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Unaware
23 February 2016, 10:54 AM
I apologize for being brief.

I am exploring Hinduism. I have many questions. I have no personal reference point to begin my journey as this is far outside anything I have known.

I live near the Krishna Valley Temple here in Apple Valley but the kind man's accent is so thick I don't understand him well. He is so polite and gentle I fear I may offend him and that is the very last thing I wish to do.

Is anyone up to my questions?

I'm open to your questions. It should be a mutual inquisition.

Thank you,

Eastern Mind
23 February 2016, 12:04 PM
Vannakkam and welcome to these forums. Answering questions is partly what we do here, so go for it.

Aum Namasivaya

Believer
23 February 2016, 12:34 PM
Namaste,

Welcome to the forum. We are open to any and all questions.


I live near the Krishna Valley Temple here in Apple Valley but the kind man's accent is so thick I don't understand him well. He is so polite and gentle I fear I may offend him and that is the very last thing I wish to do.
Unfortunately for you, the Hindu priests from India are well versed in Sanskrit - the language of the Hindu Gods - and some other native Indian languages but not well versed in English; specially deficient in their ability to converse in non-accented English. But that should not discourage you from having a dialog. The body language and tone of voice project our humility not the actual words used. So, I would not worry too much about offending anyone so long as the questions are not abrasive. Best wishes on your journey on this 'great day'. :)

Pranam.

Unaware
23 February 2016, 02:49 PM
One of the first questions that I have has to do with pantheism and monism. I have read that there are many hindu gods yet at the same time that the hindu belief follows monism. This seems paradoxical in nature. If I understood what I read the idea seems to be that although there are various gods they are all for one goal (belief, end of purpose, not sure how to explain this). If this is the case would it be correct that, for reference only - not to sound utterly foolish, Shiva and Durga being different provide the means to the same end?

In such, if I relate to Shiva in my current situation and my friend Bob relates to Durga in his current situation, that both Shiva and Durga are god (singular) each leading Bob and I to the same inner peace, balance and calm? Is this correct? Am I close?

Is it correct to say that "I am Hindu" being one who favors Shiva and that Bob can say "I am Hindu" being on who favors Durga and yet we are both correct even if we are speaking to another who possibly favors Hanuman? Are we all correct? Is it correct in saying that in my quest to be attentive to my karma (???), Bob on his journey to love, joy, peace & freedom and the others intentional being we all can say we worship god? Hinduism is flexible this way?

Personally I study and live in a fashion that seeks sustainability. I grow vegetables in a hydroponic garden to conserve water, I use cloth shopping bags (2,300 plastic bags hit the landfill - PER MINUTE!!!) and I try to live with nature and not ignorant to the natural cycles. Is it then fair to say that I am observing (or just in harmony with) the animistic (is this a word?) portion of hindu belief?

Am close here? Is my foot at least in the kiddy pool?

Thank you,

How can I reciprocate? You can ask me about Gardening, Hydroponics, hallucinogenic mushrooms for treating PTSD, dementia and Alzheimer's or sustainability ... or .....

Eastern Mind
23 February 2016, 04:09 PM
Vannakkam: One problem many seekers and newcomers have is trying to put Hinduism in a box. Well, you can't. There is no over-riding philosophy that all Hindus will adhere to. So its monism, pluralism, dualism, and several other isms all at the same time, but by differing sects. A bit like saying people from California, Illinois, and New York are all Americans. Yes we are all Hindus, but do we agree philosophically? ... No, only on a few very basic points, and then only 90% (or thereabouts) of us.

To add to that, a lot of newcomers tend to go with the first answer they here. So for example, if you did chat it up with the priest at a temple, he would just be giving a particular point of view. If you get the chance to go0 to maybe 10 Hindu temples, you'll see this diversity I speak of for yourself.

It's not so much that Hinduism is flexible, but more that it's very diverse. Most people do know very much what they personally think and may not be very flexible at all on a personal level. Tolerant of others, yes, but that doesn't mean you take on all the other beliefs and feed your mind with a bunch of contradictory stuff.

So questions will always end up getting quite the diversity of answers. You can expect that.

Sustainability is part of Hinduism and comes under a type of dharma called universal dharma. We are all stewards of this planet.

Yes you are in the kiddy pool, as you put it.

Hindus generally avoid hallucinogens, just so you know. Not a topic most traditionalists will like to discuss. As for gardening, I'm personally interested, but coming from Canada, there may not be too much in Canada. Have you ever thought of growing stuff to market specific ally to the Hindu community? As it stands now a l lot of stuff gets imported from Fiji, the Caribbean, even from India.

Anirudh
24 February 2016, 10:12 AM
Namaste

All your qquestions are pre answered. I would suggest you to read two books


1. On Advaita (ask or search for good reference materials in the Advaita sub forum.
2. Then you should read Visishta Advaita to understand how the same Veda is preaching about Monism and Dualism.
Dr Chari's books are easy to understand. In one of my discussion with Viraja (another member) I had given some good links.

I ll search and paste those links sometime later or you can do a simple search.

Unaware
24 February 2016, 10:26 AM
Thank you for your responses. I will try again to meet with someone at our local temple.

I have found some information on the Hindu American Foundation website. Is this a reputable site?



Hindus generally avoid hallucinogens, just so you know. Not a topic most traditionalists will like to discuss.


I will simply add that once someone receives terrible news from their Dr about their pending future, at times, one must put aside their notions of right/wrong and find a solution that is natural, effective and proven even if it is outside what one would consider the norm. Managed healthcare is a failure in that there is no money in providing a cure. There is only money in managing the illness.

I'm after a cure, albeit outside the box. There is a cure for my ailment. I cannot obtain this through our medical system currently. No offense intended.

I have another question regarding the caste system. Is it truthful to say that the caste system spoken about in Hinduism is not the same, representative or descriptive of the caste system that appears to be in place in India today?

Are they uniquely separate?

Eastern Mind
24 February 2016, 12:18 PM
Vannakkam:

HAF is very reputable. They do great things on several levels, but mostly political.


I misunderstood your other post. We have a history of drug-culture people here trying to tie it in with Hinduism. I'm all for new medicinal developments, and I researched enough just now to see that John Hopkins University is doing research into the area. So in terms of medicine, I'm all in favour. It's just that there is no tie to Hinduism any more than there is with penicillin.

Yes, the caste system is corrupted, and is basically synonymous with caste based discrimination. Hindus, at least in theory aren't discriminatory.

Aum Namasivaya

Unaware
24 February 2016, 04:26 PM
Greetings,

Thank you very much for your response. I struggled more with the caste system that any other topic. When I read about this on the HAF website I was delighted to see this from another angle. One of a spiritual nature and not one of limitations or social discrimination.

I recognize that being raised in and limited to Western Thought and Spirituality has allowed me to create unfounded bias and ignorant predetermined notions towards other paths of spiritual enlightenment. The most difficult step in this journey has certainly been my first one .... the step out of prepackaged dogma, trite quotations and well rehearsed humility.

It's time to leave the beach, and head into the forest.

Eastern Mind
24 February 2016, 04:58 PM
Vannakkam: The anti-Hindu crowd likes to mention caste A LOT, while largely ignoring all other forms of discrimination present on this planet. We've learned to expect it. Glad you saw it from a new perspective.

Aum Namasivaya

Unaware
14 August 2017, 11:22 AM
It has been a long time since I've been to this forum. I took the little I had and walked with it for a while. What I learned about Hindu is still only a small portion but I have been able to find peace, calm and a place where I can focus on "getting over" instead of letting my physical health rule my thoughts and my body.

Since these earlier posts I have moved away from Apple Valley, met and now live with a wonderful woman and have been able to take my concerns as they arise and place them before the gods. This is an interesting maneuver for me and I'd like to explain it better. Being raised in Baptist thought and practice there was little room to question God or think outside of the preformed packaging which is God Under Glass as I think of church. Now, however, I can see my thoughts churning into something that isn't positive and then simply take those thoughts and direct them towards my little Ganesh here in the house. This seems so silly to some but my brain injury (suffered many years ago) complicates my ability to stop my mind from churning various thoughts around and around until I am worn out and depressed.

Now, this simple task, grab the thoughts in my mind's eye and place them before Ganesh, stops, thwarts and brings peace to where before I would have made myself quite sick.

I spend a few minutes each morning in quiet meditation seeking help in maintaining calm, peace of mind and joy. So simple. Just a quiet time to pause, stop the crazy before it can begin and take control over the processes in my mind that prior would run amok. I simply ask Ganesh to help me remain calm, logical and orderly in my thoughts and mind. Such clarity. The peace is like a wave over my person that eases my muscles and soothes my mind.

Because of the brain injury some tasks could be very difficult. Now, these are made a bit easier. Again, I seek help from Ganesh to show me what I am not understanding, or what I need to know. It becomes clear in just a few moments. As if I can see "how" within my spirit and then I just go complete the task.

All of this has brought me so much joy and has restored my happiness. I smile more, get out more and have become a new person. MY health is fantastic and I find I have encouraging words of Love, Joy, Hope, Peace and Freedom to give to others. Being around people is a joy and I try so hard to be encouraging, to talk of Great Things and speak lovingly and help them see that good things are all around them.

I'm sure there is so much more to know, so much more to be doing but I kinda push back as being Baptist is a contest and I just can't deal with that nonsense anymore. Each day I walk as close as I can to being loving, kind and joyful. I have found the ability to do that by meditation and concentration on Ganesh mostly but also on letting go of spiritual perfection. My friends see that I have changed. They enjoy the "new me" and are asking me what changed. I just tell them I have found peace and hope that only an Elephant can bring.

In love,

devotee
14 August 2017, 08:12 PM
Good to see you happy here, Unaware ! :)

OM