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Thread: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

  1. #11
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    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Namaste,

    Thank you for taking the time to educate me with the actual ancient text. I really appreciate it.
    But the God Himself is above any categories. If His marriage does not fit into any of the neatly compartmentalized boxes, perhaps it should be left alone; at least not dragged down to a rakshas level because of the burning desire of the interpreters to cage Him into one of the eight categories. None of our ancient seers would have thought that one day, we mortals would be having a serious discourse about confining the marriage of God Himself into an airtight box. Divine marriages exemplify Respect, Love and Devotion; and they are not about dependence, lust or sexual pleasure. So, I would learn what I can from the Divine unions and stay away from using my puny intellect to push them into one of the defined categories.

    I think I have said enough on this topic and I am going to move on with it.

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 10 September 2018 at 01:24 PM.

  2. #12

    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Thank you all for your kind replies I think perhaps the best thing to do is just to list my questions and see if anyone can help me with them.

    1 - I began this journey by chanting the Mahamantra and I enjoy it very much. My problem is that through a lot of reading of ISKCON literature I now feel I have to chant 16 rounds in a day and if I don't I start to feel guilty and a bit worried. I understand the 16 rounds is for the devotees in ISKCON and Krishna would be happy with me chanting even 1 round with pure devotion - but I still have the psychological artifact holding me back. I enjoy chanting a lot but don't want to get myself caught up in absolutely having to do something because that will end up breeding resentment. Any suggestions?

    2 - From what I have read of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Vedanta in general (as well as listening to podcasts) it seems that all pathways to God are valid, and the different Gods and Godesses around the world are all facets of the true source. I have practiced Western Esotericism for many years in the vein of Dion Fortune and to my mind there is no conflict with the teachings of Vedanta. I have found great benefit to my life from both Eastern and Western teachings but many people seem to think it's necessary to follow only one. Does anyone have experience of a similar situation?

    3 - Are there any English copies of the Srimad Bhagavatam with explanations of the verses that could be recommended? I have the ISKCON version already. Is this scripture highly thought of in circles outside of that organisation?

    4 - Regarding Mantras, are there any suitable for an English speaker such as myself who isn't initiated into a lineage? Opinions on this appear very divided online. What is the general consensus on Japa, is it always necessary to do it on beads, certain numbers of repetitions, count them etc. or do people just keep the mantras running through their minds all day?

    5 - Any texts and resources that could be recommended to help improve my understanding would be much appreciated. I have the teachings and Gospel of Ramakrishna and have just started on the teachings of Vivikananda.

    Thank you all again for any help and insights you can offer.

  3. #13

    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ameyAtmA View Post
    Namaste Kameron

    One of our friends here at HDF is a devotee and follower of RamaKrishNa ParamhaMsa. He is also an avid writer and blogger and will not rest until he has explained adhyAtmic principles clearly.

    Here is his blog : https://indiaspirituality.blogspot.com/
    (Ramakrishna teachings, Advaita, shastra topics with Ramakrishna quote references)

    Ramakrishna KathAmRut (Biography) : http://www.kathamrita.org/kathamrita
    Thank you for this, I'm having a look at it right now.

  4. #14
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    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Dear Kameron

    3 - Are there any English copies of the Srimad Bhagavatam with explanations of the verses that could be recommended? I have the ISKCON version already. Is this scripture highly thought of in circles outside of that organisation?

    Not exactly what you are looking for but inspiring ...

    http://www.ramakrishnamath.in/e-lectures/?cat=6

    Enjoy!
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

  5. #15
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    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kameron View Post
    1 - I began this journey by chanting the Mahamantra and I enjoy it very much. My problem is that through a lot of reading of ISKCON literature I now feel I have to chant 16 rounds in a day and if I don't I start to feel guilty and a bit worried. I understand the 16 rounds is for the devotees in ISKCON and Krishna would be happy with me chanting even 1 round with pure devotion - but I still have the psychological artifact holding me back. I enjoy chanting a lot but don't want to get myself caught up in absolutely having to do something because that will end up breeding resentment. Any suggestions?
    I now feel I have to chant 16 rounds in a day and if I don't I start to feel guilty and a bit worried. - The suggestion/requirement to chant a certain number of times is to inculcate some discipline in you so that you can set aside a definitive time each day which is devoted exclusively to Him, so that you can feel the rapture, feel His presence enveloping you. Without you mentally being there, there is very little payback for mechanical chanting.

    Krishna would be happy with me chanting even 1 round - YOU are trying to commune with Him through chanting. I don't think of this as trying to please Him. During chanting, I am elevating myself to a plane where I can be in His presence; feel His joy, feel His blessing, feel spiritually elevated, feel detached from this material world and feel peaceful.

    If you feel like you are absolutely caught up in doing something that has to be done; that would be like going through a bowl movement.
    Devotion to God has no place for such compulsions/thoughts.
    If you get to the point where you are just reciting the mantra when your brain is thinking about your next meal, just give it a break. When there is no desire coming from within for spiritual advancement, babbling a mantra a certain number of times and waiting for it to be over with is just a waste of time. Creating an illusion of doing an activity when your mind is thinking about a million other things is useless.

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 17 September 2018 at 01:41 PM.

  6. #16

    Re: Ramakrishna and some very newbie questions

    Namaste

    Thanks for the link Indialover to Srimad Bhagavatam, i didnt know that link. we need more translations from Advaita side on Srimad Bhagavatam to balance things out a bit.

    1 - I began this journey by chanting the Mahamantra and I enjoy it very much. My problem is that through a lot of reading of ISKCON literature I now feel I have to chant 16 rounds in a day and if I don't I start to feel guilty and a bit worried. I understand the 16 rounds is for the devotees in ISKCON and Krishna would be happy with me chanting even 1 round with pure devotion - but I still have the psychological artifact holding me back. I enjoy chanting a lot but don't want to get myself caught up in absolutely having to do something because that will end up breeding resentment. Any suggestions?
    This is very common feeling, even with long term initiated devotees. I would only take this seriously if your thinking to become a full time devotee under ISKCON GBC authorized initiating devotees. Srila Prabhupada gave that instruction to the devotees that he personally initiated and even in his his time devotees struggled to follow it. There is one recorded class in Australia where devotees caught up between study and chanting and his talk was if you dont like chanting then study the books, if you dont like studying the books then chant, the most important thing is to keep oneself engaged. In the process of Bhakti there are 9 ways of devotional practice and each one will give success. So I would not worry to much and chant as you feel comfortable with. I started my interest in eastern ways with Buddhism and spent some time with ISKCON and now have very light affiliation with them for quite a long time and only really keep in touch with former friends but I still know whats goes on and what helps and what doesnt help devotees, in other gaudia traditions of Hare Krsna some chant 4 rounds a day, some chant 64 rounds a day, so it depends on the guru and his instructions. Myself I like kirtan and Bhajan but prefer chanting silently in the mind, it helps me with concentration and Srila Prabhupada said many times there are no hard and fast rules for chanting, and whatever ones chanting or meditation in devotion the key ingredient is bhava or feeling as Believer said mechanical chanting doesnt bear much results if any at all. I dont really understand the feeling of guilt being associated with sadhana it seems to come from Christian style of religion, any activity that is done as sadhana is blessing and grace so where does guilt even come into it, it also seems to be something to do with western ( I am western BTW) with becoming and being the doer.

    3 - Are there any English copies of the Srimad Bhagavatam with explanations of the verses that could be recommended? I have the ISKCON version already. Is this scripture highly thought of in circles outside of that organisation?
    It certainly is highly thought of among the puranas and general hindu culture. In India the scene is a bit different, the emphasis can remain on Bhakti as people naturally know what is jnana. where jnana in the west is translated as empirical philosophical research. We are short of a wide variety of translations of Srimad Bhagavatam, the original commentator was Srila Sridhara Swami who was in essence and Advaitist and his approach was to blend the practice of dvaita and advaita, dvaita is our state in spiritual evolution of feeling some separation with emphasis on Bhakti for Kevalam or oneness which is beyond intellectual understanding and can only be understood through realization proper and sincere devotion and natural jnana. Personally I find the current translations from BBT a bit mechanical and to much emphasis on how the institute of ISKCON wants. But its still a great work and with the vedabase version online it serves as a good source and due to the word for word transliteration there are links to further synonyms which helps to broaden the meaning of each sloka for personal study, if every word is taken literally it will damage ones understanding of Srimad Bhagavatam which is what is happening in certain parts of Gaudia Vaishnavism. I am hoping and I had a chat recently with a nice devotee of Dayananda swami and almost pleaded with him to see if they can do a translation of Srimad Bhagavam as their group of devotees seem to be doing some of the best contemporary and traditional translation at the moment on Advaita. it will come but its a huge task.

    4 - Regarding Mantras, are there any suitable for an English speaker such as myself who isn't initiated into a lineage? Opinions on this appear very divided online. What is the general consensus on Japa, is it always necessary to do it on beads, certain numbers of repetitions, count them etc. or do people just keep the mantras running through their minds all day?
    Hare Krsna MahaMantra is fine and it requires no formal initiation, so if you like chanting and can disregard set injunctions and be done with any feelings of guilt its enough for now. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said that one can reach the level of ruci or genuine taste of sweetness without contact with any external guru. Some other mantras maybe quite specific and may need the guidance and expertise of a guru or qualified teacher.

    Hare Krsna
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 14 September 2018 at 08:11 AM.

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