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  1. AtmaJyoti.org has rebranded (it is now OCOY.org)so that they offer glimpses of Dharma to Christians who otherwise would not come into contact with the Eastern point of view. The abbot of Light of the Spirit Monastery (Atma Jyoti Ashram), Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri), has written a commentary on the Gita entitled, "The Bhagavad Gita for Christians," which is good reading for those of all faiths. The new commentary can be found HERE. The moving of the site is why the links mentioned in previous postings no longer work. Hope this helps.
  2. There is evidence that Jesus went to India during his "lost years". Do a google search for "Unknown Life of Christ" and you will find Notovitch's translation of a document he found in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, an ancient account of Jesus's life in India and Tibet. (Others have seen and translated the document, including Swami Abhedhananda, and other disciples of Ramakrishna) Though the document purports that Jesus was a Buddhist, it can be posited from this and from Jesus teachings that he was a Sanatana Dharmi, adapting the dharma of India to the understanding of the Israelites. It seems the people of the area at that time were not ready to understand what he taught. They either hated him, or distorted his teaching through their lack of comprehension. Modern Christianity is not Christian.
  3. IndiaMike.com is an exdellent India Travel Forum.
  4. Friends, I think you will be interested in the website, atmajyoti.org, which has hundreds of pages of articles on spiritual life and meditation. It also has photos from holy places all over India, as well as Quicktime streaming videos of India. One such video is of India Temple Elephants. Enjoy!
  5. I have found that you can find spiritual videos about India by doing a search on Google Video. Though there are mountains of trash which one has to be aware of and avoid, by doing a search for spiritual subjects, you can sometimes find good stuff. It inspired me to post a video of Ganga Arati at Hari-ki-Pari in Hardwar which we filmed in India. It would be a great idea to post to google video some of the talks of Prabhupada, or some videos of Nagar Kirtan, etc. Any volunteers?
  6. Friends, Forgive a comment from a non-Gaudiya devotee, but it seems to me that that some of the views of Krishna posted here are limiting, and also partake of some of the limitations of Western views of God, i.e. that he is a Hindu version of the "old man on the throne" type of jealous God who is more prone to condemn than to help those who approach Him amiss. Though I have great respect for the devotion and scholarship of Gaudiya devotees, I sometimes worry that strong sectarianism threatens to smother the finer aspects of heartfelt devotion to the Lord. I do no not mean for my opinion to offend.
  7. Dear friends- Many of you have enjoyed Brahmachari Matriprasad's Pilgrim Letters at http://www.atmajyoti.org/indiapilgrim.asp . Due to a recent trip to India, and recoverring from India's gift of malaria, it has been a while since new ones were posted. Finally today another set was posted, complete with photographs, of his adventures Omkareshwar, and various holy places in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, including Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai, Swami Ramdas's Anandashram in Khananghad, Sri Rangam and Rameshwaram. This new page is at http://www.atmajyoti.org/pl_pilgrim_letters_3.asp Below is a sample: Dear Swamijis, Namaste. Let me think what else I can tell you about our favorite subject: India. I know–the Narmada. I do not think I’ve described that yet. The Ganga and the Narmada are somewhat different. Being an adopted son of the Ganga, I can speak with some experience! The Ganga never looked to me like real water. Even downstream in Varanasi and Calcutta where it is so shamefully dirty, it just doesn’t look like water. One time while going by boat to Dakshineshwar, I kept thinking that there was an oil spill on the water or something, as it looked like something was glistening on top of the water, but I kept putting my hand in the water and finding it clear. I realized I was literally seeing light shining off the water. It is absolutely sinful, though, that the Indian people and government haven’t put some kind of restrictions on dumping filth into the body of the Devi. In Gangotri there are signs by the Ganga in Hindi and English that say, “The Ganga is the heart of India. To throw trash in or defecate on her banks is a great sin. Did you come to this holy place to create merit or sin?” Only in India. But what hypocrisy when you see what happens further down. I was reading a couple of days ago that someone was complaining to Ma how dirty the river was in Varanasi, and She agreed, but then said, “The nature of the Ganga is to purify and anything that is immersed in her is absorbed by her purity.” You can see that, as it is still holy. Up further, from Haridwar up to the source is a different story, though. In Rishikesh, the Ganga really doesn’t appear like water. I always thought it looked like it was made of a combination of green silk and light. Even the way it flows, and the patterns it forms as you look across it are just not what water does. I always felt that after bathing in it, I was not just purified, but actually subtly transformed. The Narmada is different. From experience I truly, truly believe in the idea of the holy rivers of India literally coming from a Divine source. The Narmada (from my limited perception) looks and behaves like regular water, but with an incredible vibration. It feels like it is a physical embodiment of sadhana shakti, and I really believe that it comes from God specifically for sadhus and their sadhana. At Omkareshwar it is very clear and green, and cool but not as cold as the Ganga. It has a similar, intense auric field like the Ganga. One day I walked far upstream on the mainland bank (it’s all forested, hilly wilderness for as far as you can see) and sat on a flat rock that was out in the water, so that the river was flowing all around me. The purifying flow of the aura was almost overpowering it was so incredible. It is no accident that thousands of years of sadhus have done tapasya on its banks. Besides bathing and doing my laundry in it in the morning, in the afternoon right before my meditation period, I go down and take a brisk swim. The afternoons are actually comfortably hot, and this is incredibly refreshing, plus it washes out any post-lunch tamoguna1 in the body and mind and really gets me ready for meditation. I swim about a third of the way out and tread water against the current for exercise. I find that if I stand neck-deep in the water, facing the current and repeat “Om Namah Shivaya,” amazing things happen. It is definitely in some way connected with the Shiva aspect of God and really comes alive if you tune in to that. Living in Omkareshwar, where there is some kind of Shiva shrine every three hundred feet or so, and doing Shiva puja every morning in our Shiva mandir, I am coming to intuitively understand a little more about... (to read more, go to: http://www.atmajyoti.org/pl_pilgrim_letters_3.asp I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have. Swami Tarakananda
  8. Friends, On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, at 2:30 a.m., Brahmachari Matriprasad (now Swami Mangalananda Giri), a long-time resident of our ashram, flew from Los Angeles, his destination: India. This truly was a life-changing day for him. On September 25 we received a letter from him giving an account of the beginnings of his spiritual pilgirmage-adventure. Since then we have gotten more than three hundred pages recounting the struggles, blessings, and reflections of a pilgrim in India. Through them we have shared in his wonder, his frustration, his humor, his insight, and his inspiration. We value them highly as a consequence, and feel that you will find them well worth the reading. To view the article with its photos, visit: http://www.atmajyoti.org/pl_pilgrim_letters_1.asp
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