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About Jagat

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    Montreal, Quebec
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  1. This is what is called "dhvani." It does not mean Vraja in the sense of Vrindavan, and one knows that, but the sounds themselves carry a meaning that the Vraja devotee hears. Like "even the wind calls your name." Is this legitimate exegesis? I think so, though it is not meant to be rational.
  2. This simply confirms my suspicions that the Aryan invasion of India was a Zionist plot.
  3. It's rather amazing that the same administration (Bush-Cheney et al) of WASPS can be considered Nazis by one batch, and with Wolfowitz and Perle, the same people can be considered Zionist plotters. Perspective, perspective...
  4. <h3>Bigger Than the Nobel</h3> By DAVID BROOKS October 11, 2003 (NYTIMES) dabrooks@nytimes.com I can't imagine he cares, but Pope John Paul II, who has had a more profound influence on more people than any other living human being, is never going to win the Nobel Peace Prize. For years, prize watchers have felt that the Norwegian committee would have no choice but to give him the award, even if he does have unfashionable views on abortion. And this, oddsmakers predicted, was his year. His health is fragile, and his fervent opposition to the war in Iraq would have pleased the impeccably liberal committee. But I like to think the members of the committee understood the central truth, that they could not give the prize to John Paul. He is too big and complex for their award. The project he is engaged in — still engaged in — defies their categories. Instructed by faith, trained by the hard history of Central Europe, the young Karol Wojtyla came to believe that "the evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation, indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness in each person." The Nazis tried to reduce individuals to their racial makeup, the Marxists to their class status. John Paul II dedicated his life to the defense of the whole and the indivisible dignity of each person. At the core of each individual, he believes, is the moral need to seek truth. The "fundamental error of socialism," he writes, "is anthropological." It tries to pare down human beings into something narrower and more degraded than they really are. It tries to crush, among other things, their search for God. So when John Paul II went to Poland and Cuba early in his papacy, he told the crowds, "You are not who they say you are." The result was a cultural revolution. One young Polish student, quoted in George Weigel's biography, "Witness to Hope," heard the teaching and realized, "Now what I wanted to do was to live without being a liar." The pope has tried to defend the dignity of personhood in all spheres, and this has meant that he does not conform to ordinary political categories. While respecting private property, he has been suspicious of the utilitarian calculus of capitalism, and embraced welfare state policies that put him far to the left. Defending the dignity of life from the moment of conception to the moment of death, he has fought abortion, euthanasia and the scientific refashioning of human nature, putting himself on the side of conservatives. His main achievement has been to remind us — Catholics and even us non-Catholics — that you can't pare people down. We do this all the time without realizing it. When we write for newspapers, or talk in public, we generally speak as if democracy and freedom are ends in themselves. We give our heroes prizes for curing diseases and clearing land mines. Those things, grand as they are, are insufficient, the pope is always insisting. Democracy is just a system. Freedom is just an opportunity to do good or bad. The essence of life is not long life, but true life. The pope is always taking us out of our secular comfort zone and dragging us toward ultimate issues. You can't talk about politics, economics, science, philosophy or war, he argues, while conveniently averting your eyes from God and ultimate truth. In its statement lauding this year's winner, Shirin Ebadi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee celebrates her commitment to dialogue and democracy. But where the authors of that statement stop thinking is where the pope picks up. Dialogues toward what truth? Democracy for what? He understands we will never persuade a radical Islamist to give up his absolute grip on what he sees as God's truth if all we are offering is a tepid dialogue on the need to get along. We need to show him truth with tolerance. This is the challenge of the increasingly religious 21st century, and the pope, a philosopher more than an activist, is far out ahead. Shirin Ebadi is obviously a courageous person, doing vitally important work. Nothing takes away from her heroism. But when history looks back on our era, Pope John Paul II will be recognized as the giant of the age, as the one individual who did the most to place democracy and freedom at the service of the highest human goals.
  5. You make it hard to love you.
  6. The funniest Canadians for the time being are Newfoundlanders. They used to have a comedy troupe called Codco. They just did a sort of retrospective on CBC the other day and showed an outrageous sketch of "Meet the Press" or something. It must have been after some American invasion of Grenada or Panama or some other place. The basic theme was "We are the most democratic, so we can invade you if we decide to."
  7. This is an excellent article. It does not excuse real anti-Semitism when it arises, as it did in the VNN articles. There was much that was neutral in those articles, but the overall intent was clear--it was arguing that a Jewish conspiracy exists, whose object is to dominate and control the world. What "control and dominate" the world actually means, I don't know. It is such a meaningless statement that it virtually screams "paranoia"! The articles both concluded with brief reference to Vaishnava "world domination" (prithivite ache jata nagaradi grama and all that), indicating that Vaishnavism is a competitor with Judaism for this nebulous object.
  8. Aravind Sharma is one of the clearest and most succinct thinkers about Hinduism from the Hindu perspective in the world today. One is nearly always suprised when he finishes a discourse, because one expects him to blather on like most speakers. He is rather a fan of the sutra--the bare bones of an argument, expressed logically and concisely. I think that the above statement should be read carefully by all Hare Krishnas. It will quickly become clear that, like Fritz Staahl argued so many years ago, converts to Vaishnavism are generally taking a Western (in Sharma's language) rather than Eastern approach to the question of conversion. It should be said, despite this, that India is not exclusively Eastern in orientation, but that the long influence of Islam and Christianity in the subcontinent mean that both attitudes are present in Hinduism. Vaishnavism, even in India, represents the kind of exclusive attitude attributed to Western religion.
  9. <center><h3>Religious freedom : A Hindu Perspective</h3> Arvind Sharma Birks Professor of Comparative Religion McGill University</center> Testimony provided to the <a href=http://www.uscirf.gov/hearings/18sep00/index.php3>United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, September 18, 2000.</a> I have been asked to provide a Hindu perspective on religious freedom, to identify the diverse positions within it on the point and to comment on the relationship of Hindu nationalism to religious freedom. I shall offer my comments accordingly. <center>I</center> I would like to use article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for advancing three propositions: (1) That the concept of religious freedom articulated in article 18 presupposes a certain concept of religion itself, a concept associated with Western religion and culture; (2) That a different concept of religion, associated with Eastern and specially Hindu religion and culture, leads to a different concept of religious freedom; and (3) That unless human rights discourse is able to harmonize these two concepts of religious freedom, ironically but not surprisingly, the clash of the two concepts might ultimately result in the abridgement of religious freedom in actual practice, India representing a case in point. The concept of religious freedom as embedded in article 18 presupposes that an individual can only belong to or profess one religion at a time. If one believes that one can only belong to one religion at a time, then it stands to reason that religious freedom would essentially consist of one's freedom to change such affiliation by the voluntary exercise of choice. In parts of the East, however, one encounters a somewhat different notion of religion, as illustrated by the contemporary reality of Japan. According to the 1985 census, 95% of the population of Japan declared itself as followers of Shinto and 76% of the same population also declared itself as Buddhist. To turn now to India. It is well-known that most modern Hindus do not regard the various religions of Indian origin -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism -- as mutually exclusive religions. If the Indian census-takers did not insist that one can only belong to one religion --significantly a British and therefore Western legacy -- I would not be at all surprised if the Indian religious statistical reality began to resemble the Japanese. What would the concept of religious freedom possibly mean in the context of such a concept of religion? I would like to propose that it would now imply the idea of multiple religious participation rather than the idea of religious conversion. Mahatma Gandhi was once asked: What if a Hindu comes to feel that he can only be saved by Jesus Christ? Gandhi's reply may be paraphrased thus: "So be it, but why should he cease to be a Hindu?" (Harijan, 28-11-1936) Thus in the Eastern cultural context, freedom of religion means that the person is left free to explore his or her religious life without being challenged to change his or her religion. Such exploration need not be confined to any one religion, and may freely embrace the entire religious and philosophical heritage of humanity. I can now advance to, and advance, the third proposition. According to one concept of religion -- described earlier as Western -- freedom of religion consists of freedom to change one's religion when faced with a religious option. According to another concept of religion -- described earlier as Eastern -- freedom of religion consists of not having the need to do so when faced with such an option. Recent events in India indicate that the simultaneous operation of these two concepts can lead to religious volatility. India's religious culture is heavily imbued with the Eastern concept of religion; India's political culture relies heavily on the Western concept of it. The tensions now building up in India seem to lend support to this third proposition. A number of states in India have introduced Freedom of Religion Bills. These legislations require prior clearance from government authorities before a conversion can be carried out. Hindus are resentful because conversion is thereby still allowed; Christians are resentful because conversion is thereby impeded! Thus proponents of both Western and Eastern concepts of religion can allege that these enactments restrict religious freedom. <center>II</center> In this second part of my presentation I would now like to examine the Hindu attitude towards conversion in more detail, in view of its centrality to the Hindu understanding of religious freedom. I shall confine my discussion to the range of opinion regarding conversion found in Hinduism to the modern period; that is, in the post-1800 period. During this peliod two attitudes in the main towards conversion can be clearly identified. 1. Most modem Hindus are opposed to the idea of conversion from one religion to another per se. This opposition is rooted in the neo-Hindu doctrine of the validity of all paths to the divine. If all paths are valid, then conversion from one religion to another does not make much sense. Two counter arguments against this position now may be considered: (1) If all religions are valid then why object to conversion from one to the other? and (2) Sometimes it might be in a person's interest to change to another religion, to ensure one's spititual progress. One neo-Hindu response to the first point would be that conversion often involves cultural violence and so if all religions are valid the relevant question is not "why not" but "why"? As for the second, one neo-Hindu response urges that if all religions are valid this makes all of them members of a fraternity. So if someone feels that one's spiritual progress will be speeded up by adopting another religion there is no harm in doing so, but does one have to abandon one's religion in order to adopt another? 2. Some modem Hindus also believe that while conversion from Hinduism, like conversion from any religion, is undesirable, yet conversion to Hinduism in India should be tolerated and even encouraged. According to them, the conversion of Hindus to Islam and Christianity, specially during Islamic and British Rule, took place during Hinduism in times of trouble, and therefore such reconversion is now valid, as it represents the righting of a historical wrong. If the first position may be described as the neo-Hindu position then this second position could be called the Hindu nationalist position. It should be noted though that both are equally opposed to conversion from Hinduism. <center>III</center> I would now like to refer back to article 18 as I conclude, for it constitutes the bedrock provision for religious freedom in human rights discourse. It should not come as a surprise, in the light of what has been said, that according to most Hindus article 18 does not help insure genuine religious freedom because it seems to stack the deck in favour of the proselytizing religions. It recognizes the right to change one's religion, but does not, equally emphatically, recognize one's right to retain one's religion. It seems to recognize one's right to proselytise, but does not, equally emphatically, recognize one's right not to be made an object of proselytization. I thank you.
  10. Just don't. That's all. Don't do it. Rupa Goswami warns not to. See Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.239.
  11. Just don't. That's all. Don't do it. Rupa Goswami warns not to. See Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.239.
  12. Dear Audarya, I have seen and admired your comments on these public forums for several years now and I have yet to find you anything less than a perfect gentleman. I consider you a friend and an ally when it comes to the important stuff. I never for a moment thought that you meant to compare me with Puranjan. It's just that the association is so distasteful that I had to wash myself of it. Even if you said something nasty, I have enough trust for you that I would give you the benefit of the doubt. There are many others for whom I have to work hard to try to maintain equilibrium before the consistently malicious nonsense they speak. (Not meant for anyone here, of course.)
  13. Jagat

    hindi term ?

    Does it have a context. I don't recognize it. This could be a regionalism, but without anything before or after--even in English--it is impossible to tell. Why don't you ask your friend?
  14. Does it have a context. I don't recognize it. This could be a regionalism, but without anything before or after--even in English--it is impossible to tell. Why don't you ask your friend?
  15. If that was not a clear apology, I make a clear apology to the name of Sridhar Maharaj. I am in no way condoning Puranjan's view of things--at all. As a matter of fact, I find the decentralized vision of Guru Tattva that Sridhar Maharaj taught perhaps the most natural and organic system. I can't understand why Govinda Maharaj does not seem to have adopted a similar liberal view of things. At the same time, I am not entirely unsympathetic to other methods of organizing institutional Vaishnavism. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses. The independent entrepreneur system has the advantage of being flexible and innovative. The opposite extreme--the Ritvik system--has the disadvantage of being extremely conservative. Iskcon is somewhere in between. It has strong conservative tendencies, but at the same time, since it has a governing body that has power to make ecclesiastical and doctrinal decisions, it has a built in mechanism for evolution. So there is more potential there than in the Ritvik scheme. The Ritviks have the potential for creating an egalitarian, democratic type of approach. I think that's what they really want, at heart, like the early Protestants who resented Catholic popery. Right now they tend to the fundamentalist point of view, though it is quite possible that the Ritviks ultimately produce the most liberal branch of Vaishnavism of all... Naah, I don't think so. Of course, there are many conservative "braking" mechanisms in the free-market guru system, too.
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