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Everything posted by raghu

  1. An implicit part of respecting the Supreme Lord is respecting His empowered servants. They may be "little nature spirit gods" to you, but they can certainly ruin your day if they chose. And the Lord does not like it when His devotees are disrespected...
  2. "Futile" is in the eye of the beholder. Certain individuals believe that anyone who disagrees with them is needlessly argumentative, while certain others have a tendency to argue and argue ad nauseum even when they have little substance to their argument. To me, two people disagreeing politely is quite illuminating since it gives me a chance to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of their individual positions. When someone resorts to ad hominem attacks, fatwas, papal bull (or their modern-day, internet equivalents) to silence an opponent, it tells me rather quickly that his is a philosophical position that I should not bother making my own. Your idea that discussing hierarchy/supremacy of different deities is not important says more about your own views than of the legitimacy of the question. After all, a person who genuinely wants to know what is the best path to liberation is not going to accept an answer steeped in moral relativism (i.e. "this path is ok, that path is ok, whatever you like is ok..."). There is no getting around the fact that throughout the Puranas we have questions pertaining to what is the highest good for man, and the answer often comes in the form of directing one to a specific deity. Are all of those Puranas to be swept off the table because of their politically incorrect position of elevating one deity over another? Or could it be, perhaps, that it is our attachment to political correctness that handicaps our search after truth? It is kind of pointless, don't you think, to want to seek after truth but then provide so many conditions first (i.e. don't tell me one path is better than another, don't tell me one deity is superior to another, etc). If we do not know truth, should we not acknowledge that point humbly and take help from sources of right knowledge, instead of filtering said sources through our own preconceived biases? Hindus will never be philosophically united because Hinduism has never been philosphically united. Throughout Hindu history there have always been Vaishnavas, Shaivites, Shaktas, Vedantins, Non-Vedantins, etc. We do not need to dismiss our philosphical differences for the sake of political unity. Political unity and philosophical unity have nothing to do with each other.
  3. "Personal God" - meaning that it is in the Lord's inherent nature to have personality, display emotions, have activity, interactions with devotees, etc. "Impersonal God" - meaning an abstract idea of something being supreme without reference to eternal personality, attributes, activities, etc. However, this terminology is not hard and fast. Some Vaishnavas believe that Brahman is "personal" but is at the same time beyond all forms, qualities, etc. Sri Vaishnavas in particular seem to take this view, although they are quick to say that the Lord's forms are still eternal and divine. Some might argue that "personal" and "impersonal" refer to "approachability" rather than "personality." Thus, for example, the Judeo-Christian "God" is wrathful and demands unquestioning submission. Some have argued that this is an "impersonal" diety not in the sense of lacking personality but rather in the sense of demanding unquestioning submission that precludes genuine devotion. I guess it depends on who is doing the talking. As far as Hare Krishnas are concerned, I believe they use the first set of definitions.
  4. Just FYI, Swami Vivekananda whose quote appears in your sig file, was a meat-eater.
  5. Eating carrots is not equivalent to eating meat. Neither is eating garlic and onion equivalent to eating meat, as you have stated earlier. However, orthodox Hindus (including Vaishnavas) do not eat garlic and onion because of their rajasic qualities.
  6. I was making the point that the VSN contains names like Rudra which can refer to other devatas in some contexts. Which in turn means that there are some standard prayers which even Vaishnavas chant in temples that invoke anya-devata names but which in fact are not. I assumed by "Rudram" you were referring to prayers with the name "Rudra" in them. If you were referring to a specific prayer like Sri Rudram Chamakam then that is a different story. I do agree with the general point that orthodox Vaishnavas usually avoid even the appearance of anya-devata worship for propriety's sake.
  7. It is also stated in in the Skanda Purana. It also follows from Gita 15.15 and numerous other statements which presumably you would accept. You are obviously not familiar with the Vedanta-sutra, because this approach to interpretation is the very foundation of Vaishnava Vedanta and even your own Baladeva Vidyabhushana follows it. The principle is very simple and logical - whenever a seemingly dependent entity is invoked and described by attributes that are solely those of Brahman alone, then that reference should be interpreted to be Brahman and not the dependent entity one might superficially consider it to mean. THis is the only logical approach to scripture, assuming you truly consider it to be "scripture," as opposed to an inconsistent hodgepodge of contradictory ideas authored by different sages over time. Thus, when "Indra" is invoked and his supremacy is discussed, then "Indra" in this context means Vishnu. Same with "Rudra,Shiva," etc. Saying that other deities are glorified as supreme even when they are not is saying in effect that the Vedas teach falsehoods. This in turn undercuts your entire siddhanta, because even the texts that you do emphasize (Gita, Bhagavatam) base their authority on the Vedas. Not only this, but your own Jiva Gosvami accepts the authority of the Vedas and bases his discussion of pramanas on the unquestioned authority of the Vedas. So there is no way around it - you have to interpret the Vedas to draw out a consistent siddhanta. This is false. The Vishnu-sahasranama stotra is popularly chanted by Vaishnavas and it contains names that are normally attributed to other devatas. It is probably true, however, that Vaishnavas do not customarily invoke anya-devata-namas when worshipping Vishnu. The reasons why should be obvious. If we lived in an ideal world then no one would have any misunderstanding when the Lord is referred to as "Indra,Rudra,Shiva," etc. But we don't live in that ideal world, and the reality is that other people will misunderstand such an approach as indicating that all these deities are the same.
  8. Several points: 1) I am not aware of an online version of a translation of Madhva's commentary. Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence should have no problem finding the book in a decent library. Sadly, Tattvavadi siddhanta will not appeal to those whose only means of learning is to google, copy, cut, and paste. 2) Your have demonstrated very little grasp of logic, making any criticism made by you of someone else's straightforward logic rather humorous to read. 3) That activities are the basis of existence is not in question or even relevant. That you are bringing it up suggests that you do not understand what is being discussed. At this point, one might wonder if it wouldn't be smarter for you to try and understand the gist of the conversation before presuming to argue. 4) There is no need for unwarranted digressions, unless of course you are trying to throw us off from the fact that you do not know what you are talking about.
  9. Krishna says in BG 15.15 that He is the subject matter of the Vedas. Based on this, there is every reason to disagree with your reading of "trai-guNya-viShayA veda." Surely you agree that the Gita should be interpreted in a consistent fashion. Or maybe we should reinterpret Gita 15.15? The position of the Hare Krishnas in this regard seems more consistent with that of secular academic indologists than with the position of the "Brahma-Madhva" sampradaya.
  10. Is it man's nature to be a carnivore? Now that is truly an unsubstantiated allegation. It is not a biologically sound position to take.
  11. Smaranam, I'm sorry, but the above logic seems basically intended to justify Prabhupada's milk use, which in turn raises the question about standards and morality. It is illogical to compare milk drinkers with murders, just as it would be illogical if Prabhupada to allowed his disciples to eat meat just to grow his movement, and then preached vegetarianism. Theist has a lot to answer for, since as usually he proposes totally absurd ideas which ultimately bite him in the back. His own guru (shiksha, not diksha, since he was never initiated) supports cow torture, according to Theist. Neither you nor anyone else should have to shoulder the burden of rationalizing Theist's bizarre ideas.
  12. Men of small knowledge think that there is nothing more to attainment of material comforts via sacrifice because they do not understand the higher, esoteric sense of the Vedas, which is that Lord Vishnu is the actual master of all sacrifices. See also BG 3.15 in this regard. Also, the phrase "which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth" which is central to your "Vedas are materialistic" thesis is not actually found in those verses as quoted above. And your interpretation would remain inconsistent with the verses quoted earlier from chapters 15, 17, etc which describe the Vishnu-centric viewpoint of the Vedas. Those who treat bhakti as a ladder that can be kicked away once one has achieved liberation are basically mayavadis. Do you agree or disagree? If you agree, then you can surely see how the same logic applies to the Vedas and attainment of Sri Krishna. You cannot, on one hand, argue that bhakti continues after liberation, and then on the other hand treat the Vedas as merely a disposable means to an end. This is shastra-ninda. The Vedas are the basis of bhakti to Lord Vishnu. That is the sense of numerous Gita verses and it also happens to be the view of Sri Madhva. The idea that Vedas are actually promoting acquisition of various opulences is a misunderstanding according to Sri Krishna as well as Sri Madhva. Your analogy is flawed on the count of its irrelevance and dissimilarity to the subject matter. A better analogy would be a doctoral thesis that attempts to prove a point. Whatever is said in the thesis leads to the main idea which the doctoral candidate is trying to prove. Taking something out of context and arguing that it is not relevant to the thesis is both unwarranted and disingenuous. Similarly, extracting specific mantras or information about specific sacrifices out of the global context of the Vedas, and then arguing that they really promote acquisition of material goods, is despicable. The above is what Sri Krishna says. The following... ... is not what Sri Krishna says. What difference does it make whether you "accept" the translation or not, given that you do not have sufficient understanding of the language to make an objective decision about the translation's fidelity? You can look up Sri Madhva's view in his Bhagavad-Gita commentary on chapters 2 verses 45-53. An English translation by BNK Sharma is widely available which also has the original Sanskrit of his commentary wherein he explicit disagrees with the idea that the Vedas promote fruitive activity.
  13. AM, you specifically claimed that he was chanting Hare Krishna although the text does not say that. I am merely requesting that you be truthful in your representation of the scripture. I am sorry if advocating for true and accurate representation of scripture offends you in any way. In response to my statement that the Gita verse says nothing about becoming "indifferent to the Vedas" you wrote: But the purport is not the Gita and my original objection stands.
  14. Namaskar. Again your response is somewhat verbose and full of digressions. I will respond to just those parts that are relevant here. If you truly believe, as most Hare Krishnas do, that the Lord is non-different from His glories, then you must accept the conclusion that the above statement by you is incorrect and unpalatable. If Vedas glorify the Lord, then there is no question of distinguishing the Vedas from the Lord. If you claim that Vedas glorify goals other than Vishnu, then you are falling into the trap of the veda-vAda-rataH. And similarly, actually conclusion of Vedas and misunderstood conclusion of Vedas are two different things. Right View: The goal of Vedas is knowing Sri Vishnu Wrong View: Vedas are mainly concerned with the three modes of material nature/fruitive activity. These two views are inconsistent and incompatible. Then perhaps you did not read the first posting of this thread. It is entitled, "Becoming indifferent to the vedas." Certainly that is sastra-ninda. If one posted an article on "becoming indifferent to the Bhagavatam" would you accept such a conclusion as valid? This is classic, mayavadi, utilitarian logic. Just as the mayavadis argue that bhakti is merely a means to an end (liberation) and can be dispensed with once the goal of liberation is attained, so too you argue that one can become "indifferent" to the Vedas once one has attained Sri Krishna. If you disagree with the former, then you cannot possibly disagree with the latter. That would be a double standard. This is self-contradictory. And this is like saying that the glorification of the Lord and the Lord Himself are not the same. Gaudiya Vaishnavas believe that the Bhagavata Purana is the Lord Himself. That this is so is written in Jiva Gosvami's Tattva-Sandarbha. Do you accept it? Because by your logic, I can also say that there is material in the Bhagavata that does not directly concern the Lord, such as descriptions of varnashrama dharma, dynasties of great kings, etc and thus (based on your logic) conclude that the essence of the Bhagavatam is different from the contents of the Bhagavatam. Do you accept it? Why or why not? And therefore, the subject matter of the Vedas is *not* the three modes of material nature or fruitive activity. Rather it is Vishnu only which is the subject, and people only misunderstand the Vedas to be concerned with something else. This also happens to be the view of Sri Madhvacharya who writes this in his Gita commentary. Sri Madhva does not accept the idea of "karma-kanda" or "fruitive activity" as the main gist of the Vedas. And why should he? Since that position is not supported by the Bhagavad-gita at all.
  15. In the spirit of analyzing things, the current model is associated with a high rate of documented marital dysfunction. If there is still a concern over broken families, bitter divorce proceedings, and general social dysfunctionality, then it seems only reasonable to look into other paradigms of marriage above and beyond the current "meet, have sex, and get married if its good for you" approach. On the other hand, if no one really cares anymore about the integrity of the family unit and the ephemeral nature of modern, romantic liasons, then it goes without saying that you will have nothing but contempt for other ways of doing things.
  16. I asked a very simple question, and the answer is also very simple. Let me therefore ask it a different way. Since Sri Prabhupada's approach to things is generally taken by Hare Krishnas to be valid, and since Theist argues that people who drink milk are enabling the torture and slaughter of cows, and since Sri Prabhupada did consume milk in the United States and allowed its use in his temples.... Are all milk drinkers including Sri Prabhupada guilty of enabling cow torture, or are none of them guilty by the very fact of consuming milk? You can't have it both ways, i.e. milk drinking is wrong for most people but not for Prabhupada. That is hypocrisy.
  17. Let me restate it another way. If the conclusion of the Gita is Vishnu (or Krishna), and the Gita represents the essence of the Vedas, then the conclusion of the Vedas is also Vishnu. Do you agree with this? Yet it is by the Vedas that Sri Krishna is known (Gita 15.15). Thus, I would have to disagree with your wording of the above. Can Sri Krishna be known by the modes of material nature? Can Sri Krishna be known by rituals whose purpose is the acquisition of material comforts? You may feel that this is splitting hairs. But since Theist is advocating "being indifferent to the Vedas," it seems only reasonable to examine the underlying basis for this view, viz the idea that Vedas "deal primarily with karma kanda/modes of material nature." Is it wise to be teaching people with unregulated habits to become indifferent to the very scriptures by which they can understand the main goal of life - Vishnu? Is that not what you would call... sastra-ninda? As I have indicated, using sources that both you and I accept, the conclusion of the Vedas is not the fruitive activity. On the contrary, the Vedas contain mantras that are used to worship Vishnu (also stated in ACBSP's commentary). This is not consistent with the position that Vedas "deal mainly with the modes of material nature." Rituals whose goal is the acquisition of material goods cannot teach one about the ultimate goal of life which is beyond such mundane pursuits. The Vedas do not deal with fruitive activity but rather with rituals for the worship of Vishnu which are wrongly interpreted to be for the acquisition of fruitive results. Arjuna was not being advised to be "indifferent to the Vedas." He was being advised to be indifferent to the idea of rituals for the purpose of fruitive activity. This is in keeping with the context of his objections to fighting which were also based on materialistic grounds. This is also in keeping with the ideas presented in the Gita 15th and 17th chapters which indicate that Vishnu is really the essence of the Vedas and is known by and worshipped by the mantras of the Vedas.
  18. Because it logically follows from Theist's implied statement that those who purchase milk support the torture and enslavement of cows. If the conclusion of the statement is unacceptable, then the statement should be retracted. I agree. So tell that to Theist. His exact words earlier in this thread were, "I am so tired of this phony talk of the cow as our 'Blessed Mother' etc. etc. by people who support the enslavement and ultimate slaughter of said "Mothers"."
  19. Your conclusions are less than obvious. If you would indulge me, let me address the core misunderstanding upon which your entire argument is based. Your assumption is that Vedas "deal mainly with the three modes of material nature." Using even translations from your own A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, I can prove to you that this assertion is false. First, Bhaktivedanta Swami repeatedly used the term "Vedic" culture NOT in regards to "three modes of material nature" but rather in the sense of the spiritual culture of Krishna worship that he was propagating. For example, in the introduction to Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, he writes about the Gita that it is "the essence of Vedic knowledge." If Vedas deal mainly with the "three modes of material nature," then are you going to say that Gita does also? If the conclusion of the Gita is Krishna worship, and the Gita is the essence of Vedas as Prabhupada claims, then what makes more sense to you - saying that the Vedas deal mainly with the modes of material nature or saying that the Vedas deal mainly with the subject of Vishnu/Krishna? Second, in Gita 15.15 Bhaktivedanta Swami translates Krishna's statement as follows, "I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." If you agree that Sri Krishna is above the three modes of material nature, and you agree with Sri Krishna that He is known by the Vedas, then how do you reconcile these positions with your idea that the Vedas "deal mainly with the three modes of material nature?" You can surely appreciate that this is inconsistent. Third, please look at Gita 17.23 again with the translation and purport of your very own A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The translated verse reads, "From the beginning of creation, the three words oḿtat sat were used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth. These three symbolic representations were used by brāhmaṇas while chanting the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme." Here is a fairly clear reference to the idea that Veda mantras were chanted for the specific purpose of pleasing the Supreme Lord. Is this dealing with the three modes of material nature? Clearly it is not. If you have any doubt, just read Prabhupada's commentary - "The three words oḿtat sat are uttered in conjunction with the holy name of the Supreme Lord, e.g., oḿtadviṣṇoḥ. Whenever a Vedic hymn or the holy name of the Supreme Lord is uttered, oḿ is added. This is the indication of Vedic literature. These three words are taken from Vedic hymns." Again, this is a clear reference to the idea of the Veda mantras being directly related to worship of Vishnu in Prabhupada's view. Taken together, this is not consistent with the point of view that the Vedas "deal mainly with the three modes of material nature." The essence of the Vedas is not the "three modes of material nature," and consequently verse 2.52 is not talking about becoming "indifferent to the Vedas." The real sense of the words "traiguNyaviShayA vedAH" in verse 2.45 is that one should not be misled by the apparent meaning of Veda mantras. Because in the Vedas it is often misunderstood that attainment of heavenly pleasures is the goal, people are often not aware of the actual, hidden, or esoteric meaning which deals with Vishnu. That the Vedas have an apparent or superficial meaning and a deeper, esoteric meaning is revealed in the Aitareya Aaranyaka 2.4.3 which states that the devas take delight in the hidden sense of the Vedas. Thus, there is no need to become indifferent to the Vedas, as the Vedas really deal with the subject of Vishnu, assuming you believe what the Gita has to say about this.
  20. If drinking milk is equal to supporting the "enslavement and ultimate slaughter" of cows then.... Was Prabhupada a supporter of enslavement and ultimate slaughter of cows?
  21. I really do not understand the need for this excessively verbose and basically irrelevant digression. Nor do I understand your need to put words in my mouth. There are only three points that I have made on this thread: 1) The gita verse quoted from chapter 2 does NOT, as Theist has falsely claimed, imply that one should become indifferent to the Vedas. 2) Someone claimed that Jada Bharata wanted to chant Hare Krishna instead of studying the Vedas. This is false - there is no evidence that Jada Bharata was specifically chanting Hare Krishna or wanting to chant Hare Krishna. Perhaps he did, but the Bhagavatam does not say so one way or another. 3) One must represent the scriptures honestly.
  22. It is unfortunate that some individuals are so infected with the "wannabe guru" sickness that they cannot even acknowledge simple mistakes for fear that it will tarnish public perception of their knowledge base. When all else fails, just bring up the warm soft blanket of Krishna Katha. When you speak of Krishna Katha (even though you have no real attraction to it), the foolish will certainly believe that the other guy must be against it in some way. Never mind that he was simply pointing out the errors in your discussion of scripture. But, it's ok! You like Krishna Katha, so this means you can say anything about scripture that you want, and right or wrong, it must be accepted as truth. Everyone has to base their views on scriptures, without which their views should not be accepted as true. The only exception are the Hare Krishnas, who are free to say whatever they want.
  23. The real yogis are the ones who speak in accord with scripture. Now you see, this is the sort of dishonest, strawman argument I have come to expect from Hare Krishnas. When you are caught making false claims, the honest thing to do would be to recant them. Falsifying scripture and then attacking me for pointing it out only makes you and your religion look bad. Are your religious beliefs so tenuous, sir, that you can only defend them by indulging in mud-slinging? Apparently so.
  24. I can't comment on your intelligence. What I can say is that you are obfuscating the issue. If you wanted to claim that Jada Bharata was "thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord," then that would be fine, as it is consistent with the text. But when you claim that Jada Bharata was "chanting Hare Krishna," then that is a specific claim, and specific evidence must be there to substantiate such a claim. Otherwise it is dishonest. Chanting Hare Krishna may be nondifferent from thinking of the Lord's glories. But the bottom line is that the text does NOT say that he was chanting Hare Krishna. There are other ways to think about the Lord's glories, beyond chanting Hare Krishna. If one wanted to know how *specifically* Jada Bharata was thinking of the Lord's glories, one should consult the text to see. If the specific means by which he was thinking of the Lord is not spelled out, then it is dishonest to claim that he was doing it by one specific method. There needs to be a semblance of intellectual honesty when approaching the scripture. Of course, the whole point of this is honesty and properly representing the scriptures. But the HK's will probably try to claim I am somehow against their mantra. It has nothing to do with what mantra you chant. It has everything to do with being honest when you make claims about what is found in scripture. I don't think that honesty is a lot to ask for.
  25. That is an interesting analogy which illustrates the point that you are trying to make. I have no difficulty understanding the point you are trying to make, so I did not require an analogy to understand it. All I have stated is that the point you are trying to make does NOT follow from the Gita verse quoted. The Gita does NOT talk about becoming "indifferent to the Vedas." Why would it, since its own authority is based on the Vedas? That does not even make sense. Also, someone made a brazen claim to the effect that Jada Bharata wanted to chant Hare Krishna instead of study the Vedas. While I recall the latter being mentioned in the Bhagavatam, I checked and found *no evidence* that could even remotely be interpreted to mean that Jada Bharata wanted to chant "Hare Krishna." For those of you who make this claim, I realize that you have not actually read the Bhagavatam. The story is in 5.9.1-20 which you may wish to consult in order to correct your misconceptions. I am sure we can all agree that we must represent the scriptures honestly. Surely that is not a lot to ask for.
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