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Everything posted by harerama

  1. did you experience an awakening?
  2. Wow, I typed up a long response and unfortunately something happened and I couldn't send it properly. In any case, I guess I'll give a more succinct response here, though this cannot convey how disheartened I am by the increasingly few reasons to believe in God. Your OBE doesn't sound that specific to me to warrant any faith in as an "authentic" OBE, IMHO. I'm sorry, I wish that weren't true, but any skeptic would claim that while you were having the OBE sensation, another part of your brain was imagining what your fellow soldier was doing, feeling and where he was at the time, and that was integrated into the OBE. There didn't seem to be any remarkable incident in your recounting of the OBE that would give any credence to the idea that you were truly witnessing an event apart from your body. As you said, "unsurprisingly", is pretty clearly an indication that what you expected was felt, done, and where the soldier was situated was in accord with what occurred. However, I will note that I don't think all cases OBE's and NDE's have been explained away: For instance, OBE's/NDE's where a loved one witnesses the same OBE/NDE that the patient experiences when he/she is at the person's bedside; or OBE's/NDE's that are shared by a group and have the same characteristics. I don't believe these have been explained, and I would hope there is no rational explanation for such OBE's/NDE's, but I fear there is some explanation that is completely rational, or at least there will be some explanation that is completely rational. Even meditative experiences of "God" have been scrutinized and it seems they are reproducible within the lab. Scientists can induce people to see "God" so what is the worth of these meditative experiences of "God"? Most meditative experiences of "God" can no longer be propped up as proof of "God" at all, and it seems to me that there is not much room left for any reasonable faith in God, deity or no deity. Even Mother Teresa apparently lost her faith and couldn't recover from it! This just became recently public, but apparently Mother Teresa lost her faith a long time ago and clung to appearances of that faith while struggling to regain it for real. I think her struggle to regain her faith was admirable, but it disheartens me the most to find out that even she was susceptible to the loss of faith in God. If a saint like her can lose faith in God, then what hope do normal people have? What sense does it make for a saint like her, an ardent devotee of God for so many years, to be deprived of that faith in God, if a God actually exists?
  3. So what about the idle people who sponge off others? Who don't work hard at all and live a carefree life? Are they asses? How? You're not destined to get anything if you don't work hard for what you can get, so you must work hard to get what you can get. You have to work hard to fulfill your destiny, whatever that may be. Your destiny may allot you millions of dollars, but how are those millions going to come? Just by saying it's in your destiny doesn't mean you will get those millions if you don't work to get those millions.
  4. According to Philip Gardiner, kundalini is entirely a mind-based phenomenon, and that it is very dangerous. It also, according to him, only bestows the "sense" of enlightenment but not enlightenment in actuality. He considers kundalini of the current understanding by the general public to be very different from the concept of kundalini in the original texts. You can read his ideas on kundalini here: http://www.book-of-thoth.com/blogs/philipgardiner/2006/11/madness-of-experience.html Any thoughts on this? He doesn't seem to go into what the difference is between the actual conception of kundalini and the public's conception of kundalini, nor why he thinks its mind-based and nothing spiritual about it. Yet, he also goes on to say it can be a way to freedom.
  5. http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=koepsell_26_6 Another article on the probability that all mystical experiences come from natural causes, and obviates the need for a soul. The previous article I posted was about how electromagnetic waves can induce mystical experiences, like drugs can. If these two methods are able to induce mystical experiences, how can anyone say that mystical experiences are authentic? While I am still trying to meditate and chant, any sort of peace I get now is destroyed simply because now I have the notion that I'm inducing this state, and that brain chemistry is involved, there is no spirit to ponder upon, no God to interact with, or contemplate upon. Any feeling of divinity, or a divine presence is merely a matter of brain chemistry, at least that's how I have come to look at it (not willingly) when I do get a calm relaxed feeling along with the feeling I am in the presence of God. This state is destroyed as soon as the notion pops into my head that it's not real. I really want to believe in God, and that there's a soul, but I just don't see any reason to, because science seems to have explained all these states of awareness. Since there is little to no evidence that these states of awareness can make a person cognizant of the external reality even though he is deprived of the functioning of his senses, it's an increasingly disheartening prospect to ponder upon, that maybe materialism is all there really is. Every mystical state that has been documented by scientists seems to have some correlation with brain activity, which can now be measured. Time magazine even did a story on how the brain functioned when people went into a meditative trance. Doesn't the brain have to be completely silent in order for a mystical experience to be truly authentic? For the soul's existence to be validated? What would constitute an authentic mystical experience anyway? And with such doubts re: the validity of these mystical experiences, how does pursuing a personal and direct experience of God constitute proof when there is a mountain of evidence to indicate that personal experience is easily a product of brain chemistry and thus most likely delusion? How can one convince himself that the experience he's having is real?
  6. I have another article which pretty much obliterates any kind of reasoning you or I can put up for the existence of God, at least based on mystical experiences as they are merely products of brain chemistry, nothing more. If that is true, meditation is a worthless enterprise other than to willfully engage in self-delusion so you can live a "better" life. I'm sorry but the only reason I really felt like the existence of God was possible was because I heard of mystical experiences of God, that visions by Christ, by Vedic rishis, etc. justified the existence of God. But now that very foundation of reasoning is obliterated, what's left? There is no real logical argument you can make for the existence of God, at least based on mystical experiences. Why we have these mystical experiences can also be explained away with Darwinian evolution, so what is left really? This is the article in question: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.11/persinger.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set= I feel really depressed about this, as unless you are the most ardent believer in God, this really destroys a person's worldview if he does believe in God or wants to believe in God, such as myself. I just don't see any room left to assert that mystical experiences can be genuine and that they are any sort of proof for God. As far as I know, no mystical experience has ever been successfully able to correlate with external reality regarding events that the subject has no way of knowing before that mystical experience. The idea of telepathy, levitation, visions of God, astral projection, all of that is the actual illusion, not like what the Vedic rishis asserted was the Truth, and that what we see in our everyday lives is the illusion. The questions left would be to ask for instance how a guru transfers his shakti to a disciple, how he can induce a vision of God simply by touch. But I feel that too is easily explainable as a form of hypnosis, of simple suggestion, when a disciple's mind has become sufficiently pliable. Also, the idea of kundalini rising or shakti itself is merely illusory aspects of brain chemistry imbalances. Whether those imbalances are evolutionary advantages is really up for debate, but in the end that's all it comes down to though. The real question might be ultimately reduced to: Are we better off believing in God as a species or understanding that there is no such thing as God or afterlife? There are many who can live with atheism, who have no problems doing so, but there are many who can't, many who live in dire circumstances and all they have is their faith or hope that there is something out there, that their suffering is for a higher purpose. I've found it difficult to believe in an atheistic worldview, one that is without any hope at all, and without any real meaning or higher purpose behind anything. My sense of being connected with everyone in my family is also at jeopardy, because my own state of mind, my belief in something more than what I can see, or at least my hope for something more, fueled my participation with others in my family. Before that, I was distant and rarely ever spoke to them. I was an atheist because I saw no reason to believe in God. I've heard stories recently of "miraculous" circumstances of my family, I've also found a reason for hope and for faith in God, but all of that is pretty much obliterated with the knowledge that it's all illusory in the end, that this world is the only reality, there truly is nothing more. I find it arrogant of people like Richard Dawkins to try to disabuse people of the notion of God so vehemently like he's doing the world a favor. In that sense, he is blind, and a fool, but unfortunately, his worldview in the end seems to be true.
  7. A sense of peace for one. A sense that Krsna is watching over me, maybe revealing Himself to me bit by bit, if not all at once. That is what I expected from chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. I was chanting it every time I could possibly remember to for a couple of weeks (around the time when I first posted this topic), even if I wasn't sitting (pretty much every moment of that week). I also chant one round of the Gayatri mantra everyday (still do that). I started this practice of chanting the Gayatri mantra three or four years ago, in an effort to purify myself, and to improve my situation. I had been severely depressed for so long, and I tried to take action by meditating on God and chanting the Gayatri Mantra. I was told by a jyotish I was having some astrological problems, with Sani's influence on me for three years and I'd start having good things happen to me. Those 3 years are over, since the passing of last year. I've had a few experiences before those 3 years was over, that I'm not sure were experiences since then. The doubt re: these experiences being authentic has also contributed to my depression.My mental state is still very agitated. I hadn't responded till now, because I felt like I needed some sort of a break from thinking about it, but there's no real respite. I was near the tipping point, actually I still am, but I lost courage after creating this topic. I found my courage again (or maybe just desperation) at least to update my position on how things are going and to be honest enough about my situation. I also wanted to wait until there was a sizeable spectrum of ideas concerning my situation before I responded, and I wanted to wait for the results of my professional endeavours to come through before I resumed discussion. I just am recovering from a further bad case of depression as I've experienced failure once again in trying to pursue a professional career. I got my results, and they were what I expected (I'll say why I expected these results soon enough). My problem is very serious, as it seems until I get some peace of mind re: God's presence and his interest in me, until I find out what I am here to do, I cannot seem to focus on doing the things that are put in front of me. The very basic things that I need to do, I can't seem to do them. I've tried praying to God time and time again for guidance, but He doesn't seem to be listening to me. I'm lost, trying to find myself, trying to know my own abilities (which I have lost faith in, as well as faith in God), and trying to understand what God wants from me. My mind keeps thinking about destiny, God, and what I am here to do. I tried putting all those thoughts aside to do what I needed to do which was to study for a test, but I just couldn't seem to do it. There were periods where I felt depression suffocate me during my preparation for my exam, and I'd stop looking at books for a long time (unwisely, since I was taking a very tough exam and time was already running out). I still knew my information really well despite all that, and in practice exams I was doing pretty well and they were actually harder than the actual exam. In any case, the day of the exam came, and I prayed to God, bowed at the feet of my parents to obtain their blessings, etc. and went to take the exam. Unfortunately, I was so mentally fatigued by that time I couldn't think straight. All my preparation came to naught, and I scored the worst I have ever scored on that exam. I took several sample exams before that day, and the lowest I ever scored, even without knowing any of the material, was still higher than the score I got on the actual day of the test. Needless to say, my confidence which was already low at that point was shattered completely. I actually had the option to cancel my scores before the test was graded on that day when I took the test. I knew the test wasn't going well, and I prayed to God for guidance. I even asked my brother for guidance, and unfortunately, as I suspected, I got the wrong advice as my results were as bad as I feared. I've been so depressed ever since, not knowing where I'm going in life. I'm getting older, and there just seems to be no way out. I have great ambition, but I believe in having a firm foundation of confidence in myself and God before striving for better things or else all I'll ever encounter is failure. These are the most recent events in my life. I admit I am frustrated with God, I wish I could stop bothering about a God that doesn't seem to care a bit about me, but I still can't do that no matter how much I want to. I still chant the Gayatri mantra in the hopes that things will make a marked improvement soon, that God will reveal Himself to me in some way when He sees my persistence. When I used to have a huge letdown by God, I would stop meditating for a long time, trying to recover and then I'd end up going back to meditating in the end. I felt like maybe God was testing me to see whether I gave up on Him too easily, and so I'm trying to fight through this by continually chanting even though I am suffering from a severe case of depression, and I've suffered a huge letdown by God once again. As far as my experiences go, I had a few that at the time seemed like God was reassuring me in some way. 3-4 years ago, I went to India, and at that time I was angry at everyone and everything including God. I was lost then too, and I was depressed, but at that time I had no faith, no hope for anything. I had to attend college when I came back from my vacation in India, and a week before my return home, I accidentally angered some chakkas who were making the rounds in begging for alms when I was in a taxi with my mom, brother and my cousin. I accidentally hit the glass of the window when I waved them to go on instead of begging at the taxi I was in. They got angry and forced the traffic to stop and I guess they tried putting a curse on me or something (not really sure I believe in this stuff, I didn't believe in it 3-4 years ago that's for sure). A couple of days later, I came down with the worst headache I've ever had (and I've had some nasty headaches). This was 10 times worse, and my parents were really worried about me. I'd vomit food as soon as I had ingested it, my eyes would hurt, I would be laying in bed all night writhing in pain and counting the minutes till dawn while everyone else was asleep. My parents thought I might have to go to the hospital because I might have had encephalitis or something, meaning I'd have to stay in India longer. After 4 days straight though of pure torture, I finally got better. My aunt and uncle gave me a silver ring with a white stone on it to wear, for some reason which I suspect had to do with astrology. I don't think I've been quite the same since though. I returned home, tried to register for classes in college (got in a few classes I wanted but not in others because they were full already). I was really sick at the time, and I actually had a prolonged time of illness that was interfering with my ability to study. I was falling behind in my studies so I thought it best to just drop out of the classes and just attend school for the next semester when I hopefully would be better (took me a LONG time for me to get better, I think by the summer I finally started getting better, and I had come back from India in January). When I tried to return to school I couldn't because I didn't officially announce I was taking a leave of absence from the school (didn't know about this rule), and I had to possibly re-apply to college. I thought to myself if that were the case I might just drop out altogether and forget it (I was already very depressed as I've told you). In any case, somehow the advisor for the department in which I major left the spring of that year (the semester I skipped), and before she left she cleared all students who were majoring in that department for registration for the fall (the semester I was trying to register for). So I got in, without too much hassle. I felt this was an act of God, but I have no clue as to the purpose behind it. I still encountered difficulties later on, and I then started chanting the Gayatri mantra in the following year. A year and half ago, I started getting into the habit of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra while driving to school. One day, when I was driving to school, on the day I had a test, I was chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, and somehow I lost consciousness and my car rear-ended with another, and I found myself in an accident. I was so depressed with this incident, and while fortunately nobody was seriously injured, I was really shaken by the incident. I got to class in time to take my test, and I did alright considering the circumstances. But the next few weeks I hung about in depression. Another incident happened to me on the way back from college, when I took the subway home. My train, that I usually go on, malfunctioned so I couldn't take it when I went to the subway platform. Trails of smoke came from that track and I had to take another train to get back home. I started asking some other people about what other trains there was and I asked this guy who was Indian of origin who turned out (so he claimed) to be a swami. We were talking a bit, and he said he ran an ashram in Hardwar for orphaned children in the Bhuj earthquake. He showed me pictures of the ashram. I listened to him, but I was really depressed at the time and I just wanted to get home. I still took the time to talk to him and then he claims he saw my face, and said I was going to be a great man. He told me I was really generous, but I was really lazy right now but will soon work like a tiger. He said right now my health was really shaky (it was, I had no idea what was wrong with me but I'd have migraine headaches with eye pain, and I'd have other nonspecific problems), as well as depressed. He told me not to lose hope, that in a year I'd find a good job and help a lot of people. At the time, I was awestruck (I guess I'm very gullible and want so desperately for God to pay attention to me and help me out and guide me that I get taken in easily). While a lot of what he said was right, what he said about my future was wrong. He kept asking me if I believed in God, Shiva, Krishna, etc. And I said yes, and he said God would help me, not to lose faith, that in a year things will start turning out great for me (I had this same kind of statement from the jyotish, so that was a reason to think this was authentic). He gave me a red Hanuman pendant, asked me if I would help his ashram with a donation, I gave him $5, and I just thanked him profusely, thinking he was a messenger of God to help me overcome my depression. For a while it worked, but things were still not improving for me, and I had stronger doubts as time went by of my perception of things, maybe I was being conned instead of having a spiritual experience. I had some doubts even after I left the swami, but I tried to brush them away, because I read of such things happening in books about yogis and folk tales and stuff. I just tried to brush away my cynical nature, but I think my cynical nature was right, especially since nothing has changed for me. I graduated from college, then tried to enter medicine and prepared for the medical entrance exam during the summer, after a year off from college, and I'm here now. There was another experience I had in the beginning of the year, before I began studying for my medical entrance exam (which I obviously did poorly on the actual day). I went to India, was going to go to Thirupati and Ambaji. I got sick on the week of going to Ambaji. So did my dad and brother. I still went to Ambaji, and I even got to dress as a priest and make offerings to Amba ma in the temple along with the jyotish who was well known there (he's a brahmin who our family knows very well). Our trip back from Ambaji was hell though. We went by train and came by train. The return by train was a nightmare. We went in an AC compartment, and the train itself was delayed several hours before my mom, myself, my aunt and uncle, and the jyotish boarded the train. We waited on the railroad station for several hours and it was rather cold. Anyway, the train came, and the AC compartment was infested with cockroaches (a nightmare for me). The AC was off so cockroaches were roaming all over the place. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn't, and just stood for the entire 13 hours just looking at cockroaches scatter back and forth. I developed a migraine headache, met a psychiatrist there and we got to talking. He seemed to be impressed with my intelligence and the way I talked, and that was a bit of a confidence booster for me. He also advised me to take some migraine medication which might help my migraines which are often an obstacle to my studying. As for my internal experiences: At first, I felt like chanting the Gayatri mantra was helping, but I think that was more a product of hope than actual effect, as I no longer feel anything now. I used to get so involved in chanting, and I'd feel pressure on my forehead, like my brain was expanding or something, like something was ready to "open", or something was going to happen. I liked that feeling, I was hoping that something indeed was going to happen, but nothing has happened since. I had moments where I'd notice blue waves appear and recede behind my closed eyelids, various spots of color, sometimes red, sometimes green, sometimes blue. That's about all, though, and nothing any further unfortunately. I'm still chanting the Gayatri mantra despite all my depression, and I feel like I have no choice but to chant, hoping that something changes in me, hoping that God reveals Himself to me, and provides guidance to me, because right now I'm incapable of any progress otherwise. As I've stated my confidence in myself is completely shattered, and I need God to show the way as I'm at a loss as what to do next. I could study harder and take the test again, but I need that stability of mind in order to do it and right now I've found that I lack that. And I'm not even sure if that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Honestly, it would be so much easier if I actually had a genuine interest in anything, but in this mire of depression nothing in the world really appeals to me right now. I'm hoping God can change that, show me something, give me hope, etc. so I can keep on going. That's why I keep chanting the Gayatri mantra, despite my lack of faith in it. It's the last vestige of hope I have left.
  8. The same question goes for chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, doing yoga, etc.? Answers like try it for yourself and you'll know hold no weight, simply because the mind is easily fooled, and that is why science exists: to take us away from illusion and wishful thinking and know reality as it is, God or no God. What if experiential knowledge is merely the product of wishful thinking or wilful delusion? In any case, I've been chanting the hare krishna mantra, especially when depressed, and I haven't had much benefit in any case, other than to focus my mind on chanting Hare Krishna and not on the troubling thoughts that I've had about God and spirituality and reality as it seems to be (which is to say that reality shows spirituality and God as an illusion and not something genuine at all). In the end, it doesn't really help, and even meditating with closed eyes, in a lotus posture, picturing Krishna in my mind, putting all my attention into chanting, I just don't really feel anything for the most part. Once in a while I feel an enormous amount of pressure in my head, particularly center of the eyebrows, but that's it. Even the kundalini phenomenon I've read about, in the beginning I felt that yes, this was the answer to enlightenment experiences, that this mechanism was common in all religions, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and of course Hinduism and that it was a genuine phenomenon that is rare, and thus cannot be known by many people especially scientists, so they would never really be able to comprehend the truth. Now I see it as possibly nothing more than a psychotic break with reality, providing the illusion that there's actually such a thing as shakti or pure energy that is intelligent and ascends "chakras" endowing people with spiritual insight and spiritual gifts such as astral travel and seeing God and conversing with God. With investigations into what mystics experience, the studies of the effects of psilocybin and mescaline and other hallucinogenic drugs on average people which produce similar mystical experiences, and the claims by scientists that all psychic phenomena can be explained away by current scientific knowledge there just doesn't seem to be any reason left to believe anymore. Is God truly dead? I know I've spoken on the behalf of spirituality on these forums, but I have strong doubts, and with my practice in meditation and the lack of any effects, these doubts are becoming increasingly strong, putting me in a depression. I don't believe in medication to cure depression, not if there's a genuine reason for feeling depressed, and to me this is as genuine a reason as any. I don't want to believe that psychology and modern science has taken experiences of God-realization, God Himself, and any form of spirituality other than the vaguest forms out of the equation, but I'm becoming increasingly convinced of this. Thoughts of God, and spirituality, and the wish to know of His existence continue to dominate my thoughts, so much so that I have been trying to resolve my fear that my wish to go into science and my wish to know God and remain spiritual do not conflict with each other. As a consequence, I've been trying to develop a more spiritual life before immersing myself in scientific pursuits, hopefully in medicine where the idea of God's existence and the power of medicine is constantly in conflict with one another.
  9. Good question. I'd guess the guru's answer, if he does claim to know, is that he wants to test the devotee's courage and confidence in the guru by doing whatever makes the devotee uncomfortable until the devotee himself acknowledges the discomfort and pleads with the guru to stop, thereby exhibiting courage on the disciple's part and real trust in the guru to understand the disciple and his limitations. I've read of many accounts of gurus and disciples and that is pretty much what they all say. Whether or not the guru is telling the truth about his own abilities and not inflicting some kind of psychological manipulation upon the devotee is another matter to consider. I don't know if there is such a thing as mindreading, or any kind of psychic phenomena. I would hope there is, but the truth is there are many charlatans out there who prey upon people who believe in them. Some are charlatans without even knowing they're charlatans. They actually think they can read minds when all they're reading is body language and voice inflection which tells more than any person might be thinking they're actually telling. And they're doing all this without being aware of it. It's still an impressive feat, but hardly a spiritual one, nor a supernatural phenomenon, at least for the most part.
  10. If he can really read your thoughts, or at least knows what you're thinking or feeling through your body language and such, I think it would be impossible for you to hide your discomfort from him. However, if he can't, then you have nothing to worry about really, though to be sure, you might want to just tell him how you're feeling and maybe both of you can figure out why you feel he can do the things that he probably can't.
  11. Well, whenever God speaks to a person, of course the proper action is to follow God's advice as that becomes the person's dharma. Otherwise, you have to do your actions according to your nature, good or evil, it's irrelevant, as that is what God has sent you to do in this world. That is also dharma. Also, you do your work selflessly without expectation of reward or anything, and you leave the results up to God.
  12. Perhaps, but I've also heard that it allows for the arousal of kundalini and the awakening of true genius. Which I believe was what happened to Newton, although there were periods where he was struggling to cope. He did a number of meditations though, on the nature of the universe, on God, etc. Physical exercise though was probably lacking though. I saw an episode of Seinfeld where George doesn't have sex for a while, and his mind becomes extremely clear and he becomes a genius for a while before he indulges in sexual activity once again. It was a funny episode, but it was also interesting to see that idea represented on TV.
  13. I saw a program once re: Isaac Newton, and they made an interesting comment. He, too practiced celibacy, because he believed in very similar ideas. He shunned the lavish splendours that others indulged in and simply devoted himself to observing nature and meditating on the nature of the universe. During his later years though, he did have periods of madness and hardly slept at all.
  14. Sorry, but I definitely disagree with this view. To me, it seems blind and ignorant, and the kind of exclusivistic view born of pure ego. How is your philosophy backed by hard logic? What motivation do people have to attain moksha if their end destination will be the same regardless of what they do or what they think? How is your philosophy a wake up call to those who thought they could frequent temples and then commit heinous crimes later? If their gunas in the soul are tamasic in nature they're going to hell regardless if they commit heinous crimes or not according to you. Their actions, their thoughts, their efforts to improve themselves mean nothing to the kind of God you perceive as loving, just and kind. How is God just if people have no chance to improve themselves and the gunas that the soul is born with determine where they go to once they've attained liberation? After all, according to your words people will have no choice in the matter as to where they go, or anything of that sort. The gunas that a person's soul is made of determines their destination according to you, no matter how much he strives to improve himself and purify himself. Do you not believe in reincarnation? What is the purpose of reincarnation if it isn't to improve yourself and erase those gunas? Why would people desire moksha if it would lead them to hell? What is moksha to you, really? You say these spiritual worlds are permanent, eternal, and once you go to them, then you are stuck forever. This view seems more like fire and brimstone Christianity, the type of evangelical religions that I find utterly repulsive and truly devoid of real logic and sense. If this were the truth, even if I happened to go to heaven, I would be repulsed by such a God who would be so judgemental and unkind as to not give every soul the opportunity to improve themselves and attain Him, assuming He is worth attaining. It is the very antithesis of a God who is loving and kind and just. Also don't think that just because dreams lead to miraculous events that confirms any kind of philosophy. That is a foolish notion, as there are many religions and disciples of many different philosophies and religions who attest to the witnessing of miraculous events and dreams that lead to miraculous events. Another point of note is that out of all the Near-death experiences I've read of, and all the yogis that I've read of, very few have ever expressed this type of philosophy. Most have said the path to God is Love, and that God is for all, and everyone ultimately returns to the same source. That is what I believe, and that is what makes sense to me.
  15. What was so crazy about the kali or durga worshipper? And what's so frightening about Durga or Kali? Or any demigod or goddess for that matter? I can understand fear of asuras and rakshasas, but I can't understand fear of demigods and goddesses.
  16. I'm not saying his writings are more credible, I'm just saying that even when Nostradamus's writings could be taken as describing real events (although only after the fact that those events have occurred by so-called "scholars" of his), they could still be seen as mere social commentary. Point is, whoever reads his writing can conform their perception of what he is saying to what is happening. The same way, in my opinion, that you guys might be doing with the Bhagavatam. The "predictions" in the Bhagavatam seem rather general to me, and ultimately useless if there's no specific mention of events that occur. Also, who cares what Judaism or Christianity thinks of divination? If yogis can supposedly see the future, or some version of it, if God gifted this power to some (or all) men, why can't Nostradamus have this gift? Note: I don't believe in Nostradamus, but I don't think it's reasonable to discard the possibility he was able to really divine something from doing those practices of divination simply based on the religion he may have belonged to, or what he was writing about. It's certainly not reasonable to brand him a lunatic simply because he didn't write about God, while the writers of the Bhagavatam are writing about God and thus their predictions have more weight to them. It seems to me, that some of what Nostradamus did to induce these trances could actually be yogic practices, where a person might stare at a wall to induce a trance and transcend space-time in his mind or whatever. Or even to induce a near death experience. If you call these exercises a way to produce hallucinations that are devoid of any truth, then how can you say the Bhagavatam is about truth? Maybe they hallucinated the whole thing as well (I don't know, and I really hope not, but you have to consider the possibility)
  17. Do any of you guys believe in astrology? If so, why? Also, just because Madhva gurus appear in the dreams of their devotees doesn't say anything about the truth of their philosophy. Maybe it says something about the devotion of the gurus' disciples, but that's about all it can say. Do these Madhva gurus say something important and SPECIFIC to the disciples that would be proof of the validity of the dream itself? Could have been just a dream, for all you know. Also, there have been disciples of Satya Sai Baba who have had dreams of him, and then become his disciples. Do you think that validates his philosophy and him as a guru? Also, the way I interpret nirguna brahman is actually not as void, but infinity. Kind of seeing the glass half full as half empty, it's a matter of perspective and nothing more, as far as I can tell. I don't think advaitists deem the void as absolute reality, and if they do, then I definitely don't agree with them. I believe God, if He exists, has all attributes imaginable, and He is infinite. To me, the matter of void or no void, is a matter of semantics, as the experience is ultimately the same, but the expression of that experience in language is filtered down to mean two different things even though they're the same thing.
  18. I thought Nepal was a Hindu kingdom? How is it a place of Buddhism when until recently it was regarded as a Hindu kingdom? True, there are quite a few Buddhists there living alongside Hindus, but I would have thought there were more Hindus than Buddhists in Nepal. Also, I believe Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama, and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda might have something to say about yogi burial. I seem to recall that the disciples of the yogi burned the body and dispersed the yogi's ashes in a body of water, or something to that effect, but I'm not sure.
  19. I think those three are very different from each other. Knowledge of mundane things isn't something I think the Vedas were shooting for. I don't know much, nor am I claiming to know much, but I think a way to realize the Self was to "deprogram" what you think you already know about mundane reality. So that kind of knowledge isn't real knowledge nor is it desirable knowledge. Similarly the ego-intelligence isn't desirable, but the atmic intelligence or the buddhi is, along with wisdom. I don't have any quotes to offer though.
  20. If that were true, why would they have to die such horrible deaths? Cancer is no picnic, and I think it would be one of the worst ways to die. Instead of a quick, painless death it's a dragged out process, which is very painful. This is something I've also wondered about. If God is supposed to be merciful, why isn't He seemingly merciful to his devotees? Why does God have to hurt them so much, and why does He give them such painful deaths?
  21. Mysticism is only important in what it can reveal to a person about the nature of reality. It's a building block, but not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is wisdom, and the destruction of knowledge, in my opinion as knowledge is nothing but temporal. It too is a building block, but it can serve as an obstacle just like mysticism can. These are pillars that need to be destroyed to attain true wisdom, whose source is the soul itself.
  22. Forgive me if this sounds ignorant, but I don't think this is prophetic in the slightest. I think most societies if not all undergo these trends. And how do we know this wasn't really what was going on in the Vedic civilization at the time, and it's not actually pertaining to now? Perhaps the people who wrote this were bitter about the direction society was going in and wrote those words as a consequence. This isn't necessarily spiritually-oriented, nor a prophecy about what is to come. And there's definitely nothing specific in these verses that would point to the idea these writers could see into the future. Are there any such verses which do state something specific about the present that we can relate to what has occurred? Like supposedly Nostradamus (who was also probably nothing more than a social commentator, but nonetheless some of his writings are somewhat eerie in the way things turned out)?
  23. A lot of these qualities seem inherently subjective. For instance, what is truth? By truth do we mean material or spiritual truth? And if we mean spiritual truth how can we determine that what the guru has said is spiritually true? And how can we determine if the guru follows all these principles 100% of the time, instead of simply in the public eye? Also, what if there are people out there who have bad things to say about him? Then does that make the guru not a bona fide guru? What if the people who say bad things about him are liars, of asuric mentality? That would invalidate their own statements, yet we cannot know the truth of their statements, because in many cases it's a "He said... she said" issue. I realize I'm being argumentative, but I genuinely want to know and gain some insight into such things. I want to believe, but right now I'm having a major crisis of faith.
  24. There are many gurus who can convince others of their understanding of scriptures. They can even through shaktipat raise a disciple's shakti so he can experience inner bliss. And yet, eventually, there may still be people who become disciples that end up disillusioned and bitter about the guru thinking he is deceptive in his practices and does not actually practice what he preaches. In other words, he seems bona fide, yet is not bona fide. So what do we do then? How can you trust any guru in this world if such circumstances are actually fairly common place?
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