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Ganeshprasad
11 December 2010, 09:24 AM
Pranam

Everyone has a right to have an opinion, Hindu Dharma that is the beauty off it.when we base our opinion on nothing that is fine, if we use logic thats even better, when we reiterate our opinion based on nothing that becomes a bore but when we do that in defiance off Shastra (accepting that not everyone follow the same) it becomes rude.
i know what i would say to an outsider or where to shove it, not sure how to react to our own without being branded an extremist.

Jai Shree Krishna

saidevo
11 December 2010, 10:18 AM
namaste Ganeshprasad ji.

I am with you 100% on this issue. No problems with personal opinions and logic, which are usually hazarded when people are lazy or indifferent to check with the scriptures, but when opinionated expressions and exceptions get the lead, I feel they must be checked and corrected with the right perspective of the shAstras, specially by members who are familiar with the shAstras.

Hindu Dharma is liberal and personal, but no guidance is higher than the scriptures, so IMHO, members who are less inclined to read/get familiar with scriptures should at least venture to know what is involved in them. In these days, when there is an English translation for almost every scriptural text, there is no excuse for a Hindu to ignore his/her responsibility of getting familiar with them, and with the traditional Hindu culture and dharma, until he/she becomes a Self-Realized, in which case, the Vedas themselves say that such a person no longer needs them.

Eastern Mind
11 December 2010, 10:48 AM
when we do that in defiance off Shastra (accepting that not everyone follow the same) it becomes rude.
i know what i would say to an outsider or where to shove it, not sure how to react to our own without being branded an extremist.


Vannakkam GP: When we accept that different people follow different shastras, is it not a logical outcome that not all shastras come to the same conclusion? Therefore by following one shastra, it may well be in defiance of another shastra.

As you know, I'm not big on reading a ton of shastra other than for understanding another's viewpoint. For one thing there just are too many. I shall leave that up to the scholars. For another, I've found that it can lead to minor or even major confusion. You can't follow them all simultaneously. So personally I try to support personal experience with scripture, and vice versa.

As far as reacting goes, it depends on what you mean by reacting. Do you mean emotional reaction, or sensible countering logical reaction? Personally, I know I've reacted here on HDF to what I felt were condescending attitudes or attacks on our religion. Only once did I feel my reaction was overemotional. That was a lesson on "Know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away."

Personally my take is to not react, but its always easy said than done, no?

Aum Namasivaya

Sahasranama
11 December 2010, 11:17 AM
When we accept that different people follow different shastras, is it not a logical outcome that not all shastras come to the same conclusion? Therefore by following one shastra, it may well be in defiance of another shastra.It's true that there are subjects in the shashtras that contradict. But this is often used as an excuse not to look at shastra at all. If there are contradictions, then at least people can investigate where the shastras contradict and where they don't and put it in proper context. Often people use this argument (the shastras contradict) in cases where they actually don't contradict at all. People are often not willing to look deeper in this matter.

It's not as much about which shastra you personally follow, but more about the subject you are discussing and which shastras are important in the understanding of that subject. Let's say someone wants to understand the importance of Sandhyavandana for people who have done upanayana, then one would have to look at the shrutis, itihasas, smritis and puranas, because they deal with varnashrama dharma. One could not look at the tantras and make conclusions on the nitya karma of a dvija. Let's say someone wants to understand vedanta, then there's the prasthana trayam (upanishads, bhagavad gita and brahma sutra). In cases like this the shastras are like axiomatic truths, if people ignore them, then the whole discussion is baseless.

When someone would consider the bible and the koran as shruti and wants to argue about Hinduism based on that, I would consider it a sign of deception or mental retardation and any discussion would be too absurd to even consider. On the other hand, if someone wants to discuss Christian theology, the bible is the only important text to consider.

Eastern Mind
11 December 2010, 12:26 PM
Vannakkam Sahasranama:

Yes I understand that. It is vast, and I know very little. Right now I'm beginning to study Dr. Natarajan's translation of Rishi Tirumoolar's Tirumanthiram. It is small print, 465 large pages, contains original Tamil, a translation, and commentary. My own Guru's course consists of 3 books of 365 daily lessons, and that seems like too much some days. I find if I read a ton, nothing sticks. I'd rather read one sentence and have it stick than a hundred and have nothing stick. Not being sure of GP's specifics as he spoke generally and not at specific individuals or incidents, its hard to respond.

Aum Namasivaya

Sahasranama
11 December 2010, 12:32 PM
A good way to let the shastras "stick" is to listen to audio besides reading to understand the meaning. Unfortunately, not all shastras are available in audio. Do you understand tamil? (I don't) I listen a lot to Bhagavad Gita, it's available in audio by many singers and commentators.

Eastern Mind
11 December 2010, 12:42 PM
A good way to let the shastras "stick" is to listen to audio besides reading to understand the meaning. Unfortunately, not all shastras are available in audio.

Vannakkam: Sure, if you happen to have an audio learning style. I'm a visual learner. Old teachers know these things. For me, listening goes in one ear and out the other, so to speak. But for some people it does wonders. There is no one size fits all, and the audio/visual balance can be 10/90 to 90/10. Of course I could be wrong.

Aum Namasivaya.

Sahasranama
11 December 2010, 12:50 PM
I think that when it comes to shastras, listening (shravana) can be helpful for everyone. It's not just understanding from listening like in a college lecture (which is also an important skill in learning), but the shastras have a certain rythm and vibration which aid in internalisation of the scripture. Listening to the scriptures goes deeper than mental understanding. Most shastras are written in poetry form. As you already know, the vedas have been transmitted from generation to generation through listening to the teacher chant the mantras. Of course, reading to understand deeper meanings is also important.

Adhvagat
11 December 2010, 01:01 PM
If I ever say something you guys consider unbased or shenanigans you can just tell right into my face... No biggie.

But please no shoving... That's not really cool to say to another person.

:)

Ganeshprasad
11 December 2010, 03:42 PM
Pranam saidevo ji, Sahasranama ji



Hindu Dharma is liberal and personal, but no guidance is higher than the scriptures,

Thank you, and that is what Lord Krishna says in chapter 16

Therefore, let the scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. You should perform your duty following the scriptural injunction. (16.24)
 
Pranam EM

Vannakkam GP: When we accept that different people follow different shastras, is it not a logical outcome that not all shastras come to the same conclusion? Therefore by following one shastra, it may well be in defiance of another shastra.
Aum Namasivaya

That would not be a problem if Shastra offers differing views and thatís not my complaint.

If a question is posed and someone answered by Shastra examples (not by some peripheral obscure text but major Shastra which most Hindu revered to ) then someone else offers their opinion based on nothing thatís fine also because everyone is entitled to it but if the answer is reiterated again and again then it becomes a challenge, in direct defiance off the Shastra pramana that were offered. What do you think, how one should react in those circumstance?

Pranam Pietro Impagliazzo

Please donít get me wrong shoving would be a last resort, it was just a figure of speech.

Jai Shree Krishna

Eastern Mind
11 December 2010, 04:21 PM
Pranam EM

If a question is posed and someone answered by Shastra examples (not by some peripheral obscure text but major Shastra which most Hindu revered to ) then someone else offers their opinion based on nothing thatís fine also because everyone is entitled to it but if the answer is reiterated again and again then it becomes a challenge, in direct defiance off the Shastra pramana that were offered. What do you think, how one should react in those circumstance?



Pranam GP: Personally, I walk away, disengage myself from the discussion, not unlike talking with a Christian who repeats the same arguments over and over. Why keep going around in circles when you're not getting anywhere? There are many ways of putting it. Agreeing to disagree is one of them. Staying on it just leads to unnecessary unhealthy ego battles if you're not careful. It only happened to me once here on HDF, and I blame myself for not walking away earlier. Sometimes we just take this place too seriously. I have the difficulty when one speaks as if He is the authority, not the shastras, and doesn't allow for any remote possibility of him or her misinterpreting or being incomplete in the understanding in the slightest. Now that is hard to take. A bit like my friend who keeps asking me to grow bananas in the temple garden. How many times can I say, "Its too cold of a climate!" without attaching emotion to it.

Even the greatest saints admit to making mistakes on the path. That's how we learn. Infallibility is reserved for God.

Aum Namasivaya

devotee
12 December 2010, 01:05 AM
Namaste GaneshPrasad ji, Saidevo, EM and all,

The problem that GaneshPrasad ji has pointed out is one. I would like to mention slightly different problem where the Shastras are referred to erroneously in isolation. The Shastras have a hierarchy & that should not be violated. Then as there has been no dedicated organisation to preserve the purity of the original texts, there have been manipulations in some of the shastras. This must be understood well & dealt with appropriately. Again, we cannot blindly accept the English translations which most of the time are done shabbily. There many places which when translated literally would give ridiculous meanings. In those cases the context must be kept in view (any meaning out of context is most certainly wrong or a manipulation afterwards) and it should be seen that Shrutis are not violated.

However, we cannot expect everyone here to be expert on Shastras & we can always find such stubbornness in interpretation of the shastras in a particular way here or there ... in those cases when one is not listening ... I think I would just leave the scene (may be after reporting the matter to the moderator). IMHO, the satsang should be always with people having right intentions and it should be guided by honesty to seek the Truth.


OM

kd gupta
12 December 2010, 01:22 AM
Everything is acceptable except making it a PONGA PUNDIT FORUM .

Sahasranama
12 December 2010, 03:33 AM
The problem that GaneshPrasad ji has pointed out is one. I would like to mention slightly different problem where the Shastras are referred to erroneously in isolation. The Shastras have a hierarchy & that should not be violated.Well I do agree that the shastras need to be understood in the proper context, but any hierarchy of importance is sect, person or subject dependent. The vedas are generally accepted as the final authority, but the vedas are not always straight forward in meaning. Many other scriptures are necessary to understand the vedas, including the vedangas. The Mahabharata says, itihāsa-purāṇābhyāṁ vedaṁ samupabṛṁhayet: "One should complement one's understanding of the Vedas with the help of the Itihasas and the Puranas." The atharva veda, the chandogya- and the brihadaranyaka upanishad declare the itihasas and puranas to be the fifth veda: itihāsapurāṇaṃ pañcamaṃ vedānāṃ. Depending on the sect, the agamas are also considered to be the fifth veda. The rishis sympathised with the fact that the vedas are not accessible to everyone, as the Bhagavata Purana says: strī śudra dvijabandhunām trayi na śruti gocara, A woman, a sudra and a dvija-bandhu, they cannot understand Vedic language, therefore vyasa wrote the Mahabharata. Later he compiled the Bhagavatam which is described as the ripe fruit of the vedic tree and as brahmasamhitam, equal to the vedas.


Again, we cannot blindly accept the English translations which most of the time are done shabbily. There many places which when translated literally would give ridiculous meanings.Looking at the alternatives, the Hindi translation and commentary of Swami Dayananda are often mentioned. Swami Dayananda had hatred for all Hindu sects and tried to seperate the vedas from the other scriptures of Hinduism. He had very little consistency in his interpretations and gave meanings to mantras as they soothed him. His interpreations were based in missionary ideals, victorian mores and he used the Christian concept of the trinity of the father, the son and the Holy Ghost to interpret Hindu philosophy. One God and one book, that was his mission. Just like the Christians he preached against idolatry and called many practices of the Hindus superstitious. The efforts of Swami Dayananda have done more damage to Hinduism than translators like Ralph Griffith and Max Müller have done. Trying to create this utopian fantasy of "going back to the vedas and discarding the rest." Hindus praise Dayananda for bringing back the vedas and accuse the English translators of trying to spread Christianity. The irony is mind boggling. The English translations are not perfect, but if you ask me, the translations of Dayananda are even worse. Most scholars do not consider his work to be of any high standard, mostly because it lacks consistency in translation.

Eastern Mind
12 December 2010, 08:23 AM
proper

Vannakkam Sahasranama, GP, Devotee, et al ... Who decided 'proper'? Even that varies from person to person. Go about watching the opening invocation to Ganapati at 50 different temples. Each is doing it the 'proper' way, yet to each of the other 49, the others are doing it the improper way!

Some of the messages on here are not being written in 'proper' English, yet those messages mostly come across loud and clear. Confusion usually only arises when sarcasm or some other more subtle messaging technique is used.

Now, I like the diversity. I'm not here to convince, but to explore. I like hearing of other points of view, but rarely do I take some quote of scripture as 'absolutely pure and to be understood' as for one, as Sahasranama said, its been translated. This is a bit like reading a poem, or looking at art. One would have to psychically understand or 'enter' the other soul's mind (the one who wrote it) to truly grasp the intended meaning.

I see an example in today's holy men. Various sampradaya leaders meet at international conferences or send young sannyasins to stay for awhile in various other schools. Unlike some absurd tales of the past when sannyasins clashed (how absolutely ironic) they all get together and share insights, methods of teaching in welcoming ways. They are fully aware of the differences, yet don't sit around and debate. Why? Because they see deeper than that, either know or have had glimpses of the absolute reality within.

Aum Namasivaya

Sahasranama
12 December 2010, 08:41 AM
Vannakkam Sahasranama, GP, Devotee, et al ... Who decided 'proper'? Even that varies from person to person. Go about watching the opening invocation to Ganapati at 50 different temples. Each is doing it the 'proper' way, yet to each of the other 49, the others are doing it the improper way!
I don't mean it in a general way. There may be 50 proper ways of invocating Ganapati, but sure you could think of one improper way of doing it? For example, offering tulsi leaves to Ganapati is considered improper. I don't think it's always straight forward and easy to put something in the "proper" context. I do think there are improper ways of using the shastras. The Bhagavata Gita for example can be used improperly to justify selfish wars. The vedic saying "krinvanto vishvam aryam," "let us make the world noble" can be misused to justify the Nazi war, if people misunderstand the meaning of the word Arya.



I see an example in today's holy men. Various sampradaya leaders meet at international conferences or send young sannyasins to stay for awhile in various other schools. Unlike some absurd tales of the past when sannyasins clashed (how absolutely ironic) they all get together and share insights, methods of teaching in welcoming ways. They are fully aware of the differences, yet don't sit around and debate. Why? Because they see deeper than that, either know or have had glimpses of the absolute reality within.Online people can look deeper into the subject, look up information, think about it, respond later and even make modifications using the edit buttom. It's like playing chess through mail, instead of playing speed chess. I used to have a Hindi/Sanskrit teacher who was from the Arya Samaj. I didn't spend my time debating him, but learning whatever I could. In real life, people are more often on the defence, so debates aren't always fruitful. Not debating is a good strategy to keep everyone happy.We mortals have to learn to shut up sometimes, but rest assured that fearless geniuses like Shankaracharya, Ramanuja , Appayya Dikhitar, Madhvacharya or Abhinava Gupta would not keep quiet.

There's a beautiful shloka in the Bhagavata Purana about learning from different shastras:

aṇubhyaś ca mahadbhyaś caśāstrebhyaḥ kuśalo naraḥ sarvataḥ sāram ādadyātpuṣpebhya iva ṣaṭpadaḥ

"Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all flowers, big and small, an intelligent human being should take the essence from all scriptures." 11.8.10

satay
12 December 2010, 10:21 AM
namaste sahasranama,


Swami Dayananda had hatred for all Hindu sects and tried to seperate the vedas from the other scriptures of Hinduism.

I don't think you are doing justice to dayananda with those comments. Please get more familiar with this contirbution. He didn't 'align' with the christians but fought them with logic!

That said, my opinion of him might be biased because I went to arya samaj school for a few years.

Sahasranama
12 December 2010, 10:44 AM
Of course, I will not deny his contributions, but I will also not let his contributions stand in the way to look critically at what he preached. He did indeed fight against Christianity and Islam, he reconverted a lot of people back to Hinduism. But there's no denial that his ideology was heavily influenced by Christianity and Islam from association with the Brahmo Samaj and the Theosophic society. Some similarities: fighting against idol worship, only one god and one holy book, Dayananda's traitavada derived from Christian trinity and his interpretation of the vedas mostly in a moralistic sense. He also tried to degrade other sects in Hinduism which he said were based on superstition. Swami Dayananda was dealing with a lot of psychological childhood problems which led him to rebel against Sanatana Dharma. He associated murti puja with the fights his parents had about religious observences. He lost his faith in Shiva and left home, because a mouse ate some prasadam. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for him.