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Everything posted by sanatan

  1. That one life's misdeeds don't merit eternal hell is logically true, but not true to the orthodox Christian. In just about every version of Christianity, eternal condemnation isn't the result of any particular crime or even 100 years of genocide. It is every human being's birthright, the result of the sinful nature that was passed to mankind from Adam and Eve. Per this belief, a saintly person who lives a pure and perfect life is still condemned to hell if not redeemed by personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior, while a cannibal serial killer such as Jeffrey Dahmer goes to heaven automatically by such acceptance. This is why Christians are so resistant to the idea of reincarnation...the idea that there could be repeated chances blows their whole religion out of the water. There's my answer to the thread title: Yes, even though I think I'm a lost soul, I feel infinitely more loved by Krishna than by the Judeo/Christian "God".
  2. I try to keep this mentality at the forefront, even if it doesn't come naturally at all. When it come to anger, adult life has been a process of forgiving wrongs from the past, and remembering when I wronged others, surely causing them to harbor similar feelings toward me. I don't even want to go there when it comes to the land-grabbing proprietors of the property adjoining the house we recently bought...but remembering we are short-term borrowing Krishna's property and paying for it (and our lawyer) with a particular form of material energy called "money" helps keep things in perspective and anger defused. Past deep-south racist conditioning pops up often as well...go with it on an incident-by-incident basis. My fundie-Christian cousin expressed incredulous disbelief when I told him I didn't try to analyze people on the basis of "saved" or "unsaved"...I just see people. If I didn't have the willfully-cultivated ability to at least mentally practice seeing Krishna everywhere, I'd be happily wallowing in and acting on all kinds of negative, hateful, vindictive, and self-pitying feelings. It is painful therapy indeed, to put these aside and go for the bigger vision.
  3. The doctrine of original sin that proceeds from the Adam/Eve story is what made me give up on Christianity at a young age...it was ridiculous at age 7, all the more so at 57. I'm not trying to sell the idea of eternal damnation here, either the Christian version or a Vedic one...it's just very interesting to me that there is such an idea in the Vedic line, and that this idea was advanced by one so prominent. That's what intrigues me about Madhvacarya's version...the inference can be made that a number of souls are happy being demons, and as such serve in eternally-necessary positions in the mid-material and hellish realms. It makes sense. It's the poor buggers in the middle that bother me...those that eternally transmigrate without hope of redemption. Perhaps it's the mission of those who are redeemable by the Lord's mercy to save those in the middle, to turn them into redeemables? I would hope so...possibly being one of that group is very frightening; if I'm not, it makes me want to help rescue them. I see you googled Madhvacarya/tripartite...last night, I was going to post a reply with basically what you found, but was crashing hard at the time...had to got to bed. This was something that I had read about long ago and remebered vaguely; this thread brought it up for me and prompted a couple hours of googling and reading. Did you pick up that "in the opinion of some scholars", Madhvacarya may have been influenced by Christian missionaries? I don't think Calvin's conclusions are any more than the product of speculation; as I said before, he didn't have all the reference sources necessary at hand. Post-reformation Protestantism was just cleaned-up Roman Catholicism...the core doctrines are still in place. I suspect that if Calvin had had a perfect English version of Bhagavad-Gita in front of him, he would have condemned it as Satan's work, witchcraft, or the "writings of the heathen Hindoo". Problem is, and we both know it: you can explain the idea of reincarnation to Christians until you're blue in the face...they do not want to hear about it, because it destroys their whole philosophical construct. Awe and reverence do go hand in hand with fear, so this also sounds sensible. I take that you mean Madhvacarya was a Vaikuntha man in the sense of being pre-Caitanya Mahaprabhu, before the ideas of more intimate rasas became widely disseminated.
  4. <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> I’m moving away from the mercy-stressing theme of this thread, and into a depressing line of thought, but questions arise. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Points, off the top: <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Scripturally: This chapter (16) and particular statement (verse 20) in the Gita; statements in the Bible concerning damnation. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> In regard to historic religious teachers and thinkers: Srila Madhvacarya’s concept of the tripartite division of souls, and the concepts of predestination advanced by Christian thinkers, principally John Calvin. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> In regard to the historically recorded as well as the currently observable material world: The intransigent and ever-recurring presence of purely evil personalities and their actions, ranging from the everyday liars and cheats to serial killers to masterminds and executors of genocide. These personalities seem to appear regularly, as do incarnations and saints, but in vastly greater numbers.<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> The sixteenth chapter of the Gita discusses elaborately the demoniac personalities and the processes by which they are condemned, to the point of nil chance of receiving God’s mercy, and perpetually cast into situations that will carry them even farther away from this possibility. Srila Prabhupada clearly confirms this in his purport for Ch. 16, verse 20: “It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac.”<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> The post-Reformation Christian philosophers such as Calvin had no Vedic knowledge and therefore incomplete working information; as a result, I regard their conclusions as speculation with influential consequences. Perhaps they stumbled onto the truth. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Srila Madhvacarya, on the other hand, was a saint in the Vaisnava line, regarded by many as an incarnation, and a repository of Vedic knowledge who advanced the basic philosophical structure of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> In light of his qualifications, particularly as a completely self-realized soul, what do we make of his conclusions regarding tripartite division? <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> At what point and by who was this concept definitively refuted or dropped in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line, or was it simply pushed to the sidelines by later teachings? <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> What’s bouncing around in my head: the possible and sensible reality that there are eternally condemned or conditioned living entities, and the hope that I’m not one of them!<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Guruvani has suggested that Srila Prabhupada benignly bent the truth in preaching to Christian Westerners; perhaps downplaying the scriptural truth regarding condemnation and the stressing of the all-merciful aspect in one-on-one encounters, as Suchandra recounted in posts 1 and 10, was a part of this preaching approach.<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Yeh, God only knows what I did as well…undoubtedly very little in the way of spiritual activities; if there were such activities, screwed up big time at some point and lost most of the “bank account”...but hopefully have made a few bucks back.
  5. BG As It Is: Chapter 16. The Divine And Demoniac Natures <CENTER></CENTER> Text 20:Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence. PURPORT It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac. It is clearly stated... ...Therefore God's mercy is shown to the asuras if they are fortunate enough to be killed by Him. Suggests clearly a type of potentially-eternal separation or damnation, though not in the Christian sense.
  6. Yep, there's always going to be inferior and superior debaters...it all adds up to zero, a waste of time. Defeating someone of adversarial mindset in a debate just makes them angry and they dig their heels in all the more for the next round. I guess thats why "hearing submissively" is so important.
  7. As I've said here before, it took understanding the concepts of sanatana-dharma for me to understand the Bible and Jesus Christ. So, now having accomplished this, how could I give up or ignore what is part of the wholeness of spiritual life...in spite of the thumpers and fundies that make it ugly. I just don't deal with them anymore on a spiritual or philosophical level. Simplicity...Srila Prabhupada gave enough for a whole life's study in the Gita, Nectar of Devotion, and first three volumes of Bhagavatam. I'll take knowing these well and consistent good japa as a goal for age 70.
  8. Yeh...it's really a very practical system and an honest effort to prevent recurrence of past problems...I've never understood why people get so bent out of shape about it.
  9. I know this was a serious post but I got a huge laugh...bubba ramm dass ...and he was probably the best of that old 60's guru invasion. I found him quite inspiring at the time and still respect him. The idea of SP being in the eternal continuum of a bonafide disciplic succession and the obvious genuineness of the whole early ISKCON thing when compared to the other guys got through even to this then-disabled brain. I'd been previously burned by association with a bogus guru and my health actually harmed by yogic practices he taught...I was too scared to make the jump and join up with Visnujana Maharaja & Co. I had also become a pretty bad drunk between those two points as well, and was quite befuddled most of the time. But, in terms of any further "searching" on a philosophical level, it all ended then and there.
  10. Chapter 16, Verses 1-3 The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity and simplicity; nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger; renunciation, tranquility, aversion to faultfinding, compassion and freedom from covetousness; gentleness, modesty and steady determination; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor--these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.
  11. Yeh, satan gets conveniently blamed for just about everything. I gave up on "interfaith" dialogue because their attitude makes me frustrated and angry and causes me to hate them. I have known some fundy devotees as well, don't tend to associate with them...tend to get just as burned up when they put down Jesus Christ or minimize him. Srila Prabhupada did comment extensively on Christ and the recent relevant discussion and posts here have been mostly nice and informative...SP was in no way pandering to predominant western beliefs, as one of his "disciples" here has claimed. My personal experience is that I didn't understand the Bible until I had read Srila Prabhupada's basic works and assimilated the philosophy. I can imagine blank stares only. Very good lesson in comparative linguistics, HS, thank you.
  12. That's the rationale I've used many times in discussions/debates with evangelical-type Christians, online and in person: the whole Adam and Eve thing is a symbolic story written to illustrate exactly what has already happened to all of us. But none of them want to hear it that way; they consider Genesis "literal truth", and then ask "why has God deserted me (or us, mankind in general)" when something really horrible happens, like when a perfect little bundle of joy from heaven turns out to be a drug addict or gets killed in a car wreck at age 16. A couple of times, close Christians have rhetorically asked me that question after these things happened to their children or children of friends/relatives, and then flat-out refused to listen to the Vedic version when I brought it up in a sincere effort to comfort them...it was taboo to them, they got a deer-in-the headlights look and changed the subject. I've now altogether given up dialogue attempts with evangelical born-again types, online or in person.
  13. An eloquent masterpiece of a post!
  14. Thanks for posting this. Very good and encouraging knowledge, as I "missed" direct connection with Srila Prabhupada in the early days, and the closest person to have possibly been diksa-guru for me was Tamal Krishna Maharaja. Since his passing, I haven't again formed this type of relationship, and don't forsee it happening in the future.
  15. My early ISKCON time was in 1971, then essentially little contact until 1985. TKG was headquartered in Dallas at that time; farm had been sold by then. I remember all the years here with TKG as good ones; I took much siksha from him and was an aspiring disciple for some time. I was very saddened at his passing. The face of the Dallas community has changed considerably since his direct personal influence is no longer present, but his disciples are still a close group...I'm treated as a Godbrother though never took initiation.
  16. I can think right off hand of three devotees & family who moved to Alachua from Dallas and CA, probably others I don't recall and others I've lost track of. I've heard its a great place. Dallas is a trad ISKCON/GBC affiliated community, but is also very largely devoid of the fanatic extremism that you speak of, as well as somewhat Hinduized now, with a very big Indian congregation. The whole spectrum is here, from 35-year-plus Srila Prabhupada disciples to new ashram bhaktas and bhaktins. One of the managing devotees told me that there are disciples of 20+ gurus in addition to SP that live in the community or are associated to some degree. People pretty much do their own thing here as well...never has been a whole lot in the way of peer pressure and it's big enough to where the faces I don't know far outnumber the ones I do...tight intimacy occurs in smaller friendship groups and one on one friendships. I'm an early-to-mid ISKCON era guy (nearing 58) and my best friend is 20+ years younger and the disciple of a blooped second-gen ISKCON guru. I've never lived in a temple or community except for very short stays in the early 70's. My wife greatly appreciates Krishna Consciousness but is more New Age/independent universalist in her outlook...we're more longtime congregational+ members here. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
  17. If you want to attempt to prosetylize here, first learn something about who you're talking to, what you're talking about, and get your terminology correct. This is not a Buddhist website, though Buddhism is discussed here frequently. This a board devoted to the principles of Sanatana-dharma, and most of the members and contibutors are Gaudiya Vaisnavas. I'll leave those to you to research, as I don't want to waste my time with someone who has obviously come here to mock. If and when you make the effort to learn something, and can possibly discuss intelligently, come back and be prepared...very strong debaters await you.
  18. ISKCON Dallas is an oasis, believe me. There are the everyday problems, but overall, a nicer group of devotees spanning the whole generational and national spectrum, I can't imagine. Awesome restaurant, too. We're fortunate to live a few miles away, and will be moving much closer in the next year, if we can ever get this *%$#@# house started.
  19. And I appreciate your response. Yeah, it's a common failing: we all are entangled to some degree in possessions and use of the particular material infrastructure we find ourselves in...myself and my wife, way too much so in the last seven years, after leading a much more simple and austere life for the preceding twenty years. If we can't directly emulate what SP envisioned, at least we can go back to where we were before...we have been in the process of doing this since early 2007, and the May auto accident moved things along, both in the sense of being a jarring reminder of how things and life itself can get snatched away in a second, and in the fact that it removed something that wasn't really needed and won't be replaced. But an equal or greater failing for any of us is to still be in the mentality of unthinkingly blanket-dismissing those who haven't seen the same light in a spiritual sense or don't live by our principles as "demons", "karmis", and similar. This mentality directly contradicts the nonsectarian Sanatana-dharma so flawlessly presented to the west by Srila Prabhupada. If SP used terms like these, it was in an instructional sense, and not to be imitated...after all, he came here to teach all of us to see every living entity as an eternal part and parcel of Krishna. Whatever ISKCON's or any other Vaisnava institution's failings, we have to take the responsibility upon ourselves as individuals, even if we're not near approaching the spiritual platform of a Srila Prabhupada, to try and think and behave as though we are. Otherwise, we're another large group of sectarian cults, just as guilty as the Christians or Muslims of propagating an eternally-divisive kanistha attitude.
  20. I was in a serious car accident two months ago. My car was totaled; by Krishna's grace, I was not. The car was old, a classic, with no safety features such as airbags or even headrests. My wife, who wants to keep a living husband around for awhile, has strongly expressed the wish that the next car I buy be a new one, with up-to-date safety features. I understand the wisdom in her wishes, and have promised to comply. By your reasoning, this makes my wife and myself "demons". Institutionalized thinking at its best, or maybe worst is a better description.
  21. Funny song...very much Arlo, more than Dylan. 58 coming up in November here, and my beadbag's just dangling off a chair corner, while I shop for sports cars online. Krishna indeed gives what we want. I fear I won't be ready either.
  22. OK, point taken on the "large-font pontification"...apologies. Correction to my original post: "small-font pontification and continual criticism of others". The "sentimental nonsense" will be gone whenever you let go of it.
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