types (mostly desis) who lack the standards of this person, who do chatter away with all sorts of assumptions. They have their reasons and their world around them, and like I said before, if they devote their lives to being devotees, that's what is most important to them.

If I may venture the suggestion, a lot of Yindoos need to ease up and accept such things - micro-variations in how other Yindoos choose to worship, live etc.

So ISKCON does not say they are Hindus except when talking to Hindus - HOW does that matter? If they worship Krishna and have the entire sequence of Incarnations posted all over their temples, and teach at least a folk version of the epics to people who have never heard of them, are they better or worse "Hindus" than someone who claims deep knowledge of all the original Sanskrit books, but cannot see that all people and other creatures are children of the same Creation? (No implied insults against anyone here - just a general statement!) Doesn't the basic teaching say that it doesn't matter HOW one worships - the fact that one worships or accepts a Supreme Power is evidence enough, and the Supreme Being, being supreme, is also smart enough to accept that? If one doesn't accept that basic teaching, and gets hung up on precise procedures and precise angles of viewing, isn't one losing sight of that basic principle?

What good is it to know all the books, but not see this 101-level fact? What the books REALLY advice is to NOT be distracted by the noise, and to focus on what really matters. The rest is procedural details to help retain focus - never to get distracted. If one learns from the books how to stay focused, that's great. But hey, knowing the books does not make one superior any more than a coaching camp makes one superior as a batsman - if you score fewer runs on average than the uncouth Sehwag-type, well... you ain't as good a batsman, regardless of who your coach was.

I look at who has effectively spread the epics of Hinduism around the world - and it seems to me that the ISKCON does a good job of that, at least as much as the "Scholars" who can't kick the s*** out of the RISA.

Now about "Kristos = Krsna = Krishna" Well, what's wrong with that? Again, look at where the ISKCON has been operating. I think this is brilliant strategy - to tell people that what they learned about Yesu Kristu (called Jesus Christ by the Roman imperialists who nailed him to the cross) as children is not invalid - they don't have to unlearn it. Its just a subset of the infinite Reality. If you think in those terms, you see why they also claim that "Shiva = Narayana" does not mean "Narayana = Shiva". The "=" sign just means "subset" or "superset" in this case.

So what if they believe that? I can find as many people who believe that Kali is the only idea of the Almighty that they recognize. Or Shiva. Or any number of other forms. Until "Hindus" learn to recognize that all are the same, we are condemned to infighting and fratricide. Which is a pity, because an all-accepting and peaceful path is open before us.

And the beauty of all that is, "all-accepting" applies to worship - it says nothing about accepting evil. So kicking musharraf in the musharraf is still perfectly acceptable.
<!--emo&:tv--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tv_feliz.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tv_feliz.gif' /><!--endemo-->
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#39
Now, here is something VERY commendable. The more I read about Iskcon, even though there will be difference in opinion, I am beginning to understand something I had missed seeing before.

The ISKCON Prison Ministry

ISKCON Prison Ministry: Letters. <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

This brings up a question...
Does Ramakrishna Mission or Aryasamaj etc have such ministries? (I know Art of Living has something similar.)
  Reply
#40
Sunder <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->So ISKCON does believe Buddha, Allah, and Jejovah/Christ are equivalent to Narayana or Krishna? Does it also endorse that the Bible (like the mention of Aquarian Gospel) are also "True" texts that a "Bhaktha" should follow?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Hmmm.. I think a vital point is being missed by all allround.

Hinduism means to go beyond the bodily concepts of life.
The soul is actually free from the bodily notions of sex, nationality and even sectarian religion.

Thus there is no Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian in the real sense.

Coming to the question, NO, ISKCON does NOT endorse the Bible or any other Text other than Sattwic Vedic Scriptures.

VAISHNAVISM RESPECTS AND SUPPORTS RELIGIOUSNESS, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHICH RELIGION IT ORIGINATES FROM.
The ultimate goal of all religions is Love of God, every thing else is irrelavant commentary.
If a religion succeeds in installing love of God in its followers, it is an authentic religion, if not, it is a failure. This is the only yardstick to measure religions, it does not really matter who started the religion or where and when.

However, Vaishnavism is the most complete science on Bhakti and has the easiest and surest way of understanding love for Godhead and therefore enjoys a preeminent position.

Many a times, this anology is used: Hinduism is an encyclopedia of religiousness, while all other religions are concise dictionaries. One can understand stuff from dictionaries, but for indepth, elaborate treatment of any topic, one needs to refer the encylopedia.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->gangajal :
The Vaishnava downgrading of Shiva (and Kali) is quite amusing since the Vaishnavas have to work very hard to explain away the awkard fact that Vishnu Sahasranama mentions that Shiva (Name #27) and Rudra (Name #114) are names of Vishnu. They also have to ignore the Harihara murti.

The biggest problem with Vaishnavism is that it encourages bigoted behavior. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Would you care to explain what you mean by your assertation that Vaishnavism encourages Bigotism?

The biggest problem you say, also means that Vaishnavism has 'other' problems.. care to elaborate what other problems you have discovered?

There is no 'downgrading' of Shiva and there is no amusement in it. It is just your carelessness when you did not read my previous posts carefully where I have mentioned that Shiva is an avatara or expansion of Narayana and in once sense, non-different from Narayana, but as an expansion to govern the mode of Ignorance, is not the recipient of worship which is due to Narayana, the original personality alone.

Please! Kindly do not pass such judgements too fast and without adequete reasoning unless you want to come accross as an illogical bigoted person yourself!

Sridhar K <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Does Srimad Bhagavatam talk about what a vaishnava should do or not do? From Jagan Mohanji's post, It sound as if the entire Vaishnava sampradaya as one defined by Madvacharya or Ramanuja. There are lot of Vaishnava Smarta like me who follow Adi Sankara and we have our own brand of Vaishnavism who do not deride Shiva <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sridhar K, Yes Sir, I am the same Jagan Mohan of BRF.

Vaishnavism has many Samradayas, ranging from Pure Advaita or Shudda-Advaita of Sri Vallabha & Sri Vishnuswami, Dwaita-Advaita of Sri Bhaskara to Pure Dwaita of Sri Madhavacharya.
It would be interesting to you that Sri Chaitanya, the founder of Bhedabheda Gaudiya Sampradaya comes in the line of Brahma-Madhava Sampradaya, but accepted the Commentary of Sri Sridhara Swamin, a Advaitist over traditional Madhava Commentary of the Bhagavatam.

Also, the fact that Madhavacharya as well as Chaitanya took Sanyasa Diksha from Advaitin Sanyasins points to the fact that Vaisnavism does not propogate hatred or disrespect for followers of Advaitism. Ramanujacharya's Gurudev (one of his) was an Advaitin too.

Adi Sankara is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and is highly respected Acharyan for Vaishnavas.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->we have our own brand of Vaishnavism who do not deride Shiva <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.. try to understand this very minor point.

Just because Vaishnavism does advocate worshipping Shiva, it does NOT mean that it derides Shiva.
Vaishnavism reserves total devotion to Lord Vishnu alone.

Saiva Siddhanta School of though of South India as well as Kashmiri Shaivism of North both are devotional dwaita-advaitic schools where the Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu is taught. They excusively worship Shiva and do not even enter Vishnu Temples. This does not mean that they disrespect Vishnu or deride Vishnu, but it is their path and we respect their own freedom to choose their path.

Vaishnavism and Shaivism has co-existed for time immemorial.

In fact Advaitins claim that Shiva or Vishnu have no independent and real existence and are just names for the formless Brahman.
Thus Advaitins decry the existence of Shiva or Vishnu. For them, these are just names of imagination.. of maya.
It has also prompted many self-made Gurus and Charlatans to call themselves Avataras since they say that there is absolutely no difference between them and Brahman. Some have self-styled themselves as 'Bhagavan' this and Bhagavan That.

But Vaishnavas know from the authority of Scriptures that Shiva is a live personality with his own abode, the Kailasha realm and his own authority over Animals and Animalistic Humans- Pashupathi.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But what i dont like is when they ask whether i am inititated into Krishna conciousness <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Every Hindu is expected to be initiated into one or the other Sampradaya.

Initiation is re-birth and offers sanctury and safety at the lotus feet of one's Guru from Materialsm and the lure of this World. Therefore, anybody who is concerned about your spritual welfare is justified when He/She asks about your initiation. No harm nor ill-will is meant.

Its just like any worldy person asking if you have finished college/found a job/ got married/ have children etc.
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