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Everything posted by primate

  1. The Present (with religion) That's indeed a very interesting book..
  2. It’s sad and disappointing to see this discussion forum being closed at last. It has been great fun at times, and for me it has been the primary way to interact with devotees of various religious backgrounds. It was most revealing to see the differences and indeed the actual similarities of various scriptures and philosophies. This really broadened my personal perspective on both science and religion to the extent that I am convinced that both can ultimately be unified into a single philosophy of the nature of Absolute Truth, which is logically consistent and can be known, understood and verified by everyone. I think that will be an important part of the future of religion anyway, but internet discussion forums such as Audarya, may greatly facilitate the process. Of course there are other websites, but it will not be the same. (Any suggestions?) I will particularly miss Theist and Melvin, but I also wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to all the other members, for their much inspiring and knowledgeable contributions to my personal understanding of reality and general spirituality. All the best!
  3. Well, since the forums are closing within a few days, I guess we don’t have time to revisit that discussion. I think Prabhupada himself said that religion without philosophy is sentiment. One must inquire into the truth. The rest is up to God’s grace. That’s exactly what is illustrated in the vortex analogy of post #45. Every small localized vortex is created as a function of God’s overall non-localized energy. Forget about vortices within vortices. If such a hierarchy exists in reality, it’s clear that we are at the very bottom and God is at the absolute top (although every living being is obviously created within another living being as its offspring). In the analogy, all vortices (the tiny conscious entities) are localized. Yet, they are created and sustained by God’s omnipresent energy which continuously flows through them! We already agreed elsewhere (in discussing the sun analogy and a mathematical chaos analogy), that no material analogy of absolute reality can be perfect. In a sun analogy of reality, the sun and the sunlight are also not exactly God and his energies. In a fire analogy, the tiny sparks are also not living entities. Likewise, in this vortex analogy, the flowing water must be seen as just a very crude analogue of God’s energies that create and sustain vortices that must be seen as a very crude analogue of our individual or personal consciousness. The whole idea is just to indicate how we might be both one with God and different from God, and how simultaneously God can be a person like us, albeit a transcendental one. Actually, this vortex analogy is quite similar to my earlier mathematical chaos analogy. The latter is even simpler and much more powerful, but also more difficult to imagine or visualize in your mind. Anyway, It has been a rare pleasure discussing these ideas with you. It’s quite sad the forum will be closed. I really think we ultimately could have agreed on a more formal or logical concept of God, in accordance with Vaishnavism and perhaps even modern science. Actually, I don’t think we disagree that much. We just see things from a different perspective. I wish you all the very best. Hare Krishna!
  4. I'm well aware of this! Achintya-bheda-abheda, isn't that the whole point? Oneness and difference must both be true!
  5. That’s no problem. It’s a bit of a shame though, because I think my latest analogy nicely illustrates the proposition in post #14, on the basis of which you accused me of impersonalism! I assume that you agree then, that this is not impersonalism: Agreed!
  6. So, Brahm is atma, but (liberated) atma is not Brahm. Like the ocean is water, but (any amount of) water is not the ocean. I think that’s agreed by all Vaishnavas and Advaitins. Any disagreement would concern the status of God as a person and the existence of an objective reality in relation to the individual conscious soul..
  7. Another analogy: Suppose everything is consciousness. Since nothing in our individual reality (down to the absolute quantum level) is ever static, consciousness must be an extremely dynamical phenomenon. Nevertheless, each individual person must be a relatively stable recurrent dynamical pattern of consciousness, which forms a coherent dynamical conscious system in itself. This may be seen as the small persistent eddies in an overall whirlpool. The small eddies are part of larger vortices, which are in turn part of larger vortices et cetera. If in this analogy each persistent dynamical pattern of a vortex is an individual person, the small eddies are individual persons and the larger vortices are also individual persons. Ultimately all individual consciousness exists within this overall whirlpool of consciousness that is itself a person. Now, if the overall whirlpool is God, every individual vortex or person is part of God and ultimately one with God. However, each individual person is also different from God. If you think this analogy is impersonalistic, then can you explain why..?
  8. Yes, I guess that’s about the epicentral question in most religious doctrines: If ordinary (material) sense perception does not represent the ultimate nature of reality, then what is the ultimate (enlightened/liberated) nature of reality? The basic idea seems to be that you go back to your essential Self, and the smaller it gets (while you are still consciously aware of what you are doing), the more essential it is. Ultimately, you get to a point where you must admit that everything is essentially nothing but your consciousness or your Self. From that point onwards, it should be clear that everything (all material structure and beings) autonomously emerge from within you, or from your Self. That’s my two cents, anyway.. Maybe Paramatma can be likened to the input signal of a television set. Many different broadcasts of different stations are encoded, superimposed upon each other, within a single, relatively simple alternating electrical signal. Each jivatma is tuned (by remote control) to pick out the partial signal of one particular station, which is simultaneously one with and different from the total input signal. A voila, the station’s broadcast is being received. This is also similar to, e.g., paying attention to one particular voice in a crowded and noisy public place. So, God can be both One (the simple complex signal) and variegated (composed of different conscious beings)..
  9. Well, I can’t tell you first hand, but I believe enlightenment (or liberation) refers to a continuum of illuminated states of consciousness (chit) in which the ultimate (spiritual) nature of reality has become apparent to some degree. Sense perception is essentially illusory in that it does not represent the ultimate nature of the reality we encounter. To experience the ultimate nature of reality, one must meditate on the fundamental outlook that all beings and material structures are not outside you, but emerge from within (as released from Brahman into existence). Illumination is then traditionally described as a mysterious arising of being out of not-being. So, it seems that liberation or enlightenment is a staged process. Most probably human consciousness is already a higher stage than e.g. animal consciousness. And since we retain our individuality as conscious human beings, I don’t see why we wouldn’t retain our individuality at any subsequent liberated state of being. Even if it’s possible to completely merge into Brahman, I couldn’t say if this is to be preferred over personally "worshipping Krishna in Vaikunta"..
  10. Do you mean Vishnu/Krishna (i.e., the all-pervading transcendental Supersoul/Paramatma) and the jivas? In as far as jivas exist in Vishnu and are therefore qualitatively the same, both are conscious persons at a different quantitative level. I guess it can then be said that Jivas are part of Godhead, thus there is more than one person in Godhead. However, ultimately Jivatma and Paramatma are (also) one. So I’m not sure. Maybe I don’t understand you correctly..
  11. When I said, we are a part of God, I didn’t exactly mean this in terms of space or locality. I think our individual being is a specific dynamical aspect of God’s primordial cosmic energy (or shakti). Your statement, "Jeevatma is Energy of Bhagavan" might cover that. Since we are obviously nothing but consciousness, the divine creative energy (of which every living creature is a fractional dynamic aspect) can be posited as total or complete consciousness (even though there may be much more to it). Consciousness (chit) implies existence (sat). Hence, our sense of Self (I think, therefore I am). Total consciousness (God) must then have a total (or transcendental or supreme and blissful) sense of Self-existence (sat-chit-ananda). Thus, God is a Person..
  12. I guess Jesus Christ did a slightly better job. Not to change the subject to the Christian perspective, but the same confusing metaphysical idea is of course found in Christianity. How can God be a flesh and blood human being who suffers and dies, and then resurrects from the grave and rise up into heaven? According to Paul, Jesus ascended to heaven in a spiritual body. Even ordinary humans will not enter the Kingdom of God in flesh and blood but by a spiritual body: "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die; and that which thou sowest thou sowest not that body that shall be" (I Corinthians 15: 35-37). "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (44) "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (50). I think this is also the Vedic position. Every living being has an eternal spiritual existence and a spiritual body. Everything we consciously perceive in this material reality is just a limited projection of a much more elaborate underlying spiritual reality. We are simply unaware or ignorant of this fact. So why then wouldn’t Krishna (or Christ for that matter) exploit this metaphysical mechanism of maya, in order to manifest or project Himself in the material world? People ignorantly perceived Him as a flesh and blood human being (just like they ignorantly perceive themselves as their material bodies), whereas in reality He existed as an eternal spiritual being with a spiritual body. God knows what actually happened in this spiritual reality when Krishna appeared to be shot in the foot and died. Moreover, Krishna is God himself, so all human form and consciousness is part and parcel of His all pervading spiritual body and consciousness. Confusing? Yes. But isn’t this what the Vedas tell us?
  13. Theist, what are you? You are nothing but consciousness! And if God is total consciousness, then the ultimate question must be: Is God anything like us? If the answer is: Yes; then God must be personal, or a Person..
  14. Yes, I agree. This is implied by the proposition that "total consciousness remains personal"..
  15. Perhaps only partial (material/human) consciousness has limitations, such as emotions (because of lack of holistic/spiritual knowledge) and physical limitations (because of material laws of nature). Even Krishna avatar was subject to such limitations. Krishna died because a hunter shot him in the foot after mistaking him for a deer in the woods. And, for example, the need to do battle and other descriptions in the Mahabharata epic indicate that Krishna avatar was subject to human limitations and human emotions:
  16. How about this one: Our consciousness is personal (an obvious fact). Our consciousness, including our sense of Self, is part of reality (another obvious fact). If everything in reality is God (a premise), then God must be total consciousness (a logical conclusion). And if all consciousness is personal (a speculative proposition), then God must be personal (a logical conclusion)..
  17. God is personal (that's a premise). If everything is God (another premise), then everything in reality must be personal (a logical conclusion). Since your consciousness is part of reality (an obvious fact), your sense of Self might be the manifestation of the personal aspect of God within your consciousness (a highly speculative proposition)..
  18. That’s fully compatible with the Christian belief that God dwells in everyone as the Holy Spirit. "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). In Christianity God is the self-existent Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; Acts 14:15; Eph. 3:9). And God is the self-existent Sustainer and Governor of all things (Acts 14:16-17; 17:24-28). The eternal Son of God is described as the One who "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3) and the One in whom "all things hold together" (Col. 1:17). Bhagavad Gita may indeed be the highest and best revelation of Absolute Truth, although there are no objective methods to determine any Scripture as the highest or best. As you indicated, this is ultimately a very personal matter. But I must agree that Vedic scriptures describe the nature of Absolute Truth or God in much more detail, than the Christian Bible. However, as argued, both scriptures describe God and His relation to the Self in a remarkably similar fashion, using similar terms and concepts. Hence, Christianity appears to be much closer to Vaishnavism than it is to any other religion, even though other religions such as Islam or Judaism are partially based on the same scriptures (OT). I personally find this astonishing. Given that Christianity and Vaishnavism are completely separate traditions, how can they reach the same basic conclusions about the nature of God? Moreover, the New Testament might be the latest rendering of this Absolute Truth, whereas arguably the Vedas are the oldest religious scriptures known to man. Could it be that ultimately both scriptures have the same author, God himself? Agreed.
  19. Then what is your concept of God..?
  20. As I said, a panentheistic concept of God should be the most important criterion. I.e., God must be one with his creation. That is, of course, if it is accepted that Vaishnavism is a correct path. I am not sure about, for example, Islam. Islam seems to adhere to a strictly deistic doctrine in which the creation and the creator cannot be equal. Such dualism between God and His creation is definitely not a part of the panentheistic doctrine of Vaishnavism and Christianity. That could lead to a kind of religious anarchy. Original scriptures define a religion, not any pagan interpretation like eternal hell and other misconceptions and/or mistranslations. By the way, my reading of Christian scripture actually is the mainstream interpretation among Christians, just as my interpretation of Vaishnavism represents the mainstream interpretation. And this has nothing to do with sentimentality. It's just facts and information. Only a bigot would misrepresent Christianity for his own sentimental reasons..
  21. Clearly, idol worship is forbidden when it implies worshipping different gods than the God of Jesus Christ or the Absolute Truth. The Catholic church, for example, allows it's followers to bow down before statues when in prayer. Anyone can walk into a Catholic church and see devotees kneeling before every statue placed within. As far as a ‘jealous’ God is concerned, certainly we learn from Scripture that there is such a thing as a ‘godly jealousy’. We find the Apostle Paul declaring to the Corinthian Church, " For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2) He had an earnest, cautious, anxious concern for their holiness, that the Lord Jesus might be honoured in their lives. Jealousy, like anger, is not evil in itself, or it could never be ascribed to God. Anyway, Christians believe in the new covenant (new testament) that is referenced to in the Old Testament as follows: 31 "Behold, days are coming," declares Yahweh, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares Yahweh. 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares Yahweh, "I will put my Law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know Yahweh,' for they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares Yahweh, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer. 31:31-34) In the New Testament, Jesus repeated some of the commandments in Matthew 19:16–19 and condensed them into two general commands: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat. 22:34-40) So surely Jesus couldn’t have agreed with the gruesome passages in the Old Testament you quoted and which most certainly are not part of Christianity or representative of God’s character in Christianity. God is nothing but love. If that first [Old] covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second (Heb. 8:7). He [Jesus] is the mediator of the new testament (Heb. 9:15). Jesus [is] the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 12:24). By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His [Jesus’] commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (1 Jn. 5:2-3).
  22. God is personal. And since everything is God, it can be safely assumed that everything is personal. Hence, a personal God refers to your personal consciousness or your Self..
  23. Of course in as far as a religion may promote the worship of, e.g., tree spirits or extra terrestrials, it can be said that there are wrong paths. Even a self-contained and complete system of belief such as Buddhism, is obviously a wrong path to knowing God, because it denies the existence of God altogether, which is not to say that the practice of Buddhism doesn’t have spiritual value. It can be argued, however, that if Hinduism/Vaishnavism is the correct path, then it is not reasonable to reject Christianity as a wrong path. I agree that there are some problems (most notably the pagan myth of eternal hell in Christianity), but solely based on the similar concept of God and the similar method of attaining knowledge or consciousness of God through finding Him within the Self, I think it can be said that Vaishnavism and Christianity are compatible religious philosophies. Most importantly, Vaishnavism and Christianity have the doctrine of monistic theism or panentheism in common. All Vaishnava schools are panentheistic and view the universe as part of Krishna or Narayana, but see a plurality of souls and substances within Brahman. Panentheism which includes the concept of a personal God as a universal, omnipotent Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, is prevalent within many other schools of Hinduism as well. And contrary to the claims of Dr. Morales, this also is the Christian position. The Christian position is that God is the self-existent Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; Acts 14:15; Eph. 3:9). On the basis of biblical witness Christians believe that God is also the self-existent Sustainer and Governor of all things (Acts 14:16-17; 17:24-28). The eternal Son of God, who became incarnate as the Lord Jesus Christ, is described as the One who “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3) and the One in whom "all things hold together" (Col. 1:17). Taking this one step further, God the Father in Christianity is the all pervading Brahman in Hinduism, and Christ is Krishna, and God incarnate Jesus Christ is at the same level as Krishna avatar. Furthermore, God the Father and Christ the Son are One in Christianity, which is equivalent to Brahman and Vishnu/Krishna being One panentheistic Godhead in Vaishnavism. Finally, this might leave Paramatma as the equivalent of Holy Spirit in Christianity. Now, I’m not in the least suggesting that you should change your ishta-devata from Vishnu or Krishna to Christ. I am just saying that personally I am quite convinced and in fact believe that Christianity and Vaishnavism are compatible philosophies of the nature of Absolute Truth, and that (consequently) both are valid paths to knowledge or consciousness of God.
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