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  1. So far, we haven't seen any such Puraanic statements at all. Without fail, almost every time someone claims that Shiva is equated to Vishnu in the Puraanas, they never quote a source which we can cross-examine. Perhaps such statements are present, but we have been given no reason to think so. In order to cross-examine the evidence, we need to have the name of the source, the original Sanskrit, and the exact verse numbers. Numbering and Sanskrit may be slightly different in different editions, which is why we need all three pieces of information to find it.
  2. I'm sorry, but I simply cannot agree with your position, which is that Christianity is validated in some sense by BG 4.11: "As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of PRthA." You have posted a lot of material to try to support this view, so allow me to extract what I believe are the most salient points for your position: 1) Regarding context of Krishna's words in 4.11, which lead one to believe He is referring to various Vedic paths (karma yoga, jnaana yoga, etc) and not also to non-Vedic doctrines, you quote a purport by Srila Prabhupada 3 verses prior in which he refers in passing to the descent of shaktyaavesha avataaras. Of course, Krishna Himself did not speak of this - He refers only to His own descents in each yuga in BG 4.8, and Srila Prabhupada uses this to point out that He may send even His empowered servants (shaktyaaveshas). To be honest, I don't even recall if Srila Prabhupada says that Jesus is a "shaktyaavesha avataara," and I would appreciate clarification on this. But for the time being, let us assume that he used those exact words. The point remains that Krishna was speaking of His own descents: "To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium." Furthermore, Krishna had only taught about karma yoga, saankhya yoga, and buddhi yoga up to that point. Srila Prabhupada's purport also, only speaks of these various yoga systems, and not of any non-Vedic religions. Even if we accept that there are religions outside the Vedic realm which are bona fide, it is by no means clear which ones they are from BG 4.11. 2) I agree that manuShyAH means "all men," but I do not agree that this can be extended to mean that all belief systems are therefore on Krishna's path. By that logic, even "religions" which contradict principles of Sanaatana dharma and lead one away from Krishna must be accepted under this definition. You would be forced to include Rajneesh, Sai Baba, and many other undesireables by the logic of your interpretation. It therefore gets back into what is a bona fide system of religion and what is not. Saying that Jesus is a pure devotee does not validate Christianity (and even if it did, that certainly does validate modern-day Christianity). Recall that Buddha is Vishnu Himself, yet Vaishnava Vedaantins do not accept Buddhism at all. Srila Prabhupada's explanation of "manuShyaAH" was meant to drive home the point that Krishna-consciousness (aka Sanaatana-dharma) is nonsectarian, not that Sanaatana-dharma is just one among many, equally good religions. 3) The mere fact that one is looking for Krishna does not validate the means by which he happens to be doing so at any given time. This is only logical, because if "everyone is looking for Krishna," then either all belief systems are therefore valid paths or at least some of them are not. If some of them are not, then the phrase "everyone is looking for Krishna" implies that some people, looking for Him, can nevertheless look in the wrong place, or that even looking for Him in the wrong place, one can still find Him. If the latter is the case, then we can no longer object to any religious system, be it Sai baba or whatever. If the former is the case, then we are still back in square one, as to what is the right means by which to find Him. Even if it is said that "all belief systems" are on Krishna's path, because depending on the path, Krishna rewards accordingly with either good or bad results, that still does not validate any particular religion, since the idea behind a bona fide religion is that it uplifts one rather than leading one to a lower position. 4) Agreed that there are many sentiments in Christianity which echo many devotional sentiments. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find a religion which shares absolutely no similarities with Sanaatana-dharma. But even Shankaraachaarya and other contemporary Advaitins praise bhakti-yoga, surrendering to the Lord, etc, but this does not make their concept of bhakti as akin to "bhakti-yoga." In summary, it is not enough to point out similarities; one must explain the discrepancies as well. With Christianity, there are certainly many discrepancies which need to be explained. To summarize my point: One cannot conclude that any religion other than what has already been explicitly spoken of by Krishna has been validated by His statement "Everyone follows my path in all respects." There may be valid non-Vedic religions, but this verse does not identify them, nor does it give one reason to determine which ones are valid and which are not. yours, - K
  3. OK, so how do you determine what is and what is not Sanaatana-dharma? How do you determine what is right and wrong?
  4. Until I see the original Sanskrit, I am not inclined to believe that the above statements described by you actually exist. Differences in numbering between different editions of the Vishnu Puraana make verse numbers alone, without the original Sanskrit, next to useless. Neither would I had He not said that He is superior to the demigods at least ten times prior to this chapter. - K
  5. I will say again, as quoted earlier, that Krishna is asked to describe His various manifestations by which He pervades the material world - not necessarily various avataaras by which He can be worshipped in lieu of Himself. Your analogy about the head of the family, head of the country, etc, is thus not applicable. A more appropriate analogy would be the President of the United States saying that his power is best represented by aircraft carriers in the navy, by the Secret Service among intelligence agencies, by the Vice-President among Congress, etc. It is not that he is literally these things; rather, they are direct representations of his power. I asked you a series of questions which you never bothered to answer, so I will ask them again. If the 10th chapter was indicating to us various forms of Vishnu that are equal to Him for the purposes of worship, then why not worship Arjuna (even though he is the one who is bewildered)? Why not worship the gambling of cheats? Why not worship fine speech among women? Why not worship mount Meru? How can Arjuna be Krishna when Arjuna is the one who is bewildered? How can gambling be a worshipable form of Krishna for a transcendentalist who is above the pleasures and pains of this material world? You cannot answer these questions sensibly with the theory of interpretation which you propose. The lesson here is that one should not give some interpretation when the logical extension of said interpreation leads to untenable conclusions. Yes, Krishna does indicate that one can think of Him in these ways, as Arjuna among Paandavas, Shiva among Rudras, etc. This is because He was asked to speak of His manifestations by which HE PERVADES THESE MATERIAL WORLDS: yAbhir vibhUtibhir lokAn imAMs tvaM vyApya tiSThasi (BG 10.16). The idea is that one who cannot directly see Krishna can at least begin appreciate Him by looking at His more visible manifestations in the material worlds. Krishna expands Himself into the material universe as Kshiirodaakashayi Vishnu among Adityas, and hence Vishnu is included in this list. He takes avataara as Raama, the greatest kshatriya, and as Krishna, so These are mentioned in the list. Furthermore, among the Rudras, Lord Shiva is the most powerful and gets his potency from Krishna only (see Rig Veda 7.40.5), so Shiva is in this list. Meru is the greatest among mountains and Bhrigu is the greatest of sages, etc. Fine speech, intelligence, good memory etc are desireable qualities in women and so these are on the list. Etcetera, etcetera. Your theory that Krishna becomes the demigods like Agni and serves Himself as if He were a subserviant devotee, is refuted by the statement in BG 10.2 in which the Lord states that these demigods do not understand Him. If the demigods were really Krishna, then there would be no question of them not knowing Him. How can the Lord not know Himself? Even if He were playing the role of a devotee, He would still have full knowledge of Himself, though He might not behave in that fashion. If that knowledge were to become covered somehow by maayaa, then the Lord would be subordinate to maayaa, which is also unacceptable. Furthermore, as most of the entities listed in Chapter 10 are not full expansions of Himself, but rather manifestations of His vibhuuti among various categories, Lord says that all this is but an infinitesmal spark of His splendour. If each of the entities listed in Chapter 10 was fully Himself, then why does He say that they are a spark of His full potency? The second lesson here is not to pull isolated statements out of context and extrapolate some meaning from them which is not consistent with the rest of context. In the end, Krishna shows His universal form, which is superior even to the demigods, but beyond this there is His form as Vishnu and then as Krishna. There is no scope for imagining that the demigods are all the same as Krishna. I don't doubt that you will be unconvinced by this explanation, and that you will continue to respond without considering the entire context and without answering the relevant questions posed to you. You might even feel that my lack of interest in responding equals defeat on my part. All I can say is, if you can give a comprehensive and convincing response, and bring up new arguments to support your position, then and only then will I feel obligated to respond. Otherwise, if you ignore the difficult questions and continue to restate theories based on numerous, less-than-obvious assumptions, it's not likely I can offer anything more. yours, - K
  6. I think you should be more specific -- are you saying Hinduism is something that developed from Sanaatana-dharma, or that it is the same as Sanaatana-dharma? How do you define Sanaatana-dharma? When I hear "Sanaatana-dharma," I think of the eternal spiritual culture that has its origins in, and is based on, the Vedas and their supplements, the Puraanas and Itihaasas. This may not be an exhaustive definition, but implicit within it is that one can use the Vedas/Puraanas/Itihaasas to determine what falls within and what does not fall within the scope of "Sanaatana-dharma." Can such a yardstick be applied to Hinduism? It's an important question to ask, because many people claim to be Hindus who believe in vastly different and often contradictory (and sometimes internally contradictory) things. Followers of Rajneesh insist that he is a Hindu. Chinamayananda/Vivekananda/Sai Baba followers say they are Hindus. All VHP Hindus say that Vaishnavas are Hindus, except when Vaishnavas start quoting shaastra to establish truth, at which time VHP types condemn them as being un-Hindu. So it's not exactly a trivial question. yours, - K
  7. Although I always enjoy reading Srila Prabhupada's erudite commentary, I am not clear what this Gita purport has to do with the current thread. Krishna does say, "Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of PRthA." But right before that He says "As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly." He isn't talking about just any religion here, but rather of the various yoga systems that had been discussed to date. Please look at Srila Prabhupada's purport. Regarding the "Everyone follows My path...." Srila Prabhupada lists the following types of transcendentalists: 1) those who meditate on all-pervading Supersoul (i.e. those who perform Ashtaanga yoga) 2) those who meditate on impersonal brahmajyoti (i.e. jnaana-yogis) 3) Those who are devotees of Krishna in the various rasas (daasya, sakhya, vaatsalya, maadhurya) 4) Those who are fruitive workers (followers of karma-kaanda or sakaama-karma-yogis) No mention is made by Srila Prabhupada about Christians, or even followers of other religions in a general sense. Given his liberal views towards other religions in theory, it seems odd that he would not mention them at least in passing if Krishna's words were meant to be inclusive of non-Vedic doctrines. As an aside, Christians do not believe that Jesus's words about being the only way are merely relative. This is a presumption by devotees (probably beginning with Srila Prabhupada) which happens to suit both themselves as well as liberal Christians who tend to be sympathetic to non-Christian religions. But it is a fact that mainstream Christians today believe very much in the literal sense of those words. I don't agree with it, and obviously no one else does here either. But it isn't our place to interpret other peoples' religions for them. It would be far healthier to understand and respect the differences rather than insisting on artificial compatibility. Many of my Christian friends feel that the position of Jesus is marginalized when he is presumed to be a prophet for a particular time, place, and circumstances; and devotees can't understand why Christians object because they think their devotee views of Christianity are actually inclusive and tolerant. But it is a fact that nobody likes to have their religion reinterpreted for them. If it's wrong for Christians to do it to Hindus, then you can expect that Christians will object when Hindus do it to them. regards, - K
  8. What is the definition of Hindu/Hinduism? Doesn't this entire discussion require a clear and undisputable definition before it can proceed?
  9. There is no doubt that your statements are taken out of context. At the very beginning of the chapter, the Lord says: na me viduH sura-gaNAH prabhavaM na maharSayaH | aham Adir hi devAnAM maharSINAM ca sarvazaH || gitaa 10.2 || Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages. (bhagavad-giitaa 10.2) Arjuna, having understood the revelation of Krishna's position, goes on to say: sarvam etad RtaM manye yan mAM vadasi kezava | na hi te bhagavan vyaktiM vidur devA na dAnavAH || gitaa 10.14 || O KRSNa, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality. (bhagavad-giitaa 10.14) This isn't the only time we are told that the demigods do not understand Krishna - you can't equate two things when one is above the understanding of the other. Then we have another, explicit statement describing Krishna as the God of gods: svayam evAtmanAtmAnaM vettha tvaM puruSottama | bhUta-bhAvana bhUteza deva-deva jagat-pate || giitaa 10.15 || Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own internal potency, O Supreme Person, origin of all, Lord of all beings, God of gods, Lord of the universe! (bhagavad-giitaa 10.15) The Giitaa says Krishna is the God of gods, the origin of the other demigods, and above the understanding of other demigods. Hence, He is supreme among them. How much more explicit does it need to be? And all this is stated in the first few verses of chapter 10, what to speak of other chapters. Except that you ignored verse 10.16: vaktum arhasy azeSeNa divyA hy Atma-vibhUtayaH | yAbhir vibhUtibhir lokAn imAMs tvaM vyApya tiSThasi || giitaa 10.16 || Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which You pervade all these worlds. (bhagavad-giitaa 10.16) Thus, Krishna is telling Arjuna of His various vibhuutis - this is His response to Arjuna's question here. The question, "how should I constantly think of you" must be qualified by this statement: Arjuna is asking one question in two different ways. Ignoring verse 10.16 is what led you to the misunderstanding you show here. Indeed, Arjuna makes it clear again two verses later: vistareNAtmano yogaM vibhUtiM ca janArdana | bhUyaH kathaya tRptir hi zRNvato nAsti me 'mRtam || giitaa 10.18 || O JanArdana, again please describe in detail the mystic power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of Your words (bhagavad-giitaa 10.18). To which Krishna responds: zrI-bhagavAn uvAca hanta te kathayiSyAmi divyA hy Atma-vibhUtayaH | prAdhAnyataH kuru-zreSTha nAsty anto vistarasya me || giitaa 10.19 || The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I will tell you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless. (bhagavad-giitaa 10.19) After clearly stating the supremacy of Krishna over the demigods, the question (three times stated) is in regards to Krishna's opulences (vibhuutis) or manifestations by which he pervades these worlds: yAbhir vibhUtibhir lokAn imAMs tvaM vyApya tiSThasi. This is not necessarily a question as to what other forms are equal to Lord - it is a question as to what things represent the Lord in these material worlds. The various representations includes some of Vishnu's own avataaras, various demigods in elevated positions, moutain, rivers, wisdom, etc. And I have already pointed out, (to which I have not yet received an answer), that this is not Advaita-siddhaanta. Why only Vishnu among the Adityas? Why only Raama among bowmen? Why only Shiva among the Maruts? Why only the moon among the stars? If Advaita be true, than Krishna should be all the Adityas, all the bowmen, all the Marus, all the stars, etc. Conveniently ignoring this, some Advaitists insist that these statements lead us to believe that Shiva, Indra, etc are on same level as Vishnu. It simply isn't true, unless you ignore the first 15 verses of the chapter, then ignore the content of Arjuna's question in 10.16-10.19 which explicitly specifies the vibhuutis which pervade this material worlds. Example: Krishna says in verse 10.37 that He is Arjuna among the Paandavas. If, as you speculate, this literally means Arjuna and Krishna are the same, then why is Arjuna bewildered? If Arjuna is bewildered and Krishna is not, then Krishna's speaking of Bhagavad-giitaa has no value, since spiritual instruction can only be accepted from someone is situated in Brahman. We don't worship Arjuna in place of Krishna, why not? Nor do we worship Brahmaa, even though Krishna is Brahmaa among creators. Nor do we worship fine speech, intelligence, memory, etc in women. Nor do we worship the gambling among cheats? Why not Ram? All these things are avataaras of Krishna right? In verse 10.23, Krishna states that He is Agni among Vasus. If this literally means that Agni and Krishna are the same, then why the Aitareya Braahmana 1.1.1 says that Agni is lowest among devatas and Vishnu is Highest? Your interpretations do not sufficiently take context into account; nor are they harmonious with shruti. No, that is your interpretation. The fact that Vaasudeva is in that list does not mean He is less than Krishna. It doesn't even make sense: Krishna is a fraction of His own opulence. Krishna is svayam bhagavaan as indicated in Bhaagavatam 1.3.28. There is no truth superior to Him: mattaH parataraM nAnyat kiJcid asti dhanaJjaya | mayi sarvam idaM protaM sUtre maNi-gaNA iva || giitaa 7.7 || O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread. (bhagavad-giitaa 7.7) That Krishna is on that list of vibhuutiis, therefore, should not indicate that He is something less than Himself. When Krishna refers to all of these vibhuutiis as being merely an indication of His opulence, it is understood that He is describing a group of things, most of which are less than Him, but in which He himself is present in full in a few cases (Vishnu, Vaasudeva, Raama, etc). Context is important here; don't interpret blindly. It's like saying "those people under the umbrella" - obviously one of them is holding the umbrella, providing shelter to the others, but nevertheless it is convenient for the sake of speech to speak of them all as being under the umbrella. So on one hand, it is wrong to say that the demigods are less than Krishna. But on the other hand, there is still a hierarchy among them? With all due respect, that sounds like classic, pseudo-scholarly double talk. yours, - K
  10. Actually, I definitely recall seeing such a statement in the Varaaha Puraana, critical edition published by All-India Kashiraj Trust. Currently, my books are packed up so I can't find it, but if you remind me again in about 3 weeks I will be happy to dig it up for you. The thing is, while it did say something about there being no differences between Vishnu, Shiva, Brahmaa, the very SAME chapter also said that Vishnu was the Supreme among all. In fact, it was stated by Lord Shiva when asked by a muni as to who among them was supreme. So, the statement about there being no differences between the three, when read in this light, can only be sensibly interpreted to mean that there is no conflict between the three - that is, one who becomes a devotee of Vishnu does not antagonize Shiva or Brahmaa as a result, since all are agreed about Vishnu's supremacy. Again, I would be happy to dig up the original Sanskrit in a few weeks when I get my books back, assuming anyone is interested. - K
  11. That doesn't make any sense. What Krishna says is "among Rudras I am Shiva, among mountains I am Meru, among commanders I am Karthikeya." If Advaita was true, then Krishna would be all the Rudras, all the mountains, all military commanders, etc. Why only Shiva, Meru, Karthikeya, etc? You need to stop taking statements out of context. This chapter of BG is simply illustrating Lord Krishna's representation among various things. It isn't a statement of the oneness of all deities. The latter is a direct contradiction to shruti which clearly states that among all devatas Vishnu is highest: agnirvai devaanamavamo viShNuH paramaH (Aitareya BraahmaNa, I.1.1)
  12. Blasphemer! Don't make me come over there and smite you! K-man
  13. Blasphemer! Don't make me come over there and smite you! K-man
  14. Theist immediately wrote: Bhaktivinode ate meat in his earlier life. He obviously still made spiritual progress. and yet in that same post he says ?!?: If you paid as much attention to critical reading as you do to critical speaking you would understand what I said: Perhaps you should try taking your own advice. Maybe you need a little more Jesus-shakti in your cheerios? peace, - K (a former fundamentalist)
  15. Theist immediately wrote: Bhaktivinode ate meat in his earlier life. He obviously still made spiritual progress. and yet in that same post he says ?!?: If you paid as much attention to critical reading as you do to critical speaking you would understand what I said: Perhaps you should try taking your own advice. Maybe you need a little more Jesus-shakti in your cheerios? peace, - K (a former fundamentalist)
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