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Thread: What is wrong with this forum

  1. #1

    What is wrong with this forum

    I am allowed to give feedback so I will use the opportunity. A personal hopefully constructive view of what is in my view wrong with this forum. I will post my thoughts in a number of posts.

    Ethics
    I hope we can agree that any forum that defends religion should take the highest ethics as a lead. The whole purpose of ethics is defending peoples human rights, basically ethics comes down to defending the rights of people of less power to people of more power. Nobody needs to defend people with power, they can do that themselves. Ethics directs at protecting those with less power.

    Any system that purposely tries to create a situation in which people are made powerless against rulers is unethical. leaders who want to oppress others will create rules in such a way that that the people have no other rights than to respectfully obey. Any disobedience is interpreted as breaking the rules, and disrespect to the system. In such a system leaders often will not listen to protests. Such systems are very low in democracy, they are autocratic. And they are by their very nature unethical, even if the rulers claim to be inspired by the highest ethics.

    One who says: I need to make you powerless to force my high ethics on you, lives in delusions of his own grandeur. Love can not be enforced on people. Respect can not be enforced on people. Compassion can not be enforced on people. Happiness can not be enforced on people. Turning people into obedient servants is not ethics but the opposite of ethics.

    Democracy
    Democracy can only exist if several other conditions are met like: Freedom of speech, tolerance, division of power. People must be allowed to voice their opinion and they must be allowed a space to be different, even if this greatly disturbs others. This is best expressed in the words describing the views of the great philosopher Voltaire:

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

    Freedom of speech
    The US is a country where this ideal is held very high. In the US extremist can say almost anything, even things others may see as very hurtful, as long as the do not call people to do hurtful things that break the law. So a neoNazi can say: I want a country without blacks, but he can not say, lets kill the blacks.

    Why is this? Why not forbid them to say hurtful things? Because that quickly ends the freedom of speech. Then we get things like in Russia and China, when criticism on the government is punished as an insult to the state, or an insult to the head of state. It makes political opposition effectively impossible because any critique can be interpreted as insult to the rulers. If the government is corrupt, you can no longer say that because that is an insult. That is why freedom of speech should not be restricted by outlawing disrespect. What you then get is an autocratic rule that denies people the right to criticize.

    The same is with tolerance. Respect is only a value if it works both ways. The people in power must show the same kind of respect to the ones they rule as the demand from them. That means, allowing people rights that restrict the power (constitution) of the rulers and respect those rights. For instance people should be able to go against the state by having an independent justice system that checks the actions of the government against the constitutions. Only if people are given rights that they can be enforce, there is democracy.

  2. #2
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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Namaste,

    Democracy, voting and sharing of power is meant for nations/assets/cash owned by the citizens/members jointly. HDF is not owned by its members. For a private entity like HDF, the owner/moderator makes the rules. If I own a house, outsiders may visit me only if they are invited, and they may stay for short periods of time as long they don't offend me. They have no rights to vote to stay in my house against my wishes.

    Freedom of speech can be practiced at a public place. No one can come into my house and badmouth me. No outsiders are allowed to come into my house and trash me. That is NOT free speech. That can be practiced in YOUR house or at a public place; but NOT in my house.

    Constitution is a set of rules framed by the representatives of the people, and written for the country which is owned by ALL its citizens. HDF is NOT owned by all its members. Its rules are made by its owner. He writes the rules (constitution) according to his wishes about the conduct of guests on HIS private property.

    Respect is a two way street. People bent on manipulating others and putting others on the defensive don't deserve my respect. Playing the part of a victim to garner sympathy is an old trick. 'I am better than you' attitude does not work in this forum OR in society at large.

    The basic lack of understanding on the part of some members is that HDF is NOT a Govt. owned entity with equal rights for all members. It is privately owned, run according to the rules set forth by the owner/moderator and we all are here at the discretion of the owners/moderators. As soon as we break the rules, we all will have to face the consequences. Concepts of democracy, freedom of speech etc. do not apply to private property, only to shared assets. HDF is a private property. Being able to post here is a privilege, NOT a right.

    As has been aptly explained elsewhere, the colonial days when you could walk into somebody's house, take over the place and dictate as to how the past owner should live are long gone. This air of superiority and getting atop a soapbox to lecture others about democracy, free speech, constitution etc. which are not applicable to private property, sounds so hollow. The constant refrain of 'in my country...blah, blah, blah...' as if that is the only cultured place on this planet is a behavior totally devoid of respect for others. Consequently, no respect should be expected or commanded from others. That is something that has to be earned.

    Lastly, if this forum is so bad, why does the OP not leave us alone and continues to hang around here? Why not move on to another site which is more palatable to his taste? Or, maybe he could start his own blog and practice the virtues of democracy, voting, constitution and .....

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 26 May 2015 at 10:04 AM.

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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Vannakkam: We have a cultural group (different than the founders of the temple) that comes to our temple and sponsors pujas. They want to do what they want to do as it pertains to their ethnicity back home, even if it is in disagreement with temple policies. Many times one or more has complained to me even though I am not even a member. My advice is always the same: "Go build your own temple." I honestly believe it is sound advice. The number of Mercedes in the parking lot on the nights they sponsor would seem that finances are not the problem. Rather than heeding my advice, they just continue to complain about the current temple board and how they won't change the rules to comply with the 'outside' groups requests.

    There are just so many advantages to building their own temple. They could worship the deities more familiar to their style, they could build it their way, the priest they hire would speak their language, and just so much more. In fact, the whole idea and project would be incredibly rewarding, earning each of them merit for making such a contribution to their society and to Hinduism and to this city. But alas, so far it has been a no go.

    The internet could most certainly use another Hindu forum. No forum (that I know of) is very active at the moment. All it takes is the will.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Namaste Avyaydya,

    This forum allows constructive criticism. You have only a very short stay here and you should agree that you need more time before you pass a judgement like this on this forum.

    What is the problem ? I have seen your posts and this is what I can say :

    a) You have formed some idea on what is right and what is wrong on the basis of your logical conclusions and based on experience with this world. Now, the same applies to members of this forum. They have their own ideas and in many instances, they need not match those of yours. Moreover, this is an area where you are new and the people who are long term members have more experience and knowledge of this specific field for which this forum has been made. It is like I go your country and as soon as I meet you I start giving you my piece of mind on what is right and what is wrong in your country. Will you really feel comfortable with me ? No. What is right and what is wrong ... is highly subjective. Anything which you may consider right may be absolutely wrong from my perspective. ... and we should be mature enough to accept this fact of life.

    b) Every organisation and group must adhere to some rules to be able to achieve its objective. What is the objective of this forum ? To understand Hindu Dharma better ... to discuss issues related with Hindu Dharma ... to help others in understanding things on the Hindu Dharma matters better. This cannot be achieved without following a strict code of conduct because religion/Dharma is not based on logic and science alone ... faith of the people / beliefs of the people also plays a major role. It is easy to discuss things on a Christian forum or a Muslim forum but it is not so easy to discuss things coolly in a Hindu Dharma forum. Why ? This must be understood well by all of us. This is because Hindu Dharma unlike other religions encompasses many different belief systems which may seem contradictory to each other. How ? I will tell you :

    i) Advaita VedAntins say that Everything and every being is Brahman. Certain sects of Vasihnavas, Shaivas won't accept this and would oppose it vehemently. If you allow free for all discussion among them, is it possible to have any fruitful discussion ?

    ii) Vaishnavas say that Vishnu is the Supreme God and Lord Shiva etc. are actually, demi-gods which is again vehemently denied by the other sects.

    iii) NAstikas i.e. non-believers like ChArvAks, Kapila's SAmkhya system (and Buddhism)are part of Hindu Dharma. They don't accept concept of God while a majority of Hindus accept and believe in God.

    iv) Eating meat is strongly prohibited among Vaishnavas and Shaivas but it is permitted among ShAktas.

    v) Most Hindus consider Brahmin caste as superior to all castes but some may not accept this.

    vi) Killing is a no-no for most Hindus but some Hindus like ShAkta offer animal sacrifices.

    vii) Mostly drugs and alcohol are considered hindrance to spiritual aspirations but some sects like TAntrikas encourage it.

    viii) Most Hindus consider sex and indulgence in other sens-organs gratification hindrance to spiritual aspirations but some sects consider it a medium to achieve spiritual goals.

    ix) Most Hindus give very importance to personal hygiene and they want cleanliness in religious activities but Aghoris don't give a damn to cleanliness (they say that everything is Shiva)

    etc. etc. etc.

    My dear friend, the truth is not what you have imagined to be. It comes colored in different belief systems and biases. However, the unblemished, untainted Truth is the substratum of all such relative truths. Once we start accepting that the others' views may also be right from some other perspective, there won't be any need for most of our rules. But unfortunately, we are not yet there and so, the rules of this forum are required.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  5. #5

    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,

    Democracy, voting and sharing of power is meant for nations/assets/cash owned by the citizens/members jointly. HDF is not owned by its members. For a private entity like HDF, the owner/moderator makes the rules. If I own a house, outsiders may visit me only if they are invited, and they may stay for short periods of time as long they don't offend me. They have no rights to vote to stay in my house against my wishes.

    Freedom of speech can be practiced at a public place. No one can come into my house and badmouth me. No outsiders are allowed to come into my house and trash me. That is NOT free speech. That can be practiced in YOUR house or at a public place; but NOT in my house.

    Constitution is a set of rules framed by the representatives of the people, and written for the country which is owned by ALL its citizens. HDF is NOT owned by all its members. Its rules are made by its owner. He writes the rules (constitution) according to his wishes about the conduct of guests on HIS private property.

    Respect is a two way street. People bent on manipulating others and putting others on the defensive don't deserve my respect. Playing the part of a victim to garner sympathy is an old trick. 'I am better than you' attitude does not work in this forum OR in society at large.

    The basic lack of understanding on the part of some members is that HDF is NOT a Govt. owned entity with equal rights for all members. It is privately owned, run according to the rules set forth by the owner/moderator and we all are here at the discretion of the owners/moderators. As soon as we break the rules, we all will have to face the consequences. Concepts of democracy, freedom of speech etc. do not apply to private property, only to shared assets. HDF is a private property. Being able to post here is a privilege, NOT a right.

    As has been aptly explained elsewhere, the colonial days when you could walk into somebody's house, take over the place and dictate as to how the past owner should live are long gone. This air of superiority and getting atop a soapbox to lecture others about democracy, free speech, constitution etc. which are not applicable to private property, sounds so hollow. The constant refrain of 'in my country...blah, blah, blah...' as if that is the only cultured place on this planet is a behavior totally devoid of respect for others. Consequently, no respect should be expected or commanded from others. That is something that has to be earned.

    Lastly, if this forum is so bad, why does the OP not leave us alone and continues to hang around here? Why not move on to another site which is more conducive to his taste? Or, maybe he could start his own blog and practice the virtues of democracy, voting, constitution and .....

    Pranam.
    Namaste Believer,

    Believer, It strikes me that you always talk like you own the place, while Satay says you do not and are merely a poster like me. But you seem to be feel comfortable to talk for him. That give the impression you are much more than just a member.

    It also strikes me that any critique on lack of democracy is explained away with a colonialist mindset. As if democracy is the mindset of the colonialist. Colonialism was the opposite of democracy. Colonialism oppressed people at much at home as in the colonies. In fact the living conditions in Europe were often far worse than in the colonies. Average lifespan of people on the English countryside went as low as thirty-three, as the elite needed cheap willing soldiers for their expansionist plans. People will only enlist in armies if they are desperate and poor enough.

    But Hindu nationalists seem to have embraced the idea the colonialism is in the European genes and many have this tendency. Also that any critique is a covert colonialist attack on their religion and culture. They share this conspiracy thinking with Islamic nationalists. I doubt very much if this thinking promoted on this forum is a good reflection of average Hindus. I think it is more what nationalists want to spread and that is why they react so defensively to people with other ideas.

    Colonizers do not embrace democracy, their attitude has always been a very patriarchal one, both at home and in the colonies. "I know what is good for you", no critique allowed, no discussion! Their system can thrive where their is little democracy. It is funny that Hindus want to defend the same patriarchal system as something opposed to colonialism. Nationalism is always a patriarchal affair whether it is eastern or western.

    You imply that this forum is simply the play-toy of its owner and nothing more. If I were the owner I would regard that as an insult, if he wants to uphold higher values and virtues. You do not seem to be aware that what you describe is the kind of mindset we might find with people like Ravana and Duryodhana, certainly not with the hero's of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, who were dedicated to serving the people that served them. And you can not serve people if you do not allow them to express their feelings.

    If someone wants to dedicate a forum to the higher ideal of Hinduism, I would not expect him to regard the forum as his personal possession to do as he pleases. That is a self-centred view. I think if you create a forum, you try to create a community with the help of others. A community is not the possession of one person, because he has the power to single-handedly destroy it.

    The value of a forum does not lie in the money that someone puts in its the technical realisation, that is no value but costs. What is the value of a forum without members creating valuable content? Absolutely nothing! The actual value of a forum lies in the contributions of the members. If the administrator can not see that he is blind with arrogance. But luckily Satay did not strike me as being such a short-sighted person.

    But of course it is up to Satay to tell his own view on the matter. If he indeed follows your line of thinking, than you are right, but that is also very sad.

    But I have to agree this mentality seems to exist among many Hindu administrators. I have visited something like seven Hindu forums over the years. Five of them were blown up by the administrators themselves, even though they were thriving communities much appreciated by the members. It never dawned to them to allow people to continue the project. In the end it were simply ego-projects like you describe, I paid for it so it is mine to destroy if I like. These people had no realisation that people putting long hours in creating content also have a stake. Their claims of serving a higher cause were their delusions that turned out to be lies.

    If you would be right, and that would be a reflection of Hindu ethics, that would be a sad state of affairs. On Western forums that I visit too, they often have a higher standard of ethics and I think a Hindu forum should not want to be less. Because I seem to place Hinduism at a higher level than you do with this egocentric capitalistic ownership ethics.

    But if that is the point you want to make, and that is what Satay thinks too, than there indeed is no place on this forum for people like me striving for higher ethics. Than this forum is more like Hindu nationalist instrument to spread anti-colonialist propaganda for the Hindu nationalist cause. That is fine with me, but that is not the impression that was given me when I entered this forum.

    Nor do I understand why people react so defensive to critique. How can you improve things if you suppress critique? If what deviates from ones ideology has to be suppressed? I do not see that as a healthy mindset. Nor do I think this will lead to a thriving forum. My interest is to create a better forum for all from a community viewpoint, not from the sole viewpoint of the owner.

    This may be how things are done in India, I can not tell as I am a post war Westerner brought up with western democratic ideas. They are not colonial ideas, but democratic ideas. If that is perceived as a threat, or as you describe "a takeover" then I regard that as driven by fear rather than reason.

    If the owner simply wants to have a forum for his Nationalistic ideas, why not be open about it and defend these ideas to the best of the ability. If I were a nationalist, I would even invite people to come and challenge them for debate. Thus one only becomes stronger developing better arguments. Being afraid of deviating opinion only makes one weak. If such opinions have to be protected in a closed environment they will always remain weak little plants.
    Last edited by Avyaydya; 26 May 2015 at 08:29 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Avyaydya View Post
    Believer, It strikes me that you always talk like you own the place... and are merely a poster like me.
    If the complaint was meant to be private, it would be in the form of a PM to the administrator. By posting it in the forum, the poster invites opinions/inputs from everyone who may wish to comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    ...if this forum is so bad, why does the OP not leave us alone and continues to hang around here? Why not move on to another site which is more palatable to his taste? Or, maybe he could start his own blog and practice the virtues of democracy, voting, constitution, free speech and .....
    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 26 May 2015 at 10:22 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: We have a cultural group (different than the founders of the temple) that comes to our temple and sponsors pujas. They want to do what they want to do as it pertains to their ethnicity back home, even if it is in disagreement with temple policies. Many times one or more has complained to me even though I am not even a member. My advice is always the same: "Go build your own temple." I honestly believe it is sound advice. The number of Mercedes in the parking lot on the nights they sponsor would seem that finances are not the problem. Rather than heeding my advice, they just continue to complain about the current temple board and how they won't change the rules to comply with the 'outside' groups requests.

    There are just so many advantages to building their own temple. They could worship the deities more familiar to their style, they could build it their way, the priest they hire would speak their language, and just so much more. In fact, the whole idea and project would be incredibly rewarding, earning each of them merit for making such a contribution to their society and to Hinduism and to this city. But alas, so far it has been a no go.

    The internet could most certainly use another Hindu forum. No forum (that I know of) is very active at the moment. All it takes is the will.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Namaste Eastern Mind,

    There are a billion Hindus. Satay denies representing any particular organization. This forum claims to serve Hinduism at large not a particular sect, cult, movement, tradition. If I had the idea this was a site of a particular cult, sect, tradition, I would never have become a member, nor would I give feedback.

    My feedback is meant to improve the forum from a general viewpoint.

  8. #8

    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,
    If the complaint was meant to be private, it would be in the form of a PM to the administrator. By posting it in the forum, the poster invites opinions/inputs from everyone who may wish to comment.
    Pranam.
    Namaste Believer,

    Your input is very welcome.

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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Namaste Avyaydya,

    I think it would be unfair to criticize you on my end as it is clear to me you have come with only pure intentions. I can see your point of view, and I can also see Believer-jis point of view. I must agree with Eastern Mind; and I may actually create a Hinduism forum myself in the coming months - if only for diversities sake.

    I support your intention Avyaydya. I do not know if I support anything else as of yet, because there currently exists only vague thoughts. My point is you have made fabolous points, but have not linked them to the forums movement or activity. I'm very sure if you edit your post or create a new one detailing what you feel are current facets of the forum you believe can be improved, and how they can be improved, that we can all come together and make a change however marginal or drastic. You have my full support in that regard.

    My friend, I can see the intention of your post, and also the purity in your words. This is my personal gut feeling. Do not feel bad if you feel like you are ''under attack''. This is simply the format of your post; where one will individually go through your points and if they do not agree it may seem like a rebuttal.

  10. #10
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    Re: What is wrong with this forum

    Vannakkam all: I see it very much as all things come to pass. There were a few years there when HDF was at it's posting peak, lots of topics, lots of posters, lots of active discussions. But it you look at the sheer volume of posts here, we pretty much ran the gamut of ideas. For awhile there, myself and others tried to dream up new topics, just to keep the activity flow up. But even that became arduous.

    Still, all those discussions, all that knowledge, makes HDF one of the most vast resources of Hinduism going. Look at the daily readership.

    It has always been the most pro-Hindu of any forum I've ever been to, and I'm on or have been on several. Some others are sectarian, others allow insulting back and forth, and still others are full of sensitive people so much that if one expresses an idea of any sort, someone will surely get all angry about it, and start attacking or other such nonsense that's not conducive to spiritual discussion. A couple of forums are places of wholly sectarian ideas where you'll get banned 10 times quicker than here. Others are anti-Hindu, or stuck in British interpretation of Hinduism, and I spend all my time defending Hindusim on ideas such as the lingam is not a phallic symbol. So in summary, my view is that HDF has been the best Hindu forum over the years - by far. Thanks, Satay, for this service you have provided for us, fee of charge, as seva for the Hindu internet community.

    I realised just now I've been posting here nearly 8 years. Long time. But oldies like me have seen many many people come and go. We've made internet friends, lost intense friends, seen long winded posts that we couldn't grasp, and wise short posts of high quality.

    The one strong thought that occurs to me after all this experience is that the internet and what's said on it has a far greater importance given to it by the individuals that post than what it actually is. People believe that what they post here has power. In reality it has little. We posters suffer from a delusion that this stuff actually counts.

    When Modi or Obama speaks, millions listen. When Swamis who head large organisations, people listen, are affected, perhaps changed forever. Those people have power. Internet posters rarely change peoples lives, although that would be hard to judge.

    All things here on this plane are temporal. There is only one permanent reality, and I'm afraid this isn't it. We all tend to forget that.

    Icy, when you get your forum going, let me know.

    Aum Namasivaya

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