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Everything posted by sanatan

  1. Christians generally don't accept any text but the Bible itself as an authoritative scripture, and the passages in the Bible that might suggest reincarnation, such as Revelation 3:12, that you noted, are cryptic at best; there's not anything in the presently-accepted versions of the Bible that could form the basis for a convincing pro-reincarnation argument. In a broad-based sense, the whole basis of Christian orthodoxy or conservative Christianity rests on the doctrine of inherent Original Sin and the redemption for this through the physical blood Atonement of Jesus Christ. For a Christian, actual acceptance of the concept of reincarnation is a very big stretch, because to accept it would essentially demand the drastic modification or outright discarding of the idea of Jesus Christ's death as God's only provision for the salvation of mankind. In addition, for a Biblical literalist, this would completely undermine the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. In my experience, no matter how sensibly or reasonably the idea of reincarnation may be presented to them, most conservative Christians cannot bring themselves to even casually entertain it. The Biblical passage that I've heard used the most to summarily dismiss the idea of reincarnation is Hebrews 9:27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Of course, the passage most often used by Christians when they want to stonewall and summarily dismiss everything else is John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  2. The problem is with me...getting in theological debates stokes up my false ego and sense of competitiveness. It becomes a personal matter of being right as opposed to sharing nectar and realizations, etc., and I have noticed that this happens with others as well. I try very hard not to engage in these types of conversations any more. As far and Christians, impersonalists, and followers of any other paths go, great for them...they are on the path, and a very large percentage of them of them have more faith in God and advanced realizations than I'll ever have. I didn't intend to convey the impression that I consider Gaudiya Vaisnavism or tha Hare Krishna movement to be the only path for everyone, because I certainly don't, even though it's the right one for me. Anyone who is sincerely seeking God and self realization is an advanced soul. I think that my original post gave you the impression of smugness that it did because this is a predominantly GV board and I was grumbling a little bit...please accept my apologies for any offense given.
  3. It also depresses me, and I've found that having a spiritual/theological discussion with a hardcore "impersonalist" ranks on the same level as a similar discussion with an evangelical Christian....it inevitably degenerates to a personal one-upmanship contest and a total waste of time.
  4. I gave up on having any kind of spiritual discussions with Christians a long time ago...even diluting things to "universal spirituality" is enough to set them off on a tear. Best you can do is show a good example with everyday behavior and in relationships with others. Good story and not surprising. Did they corner you out on the street while you were in devotee clothes? I remember being semi-attacked by Jesus Freaks about mid-70's but I was in regular attire...all they did was tell me that if I crossed the street without getting saved right then and there I would get run over by a car and go straight to hell.
  5. Where I am, the evangelical Christians have the overwhelming numerical advantage...bring up alternative spiritual topics at your own risk!
  6. I'll also go along with this view. I plan to visit India--Vrindavana, Mayapur, Varanasi--in the next few years, but I don't harbor any illusions that doing so will magically transform my spiritual life. The USA is a good place to be.
  7. My wife is New Age/Christian in her spiritual outlook. About 20 yrs. ago she was into watching Pat Robertson's 700 Club and one day he had a whole show on India's "spiritual emptiness". She's not a Vaisnava devotee but knew the philosophy and enough about Indian spiritual traditions in general to recognize this as complete BS, and has not watched Robertson since... now he's turned out to be a whacko that even many conservative evangelical Christians keep their distance from. It always distresses me when Christians summarily dismiss Lord Krishna and/or the Indian/Vedic spiritual tradition in general. This strikes me as false ego at work, but then so does the ISCKON-speak approach of "smashing" the philosophical arguments of others. The overagressive evangelistic approach to preaching only produces resentment and negative feelings on the part of the victims.
  8. Successive thirty-two or forty-eight or sixty-four round vows are fine goals, but first goal for me: a steady and well-chanted sixteen... I've found that there are indeed practical steps that can be taken to improve japa. The first idea is to do all rounds at one sitting, with the time considered to be Krishna's Time...there is nothing more important during that time. Ideal time to begin is between four and five A.M. If I don't start my rounds during that time period I've blown it and usually, japa chanted later will merely fulfill a quota. Wash face and hands, brush teeth, feel fresh and awake. Get a drink of water or juice and make sure to go to bathroom...wash hands and mouth well, have a fresh taste. Sit down in a semi-yogic position in chair or on floor...comfortable enough to not get distracted but attentive and proper, not slouched or lazy looking. Read one verse and purport from Gita before beginning japa. Begin each round with Pancha Tattva Mantra and "All Glories to Srila Prabhupada". Don't shake beads or walk. Use an eye cover if it helps. On the average, I can chant a well-pronounced mala round in 5 1/2 minutes...but go with what's working that day...if it's slower, fine, what difference does an extra ten minutes for japa make? Keep a little water or juice nearby...have some if needed. Same applies to going to bathroom...go if necessary; don't let needing to go ruin concentration. Vary speed and method of chanting as the need is felt to keep concentration. Try to repeat mantra audubly and mentally at the same time. After completing sixteen rounds, offer obeiances to Srila Prabhupada. Put beads away nicely...don't just toss them aside. Sit in silent meditation for another fifteen minutes or so, either repeating Maha Mantra mentally or Krisn-Na on incoming-outgoing breaths. Once again, read some Scripture. Make a rule....no net surfing, daily chores and duties, etc., until at least one hour past all of these activities...then the time is truly Krishna's time. This is not a difficult schedule...if I could do all of it even a steady five mornings a week...
  9. The reason I found this to be so satisfactory an explanation was that it places the responsibility of choice for their material predicament squarely upon each individual, infinitely more common-sensible than: A. Impersonalist/Voidist teaching...in some mystical and nebulous way, the Supreme that is actually each individual decides to "experience itself", gives up the position of omnipotent, omnipresent, and all-knowing Godhood, and voluntarily drifts into an eternity of material suffering and illusion... B. Christian teaching....humanity at large is the totally involuntary and rather out-of-luck inheritor of the consequences of the God-displeasing actions of a pair of distant progenitors. Contrary to Christian contention, Grace isn't excluded from the spiritual equation in our tradition....just receiving the Holy Names and having the inclination to chant them can be seen as tangible evidence that one has been the recipient of Causeless Mercy, Grace, or has been "Saved". And yes, we do have to work at it, and so do the Christians...getting "Saved" is the beginning of spiritual life for them.
  10. That's what I was always taught in ISKCON; the conclusion made sense, especially in light of Christian teaching regarding the fall of mankind, therefore I never questioned it. Too simple-minded, perhaps?
  11. Agree, yours is a reasonable explantion for a real falldown...and I can't recall knowing a devotee to whom this has happened...for most people, once a devotee, always a devotee. Engaging seriously in Krishna conscious activities, even if interrupted, produces a very fundamental and deep-rooted realignment in world-view and subtle faculties. If "ordinary devotees" with anarthas and weaknesses don't have hope of becoming "real devotees", then what's the point? "A saint is a sinner who never gave up".
  12. The mental gymnastics that people go through to bring scientific observation into line with the statements of prescientific scripture never cease to amaze me. The Christians have their own field called "Creation Science", and on "our" side there are efforts such as Dr. Thompson's "Vedic Astronomy and Cosmology", largely incomprehensible to me, and, I suspect, to many more. And, to level the field, as a "believer", I honestly cannot comprehend the mind of the atheist, or the scientist who can't allow for the concept of a supreme first cause, sustainer, and destroyer...in another word, God. My questions...why do these issues have to enter the realm of spiritual life at all? Aren't we working on a personal level, to rid ourselves of anarthas, base qualities? Will debating this abstracted question of the earth's distance from the moon and sun help us in destroying our anarthas? How many angels on the head of a pin? Why did Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, a perfect devotee and seer, wear a wristwatch? Maybe those questions should go up for debate next.
  13. I think what you're trying to get as is the possibility of literal annihilation of the soul and consciousness; according to Bhagavad-gita this isn't possible. Some Christians believe that the souls of sinners /unbelievers will be annihilated after the final judgment; I've read the Biblical passage that supports this idea at some point in the past but can't remember it. The closest thing I can think of is the concept of a Void state but the effort required to attain to this is a life's endeavor, similar to what it takes to become self-realized in the Vedic sense. I've given the idea of complete soul annihilation some personal thought also and have come to the conclusion that it isn't possible.
  14. Re: The Magic of Sixty-four Rounds Awesome! This is the standard to aspire for. In a practical sense, by the time I've finished sixteen straight-through rounds, I feel warmed-up, like my mind is just beginning to focus well, but I've done the required, and am too lazy to continue.
  15. That's the whole point that Srila Prabhupada was always trying to make...science generally leaves a first cause...God...out of the evolutionary picture. Sure, there's plenty of physical evidence for Darwinian evolution, as well as plenty of evidence, physical and experiential, for transcendental spiritual life. I don't have a problem with either one. These evidences exist in numerous tangible forms and denying either is not going to make it go away or conform exactly to any given scripture. The big problem that fundamentalist Christians are having is that Darwinian evolution doesn't fit into their absolutely literal reading of the Bible, so they've invented a bogus reality-disconnect called "Creation Science".
  16. Apologies readily accepted, please accept mine in turn...I've been ill, cranky as well, and normally would not reply in such a snappish way...I just now bit my wife's head off over zip . As I said, it was not a personal-faith issue with me, more just an interesting point.
  17. FYI, the initial question is not a personal issue with me, but it is an objective and legitimate question. Sounds like you need to crank up your tolerance level, Prabhu...if you get "bothered" this easily.
  18. That's a great pic of Srila Prabhupada!! He looks younger....is it from the early New York days?
  19. Constant Seeker..visit the Hare Krishna temple in Soho Square, London. there's a great restaurant there as well.
  20. This speculating about past lives is fun...if you analyze the present you get clues to the past. At most, I was a European in India for occupational reasons and perhaps took an interest in Vedic philosophy and was intrigued by sadhus, etc., picking up a drop of causeless mercy along the way. I certainly wasn't a godbrother or godnephew of Srila Prabhupada come west to meet up with him again...way too many material attachments, bad habits, etc; spiritual life has always been too much of a struggle to have been in any sustained elevated state of consciousness in a past life.
  21. Sorry, new on this board, forgot to sign in. Your first point is one that I agree with, having seen it in practice my whole life. I was raised as a Christian and felt a certain sense of the sacred or a faint stirring, whatever...but what could be called a definable inner initiation or spiritual awkening happened through Srila Prabhupada's mercy. Per the concept of Sanatana-dharma, I understand that there is no difference in the awakening of a Christian from that of a person of any other "ism"...but among most Christians there is a lack of a universal spiritual attitude with corresponding teachings, along with a very strong resistance to developing such an attitude. To me, many Christians display a frightening arrogance and ego-driven desire to conquer and dominate others.
  22. This post is nothing but standard propaganda, and you've embellished it very well with self-righteous anger and an over-riding sense of an ego that is inextricably mixed with a need to dominate others with your beliefs. Why are you even wasting your time here?
  23. All being said, respectfully taking into account all spiritual POV's, evangelical Christians are the toughest audience around...and often they're not the audience, rather anyone is fair game as a target for them, especially here in the southern USA. I don't waste Krishna's time and my own valuable time in endless and conclusionless discussions with them...been there and done that...best to spend that time with people who are positive and receptive.
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