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Thread: Trying to Find the Light Again

  1. #1
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    Trying to Find the Light Again

    Hari Om Tat Sat,

    It has been a long time since I have posted here, maybe about 3 and a half years, but I wanted to present something to the community here and ask for some insight as I still value what everyone has to say here.

    WARNING: This post will be long, so read at your own discretion.

    It all started just over 3 and a half years ago when I ended up going too far with a psychedelic/entheogenic substance and had a very negative experience. This experience was so profound that it made me question everything I ever knew or believed. The experience was about as close to hell as anyone could ever come, it was, to this day, still the most traumatic experience of my life. It was even more traumatic than the death of my mother when I was 8, almost 9 years old. Now, I went into the experience with hours of chanting and meditation and with a picture of Radha-Krishna right in front of me, and I thought that this would surely make the experience, although still difficult, at least manageable. But it didn't. During the experience I lost all concept of God, hope, love, faith, fellowship and joy. I was literally dragged to the pit of hell never to return again...I literally thought I had died. I lost myself completely in the void.

    After the experience I was angry that my meditational practice wasn't effective in making my experience meaningful and enlightening. Instead it was of absolutely no worth despite all my efforts over the years. Here was this thing that I thought could help me conquer any situation, but it utterably failed at the first sign of adversity. I was angry, I was lost, I was left questioning everything I ever knew, believed and loved. This entire identity I had built up within myself was completely shattered and torn to pieces and I was left trying to pick up the mess and find answers. I remember being so lost in those days.

    It took me about 5 months to regain my composure. I was not myself at all during those 5 months and I remember being totally consumed by anxiety. I tried meditating again and getting back into the practice but it just felt so null and void and worthless, so I just gave up. I gave up on everything I knew and decided to start over again, it was my only option at that time.

    Now, I grew up in a Protestant Christian home and Jesus Christ has always been a part of my life in some form or fashion. During my years practicing Sanatana Dharma, I still loved Jesus Christ and still devoted myself to him, albeit in a limited fashion. And after this completely traumatic experience, he was the one that I ultimately had to turn to for safety. Whether it be due to my religious upbringing or cultural affiliation or simply due to my relationship with Jesus Christ throughout my life, I don't know, but I do know that turning to Him worked and it entirely brought me back to sanity.

    At first, I started attending a Protestant church, since that is how I grew up, but soon I became very turned off to it just like I had been in my late teenage years (and it was during that time, back then, that I started searching for other spiritual paths eventually finding truth in Sanatana Dharma). I was turned off to the fact that they did not have any sort of meditational or contemplative practice...church consisted of a rock 'n roll band and a fiery preacher, but that was about it. I felt that it had absolutely no substance to it, especially after all my years of experience as a follower of Sanatana Dharma. However, I still deeply wanted to follow a path that focused on Jesus Christ, so I began searching for other, more ancient forms of Christianity. That is when I found Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Within an Eastern Orthodox Church there are many things that resemble a Hindu temple. For instance you have icons, incense, chanting (even chanting scriptures much like when someone reads from the Vedic texts), oil lamps, prostrations, prayer ropes (which are much like japa mala), an altar as the centerpiece of the worship space, a priest who performs the various sacrificial rituals, ornate architecture, etc. Some traditions even take their shoes off when entering the temple. Not only that but there are also tons of monasteries filled with monks who have devoted their entire lives to the service of God. These monks continuously pray the Jesus Prayer on their prayer ropes and often perform various forms of asceticism like fasting, desert and cave dwelling, sitting in silence for long hours while focusing on breathing, attending long church services (sometimes doing all-night vigils in which they never go to sleep) and putting themselves in extreme conditions to cleanse themselves of sin. On top of all of this, the Eastern Orthodox tradition is much more mystical and has a doctrine called theosis, which is not unlike moksha in Sanatana Dharma, it is also called divinization. It is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God. It is the glorification of man to the level of divinity. In fact, St. Athanasius, a beloved Orthodox saint, once said about Jesus Christ: "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." Wow! Needless to say, I had found everything I had been looking for in Eastern Orthodoxy. So, without further ado, I converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith. There is actually a very interesting book called "The Human Icon: A Comparative Study of Hindu and Orthodox Christian Beliefs" which details the similarities (and some differences) between the two traditions. It can be found on Amazon here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...the-human-icon. Also, one other fun fact, I once watched a video of a Malankara Orthodox priest chanting a prayer and then chanting "Om Shanti Shanti Shanti" at the end of it, which I thought was very interesting.

    All this to say that, despite the similarities between these two traditions, I found myself instead focusing more on the differences over the past couple years and I eventually developed a mindset of exclusivity. This has caused me to condemn others (other Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) as being less knowledgeable and essentially unsaved. This mindset has caused much inner turmoil, not entirely unlike the turmoil I once faced in the months following my traumatic psychedelic experience, and has caused me to really be someone who doesn't practice what he preaches. Anger started to consume me again, as well as some other passions (gluttony, sexual desires, laziness, etc.) and I found myself really needing some healing. I had to ask myself what the missing piece in all of this was. After all, I believed that I had found the truth, but why wasn't I able to practice it? I tried praying more and found it very difficult. Soon I became empty inside again and I was wondering what could heal me from this. That's when I immediately turned to the Mahamantra, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare".

    I found immediate healing in the Mahamantra, instant peace. And I realized that giving it up years ago was a mistake. Since chanting the Mahamantra again, my desires have become pure, the passions have subsided and I feel an intense amount of ecstasy and peace. Peace that indeed surpasses all understanding. This has caused me to look into Sanatana Dharma again and revive an ancient and beloved practice that I had somehow lost over the years. I have started reading Bhagavad-gita once again as well. However, this time things will be little bit different. How so? Well, I still see Jesus Christ as being a very important figure in my life and my devotion to Him will still be something that I practice daily. If anything, reviving the tradition of Sanatana Dharma in my life has increased and greatly enhanced my devotion to Jesus Christ. I will most likely continue to attend Eastern Orthodox Church services and visit Orthodox monasteries. However, at the same time I will be returning to a Hindu temple to practice meditation and yoga again. I have found that these two paths can be reconciled, despite what anyone else has to say. I'd rather look at the similarities than the differences and I think synthesis is entirely possible here. But the biggest thing is this: I have to realize that without Santana Dharma in my life, I will be missing something very great and profound. I have to practice this in some form or fashion or else I will fall greatly. So I have decided to begin again on the path that was once so near and dear to me. It may look a little bit different than it used to, but that is okay. I have found hope again, I have found peace again, I found joy and love again. And it just wouldn't be possible without the glorious and sublime tradition of Santana Dharma. So at the end of the day, I am a Hindu...and I am a Christian...and I see no conflict between the two when understood properly. We shall see what the future holds.

    My question to all of you: what do you make of this? Is synthesis between these two traditions an actual possibility or do you think I will eventually fail in my endeavors and have to once again choose one path over the other? What do you make of the story I shared? Was it wrong of me to partake in a psychedelic experience in the first place? (*Note: That was the last psychedelic experience I had and I have had no desire to return to that realm since then, and I feel that I gain much more insight now out of being sober and practicing pure meditation, yoga and prayer without the addition of entheogenic substances). Also there is an interesting website which links Sanatana Dharma and Ancient Christianity here: https://ocoy.org/. What do you think of this website?

    I know that my post was long, but to whoever read the entire thing, I thank you, and if you have any insight to share it is most welcomed here.

    Peace and Love to All,

    LightofOm

    Pranam.
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Namaste,

    First of all, welcome back and thanks for posting. I did read your post entirely. I found it to be very interesting but not surprising. My impression is that most of us who grew up with a religion can never entirely convert out of it. My personal opinion is that Sanatana Dharma is so vast and open that it should not matter if you practice both hinduism and christianity. When our sages said that let wisdom come from all directions then let it come from all directions.

    I think what's more important than following a religion is practicing its principles and to see if that practice makes you a better person; if it does then keep with it.

    BTW, Christianity is not the only religion that talks about hell. Buddhism does as well. What is interesting to me is that you went back to christianity (the religion you grew up with) instead of say buddhism because of your hellish experience. That highlights my above point.
    satay

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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Namaste,

    LightOfOm, since you are attracted to Krishna and Rama, may I offer you the idea of associating with ISKCON? Or at least, follow the lectures of HH Indradyuman Swami and HH Radhanath Swami...? Radhanath Swami is Jewish, Indradyumna Swami is Christian, more important than these facts is that, I have listened to their lectures and they both revere Jesus as a great saint of a very gentle disposition and filled with humanitarian values. And, they are Krishna devotees. If you want to adhere to Christianity but yet benefit from Sanathana Dharma, these teachers might perhaps help you!

    I just recently listened to this lecture: The story of Father Pierre by HH Indradyumna Swami Maharaj and in this, he recounts how he stayed for 10 days at some church in late 70's as a travelling Hindu monk and met an Orthodox Christian monk named Father Pierre, and how the philosophy and wisdom contained in Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Geetha intrigued the Christian monk, to the point he went into samadhi once and was hooked! It is a touching tale. I find a connect between what you say, and the experiences of this Christian priest, as told by Swamiji.

    Radhanath Swami too, as I have heard, has high regards to Christ.

    I would kindly suggest you to contact them for guidance, if possible.

    Thanks and regards.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Quote Originally Posted by satay View Post
    Namaste,

    First of all, welcome back and thanks for posting. I did read your post entirely. I found it to be very interesting but not surprising. My impression is that most of us who grew up with a religion can never entirely convert out of it. My personal opinion is that Sanatana Dharma is so vast and open that it should not matter if you practice both hinduism and christianity. When our sages said that let wisdom come from all directions then let it come from all directions.

    I think what's more important than following a religion is practicing its principles and to see if that practice makes you a better person; if it does then keep with it.

    BTW, Christianity is not the only religion that talks about hell. Buddhism does as well. What is interesting to me is that you went back to christianity (the religion you grew up with) instead of say buddhism because of your hellish experience. That highlights my above point.
    Thank you for the warm welcome satay. I agree, it is hard to fully deny your roots and therefore completely convert out of a religion you grew up with, but you mentioned something so wonderful about Sanatana Dharma: it is so vast and open that it can accept wisdom from all directions. I think that is what I love so much about it, is that it is reconcilable with almost anything. It does not have the kind of feeling of exclusivity that some other religions and traditions do. This is because the teachings of Sanatana Dharma are indeed eternal and all-encompassing. And that is another reason for me wanting to follow Sanatana Dharma again because I see the effect it has had on my life. It genuinely makes me a better person, in ACTUALITY. Therefore, I think I must follow it. To me, it's principles are beyond compare. Good final point you made there. I think I was never really attracted to Buddhism because I always found myself either focused on Krishna or Christ alone. Not to say the Buddha has nothing to offer me, I think there are many great things to be found in Buddhism, but my attraction to both Lord Sri Krishna and Jesus Christ is so strong that I can't help but walk with them.
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Namaste,

    LightOfOm, since you are attracted to Krishna and Rama, may I offer you the idea of associating with ISKCON? Or at least, follow the lectures of HH Indradyuman Swami and HH Radhanath Swami...? Radhanath Swami is Jewish, Indradyumna Swami is Christian, more important than these facts is that, I have listened to their lectures and they both revere Jesus as a great saint of a very gentle disposition and filled with humanitarian values. And, they are Krishna devotees. If you want to adhere to Christianity but yet benefit from Sanathana Dharma, these teachers might perhaps help you!

    I just recently listened to this lecture: The story of Father Pierre by HH Indradyumna Swami Maharaj and in this, he recounts how he stayed for 10 days at some church in late 70's as a travelling Hindu monk and met an Orthodox Christian monk named Father Pierre, and how the philosophy and wisdom contained in Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Geetha intrigued the Christian monk, to the point he went into samadhi once and was hooked! It is a touching tale. I find a connect between what you say, and the experiences of this Christian priest, as told by Swamiji.

    Radhanath Swami too, as I have heard, has high regards to Christ.

    I would kindly suggest you to contact them for guidance, if possible.

    Thanks and regards.
    I am highly attracted to Lord Sri Krishna, and also Rama and Hanuman. They are so near and dear to my heart it is beyond words. Yes, I have been in ISKCON circles before and really liked everything about it. I will probably begin going to my local ISKCON temple again. That is a wonderful story you shared about Indradyumna Swami, do you have a recording for that lecture he shared? I am familiar with both him and Radhanath Swami, although I need to become even more acquainted with them. I think I will follow your advice and reach out for guidance. Thank you viraja.
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Namaste LightOfOm,

    Kindly find the link to the Story of Father Pierre as follows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zHGS4DBza0

    Thanks and regards.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  7. Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Ok. So, you took drugs, right? Drugs are illegal. Human law is a mirror of spiritual law. Yes, if you violate spiritual law, you can get punished.

    I was working on the case of someone exposed to death threats. And I became violently angry at the perpetrator. I was going to counsel someone to hire a private investigator and, basically, legally, destroy that person's life.

    That night, as a slept, I was taken into hell, in a vision.

    All around me were these heavily muscled guys...on a wooden boat. It's deck was on fire...and no one was leaving the boat...which was traveling towards the gates of hell.

    The message was clear. Don't be a macho idiot. Handle the issue with spirituality, not revenge.

    So, if were you taken to hell after doing drugs....what exactly did you expect? Did you expect God to approve of your drug use?


    All religions are really the same thing. John Coltrane said, "I believe in all religions." Sri Ramakrishna said that all the major religious paths are paths up the same mountain to the same goal.

    Now, generally, it is very hard to make a serious spiritual mistake through prayer. Meditation is not the same. Yes, you can meditate in ways that create serious problems and are serious spiritual sins, for which you will get punished.

    And this is why, we need to follow the paths as they are laid down and not try to do things on our own, in our own way.

    If Christ healed you from your trip down to hell, that is wonderful. But know that Buddha or Krishna could do the same thing.

    The Magi were from the East. That means either Persia or India. The Bible there is directly referencing that Eastern religion was produced mystics who were accepted as valid teachers of God's will.

    Today, in a competitive way, some people want folks to believe that Christianity is the only true religion. That is human ego, not spiritual truth.

    Did God decide to give only one group the keys to Heaven and deny everyone else? Why would that be fair? It wouldn't be fair and that is not what God did.

    The mystics of religions, tend to admire and respect the mystics of other religions.

    Today's Cistercian (Trappist) monks maintain a relationship with Tibetan Buddhists.

    Thomas Merton and other Catholic monks have written about the value of Eastern religion.

    In Medieval Spain, the Jewish mystics and Muslim mystics deeply respected each other. In India, the Sufis (Muslim mystics) were widely respected by the Hindus.


    So, basically, the people who go to church once a year are saying they alone know the true religion. And the people praying 5, 10 and 15 hours daily, for decades, are saying that all religions share a common goal, common morality and on and on.

    The experts say all religions are equal.

    The novices disagree.

    But that is because the novices have very very very limited experience.

  8. #8

    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Namaste LightofOm,

    Good to see you posting again and being so open, I wanted to reply earlier but I havent been online for the last few months for any long period of time but you was in my thoughts. And I hope your OK and on the path back to recovery back to what inspires you. The only thing I want to say apart from wishing you the best is to maybe reconsider the word converting from one thing to another. Why not just see that inspiration can come from many sources and take out the conflict that one spiritual teaching is not connected to another and they are somehow divided by view and belief. Apart from that take it easy and bring some balance back to your life, which starts with simple things like following simple daily routines, the body and the mind likes routine and gets settled and builds up strength and just follow what inspires you, a good analogy of the sadhaka is that he is like a bee, it just takes out the nectar from the flower without damaging the flower or taking the whole flower with it. Just as there was an upheaval in the chitta and stirred all past impressions at some point that will come back when everything is balanced but all the dots will connect, so just give things time.

    Hare Krsna

  9. #9

    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Suryavedanta754

    Ok. So, you took drugs, right? Drugs are illegal. Human law is a mirror of spiritual law. Yes, if you violate spiritual law, you can get punished.
    Please take your Christian morality which brings emotional stress somewhere else, this is a sanatana dharma forum where causes and conditions are studied, not man made moral laws. Its the Christian world that made all these mind expanding substances illegal in the first place, check your history and have some respect for other ancient cultures. In the native ways they were used in ancient times they were part of enlightening cultures, plants and herbs meant to awaken consciousness and they work. Make them illegal and you bring social pressure. Is the ancient shaman a criminal, is the sadhu who smokes chillum in the right way a criminal, if you answer yes to any of these questions your in the wrong place and totally have the wrong attitude.

    Like Osho says make them legal and controlled with the best quality to cut out the criminal element, that should be the responsibility of the government. Make these things illegal and you immediately breed criminal activity and put pressure on ancient practices and also the risk of contaminated substances.

    Stop using the word sin against someone who has been through a tough time, this is the whole Christian emotional torture that I despise and brings down the quality of true spirituality.

    Time for you and others caught up this whole emotional mundane Christian so called religious morality of unrealistic purity to transcend and understand the nature of dharma and the study of cause and conditions and the way of release and liberation which does not include kicking someone when they are down and using man made morality which only makes people feel guilty and worse about themselves. If you want to be suryavedanta you need to decondition all those false Christian impressions that only weaken the mind and emotional state. Not that I promote mind expanding substances, people need to be aware of the dangers and how to take them properly if they do experiment, i promote sattvic living but the main problem in the first place was to make them illegal and push them underground creating criminal activity.

  10. #10
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    Re: Trying to Find the Light Again

    Namaste Markandeya 108 dasa

    I am the last one who would defend Christianity, but moral laws, man made rules and social pressure we find also in Hinduism, we find it in this forum, we find it in any religion, because this is exactly how the clergy works to make people docile. There are much more rules in Hinduism than in Christianity.

    For example

    Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left eight verses, Shishashtakam, he does not utter a fear creating rule nor does he talk about sin. He does not talk about with which finger the mala is allowed to be touched. The wise never give rules because they know that there is no right and wrong.

    In verse 2 Chaitanya says: There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names.

    Nevertheless ISKCON and Gaudiya members are caught in a prison of man made rules. In the Gaudiya temple that I sometimes visit 64 rounds are required (by the order of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati) to please Krishna. Fasting on ekadashi is required, otherwise Krishna will punish the offender. Many despair of it. 64 rounds are impossible for a working person.

    The Shaivas are not better … in the Tamil temple in my city I was told, sleeping during Shiva Ratri is a sin.

    Translated Hindu scriptures are full of false Christian impressions – esp. sin. Papa is not sin, but always translated so. This is because Christians translated the scriptures respectively Indians learned English from the Christians and carelessly falsified their scriptures and their heritage.

    Pranam
    Last edited by Indialover; 30 March 2019 at 10:06 AM. Reason: Add Translated Hindu scriptures
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

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