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ISKCON: It's Role, Idealogies, And World-view.
#41
<b> ISKCON in Relation to People of Faith in God </b>
Saunaka Rsi Dasa

ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya (denomination or tradition), a monotheistic tradition within Vedic or Hindu culture. Hindu culture is vast, and the term encompasses numerous theologies, philosophies religious traditions and spiritual cultures. Thus, dialogue with Hindu traditions has been difficult for many seeking such dialogue. There are no official representatives of Hinduism, as the term Hinduism does not imply a single spiritual tradition. This statement therefore is representative of Hindu culture and religion as ISKCON, as a Vedantic, monotheistic Vaisnava tradition.

In this statement and in the elaboration of this statement, we present our response to the current global need for relationships among world faiths. ISKCON is the first global Vaisnava movement and as such accepts the responsibility to interact with host communities with respect and sensitivity. Consequently this document serves as a statement of purpose to other faith communities and to ISKCON's members.

<b> Part 1 </b>
ISKCON's Statement on Relating with People of Faith in God
In ISKCON we view all communities and philosophies advocating and practising love for God and founded on revealed scripture as representative of the ultimate religious expression. We also respect the spiritual worth of paths of genuine self-realisation and search for the Absolute Truth in which the concept of a personal Deity is not explicit.

Other communities and organisations advocating humanitarian, ethical and moral standards are also valued as being beneficial to society.
ISKCON views dialogue between its members and people of other faiths as an opportunity to listen to others and to understand what others believe and value, to develop mutual understanding and mutual trust, and to share our commitment and faith with others, while respecting their commitment to their own faith.
ISKCON recognises that no one religion can hold a monopoly on the truth, the revelation of God, or our relationship with God. We assert that the Lord in His individual relationships with His devotees governs these things.
ISKCON's members are encouraged to be respectful and supportive of people of faith from other traditions and to see the need for people of different faiths to work together for the benefit of society as a whole and for the glorification of God.
ISKCON affirms the responsibility of each individual to develop his or her relationship with the Supreme Lord.

<b> Part 2 </b>

<b> ISKCON in Dialogue and Mission </b>

ISKCON's mission

When A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896–1977), the founder and acarya of ISKCON, first registered ISKCON as a legal entity in New York in 1966, he stated that his primary aim for the movement was: 'To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.'[1]

In pursuance of this aim, members of the Hare Krsna movement value charity, non-violence, spiritual education, moral thought and action, devotion and service to God.

We further value qualities such as humility, tolerance, compassion, cleanliness, self-control, simplicity, steadiness, knowledge, honesty and personal integrity.

We value and respect the right to life of all other living things, be they human, animal, aquatic or plant life. We value the environment and our natural resources as being the God's property, which we have a responsibility to respect and protect.

We recognise the institution of the family to be an essential element in maintaining social stability. We consider respect for parents, teachers and government representatives important for maintaining a stable society. Respect and protection for elders, women, children, weak and dependent living beings, and persons dedicated to the welfare of others and to the service of God are also important elements in the development of a healthy and secure society.

We understand that many spiritual, altruistic and humanely inspired people share these principles and values. We respect and value any tradition or culture trying to practice, maintain and develop such qualities and behaviour.

Srila Prabhupada's mission is further elaborated in his pranama mantra[2], in which it is stated that he came to deliver the Western countries from godlessness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1836–1914), a revered Vaisnava acarya, explained that the enemy is not other religions, but atheism.[3] The mission of Srila Prabhupada and the sampradaya (or religious tradition) he represented, promotes both morality and practices that support the development of individual and social spirituality, but it raises a challenge to atheistic and materialistic principles and values.

<b> ISKCON: Dialogue and mission </b>
For a missionary movement a dialogue with those who may not share the same spiritual or religious views may seem a contradiction in purpose. Gaudiya Vaisnava teachings support dialogue and co-operation with other religious traditions. Conversion in Vaisnava tradition depends on the assumption that Krsna, not the missionary devotee, is Isvara, the controller.

Gaudiya Vaisnavism recognises religious diversity as a normal and healthy symptom of social expression. Historically members of our tradition have been in contact with members of other faith communities since the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), although systematic attempts at dialogue with other faiths began only with Bhaktivinode Thakura (1838–1914).

Relationships of trust can develop from sincere dialogue among people of faith. These relationships can inspire religious people from all traditions to work together to establish theistic conclusions that will lead to a God-conscious ethos in our modern world. Thus, dialogue and respectful working relationships with other faith communities are consistent with ISKCON's mission and important for social harmony.

In the 1950s Srila Prabhupada confirmed this approach in an appeal to the leaders of the world's religions: 'Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and the members of the other sects that have convincing faith in the authority of God must not sit idly now and silently watch the rapid growth of a Godless civilisation. There is the supreme will of God, and no nation or society can live in peace and prosperity without acceptance of this vital truth.'[4]

While cherishing our own spiritual culture and working to proclaim our faith in Krsna in Vrindavana, we consider it inappropriate and unbecoming for a Vaisnava to try and attract people to the worship of the Supreme by denigrating, misrepresenting, or humiliating members of other faith communities. In relation to this, Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written: 'But it is not proper to constantly propagate the controversial superiority of the teachers of one's own country over those of another country although one may, nay one should, cherish such a belief in order to acquire steadiness in a faith of your own. But no good can be affected to the world by such quarrels.'[5] Srila Prabhupada also discusses this in his purports in Srimad-Bhagavatam: 'Another important point mentioned in this connection is anindaya[avoiding blasphemy]—we should not criticise others' methods of religion… A devotee, instead of criticising such systems, will encourage the followers to stick to their principles …'[6]

Vaisnavas strive to inspire and enhance the relationship between the Lord and His devotees. In this attempt, devotees meet others whose approach to the Supreme is different in their flavour of worship, variegatedness in service and expression of love. During a public lecture in 1969, Srila Prabhupada stated, 'Everyone should follow the particular traditions or sampradaya, the regulative principles of your own religion. This is required as much as there are many different political parties, although everyone is meant to serve one country'. Thus, diversity is accepted, but not to the exclusion of unity. Religions do not have to become homogeneous or merge together, but they can develop respectful and practical relationships with one another. With this understanding, ISKCON does not have a mission to proselytise members of other faiths.

ISKCON does see it as its mission to accept with open arms any sincere soul who declares a need for spiritual shelter and guidance. There is a definite missionary spirit in Vaisnavism and Hinduism, but its practice is not governed by an exclusivist conversion model. From a Gaudiya Vaisnava perspective, we work not at 'conversion' but spiritual development. Therefore 'conversion' is an individual experience, a personal spiritual journey, a journey that transcends religious institution and sectarian affiliation. Conversion models that depend on exclusivist demands of affiliation may often do so without considering the Lord's supremacy, independent in truth.

Through dialogue, people of different faiths and traditions can work together to share principles and areas of concern. Together they can then engage their individual spirituality in addressing such problems as war, violence, moral decline, crime, intoxication, poverty and hunger, social instability and environmental degradation.

Through dialogue, theistic people and those engaged in the pursuit of the Absolute Truth can encourage one another to be more true to their own practice. Many traditions prescribe the disciplines of self-control, sacrifice, austerity and charity for developing spiritual enlightenment but we all need encouragement and inspiration in our endeavours. To fulfil the requests of our spiritual teachers and to provide good example to society, we need to encourage one another to be faithful to the principles of our own traditions.[7]

Dialogue offers a challenge of faith to devotees of every tradition. This challenge is a necessary and welcome part of spiritual life in a multi-faith world. Such dialogue can help strengthen the faith and character of individuals, the integrity and vision of institutions and the support and appreciation of those who expect enlightened spiritual leadership. Thus dialogue can lead to a profound realisation of mission, in the broadest sense of the term.



<b> Part 3 </b>

<b> ISKCON: A Theological Basis for Dialogue </b>

Vaisnava theology and the concept of religion :

In common with many followers of Vedantic tradition, devotees of Krsna distinguish between Krsna consciousness, or pure love of God, and what is commonly understood as religion. In his introduction to Bhagavad-gita, Srila Prabhupada explains:

Sanatana-dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord…The English word religion is a little different from sanatana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanatana-dharmarefers to that activity which cannot be changed.[8]

Vaisnavas regard Krsna consciousness or sanatana-dharma as non-sectarian, although those practising sanatana-dharma may individually attach themselves to specific religious traditions. Love of God is defined for Vaisnava devotees in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavat Purana) 1.2.6 [9] and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11.[10] Srila Prabhupada also writes, 'We do not advocate any sectarian religion. We are concerned to invoke our dormant love for God. Any method that helps us in reaching such a platform is welcome.'[11] In his commentary on Rupa Goswami's Upadesamrta, Srila Prabhupada further elaborates:

In all parts of the world, however downtrodden human society may be, there is some system of religion…When a religious system develops and turns into love of God, it is successful. (p. 44) [12]

Vaisnavism therefore recognises the inherent spirituality of all living beings and their individual relationship with the Supreme Lord, known by many names. Vaisnavism maintains that each individual's satisfaction is to be found in service to the Supreme, and 'such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self' (Bhag.1.2.6). Without such service, we seek enjoyment elsewhere and worship demigods, great persons, natural phenomena or idols, according to taste and circumstance.

The Lord consistently recognises and maintains His relationship with the individual soul and recognises our attempts to know and understand Him, even though imperfectly or improperly performed. Krsna asks the individual soul, 'Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear' ( Bg. 18.66). Therefore, He emphasises that a personal exchange between Himself and the individual soul is superior to any institutional or sectarian claim to His favour.

<b> Vaisnava theology and a basis for dialogue </b>

Caitanya Mahaprabhu left only eight written verses, called the Sikastakam. The fourth of these verses reads:

One should be more tolerant than a tree, more humble than a blade of grass and one should be ready to offer all respect to everyone and yet expect no respect for oneself. In such a humble state of mind one can glorify and serve the Lord with pure devotion.[13]

This verse leaves no doubt about the standard of humility, respect, and devotion expected from a Vaisnava who is surrendering to Lord Krsna with a pure heart. The term, 'offering all respect to everyone' can of course apply directly to people of other faiths. It is incumbent on devotees of the Lord to offer all respect especially to people sincerely trying to love and serve God. Such respect, tolerance and humility form the basis of proper Vaisnava relationships.

The eleventh canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam describes three progressive stages in the development of spiritual relationships: neophyte (kanistha), mature(madhyama) and advanced (uttama). The Bhagavatam presents these developments as a universal phenomenon to be seen among devotees of every religious tradition. The neophyte usually expresses the sentiments of fanaticism and exclusivism. The neophyte does not know how to behave when in the assembly of devotees. He or she cannot correctly distinguish between a devotee and a non-devotee[14] and cannot be effective in dialogue regardless of the tradition to which he or she belongs. Srila Prabhupada warns, 'but if someone is a dogmatic and a blind follower then avoid to discuss [sic] with him.'[15]

The mature devotee, very much concerned with proper relationships,[16] can recognise devotees of God by their qualities and sentiment, and does not judge them by religious affiliation.[17] Where devotion is manifest, he or she recognises a devotee. The mature devotee will recognise devotion to God by the presence of any of the nine devotional processes outlined by the Vaisnava authority Prahlada Maharaja.[18] Srila Prabhupada has stated that although two of these nine processes, namely hearing spiritual sound (sravanam) and chanting the name of God(kirtanam), are specifically recommended as the most effective methods of spiritual practice for this age, each of the nine remains effective in every age. When mature, a devotee develops the mature vision necessary for sincere and trusting relationships with members of other faith communities.

The advanced stage of faith, the uttama platform, brings transcendental realisation. The advanced devotee sees all living beings as eternal servants of Krsna and treats them as such. He or she will have no interest in sectarian designations of race, caste, sex or religion and will renounce all worldly and materialistic association, in favour of associating with those dedicated to pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Vaisnavism recognises that spiritual or religious life essentially pertains to a personal and individual relationship between an eternal individual soul and the eternal Supreme Soul. Though a devotee performs various services that may please the Lord, the Supreme Lord grants spiritual realisation and pure devotional love by His own sweet will. Thus, adherents of Vaisnavism reject the idea that any one religion or organisation can hold a monopoly on the truth or a relationship that is governed solely by the Lord. Vaisnavas accept that Krsna, or God, is free to enter into loving exchanges with whomsoever He wishes, without considering colour, caste or creed.


<b>Part 4: Principles and Guidelines for Approaching People with Faith in God
Principles </b>

The following principles will help members of ISKCON in approaching members of other faith communities. The principles are given here in a condensed form and require careful consideration.
  • Humility.Our tradition establishes that this is the key to building spiritual relationships. It is also the principle quality of a Vaisnava.
    The unlimited nature of Krsna. The Absolute truth is universal. No individual or organisation has a monopoly on the Lord. He reveals himself wherever, whenever, however and to whoever he pleases.
  • Honesty.Always be honest and truthful. This is the basis for trust in successful relationships.
  • Respect. Always remain respectful, even if you do not receive the same respect in return. Lord Caitanya has said, 'amanina manadena': one should be ready to offer all respects to others, without expecting any respect for oneself.
    Tolerance.When you interact with people disrespectful or insensitive toward our tradition and culture, perhaps because they have made uninformed assumptions about us, you will have to be tolerant, explain yourself politely, and forgive their misunderstandings.
  • Consideration of time, place and circumstance. Use your common sense and discretion to develop relationships. Be sensitive to your partner in dialogue or your audience.
  • Mutual understanding. Be prepared to listen to others, to understand their language, assumptions, culture and values. Therefore, do not judge others' practice by our ideals.
  • Personal realisation. We must sincerely cultivate our own spiritual realisations in Krsna consciousness if we are to effectively represent the sankirtanamovement.
  • [19] Try to speak from personal example and realisation. Sharing will be more effective if it comes from personal realisation.
  • Personal relationships. The Vaisnava tradition rests on sincere personal relationships. We can live without the philosophy, the ritual and the institution, but we cannot live without our loving and serving relationship with Krsna and His devotees.
  • Good behaviour. Srila Prabhupada writes, 'A devotee's behaviour establishes the true purpose of religious principles'.[20]

    <b> Guidelines for approaching members of other faiths </b>
    The main aim is to form genuine friendly relationships that promote understanding between ourselves and members of other religions.
  • Listen to and value presentations by members of other faiths with respect.
  • Give members of other faiths the opportunity to freely express their sincerely held beliefs and convictions.
  • Allow members of other faiths to define themselves in their own language and ownculture without imposing definitions upon them, thus avoiding comparing their practice with our ideals.
  • Respect the diet, dress, rituals and etiquette of others.
  • Recognise that we all can fall short of the ideals of our respective traditions.
  • Do not misrepresent or disparage the beliefs or religious practices of others. If you want to understand their beliefs, enquire politely and humbly.
  • Respect that others have a commitment to their chosen faith as we do to ours.
  • Be honest and straightforward about your intentions. This will be appreciated by those you meet.
  • Be sensitive and courteous to all you meet, even if you do not get a chance to interact on a deeper level.
  • Respect the right of others to disagree and their desire to be left alone.
  • There is never a need to compromise our philosophy or values.
  • When in dialogue with religious people, you do not have to feel the need to convert them.
  • You will meet fundamentalist religionists and atheistic scholars. Offer them due respect and move on. Sincere dialogue on spiritual matters will not be possible with them.
  • Do not be afraid to answer a question with 'I don't know'. Honesty is better than speculation.
  Reply
#42
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Hayagriva,
Yes, I can elaborate on other problems with Vaishnavism. It's complete denial of the Non-dual Brahman (Ramaunjacharya's position) or downgrading of it (Gaudiya Vasihnava position) is clearly a problem.

Another problem is the Vaishnava insistence on monotheism. That automatically downgrades followers of Shiva, Kali, Ganapati, Surya etc.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Even in your defence of your position you are downgrading Shiva by claiming that Shiva is an expansion to govern the mode of ignorance. Don't you see that you are being very insulting to followers of Shiva? Followers of Kali are also insulted when Gaudiya Vaishnavas claim that Radha is a very special hladhini Shakti while Kali, Durga are only ordinary shakti. Any incident where Chaitanya is shown to worship Kali is thrown out of the window by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. For example,
Govindadasa mentions in his Kadaca that Chaitanya went into ecstasy in a temple dedicated
to Kali in Padmakota during his South India tour (c 1510). Of course, Gaudiya Vaishnavas do not accept this eye-witness report!
  Reply
#43
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Okay, we are back from Iskcon to this holier-than-thou rubbish that goes on in the name of advaita-bashing. First off, Hyagriva, you either have no idea of Advaita Vedanta, or you are purposefully misconstruing the argument and presenting it in a way which is asynchronous with traditional Advaita schools.

When an Advaitin "claims" Shiva or Vishnu have no real existence, they are refering to the "Name-Quality" combination. Guna, and Aakara are finite and limted as the Shruthi claims. But the Shruthis also says that a anyone who says "It" has a form is a fool, and one who says It is formless is a bigger fool. He who neither thinks of It as formed or formless perhaps may know it.

Shiva and Vishnu DO exist, and their existence is as real as your dreams are. The one permanent aspect in your dream and THIS reality is YOU, the Self. That alone is real. Thus Shiva and Vishnu are Real, and in Reality, they are your Self.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
While stating that there is no deriding, it is quite ironic that the Gaudiya followers with half-baked understanding of Shruthis talk about "Self made Gurus" and Charlatans. If your reference to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, be known that he did not confer any titles upon himself. As for Avathara this and Avatara that, Advaita is not averse to Avataras. Just like the Vision of Krishna in my dreams are in the framework of the mind, the external manifestation of Avatara, Amsa, Poornavathara, etc are within the framework of relativity. No two Avataras are distinct from 'each other', it is the same Self, (which is within this body too) is manifesting itself in a tangible form.

A name-form combination has no existence of it's own. It only relies on the substratum which can neither be defined, nor be known independently. When an Advaitin says Shiva or Vishnu, it is the same entity with different name or attribute. Or as the Shruthis call it Shivam/Advaitam (Mand.7).

On the one hand you say there is no deriding, but in the very next sentence mention that "We are superior to those xyz schools." There should be a healthy debate for any progress to take place, what I see is a stifling attitude where you say "We know we are superior, and hence you are inferior even though we don’t mean it that way." If you say your views are valid (let alone superior), you have to back it up with Shruthi Pramana, and not padma-purana or kushmanda-purana.

You said:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
You failed to say WHY it is the most complete science? The same claim can be made by christians who claim their way to be the path of Love, or islam that claims to be the only true religion of peace. You may want to back up your position on WHY Vaishnavism is more complete than say, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar's or Appar's way? A true bhaktha revels in ANYONE having bhakthi towards the Lord. To say that my interepretation alone is right, and yours is wrong is just laughable and is inconsistent go even with your own statement.

May Sri Hari who is but a form of Sadha Shiva be praised.
  Reply
#44
Sorry for the belated replies..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Gangajal: Hayagriva,
Yes, I can elaborate on other problems with Vaishnavism. It's complete denial of the Non-dual Brahman (Ramaunjacharya's position) or downgrading of it (Gaudiya Vasihnava position) is clearly a problem.

Another problem is the Vaishnava insistence on monotheism. That automatically downgrades followers of Shiva, Kali, Ganapati, Surya etc. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Gangajal, those problems that you say are YOUR problems.

Untill now, you have filed TWO problems (if we can call them problems):
1. One, that Vaishnavism's 'comple denial or downgrading' of Brahman
Well, you are trying to impose your view of what Vaishnavism should be and Vaishnavism failing to comply with your idea of what it should ideally be, you cry problems.

If this isn't your problem what else is it?

Vaishnavism is not meant to conform to your mental projection of how you understand vedanta to be.

Having said that, it is you who is really a problem. Because you try to find problems with Vaishnavism when you really don't have to.

2. Secondly,
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Even in your defence of your position you are downgrading Shiva by claiming that Shiva is an expansion to govern the mode of ignorance. Don't you see that you are being very insulting to followers of Shiva? Followers of Kali are also insulted when Gaudiya Vaishnavas claim that Radha is a very special hladhini Shakti while Kali, Durga are only ordinary shakti. Any incident where Chaitanya is shown to worship Kali is thrown out of the window by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. For example,
Govindadasa mentions in his Kadaca that Chaitanya went into ecstasy in a temple dedicated to Kali in Padmakota during his South India tour (c 1510). Of course, Gaudiya Vaishnavas do not accept this eye-witness report! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is getting interesting.
Where do Shaivites claim that its insulting for them that Vaishnavites believe that Vishnu is the Supreme and that Shiva is an expansion of Vishnu?

Shaivites believe that Shiva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Vaishnavites are not about to go to war over this. Shaivites believe what they have to believe to qualify as Shaivites and so do Vaishnavites.
Each have their belief systems and this respective belief is NOT automatically seen as insult to each other.

The only people who seem to have problems with this are the Advaitins who belong frankly to neither of the two, while they wish they were both at the same time. It simply won't work.

In many numerous Sri Vaishavite Temples, there are Shrines to Lord Shiva managed by Shaivites. Side by Side, each tradition claiming devotion to Shiva or Vishnu alone. Absolute peaceful co-existence.

Please don't barge on this peace with your problems that Vaishnavites will have to accomodate your speculations too.

You are tying to force Vaishnavites into dropping Vishnu as supreme and accepting that there are no really Vishnu or Shiva and that these are only fantasy names exisiting in some kind of dream state... or else, that Vaishnavites are insulting Shiva?

What next, would you like to organise a progrom to kill all the Vaishnavites for offending Shaivites and vice versa so that no Vaishnavite nor Shaivite will exist to sing the praises exclusively to each's God?

Followers of Kali are also insulted you say.. would you care to give an example where Shaktas are angry that Vaishnavas are worshipping Vishnu alone???

Don't forget that Shaktas believe that the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were created by Shakti who also expanded into tri-devis to unite with each of them. Now, we Vaishnavas don't have a problem with what Shaktas believe. DO You have a problem?

Sri Chaitanya also went into ecstacy at a Shiva temple as far as I know.
How does that translate into Sri Chaitanya worshipping Shiva as Supreme? The truth is that Chaitanya acharya was paying his respects to the greatest Vaishnava and these respects are as good as worship.

So if at all Chaitanya acharya fell into trance in a Kali temple, you need not unnecessarily speculate into imagining that Chaitanya is teaching Advaita-vada or as worshipping Kali as supreme.
  Reply
#45
Sunder:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Okay, we are back from Iskcon to this holier-than-thou rubbish that goes on in the name of advaita-bashing. First off, Hyagriva, you either have no idea of Advaita Vedanta, or you are purposefully misconstruing the argument and presenting it in a way which is asynchronous with traditional Advaita schools.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

We are not back from ISKCON to advaita-bashing, but back from ISKCON bashing to talking about the differences.

I just hightlighted the difference in approach of Vaishnavism vis a vis Advaita and you misconstruct it as bashing and call it 'holier then thou rubbish'. This reveals your mood for this thread although you make a great show of writing down godly rules in the first post.

You started with claiming some undercurrents, spoke of ISKCON as if all other Vaishnavites disowned them for some devilish reasons unknown, went on to find fault with Vaishnavas interacting with Christians and even asked if ISKCON asked its followers to read and follow Bible!! What didn't you accuse ISKCON of?

The fact that Vaishnavism believes the Shiva is an expansion of Vishnu such a big problem in the Hindu Society that you and Gangajal make it out to be? Or is it that you are tying to build Himalayas out of anthills? Creating a controversy where none exists?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->First off, Hyagriva, you either have no idea of Advaita Vedanta, or you are purposefully misconstruing the argument and presenting it in a way which is asynchronous with traditional Advaita schools. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes, you are right, I am not knowledgable in Advaita vada.
I only need to know how to differentiate Advaita-vada and what is wrong with it. I am not qualified to speak about Advaita so I am sorry that I even started to talk about it. All I said was that Advaitins claim that Shiva/Vishnu have no independent and real existence and are just names for the formless Brahman.
IS this right or wrong? You either say that Shiva and Vishnu exist seperately, truely and as real personalities OR you say they don't..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When an Advaitin "claims" <b>Shiva or Vishnu have no real existence</b>, they are refering to the "Name-Quality" combination. Guna, and Aakara are finite and limted as the Shruthi claims. But the Shruthis also says that a anyone who says "It" has a form is a fool, and one who says It is formless is a bigger fool. He who neither thinks of It as formed or formless perhaps may know it.

<b> Shiva and Vishnu DO exist </b>, and their existence is as real as your dreams are. The one permanent aspect in your dream and THIS reality is YOU, the Self. That alone is real. <b> Thus Shiva and Vishnu are Real, and in Reality, they are your Self. </b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

You yourself agree that Shiva and Vishnu have no real existence, but go on to juggle words twisting them into sentences and dropping words like 'fools' liberally without necessity.

In the very next line, you do the twist again when you say, 'Shiva and Vishnu DO exist' and as poison is added to milk, go on to try to tie that existence to my dreams by saying ' their existence is as real as your dreams are'.. which is to say that my dream are just dreams which have no reality to them and that existence of Shiva and Vishnu are as good as my dreams.
This only plainly means that the existences of Vishnu and Shiva are only as objects in dreams with no inherent reality.

If dreams are dreams, what permanence can be found in them? You say the 'one permanent aspect in your dream'. You also say that 'THIS reality is YOU.' This refers to WHAT????
How can there be permanence when the basis of dreams is impermanence? And what reality can be in dreams? What reality are you talking about?

You end that para by saying, 'Thus Shiva and Vishnu are Real, and in Reality, they are your Self.'

How come 'thus'? What have you proved to end it as thus as if you have given all logical points and the conclusion is somehow self-evident. How is it that Shiva and Vishnu became one and they both as one became my 'self'? Doesn't this mean that Shiva and Vishnu don't really exist and all that exists really is my 'Self'?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b> it is quite ironic that the Gaudiya followers with half-baked understanding of Shruthis talk about "Self made Gurus" and Charlatans. </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

There you go again passing judgement that Gaudiya followers have 'half baked understanding of Shruthis'. Isn't this enough proof of your real intentions for this thread? To ridicule and find fault?

Should I make a long post of your past quotes that plainly proves this fact?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If your reference to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, be known that he did not confer any titles upon himself. As for Avathara this and Avatara that, Advaita is not averse to Avataras <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I did not mention any person in particular, only those <b>who claim themselves to be 'Bhagavan'</b>. Such people are dime a dozen nowadays and you need not bring in Sri Ramana. I also don't think Ramana confered this 'Bhagavan' title upon himself so naturally I am not refering to him.

This 'straw-man' fallacy is a old one. Sorry, it won't work.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Just like the Vision of Krishna in my dreams are in the framework of the mind, the external manifestation of Avatara, Amsa, Poornavathara, etc are within the framework of relativity. No two Avataras are distinct from 'each other', it is the same Self, (which is within this body too) is manifesting itself in a tangible form. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

So you mean to say that dreams need the framework of the mind?
You refer to the 'external manifestation of Avatara', then what is the 'Inner manifestation of avatara'? Is that manifestation in your dreams? Are these two different? Are there really two manifestations? Or is there more? If just two, why is it restricted to two? And this avatara is as real or false as your dream? Or is this all illusion?
What is this 'framework' of relativity? Relative to what? From which point of reference?

'It is the same Self (which is within this body too)' what else is in the body to qualify for your usage of 'too'?

It is an old trick of neo-advaitins to express themselves in sentences too unambigious and confusing to give their understanding a kind of aura. This gives a sense of satisfaction to the word juggler that after any longer debate they will say that this Brahman is indescribable, beyond grasp of thought and all human understanding.

The Vaishnavas say, 'ENOUGH of all this words. These words won't take anybody any nearer to the goal of self-realization. They are only good for arguments and more arguments. The only way is to sing the glories of Hari and seek the grace of pure devotion'

Sri Sankaracharya says,

Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam
Bhaja Govindam, Muda mathe
Samprapthe Sannihithe kale
Nahi Nahi rakshathi Dhukhrum Karane!
Hari Govinda, Hari Govinda
Hari Govinda - Anara Manda
Mrithyuvu Dapuna Mesaletapudu
Vyakaranamu kapadadura.

" Sing the glory of Lord Govinda, utter the name of Lord Govinda; Oh, you ignoramus! You should go on uttering the name of the Lord. It will not be possible for you to do so when death faces you and you are close to it. Reciting grammar cannot save you."

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> On the one hand you say there is no deriding, but in the very next sentence mention that "We are superior to those xyz schools." There should be a healthy debate for any progress to take place, what I see is a stifling attitude where you say "We know we are superior, and hence you are inferior even though we don’t mean it that way." If you say your views are valid (let alone superior), you have to back it up with Shruthi Pramana, and not padma-purana or kushmanda-purana. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Now, you attack me by putting words into my mouth and blaming me as if I uttered them.

Firstly I never said that 'WE ARE SUPERIOR TO THOSE XYZ SCHOOLS'

My words were this: <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> 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. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Why do you wantingly inject these words like 'superior' to discredit me? Do you have enemity with Vaishnavism or myself? Again, what really is the purpose of this thread?! To pick up fights or to know?

Secondly, just because Vaishnavism claims itself to be more complete is not deriding of any other school of thought. Vaishnavism even seeks out and finds value in nastika religions like Christianity, Islam and such. Vaishnavism is catholic in outlook. It rejects no religion as outright wrong, but only gives a better understanding of what religion should be like. The anology of Dictionary and Encyclopedia has already been given to you.
The Encyclopedia has more complete knowledge than the dictionary which does not mean that the dictionary is wrong or useless. Ditto with Vaishnavism and other religions.
This also does not mean that the Encyclopedia is superior to dictionary. Both have different audiences and usage-contexts.

Some people would find the dictionary more useful than the encycolopedia which can be threating, imposing and a over-kill, but for some who need more, they will migrate from the dictionary to the encyclopedia.

If this explaination does not help you, please spare me, I don't want to fight with you.

I repeat: Vaishnavism is complete since it teaches the greatest religious dictum, that of undiluted Love of Almightly. All other religions and systems that claim to be complete do have inadequencies in love of Godhead.
Some like the Semetic religions have the self-interested and selfish goal of Heaven and its pleasures adulterating their love for God.
Others like neo-advaita, have intellectualism and Jnana obsuring and tainting pure love for God.

Narada Muni is quite clear when He says that reading of scriptures, shruthi is of no use since Brahma who holds and breaths out the Vedas himself has no chance of liberation if devoit of Bhakti. The Bhagavad Gita refers to Vedas as a flood of water when there is not a drop of water fit to drink.

When you ask for Shruthi pramana, are you sure you want to hear it? Because, to hear Shruthi, you will have to qualify as a Brahmacharin which means that you will have to stay at the Ashrama of a Guru and learn obedienty and submissively. If you really want to learn the Shruthi, you are most welcome to join any of the various Vaishnava mathas. The Bhagavat-Gita says,' Approach a bonafide master submissively and seek to learn'.. not arrogantly demand on discussion boards for Shruthis which aren't so cheap.

As for me, I am not that careless to throw about Shruthi pramanas around as you ask them. And more importantly, I am so disqualified to even talk about them. Actually I know nothing about them for I am just a student.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You failed to say WHY it is the most complete science? The same claim can be made by christians who claim their way to be the path of Love, or islam that claims to be the only true religion of peace. You may want to back up your position on WHY Vaishnavism is more complete than say, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar's or Appar's way? A true bhaktha revels in ANYONE having bhakthi towards the Lord. To say that my interepretation alone is right, and yours is wrong is just laughable and is inconsistent go even with your own statement.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yes, you are right that a true Bhakta revels in ANYONE having Bhakthi towards the Lord. Thats exactly why a Christian or Muslim having pure devotion is to be respected as religious person irrespective of his religious background.

Just a few post ago, you were blaming ISKCON for doing exactly the same: respecting Bhaktas from Christianity and Islam. Now you turn plates and claim it as a virtue Vaishnavism does not profess.

And at the top of it, you call for consistency while I spend huge paragraphs just repeating myself over and over again ad-nausuem!

Christian love is described as love for the neighbour as oneself. This is just one step of selflessness. There is more to Love of Godhead. Before one can talk about love of Godhead, ONE NEEDS TO KNOW ALL ABOUT THE GODHEAD. Only Vaishnavism talks about all the divine auspicious atributes of Godhead. Who is He, what he likes, what he wears, what he does, who are his associates, his residences, his expansions, pastimes, lilas, avataras, relationships and so on and on - a ocean of knowledge about the Godhead we worship.. show me where in Christianity and Islam do they have such complete understanding of their version of God and I will agree that those religions are as complete as Vaishnavism. Christianity and Islam haven't even succeeded in crossing the notion of this body as the true self. They don't even talk about soul in any appreciatable degree of detail, what to say about Godhead! They still think that the body that is dead with be physically resurrected without knowing that each soul is independent of the body and has had trillions... incountable bodies since time immemorial. For them, this birth is the only birth and this body the only truth. Vaishnavism is thus more complete in understand then Christianity of Islam.

As for Appar and Sambhandhar, Vaishnavas respect all Sages. They are Sages and one cannot comment on their understanding. Also, did I ever tell you that Sambhandhar or Appar are not Vaishnavas? Devotees of Shiva who himself is a devotee of Hari are also devotees as per Vaishnavite understanding, and thus Appar and Sambhandhar are devotees of Lord.
In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna says that recipient of all worship is He alone.
  Reply
#46
<b><i>
Gnanaanandha mayam devam nirmala spatikakruthim
adaram sarva vidyanam hayagrivam upasmahe…
</i></b>


Quote:Why do you wantingly inject these words like 'superior' to discredit me? Do you have enemity with Vaishnavism or myself? Again, what really is the purpose of this thread?! To pick up fights or to know?

Hyagriva, I have nothing to gain or lose by picking up a fight. I think we got off the wrong foot. I have nothing personally against you, or against Vaishnavism. I admire and adore Sriman Narayana who is none other than a manifestation of Raja Rajeshwari. Advaitins are never averse to any other school. Dvaitha Bhakthi is very necessary for spiritual development before it fructifies and leads to Gnana where one attains Nirvikalpa samadhi.

Quote:You started with claiming some undercurrents, spoke of ISKCON as if all other Vaishnavites disowned them for some devilish reasons unknown, went on to find fault with Vaishnavas interacting with Christians and even asked if ISKCON asked its followers to read and follow Bible!! What didn't you accuse ISKCON of?
I also posted the prison ministry of ISKCON. Perhaps you did not see it. The purpose of the thread is not to sing praise of iskcon unconditionally, but to understand it better. At this point I do not have any perception either positive or negative of Iskcon. When I see things like Prison ministry, I laud it. When I see Iskcon equating Jehovah with Krishna, I question it. When they call Advaita Siddhantha as Mayavada I question it. When Iskcon poses it’s idea as FINAL and complete, I contest it. Thus the purpose is to understand Iskcon’s rationale of believing what it believes, and yes, to throw in my ideas as a purvapakshin and challenge Iskcon. This cannot be seen as raking up abuses about Iskcon.

Also Hyagriva, please do not thing I have something against you or am out to get you. I gain nothing by putting you down, but I gain quite a lot by challenging you with an open mind.

Quote:The fact that Vaishnavism believes the Shiva is an expansion of Vishnu such a big problem in the Hindu Society that you and Gangajal make it out to be?
No, this is no problem at all. Vishnu, who is indeed a devotee of Shiva, is indeed a form of Sri Raja Rajeshwari. As the Soundarya Lahari states, Sri Vishnu is a parama bhaktha of Lalitha Devi. (Hari: thwaam aaradhya pranatha jana soubhaghya janani. Puraa nari bhoothva pura ripum api kshobham anayath. – Shloka 5.)

I do not see Shiva and Hari as different entities. They are one and the same. When “He” is Sarva-guna-sampanna, He is Narayana, when “He” is Nirguna, He is Sadha Shiva. There is no ‘distinctness’ seen by me. Thus I contest the concept of “Extensions” or “Subsidaries” on ground of absurdity. (Then the question arises, if there are no Extensions, how can Hari be an extension of Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari? The answer is, there is no real difference in who is the amsha of whom. There is only One Entity, called and interpreted by different names and forms.)

Quote:Yes, you are right, I am not knowledgable in Advaita vada.
I only need to know how to differentiate Advaita-vada and what is wrong with it. I am not qualified to speak about Advaita so I am sorry that I even started to talk about it.
You wrongly assume that there is something wrong with Advaita. If seen with a pre-set mind, then like Duryodhana, even Krishna can be seen as faulty. Thus, instead of finding “what’s wrong with Advaita”, the right approach will be “What is Advaita.” If you understand Advaita, there will be no confusion about what Vaishnavism is or isn’t. True Krishna Consciousness is indeed Advaitha. (I am aware this also goes for my attitude towards iskcon. I am not seeking to find fault with Iskcon, I am only trying to understand it better.)

Quote:All I said was that Advaitins claim that Shiva/Vishnu have no independent and real existence and are just names for the formless Brahman.

IS this right or wrong? You either say that Shiva and Vishnu exist seperately, truely and as real personalities OR you say they don't.
Lack of separate existence does not mean lack of existence altogether. Advaita correctly echoes the Shruthi says there is nothing independent of Brahman. The Shruthi also states that Brahman ALONE existed. It also states that “Sarvam Kalvidham Brahma”. The keyword being SARVAM - Everything. This includes, well, EVERYTHING relative to the Absolute.

Advaita, echoes the Narayana Suktha in stating:
<i><b> tasyaaH shikhaayaa madhye paramaatmaa vyavasthitaH |
sa brahma sa shivaH sa hariH sa indraH so.aksharaH paramaH swaraaT.h ||</b>

In the Middle of That Flame, the Supreme Self dwells. This (Self) is Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Indra, the Imperishable, the Absolute, the Autonomous Being.
</i>

Quote:You yourself agree that Shiva and Vishnu have no real existence, but go on to...
I said, “Shiva and Vishnu are not different from the SELF.” If you believe YOU – the observer - exist, know that the Observer is none other than Shiva/Vishnu. Shiva and Vishnu are but names assigned to your Self. I realize that Dvaitha cannot not fully appreciate this viewpoint. This will be realized gradually. <i>Bahoonaam Janmanaam anthe gnaanavaan maam prabhadyathe. Vaasudevah Sarvam ithi, sa mahaathma sudurlabhah. </i>

Quote:This only plainly means that the existences of Vishnu and Shiva are only as objects in dreams with no inherent reality.

If dreams are dreams, what permanence can be found in them? You say the 'one permanent aspect in your dream'. You also say that 'THIS reality is YOU.' This refers to WHAT????
This refers to YOU. What else can it refer to? The Mandukya Upanishad clearly mentions this in twelve beautiful verses. Read it and come back.

Quote:How can there be permanence when the basis of dreams is impermanence? And what reality can be in dreams? What reality are you talking about?
The DREAMER is constant. Taijasa is his name in dreams. Vishva is his name in waking state, and he is Praagna in deep sleep. He alone is constant, and is changeless. He alone exists. He alone is permanent. Courtesy, Mandukya Upanishad.

Quote:You end that para by saying, 'Thus Shiva and Vishnu are Real, and in Reality, they are your Self.'
The “thus” here is the same “thus” that occurs at the end of the Mandukya Upanishad.

Quote:That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, <b>the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self.</b> He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

http://www.celextel.org/ebooks/upanishads/...a_upanishad.htm

Quote:So you mean to say that dreams need the framework of the mind?
YES. Absolutely. When the mind is quiescent, it is deep-sleep.

Quote:You refer to the 'external manifestation of Avatara', then what is the 'Inner manifestation of avatara'? Is that manifestation in your dreams? Are these two different? Are there really two manifestations? Or is there more? If just two, why is it restricted to two? And this avatara is as real or false as your dream? Or is this all illusion?
What is this 'framework' of relativity? Relative to what? From which point of reference?
'Inner manifestation’ is Paramatma who resides in the Hrud-desa (Heart). It is said in the Lalitha Sahasranama “Antharmukha samaaradhya, bahirmukha sudhurlabha.” You can easily find Her when searching inside, and is quite difficult to find Her outside. The Paramatma, when he ‘comes down’ is called an Avatara. The Sarva-vyaapi, when He resides in the cave of the heart, (Nihitham guhaaya. – Katha upanishad) is called "internal". The external and internal are only relative to the body, and will disappear as soon as Gnana shines forth.

The manifestation is not in the dream, the manifestation is the *dreamer*. There are no two manifestations as the duality does not exist in Thuriyam. The Duality however exists for an unrealized mind, as long as the mind is active. The perceiver in “Vishva state”, and Taijasa state are not different from that of the Thuriya State. The Mandukya Upanishad (the epitome of all Upanishads.) can explain this better than I ever can.

http://swami-krishnananda.org/mand_0.html

Quote:'It is the same Self (which is within this body too)' what else is in the body to qualify for your usage of 'too'?
The Self that is present everywhere is in this body (too). The key is the placement of the word TOO. If I had mentioned "The Self too is in this body", then your question was justified. The placement of too AFTER the word body means, the Self that is in "your" body is in "this" body too.

Quote:It is an old trick of neo-advaitins to express themselves in sentences too unambigious and confusing to give their understanding a kind of aura.
Unambiguous and confusing are contradictory terms. Are they unambiguous, or confusing? Which one? If it is confusing, then please ask for clarification, and I shall do my best to dispell your doubts, or lead you to sources which will dispell your confusion.

Quote:This gives a sense of satisfaction to the word juggler that after any longer debate they will say that this Brahman is indescribable, beyond grasp of thought and all human understanding.
The Shruthis say so too. Avyavahaaryam, Agraahyam, Alakshanam, Achintham, Avyapadesyam etc. are terms used to describe that which is beyond words and thoughts. Anyone who claims to describe "God" fully in words does not understand it's nature as Indescribable. (Kena Upanishad 1st chapter.)

Quote:The Vaishnavas say, 'ENOUGH of all this words. These words won't take anybody any nearer to the goal of self-realization.
Very true. Silence alone will clear all Doubts. Sri Dhakshinamurthy’s MOUNA VYAAKHYAANAM is the Only Way.

Quote:Sri Sankaracharya says,

Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam
Bhaja Govindam, Muda mathe
Samprapthe Sannihithe kale
Nahi Nahi rakshathi Dhukhrum Karane!
Hari Govinda, Hari Govinda
Hari Govinda - Anara Manda
Mrithyuvu Dapuna Mesaletapudu
Vyakaranamu kapadadura.
Nice to see the telugu translation. Sri Shankara is quite right there. Vyaakaranam does not help one understand the nature of Brahman. Arguments only takes one away from the main goal. Our goal is the same, it’s quite funny to see that we are continuing the tradition of our ancestors, indulging in hair splitting polemics.

Quote:When you ask for Shruthi pramana, are you sure you want to hear it? Because, to hear Shruthi, you will have to qualify as a Brahmacharin which means that you will have to stay at the Ashrama of a Guru and learn obedienty and submissively. If you really want to learn the Shruthi, you are most welcome to join any of the various Vaishnava mathas. The Bhagavat-Gita says,' Approach a bonafide master submissively and seek to learn'.. not arrogantly demand on discussion boards for Shruthis which aren't so cheap.

As for me, I am not that careless to throw about Shruthi pramanas around as you ask them. And more importantly, I am so disqualified to even talk about them. Actually I know nothing about them for I am just a student.

I think we live in a different age now. Upanishads are already online, and so are the Vedas. Iskcon too sells CD’s and books on Upanishads (Which is shruthi) to anyone who can pay money. There is no doublechecking on who is qualified to read them or even if it is being read. Thus asking for Shruthi Pramaana cannot be brushed off on grounds of ‘adhikaari’ and Ashrama when the argument is already on cyberspace. If you are unable to provide a pramaana, I can understand.

I however accept your argument that you are *UNqualified* (not disqualified) to talk about Shruthis, and that you do not know much about it as a student. (I am not saying this in a scoffing tone. I really admire and respect your sincerity in stating so.) If some day you can find that Shruthis do back up your view point, please do feel free to post it.

Quote:There is more to Love of Godhead. Before one can talk about love of Godhead, ONE NEEDS TO KNOW ALL ABOUT THE GODHEAD. Only Vaishnavism talks about all the divine auspicious atributes of Godhead.
Sri Devi Bhagavatham is much more detailed and is quite a pleasure. Shiva Puranam is yet another great source. There is no dearth of description about the Lord manifest. Vaishnavism too has beautiful descriptions.

Even if at times I feel the topic is getting nowhere, at this very moment I am enjoying this discussion. I only hope I can word my replies in a way that is acceptable to you..

Final note: I have nothing against Vaishnavism. I have nothing against Shaivism. I have nothing against Duality. In fact, I have nothing against anything, for I am everything.
  Reply
#47
Sundar ji,
Your post is quite a tour de force!

gangajal
  Reply
#48
Hyagriva,

I am not trying to start a war between Vaishnavas and Shaivites. Nor am I imposing my views on Vaishnavas. I am merely expressing my opinion that the Vaishnava monotheism often leads to bigoted views. The Advaita view that Shiva and Vishnu are all different names of Brahman leads to harmony among different Hindu sects.

Yes, I admit that nowadays Shiva and Vishnu are worshipped within the same temple compound. You must admit, however, that followers of Shiva and Vishnu have fought each other in the past and the reason for their quarrell is monotheism. Monotheism leads to bigotry.

Gangajal
  Reply
#49
From Prabhupada's Hare Krishna News Network


The Incorrect Image of Islam in the Western Media
  Reply
#50
I didn't want to dignify this thread with a response, but this one is too much to resist. <b>gangajal</b>, you have put your foot in your mouth again:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Advaita view that Shiva and  Vishnu are all different names of Brahman leads to harmony among  different Hindu sects.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
"Advaita"? You mean NEO-Advaita! Let's see what Shankara has to say about confusing Shiva with Vishnu. I cross-post from the article I posted on the "who is a Hindu?" thread:
----------
"<b>[Neo-Vedanta] fails to recognize the partial Vaisnava character of even Sankara's major commentaries by proposing that the deities Kali and Siva are also complete aspects of Brahman, in addition to Visnu.</b> However, <b>in his unquestionably authentic works, Sankara only identifies God (isvara) as Visnu, rather than as any other deity. In his Gita commentary (13.2), isvara is identified with Visnu: isvarasya visnoh. Another identification occurs in Vedanta-sutra 2.2.42, where he accepts the Pancaratra teaching that Narayana is 'higher than the undeveloped, the highest Self and the Self of all' and is the source of innumerable expansions.</b> (See also similar acknowledgements in his comments to Vedanta-sutra 1.4.1, 1.4.3 and Gita 15.6.) The same idea is repeatedly expressed in his exaltation of Visnu's abode as the pure highest place (paramam padam) and as the end of the spiritual journey.[21] <b>Even his commentary to the Svetasvatara Upanisad, with its usage of the names 'Siva' and 'Hara', does not make any identification of Isvara with the deity Siva. Furthermore, in his Vedanta commentary, Sankara refutes certain concepts of ancient Pasupata (Saiva) schools. Therefore, [neo-Vedanta's] presentation of Sankara acknowledging an equality of various deities is misleading.</b>"
-------------

Just like neo-Buddhists make a mockery of the Buddha's teachings, the neo-Vedantins and neo-Advaitins have made a concoction of various nonsense and have tried to plagiarize the reputations of great teachers and philosophies. <b>Neo-Vedanta misrepresents Shankara as much as it misrepresents true Vaishnavism.</b> A lack of "harmony" always exists between ignorant people. Artificial harmony is not achieved by twisting eternal shruti out of shape, because ignorant people will always find other reasons to fight.

<b>And here's what Vaishnavism has to say about Lord Shiva:</b>
Since difference is a property inherent in Brahman itself (rather than something relative to it), therefore, difference percolates to every aspect of the Absolute, and has several levels of ramification. Therefore, Brahman has variegatedness as a matter of property. So while the Supreme Purusha certainly has innumerable forms (such as Narayana, Pradyumna, etc), which are compared to different phases of the One Moon, Shiva-tattva is a different CATEGORY in itself. Shiva is not an ordinary deva, but is a combination of vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa.

It is meaningless to speak in terms of "superior" and "inferior" in the mundane sense of the terms. But in terms of relationship with Shiva versus relationship with Vishnu, there are certain differences. Shiva has two types of kripa -- nishkapata-kripa and sakapata-kripa. This is double-edged. <b>A devotee who worships Shiva with a heart completely free of any material contamination achieves pure Vaishnava-bhakti. Therefore, exalted Vaishnavas have ALWAYS paid obeisances to Lord Shiva, and have obtained ecstatic Love of God. However, on the other side, Shiva also dispenses what SEEM like material benedictions to materially contaminated persons (including asuras).</b> These benedictions result in material powers and opulence, <b>but spiritually-speaking they are totally destructive.</b> Therefore, unless one is an uttama-adhikari, Vaishnavas consider it "risky" to worship Lord Shiva, because they fear their own hearts are not pure enough. <b>However, the worship of Vishnu is Absolute, and not relative. Any call to Lord Hari will be answered in a spiritually positive direction.</b> Contrary to the former case, Krishna gives the devotee what he NEEDS (for spiritual progress), and not what he ASKS for. That's why Krishna often says that he actually takes away everything material from His closest devotees, just to increase their love and dependence on Him. <b>Whereas Shiva (known as Ashutosha), responds relative to what is in the worshipper's mind. This double-edged, relative nature of Shiva's reciprocation is the reason why Shiva says about Himself, that He helps to separate the devotees from the non-devotees.</b>
  Reply
#51
<b>Hayagriva</b> prabhu,
The "Neo-Vedantists" (who like to refer to themselves as Advaitins or Vedantists whenever they can get away with it), are a set of colonial Indians who have twisted the Vedas out of shape to support the latest philosophical theories that the White Man comes up with. <b>The "philosophy" of Vivekananda is simply a rehash in Vedic terms, of what Von Holback and Auguste Comte and others had propogated in Europe, and which was very much in vogue at the time. Their works used to be taught to the Indians in British colonial schools</b>, and that is no doubt where our hero-swami picked it up. The same ideas..."this world is merely matter in motion", the partial acceptance of "deity" (like Holyoake said), etc, etc.

But in doing so, these "Neo-Vedantists" have to also reconcile the majority of Vedic literature, which clearly does not fit in with this contrived theory. So they have invented a <b>two-tiered theory of Absolute Truth -- they say, "it all depends on whether you wish to be the Observer or not". This is their pathetic attempt to artificially reconcile the Vedas with the contrived, colonial-inspired theory of Neo-Vedanta.</b> These low-IQ asses do not even understand what the word "absolute" in "Absolute Truth" means. Their minds are so implicated in the relative duality of maya, that their theories are as illusory as maya itself. <b>But as usual, while liberally using the language of Shankara's Advaita, the Neo-Advaitists contradict Shankaracharya himself, what to speak of Vedanta in its complete form. Shripada Shankara has EXPLICITLY and repeatedly condemned the idea that Brahman can be a "two-sided" Reality. The idea of "icebergs floating in an ocean", or "two sides of a coin", etc are not Advaitic ideas, they were invented by Sri Ramakrishna, etc., and do NOT agree with Shankara's Advaita.</b> Now we would have no problem if they called their school "Sri Ramakrishna/S.Radhakrishnan's" religion <b>(as Vivekananda once admitted)</b>, but we are forced to criticize when they try to surreptitiously piggy-back on the reputations of great sages and teachers.

<b>In fact, the only historical "acharya" whose theory comes closest to Neo-Vedanta is the little-known Bhaskara.</b> I quote from my post on the other thread: The classical theory of Bhaskara holds that bheda and abheda are sequential: the initially distinct (bheda) infinitesimal soul can, upon liberation, become identical to the unlimited Brahman (abheda). <b>This concept of spiritual mutability is fundamentally at odds with Vedic philosophy since it indirectly challenges the infallibility of Brahman by allowing for change, thereby dragging the pure Brahman conception down into the gutter of imperfection. This has been the perennial charge against Bhaskara, and as a variant, Neo-Vedanta is also subject to the same criticism.</b>

Our friend <b>sunder</b> has as yet been unable to explain why, throughout the centuries, EVERY TIME there has been a great public debate on Vedanta between a Vaishnava and a mayavadi (of whatever brand), the Vaishnavas have always come out on top. Apparently all those great scholars and sages were wrong. They would have us believe that only Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan got it right -- with conclusive support from white people in 18th century europe!

quote sunder:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In fact, I have nothing against anything, for I am everything.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Oh sure...with the exception of "Allah", "Jehovah", and all the great Vedic sages who don't agree with "Neo-Advaita". Its great to know that we have self-realized souls on this forum, but it would be even better if you could be a little less pompous. Your hatred has been manifest on this forum through your shenanigans (like this thread), despite your quick attempts to delete particularly vivid posts. You also didn't stick around long enough to have a structured, CONCEPTUAL discussion on Vedanta with me, but can only indulge in <b>hit-and-run, copy-paste rubbish from dubious internet sources </b>to impress your chamchas.

But you are right in admitting, as the great exponents of "Neo-Vedanta" have done, that "Neo-Vedanta" is an attempt to integrate all sorts of non-Vedic theory into one "kitchen-sink" theory of everything. <b>Neo-Advaitic Motto: please everyone, and gain mass support.</b> That includes the Shunyavadi Buddhists (whom Shankaracharya fought), and even the Charvakas! <b>Neo-Vedanta ultimately accomodates materialism, impersonality, personality, nihilistic void, and anything and everything else — all in one relativistic system.</b> Ins't that interesting? A relativistic system of the Absolute Truth. This is truly "achintya". <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

I fell off my chair laughing when I read chamcha "gangajal" calling sunder's last post a "tour de force". Kinda reminds me of the way Pakistanis use the term "raison d'etre". <b>sunder uvaacha:</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->know that the Observer is none other than Shiva/Vishnu. Shiva and Vishnu are but names assigned to your Self. I realize that Dvaitha cannot not fully appreciate this viewpoint. This will be realized gradually. <i>Bahoonaam Janmanaam anthe gnaanavaan maam prabhadyathe. Vaasudevah Sarvam ithi, sa mahaathma sudurlabhah</i>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> Consider the verse quoted from the B.Gita. The neo-Advaitists hold that Jnana is the ultimate, Bhakti being only an infantile but necessary pre-cursor. But this flies in the face of all Vedic scripture, including the Bhagavad Gita. This verse clearly points out that the jnanis, after speculating for lifetimes, finally surrender unto the Supreme Personality. A cursory glance at the preceding verses shows this. And this point is reinforced when Sri Krishna answers a direct question on this point by Arjuna. No doubts left. But fools do not heed. They like to superimpose their own interpretations. Same is the case with the verse (mis)quoted from the Narayana sukta.

To conclude, given their fundamental hostility to the idea of a Supreme Deity, the Neo-Advaitins have been trying to garner support from every two-bit Western philosopher who wrote a book in the last 2 centuries. But as Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:

asatyamapratishhThaM te jagadAhuranIshvaram
aparaspara saMbhUtaM kimanyatkAmahaitukam

<b>"They (the asuras) say that the universe is untrue (illusory), without basis [in reason/scripture], and without an Ishvara; that it has no mutual coherence..."</b>
  Reply
#52
Carl,

Can you answer the question why the hypocrites in ISKCON praise Christianity and Islam while vehemently attacking other sects in Hinduism?

It is easy to prove that Christianity and Islam are fraudulent religions.
This makes ISKCON look like a bunch of clowns.

Also since by your own accounts you are not Hindu why are you wasting time preaching to us Hindus?
  Reply
#53
I doubt if Carl would answer <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Since you have already decided everything, why do you ask for his opinion <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Also since by your own accounts you are not Hindu why are you wasting time preaching to us Hindus?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

That's the whole point, isn't it?

Who is a hindu and who is not and who decides who is a hindu ?
  Reply
#54
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Who is a hindu and who is not and who decides who is a hindu?
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Every individual decides for himself or herself whether they are Hindu.

Going by this definition there are more than 830 million people who choose to call themselves Hindu in the latest census reports from India.

We don't need a bunch of mleccha buffons telling us what we are or what we are not.
  Reply
#55
<!--QuoteBegin-mitradena+Jul 23 2005, 10:24 PM-->QUOTE(mitradena @ Jul 23 2005, 10:24 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Carl,

Can you answer the question why the hypocrites in ISKCON praise Christianity and Islam while vehemently attacking other sects in Hinduism? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Mitra,
Who said "ISKCON" vehemently attacks "other sects" in Hinduism? Following in the footsteps of all bona fide acharyas such as Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, and Sri Chaitanya, they only critique those sects that deny the Personality of the Absolute Truth, or try to water it down. They extend this critique to ALL exponents of such atheistic philosophies, including 18th and 19th century european cliques. As I pointed out in my last post, the ideas of Vivekananda are simply borrowed from the writings of Comte, von Holback, Holyoake, etc, which were taught to Indian schoolkids by the Brit colonialists. The whole edifice of "Neo-Vedanta" (or "Neo-Advaita") is simply a product of colonial education. And as I pointed out, this concoction is NOT faithful to the teachings of Shankaracharya, just like it grossly mis-represents Vaishnavism.

<b>So which do you prefer? An institution that is very clear about its philosophy and is faithful to the Vedas and parampara, or institutions that misrepresent the Vedas in a relativistic framework in their misguided effort to co-opt and identify with non-Vedic ideas?</b>

Also, who said that "ISKCON" completely endorses Christianity and Islam? They prefer not to get into theological debates with these sects, and they may try to establish common ground only for the sake of co-existing. ISKCON in engaged in missionary activity in extreme hostile environments, where adherents of these religions have indulged in violence and other forms of harrassment. Several ISKCON brahmacharis have lost their lives preaching in the Caucasus, Middle-east and Pakistan. So try to understand the practical compulsions and difference between what is "vyavaharika" and "paramarthika". As Srila Prabhupada would say, "Purity is the force; utility is the principle."

As for your last comment about my being "mleccha" -- I suggest you first re-evaluate your understanding of what "mleccha" means. Secondly, don't make assumptions based on my name. I'm 100% Indian. Third, I'm not "preaching" to anybody here -- I'm just putting forward a very authentic viewpoint, and trying to explain how modern "Hinduism" is a being misrepresented. <b>My only point is that by liberally allowing the term "Hinduism" to be misappropriated by every "neo-something" group, there is a chance that a dangerous hodge-podge will be created which will not be convincing to the young, intelligent Hindu who is trying to understand his religious heritage.</b> You have to admit that the great majority of the "830 million" people who call themselves "Hindu" have no interest in doctrine, and use it more as a cultural identification.

<b>"...Whosoever follows a false doctrine of the Self will perish."
-- Chandogya Upanishad VIII.8.4</b>
  Reply
#56
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Who said "ISKCON" vehemently attacks "other sects" in Hinduism? Following in the footsteps of all bona fide acharyas such as Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, and Sri Chaitanya, they only critique those sects that deny the Personality of the Absolute Truth, or try to water it down.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is very good. I have no problem with this. Intellectual criticism is encouraged in Hinduism.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Also, who said that "ISKCON" completely endorses Christianity and Islam?
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Then where are your "intellectual criticisms" of Islam and Christianity?
Why only stick to criticisms of Advaita and Buddhism?
Why the inconsistency?


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->ISKCON in engaged in missionary activity in extreme hostile environments, where adherents of these religions have indulged in violence and other forms of harrassment. Several ISKCON brahmacharis have lost their lives preaching in the Caucasus, Middle-east and Pakistan. So try to understand the practical compulsions and difference between what is "vyavaharika" and "paramarthika".
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

So the followers of ISKCON are cowards and hypocrites.
They are afraid to criticize Islam and Christianity because of fear of being physically attacked.

But at the same time they attack the followers of Advaita because they know that the followers of Advaita practice Ahimsa and will not become physically violent.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->My only point is that by liberally allowing the term "Hinduism" to be misappropriated by every "neo-something" group, there is a chance that a dangerous hodge-podge will be created which will not be convincing to the young, intelligent Hindu who is trying to understand his religious heritage. You have to admit that the great majority of the "830 million" people who call themselves "Hindu" have no interest in doctrine, and use it more as a cultural identification.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Hinduism is a federation of sects interested in defending themselves from the semetic monotheistic onslaught.

Sri Vaishnavas, Madhvas, followers of Nimbarka, followers of Vallabhacharya firmly identify themselves as Hindus and stand shoulder to shoulder with Atheists, Shaivas, Smartas, tribals etc... in defending Hinduism.

So what is ISKCON's problem?

Why are you purposefully vague about calling yourself Hindu?
Are you a coward with an inferiority complex?
  Reply
#57
Anonymous Tamil saying -

Vidiya vidiya Ramayanam kaettuttu Seethaikku Raman Sithappa appadinaanam.

Translation - After hearing Ramayana for the whole night, he said Rama is the paternal uncle of Sita. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  Reply
#58
<!--QuoteBegin-Carl+Jul 26 2005, 01:26 AM-->QUOTE(Carl @ Jul 26 2005, 01:26 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->

<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Who said "ISKCON" vehemently attacks "other sects" in Hinduism? Following in the footsteps of all bona fide acharyas such as Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, and Sri Chaitanya, they only critique those sects that deny the Personality of the Absolute Truth, or try to water it down.  As I pointed out in my last post, the ideas of Vivekananda are simply borrowed from the writings of Comte, von Holback, Holyoake, etc, which were taught to Indian schoolkids by the Brit colonialists. The whole edifice of "Neo-Vedanta" (or "Neo-Advaita") is simply a product of colonial education. And as I pointed out, this concoction is NOT faithful to the teachings of Shankaracharya, just like it grossly mis-represents Vaishnavism.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Our friend Carl here is busy making personal attacks on others and telling stories about Shankara and Vivekananda and Ramakrishna in this and other threads. Some of Carl's stories are actually very funny. I am still laughing at Carl's claim that Shankara bhasya is in partial agreement with Vaishnavas. since Shankara says that ultimately all forms including Vishnu are unreal in direct disagreement with Vaishnavas. Now Carl is saying that Vivekananda borrowed from European writings when any knowledgable person knows that Vivekananda interpreted the Vedas in the light of Sri Ramakrishna's direct experience of Brahman. It is indeed well known that Vivekananda did not agree with all of Shankara's teachings for the simple reason that Sri Ramakrishna did not agree with it. This is the reason why Vivekananda's version is called by scholars as neo-Vedanta and NOT Shankara's Kevala Advaita.

I also noticed that our friend Carl used Jeffrey Kripal's notoriously fraudulent book, 'Kali's Child' to make the case that Sri Ramakrishna was a mere tantrik. For those of you who do not know about the book, Kripal claims that original Bengali source books show Ramakrishna buggering little boys and apparently Ramakrishna buggered Vivekananda. Obviously Carl has not read Swami Tyagananda 's refutation of Kripal's fraudulent book. I have myself compared word for word Kripal's book with the Ramakrishna Kathamrita in Bengali and found that Kripal has made up the entire book. More I read Carl's posts, more I find the aptness of the saying,"Little learning is dangerous".
  Reply
#59
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Vivekananda interpreted the Vedas in the light of Sri Ramakrishna's direct experience of Brahman. It is indeed well known that Vivekananda did not agree with all of Shankara's teachings for the simple reason that Sri Ramakrishna did not agree with it. This is the reason why Vivekananda's version is called by scholars as neo-Vedanta and NOT Shankara's Kevala Advaita.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Why does Ramakrishna Mission hesitate to call itself Hindu?

Also why did Ramakrishna and Vivekananda praise Christianity while being dismissive of traditional orthodox Hinduism?
  Reply
#60
<!--QuoteBegin-mitradena+Jul 26 2005, 03:11 AM-->QUOTE(mitradena @ Jul 26 2005, 03:11 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Also why did Ramakrishna and Vivekananda praise Christianity while being dismissive of traditional orthodox Hinduism? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
mitradena,
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why does Ramakrishna Mission hesitate to call itself Hindu?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

You are referring to the court case where Ramakrishna mission lawyers told the court that Ramakrishna founded a new religion. You have to understand the reason for the statement. Ramakrishna mission was under severe pressure at that time from West Bengal Govt to allow Communist cadres into the boards controlling their schools, colleges, hospitals and orphanages. If the cadres had been allowed in then they would have enforced the teaching of Das Kapital instead of Ramakrishna's teachings. Ramakrishna mission Swamis were also beaten up by the cadres. Lawyers told the mission that the only way they can save their organization from Govt control was to declare themselves non-hindu since Indian constitution gave absolute protection to non-hindu organizations. Ramakrishna mission lost the case but the case stopped WB Govt from taking any action for nearly 20 years. The present WB govt is bankrupt and cannot take over their organization.

Ramakrishna mission is a registered as a Buddhist organization in Bihar for the same reason.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Also why did Ramakrishna and Vivekananda praise Christianity while being dismissive of traditional orthodox Hinduism?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Ramakrishna did not praise Christianity but praised Jesus for his sermon on the mount. Ramakrishna regarded all religions as paths to God and in that sense he felt that all religions are true. Ramakrishna also said that all religions have errors. Ramakrishna did not accept the Christian doctrine of original sin and the Christian claim that liberation can only be obtained through Jesus.

Ramakrishna and Vivekananda criticized orthodox Hinduism for its slavish adherence to casteism. Casteism was a big problem, a significantly greater problem, in the nineteenth century than now and Christian missionaries were taking advantage of casteism.

Gangajal
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