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Thread: What am I?

  1. #1

    What am I?

    Namaste and hello,

    I want to study Sanaatana Dharma. I don't know that I am Sanaatani, because I have major issues with worshipping Gods/Goddesses and ritualism. I guess I need to explain... I shared this as my first post, I believe.

    I grew up oral-deaf (speaking and lip-reading as my main method of communication as opposed to sign language, though I can sign when the opportunity arises), so I am deaf instead of Deaf (the big D means being culturally deaf). The Ancient part is interesting. Because I wasn't discovered to be deaf until I was seven and a half years old (I'm 48, so things like this still did happen, though rarely), I couldn't use my primary language at a very basic level until I was a year older. I lived as a child of tens of thousands of years ago, save for the technology available in my childhood, before there was language, knowledge, or tools for that matter, maybe just before the time when there was enough awareness to begin to convey spiritual experiences on cave walls. It was at this time that I first heard about religion from my Polish-Catholic nanny, who was an older woman with the first two of five children already adults and living on their own. This encounter was about my cursing when I got mad about something. When she explained to me about Jesus, a wall went up immediately. It was like I knew there was something wrong, and I could feel it. The Ancient means that I lived with very low language skills and no exposure to religion and understanding of social skills until that time. I can still remember clearly what it was like. I have resisted attempts at proselytization from AND assimilation into various faiths. The Self is just too strong. Maybe I have not found the right match for what is already inside me, or maybe there isn't one and I need to create one?

    I do feel there is something going on here. I'm not sure that I can describe what it is that I experience, except perhaps from a Samkhya perspective(?). It's language-less, as it formed while I was still in the Deaf Years prior to the discovery, so it is formless without a name. This gives me pause when I think about image worship, such as worshipping say Ganesha. I can't see the difference between worshipping Jesus and Ganesha. Maybe there's something I'm not understanding.

    I've always been fascinated with India and feel like there is some attachment there. There are things I do to help me connect with that and stay there for hours at a time. I browse for photos to use in online jigsaw puzzles, I have tried to learn more Hindi from time to time, and now, I'm trying to learn Sanskrit. I'm trying to find ways of learning Sanaatana Dharma on the traditional path instead of the westernized, neo-Hindu path as many not-born-Hindus, do, because I do not understand Christianity very well, having little exposure to it, and yet red flags keep coming up. I'm reading a book of Rajiv Malhotra, "Invading the Sacred." A very crucial book to read, as I feel like I am a minority person in this regard.

    I have been vegetarian for 20 years, vegan for 15 years out of those 20 years (this time, a little over 10 years). I first did this out of health reasons, as I was originally coming from a Natural Hygiene perspective, and shortly after that, I went to animals rights and years of realizing what I had done from eating animals (and killing them myself as a hunter). I was haunted by that for decades until I realized that I needed to see them with my third eye(?), acknowledge that I took away their lives and them away from their family, mates, and friends and apologize, let them approach me in the field, give them a hug, every single one of them, and they would walk away over to the edge of the horizon where they disappeared. Rarely now, I get these things in my mind. I feel personally responsible for it and must pay for it not just during the times of realization of this horror, but perhaps in a future life(s).

    I will admit as a result of the Deaf Years, I don't form long-term intimate relationships, because I am simply too different for people. It takes a special person to really see me and realize what I live with. Often times, I don't talk very much, or if I do, it's about serious topics, like the bees dying off (I was a volunteer farm hand on an organic produce farm near the coast in Texas), how farming is done commercially, the way westerners see money as opposed to easterners, and so on. I just don't do small talk well at all.

    What am I within Sanaatana Dharma?
    Last edited by yajvan; 27 July 2014 at 08:49 AM. Reason: added salutation

  2. #2
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    Re: What am I?

    Namaste Sir,

    Maybe we can call you a seeker such as Sri Nachiketa? You should read the story of Sri Nachiketa in Wikipedia, it gives a wonderful description.
    Nachiketa is noted for his rejection of material desires which are ephemeral, and for his single-minded pursuit of the path of realising Brahman / Moksha i.e. emancipation of the soul from rebirth.
    Sri Nachiketa has been the only one to visit the abode of the Lord of Death - Yama's world as a mere boy. There he wins Yama's admiration for his bravery and gets 3 boons from Yama - which then he uses to find out about philosophical things such as what happens after death.

    You had stated you could not find any difference between worshiping Jesus or Ganesha. The difference does not come in the actual worshiping part - we all praise the deity and ask for our well-being, that's all! The difference comes in the teachings of the religion itself. Hinduism teaches the following,, which Yama teaches to Nachiketa:

    (From Wikipedia):

    * The sound Om! is the syllable of the supreme Brahman
    * The Self, whose symbol is Om is the same as the omnipresent Brahman.
    * Smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest, the Self is formless and all-pervading.
    * The goal of the wise is to know this Self.
    * The Self is like a rider; the horses are the senses, which he guides through the maze of desires.
    * After death, it is the Self that remains; the Self is immortal.
    * Mere reading of the scriptures or intellectual learning cannot realize Self.
    * One must discriminate the self from the body, which is the seat of desire.
    * Inability to realize Brahman results in one being enmeshed in the cycle of rebirths. Understanding the Self leads to moksha.

    Thus having learnt the wisdom of the Brahman from Yama, Nachiketa was freed from the cycle of births. -- In your case, we hope you to have acquired more clarity on Hinduism!

    Wishing you good luck,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: What am I?

    Dear friend ,
    you are literally an enlightened yogi . There is no need to exhibit all yogic traits as long as you are in the world of perceptual reality . But to some it comes automatically .To talk less is the most difficult and most desirable quality in the spiritual path .Even if you say million things, it is not talking much , as long as those words do not hurt others . Even a few words if they are hurting and leaving an indelible impression on others it is too much talk , what we call adhikaprasangam .Time will take you , in course of time , to the desired destination , one day , with out any effort on your part.

  4. #4

    Re: What am I?

    Namaste to the both of you.

    My name is Stephanie... Viraja, I would agree with most of the teachings of Yama (the issue being the sound of Om). As I am a didgeridoo player and find that I am in that state of realization as I play because certain overtones of the instrument, as well as the specific changing patterns of the droning tone, causes me to experience certain feelings of realization or to think of certain people and certain circumstances.

    I have already figured out that:

    * Smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest, the Self is formless and all-pervading.
    * The goal of the wise is to know this Self.
    * The Self is like a rider; the horses are the senses, which he guides through the maze of desires.
    * After death, it is the Self that remains; the Self is immortal.
    * Mere reading of the scriptures or intellectual learning cannot realize Self.
    * One must discriminate the self from the body, which is the seat of desire.

    Further, I realized that for a long time, I have seen three layers: One, my core Self, which only I can see, no one else; Two, the interface which is my body, clothes, language, manners, (those four things, everyone sees and knows about me), knowledge, even memories that my core self uses to try to live successfully in the world; and three, the world that I find myself in. There is clearly a separation between myself and my body, and that of my body and the world it is in. I believe that I am not my body, but that I use it to get around in this world and otherwise interact with people. The way I would look at it is that the pole I use to reach way up or the tractor I use to carry or move things is a mechanical extension of my body that is part of the outside world. As far as the self core goes, that's just it. That's all there is, the energy, the sense of self-awareness. When my body dies, the two layers surrounding me may shed away, leaving me with just myself, and I may or may not remember explicitly what I just went through in this life, and then I may find myself born anew somewhere else.

    If I were god or goddess who had created/helped created this world, I sure would have inserted a life cycle loop somewhere, so I could live endlessly forever if I wanted to. Maybe some people have figured this out and have purposefully avoided moksha because it's so darn fun and interesting to live life on Earth as a human, especially if you have somehow figured out how to jump from wealthy family to family, or how about from skill-talented person to the next one! A question I have is, what happens to the spiritual apparition called memories, experiences? It has to go SOMEWHERE, as it is a part of energy. Maybe it is passed back up to something that is collecting this information, this history, and I'm once again free to live another life unencumbered, or, that I retain my memories (possibly as samskara), but they are made inaccessible through some sort of memory dampening structure, hidden very cleverly from eventual human discovery, so as not to spoil the new adventures of each succeeding life. To experience life with a fresh slate, a fresh perspective, so you can experience once again the joys of discovery, of learning, the wonder of an amazing new experience, and so on.

    Could it be that the destruction (or dissolution - please advise on this distinction) phase of the world is so that we are robbed ourselves of the ability to find out everything there is to know about the body, which would cause the remembrance of everything we are ex-mortally (in a nonmortal, or spiritual state), and end up terminating this world at once? (note that I'm aware of the debate regarding the view of destruction of the world versus dissolution of the world, which I need to read about more) Maybe that's the purpose of Kali Yuga? The human nature as I observe it has the entire range of possible expression, from motives of good will to everyone first before oneself to that of ulterior motives that serves only the self at the expense of everyone else, even in indifferent, cold blood. Because of our preoccupation with our bodies in the Kali Yuga, we are perhaps trying to figure out how to live forever, or at least as long as possible before dying, and with this knowledge or ideas (I can't tell if this is true or I just have a gigantic, creative imagination), we may end up figuring out how to reach out outside the world we live in for answers as to how all this got started. It's pretty much like the movie, Matrix. Only the world must be destroyed before this possibility is manifest, and then the world is reset before starting over again. We have no idea what goes on out there in the ex-mortal, spiritual world that we cannot see with our physical eyes.

    Saswathy, that is an amazing observation you made regarding talking less... I am the kind of person who wants to say something mainly that is important and not much else. I'm not good at small talk. I also don't talk very much around most people, unless they are very much like me; serious readers who can discuss topics like this. Even then, I keep having the sense that I want to quiet down, and simply be. I learned over time that sometimes, it's not worth trying to correct people, and that the best way to "prove them wrong" is to simply let them do what they will, and then they will learn either relatively soon, or in another lifetime elsewhere.

    I have a constructed language that is largely liturgical (used for spiritual purposes), since no one can speak it but me. It is called Galeh Yuvo, which means, "To (simply) be." JUST BE... I created this language 30 years ago when I was a teenager in high school. In those days, we did not have the Internet, not even a mainframe or a minicomputer that would allow us to look up books. It was all on paper, and we did not have the language books that would have told me that what I created is a form of an abugida with a specific encoding method. Somehow, I knew these two features without information from the outside world...

  5. #5
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    Re: What am I?

    Namaste deafAncient,

    I don't know what you would be seen as in Sanatana Dharma, but you're certainly a better Western Hindu than I am. I wish I had half the discipline and conviction that you express towards your practice and faith. So wherever you are, I wouldn't worry too much. If I can be called a Hindu devotee despite my flaws and maladies, I'm sure you can be one too.

  6. #6
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    Re: What am I?

    Hello, and Namaste <3

    Quote Originally Posted by deafAncient View Post
    This gives me pause when I think about image worship, such as worshipping say Ganesha. I can't see the difference between worshipping Jesus and Ganesha. Maybe there's something I'm not understanding.
    This is kinda odd, as this topic has risen in my field of view at least three times in the past week...and so this time I must concede to tackle it...so I won't see it again.

    It is the meaning behind each image that is where the difference can be found. I will tell you that I was asked just this question Sunday at the Temple from a western man who came in to learn about us.

    One, you accept you are born in sin, filthy sinner, broken, which must accept jesus as a personal savior.

    The other...you are beautiful, whole, perfect One. Born with a piece of Beloved Bhagavan inside of you and you can never be broken...ever.

    You probably wouldn't be aware of this because you haven't really had to.


    Now about rituals, rituals help bring someone closer to Bhagavan, it's about the focus and time spent in earnest. So too is also walking 2 miles to get to a Temple...so too is going outside under the bright Beloved Sun and singing...with a heart full of Love to Him. Every moment is a chance for such a connection.

    Seems like your whole life you have found your own wonderful way of reaching that point. For some it doesn't come so easy which is why there are helpful rituals to bring them to that space you so easily know.

    I think labels aren't so important, you are a seeker, a Lover a goodly person? It's all good. <3

  7. #7

    Re: What am I?

    Namaste, NayaSurya and Webimpulse

    Thank you for these words... I know that there isn't anything wrong with me, never has been, though it took the first part of my life to realize that. I believe you hit it on the head, in that the reason for lack of worshipping in my life is because I have always had a direct path to that place. From what I see you're saying, people need ritual to short-circuit the artificial barrier that is erected between themselves and what it really is. I do not have that barrier, because I can remember clearly what it was like to be seemlessly at one with the world around me, aware of the inner experience inside, and I am still that way. However, I remain skeptical that people, through ritual, really understand what the inner experience is like, as I see it, as a result of the three lenses of language, socialization, and religion. Because of the concept of pluralism, I must understand that everyone sees things in their own way, striding down a path that I may not understand. Maybe in another lifetime, they will have the experience that I am having in this life.

    It would explain why I come up with strange things, and people wonder if I'm "smoking something." I tell them, I have no need to, because I am already at the place that they "need" drugs as carriers that "deliver" them there, the place that they can't otherwise get to by themselves. It's why I refuse drugs, in addition to the health problems they cause. All alcohol does is make me feel physiologically off or funny, and too much of it makes me sick. I guess because of my direct ownership of the inner experience, I am not able to use desperation for relief as a "vault-pole" to overcome the sickening feelings my body gives me as a warning that I have taken in a poison in dangerous amounts. My body literally would force me to put the drink down and drink lots of water. I think that the desperation is what drives people to black themselves out in the quest to get away from the pain. I cannot imagine what it takes to reach blackout.

    It may very well be that a lack of a direct connection to the inner experience is what is causing all these wars, fears, anger, drug and alcohol abuse rates, and the expansion of modern civilization into previously unimaginable concepts and technology (as a means of alleviating the day-to-day boredom or pain in one's life). See, I learned from Mom, who was originally raised Quaker before going into some Christian denominations and eventually went into Alcoholics Anonymous later in her life, that yes, people get some temporary relief from the pains in their lives when they are drunk/passed out, but the problems are always still there because it is not dealt with directly. I took that as a lesson to learn from another's misery, which would be another basis for refusing drugs, because the problems would be waiting for me when I would come back to this world. I am very fortunate to never have had a drug/alcohol problem, given my parents' histories.

    Webimpluse, I don't know that I can call this "discipline." Maybe I can, I don't know. I think it's not about willpower, but more about my circumstances in life. I consider the path I have chosen to be one of "least resistance." I find it incredibly hard to try to emulate the successful members of society. Sure, I want to work, to earn money, have a comfortable life, and save some of my savings in silver (as I am but a common wage earner in America), especially on auspicious holidays, but it is incredibly hard work to pretend to be Christian, hob-knob with other well-to-do people in the community, and do things you are expected to do in society, such as become a doctor, a CEO, have a trade skill that require years, if not decades to perfect, behave in certain ways, etc. I ask myself, "Why??" I just want "to (simply) be," galeh yuvo, as it were. I want to do my part, but only enough to be comfortable because I consider the intangible experiences of life to be more important to me than material things, status, and connections with people not of commoners like myself.

  8. #8

    Re: What am I?

    Namaste to all,

    An update is that I find myself circling closer and closer to SD, especially when I read Rajiv Malhotra's articles presently. No wonder I feel out of place in my own society, because I was not raised the way civilized western people are raised in regards to religion and how the world is seen.

    The more I learn about SD and read Rajiv's perspective on the Western world and where it is heading, the more concerned I become that the Western world is headed in the wrong direction. You have the Grand Narrative taking place all over the world wherever the US interferes in international affairs outside of its borders. You have increasingly intrusive behaviors occurring within the US, such as security check points, tax laws, police brutality, etc. All of which are adharmic.

    Last night, I had to admit to myself that I am definitely a Dharmi of some kind. There are just too many parallels between what I can see/accept and what SD is. I can feel it now. Almost like a "coming home" feeling, but an ancient, ancient feeling, I would think. So old I cannot pin-point the feeling. I just know it's there.

    It feels like at this point, I must continue to absorb as much information as I can at various times. There are times when I have to stop reading and give myself time to let the information bring further awakening before I can read further again. Right now is a time to read. I finished "Invading the Sacred," "Kali's Child Revisted," and "Arise Arjuna!" and various papers I have found online either questioning western views on SD or supporting Dharmic views on SD. I want to read Rajivji's books to bring myself closer and understand even more why I'm so at odds with my own culture.

  9. #9

    Re: What am I?

    Namaste deafAncient,

    This is exactly how I feel, ever since I first started learning about Sanatana Dharma. Here was a path that fit all my beliefs and worldview. I had learned about other religions in the past, and even though I have always felt like a spiritual person, in order to follow any of the paths that I had been taught or was aware of, I would have to change my way of looking at the world in order to conform to that path. Not so with SD. It's the path I've always been on, I just didn't know it yet.

    I have never read anything by Rajiv Malhotra, but I am curious to. Is there anything in particular you would recommend?

    Pranam.

    Quote Originally Posted by deafAncient View Post
    Namaste to all,

    Last night, I had to admit to myself that I am definitely a Dharmi of some kind. There are just too many parallels between what I can see/accept and what SD is. I can feel it now. Almost like a "coming home" feeling, but an ancient, ancient feeling, I would think. So old I cannot pin-point the feeling. I just know it's there.

    It feels like at this point, I must continue to absorb as much information as I can at various times. There are times when I have to stop reading and give myself time to let the information bring further awakening before I can read further again. Right now is a time to read. I finished "Invading the Sacred," "Kali's Child Revisted," and "Arise Arjuna!" and various papers I have found online either questioning western views on SD or supporting Dharmic views on SD. I want to read Rajivji's books to bring myself closer and understand even more why I'm so at odds with my own culture.
    Om Namah Shivaya

  10. #10

    Re: What am I?

    Namaste Pranam,

    Rajiv Malhotra has a web site, rajivmalhotra.com/article-comparative-religion/ - read EVERY ONE of these articles on comparative religion to understand where Anglo peoples came from, and how the Indic world in general differs from the European world. If you go to this page, http://rajivmalhotra.com/library/ - you'll find that you can access ALL of his articles or blogs plus information about his books that you can buy online, either in print or electronic form.

    You MUST read these works in order to have a proper understanding of the context of SD in today's world of religions/ways of life. Please read these, and then go out and help three people. It doesn't have to be tomorrow, next week, or even ten years from now, but please help three people before you leave your present body.

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