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Everything posted by sanatan

  1. That's the point....it all comes down to an initial faith, and proof comes in a very personal way, that is, generally not demonstrable or demonstrated. BTW, I'm on your team, in the sense of not attempting to diss religion or spirituality, be it Christianity or Vaisnavism, just adding an angle to the discussion.
  2. That the Gita (Bible) is true or absolute is an assumption or item of faith until proven true. That the Krishna (Jesus) is the Supreme Person is also an assumption or item of faith until proven true. These assumptions cannot be proven to be absolute by the conventional scientific manner or by argument through logical process, because they both start with faith in something for which there is no empirical standard or universally-accepted demonstration. So it all comes down to these arguments: A. To begin with, the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God...God in a theistic sense. Assuming we accept on faith or "prove" by formal logic (which requires initial presentation of a premise as true or false) that God exists, then we come to: B. Is there a concept of God that is absolutely true? C. Is there a scripture that is absolutely true and capable of demonstrating B beyond reasonable doubt? Obviously, Christians and Vaisnavas each will claim the the superior answers to B and C and go to great lengths to support the veracity of their particular claims. But neither has yet succeeded in providing universally-acceptable proof for A, B, and C, so the logical conclusion would seem to be they remain sects or sectarian.
  3. That's why I prefaced my comments by saying that language as a whole is constantly changing...in 1000 years, someone will be arguing that "well, sanatan dharma has been in use for over 1000 years...why a new word now?"
  4. Re: sanatan dharma, shvu's comments All forms of language are in a continual state of transition and change. If this term is indeed a relatively recent addition to the spiritual lexicon, that doesn't detract from the meaning. It's not a matter of "Prabhupada said it, therefore it's absolute"...more like Prabhupada was highly influential in introducing this term and the meaning into Western language. He could just as easily have used another word or phrase.
  5. Re: more education. Once again, a perceptive member here cuts through the flying BS and offers a pertinent quote from Srila Prabhupada. In the strict sense, Christianity and Vaisnavism aren't the same...there are many differences in philosophy, cosmology, and practice. But in a broad sense, the one SP was coming from, they are very much similar.
  6. If I came across that way, it wasn't intended. Fundies and evangelicals definitely make up a large subgroup in the Christian population, but in no way do they represent all Christians or have a monopoly on Christian thought and philosophy. You have a strong point there.
  7. Personally, I've often been openly dismissive and critical of the "Christian Fundie" or evangelical approach and mentality, and have noted the same mentality among Vaisnavas; some are regulars on this forum. As was discussed in another thread, Christianity and Vaisnavism share the same big-picture requirements for spiritual success: Personal sincerity and dependence on God's mercy. In other words, "there is a God, and he's not you". From the Vedic viewpoint, I don't see any glaring scriptural justification for a sectarian mentality; from the Christian viewpoint this justification looks to be largely based in the writings of St. Paul, who no doubt was responding to the "time, place, and circumstances" of 2K years ago. There's just too much of a genuine spiritual nature in Paul's works to write him off as a sectarian preacher.
  8. My simplistic understanding: Christianity: The Original Sin of Adam and Eve caused sin to infect the human species, with the subsequent utter depravity and worthlessness of mankind in general, and the individual in particular. This state is correctable only through the individual's acceptance of the atoning death of Jesus Christ, which absolves the believer of sin and renders the soul fit to enter God's presence. Only sincerity and confession of belief are required for salvation. "Eastern-style" spiritual practices, i.e. chanting, meditation, and so on, are considered more-or-less valueless, and generally frowned upon. Vaisnavism: The soul is eternal, pure, unborn, undying, and individual, with free will. An aeons-past desire to separate from God and enjoy/experience the universe independently got us into the predicament we each now face: repeated birth and death in a world of suffering, with total forgetfulness of the eternal, fully God-knowledgeable, and fully blissful state of the soul. In Vaisnavism, spiritual practices are essential in rediscovering the soul, but work in tandem with the mercy of God...sincere spiritual practices indicate our desire to reconnect, and draw God to us. Really, in essence, Christianity and Vaisnavism are very similar because the sincerity of the individual and God's mercy are the greatest components of both. You can't do it on your own, as the impersonalists think. Srila Prabhupada stated that an insincere person can "chant vociferously" for millions of years, and Krishna will not reveal himself...and Jesus Christ stated that at the last judgment he will tell many "believers": I knew ye not.
  9. Theist: That seems to be the definitive answer, from the definitive person. I haven't seen a better one so far. I have SP"s hardbound letters and will look up...thanks.
  10. Re: Beware of Kali Temples. The boogeyman is everywhere...best to stay far clear of occultism of any kind, eastern or western in origin.
  11. Regarding insects...where I live, you have to aggressively treat for fireant mounds, wasp nests, and cockroaches. I'f you've ever been stung by a few fireants or one of those big red wasps, you know where I'm coming from...it's kind of us vs. them, especially since stings can cause fatally toxic reactions. But, that being said, I do try to keep up an attitude of ahimsa and rid our home of pests as gently as possible...knock down wasp nests in the early stage, rather than spray them when they've gotten big, use ant-riddance products that drive them away rather than kill them, take harmless bugs outside and release them. Cockroaches...no mercy. They spread disease. I put out poison traps for them. Our three cats are also effective in-house bug-disposal units...satisfies their need to hunt, and "no karma" for us humans.
  12. Just off the cuff, without a quote from SP, I tend to agree with the first statement. The strangeness of early ISKCON in 1965-1975 America often totally freaked parents out, much more so than their kids...remember "deprogramming"? Second statement...agree completely.
  13. Suchandra, thanks for bringing this essay to our attention. Great post. It is a definite prompt to self-analysis and personal motivational/behavior evaluation. I have tremendous regard for B.C. Swami, having met him on several occasions, and also know a few of his disciples.
  14. My understanding is that the spiritual world is perceived at all time and places...Krishna is seen by the pure bhakta in the totality of creation, as well as known in his personal form. It's not a matter of location, but of consciousness.
  15. No surprises there; a teaching that puts the unrestrained desires of the self in the center is a recipe for disaster. I'm seeing this play out realtime in a friend's life.
  16. The material world is no place for a gentleman...you're the madman, Prabhu.
  17. Maybe computer games are better, since they involve active participation? They're a much worse weakness for me than TV.
  18. In my house, the computers are the reigning deities...even though we have the full-size TV-deity, a 42" flatscreen LCD, we watch it very little. Yes, the computers and TV need to be away from the spiritually-dedicated area...on my list.
  19. I have three cats, all animal-shelter rescues. I feed them cat food, and they live in the house. I'll take the "karma". Pets or no pets...what a ridiculous subject to be making a big deal out of.
  20. These are some of the lessons learned by children (and adults) when they have pets. I'm thinking of an article in Back to Godhead, authored by a prominent female ISKCON devotee, that explored the question of pets and concluded that children should not be allowed to have them. Another good example of dry theological analysis trumping common sense.
  21. For a long time I wouldn't even chant japa because I considered myself such a weakling and phony. But then I realized that attitude was actually the false one, because it was presuming a necessity to be totally "in control". Yeah, I have an eye for the ladies (or hot babes, to be more up to date), but also know this is material conditioning...it's either succumb, or keep plodding. Judging oneself by the example of an associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is un-needed self torture.
  22. I'll try not to...I used to scare my poor wife half to death when I put my "inner monologues" into words...she tends to take everything I say as my absolutely serious intent.
  23. Theist: Don't get the impression that I'm advocating the ideas I put forth in response to the first post in this thread...merely thinking out loud about important questions.
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