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AnrBjotk
18 May 2012, 06:17 AM
Hare Krishna,

I have been attending a Hare Krishna a few Sundays now, and have tried to learn more and more about the movement, and about the Dharma in general.
However, there is one point I cannot get over: Why does ISKCON, and Prabhupada, speak so much against the impersonalists and Advaita in general?
I have grown to become a strong believer in Advaita and Shankara, but also have a strong attachment to ISKCON. But it seems these are in opposition.
What is wrong with believing God to be formless and nameless? What is wrong in believing that All is One, including the non-difference between Atman and Brahman? It does not place man above God, nor below.

And, for me, it fits into the attainment or understanding of God through chanting, and not through the ego or the logic of man...

Can I believe in both? Why can't ISKCON be open and accept the impersonalists? Why must this religion, also, insist on attacking other beliefs and creating this aggression between the thoughts?
I thought ISKCON was different... After all they say it doesn't matter what you call God...

Maya3
18 May 2012, 10:21 AM
I'm not sure. I'm Advaita myself and I certainly think you can look at it both ways.

To be honest, the little I know if ISKCON have not been so positive, to me they do seem rather fundamental.

Where do you live? Maybe there is another alternative? Another temple you could go to?

Maya

GauraHari
18 May 2012, 11:06 AM
Hare Krishna.
Our forceful refutation of impersonalistic mayavada philosophy may not have been palatable for some, but it was definitely necessary. The Vaisnava acaryas words that we often quote are harsh not because they are crazy fanatics, but their words are commensurate with the dangers of falling into the mayavadi trap. In the beginning we may not even see what the big deal is about this personal-impersonal issue, but that is because we have not developed a mature Vaisnava perspective yet. That is why the acaryas have to literally yell out their cautions, because we may not even see the pitfalls. If the pitfalls were obvious to everyone then we would not need to use such strong words.

Mayavada philosophy is dangerous because it can be very, very subtle and work its way into the way we view everything. It may masquerade as some all-loving, nice philosophy but if you follow the trail of the philosophy to its basis, you will find that it is ultimately very offensive to the Personality of God. Consequently, there is no hope of making advancement in realizing our original spiritual nature in a loving relationship with God if we are stuck with an impersonalist ontology - even though we may externally be adopting some personalist spiritualist practices. A common example of what damage impersonal philosophy can do is this: we may think that God is obligated to respond to our spiritual practices. We may unconsciously think "Oh I'm doing all this japa, it's about time God showed up because that's how the formula is supposed to work." In this way, we unconsciously reduce God to an impersonal vending-machine who can be controlled by us by regulated spiritual processes. Naturally this is a very offensive mindset that blocks any hope of developing a meaningful relationship with God. That is one of the dangers. It is subtle, but we eventually notice it.

Instead, a personalist understands that spiritual advancement is about uncovering a relationship with God. Nobody is obliged to do anything, but rather we gradually develop a spontaneous mood of service and love, which then gives real taste in our relationship with God. This beautiful and most important aspect of the Personality of God is ruthlessly hacked away by the impersonalists. Instead, the idea that WE are God is subtly but surely injected into the ontology of the impersonalist, and that is an ego-trip that is very, very hard to reverse. Lord Chaitanya used to say that a Mayavadi is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of Krishna because he thinks Krishna has material body and thinks himself to be equal to God. That's why He said: Māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa: if one associates with the Māyāvāda philosophy, his devotional life is doomed.

If you have an impersonal background then you may have a good deal of un-learning to do, but it will surely be possible if you take up a careful study of Prabhupada's books. The process of Krsna Consciousness that Prabhupada gave us is so simple that it can be practiced by anyone in any condition of life in any location: chanting the Holy Names of God. Why is this the process? Because it is strongly recommended in the scriptures as the only way in this age:
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

TRANSLATION

In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.’

charitra
18 May 2012, 01:17 PM
I have grown to become a strong believer in Advaita and Shankara, but also have a strong attachment to ISKCON. But it seems these are in opposition
Can I believe in both? Why can't ISKCON be open and accept the impersonalists? Why must this religion, also, insist on attacking other beliefs and creating this aggression between the thoughts?
I thought ISKCON was different... After all they say it doesn't matter what you call God...

'' Can I believe in both? Why can't ISKCON be open and accept the impersonalists?''

welcome AnrBjotk, yes majority hindus believe in all of the above, sadly some stretch it too far. Most just ignore the divisive arguements put forward by sampradaya buffs or nuts, no offence meant..
Krishna wouldnt have shown vishva rupa, had he not had any inclination to explain Brahman concept to Arjuna. One entire chapter 11 was about Krishna's universal or cosmic form, which is something like Brahman. Flexibility is the name of the game for overwhelming number of hindus. Iskcon is a wonderful organization, keep going there. Also read upanishads ( if you havent done so already) Namaste.

shian
18 May 2012, 06:23 PM
Iskcon is name of organization. I think you attracted to the devotion of Krsna. In Hindu there is some Vaishnava sect who have Krsna devotion for istadevata. Not only iskcon. You can choose.

But personally for me, between form and formless, personal and impersonal acctually is same.

Believer
18 May 2012, 06:30 PM
Namaste AB,

I would just take the best from both worlds. You can go to the ISKCON mandir and do the chanting etc. but not accept everything they have to say. You could go to another Hindu mandir, if there is one in your area, and enjoy their puja too. You could alternate between the two. Some people go to ISKCON because the exuberance there is infectious, but ignore some of their negativity. Every sampradaye has its merits (and some drawbacks), and the trick is to ignore their negativity towards other sampradayes. You cannot change the world. The only person you have control over is yourself!

Pranam.

Vaikuntha Bound.
18 May 2012, 07:29 PM
Dearest AnrBjotk,

Namaste!

Srila Prabhupada taught that liberation, as such, consists of entering into a relationship of devotional service with Lord Krsna. The contours of that liberation depend greatly on the nature and personality of Krsna - feeding Krsna prasadam that He enjoys, behaving in a way that is pleasing to Him, acting toward Him as a real person, because He is a real person.

If you believed that what would set people free was entering into a relationship with a very personal God, you might believe along with Srila Prabhupada that impersonalists were missing the point and that Shankara was objectively wrong.

Attending an ISKCON temple doesn't mean that you buy everything Srila Prabhupada taught. It could just mean that you like singing and dancing. But it does mean that you will probably continue to hear things that you disagree with.

As Shian said, there are other Vaishnava groups and teachers, if you feel really strongly drawn to Lord Vishnu. You may want to check out a Vedanta Society, too. You might also want to just visit your nearest Hindu temple. It won't be as exciting as an ISKCON temple on Sunday night, but most have a tangible energy all their own. You can find out if they're having any lectures, and that's a great way to meet others with similar interests.

Good luck, and if you ever need to talk with someone else who likes ISKCON, but doesn't want to join up, feel free to shoot me a line.

VB

devotee
18 May 2012, 08:10 PM
Namaste AB,



I have been attending a Hare Krishna a few Sundays now, and have tried to learn more and more about the movement, and about the Dharma in general.
However, there is one point I cannot get over: Why does ISKCON, and Prabhupada, speak so much against the impersonalists and Advaita in general?
I have grown to become a strong believer in Advaita and Shankara, but also have a strong attachment to ISKCON. But it seems these are in opposition.
What is wrong with believing God to be formless and nameless? What is wrong in believing that All is One, including the non-difference between Atman and Brahman? It does not place man above God, nor below.

And, for me, it fits into the attainment or understanding of God through chanting, and not through the ego or the logic of man...

Can I believe in both? Why can't ISKCON be open and accept the impersonalists? Why must this religion, also, insist on attacking other beliefs and creating this aggression between the thoughts?
I thought ISKCON was different... After all they say it doesn't matter what you call God...

I don't think this thread should be in this section as it doesn't speak high of ISKCON but of its narrow-mindedness.

I love going to ISKCON temples. However, I was shocked when I came into the contact of some ISKCONites on this forum and elsewhere on the internet. I can tell you only these things :

a) ISKCON doesn't understand Advaita even a bit and therefore, they should stay away from it. Upanishads say that Advaita is not for people who are not fit for it. The easy path is Bhakti Yoga ... Advaita is difficult to understand and also follow.

b) ISKCON is what it is and they understand what their Guru said to them. So, there is no pint fighting them. You have to decide which path suits you.

c) ISKCONites unnecessary waste their energy over Advaita-bashing. They can utilise this time effectively on their bhajan kirtans.

OM

AnrBjotk
22 May 2012, 01:33 AM
Hare Krishna.
Our forceful refutation of impersonalistic mayavada philosophy may not have been palatable for some, but it was definitely necessary. The Vaisnava acaryas words that we often quote are harsh not because they are crazy fanatics, but their words are commensurate with the dangers of falling into the mayavadi trap. In the beginning we may not even see what the big deal is about this personal-impersonal issue, but that is because we have not developed a mature Vaisnava perspective yet. That is why the acaryas have to literally yell out their cautions, because we may not even see the pitfalls. If the pitfalls were obvious to everyone then we would not need to use such strong words.

Mayavada philosophy is dangerous because it can be very, very subtle and work its way into the way we view everything. It may masquerade as some all-loving, nice philosophy but if you follow the trail of the philosophy to its basis, you will find that it is ultimately very offensive to the Personality of God. Consequently, there is no hope of making advancement in realizing our original spiritual nature in a loving relationship with God if we are stuck with an impersonalist ontology - even though we may externally be adopting some personalist spiritualist practices. A common example of what damage impersonal philosophy can do is this: we may think that God is obligated to respond to our spiritual practices. We may unconsciously think "Oh I'm doing all this japa, it's about time God showed up because that's how the formula is supposed to work." In this way, we unconsciously reduce God to an impersonal vending-machine who can be controlled by us by regulated spiritual processes. Naturally this is a very offensive mindset that blocks any hope of developing a meaningful relationship with God. That is one of the dangers. It is subtle, but we eventually notice it.

Instead, a personalist understands that spiritual advancement is about uncovering a relationship with God. Nobody is obliged to do anything, but rather we gradually develop a spontaneous mood of service and love, which then gives real taste in our relationship with God. This beautiful and most important aspect of the Personality of God is ruthlessly hacked away by the impersonalists. Instead, the idea that WE are God is subtly but surely injected into the ontology of the impersonalist, and that is an ego-trip that is very, very hard to reverse. Lord Chaitanya used to say that a Mayavadi is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of Krishna because he thinks Krishna has material body and thinks himself to be equal to God. That's why He said: Māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa: if one associates with the Māyāvāda philosophy, his devotional life is doomed.

If you have an impersonal background then you may have a good deal of un-learning to do, but it will surely be possible if you take up a careful study of Prabhupada's books. The process of Krsna Consciousness that Prabhupada gave us is so simple that it can be practiced by anyone in any condition of life in any location: chanting the Holy Names of God. Why is this the process? Because it is strongly recommended in the scriptures as the only way in this age:
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

TRANSLATION

In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.’


'' Can I believe in both? Why can't ISKCON be open and accept the impersonalists?''

welcome AnrBjotk, yes majority hindus believe in all of the above, sadly some stretch it too far. Most just ignore the divisive arguements put forward by sampradaya buffs or nuts, no offence meant..
Krishna wouldnt have shown vishva rupa, had he not had any inclination to explain Brahman concept to Arjuna. One entire chapter 11 was about Krishna's universal or cosmic form, which is something like Brahman. Flexibility is the name of the game for overwhelming number of hindus. Iskcon is a wonderful organization, keep going there. Also read upanishads ( if you havent done so already) Namaste.


Iskcon is name of organization. I think you attracted to the devotion of Krsna. In Hindu there is some Vaishnava sect who have Krsna devotion for istadevata. Not only iskcon. You can choose.

But personally for me, between form and formless, personal and impersonal acctually is same.


Namaste AB,

I would just take the best from both worlds. You can go to the ISKCON mandir and do the chanting etc. but not accept everything they have to say. You could go to another Hindu mandir, if there is one in your area, and enjoy their puja too. You could alternate between the two. Some people go to ISKCON because the exuberance there is infectious, but ignore some of their negativity. Every sampradaye has its merits (and some drawbacks), and the trick is to ignore their negativity towards other sampradayes. You cannot change the world. The only person you have control over is yourself!

Pranam.


Dearest AnrBjotk,

Namaste!

Srila Prabhupada taught that liberation, as such, consists of entering into a relationship of devotional service with Lord Krsna. The contours of that liberation depend greatly on the nature and personality of Krsna - feeding Krsna prasadam that He enjoys, behaving in a way that is pleasing to Him, acting toward Him as a real person, because He is a real person.

If you believed that what would set people free was entering into a relationship with a very personal God, you might believe along with Srila Prabhupada that impersonalists were missing the point and that Shankara was objectively wrong.

Attending an ISKCON temple doesn't mean that you buy everything Srila Prabhupada taught. It could just mean that you like singing and dancing. But it does mean that you will probably continue to hear things that you disagree with.

As Shian said, there are other Vaishnava groups and teachers, if you feel really strongly drawn to Lord Vishnu. You may want to check out a Vedanta Society, too. You might also want to just visit your nearest Hindu temple. It won't be as exciting as an ISKCON temple on Sunday night, but most have a tangible energy all their own. You can find out if they're having any lectures, and that's a great way to meet others with similar interests.

Good luck, and if you ever need to talk with someone else who likes ISKCON, but doesn't want to join up, feel free to shoot me a line.

VB


Namaste AB,



I don't think this thread should be in this section as it doesn't speak high of ISKCON but of its narrow-mindedness.

I love going to ISKCON temples. However, I was shocked when I came into the contact of some ISKCONites on this forum and elsewhere on the internet. I can tell you only these things :

a) ISKCON doesn't understand Advaita even a bit and therefore, they should stay away from it. Upanishads say that Advaita is not for people who are not fit for it. The easy path is Bhakti Yoga ... Advaita is difficult to understand and also follow.

b) ISKCON is what it is and they understand what their Guru said to them. So, there is no pint fighting them. You have to decide which path suits you.

c) ISKCONites unnecessary waste their energy over Advaita-bashing. They can utilise this time effectively on their bhajan kirtans.

OM


I'm not sure. I'm Advaita myself and I certainly think you can look at it both ways.

To be honest, the little I know if ISKCON have not been so positive, to me they do seem rather fundamental.

Where do you live? Maybe there is another alternative? Another temple you could go to?

Maya

Namaste, and hare krishna.
Thank you for all the replies!

There IS another temple where I live, Norway, but I have no idea what they practice, only that it is a Hindu temple outside of town, and that it is visited almost exclusively by Indians, with almost zero westerners. But perhaps I could stop by.

What you all have written, the Hare Krishnas and the Advaitins, seems to confirm my beliefs:
ISKCONs repeat the same thing over and over again, like a protest that shuts everything out: "Advaita is blasphemous to the Lord, advaita is blasphemous to the Lord, advaita is blasphemous to the Lord" etc.
But it is NOT!
To say ALL is one is not to mock God or give him a worse name. It is to say, basically what all Hindus say: We all have a piece of Brahman inside of us, and to attain it, is the goal of life. "The aim of life is to know thyself".
Advaita is not dangerous or hedonistic. It is looking at God by closing yr eyes, by looking within.

But, I still do not understand why ISKCONs cant just accept Advaita like they, say they, accept Islam, and certainly, Gurdijeff...

Namaste! I hope you all will help me out with other threds on this site!
<3

GauraHari
24 May 2012, 06:15 PM
Namaste, and hare krishna.
Thank you for all the replies!

There IS another temple where I live, Norway, but I have no idea what they practice, only that it is a Hindu temple outside of town, and that it is visited almost exclusively by Indians, with almost zero westerners. But perhaps I could stop by.

What you all have written, the Hare Krishnas and the Advaitins, seems to confirm my beliefs:
ISKCONs repeat the same thing over and over again, like a protest that shuts everything out: "Advaita is blasphemous to the Lord, advaita is blasphemous to the Lord, advaita is blasphemous to the Lord" etc.
But it is NOT!
To say ALL is one is not to mock God or give him a worse name. It is to say, basically what all Hindus say: We all have a piece of Brahman inside of us, and to attain it, is the goal of life. "The aim of life is to know thyself".
Advaita is not dangerous or hedonistic. It is looking at God by closing yr eyes, by looking within.

But, I still do not understand why ISKCONs cant just accept Advaita like they, say they, accept Islam, and certainly, Gurdijeff...

Namaste! I hope you all will help me out with other threds on this site!
<3

Dear AnrBjotk Prabhu,

Just to let you know that ISKCON does not make up anything. ISKCON simply repeats the words of Krishna, Lord Chaitanya, and Vaisnava acaryas.

So prabhu you want to know why ISKCON says:"Advaita is blasphemous to the Lord"? OK I will tell you why. Firstly Advaita says the impersonal Brahman is Absolute Truth and the personal form is subordinate.
But take a look at this:

Taittirīya Upaniṣad [2.5] states:
ātmānandamayaḥ ānanda ātmā brahma pucchaṁ pratiṣṭhā
“The Supreme Lord is full of ecstasy. The impersonal Brahman is His bodily effulgence. He is the source of Brahman.”
brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham
amṛtasyāvyayasya ca
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya
sukhasyaikāntikasya ca
"And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal."
In the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13) there is the important verse; nityo nityanam chetanas chetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: “He is the supreme eternally conscious [B]person who maintains all other living entities(spirit soul).”
Katha Upanishad (2.3.8-9) wherein it says: “Beyond the Brahmajyoti (nirguna or formless Brahman of the monist) there is the Great Purusha viz., Purushottama God who is all-pervading (as the Brahmajyoti) and without any empirical attributes, but having sat-chit-ananda--transcendental embodiment. He who realizes this Purushottama-tattva is finally liberated. Attaining a spiritual body he renders eternal service to the Purushottama [Supreme Being]. The Transcendental Personality of Godhead is beyond the purview of occult vision. But He can be apprehended through a pure transparent mind imbibed with intuitive wisdom born out of unalloyed devotional practices in the very core of one’s own unstinted heart--those who have really got such a vision have gained final beatitude.”
Brahma-samhita (5.40)“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited, and which displays the varieties of countless planets with their different opulences in millions and millions of universes.”
Govinda, is the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of the nondifferentiated Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads, being differentiated from the infinity of glories of the mundane universe appears as the indivisible, infinite, limitless, truth. (Brahma Samhita 5.40)

And Advaita defines the spirit soul as Supreme. and therefore they think that the Self is also Narayan. They say aham brahmasmi(I am Brahman). But yes we are Brahman. I am spirit. It is said that one should understand that he is Brahman, spirit soul. One should know that he is not matter; he is pure soul. Mayavadi philosophers misinterpret the aham brahmasmi to mean, “I am the Supreme Brahman” and “I am identical with the Lord.” This kind of false conception, in which one thinks himself the supreme enjoyer, is a kind of illusion. Mayavadi philosophers, they think, “Now I’ve realized that I am not this body, I am not matter, I am spirit soul, so now I have become Narayana. I have become the Supreme.” But no, that is also mistake. When you realize that “Supreme is the Supreme Brahman, Parabrahman, I am part and parcel of the Supreme, I am also Brahman, but I am not the Supreme Brahman, therefore my business is to serve Parabrahman.” We can take the example of the hand. The hand may realize it is part of the body. But full realization is when the hand realizes that is the part of the body and selflessly serves the body(like maintaining the body).
We have got to understand that we are the drop of water and Krishna is the vast ocean. The drop of water and the vast ocean are identical in a way that they are both water. Similarly, we and Krishna are both Brahman. But the vast ocean and drop of water differs largely in quantity. Similarly, I am the small Brahman who is a spirit soul and Krishna is the Supreme Brahman. <<<This is Achintya Bheda Abheda(simultaneous oneness and difference), the philosophy Lord Chaitanya preached and ISKCON follows.

Now Advaitins also say Krishna has material body and is in maya.<<<This is the huge offense. That is why Lord Chaitanya used to say that a Mayavadi is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of Krishna. Krishna and his pastimes, body, soul, names etc. are all same and identical. There is no difference. So saying that Krishna's body is material and in maya is same as saying Krishna is material and in maya.

Also those who read Padma Purana will never get attracted to Mayavada philosophy. In the Padma Purana there is a conversation between Lord Shiva and Parvati and Lord Shiva says:

Padma Purana 6.236.7
mayavadam asac chastram pracchannam bauddham uchyate
mayaiva kalpitam devi kalau brahmana rupina
Mayavada or Advaita philosophy is an impious, wicked belief and against all the conclusions of the Vedas. It is only covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in Kali-Yuga I assume the form of a brahmana (Adi Shankara) and teach this imagined philosophy.

Padma Purana 6.236.8-9
apartham sruti-vakyanam darsayan loka-garhitam
sva-karma-rupam tyajya tvam atraiva pratipadyate
sarva-karma paribhrastair vaidharma tvam tad ucyate
paresa-jiva-paraikyam maya tu pratipadyate
"This mayavada advaita philosophy preached by me (in form of Adi Shankara) deprives the words of the holy texts of their actual meaning and thus it is condemned in the world. It recommends the renunciation of one's own duties, since those who have fallen from their duties say that the giving up of duties is religiosity. In this way, I have also falsely propounded the identity of the Supreme Lord and the individual soul."

Padma Purana 6.236.10
brahmanas caparam rupam nirgunam vaksyate maya
sarva-svam jagato py asya mohanartham kalu yuge
"In order to bewilder the atheists, in Kali-yuga, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Gauranga Krishna to be without any form and without qualities."

Padma Purana 6.236.11
vedante tu maha-sastrera mayavadam avaidikam
mayaiva vaksyate devi jagatam nasha-karanat
"Similarly, in explaning Vedanta mahashastra, I described the same non-scriptural and inauspicious mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of my beloved Lord."

Also in Varaha Purana Lord Visnu instructs Siva saying:

esa moham srjamy asu yo janan mohayisyati
tvam ca rudra maha-baho moha-sastrani karaya
O mighty-armed Siva, please write books filled with lies, and thus bewilder the people.

atathyani vitathyani darsayasva maha-bhuja
prakasam kuru catmanam aprakasam ca mam kuru
O mighty-armed one, please preach a collection of lies. Place yourself in the forefront, and conceal Me.

The Mayavadis use very sophisticated world jugglery to try to establish their false conclusion. Those who are not learned in the Vedic wisdom can easily be razzle-dazzled or misled by Mayavadi philosophy. Mayavadi is mayayapahrta-jnana: "Their knowledge has been taken away by maya." This doctrine of Mayavada is so harmful to the jiva that Lord Chaitanya Himself has warned us by saying,"Mayavada bhasya sunile haya sarva nasa." -- "One who hears the commentaries of the Mayavadis, will ruin his spiritual life." So if Lord Chaitanya who is Krishna Himself has classified a Mayavadi as greatest offender then who are we to say that Advaita is or not blasphemous!

Hope this cleared your doubts. Hari Bol!

Your humble servant.

Believer
25 May 2012, 06:35 PM
Namaste,

Under the umbrella of Hinduism, exist many diverse philosophies. Each one of them could quote some verses from one of the scriptures to stake its claim at being the best representative of Hinduism. Does it really matter? I am still waiting to meet somebody who is destined for a 'higher planet' at the end of his/her current life. The end game for all philosophies is to make me a better person, an ethical person at peace with myself and my surroundings, and to arouse my quest for a spiritual life. This drum beating of 'I am the best' is an exercise in futility and serves only to draw us away from our real purpose in life - to increase our spiritual quotient. If one sampradaye serves the spiritual needs of a person, that is good and he should follow that. But to try to impress upon everyone to conform to the same set of principles via mental gymnastics and circular logic is sheer waste of time.


So if Lord Chaitanya who is Krishna Himself ............That basic premise itself is not accepted by a large majority of the Indian Hindu population.

Pranam.

Sahasranama
25 May 2012, 06:58 PM
ISCKON is not the only sect that has criticized the mayavada of Shankara. In fact most schools of Hinduism, including other schools of advaita, are opposed to this doctrine of mayavada. The original position of the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra was never that of extreme monism or dualism, but a more balanced form of Bhedabheda. Philosophically that might have been a weak position and theoretically strong positions have been brought forward by acharyas like Shankara in response to Buddhism. Such theories however are not necessarily the true purport of the scriptures. It was Shankara's adherence to sampradaya that prevented him from looking objectively at Vedanta. The philosophy of Gaudapada acharya was already heavily influenced by Buddhism. Buddhist influence on Vedanta can also be seen in the Yogavasishta. The biggest flaw of sampradayas are that the message becomes distorted like in a telephone game. Shankara's adherence to his predecessors let him to look for a compromise between their Buddhist influenced doctrines and Vedanta.

We should always look back at the Itihasa and Puranas to find the true purport of the Vedas. The Mahabhrata says that the Vedas are afraid that their message will be distorted by those who have learned very little from the Vedas, or alpashrutas, and that therefore the Itihasas and Puranas should complement this gap. Shankaracharya was also an alpashruta, since he based his doctrine only on a handful of Upanishads and ultimately only on a few Mahavakyas, while ignoring large portions of the Vedic corpus. He himself admitted that he was unaware of the spiritual import of the mantra portion of the Vedas. Gaudiya Vaishnavism does a good job of basing their Vedanta on the Srimad Bhagavatam, as does the school of Sri Vallabhacharya. Of course, I do not agree with these Vaishnava schools, since they have added much nonsense to their commentaries to glorify their founding Acharyas and to support other doctrines that are not found in the scriptures they comment on. Shankaracharya himself also had a tremendous respect towards the Itihasa and Puranas and considered them to be pramanas, but ultimately he chose to base his Siddhanta only on ten Upanishads. This is because of the limitations of philosophy and if Shankara had taken too much of the Shastras in account, he could not have build a very stable doctrine that could stand the onslaught of the emerging schools of Buddhism.

Shuddhasattva
25 May 2012, 08:46 PM
Namaste,

I suggest looking into the original Gaudiya vaishnavism, as well as devotional sects with monistic views, such as the paradvaita of the trika.

One may observe for oneself the mentality reflected in condemnations of advaita for what it is.

Let this not draw you away from the essence of Gaudiya vaishnavism which is precious to the world.


Namaste

Sahasranama
25 May 2012, 08:58 PM
Let this not draw you away from the essence of Gaudiya vaishnavism which is precious to the world.


I am not an adherent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. I am looking at this objectively as a non sectarian Hindu, all these philosophical schools have their flaws and strong points.

Shuddhasattva
25 May 2012, 09:04 PM
I am not an adherent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. I am looking at this objectively as a non sectarian Hindu, all these philosophical schools have their flaws and strong points.

Then forgive me, but in your post on Shankaracharya, I am unable to find one statement I regard as valid.

GauraHari
25 May 2012, 09:57 PM
Hare Krishna Believer,


Namaste,

Under the umbrella of Hinduism, exist many diverse philosophies. Each one of them could quote some verses from one of the scriptures to stake its claim at being the best representative of Hinduism. Does it really matter? I am still waiting to meet somebody who is destined for a 'higher planet' at the end of his/her current life. The end game for all philosophies is to make me a better person, an ethical person at peace with myself and my surroundings, and to arouse my quest for a spiritual life. This drum beating of 'I am the best' is an exercise in futility and serves only to draw us away from our real purpose in life - to increase our spiritual quotient. If one sampradaye serves the spiritual needs of a person, that is good and he should follow that. But to try to impress upon everyone to conform to the same set of principles via mental gymnastics and circular logic is sheer waste of time.

That basic premise itself is not accepted by a large majority of the Indian Hindu population.

Pranam.

My question now to you is have you read all sastras? If not then you can not declare:"Each one of them could quote some verses from one of the scriptures". I have already given examples and scriptural proof of how Advaita misinterprets Vedas, even Lord Shiva said it in the Padma Purana. And the path to Absolute Truth is one. For example, if you buy a ticket for Kolkata you will reach Kolkata not Delhi. So the path to Absolute Truth can only be reached with ticket just like the Kolkata example. So if path to Absolute Truth is one, why is the question of "best path" and "worst path" coming? Even Lord Krishna says:

Bhagavad Gita 12.20 — Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.
Bhagavad Gita 18.55 — One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.

So devotional service is that ticket to Absolute Truth and Vaisnavas are the only ones following this because they engage in loving service to the Lord. I am not forcing you here, if you like Advaita very much then good luck on your attempt to become God :P All I am saying is that devotional service to Lord is the greatest.
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We have a limited Human perception capacity. A human has these 4 main defects:
1. they are illusioned

2. propensity to cheat

3. imperfected senses

4. commiting mistakes.

So it is not what we people think. Thinking may be right or wrong. But a self-realized acarya has none of these defects. He knows what is what. And acaryas have who have personally seen Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have confirmed that He is Krishna Himself in the mood of Srimati Radharani. Plus even if you don't accept these acaryas, you can also accept these scriptural proof of how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself:

krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam
sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair
yajanti hi sumedhasah
Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.32“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7:9:38:"Because the Supreme Lord is also called Tri-Yuga, or one who appears in only three yugas (satya, dvapara, treta), He is sometimes said to appear in a concealed form, in the age of Kali."

Lord Krsna said, "Sometimes I personally appear on the surface of the world in the garb of a devotee. Specifically, I appear in the Kali Yuga to start the sankirtan movement." (brahma yamala)

Lord Krsna said, "In Kali Yuga, when the sankirtan movement is inaugurated, I shall descend as the son of Saci Devi. By the Ganges shore in Navadvip in a brahmana’s house, I shall appear as the best of the brahmanas." (vayu purana)

The Atharva Veda, one of the four original books of the Vedic literature. These texts reveal that in the present age Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of God:


Text 6
eko devah sarva-rupi mahatma
gauro rakta-shyamala-shveta- rupah
Chaitanyatma sa vai Chaitanya-shaktir
bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti- vedyah
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all transcendental potencies, and who may be known only by devotional service, appears in innumerable transcendental forms. He has appeared with red, black, and white complexions, and He shall also appear in the golden form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He shall assume the role of the perfect devotee, and He shall teach the conditioned souls the path of pure devotional service.

Text 7
namo vedanta-vedyaya
krishnaya paramatmane
sarva-Chaitanya-rupaya
Chaitanyaya namo namah
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Sri Krishna, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, who is understood by the study of Vedanta philosophy. He is the master of all transcendental potencies, and He appears as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Text 8
vedanta-vedyam purusham puranam
Chaitanyatmanam vishva-yonim mahantam
tam eva viditvati-mrityum eti
nanyah pantha vidyate ’yanaya
One who understands that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by the study of Vedanta philosophy, who is the original cause of the universe, and who is the oldest, the original person, crosses beyond this world of birth and death. This is the proper understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and aside from this there is no other way for one to achieve liberation.

Text 15
Chaitanya eva sankarshano vasudevah parameshthi rudrah shakro brihaspatih sarve devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sad-asat-karanam sarvam. tad atra shlokah.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears as Lord Sankarshana and Lord Vasudeva. He is the original father of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Brihaspati, all the demigods, and all moving and nonmoving living entities. He is the original cause of all that is temporary and all that is eternal. Nothing exists separately from Him, and therefore He is everything. He is described in the following verses.

Text 19
ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyayati sa papmanam tarati sa puto bhavati, sa tattvam janati, sa tarati shokam, gatis tasyate nanyasyeti.
One who worships the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with devotion and always remembers Him becomes free from all sins and completely pure. Easily understanding the truth about the Personality of Godhead and becoming free from all material lamentation, such a devotee attains the supreme goal of life, which is unattainable by those averse to the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya.

GauraHari
25 May 2012, 10:09 PM
Hare Krishna,

I am not an adherent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. I am looking at this objectively as a non sectarian Hindu, all these philosophical schools have their flaws and strong points.

Sorry Sahasranama but I have an objection with your statement. In Bhagavad Gita 18.66 — Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. You will see most Vaishnavas and ISKCON devotees that they are surrendered souls. They do everything for Lord's pleasure. So how can that be sectarian? It may be for you, but Krishna doesn't support it. You have got to accept knowldge from a disciplic succession(guru parampara). You can't simply say I am non-sectarian so I won't do this. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 4.2 — This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
So we have to follow acaryas coming from one of the 4 disciplic successions and not simply say "I am non-sectarian".
Hari Bol!

Sahasranama
25 May 2012, 10:15 PM
Then forgive me, but in your post on Shankaracharya, I am unable to find one statement I regard as valid.
I don't think a lot of people will agree with me here, since I am looking at this objectively from a viewpoint of a non sectarian Hindu and most people who talk about these things are married to their sampradaya.

GauraHari
25 May 2012, 10:28 PM
ISCKON is not the only sect that has criticized the mayavada of Shankara. In fact most schools of Hinduism, including other schools of advaita, are opposed to this doctrine of mayavada. The original position of the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra was never that of extreme monism or dualism, but a more balanced form of Bhedabheda. Philosophically that might have been a weak position and theoretically strong positions have been brought forward by acharyas like Shankara in response to Buddhism. Such theories however are not necessarily the true purport of the scriptures. It was Shankara's adherence to sampradaya that prevented him from looking objectively at Vedanta. The philosophy of Gaudapada acharya was already heavily influence by Buddhism. Buddhist influence on Vedanta can also be seen in the Yogavasishta. The biggest flaw of sampradayas are that the message becomes distorted like in a telephone game. Shankara's adherence to his predecessors let him to look for a compromise between their Buddhist influenced doctrines and Vedanta.

We should always look back at the Itihasa and Puranas to find the true purport of the Vedas. The Mahabhrata says that the Vedas are afraid that their message will be distorted by those who have learned very little from the Vedas, or alpashrutas, and that therefore the Itihasas and Puranas should complement this gap. Shankaracharya was also an alpashruta, since he based his doctrine only on a handful of Upanishads and ultimately only on a few Mahavakyas, while ignoring large portions of the Vedic corpus. He himself admitted that he was unaware of the spiritual import of the mantra portion of the Vedas. Gaudiya Vaishnavism does a good job of basing their Vedanta on the Srimad Bhagavatam, as does the school of Sri Vallabhacharya. Of course, I do not agree with these Vaishnava schools, since they have added much nonsense to their commentaries to glorify their founding Acharyas and to support other doctrines that are not found in the scriptures they comment on. Shankaracharya himself also had a tremendous respect towards the Itihasa and Puranas and considered them to be pramanas, but ultimately he chose to base his Siddhanta only on ten Upanishads and four arbitrairy Mahavakyas. This is because of the limitations of philosophy and if Shankara had taken too much of the Shastras in account, he could not have build a very stable doctrine that could stand the onslaught of the emerging schools of Buddhism.

Hare Krishna,
Padma Purana describes 4 Sampradayas as bona fide and their philosophy as bona fide. These are the 4 bona fide discplic successions from where knowledge comes down from guru to student. And I don't know why you say such stataemtns like:"I do not agree with these Vaishnava schools, since they have added much nonsense to their commentaries to glorify their founding Acharyas and to support other doctrines that are not found in the scriptures they comment on."

Garga samhita 10.61.23-26 states:

vamanas vidhi sesah sanako visnu vakyatah
dharmartha hetave caite bhavisyanti dvijah kalau
visnusvami vamanamsas tatha madhvastu brahmanah
ramanujas tu sesamsa nimbaditya sanakasya ca
ete kalau yuge bhavyah sampradaya pravartakah
samvatsare vikrama catvarah ksiti pavanah
sampradaya vihina ye mantraste nisphalah smritah
tasmac ca gamanam hy asti sampradaya narair api
"Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesa, Sanaka Kumara will appear as brahmanas by the order of Visnu for the preservation of eternal righteousness in Kali yuga. Visnusvami, Madhvacarya, Ramanuja and Nimbaditya will appear respectively as a portion of Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesa and Sanaka Kumara. These four saviors will be the establishers of the four authorised and empowered spiritual channels of disciplic succession in the period calcuated from the reign of King Vikrama [in 54 BC] subsequently through the 432 000 year cycle of Kali yuga. These four authorised and empowered spiritual channels of disciplic succession are to be fully accepted by all beings; as any word, combination of words pr formulation of sound frequencies, invoked or addressed, audible or inaudible, secret of revealed, ancient or contemporary outside their auspices prove to have absolutely no efficacy."

Padma Purana says:

sampradāyavihīnā ye mantrāste niṣphalā matāḥ
ataḥ kalau bhaviśyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
Śrī-brahmā-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavā kṣitipāvanāḥ
catvāraste kalau bhāvya hyutkale puruṣottamāt
rāmānujaṃ śrī svicakre madhvācaryaṃ caturmukhaḥ
śrīviṣṇusvāminaṃ rudro nimbādityaṃ catuḥsanāḥ

All mantras which have been given (to disciples) not in an authorised Sampradāya are fruitless. Therefore, in Kali Yuga, there will be four bona-fide Sampradāyas. Each of them were ignaugurated by Śrī Devī and known as the Śrī Sampradāya, Lord Brahmā and known as the Brahmā Sampradāya,Lord Rudra and known as the Rudra Sampradāya; and the Four Kumāras and known as Sanakādi Sampradāya. Śrī Devī made Rāmānujācārya the head of that lineage. So too Lord Brahmā appointed Madhvācārya, Lord Rudra appointed Viṣṇusvāmī and the four Kumaras chose Nimbāditya (an epithet for Śrī Nimbārkācārya).

http://www.go2convert.com/converted/download/hk0P4gKw

Shuddhasattva
25 May 2012, 11:18 PM
I don't think a lot of people will agree with me here, since I am looking at this objectively from a viewpoint of a non sectarian Hindu and most people who talk about these things are married to their sampradaya.

I would like to consider myself also a non-sectarian Hindu, because I impartially imbibe wisdom and reconcile the paths with the various parts of myself that walk hither and tither in the scheme of the self.

Non-sectarians may do well to be cautious, lest non-sectarianism take the appearance of a sect, in which sectarian-like views are held about this or that sampradaya, raising one and lowering another by endless, fruitless comparisons.

devotee
26 May 2012, 12:39 AM
ISCKON is not the only sect that has criticized the mayavada of Shankara. In fact most schools of Hinduism, including other schools of advaita, are opposed to this doctrine of mayavada. The original position of the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra was never that of extreme monism or dualism, but a more balanced form of Bhedabheda. Philosophically that might have been a weak position and theoretically strong positions have been brought forward by acharyas like Shankara in response to Buddhism. Such theories however are not necessarily the true purport of the scriptures. It was Shankara's adherence to sampradaya that prevented him from looking objectively at Vedanta. The philosophy of Gaudapada acharya was already heavily influenced by Buddhism. Buddhist influence on Vedanta can also be seen in the Yogavasishta. The biggest flaw of sampradayas are that the message becomes distorted like in a telephone game. Shankara's adherence to his predecessors let him to look for a compromise between their Buddhist influenced doctrines and Vedanta.

We should always look back at the Itihasa and Puranas to find the true purport of the Vedas. The Mahabhrata says that the Vedas are afraid that their message will be distorted by those who have learned very little from the Vedas, or alpashrutas, and that therefore the Itihasas and Puranas should complement this gap. Shankaracharya was also an alpashruta, since he based his doctrine only on a handful of Upanishads and ultimately only on a few Mahavakyas, while ignoring large portions of the Vedic corpus. He himself admitted that he was unaware of the spiritual import of the mantra portion of the Vedas. Gaudiya Vaishnavism does a good job of basing their Vedanta on the Srimad Bhagavatam, as does the school of Sri Vallabhacharya. Of course, I do not agree with these Vaishnava schools, since they have added much nonsense to their commentaries to glorify their founding Acharyas and to support other doctrines that are not found in the scriptures they comment on. Shankaracharya himself also had a tremendous respect towards the Itihasa and Puranas and considered them to be pramanas, but ultimately he chose to base his Siddhanta only on ten Upanishads. This is because of the limitations of philosophy and if Shankara had taken too much of the Shastras in account, he could not have build a very stable doctrine that could stand the onslaught of the emerging schools of Buddhism.

There is no support either from history or from scriptures for any assertion made here against Shankara or Advaita VedAnta. In all such posts, at least, it is expected that the poster would use "In my opinion" which has not been used above. There also a lack of understanding between differences between Buddhism and VedAnta. Moreover, except MahAyAn Buddhism, nothing comes close to VedAntic teachings. It must be noted here that scriptures of MahAyAn Buddhism were revealed much after the death of Buddha.

The post appears as if it is the fact based some strong basis whereas it is not. This post shows lack of good knowledge of VedAnta's vast scriptures. I advise that people should read VedAnta without getting biased by any of Shamkara's explanations and decide themselves what the VedAnta says.

OM

Sahasranama
26 May 2012, 01:20 AM
If you are going to request me not to respond to your posts, you may want to give me the same courtesy by not responding to mine.

devotee
26 May 2012, 02:40 AM
I have no intention to ever responding to your posts. However, in this post, you have written things as if those were historical facts which presents the wrong picture. If you write, 'In my opinion", or give evidences, I have no issues.

Anyway, if that is unacceptable to you, I quit this thread here. You may post whatever you like.

OM

Sahasranama
26 May 2012, 02:49 AM
I have no objection to anyone responding to my posts on a public forum, I just find it curious that you request me not to respond to your posts, while you have no problem responding to mine.

Sahasranama
26 May 2012, 05:19 AM
Hare Krishna,


Sorry Sahasranama but I have an objection with your statement. In Bhagavad Gita 18.66 — Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. You will see most Vaishnavas and ISKCON devotees that they are surrendered souls. They do everything for Lord's pleasure. So how can that be sectarian? It may be for you, but Krishna doesn't support it. You have got to accept knowldge from a disciplic succession(guru parampara). You can't simply say I am non-sectarian so I won't do this. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 4.2 — This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
So we have to follow acaryas coming from one of the 4 disciplic successions and not simply say "I am non-sectarian".
Hari Bol!

These verses about the four vaishnava sampradayas have been inserted later into the padma purana. If you read the puranas carefully, you can see that philosophically they are non sectarian texts and these interpolations do not fit in there contextually. There are also verses in the kurma purana that say that Madhvacharya was a demon. Obviously such sectarian polemic verses have been added later into the puranas. I am born in a Hindu family in the Shandilya gotra which goes back to Kashyapa rishi and my upanayana has been done by my grandfather. That is my sampradaya. I do not need some followers of a medieval sect telling me that I have to accept one of their pet gurus in order to practice Hinduism.

Shuddhasattva
26 May 2012, 06:42 AM
Namaste.

As far as I can tell, many puranas are intensely sectarian by nature. I am not saying they should be avoided on basis, it's just that they are. I know. I've read them. They're very useful nonetheless. However, saying that puranas are not sectarian...? That seems almost as baseless to me as the comments made about Shankaracharya and Advaita.

Sahasranama
26 May 2012, 07:00 AM
Namaste.

As far as I can tell, many puranas are intensely sectarian by nature. I am not saying they should be avoided on basis, it's just that they are. I know. I've read them. They're very useful nonetheless. However, saying that puranas are not sectarian...? That seems almost as baseless to me as the comments made about Shankaracharya and Advaita.

This is a common misconception about the Puranas that they are sectarian, but apart from a few later interpolations that disparage various sects, a careful reading of the Puranas shows that they are the opposite of sectarian and actually bring the together the worship of various Gods. Some might consider the Srimad Bhagavatam to be a sectarian Vaishnava text, but this shows that they have not read it carefully, since Shiva is praised with the words:

०८०७०२२० श्रीप्रजापतय ऊचुः
०८०७०२२१ देवदेव महादेव भूतात्मन्भूतभावन
०८०७०२२३ त्राहि नः शरणापन्नांस्त्रैलोक्यदहनाद्विषात
०८०७०२३१ त्वमेकः सर्वजगत ईश्वरो बन्धमोक्षयोः
०८०७०२३३ तं त्वामर्चन्ति कुशलाः प्रपन्नार्तिहरं गुरुम
०८०७०२४१ गुणमय्या स्वशक्त्यास्य सर्गस्थित्यप्ययान्विभो
०८०७०२४३ धत्से यदा स्वदृग्भूमन्ब्रह्मविष्णुशिवाभिधाम
०८०७०२५१ त्वं ब्रह्म परमं गुह्यं सदसद्भावभावनम
०८०७०२५३ नानाशक्तिभिराभातस्त्वमात्मा जगदीश्वरः
०८०७०२६१ त्वं शब्दयोनिर्जगदादिरात्मा प्राणेन्द्रियद्रव्यगुणः स्वभावः
०८०७०२६३ कालः क्रतुः सत्यमृतं च धर्मस्त्वय्यक्षरं यत्त्रिवृदामनन्ति
०८०७०२७१ अग्निर्मुखं तेऽखिलदेवतात्मा क्षितिं विदुर्लोकभवाङ्घ्रिपङ्कजम
०८०७०२७३ कालं गतिं तेऽखिलदेवतात्मनो दिशश्च कर्णौ रसनं जलेशम
०८०७०२८१ नाभिर्नभस्ते श्वसनं नभस्वान्सूर्यश्च चक्षूंषि जलं स्म रेतः
०८०७०२८३ परावरात्माश्रयणं तवात्मा सोमो मनो द्यौर्भगवन्शिरस्ते
०८०७०२९१ कुक्षिः समुद्रा गिरयोऽस्थिसङ्घा रोमाणि सर्वौषधिवीरुधस्ते
०८०७०२९३ छन्दांसि साक्षात्तव सप्त धातवस्त्रयीमयात्मन्हृदयं सर्वधर्मः
०८०७०३०१ मुखानि पञ्चोपनिषदस्तवेश यैस्त्रिंशदष्टोत्तरमन्त्रवर्गः
०८०७०३०३ यत्तच्छिवाख्यं परमात्मतत्त्वं देव स्वयंज्योतिरवस्थितिस्ते
०८०७०३११ छाया त्वधर्मोर्मिषु यैर्विसर्गो नेत्रत्रयं सत्त्वरजस्तमांसि
०८०७०३१३ साङ्ख्यात्मनः शास्त्रकृतस्तवेक्षा छन्दोमयो देव ऋषिः पुराणः
०८०७०३२१ न ते गिरित्राखिललोकपाल विरिञ्चवैकुण्ठसुरेन्द्रगम्यम
०८०७०३२३ ज्योतिः परं यत्र रजस्तमश्च सत्त्वं न यद्ब्रह्म निरस्तभेदम
०८०७०३३१ कामाध्वरत्रिपुरकालगराद्यनेक
०८०७०३३२ भूतद्रुहः क्षपयतः स्तुतये न तत्ते
०८०७०३३३ यस्त्वन्तकाल इदमात्मकृतं स्वनेत्र
०८०७०३३४ वह्निस्फुलिङ्गशिखया भसितं न वेद
०८०७०३४१ ये त्वात्मरामगुरुभिर्हृदि चिन्तिताङ्घ्रि
०८०७०३४२ द्वन्द्वं चरन्तमुमया तपसाभितप्तम
०८०७०३४३ कत्थन्त उग्रपरुषं निरतं श्मशाने
०८०७०३४४ ते नूनमूतिमविदंस्तव हातलज्जाः
०८०७०३५१ तत्तस्य ते सदसतोः परतः परस्य
०८०७०३५२ नाञ्जः स्वरूपगमने प्रभवन्ति भूम्नः
०८०७०३५३ ब्रह्मादयः किमुत संस्तवने वयं तु
०८०७०३५४ तत्सर्गसर्गविषया अपि शक्तिमात्रम
०८०७०३६१ एतत्परं प्रपश्यामो न परं ते महेश्वर
०८०७०३६३ मृडनाय हि लोकस्य व्यक्तिस्तेऽव्यक्तकर्मणः

Shuddhasattva
26 May 2012, 07:16 AM
This is a common misconception about the Puranas that they are sectarian, but apart from a few later interpolations that disparage various sects, a careful reading of the Puranas shows that they are the opposite of sectarian and actually bring the together the worship of various Gods. Some might consider the Srimad Bhagavatam to be a sectarian Vaishnava text, but this shows that they have not read it carefully, since Shiva is praised with the words:




Your logic is as elusive, or illusive, to me as that found in the other posts.

Sahasranama
26 May 2012, 07:34 AM
You cannot assign any sect to the puranas. The Bhagavata for example is widely used in all Hindu circles and even has commentaries written by advaita vedantins, the most famous being Sridhara who was respected even by Chaitanya. You cannot say the Bhagavatam is a Gaudiya Vaishnava text or only a vaishnava text. You can't do this either with any other mahapurana. The Skandapurana is not a pashupata- or shaiva siddhanta text. The Vishnu purana is not a pancaratra- or a vaikhanasa text, the narada purana is not a vishistadvaita- or a tattvavadi text. Since you cannot assign sects to the puranas, by definition they are not sectarian. More importantly, the puranas give equal respect to Shiva and Vishnu, apart from later polemical interpolations. Even in the Vishnu Purana the verse occurs, Shivasya Hridaye Vishnu, Vishnave Hridaye Shiva. I have already given the example above of the Shiva Stuti from the Srimad Bhagavatam which has been posted above for your reading. In fact, only sectarian Vaishnavas will say that one must not read this passage literally. The puranas have been appropriated by various sects for their own purposes, but that doesn't make them sectarian. Many scriptures have been appropriated like this, the Gita has become a cornerstone of the Vedanta schools and the Vedas the basis of the Arya Samaj. This does not mean that the Vedas and the Gita have become sectarian.

Ganeshprasad
26 May 2012, 09:33 AM
Pranam



Originally Posted by GauraHari http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?p=84698#post84698)
Hare Krishna,


Sorry Sahasranama but I have an objection with your statement. In Bhagavad Gita 18.66 — Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. You will see most Vaishnavas and ISKCON devotees that they are surrendered souls. They do everything for Lord's pleasure. So how can that be sectarian? It may be for you, but Krishna doesn't support it. You have got to accept knowldge from a disciplic succession(guru parampara). You can't simply say I am non-sectarian so I won't do this. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 4.2 — This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
So we have to follow acaryas coming from one of the 4 disciplic successions and not simply say "I am non-sectarian".
Hari Bol!



These verses about the four vaishnava sampradayas have been inserted later into the padma purana. If you read the puranas carefully, you can see that philosophically they are non sectarian texts and these interpolations do not fit in there contextually. There are also verses in the kurma purana that say that Madhvacharya was a demon. Obviously such sectarian polemic verses have been added later into the puranas. I am born in a Hindu family in the Shandilya gotra which goes back to Kashyapa rishi and my upanayana has been done by my grandfather. That is my sampradaya. I do not need some followers of a medieval sect telling me that I have to accept one of their pet gurus in order to practice Hinduism. [/quote]

Couldn't agree with you more, interpolation in the Puranas are a blot in our medieval history, later corrupted by more demonic forces. That said we can still get inspiration from them, they were certainly not sectarian in nature.

Commenting on Gourahari BG 4.2 and 18.66, I like to point out that Lord Krishna say evam Parampara, he does not say evam sampradaya disciplic succession, I hope you can see the difference.

Also simply acknowledging Gita verses does not make us surrendered souls, you can’t really say Vaishnava and Iskcon devotee are therefore surrendered souls and not sectarian. What is more grandeur of delusion that permeates the a lot of sampradaya is this use of the word Bonifide Guru, you find from one alleged bonafide many more sub sect springs up simply because one does not agree with another so who is bonifide becomes very subjective.

The real parampara is what handed down from genration to genration from kula and gotra this is what Krishna says in Gita, notice he says surya to manu to Isvaku, Surya Vance and again 4.15 kuru karmaiva tasmat tvam purvaih purvataram krtam do your duty as that your ancestor did. Parampara does not mean Sampradaya.

GauraHari
26 May 2012, 10:00 AM
Dear Sahasranama and Ganeshprasad,
Parts of the Padma Purana have been changed as time passed by. But the parts I showed were accepted by self-realized acaryas. Now if you think yourself to be all in all and make up your own rules and laws then go ahead I won't force you. @Ganeshprasad
Guru Parampara means the lineage the siksha comes down from guru to student and that linage is given a name such a Brahma Samprayada, Kumara Sampradaya etc. So the Sampradaya is actually the name of the linage.

I will not participate in this discuusion any more as useless arguments only affect my devotional service to Govinda. I think it is best to stop this discussion because it will simply create wars.
Best to just go and eat some nice prasadam and chant holy name of Krishna :)
Hari Bol!

Maya3
26 May 2012, 10:41 AM
AnrBjotk,
Norsk, vad trevligt, själv är jag Svensk! :)

I think this discussion kind of speaks for itself.

At my Ashram we study both the Gita and Upanishads among others, our teachers are are fluent in Sanskrit and we chant the text, translate it, interpret it and discuss it. It's never interpreted in such a way that devotions to Krishna is the only way

Maya

philosoraptor
26 May 2012, 01:03 PM
Namaste,

Historically, the vast majority of Vedanta schools are non-Advaitin schools, and most if not all of the currently existing Vedaanta schools have disagreed with Advaita as evidenced by their respective commentaries. This has to be because, if they did not disagree with Advaita, then they would merely follow Shankaracharya's commentary. No one creates a new Vedantic school without distinguishing his commentary from those of previous commentators.

There is a misconception going around in modern Hindu circles to the effect that Advaita is somehow a more "liberal" philosophy and that it allows people to believe or worship as they choose. I would like to say that this is mostly false. The philosophy of Advaita was also built on refuting other schools of Vedaanta and non-Vedaantic schools like Buddhism. This is evident when one reads Shankaraachaarya's Brahma-suutra commentary. We would all be better served if we insisted on a standard of factual correctness instead of political correctness. :-)

ISKCON is an organization based on a relatively newer, post-vedantic tradition and as such it has inherited the same philosphical disagreement with Advaita that its predecessors had. It's important to understand that the vast majority of Vedaantic and post-Vedaantic schools do disagree with Advaita. This is by no means something peculiar to ISKCON's tradition.

I am very skeptical of the claim that people can believe in Advaita and yet believe in a bhakti-based school of thinking. I submit that many individuals who make this claim probably do not understand Advaita. Remember that, in Advaita, it is only Brahman that exists. There is no eternal distinction between the devotee and the Deity. The world around us is illusion, and any perceived distinctions are merely illusory and temporary. In contrast, all of the bhakti-based Vedanta schools from what I have seen accept some measure of eternal distinction between Paramatma/ParaBrahman and the Jivatman, and for them, world is real and our actions are real. This makes for a pretty significant difference of opinion, and to sweep these differences under the rug does not do justice to either point of view. The bhakta doesn't want to become one with his Lord - he wants to serve his Lord eternally. He cannot bear to do anything that does not involve such service.

The point here is not that one cannot worship a Deity and call himself an Advaitin. Clearly, many people do that. The point is, one cannot call himself a believer in both Advaita and a non-Advaitin school of Vedaanta, because they contradict each other on fundamental points.

On another note, some individuals have offered logic like "this scripture is authentic, because it is approved by self-realized acharyas." I submit that this is unacceptable logic. I have never seen in any Vedantic writings, bhakti-based or otherwise, in which the authority of a given scripture is argued based on the spiritual superiority of the person doing the approving. To accept that logic, one has to then accept the spiritual credibility of the approving person, which is itself an assumption that one cannot verify empirically. In Vedantic tradition, scripture has independent authority if it is apaurusheya. This means the shruti - Vedas, Brahamanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. Authored works like Puranas have authority only to the extent that they do not disagree with apaurusheya shaastras. Bhagavad-Gita expresses conclusions that are fully in line with those of the Upanishads and so many Vedaanta schools accept it as part of their prasthaana-trayi. Saattvik puraanas generally express conclusions consistent with shruti and so are usually cited as supporting authorities. Again, this is subject to the caveat that they do not express conclusions which are contradicted by shruti.

It's always best to read a given scripture with the idea of understanding what message it is trying to teach, rather than trying to read our own ideas into it. If the reader arbitrarily decides which part of the scripture is valid and which is to be discarded, then he is in effect subjecting the authority of the scripture to his own authority. In such a situation, there is no point in quoting from the scripture - just make up your own ideas, right? This is another variation of the "self-realized acharya" fallacy, and should be discarded by thoughtful Hindus of all philosophical persuasions.

regards,

Philosoraptor

Believer
26 May 2012, 02:27 PM
Namaste,

Post #11

This drum beating of 'I am the best' is an exercise in futility and serves only to draw us away from our real purpose in life - to increase our spiritual quotient. No, we will keep arguing and fight it out to the end.
Post #31

I will not participate in this discuusion any more as useless arguments only affect my devotional service to Govinda.
Oh, I see the light. ;)
But everyone's arguments are useless and mine are legit.
Another young man becomes enlightened!

Thus ends another open ended, circular debate about who is the best and who is the biggest!

Pranam.

GauraHari
26 May 2012, 03:12 PM
Namaste,


Oh, I see the light. ;)
But everyone's arguments are useless and mine are legit.
Another young man becomes enlightened!

Thus ends another open ended, circular debate about who is the best and who is the biggest!

Pranam.

You simply misunderstood me. I said the argument we are having between each other is completely useless. I never said"everyone's arguments are useless and mine are legit".
I have no intention to argue here. The first 2 posts I made in this discussion was to help AnrBjotk understand why ISKCON bashes Mayavadi philosophy, but you made a wrong meaning out of them. You seem to have a lot of energy but don't know where to use it. Well, heres an advice: Chant the Maha Mantra. Energy is very precocious so don't waste it in a argument rather do some loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead :)

Hare Krishna.

R Gitananda
28 May 2012, 11:00 AM
namaste GauraHari

I believe ISKCON teaches that the Buddha was an incarnation of Sri Vishnu
and Sri Adi Shankara was an incarnation of Sri Shiva. If that is accepted
then surely both of them were self-realized acaryas who were not
"illusioned" or had a "propensity to cheat" others.

Also, don't we observe mistakes in the works of all embodied beings?
Doesn't the Gita say that every work is covered by some fault as
fire is obscured by smoke? Thank you for your time.

Hari Aum



We have a limited Human perception capacity. A human has these 4 main defects:
1. they are illusioned

2. propensity to cheat

3. imperfected senses

4. commiting mistakes.

So it is not what we people think. Thinking may be right or wrong. But a self-realized acarya has none of these defects.

Believer
28 May 2012, 03:28 PM
Namaste,

I have already given examples and scriptural proof of how Advaita misinterprets Vedas,.......:
As much as I would like to agree with you, Advatism is alive and well and part of every day life in Bharat. Just being disrespectful to them and using colorful adjectives for their Acharyas is not a way to befriend the Advaita followers in an attempt to 'make them see the light', or make them go away.


So devotional service is that ticket to Absolute Truth and Vaisnavas are the only ones following this because they engage in loving service to the Lord. I am not forcing you here, if you like Advaita very much then good luck on your attempt to become God
Forget about me. Why not 'wish them good luck' and let them live their lives the way they want to, instead of heaping insults on their Acharyas? That is, what is unbecoming of Gaudiya Vaishanava Acharyas and followers of that sampradaye.

Pranam.

Ganeshprasad
28 May 2012, 04:33 PM
Pranam All

Philosoraptor, you have presented a strong assessment in your observation about the various groups but I like to think majority of Hindus are oblivious of various concepts, I doubt very much a lot of them know difference between advaita dwaita etc. you have acknowledged that as much.

I do not think Hindus are under illusion or misconception, simply because no one cares, as a Hindu, respect for others beliefs are paramount, live and let live. This attitude does not stem without scripture support, as Bhagvat Gita does support such a view.
Sampradaya in my opinion are relatively new. Bhakti as an organisation force, correct me if I am wrong has not been around for long. So what was the main binding force that the Hindus stood and practiced? It’s always been Dharma, four avastha, 4 ashrams and four varnas. The social fabrics of whole hindu society was and still, based on those principles. No where in the Gita or for that matter Vedas speak of any sampradaya, well at least not to my knowledge. Taking Gita as a guide no wonder Hindus do not get perturbed by various contradictions that appears on the surface, why? Is it a contradiction when Lord Krishna himself says thus;
jnana-yajnena capy anye
yajanto mam upasate
ekatvena prthaktvena
bahudha visvato-mukham

Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the universal form.

Unfortunately we all fall in to this delusion that we are right and others do not understand at all. We start from a base and read the part of scriptures that support it and discard the rest or interpret the text so that it fall in line with what we believe. Some stoop so low as to falsify the scriptures and say such things as Sankracharya was ordered to speak false doctrine or that Madhvacharya was a demon, or certain Purans are Satvik or Tamsik.

Following a given sect is a good discipline but I am afraid it does restrict an adherent to think for himself. And to shut anyone else is to say how can you question a self realised Acharya? How subjective can one get?

Jai Shree Krishna

philosoraptor
28 May 2012, 05:27 PM
Pranams,


Pranam All
Philosoraptor, you have presented a strong assessment in your observation about the various groups but I like to think majority of Hindus are oblivious of various concepts, I doubt very much a lot of them know difference between advaita dwaita etc. you have acknowledged that as much.

We were all like that at one time. We have to read and learn, and not assume that we know something when in fact we do not. There is no substitute for knowledge to alleviate ignorance, is it not?


I do not think Hindus are under illusion or misconception, simply because no one cares, as a Hindu, respect for others beliefs are paramount, live and let live. This attitude does not stem without scripture support, as Bhagvat Gita does support such a view.


Well, not to split hairs over it, but I can think of at least one view Sri Krishna had little regard for, and that was Arjuna's view that he should withdraw from the battle in order to avoid killing family members. In fact, I can think of another view He also had little regard for:

asatyam (http://vedabase.net/a/asatyam) apratiṣṭhaḿ (http://vedabase.net/a/apratistham) te (http://vedabase.net/t/te) jagad āhur anīśvaram (http://vedabase.net/a/anisvaram)
aparaspara (http://vedabase.net/a/aparaspara)-sambhūtaḿ (http://vedabase.net/s/sambhutam) kim (http://vedabase.net/k/kim) anyat (http://vedabase.net/a/anyat) kāma (http://vedabase.net/k/kama)-haitukam (http://vedabase.net/h/haitukam) (gItA 16.8)

Clearly, respecting people is important, but that should not preclude coming to definite conclusions about what is right and what is wrong.


Sampradaya in my opinion are relatively new.

This is like saying that "sects" are relatively new. Which would in turn imply that Hinduism was more homogenous in its belief system, practices, etc. That would seem very unlikely. Even early Vedaanta commentators like Raamaanuja, Madhva, and Shankara reference a large variety of earlier commentators whose writings are no longer extant.

Even if you look at, say, the Upanishads, it is evident that the sages see that Absolute Truth from different angles, sometimes emphasizing His transcendence while at other times emphasizing His all-pervasiveness. Even in the Puraanas we see evidence of sects devoted to various deities.

Bhakti as an organisation force, correct me if I am wrong has not been around for long.

I would simply have to disagree with you on that one. Any elaboration of a supreme Deity would seem to imply bhakti as a means of knowing Him. Numerous mantras in the Upanishads have a very reverential feel (see for example, Isopanishad 15) , and reverence for a supreme Deity by a non-supreme individual could not be described as anything other than bhakti.



So what was the main binding force that the Hindus stood and practiced? It’s always been Dharma, four avastha, 4 ashrams and four varnas. The social fabrics of whole hindu society was and still, based on those principles.

Yes, but this is nothing more than moral codes. Moral codes have to have a reason to exist - it is not that Hindus merely act moral for its own sake. The gItA 16.23-24 take the position that such moral codes are a means to achieving a supreme goal, which is elsewhere described as achievement of the state of Brahman, the abode of Brahman, etc. It is not likely that we had moral codes prior to having an understand of the supreme goal for which those moral codes were a means.


No where in the Gita or for that matter Vedas speak of any sampradaya, well at least not to my knowledge.

Neither do the Vedas speak of how to make ghee, how to tie a dhoti or sari, or how to apply turmeric to a new article of clothing. Many of these traditions are just passed down from generation to generation, and that does not necessarily make them invalid or irrelevant to sanAtana-dharma.


Taking Gita as a guide no wonder Hindus do not get perturbed by various contradictions that appears on the surface, why? Is it a contradiction when Lord Krishna himself says thus;
jnana-yajnena capy anye
yajanto mam upasate
ekatvena prthaktvena
bahudha visvato-mukham

Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the universal form.

Well, see, there you go - a perfect example of how different people can approach the Supreme Brahman through slightly different paths. In other words, this is one possible explanation for a certain degree of spiritual variety. Which is not to say that anything different is valid and part of that variety. What this verse and others like it show is that there are multiple angles or moods or methods by which one can worship.


Unfortunately we all fall in to this delusion that we are right and others do not understand at all. We start from a base and read the part of scriptures that support it and discard the rest or interpret the text so that it fall in line with what we believe.

I'm not sure I understand this statement or how it fits in with the rest of what you said. A scripture should be interpreted consistently - it makes no sense to accept that part B of a text is endorsing views that contradict part A, for example. Nor does it make sense to accept that, say, the gItA is distilled wisdom from the Upanishads, and then turn around and interpret either the Upanishads or the gItA in ways which leave them contradicting each other. The whole point of reading these books is to understand what the speaker was trying to say. To that end, we shouldn't "interpret" something that does not require interpretation. An interpretation is only for providing a plausible explanation for a verse whose apparent meaning is not otherwise plausible. Case in point - the statement "the house on the river" is, literally understood, not plausible. We can understand that it may mean instead "the house on the riverbank." It doesn't make sense to suggest that both interpretations are acceptable, now does it?



Some stoop so low as to falsify the scriptures and say such things as Sankracharya was ordered to speak false doctrine or that Madhvacharya was a demon, or certain Purans are Satvik or Tamsik.

Or that some shrutis are "mahA-vAkyas" and have greater authority while others are "alpa-vAkyas" and have less authority....

But regarding your views on the purANas, I just wanted to point out that the threefold classification as sAttvik/rAjAsic/tAmAsic is actually found in the Puraanas themselves - I have seen references in the Matysa Puraana and in the Padma Puraana, to name just a few.


Following a given sect is a good discipline but I am afraid it does restrict an adherent to think for himself. And to shut anyone else is to say how can you question a self realised Acharya? How subjective can one get?

Jai Shree Krishna

Well, maybe you are following the wrong sects. :-)
But I think you're basic problem is not with sects, but with sectarianism - namely, the noisy and boorish attempts to promote one's own sect with subjective assertions and not cool facts. To decry sects because of sectarianism would be like decrying religion because of religious fundamentalism.

You can have one without the other.

regards,

Philosoraptor

GauraHari
28 May 2012, 06:25 PM
namaste GauraHari

I believe ISKCON teaches that the Buddha was an incarnation of Sri Vishnu
and Sri Adi Shankara was an incarnation of Sri Shiva. If that is accepted
then surely both of them were self-realized acaryas who were not
"illusioned" or had a "propensity to cheat" others.

Also, don't we observe mistakes in the works of all embodied beings?
Doesn't the Gita say that every work is covered by some fault as
fire is obscured by smoke? Thank you for your time.

Hari Aum

Dear R Gitananda,

Shankara was a pure devotee of Krishna but internally. He didn't show it externally. This can proven by how right before he left this world he sang the Bhaja Govindam(you can find it at this link http://www.stephen-knapp.com/bhaja_govindam.htm )

And Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita:
Chapter 8, Verse 5.
"And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt."
Chapter 8, Verse 6.
"Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail."

But Shankara preached something different externally. These verse( I already posted them but I think you didn't see them) from Padma Purana say:

Padma Purana 6.236.7
mayavadam asac chastram pracchannam bauddham uchyate
mayaiva kalpitam devi kalau brahmana rupina
Mayavada or Advaita philosophy is an impious, wicked belief and against all the conclusions of the Vedas. It is only covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in Kali-Yuga I assume the form of a brahmana (Adi Shankara) and teach this imagined philosophy.

Padma Purana 6.236.8-9
apartham sruti-vakyanam darsayan loka-garhitam
sva-karma-rupam tyajya tvam atraiva pratipadyate
sarva-karma paribhrastair vaidharma tvam tad ucyate
paresa-jiva-paraikyam maya tu pratipadyate
"This mayavada advaita philosophy preached by me (in form of Adi Shankara) deprives the words of the holy texts of their actual meaning and thus it is condemned in the world. It recommends the renunciation of one's own duties, since those who have fallen from their duties say that the giving up of duties is religiosity. In this way, I have also falsely propounded the identity of the Supreme Lord and the individual soul."

Padma Purana 6.236.10
brahmanas caparam rupam nirgunam vaksyate maya
sarva-svam jagato py asya mohanartham kalu yuge
"In order to bewilder the atheists, in Kali-yuga, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Gauranga Krishna to be without any form and without qualities."

Padma Purana 6.236.11
vedante tu maha-sastrera mayavadam avaidikam
mayaiva vaksyate devi jagatam nasha-karanat
"Similarly, in explaning Vedanta mahashastra, I described the same non-scriptural and inauspicious mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of my beloved Lord."

And now regarding Lord Buddha, He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu. But He did something unusual that incarnations of Lord Vishnu don't do. He preached atheism in the form of Buddhism. Srimad Bhagavatam says:

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.24:
tataḥ kalau sampravṛtte
sammohāya sura-dviṣām
buddho nāmnā&#241;jana-sutaḥ
kīkaṭeṣu bhaviṣyati
Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of A&#241;janā, in the province of Gayā, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist.
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.40.22:
namo buddhāya śuddhāya
daitya-dānava-mohine
mleccha-prāya-kṣatra-hantre
namas te kalki-rūpiṇe
Obeisances to Your form as the faultless Lord Buddha, who will bewilder the Daityas and Dānavas, and to Lord Kalki, the annihilator of the meat-eaters posing as kings.


The appearance and activities of Lord Buddha, Shakaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya is like a puzzle.

Before the coming of Lord Buddha every one was misusing Vedic literature and using it for the purpose of doing animal sacrifices. If someone smokes 10 cigarettes a day ,and i tell you to leave everything
will you leave? no. So first i would have to explain him in nice language that smoking is not good ,then he will agree to me , then you will take 9 cigarettes per day ,then 8 cigates per day ,then 7 then come to zero slowly and slowly. So Lord Buddha wanted to bring the people to people smoking 10 cigarettes to 9(just as example). He told them to reject Vedas, said Vedas are not true. And said soul and God does not exist. Then Lord Vishnu sent Sankaracrya to bring the people from 9 to 5 level. Shankaracharya reestablished the authority of the Vedas but in an indirect way(as I gave the verses from Padma Purana) and also to drive away Buddhism from India. At last Lord Ananta came as Ramanuja acharya and also came Madhvaacharya in order to reestablish the personalism and devotional service to Krishna. This is why Ramanuja acharya and Madhvaacharya bashed Sankara's philosophy constantly. They wanted to bring the 5 cigarette smokers to 0. So this how the Lord and acaryas acted according to time, place and circumstance. Intelligent people will understand the whole meaning and get the true bhakti from it as like swan chooses milk even if it is mixed with water.

Hari Bol!

philosoraptor
28 May 2012, 06:37 PM
The appearance and activities of Lord Buddha, Shakaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya is like a puzzle.

Before the coming of Lord Buddha every one was misusing Vedic literature and using it for the purpose of doing animal sacrifices. If someone smokes 10 cigarettes a day ,and i tell you to leave everything
will you leave? no. So first i would have to explain him in nice language that smoking is not good ,then he will agree to me , then you will take 9 cigarettes per day ,then 8 cigates per day ,then 7 then come to zero slowly and slowly. So Lord Buddha wanted to bring the people to people smoking 10 cigarettes to 9(just as example). He told them to reject Vedas, said Vedas are not true. And said soul and God does not exist. Then Lord Vishnu sent Sankaracrya to bring the people from 9 to 5 level. Shankaracharya reestablished the authority of the Vedas but in an indirect way(as I gave the verses from Padma Purana) and also to drive away Buddhism from India. At last Lord Ananta came as Ramanuja acharya and also came Madhvaacharya in order to reestablish the personalism and devotional service to Krishna. They brought the 6 cigaratte smokers to 0. So this how the Lord and acaryas acted according to time, place and circumstance. Intelligent people will understand the whole meaning and get the true bhakti from it as like swan chooses milk even if it is mixed with water.

Hari Bol!

Pranams,

Note that in this theory, followers of Sri Madhva, SrI Raamaanuja, and Sri Shankara are all still "smokers" while only the followers of Chaitanya are free of the lung disease. I think many can immediately appreciate why the Vaishnavas following the former traditions will take offense at such a presumption.

Please note also that the commentaries of these aachaaryas are hardly "puzzle pieces." That would imply that each one revealed a certain aspect of the truth, and that those coming later built off of the ideas revealed by the previous aachaaryas. But if you actually read what these commentators wrote, you will see that they actually spent quite a bit of time refuting certain fundamental ideas in the previous commentaries. Nor did any of them claim to be revealing only partial truth.

regards,

Philosoraptor

GauraHari
28 May 2012, 06:45 PM
Pranams,

Note that in this theory, followers of Sri Madhva, SrI Raamaanuja, and Sri Shankara are all still "smokers" while only the followers of Chaitanya are free of the lung disease. I think many can immediately appreciate why the Vaishnavas following the former traditions will take offense at such a presumption.

Please note also that the commentaries of these aachaaryas are hardly "puzzle pieces." That would imply that each one revealed a certain aspect of the truth, and that those coming later built off of the ideas revealed by the previous aachaaryas. But if you actually read what these commentators wrote, you will see that they actually spent quite a bit of time refuting certain fundamental ideas in the previous commentaries. Nor did any of them claim to be revealing only partial truth.

regards,

Philosoraptor

Followers of Madhvacarya , Ramanujacarya are perfectly worshiping Lord Vishnu/Krishna never said they are faulty, please don't misunderstand. I have given scriptural proof why Sankara and Lord Buddha have preached a faulty philosophy. You may not like, that's fine with me. I will not change truth simply because people like or dislike.
Hari Bol!

philosoraptor
28 May 2012, 07:10 PM
Followers of Madhvacarya , Ramanujacarya are perfectly worshiping Lord Vishnu/Krishna never said they are faulty, please don't misunderstand. I have given scriptural proof why Sankara and Lord Buddha have preached a faulty philosophy. You may not like, that's fine with me. I will not change truth simply because people like or dislike.
Hari Bol!

Pranams,

But the point is, you are changing the truth. You have no scriptural evidence substantiating your claim that what Madhva and Raamaanuja taught was somehow incomplete. And I think we both know that you have not actually studied the writings of either of these great Vaishnava scholars. You are just repeating a sectarian view commonly heard in ISKCON to the effect that what Sri Chaitanya taught was the most complete presentation of the truth.

Let's take Sri Madhva for example. He wrote commentaries on all of the principal Upanishads, the first 40 suktas of the Rig Veda, the vedAnta-sUtras, the mahAbhArata, the bhAgavata purANa, and the gItA. These are foundational texts on Vedaanta and sanAtana-dharma without which one cannot claim to have authority for one's teachings. Now in contrast to that, Sri Chaitanya wrote no commentaries. Two-hundred years after Chaitanya, Sri Baladeva Vidyaabhuushana wrote a commentary on the vedAnta-sUtras and on the gItA. Interestingly, his own commentary on bhagavad-gItA seems to differ from that of his guru Sri Vishvanaatha Chakravarti. But there are no commentaries on any principal shrutis, and that makes it difficult to take seriously the claim that achintya bedha abedha is somehow superior to or more "complete" than tattvavAda or even viShishtAdvaita.


Jai Shri Krishna!

Philosoraptor

GauraHari
28 May 2012, 07:55 PM
Pranams,

But the point is, you are changing the truth. You have no scriptural evidence substantiating your claim that what Madhva and Raamaanuja taught was somehow incomplete. And I think we both know that you have not actually studied the writings of either of these great Vaishnava scholars. You are just repeating a sectarian view commonly heard in ISKCON to the effect that what Sri Chaitanya taught was the most complete presentation of the truth.

Let's take Sri Madhva for example. He wrote commentaries on all of the principal Upanishads, the first 40 suktas of the Rig Veda, the vedAnta-sUtras, the mahAbhArata, the bhAgavata purANa, and the gItA. These are foundational texts on Vedaanta and sanAtana-dharma without which one cannot claim to have authority for one's teachings. Now in contrast to that, Sri Chaitanya wrote no commentaries. Two-hundred years after Chaitanya, Sri Baladeva Vidyaabhuushana wrote a commentary on the vedAnta-sUtras and on the gItA. Interestingly, his own commentary on bhagavad-gItA seems to differ from that of his guru Sri Vishvanaatha Chakravarti. But there are no commentaries on any principal shrutis, and that makes it difficult to take seriously the claim that achintya bedha abedha is somehow superior to or more "complete" than tattvavAda or even viShishtAdvaita.


Jai Shri Krishna!

Philosoraptor

Hare Krishna,
Once again you are the same thing, that I said Madhva and Raamaanuja taught was somehow incomplete. I never said that. I said this instead:

At last Lord Ananta came as Ramanuja acharya and also came Madhvaacharya in order to reestablish the personalism and devotional service to Krishna. This is why Ramanuja acharya and Madhvaacharya bashed Sankara's philosophy constantly. They wanted to bring the 5 cigarette smokers to 0.

Followers of Madhvacarya , Ramanujacarya are perfectly worshiping Lord Vishnu/Krishna never said they are faulty, please don't misunderstand.

I have no right to criticize Vaishnava acaryas. Actually ISKCON uses the works of Madhvacarya and Ramanujacarya to preach. All the Vaishnava philosophies look at Absolute Truth from different angles thats why there are different philosophies and they have different processes of surrendering unto to the Lord.
Acintya bheda abheda means "inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference" between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity or between the energetic source and its energy. The energy is identical with the energetic because it cannot exist without it. At the same time the energy is different from the energetic source, because its effect can be perceived outside the energetic. This relation is inconceivable from the logical point of view.
The jiva is like an atomic ray in relation to the sun-like Lord. As stated in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.8), parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate, the Supreme Lord has multifarious energies. Just as a ray is neither different from the sun nor is it the same as the sun, so the jiva is simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. The statements of non-difference refer to their qualitative oneness and the statements of difference refer to their quantitative difference.
To help us understand a comparison similar to the one of the sun and the sunray is given in the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad (2.1.20), yatha-agneh visphulinga vyuccaranti, "Just as sparks emanate from a fire, so all these planets, demigods, and living beings come from the Personality of Godhead". The sparks are simultaneously one and different from its source.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the doctrine of Sri Madhvacarya, while at the same time recognizing certain important aspects contained in the tattva of the other three Vaisnava sampradayas. Lord Caitanya brought these teachings together in the perfection of prema dharma. His philosophy of acintya bheda abheda combines all Vaishnava philosophies together.

Lord Caitanya's own words, as quoted by Sri Jiva Goswami:


"From Madhva I will take two essential teachings: his complete rejection and defeat of the Mayavadi philosophy and his service to the deity of Krishna, accepting Him as an eternal spiritual personality.

From Ramanuja, I will accept two teachings: the concept of devotional service, unpolluted by karma and jnana, and service to the devotees.

From Vishnuswami's teachings I will accept two elements: the sentiment of exclusive dependence on Krishna and the path of raga-marga, or spontaneous devotion.

From Nimbarka, I will take two very important principles: the necessity of taking shelter of Srimati Radharani and the high esteem of the gopi's love for Krishna."

In one Bhagavad Gita lecture Srila Prabhupada said the following:

"....We Gaudiya Vaisnava follow Srila Ramanuja's philosophy almost in the same manner. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives the identification of jiva soul as the eternal servant of Krishna and is situated as marginal potency of the Lord based on the philosophy of acintya-bheda bheda-tattva. This is almost similar to Visistadvaita vada. Vaisnava philosophy is now being pushed on all over the world under the Hare Krishna movement, and we feel Sripada Ramanuja a great support for the Vaisnava philosophical understanding. It is like a combination of nyaya sruti and smrti prasthans. The Bhagavad-gita supports the Vedanta Sutra brahma-sutra-padais caiva. hetumadbhir viniscitaih."

Hari Bol!

philosoraptor
28 May 2012, 10:06 PM
Pranams GauraHari,

Earlier, you said that "The appearance and activities of Lord Buddha, Shakaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya is like a puzzle." which seems to suggest that each of these systems is like a piece of a philosophical puzzle. Now, it seems you are rejecting the notion that Madhva and Ramanuja presented incomplete views of the Truth, and are only suggesting that Buddha and Shankara did.

Now here is the problem. From an achintya bedha abedha view, Shankara did *not* present an incomplete version of the truth. As you have indicated, the abedha in the philosophy of Chaitanya refers to qualitative similarity as a sunray is to the sun. But for Shankaraachaarya, and this is extremely important to understand, the abedha is an absolute principle without qualification. There is no difference at all between what we think of as "jIva" and Brahman, because in Shankara's system of thinking, the belief in one's individuality and distinction is an illusion, and all of us are actually Brahman. To the best of my knowledge, Sri Chaitanya's followers do not accept this point of view and develop it further, as your earlier words would seem to indicate. Instead, they reject it completely.

Thus, to use your smoking analogy, it might be more appropriate to say (according to an ISKCON point of view), that Buddha told people to cut down on smoking, while Shankara told them to replace nicotine cigarettes with marijuana cigarettes. ;)

regards,

Philosoraptor

GauraHari
28 May 2012, 11:06 PM
Pranams GauraHari,

Earlier, you said that "The appearance and activities of Lord Buddha, Shakaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya is like a puzzle." which seems to suggest that each of these systems is like a piece of a philosophical puzzle. Now, it seems you are rejecting the notion that Madhva and Ramanuja presented incomplete views of the Truth, and are only suggesting that Buddha and Shankara did.

Sorry, my English is not very good so I might not be able to explain things very clearly.


Now here is the problem. From an achintya bedha abedha view, Shankara did *not* present an incomplete version of the truth. As you have indicated, the abedha in the philosophy of Chaitanya refers to qualitative similarity as a sunray is to the sun. But for Shankaraachaarya, and this is extremely important to understand, the abedha is an absolute principle without qualification. There is no difference at all between what we think of as "jIva" and Brahman, because in Shankara's system of thinking, the belief in one's individuality and distinction is an illusion, and all of us are actually Brahman. To the best of my knowledge, Sri Chaitanya's followers do not accept this point of view and develop it further, as your earlier words would seem to indicate. Instead, they reject it completely.

Sorry but I think you still didn't read the verse from Padma Purana properly. Ok I will bold the important parts for you:

Padma Purana 6.236.7
mayavadam asac chastram pracchannam bauddham uchyate
mayaiva kalpitam devi kalau brahmana rupina
Mayavada or Advaita philosophy is an impious, wicked belief and against all the conclusions of the Vedas. It is only covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in Kali-Yuga I assume the form of a brahmana (Adi Shankara) and teach this imagined philosophy.
Padma Purana 6.236.8-9
apartham sruti-vakyanam darsayan loka-garhitam
sva-karma-rupam tyajya tvam atraiva pratipadyate
sarva-karma paribhrastair vaidharma tvam tad ucyate
paresa-jiva-paraikyam maya tu pratipadyate
"This mayavada advaita philosophy preached by me (in form of Adi Shankara) deprives the words of the holy texts of their actual meaning and thus it is condemned in the world. It recommends the renunciation of one's own duties, since those who have fallen from their duties say that the giving up of duties is religiosity. In this way, I have also falsely propounded the identity of the Supreme Lord and the individual soul."
Padma Purana 6.236.10
brahmanas caparam rupam nirgunam vaksyate maya
sarva-svam jagato py asya mohanartham kalu yuge
"In order to bewilder the atheists, in Kali-yuga, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Gauranga Krishna to be without any form and without qualities."
Padma Purana 6.236.11
vedante tu maha-sastrera mayavadam avaidikam
mayaiva vaksyate devi jagatam nasha-karanat
"Similarly, in explaning Vedanta mahashastra, I described the same non-scriptural and inauspicious mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of my beloved Lord."

Once again this is not my word. This is Lord Shiva's opinion. Also in my second post to this thread, I wrote:

And Advaita defines the spirit soul as Supreme. and therefore they think that the Self is also Narayan. They say aham brahmasmi(I am Brahman). But yes we are Brahman. I am spirit. It is said that one should understand that he is Brahman, spirit soul. One should know that he is not matter; he is pure soul. Mayavadi philosophers misinterpret the aham brahmasmi to mean, “I am the Supreme Brahman” and “I am identical with the Lord.” This kind of false conception, in which one thinks himself the supreme enjoyer, is a kind of illusion. Mayavadi philosophers, they think, “Now I’ve realized that I am not this body, I am not matter, I am spirit soul, so now I have become Narayana. I have become the Supreme.” But no, that is also mistake. When you realize that “Supreme is the Supreme Brahman, Parabrahman, I am part and parcel of the Supreme, I am also Brahman, but I am not the Supreme Brahman, therefore my business is to serve Parabrahman.”

Thus, to use your smoking analogy, it might be more appropriate to say (according to an ISKCON point of view), that Buddha told people to cut down on smoking, while Shankara told them to replace nicotine cigarettes with marijuana cigarettes.
That's a good joke. By the way, if you are still wondering, I used the cigarettes only as a example not as a if it really happened :P

Hari Bol!

philosoraptor
28 May 2012, 11:17 PM
Pranams,

Perhaps the problem is your lack of English fluency.

The problem is, on one hand you are presenting Shankara as if he gave a part of the truth (hence your cigarette and puzzle piece analogies). But then again, you present evidence indicating (see your bolded quotes) that he gave an "imagined philosophy" that was "against the conclusions of the Vedas."

So, which is it? He presented part of the truth? Or an imagined philosophy that is against all the Vedas? You can't have it both ways.

- Phil

Ganeshprasad
29 May 2012, 05:32 AM
Pranam


Pranams,
We were all like that at one time. We have to read and learn, and not assume that we know something when in fact we do not. There is no substitute for knowledge to alleviate ignorance, is it not?Yes there is nothing more purifying then knowledge, it does not necessarily follow that by reading we become Pandit, Pothi pad pad jag mua pandit bhaya na koi,dhae akahar prem ka pade so pandit hoye.




Well, not to split hairs over it, but I can think of at least one view Sri Krishna had little regard for, and that was Arjuna's view that he should withdraw from the battle in order to avoid killing family members. In fact, I can think of another view He also had little regard for:

asatyam apratiṣṭhaḿ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaḿ kim anyat kāma-haitukam (gItA 16.8)

Clearly, respecting people is important, but that should not preclude coming to definite conclusions about what is right and what is wrong.Yes we would be splitting hairs when we make argument different from intended message, perhaps that is not your fault but no where am I expounding demonic nature as you seem to be pointing from Bhagvat Gita.



This is like saying that "sects" are relatively new. Which would in turn imply that Hinduism was more homogenous in its belief system, practices, etc. That would seem very unlikely. Even early Vedaanta commentators like Raamaanuja, Madhva, and Shankara reference a large variety of earlier commentators whose writings are no longer extant.

Even if you look at, say, the Upanishads, it is evident that the sages see that Absolute Truth from different angles, sometimes emphasizing His transcendence while at other times emphasizing His all-pervasiveness. Even in the Puraanas we see evidence of sects devoted to various deities.What I meant was mass organisation what we have today are relatively new, Hindus have for eons followed their dharma passed down from generation to generation, Kula, Kula guru, varna based.



I would simply have to disagree with you on that one. Any elaboration of a supreme Deity would seem to imply bhakti as a means of knowing Him. Numerous mantras in the Upanishads have a very reverential feel (see for example, Isopanishad 15) , and reverence for a supreme Deity by a non-supreme individual could not be described as anything other than bhakti.Please read my sentence again I said ‘Bhakti as an organisation force’ otherwise Bhakta siromani Prahlad to Tulsidas to mira to name but a few, inspires even today by their Bhakti.





Yes, but this is nothing more than moral codes. Moral codes have to have a reason to exist - it is not that Hindus merely act moral for its own sake. The gItA 16.23-24 take the position that such moral codes are a means to achieving a supreme goal, which is elsewhere described as achievement of the state of Brahman, the abode of Brahman, etc. It is not likely that we had moral codes prior to having an understand of the supreme goal for which those moral codes were a means.So what is your point? You don’t’ seem to want to understand that the whole Hindu society was synthesise on this principles, to live in harmony and to contemplate to realise the truth in due course of time.



Neither do the Vedas speak of how to make ghee, how to tie a dhoti or sari, or how to apply turmeric to a new article of clothing. Many of these traditions are just passed down from generation to generation, and that does not necessarily make them invalid or irrelevant to sanAtana-dharma.Great argument and I like this kula to kula keep going, we might converge in our understanding, I doubt it though.




Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the universal form.
Well, see, there you go - a perfect example of how different people can approach the Supreme Brahman through slightly different paths. In other words, this is one possible explanation for a certain degree of spiritual variety. Which is not to say that anything different is valid and part of that variety. What this verse and others like it show is that there are multiple angles or moods or methods by which one can worship.Yes Variety is spice of life, what you call slight is huge and if it was not valid Lord Krishna would not have said it.



I'm not sure I understand this statement or how it fits in with the rest of what you said. A scripture should be interpreted consistently - it makes no sense to accept that part B of a text is endorsing views that contradict part A, for example. Nor does it make sense to accept that, say, the gItA is distilled wisdom from the Upanishads, and then turn around and interpret either the Upanishads or the gItA in ways which leave them contradicting each other. The whole point of reading these books is to understand what the speaker was trying to say. To that end, we shouldn't "interpret" something that does not require interpretation. An interpretation is only for providing a plausible explanation for a verse whose apparent meaning is not otherwise plausible. Case in point - the statement "the house on the river" is, literally understood, not plausible. We can understand that it may mean instead "the house on the riverbank." It doesn't make sense to suggest that both interpretations are acceptable, now does it?And that does not leave any room for ambiguity! there is no scope to miss represent the scripture! here in lies the problem. If one is adwita or a dwaita from vaishnav to saiva would all start from a base and reconcile the apparent contradictions to suit. You see this subject is not as clear cut as you might seem. Logic fail to reach it that is why Veda proclaim it with trepidation Neti Neti. What one find not plausible it could be a simple to others who live in the river, for them the house is in the river all be it you might want to call it a boat.



Or that some shrutis are "mahA-vAkyas" and have greater authority while others are "alpa-vAkyas" and have less authority....

But regarding your views on the purANas, I just wanted to point out that the threefold classification as sAttvik/rAjAsic/tAmAsic is actually found in the Puraanas themselves - I have seen references in the Matysa Puraana and in the Padma Puraana, to name just a few.Yes I have heard that but who other then Vaishnava accepts it? It would have been plausible if Vyasji had said so when writing a relevant Purana warning the reader by the way this is Tamsik or Rajsik Satvik but he didn’t did he? What’s more unbelievable about that is, same alleged personalities are present in all the puranas and extolled as already presented by Saha in this thread.


Well, maybe you are following the wrong sects. :-)
But I think you're basic problem is not with sects, but with sectarianism - namely, the noisy and boorish attempts to promote one's own sect with subjective assertions and not cool facts. To decry sects because of sectarianism would be like decrying religion because of religious fundamentalism.

You can have one without the other.There is no may be about it, I follow no sect, no need to speculate about me.

Jai Shree Krishna

philosoraptor
29 May 2012, 11:25 AM
Pranams,


Pranam

Yes there is nothing more purifying then knowledge, it does not necessarily follow that by reading we become Pandit, Pothi pad pad jag mua pandit bhaya na koi,dhae akahar prem ka pade so pandit hoye.

Who said anything about becoming a pundit? In response to your comment that, "I like to think majority of Hindus are oblivious of various concepts, I doubt very much a lot of them know difference between advaita dwaita etc. " I was merely pointing out that they should read and become informed. You don't have to become a pandit to have a basic working knowledge of the differences between different Hindu philosophical systems. If Hindus don't want to become informed about their own religions, it hardly makes sense to want outsiders to become informed, now does it?



Yes we would be splitting hairs when we make argument different from intended message, perhaps that is not your fault but no where am I expounding demonic nature as you seem to be pointing from Bhagvat Gita.

You misunderstood the reference. I was responding to your comment that, "as a Hindu, respect for others beliefs are paramount, live and let live. This attitude does not stem without scripture support, as Bhagvat Gita does support such a view" as well as the general tenor of your writing which seemed to equate disagreement with sectarianism. The quotes I provided showed that Sri Krishna did disagree with specific philosophical positions, namely, the position of absolute non-violence and and the idea of the world as unreal. Is Sri Krishna now a sectarian bad guy, or can we just accept that having some views and politely disagreeing with other views is not anathema to the Gita?



What I meant was mass organisation what we have today are relatively new,

I'm not sure what you mean by "mass organization" or why anyone would have issues with "mass organization" to begin with. At least since the time of Shankaraachaarya, Hindus have organized in order to build mathas, so that is most certainly not new. There is nothing wrong with organization per se.


Hindus have for eons followed their dharma passed down from generation to generation, Kula, Kula guru, varna based.

Except for people born outside the varna system, and those born in the varna system who no longer follow it. Taking your statement at face value, it would appear that you would consider such people as not being Hindu.



So what is your point? You don’t’ seem to want to understand that the whole Hindu society was synthesise on this principles, to live in harmony and to contemplate to realise the truth in due course of time.

My point was clearly stated in my response - moral codes have a reason to exist, as a means to a specific end. Hindus not only had moral codes, they also had a conception of the Absolute Truth as the goal of following such moral codes. Thus, I would amend your statement to say that "The social fabric of whole hindu society was based on following dharma for the eventual attainment of Brahman."


Great argument and I like this kula to kula keep going, we might converge in our understanding, I doubt it though.

I'm not sure what this means. Your basic objection seemed to be that you don't like sampradayas because sampradayas are not mentioned in the Vedas. My point is that there are many valid practices within Hinduism that are not mentioned in the Vedas, whether it is in regards to style of dress, the exact way a puja is done, how ghee is made, etc. That they are not mentioned in the Vedas does not make them any less Hindu. By the way, here is something else that is not mentioned the Vedas - temples. Are temples relatively new in your eyes also?

If everyone followed the same teachings of the same preceptorial lineage, then there would be no sampradayas. But how likely is that? We have had sampradaya differences since before the time of Shankaraachaarya. We've had sampradaaya differences ever since the first times when philosophical systems emerged to explain the Absolute Truth and our role in understanding it. Sampradaaya traditions are as Hindu as temples, ghee lamps, and women wearing saris. But, none of these things are mentioned in the Vedas, as you would no doubt be quick to point out.


Yes Variety is spice of life, what you call slight is huge and if it was not valid Lord Krishna would not have said it.

The point is, the verse you quoted does not offer a contradiction. It merely expresses variety. Variety and contradiction are two different things.



And that does not leave any room for ambiguity! there is no scope to miss represent the scripture! here in lies the problem. If one is adwita or a dwaita from vaishnav to saiva would all start from a base and reconcile the apparent contradictions to suit. You see this subject is not as clear cut as you might seem. Logic fail to reach it that is why Veda proclaim it with trepidation Neti Neti. What one find not plausible it could be a simple to others who live in the river, for them the house is in the river all be it you might want to call it a boat.

Ummm, ok. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that. I like to understand what the author of the text is trying to say, and I favor conservative interpretations by well-read scholars who try to bring out the meaning of the text in a clear and consistent way. But, I guess some people prefer the ambiguity. Who am I to deny people their belief in floating houses? :-)



Yes I have heard that but who other then Vaishnava accepts it?


Acceptance is besides the point. If it is in the scripture, it should be accepted as such. If one is going to ignore scripture whenever it suits him, then there is no common basis for discussing the meaning of the scriptures. I favor the principle of Ockham's razor when trying to select the best explanation of our scriptures - the simplest theory that can explain the greatest body of evidence is most likely the correct one.



It would have been plausible if Vyasji had said so when writing a relevant Purana warning the reader by the way this is Tamsik or Rajsik Satvik but he didn’t did he?


Again, it is explicitly written (presumably by Vyaasa if we accept him as the author) in both Matsya and Padma Puraanas that the puraanas are divided into saattvik, raajaasic, and taamaasic classes. The Matsya Puraana further elaborates on the basic subject matter of each class, while the Padma Puraana actually lists the puraanas that belong in each category. Do you want to see the references?

Jai Shri Krishna,

Philosoraptor

Ganeshprasad
29 May 2012, 04:47 PM
Pranam





Who said anything about becoming a pundit? In response to your comment that, "I like to think majority of Hindus are oblivious of various concepts, I doubt very much a lot of them know difference between advaita dwaita etc. " I was merely pointing out that they should read and become informed. You don't have to become a pandit to have a basic working knowledge of the differences between different Hindu philosophical systems. If Hindus don't want to become informed about their own religions, it hardly makes sense to want outsiders to become informed, now does it?
Why would one have to read about various concepts, if you are comfortable in your environment.
It would be hard to speculate why such knowledge is not considered essential, perhaps people have seen the light of not arguing, perhaps it is more important to concentrate on ones own sadhna or perhaps years of subjugation has made us weary, too concerned to make ends meet to worry about differences. Who said and who is worried about the outsiders?



You misunderstood the reference. I was responding to your comment that, "as a Hindu, respect for others beliefs are paramount, live and let live. This attitude does not stem without scripture support, as Bhagvat Gita does support such a view" as well as the general tenor of your writing which seemed to equate disagreement with sectarianism. The quotes I provided showed that Sri Krishna did disagree with specific philosophical positions, namely, the position of absolute non-violence and and the idea of the world as unreal. Is Sri Krishna now a sectarian bad guy, or can we just accept that having some views and politely disagreeing with other views is not anathema to the Gita?Where does absolute non violence comes in to the equation? Let us be clear Lord Krishna here is not commenting on any philosophical doctrine but that of a person demonic nature, I hope you are not insinuating something here, which I detects it to be mischievous, if it were so Shankracharya would not have commented on the Gita.
No one is accusing Lord Krishna to be sectarian or bad, to politely agree to disagree perhaps was the reason a hindu is not concerned of the differences, in this way we are having a circular argument going no where.



I'm not sure what you mean by "mass organization" or why anyone would have issues with "mass organization" to begin with. At least since the time of Shankaraachaarya, Hindus have organized in order to build mathas, so that is most certainly not new. There is nothing wrong with organization per se.In the context of Hindu Dharma and it’s antiquity the time frame you quote is relatively new while the Bhakti movement is even more later, that is what I meant by relatively new. As to its merit, the pros and con ,less said the better. The whole discussion as far as I am concerned, is the fact that someone said or insinuated, outside of the four sampradaya everything is unauthentic. No Guru is bonefide if they don’t come from those four Sampradaya .



Except for people born outside the varna system, and those born in the varna system who no longer follow it. Taking your statement at face value, it would appear that you would consider such people as not being Hindu.Let that not be my view, just find out for your self what anyone outside of the varna were considered by the Hindus.



My point was clearly stated in my response - moral codes have a reason to exist, as a means to a specific end. Hindus not only had moral codes, they also had a conception of the Absolute Truth as the goal of following such moral codes. Thus, I would amend your statement to say that "The social fabric of whole hindu society was based on following dharma for the eventual attainment of Brahman."No need to amend my statement I am well aware Dharma Artha Kaam and Moksha, four varna four Ashram no need to repeat my self.


I'm not sure what this means. Your basic objection seemed to be that you don't like sampradayas because sampradayas are not mentioned in the Vedas. My point is that there are many valid practices within Hinduism that are not mentioned in the Vedas, whether it is in regards to style of dress, the exact way a puja is done, how ghee is made, etc. That they are not mentioned in the Vedas does not make them any less Hindu. By the way, here is something else that is not mentioned the Vedas - temples. Are temples relatively new in your eyes also?I don’t think I am averse to Sampradaya per se or that they are not Hindu but when they contend that they are the ones that represent the parampara, that is when I take an issue because that is not strictly true. We both know Varna, Kula and Ashrama are the one that carried forward the parampara. In grand scheme of things yes temples are new, all the yugas and it is long span will tell us that it was tapas, yagya, in Staya and tetra yuga, so work it out for yourself.






The point is, the verse you quoted does not offer a contradiction. It merely expresses variety. Variety and contradiction are two different things.I never said it did, different path different mode of worship, so you don’t need to creat your straw man.



Ummm, ok. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that. I like to understand what the author of the text is trying to say, and I favor conservative interpretations by well-read scholars who try to bring out the meaning of the text in a clear and consistent way. But, I guess some people prefer the ambiguity. Who am I to deny people their belief in floating houses? JYes to go that extra yard one has to be adventurers, one can rely on the path the ancient has carved out, the logic don’t go there and we would achieve nothing if we do not go that extra mile.



Acceptance is besides the point. If it is in the scripture, it should be accepted as such. If one is going to ignore scripture whenever it suits him, then there is no common basis for discussing the meaning of the scriptures. I favor the principle of Ockham's razor when trying to select the best explanation of our scriptures - the simplest theory that can explain the greatest body of evidence is most likely the correct one.And what makes you think the simplest explanation is not interpolation, the most likely cause. Why otherwise the author failed to mention in the relevant puran this information? If I was writing a book I would make sure what contents I am putting forward, especially if it is the truth I am expounding.
And why be selective how many who follow Padma purana and its contents also follow Shiva Gita? Those who live in glass house do not throw stones.



Do you want to see the references? Not really I have seen enough.

Jai Shree Krishna

philosoraptor
29 May 2012, 05:39 PM
Pranams,

When "interpretation" becomes confused with "interpolation" and "explanation" is misread as "insinuation," and the gist of the conversations becomes one of "I have great respect for scripture, just as long as I don't disagree with it," then I think that it is a sign that nothing productive will come of participating further in the discussion. Hence, I'll leave you to it on this one.

regards,

Philosoraptor

Ganeshprasad
30 May 2012, 01:52 AM
Pranam

Oh there is no confusion, unless off course there is no interpolation in the Puranas, and it wasn't based on interpretation either.A reasonable query as to why the author would not state the nature of The Purana he is narrating.

insinuation was based on a genuine query on the explanation given, why would one get uptight about it. the subject was different Darsans and the explanation given was based on divine and demonic nature.

And i have had thrown at me all the time, either the Puranas are not authentic that they are Tamsic or if it is from Amala purana it can not be accepted because it does not agree with sruti. yes we can have any colour as long as it is black.

By the way i don't remember stating anywhere that my respect for Shastra are depended on your accepting it, so feel free to do as you wish. wish you all the best, no hard feelings.

Jai Shree Krishna

Shuddhasattva
01 June 2012, 04:48 PM
There is a misconception going around in modern Hindu circles to the effect that Advaita is somehow a more "liberal" philosophy and that it allows people to believe or worship as they choose.

Advaita itself is not, though neither is it 'fundamentalist' (as opposed to liberal, although I dislike both words). Smarta, and Shanmata (originated by Shankaracharya), are "liberal."

ISKCON is an organization based on a relatively newer, post-vedantic tradition and as such it has inherited the same philosphical disagreement with Advaita that its predecessors had. It's important to understand that the vast majority of Vedaantic and post-Vedaantic schools do disagree with Advaita. This is by no means something peculiar to ISKCON's tradition.

The criticisms are different. ISKCON has a particular fixation on mayavada and its evils, inheriting much of this from Madhavacharya moreso than Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


I am very skeptical of the claim that people can believe in Advaita and yet believe in a bhakti-based school of thinking. I submit that many individuals who make this claim probably do not understand Advaita. Remember that, in Advaita, it is only Brahman that exists.

There is no eternal distinction between the devotee and the Deity.

Nondual worship does not preclude devotion and service. Even eternal devotion and service.


In contrast, all of the bhakti-based Vedanta schools from what I have seen accept some measure of eternal distinction between Paramatma/ParaBrahman and the Jivatman, and for them, world is real and our actions are real.

As for the world and actions being real or unreal, this is more a semantic conceit than a true philosophical difference. Various Shakta, Shaiva, and even Vaishnava (Sahijya) sects embraced both the concepts of advaita, in slightly modified form, and deity yoga.

Shankaracharya himself did as well, as you ought know having read his brahmasutra bhasya. (२.२.३३, amongst others). Beyond that particular bhashya, many of the works of Shankaracharya (although admittedly there is much debate concerning the authorship of some) also extol devotion to Saguna Brahman.





The point here is not that one cannot worship a Deity and call himself an Advaitin.


This seems to me entirely unsupported.


The point is, one cannot call himself a believer in both Advaita and a non-Advaitin school of Vedaanta, because they contradict each other on fundamental points.

The nature of advaita is the reconciliation of all apparent contradictions.


It's always best to read a given scripture with the idea of understanding what message it is trying to teach, rather than trying to read our own ideas into it. If the reader arbitrarily decides which part of the scripture is valid and which is to be discarded, then he is in effect subjecting the authority of the scripture to his own authority. In such a situation, there is no point in quoting from the scripture - just make up your own ideas, right? This is another variation of the "self-realized acharya" fallacy, and should be discarded by thoughtful Hindus of all philosophical persuasions.


I do not see a compelling argument here as to why judging scripture according to one's svadharma is a fallacy.

philosoraptor
01 June 2012, 05:46 PM
Namaste,



The criticisms are different. ISKCON has a particular fixation on mayavada and its evils, inheriting much of this from Madhavacharya moreso than Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

I assume a lot of that has to do with the fact that during the 1960's-1970's, most of Hinduism in the West was one form or another of Advaita.

It could also have something to do with the hostility towards "Dvaita" that seems embedded in many Neo-Advaitin systems of thought. This includes blaming "dvaita" for all the wars in this world, equating "dvaita" with Christian/Muslim fundamentalism, or claiming that "dvaita" is for stupid people while more advanced people endorse Advaita. Frankly, I have a hard time understanding the animosity towards non-Advaitic points of view.



Nondual worship does not preclude devotion and service. Even eternal devotion and service.

I can see how that could be at the vyavaharika level prior to liberation. But after liberation, according to Advaita, how do you perform devotion and service when you realize that you are that Brahman and no distinction exists? Who is the devotee and who is being worshipped when absolute oneness is understood?



As for the world and actions being real or unreal, this is more a semantic conceit than a true philosophical difference. Various Shakta, Shaiva, and even Vaishnava (Sahijya) sects embraced both the concepts of advaita, in slightly modified form, and deity yoga.

There are statements about the illusory nature of the world in the Bhaagavatam, and yet the Bhaagavata ultimately holds that the world is real. We can accept that a real world can be described as illusory in order to emphasize its temporary and misleading character. The ultimate question is whether or not it is literally real or literally unreal. I have gotten different answers on this question from different, self-identified Advaitins. That the world is literally unreal seems to be the position of devotee. On the other hand, I met a follower of Dayananda Saraswati (the one who follows Chinmayananda) who claims that, according to Advaita, world is actually real but temporary. Perhaps Shankaraachaarya's position may be unclear on this. As even his ideological opponents have specifically mentioned this point in their rebuttals, I don't think it unreasonable for the rest of us to be unclear on his position.



Shankaracharya himself did as well, as you ought know having read his brahmasutra bhasya. (२.२.३३, amongst others). Beyond that particular bhashya, many of the works of Shankaracharya (although admittedly there is much debate concerning the authorship of some) also extol devotion to Saguna Brahman.


Could you please repost the reference? It came out as strange characters in my web viewer. I would definitely like to look it up in my copy at home.


The nature of advaita is the reconciliation of all apparent contradictions.

I don't see how Advaita can reconcile with any of the philosphical systems whose commentators took great pains to distinguish them from Advaita. I find this position as illogical as the position that achintya bedha abedha reconciles Dvaita and Advaita, an utterance I have occasionally heard amongst ISKCON followers.





It's always best to read a given scripture with the idea of understanding what message it is trying to teach, rather than trying to read our own ideas into it. If the reader arbitrarily decides which part of the scripture is valid and which is to be discarded, then he is in effect subjecting the authority of the scripture to his own authority. In such a situation, there is no point in quoting from the scripture - just make up your own ideas, right? This is another variation of the "self-realized acharya" fallacy, and should be discarded by thoughtful Hindus of all philosophical persuasions.

I do not see a compelling argument here as to why judging scripture according to one's svadharma is a fallacy.

The issue is one of understanding what the sages expressed as opposed to passing one's own views off as being the message of the sages. I would assume that the significance would be self-evident to any thoughtful person. Assume that instead of scripture, we are talking about a work of literature for a university class in which your grade counts on correct understanding of the author's message. I would assume you wouldn't be as liberal in your final paper as you would with scripture. Or am I mistaken?

regards,

philosoraptor

ShivaFan
01 June 2012, 10:44 PM
I am not an "impersonalist" since I practice Bhakti Yoga. I see aspects of the Lord as very real Personalities which indeed exist and have wonderful powers beyond our simple sense perceptions. In my understanding for example, LOVE is an aspect, but love cannot exist without TWO. So we have Krsna and Radha, or we have Muruga and Valli. This is what I have been taught as bhakti. But we all have levels of our experience and path, even among Bhaktis. For example, you can be a devotee bhakti, or perhaps a more "advanced" premie bhakti or lover of God. This love has nothing to do with mundane love.

There are many Devas, and there is a reason. When I am lost, soon I can be found thanks to a Deva. There is nothing wrong with having a Master, for example Lord Ram is the "Perfect Man" so He is an example of a Perfect Master. Often the first we may meet when lost on a path is the Servant of the Master. This is my Hanuman, who is Shiva. He speak directly, but the presence of the Lord is a personality that consists of many, many things.

For example, as a Bhakti, I also understand that aspects of God are multi-facet, and during a Bhajan or during a moment of meditation can be revealed in many ways, some of which is "impersonal".

For example, a beautiful Red Rose is a very real living thing. There is a Rose itself, it is on the Rose Tree. The Tree is a personality - it has feelings. The Rose is an aspect of the Tree. But I see the Rose as it's own - "oh how beautiful is this Rose!" I will say.

But the Rose has a scent. When I walk down the path, suddently I can smell the Rose. This scent is "impersonal" --- but I know and consider it the same Rose. It is also the Rose.

So you see? You exist also. Because of that, you can Love the Deva who Loves you. There is nothing wrong in it, it is "natural". You may sense the one you Love when you are walking down that Path. You may not see the Lord. But you will smell the Rose. This is the impersonal - but you know it is the Lord.

Today I think of Mother Saraswati. She is a Mother who teaches. I wish She will teach me how to sing Bhajans. She is the Queen of Music. She is a Personality. She is also the very Music she Plays. When I hear Her play the Music, I know that is Her. She is both impersonal and personal.

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

Shuddhasattva
01 June 2012, 11:34 PM
Namaste


I assume a lot of that has to do with the fact that during the 1960's-1970's, most of Hinduism in the West was one form or another of Advaita.

It could also have something to do with the hostility towards "Dvaita" that seems embedded in many Neo-Advaitin systems of thought. This includes blaming "dvaita" for all the wars in this world, equating "dvaita" with Christian/Muslim fundamentalism, or claiming that "dvaita" is for stupid people while more advanced people endorse Advaita. Frankly, I have a hard time understanding the animosity towards non-Advaitic points of view.

There's a lot of animosity both ways. Madhavacharya and his followers in particular wrote a lot of negative things about advaita and advaitins, even styling Shankaracharya as a demon incarnate on earth (a much more severe statement than 'Lord Vishnu sent Lord Shiva to incarnate in the kali yuga in order to lead astray the atheists and defeat buddhism'.) Also, at various times, advaitins were themselves characterized as demons, and accused of all manner of crimes.



I can see how that could be at the vyavaharika level prior to liberation. But after liberation, according to Advaita, how do you perform devotion and service when you realize that you are that Brahman and no distinction exists? Who is the devotee and who is being worshipped when absolute oneness is understood?


I agree with you. Truly one is worshiping, and serving, oneself - one Self. Sri Anandamayi Ma said, for example:


As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone's service is revealed as one's own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serves one's own Self in every one of them.

[Courtesy Wikipedia]

Her practice is also particularly noteworthy because she initiated herself, acting as both guru and shishya. I'm sure the relevance of this is not missed by you.

One performs devotional service out of compassion for those not yet liberated (this, for example, is particularly emphasized in the monistic theology of the Kubjika cult, regarded as the terminus of the Kaula tradition). When one serves the suffering jivas, one is serving the feet of the Lord and the Lady.



There are statements about the illusory nature of the world in the Bhaagavatam, and yet the Bhaagavata ultimately holds that the world is real. We can accept that a real world can be described as illusory in order to emphasize its temporary and misleading character. The ultimate question is whether or not it is literally real or literally unreal. I have gotten different answers on this question from different, self-identified Advaitins. That the world is literally unreal seems to be the position of devotee. On the other hand, I met a follower of Dayananda Saraswati (the one who follows Chinmayananda) who claims that, according to Advaita, world is actually real but temporary. Perhaps Shankaraachaarya's position may be unclear on this. As even his ideological opponents have specifically mentioned this point in their rebuttals, I don't think it unreasonable for the rest of us to be unclear on his position.

I personally don't think the statement that the universe is an illusion, or that it is real, is very meaningful in the final analysis. We can go into this more if you like, but otherwise I don't feel much needs to be said. As you have mentioned vyavaharika, you surely have some familiarity with the ambiguity of 'realness' or 'illusoriness' and its nuances in advaita.


Could you please repost the reference? It came out as strange characters in my web viewer. I would definitely like to look it up in my copy at home.

2.2.33

Says that it is not disputed that Narayana is the Supreme Lord, nor is his devotional worship disputed.



I don't see how Advaita can reconcile with any of the philosphical systems whose commentators took great pains to distinguish them from Advaita. I find this position as illogical as the position that achintya bedha abedha reconciles Dvaita and Advaita, an utterance I have occasionally heard amongst ISKCON followers.

Advaita has to reconcile everything into monism. No differences can remain. Should we assume that abstract systems of thought are somehow an exception when thought itself is subsumed?

This is not to say that the philosophies can be tortured until they are made to agree. It is that monism obliterates even the idea that god is conceivable, and all conceptions born from the root of this error - this is more or less stated in the very first line of Shankaracharya's bhasya on the brahma sutras.



The issue is one of understanding what the sages expressed as opposed to passing one's own views off as being the message of the sages. I would assume that the significance would be self-evident to any thoughtful person. Assume that instead of scripture, we are talking about a work of literature for a university class in which your grade counts on correct understanding of the author's message. I would assume you wouldn't be as liberal in your final paper as you would with scripture. Or am I mistaken?


The comparison is an invalid one per my view: at a university, one is at the mercy of the professor's judgment. One may even cater to his biases out of intellectual dishonesty to get a better grade. Given that literary studies are home to some of the most ridiculous posturing imaginable, where this or that professor belonging to this or that school or anti-school of literary theory, concoct their own interpretations, creating 'towering riddles of symbolism'. Pass that class, advance a few more years in post-graduate studies, and soon one will have the luxury to say whatever one likes, no matter how obtuse.

As far as philosophy, given that I am the agent of my own spiritual practice, it is my understanding of god, and my practice thereby informed, that is important. I am quite happy to acknowledge my own authority in this domain insofar as it pertains to myself. If I accept things merely on the authority of those long dust whose words contradict eachother endlessly, who and what then am I to believe? Here we really come to "the self-realized acharya fallacy."


Namaste

ShivaFan
02 June 2012, 12:24 AM
Namaste

A lot of interesting commentary, even debate, and very advanced terminology here.

I have lots of respect for the impersonalists, though as I said I am a Bhakti practitioner - or rather I am simply what I have discovered gives me life itself and which was given to me. I do not know anything. But just to add a thought to what I have experienced, more than a few of those who are self described "impersonalists" whom I love and have met, they were typically not at all what is often thought of as yogi "impersonalists" sitting and meditating naked on a mountain proclaiming if there is even anyone around to ask "God is One, and is No One".

Instead they live in a world of terms, words, a stairway of terminology to heaven, the discussion is vast like an ocean, they speak and share very complex "recipies".

It is sort of like the master cook, who has the advanced recipies for cooking samosas. A pitch of the salt from the shores of Surat called smana, mix two dumbas of Taj Haldhi and then add ...

And then there is the samosa itself.

There are some who love and live in the world of recipies. But maybe they do not eat the samosa.

Bhaktis like to eat the samosa.

Today I think of Mother Saraswati. She is a Mother who teaches. I wish She will teach me how to sing Bhajans. She is the Queen of Music. She is a Personality. She is also the very Music she Plays. When I hear Her play the Music, I know that is Her. She is both impersonal and personal.

philosoraptor
03 June 2012, 04:22 PM
Pranams,



There's a lot of animosity both ways. Madhavacharya and his followers in particular wrote a lot of negative things about advaita and advaitins, even styling Shankaracharya as a demon incarnate on earth (a much more severe statement than 'Lord Vishnu sent Lord Shiva to incarnate in the kali yuga in order to lead astray the atheists and defeat buddhism'.) Also, at various times, advaitins were themselves characterized as demons, and accused of all manner of crimes.

I only know about their claim that Shankaracharya was the demon Maniman incarnate, allegedly sent by Lord Shiva to mislead people. Supposedly this is based on something contained in the Garuda Purana. In any case, I didn't look it up because I don't take the demon thing too seriously. I prefer to evaluate a philosophical system on its own merits, by which I mean how well it fits the statements of shaastra.

I do know, however, of many particular negative claims coming out of the Neo-Hindu community against non-Advaitins. This includes a claim by Swami Vivekananda in his Complete Works to the effect that all wars and conflicts are the fault of Dvaita, a claim by Swami Chinmayananda in his book _Self-Unfoldment_ to the effect that bhakti is for people whose hearts are more developed than their brains, and many, many claims by lay followers to the effect that devotion to a personal deity is something akin to Christianity or Islam. Just to be fair, the Neos do say that all religions and religious interpretations are correct - just as long as you are a good little Hindu and don't dare to disagree with them.



I agree with you. Truly one is worshiping, and serving, oneself - one Self. Sri Anandamayi Ma said, for example:

As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone's service is revealed as one's own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serves one's own Self in every one of them.

Let's be honest with ourselves. Is that really a very straightforward explanation for a statement like "On attaining Brahman, one attains My supreme devotion?" (Gita 18th chapter) Let us bear in mind that texts like the Gita are supposed to clarify the subject matter for us. The more we have to redefine words like "bhakti" or "surrender" in order to make them fit into a particular mold, the less likely that this was the intended meaning to begin with. Your specific claim was that, "Nondual worship does not preclude devotion and service. Even eternal devotion and service." Obviously, you can only cling to that claim if you redefine what "devotion" and "service" are. No one intuitively thinks of "devotion" or "service" as implying sameness of the two parties involved.



Her practice is also particularly noteworthy because she initiated herself, acting as both guru and shishya. I'm sure the relevance of this is not missed by you.

I really don't know what to say to that. I can't imagine ever following someone who felt they were enlightened enough to forego the traditional formalities of accepting a guru. But, to each his own, I guess.



One performs devotional service out of compassion for those not yet liberated (this, for example, is particularly emphasized in the monistic theology of the Kubjika cult, regarded as the terminus of the Kaula tradition). When one serves the suffering jivas, one is serving the feet of the Lord and the Lady.

Actually, that is a misconception of bhakti propagated by non-bhakti cults. The devotees perform devotional service because they find it very joyful and pleasing to perform. Sri Krishna says this in the Gita 10.9 that His devotees derive great joy in speaking about Him: machchittA madgataprAnA bodhayantaH parasparam / kathayantash cha mAM nityaM tuShyanti cha ramanti cha //. The same point about bhakti's joyful character is also mentioned in the bhAgavata purANa 3.25.34. Therein, it is also stated that the devotee does NOT desire oneness, but instead desires the opportunity to do service: naikAtmatAm me spRhayanti kechin matpAdasevAbhiratA madIhAH / ye 'nyonyato bhAgavatAH prasajya sabhAjayante mama pauruShANi //. Note that this effectively negates the revisionist attempts to interpret bhakti as being somehow compatible with oneness. The varAha purANa 115.3 also explains that Sri Vishnu is more pleased with bhakti than He is with yagna, charity, etc.

So you see, there are plenty of reasons why people perform devotional service that go beyond merely serving other jIvas.



I personally don't think the statement that the universe is an illusion, or that it is real, is very meaningful in the final analysis. We can go into this more if you like, but otherwise I don't feel much needs to be said. As you have mentioned vyavaharika, you surely have some familiarity with the ambiguity of 'realness' or 'illusoriness' and its nuances in advaita.


There are many statements in the scripture about the reality and/or illusory character of the world. Evidently the sages thought it was important to mention.


Advaita has to reconcile everything into monism. No differences can remain. Should we assume that abstract systems of thought are somehow an exception when thought itself is subsumed?


How does Advaita reconcile with the Tattvavaada view that differences between jIvas, difference between Ishvara and jIvas, difference between Ishvara and prakriti, etc are all real and eternal? The answer is, it can't. Because these views of the Tattvavaadis were elaborated after the philosophy of Advaita was developed, and in clear opposition to Advaita. Hence, I will stick to my previously stated view that, "The point is, one cannot call himself a believer in both Advaita and a non-Advaitin school of Vedaanta, because they contradict each other on fundamental points. "



The comparison is an invalid one per my view: at a university, one is at the mercy of the professor's judgment. One may even cater to his biases out of intellectual dishonesty to get a better grade. Given that literary studies are home to some of the most ridiculous posturing imaginable, where this or that professor belonging to this or that school or anti-school of literary theory, concoct their own interpretations, creating 'towering riddles of symbolism'. Pass that class, advance a few more years in post-graduate studies, and soon one will have the luxury to say whatever one likes, no matter how obtuse.

This is why I specifically said, "your grade counts on correct understanding of the author's message" and not "your grade counts on regurgitating what the professor thinks is the correct understanding of the author's message." What you are neglecting to acknowledge is that the author of a work of literature often has a specific message in mind when he writes it. This is obvious. Language evolved to communicate ideas, and orderly arrangement of language (such as in books or poetry) is done to communicate specific messages. If we start off assuming that words and sentences mean only what we want them to mean, instead of what their author meant when he wrote them, then we are ignoring the fundamental reason for language's existence.

To put it another way, Vedaanta can be thought of as a spiritual science. It details the nature of the jIva, paramAtma, prakRiti, samsAra, and the means of attaining moksha. None of us are born knowing these things. We have to learn them from a source of authoritative knowledge. That learning process has to be serious also. We cannot take perfectly straightforward statements from a sage's darshana, superimpose our desired meanings on top of them, and still claim that we are understanding the sage as he had intended us to when he spoke the words. No one on these boards would study physics or chemistry (which are lesser sciences dealing only with the principles of matter) with the sort of wishy-washy attitude that some suggest we should employ when understanding the Vedas. Just imagine - "Force is proportional to the product of mass and its acceleration. My interpretation is not that this is literally true, but rather that Force really means an object's commercial value." Do you think I could get a passing grade in physics with that attitude?



As far as philosophy, given that I am the agent of my own spiritual practice, it is my understanding of god, and my practice thereby informed, that is important. I am quite happy to acknowledge my own authority in this domain insofar as it pertains to myself.

Well, let's think about that. This is like saying that because you are the agent of your own health, it's your understanding of how to treat your medical problems that is important. No doctor or formal medical training needed. No teaching based on empirically correct medical principles needed. If a doctor tells you that you can't cure your cancer with vitamin C, and that you should instead start a chemotherapy regimen which has a proven track record of effectivness, you would reply with.... what? That this is merely his opinion?



If I accept things merely on the authority of those long dust whose words contradict eachother endlessly, who and what then am I to believe? Here we really come to "the self-realized acharya fallacy."


Acceptance of the apaurusheya status of the Vedas is the axiom upon which all Vedaanta has been based for centuries, regardless of all other philosophical differences.

I have observed in the past that those who desire to start new Hindu groups in spite of disagreeing with Vedantic thought get around the problem by employing a two-fold strategy. First, they praise scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, etc in public, thus ensuring that people see them as a representative of the tradition. Then, in less public forums, they decry those same scriptures as "endlessly contradictory" and "dusty tomes" and so on, thus rationalizing their own philosophical embellishments.

Thus, you have the strange situation in which Hindus rationalize disagreement with the Upanishads (because they were alleged to have been authored by people from long ago), and instead they follow the teachings of a self-initiated guru/prophet/cult leader of today. Acceptance of apaurusheyatva is seen as a difficult position to endorse. But acceptance of one's self-realized status, not so much.

regards,

philosoraptor

Shuddhasattva
03 June 2012, 06:37 PM
Namaste

I find your latest post to be forced rhetoric, and so I will not be engaging further. Thank you for the discussion.


Namaste

philosoraptor
03 June 2012, 07:50 PM
Namaste

I find your latest post to be forced rhetoric, and so I will not be engaging further. Thank you for the discussion.


Namaste

Pranams,

I'm not exactly sure what "forced rhetoric" means, but I'm sorry that you feel that way. Nevertheless, I'd stick to the principle that accepting the authority of the shruti means really accepting the authority of the shruti. It doesn't make sense for one to revere them in public and then casually dismiss them privately when they don't say what one wants them to say.

These are the scriptures whose study has been the basis of Vedaantic scholarship for centuries. Nevertheless, I didn't get offended when you referred to them as "long dust whose words contradict eachother endlessly." (sic) You are entitled to your views, but I won't change mine simply because they don't match yours.

regards,

R Gitananda
04 June 2012, 12:48 PM
namaste philosoraptor

re:



I really don't know what to say to that. I can't imagine ever following someone who felt they were
enlightened enough to forego the traditional formalities of accepting a guru. But, to each his own, I guess.


Are you just saying that you wouldn't follow such a person as a matter of choice or are you implying
that no one is really enlightened enough to "forego the traditional formalities of accepting a guru"?
If the latter I would like to know your opinion of the Buddha. Thank you.

Hari Aum

philosoraptor
04 June 2012, 01:33 PM
namaste philosoraptor

Are you just saying that you wouldn't follow such a person as a matter of choice or are you implying
that no one is really enlightened enough to "forego the traditional formalities of accepting a guru"?
If the latter I would like to know your opinion of the Buddha. Thank you.

Hari Aum

Namaste Gitananda,

I would not follow such a person as a matter of choice. Ours is not a prophet-based religion like Christianity or Islam, and we are supposed to take instruction from those who follow the Vedic method. This includes study of the shAstras at the feet of a qualified guru. It would be very difficult for me to accept that someone can forego education by a guru, and yet want to become my guru. It's partly a "practice what you preach" kind of thing. It's especially jarring when such a guru allows his followers to think that the Vedas are somehow less authoritative than his own personal opinions.

Even Sri Krishna, despite being the all-knowing Brahman, set the example and accepted instruction at the feet of Sandipani Muni.

Besides which, acceptance of one's self-realized status requires additional assumptions about the person's spiritual credentials. I think it's a very real human failing to assume such spiritual credentials exist in a charismatic individual who might not otherwise have the sorts of qualifications spelled out in our scriptures.

regards,

philosoraptor

grames
05 June 2012, 06:49 AM
Very nice post... so honest...


The Rose tree has Rose, Rose has Scent - All are the "qualities" of the one which makes the existence of the Rose and its scent possible. Scent of a "rose" has no independent existence ( with out rose, there is no scent - even the imitation has to imitate the real "rose" for the scent)

This is the idea/truth of Personalism or Realism ( Impersonal existence is not independent is the core truth and understanding that will clear off all the fake, false and demonic ideas from our heart and make us enjoy the pure devotion)

Hare Krshna!

zuikification
29 May 2013, 04:00 PM
Hare Krishna,

What is wrong in believing that All is One, including the non-difference between Atman and Brahman? It does not place man above God, nor below.



I feel your pain very well, because I myself have been affiliated with Iskcon's doctrines for a number of years and I have always felt very uncomfortable with the Gaudiya Vaishnavas' (not only Iskcon's) sectarian and narrow-minded attitudes towards Advaita or concepts of God.

I have been thinking a lot about exactly why this sect can't just let go of this extremely narrow-minded attitude. I think I could guess why. You said: "It (Advaita vedanta) does not place man above God, nor below". I think it is precisely because they want us to feel BELOW! It is much easyer to control people when they are forced to believe that they are small, weak, powerless creatures crawling on the earth totally separated from the great God, who is smewhere "high above" and unreachable. Then it is very easy to control such desperate believers' minds, by making oneself the "only true way" to reach God. Besides, such dualist, exoteric doctrines usually infuse followers with living in constant fear of "not being saved" or "going to hell" just for failing to believe properly or not following some strict dogma. Again, very easy to control such people who are in fear and feel powerless and desperate. So therefore I came to feel that dualist, sectarian, narrow-minded forms of religion (Not only Iskcon, but many others too) are in fact a form of psychological blackmailing and controlling people, a sort of mental prison to keep masses in. Compare this to the freedom of Advaita: realizing one's inner unlimitedness and infinite potential as being - consciousness - bliss. I am infinite Consciousness and there is nothing impossible. Do people who feel they are sat-chit-ananda need some narrow-minded sects or dogmas? It would be much more difficult to keep people desperate and oppressed if they believed that they are unlimited consciousness and their potential is Divine! Much easier to control and blackmail someone who thinks they are weak, powerless and therefor are fearful and totally at the mercy of organized religious structures who can very easily manipulate, control and abuse them.

zuikification
29 May 2013, 04:24 PM
Namaste AB,



I love going to ISKCON temples. However, I was shocked when I came into the contact of some ISKCONites on this forum and elsewhere on the internet. I can tell you only these things :

a) ISKCON doesn't understand Advaita even a bit and therefore, they should stay away from it. Upanishads say that Advaita is not for people who are not fit for it. The easy path is Bhakti Yoga ... Advaita is difficult to understand and also follow.

b) ISKCON is what it is and they understand what their Guru said to them. So, there is no pint fighting them. You have to decide which path suits you.

c) ISKCONites unnecessary waste their energy over Advaita-bashing. They can utilise this time effectively on their bhajan kirtans.

OM

Devotee, you are one of those people who I feel are speaking exactly my feelings! I too like Iskcon's bhajans and kirtans (and of course prasadam! :) ), but I cannot stand some of their more controversial teachings on Advaita or the nature of God. Not so much the teachings themselves (they are free to teach or interpret Vedic scriptures in whatever way they like, Hinduism after all is not Islam), but the problem is their aggressiveness with which they promote their interpretations as "the only true way". As you correctly noticed, this reminds very much of exclusivistic attitude frequently met in Abrahamic religions like Christianity or Islam. But such exclusivism is totally foreign to Hinduism, which is liberal and open-minded. I think even other Vaishnava schools (e.g. Ramanuja sampradaya) even though hold to a more or less dualistic doctrines, are much less sectarian and much more positive towards Advaita vedanta, even though not necessarily agreeing with it. While Iskcon and Gaudiyass attitude are the most uncompromising. I grew up not in a Hindu family and chose Hindu tradition precisely for this open-mindedness and philosophy allowing various contradictory beliefs to coexist peacefully rather than fight. I feel modern world is so much tired of various contradictions, fights and "I-am-the-only-one-who-is-right" attitudes which are often so destructive. Thanks God for Hinduism, therefore, that it offers a ray of hope to people lost in the quagmire of contradictions and fights. Therefore we do not need sectarianism in Hinduism, we already had enough of that junk here in the West...

Sriram257
23 August 2013, 03:24 PM
I agree that Iskcon wastes time bashing Advaita Vedanta.

Following is what I have observed from Iskcon.

1.They feel that just because they have memorized the scriptures they have knowledge but infact they have only information not knowledge.

2.As they are Vaishnavas they will always say that Vishnu is supreme and Shiva and all other Gods are mere demi gods.

3.There is actually no difference between them and some evangelical Christians who fanatically believe what is told to them.

Now I know that Iskcon members will reply to my post.


Here are a few pointers to the kind of arguments they present.

1.Most of the time they argue based on scripture which is obviously memorized or they copy paste some thing it can be Bhagavat Gita or Chaitanya Charitamrita, Padma Purana and so on.

2.I have unfortunately had discussions with Iskconites, they have not given a satisfactory answer to even a single question that I have asked.

For example there is a verse in the Vedas saying "Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda vadanti" meaning truth is one it is called by many names, I have asked them if only Krishna is to be worshipped then should this verse be there in the Vedas .

3.Translations of Sanskrit are also not exactly correct when it comes to their books as well.

In short a materialist or an Advaitin according to them is a "Rascal" , so if I go against their philosophy I will be counted as a "rascal".

I have read the comments of the followers of Ramanujacharya, although their views are biased they address rival philosophies in a much better way than the followers of Iskcon.

Regards
Shriram

philosoraptor
25 August 2013, 09:20 AM
I'm not into ISKCON, but I'm not sure I can understand the criticism that they "argue based on scripture." Arguing based on scripture, as opposed to intuition, personal preference, etc should be the standard for all intra-religious discussion. If I had any criticism on this point, it is only that many ISKCON devotees I have met, like many members on forums like these, seem quite insecure about their views, and are ever ready to misrepresent scriptural meaning in order to give the appearance of legitimacy for their views.

In that regard, they are just like any other lay Hindus I have met.

ShivaFan
25 August 2013, 03:02 PM
Namaste

My response to this question on Advaita, Bhakti yoga, elements of ISKCON, goes back to my post # 55 in this very thread in 2012, which was one of my first posts:


For example, as a Bhakti, I also understand that aspects of God are multi-facet, and during a Bhajan or during a moment of meditation can be revealed in many ways, some of which is "impersonal".

For example, a beautiful Red Rose is a very real living thing. There is a Rose itself, it is on the Rose Tree. The Tree is a personality - it has feelings. The Rose is an aspect of the Tree. But I see the Rose as it's own - "oh how beautiful is this Rose!" I will say.

But the Rose has a scent. When I walk down the path, suddently I can smell the Rose. This scent is "impersonal" --- but I know and consider it the same Rose. It is also the Rose.

So you see? You exist also. Because of that, you can Love the Deva who Loves you. There is nothing wrong in it, it is "natural". You may sense the one you Love when you are walking down that Path. You may not see the Lord. But you will smell the Rose. This is the impersonal - but you know it is the Lord.

I too, however, am not so impressed by those who selectively quote scriptures or "shotgun" their translations as part of what is really an agenda of stealing the rose as only their own on behalf of their sect which is only one aspect in the diverse family.

Om Namah Sivaya

philosoraptor
29 August 2013, 11:40 PM
Personally, I would have to say that I am far from impressed with the behavior of those who make a claim about what the scriptures say, then becoming hostile to those who point out (with evidence) that the scriptures in fact say something else.

In the 2013 edition of Hinduism, the new standard of discussion is to say whatever you want about anything you want, no matter how false it may be, and then call anyone who tries to correct you as a sectarian wrangler. And then ask the moderator to close that thread. Because we cannot allow the peaceful and free discussion of ideas between other people when we cannot tolerate those ideas to begin with.

Getting back to the point about people complaining about ISKCON, my suggestion is this: if you don't like what ISKCON people say (allegedly) based on scripture, then don't be lazy. Pick up the scriptures and read them yourselves. Do your own homework and get educated, instead of asking the other guy to shut up just to hide your own insecurity. Yes, it means that you have to invest some time in the process, and yes, it means you may have less time for watching television. But you can't know what you are talking about if you have no idea what you are talking about.

There is one belief that is held by all people who relish their ignorance of shAstra. That idea is, it doesn't matter what you believe, because all beliefs are valid in some sense. They talk like this because they themselves hold to poorly thought-out ideas, and they do not want anyone questioning said ideas.

At the end of the day, you have to decide what you want to be - a lazy sentimentalist who doesn't want to be asked to think too much, or a disciple in the lines of the great Rishis who delivered these treasures of shAstra-s to us.

Time to make a choice!

JaiMaaDurga
30 August 2013, 03:25 AM
Namaste,

I am reminded of a quote attributed to American author Mark Twain:

Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.

JAI MATA DI