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Posts posted by aGnani11

  1. We need to suspend these idle debates. Follow a Guru whom you feel is truly humble, and has attained self-realization and God-realization. If no such Guru is available, then find the Guru within yourself. No need to "believe" in people. Paramatman is manifest in each individual Atman, and that is all that is necessary.


    Instead of debating over who is right/wrong, let's discuss spiritual tenets. Why not discuss the spiritual discipline Swaminarayan speaks of in Gadhada II-13, when he describes the divine light of Purushottam Narayan? Or of the methods of withdrawing one's thought from the exterior to the interior? Or of the technique he prescribes in Vach. Sarangpur-13 for the systematic process of self-realization and attaining 'Shunya' or 'no-thought'?


    To me, these are far more important questions that need to be answered than "BAPS are an offshoot" or "your Acharya is corrupt". Please, life is short and moksha isn't exactly a piece of cake. It's exactly these types of immature dialogue that is plaguing all of Hinduism. Let's understand that we have far more similarities than we do differences. Lets keep it that way!



  2. The words of the Swaminarayan arti are somewhat different because they are based on manuscripts that sadhu scholars of BAPS uncovered. Sadhus of BAPS actually discussed them with the scholars of the Bhuj mandir and have come to a consensus that the manuscript is indeed original and words like "Narayan Nar Bhraataa" were originally written as "Narayan Sukh Daataa" and "Charane shish dharya" is actually "Charane chitta dharya". Those are pretty much the main differences, and they are based strictly on the manuscripts that were discovered.


    Trust me, it would be sacriligious to just change an original work of a great sadguru sadhu of Swaminarayan. But the words are based on hard evidence of scripts, not through the conjecture of lesser minds.




  3. I'm not sure what Sri Krishna or Srila Prabhupada says regarding this, but Swami Sahajananda (Swaminarayana) instructed his disciples that after awaking before sunrise on the day of dvadasi, and after bathing and performing morning puja and meditation, you should break fast with lemon juice and light fruits after offering them to God. Most monks of the Swaminarayana tradition break the ekadasi by eating khichadi (a creamy blend of rice and dal).

  4. Jay Sri Narayana,


    I have heard of the mystical origins of Ragas. Narad Rishi, according to the Puranas, was a master of the diverse range of Ragas that correspond to different human emotions.


    In the system of astanga-yoga, the anAhata-cakra is associated with the anAhat-sabda, which is a divine sound that the yogi can hear when performing deep meditation using the ekagrahta technique.


    Singing kirtan/bhajans and chanting God's mantras in Raga can also boost the power it has on you. Raga is a beautiful way of professing pure bhakti towards God. The various Ragas do have a divine origin, so I think it's important that we discuss what Ragas mean to you.


    Do you prefer to sing ragas? Even singing the Omkaar in ragas can have profound effect on your ability to meditate and do bhakti.


    What does everyone think?

  5. Sahajanand Swami is is original sadhu name, given to him by his guru Ramanand Swami, a respected Vaishnav sadhu of the late 18th century. After he prescribed the Swaminarayan mantra, he became known throughout Gujarat, Kutch, and Rajasthan as Swaminarayan.


    Also, I'm not familiar with idols of Radha and Krishna or Shiva and Parvati being smaller than the idols of Akshar and Purushottam. Every Swaminarayan mandir I've been to has equality in size, with Akshar-Purushottam being in the central shrine.


    As for the Akshardham mandir in Delhi, they are golden because Swaminarayan Bhagwan is our istadeva. The divine couples of Radha and Krishna and Shiva and Parvati are there to show that we are based in the philosophy of the unity of Akshar and Purushottam, or Brahman and Parabrahman, i.e. the Servant-Master relationship between Bhakta and Bhagwan.

  6. Number 2, you are using the practices of the followers of various religions to define what those respective religions say about eating meat. Christ had instructed his followers explicitly to limit their consumption of meat on certain holy days. What does this mean? Eating meat is impure.


    Why do Muslims eat halal meat? Eating meat is a cardinal sin, and so to "make-up" for it, they eat halal. If consuming meat wasn't adverse, halal meat wouldn't be necessary.


    As for the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, you may be correct, but the law of good/bad/neutral karma still prevails throughout the entire world of Hinduism. Killing/consuming animals also have adverse effects on your ability to meditate (i.e. the yama and niyama stages of astanga-yoga).


    There's no question that the world's religions at least covertly look down upon eating meat.

  7. Happy Aparā Ekādashi (fast, 11th day of the dark half of the month of Vaisākh) to all those who observe it today!


    What does everyone think about the practice of fasting? The Gita says that fasting is indeed a form of tapas which results in good karma/merit. Although the goal for all jivas is to become karma-yogis, fasting does indeed help purify both the body, by allowing the body to cleanse itself without any ingestion, and the mind, by keeping the intrinsic qualities of food items from polluting the mind.


    Maybe someone with a little more knowledge on food's effects on the inner faculties of the mind can help explain the benefits of fasting?




    OM SHāNTI!

  8. It's very obvious that a vegetarian lifestyle is advocated by all of God's religions. Eating flesh is condemned in every holy text. It's just that consuming meat is more or less overtly condemned in some traditions compared to others.


    The statement "You are what you eat" is absolutely true, and for a spiritual aspirant to seek the path of God and eat meat is like a person aspiring to be an athlete while eating hamburgers.


    Sure, meat can be healthy and protein-rich, but so can vegetables.


    Don't worry, faithful bhaktas, the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle is steadily sweeping across the USA and the world. I live in Chicago and there are very few shops/restaurants that do not cater to the vegetarian taste.


    Om Shanti!




    I was talking to a person who tells me about this person Bhagwan Swaminarayan who he considers to be GOD ...not an incarnation. He was telling me that most of these Swaminarayan do not like most iskcon devotees ..I have no heard about this person till now..can someone tell me who this person was? And why these groups of people do not like most of us devotees?


    Dear respected Bhakta,


    Whomever you were talking to is probably only one out of many that "dislikes" the faithful of ISKCON. I am a disciple of Swaminarayan, and I have three very close friends whom I love very much who are followers of Srila Prabhupada.


    There shouldn't be any hostility between us. We both originate from the Visitadvaita system of Sri Ramanuja.


    The followers of Swaminarayan (Swami Sahajananda) believe him to be the last of the several incarnations of the divine. Swaminarayan himself affirmed the divinity of Sri Krishna. The bhakti tradition, however, advocates accepting an personal istadeva and offering pure bhakti towards Him as the mode of worship to God Supreme. Sri Krishna Bhagwan strictly advocated understanding the present-day manifestation of God, thus, the followers of Swaminarayan did the same, and accepted Swaminarayan as the manifestation of the divine.


    This acceptance of Swaminarayan to be God didn't come out of nowhere. There are many instances where he said, both overtly and covertly, that he was the Lord of Akshardham. He performed leelas and attracted literally millions of followers from Gujarat, Kutch, and Rajasthan through both his attractive personality and profound knowledge of the Shrutis and Smrutis. During his teenage years, he took upon the role of a great yogi, mastering astanga-yoga and travelling through the entire length and width of India as a yogi searching for ashramas that exhibited a pure understanding of Vedic philosophy. He found such a place in the sampradaya of Swami Ramananda, a respected Vaishnav acharya in Gujarat. Historically, Swami Sahajananda also made a significant impact on the social scene by condemning superstitious practices, uplifting women's rights, and eradicating the barriers built up by the caste system.


    The followers of Swaminarayan have no wish to become hostile with the faithful of other sects of Hinduism. We are a happy bunch who happily celebrate festivals that are universal to the broad traditions of the Sanatana Hindu Dharma. Currently, there are several sects within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, the most significant being:

    1. Vadtal diocese, headed by Acharya Rakeshprasadji,

    2. Ahmedabad diocese, headed by Koshalendraprasadji, and

    3. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, headed by Pramukh Swamiji.



    om shanti.

  10. Jay Sri Narayana,


    I'm interested in photo documenting the primary Hindu holy cities, beginning with Haridvara. Does anyone know a precise route most people take when going for the darsana of these cities and their presiding mandirs? Difficulty of route is not an issue as I am willing to walk for several miles if needed.


    I know the path of devotional love to God is all that is required, but these cities of Haridvara, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, etc. have immense historical significance on Vedic India. I am fascinated by these places because they are highly important for practicing spiritual disciplines.

  11. Jay Sri Narayana,


    I have a question about the historical figure of Lord Krishna. What date(s) do scholars (both Hindu scholars and Western) accept Krishna to have lived? Hindu smrutis believe him to have lived several thousand years ago, but I am wondering about the anthropological study of Krishna as an actual human being who walked the earth.


    When did he live? When was the Bhagavat Gita written?

  12. I am currently engaged in a heated debate with my Sikh friend about the practice of murti pujan, or Idol worship. Sikhs, as you may know, are strictly against the worship of any idol, statue, or even physical object. Guru Nanak forbade his disciples in worshipping idols because idols are seen as still part of maya.


    How can I argue to defend murti pujan? What analogies/references can I use that justifies the bhakti/devotion to idols of God? Thanks!!








  13. I will answer the question as directly as possible. Swaminarayana (Swami Sahajananda, 1781 - 1830 CE) has declared Himself in various parts of his spoken Vachanamritam as well as a kirtan composed by Himself ("Maha balavanta Maya Tamaari") that He is the source of infinite avataars and he is an incarnation of Purushottam Narayana. Swaminarayana himself was very affectionate towards Sri Krishna and thus advocated the bhakti of Krishna because of the fact that Vaishnavism was the predominant movement at the time.

    He stressed the fact that pure bhakti to your ishtadev reigns supreme in the age of Kal. His monk disciples themselves were profound scholars, poets, and Sanskritists and were firmly fixated on the divine image of Krishna. After coming into the contact of Swaminarayana, they saw the same divinity as in Krishna himself, via his personality, social reformation, deep knowledge as shown in the Vachanamritam, and his personal history of mastering ashtanga yoga in a mere 4 months and performing the most severe austerities and tapas in the Himalayas and across the entire length of India. No human being or even an experienced yogi could practice such intense tapas, but Swaminarayana did it as an act of leela.


    If you honestly sit down and study the life of Swaminarayana, you will eventually see that there is very little difference between his authenticity and Lord Krishna's.


    Also, please do not reply to this message with profanities, insults, or unnecessary remarks. I acknowledge the fact that most of ISKCON followers resent Swaminarayana. I am not here to advocate Swaminarayan. I am here to read/participate in discussions of Hindu philosophy, practice, and culture.

  14. Is anyone familiar with Mircea Eliade? He is a German philosopher whose work extensively involves the academic study of our Eastern/Bharatiya philosophical foundations. His work essentially stresses the idea that Western philosophy is far too concerned with epistemological problems that they never reach the level that ancient Vedanta accomplished.


    Socratic, Platonic and Aristotelian ideas were more concerned with the origins of knowledge, ethical principles, and universalism. Meanwhile, the great sages and rishis of Bharat Varsh were calculating the chakra system, the nature of the human mind, ideas of reincarnation, and methods of reaching/communicating with the divine. What is known as Freudian psychology is developed far before Freud in the Svetasvatara Upanishad by theorizing the 3 states of consciousness.


    When studying the fabric of Western philosophy and comparing it to Vedic ideas, I think its pretty well established that Western philosophers seem to dwell too much on answering questions of universalism according to logic. In the end, the famous quote by Socrates "All I know is that I know nothing" seems to be the capstone of all of Western thought. Eastern thought, however, seems to skip all the questions regarding the nature of knowledge and goes far beyond: to understand the gross, subtle, and causal aspects of human existence, the nature and potential of the mind, and other mental and physical disciplines to answer the same questions that Western philosophers sought to answer.


    Eastern philosophy wins. Vedic ideas and concepts are very precious to the development of philosophy as we know today. Unfortunately, the Vedas and Vedanta are given very little credit in most colleges and universities today.

  15. Om Shanti,


    Does anyone know the history and meaning of the Kumbh Mela? Has anyone attended a Kumbh Mela in either Ujjain, Haridwar, Allahabad, or Nasik? Can you share some of your experiences? The Kumbh Mela is probably the largest festival of Vedic Dharma with millions of pilgrims, monks, ascetics and gurus gathering to bathe in the holy waters of the great rivers. I am anxious to learn more about this remarkable festival.

  16. The Shrutis have used various names to describe Godhead. You may call him Indra, which literally translates as the "King of gods", which is correct when addressing Supreme Godhead. Narayana, Krishna, and even Shiv are all valid names for addressing Godhead. The reason why there are so many different names for God is because human language is vastly limited to empirical experiences, and no word can fully describe the trancendental greatness of God.


    Thus, whether you call him Indra or Krishna, Shiv or Shankara, Narayana or anything else, you are still referring to the Supreme Godhead.


    This is my own interpretation of this verse. What does everyone else think?


    as long as the movie doesn't teach Guru Swaminarayan is God!

    This is the problem with so many people. Some folks are so tuned into their own following that they refuse to accept any system of philosophy outside their own. Swami Sahajananda (1781 - 1830) was a pure Vaishnav and an incredible master of ashtanga yoga as well as a social reformer in Gujarat. His life, however, closely resembled that of Sri Krishna Bhagavan. He performed leelas, spoke divinity, and spewed knowledge in his Vachanamritam (main text of Swaminarayan Hinduism) of pure Visistadvaita philosophy.

    Do not misinterpret me. I love Krishna Bhagavan and devote to Him as well. The monk disciples of Swaminarayan composed beautiful kirtans and bhajans spelling the glory of Krishna, and we still sing them today. My istadeva, however, is Swaminarayan and the film Mystic India does nothing to state that he is God, however, it does show that Swaminarayan was someone who was spiritually enlightened to a point above the average yogi.

    Watch the trailer (at http://www.mysticindia.com/trailer/index.htm) and see for yourself!

  18. All those who are interested in the ancient mysticism of Hindu spirituality and Indian culture should definitely see the giant-screen film Mystic India. To find out of the film is playing at a theatre near you, check out the web site:


    The film itself is inspired by the true story of a young yogi named Neelkanth, who travelled nearly 8,000 miles across the entire length of India between 1792 and 1799. Neelkanth later went on to receive Vaishnavi diksha into the monk order by Swami Ramananda in Gujarat and later became known as Lord Swaminarayan. This film documents the cultural richness of India and Hindu spirituality. I truly believe that it is a must see for every Hindu and those who are interested in India and its arts, architecture, spiritual rituals, and philosophy.

    You can preview the film by watching the trailer on the website. I would love to get some discussion going on the strengths and weaknesses of the film.


    Whilst a Jnani intellectual may be able to relate to The Universe as mathematical equation; as Superstring and Relativity theory (Advaita Vedanta), most people's spiritual progress is best served by concentrating on an Aspect of the Godhead.

    Sri Krsna is a perfectly serviceable Aspect upon which to concentrate one's devotion, if a bhakti, but Lord Siva, Ganesa or Kali are equally conducive to spiritual progression if one can more comfortably relate to their qualities.

    We must remember that the worship of Personalities and Avataras is a crutch, a therapeutic modality useful in our journey toward Unity with Brahman.

    Insistence on one Aspect as objectively real to the point of contention with dharmis of other traditions is counter to the essence of Sanatana Dharma.

    Seyorni, this is an excellent analysis of the idea of the Hindu practice of having personal ishtadevas. Because God is infinite and possesses infinite qualities in his sagun swaroop and no qualities in his nirgun swaroop, it is impossible for a logical human mind to be able to comprehend the greatness of Supreme Godhead. This is why the different gods of Hinduism give rise to the practice of revering individual aspects of God rather than God as an entire entity, but the idea of the Universal Self, or Brahman, still remains as the primary goal of yoga and meditation. This is a good point you bring up.

  20. Shri Krishna is one manifestation of the Supreme. In our holy land of Bharat varsh, there have been several divine incarnations, and several thousands of divine holy rishis, monks, and saints. I would think that God does not limit Himself and appear on earth only once; rather, he continually manifests himself to propogate Bhagvad Dharma and he also continues his work through holy saints and rishis. Prabhupada or Pramukh Swamiji are fine examples of such.

  21. This was a great post. The origin of the monosyllable OM is very intriguing. I read in a thesis paper that the all of the Shrutis and Smrutis are merely commentaries on that one sound OM. What is contained in OM is essentially the universal truth.


    Since language and logic of the human mind is severely limited, so is the extent to which we can explain the meaning of OM. Thus, by chanting OM, we evade all those limitations and concentrate on the Self, and then ultimately realize the Paramatman that pervades all of existence, including the atman.

  22. I think this board should require you to be a registered member if you want to post comments. It seems like the ridiculous, unnecessary posts all come from "Guests".


    Why can't this board require a username/password? If we want to raise the quality of discussions on this forum, we can't allow people to post anonymously. Otherwise people just "hide" behind their Guest name and post unnecessary blasphemy and resort to name-calling and other immature posts.


    Please change it!!

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