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Thread: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

  1. #61
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    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    namaste philosoraptor

    re:


    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    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
    With our ears may we hear what is good.
    With our eyes may we behold thy righteousness.
    Tranquil in body, may we who worship thee find rest.

    AUM Peace Peace Peace

  2. #62

    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    Quote Originally Posted by R Gitananda View Post
    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
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  3. #63
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    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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!

  4. Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    Quote Originally Posted by AnrBjotk View Post
    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.

  5. Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    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...

  6. #66

    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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

  7. #67

    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  8. #68
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    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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

  9. #69

    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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!
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  10. #70

    Re: Question about criticism of "the Impersonalists"

    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
    || जय माता की ||

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