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About krishnaleela

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  1. All very good points. Neo-Hindus also come forth as proclaiming freedom and equality, that they presume are restricted in traditional hinduism. Very difficult to reason with, due to their underlying disbelief in the goals of Hinduism. Talk about reincarnation, moksha, etc and they will dismiss you. So they have pre-decided the extent of limited utility of religion - anything more is 'superstition' - , and pick and choose based on what pleases their ideas of right and wrong. For some, provided they have an open-outlook and feel a sense of hindu culture, they should be free to not own up to that culture/religion explicitly in their lives. They believe all rules and regulations are chains on their freedom imposed by religion and discriminating past societies. It is truly a pain in dealing with these characters - somehow the education has to happen earlier in childhood that they may grow up with a better understanding less clouded by western views.
  2. Thanks for your answers. They are quite clear.
  3. I want to get some points clarified regarding Gaudiya Vaishnavism. (I may use Order or organization for reference). 1. The first question is regarding your sampradaya within itself. Is the central deity of your Order Sri Krishna of the Bhagavatham or Sri Chaitanya? Do you keep separate deities of worship of the two personalities? Do you see glorification of Chaitanya as no different from glorification of Krishna? 2. If an outsider enters your shrine, what is the Personality most apparent or emphasized? For example, if I enter a Catholic-Church, I expect Jesus to be the main personality and possibly Mary as a subsidiary personality and some other saints perhaps along the side. If I enter a GV shrine, am I first and primarily confronted with the personality of Chaitanya, and then of Krishna of Bhagavatham, or viseversa, or both,etc? 3. As an organization, you may regard Chaitanya as avatara of Krishna. However I am interested in how this is emphasized, if at all, to the general public. What are your opinions regarding this aspect? 4. Do you think your organization, if necessary and in terms of giving the personal-connection to God, can stand totally independent of the personality of Chaitanya, and solely on the personality of Krishna in Bhagavatham - by only emphasizing the latter and not even bringing in the former, except through his teachings about the former? (This is regarding the Bhakthi-emphasis that the organization puts forth, and not philosophy.) I don't intend this thread for arguments about the good and bad of all this. But I would like candid information from people who follow this sampradaya. See some of my posts in the Neo-Hinduism thread for the context in which I am interested; however I don't want this to become a fighting thread. Just clarify, and give information about your opinions on your sampradaya in this regard. Thanks for any details.
  4. Sorry for above. In retrospect, I should not have indulged in above to this extent to make my case on RKM. My knowledge of Gaudiya Vaishnavas is far less.
  5. Yes. This is a young organization still and I believe formative. If we point out to certain "fault", those in charge can still make required changes if necessary. The above sort of justification is not an excuse. The spiritual organization that RKM is, run by monks, has some standards; my argument is that this manner of glorification needs a careful reassessment. If what we say has any merit, it can be regarded for itself, rather than comparing with others to justify ourselves. As for Gaudiyas, I sincerely say I am not thinking about them, except at these particular forums. I do not deny that they share this blame; I already said that they were the first to begin this trend. However I am not concentrating on them, for lack of knowledge about them or their impact on Hinduism as a whole - and further reasons mentioned below. Former group on this issue is only the gaudiyas; but I expect the RKM to be more reasonable to listen to these arguments. The other older organizations may have other "faults" but that should not be mixed here in a compare-contrast to justify. No. I have said many a time, that a devotee's belief in guru's divinity is his/her private affair. My contention is that this "We believe SRK is God", as a statement of the organization, is underlying justification for "Therefore, we will tell the world so..." That is the only reason this quote is sectarian, in the context of the public-deification, which I am claiming is to be reanalysed by RKM. Again, see previous lines. They are not sectarian if seen as a devotee's private adoration of his guru. As an organization, to say "SRK is the Yuga-avatara, ... avatara-varishtha"... "the message ... is best manifested in his life...", "...following the Ideal of ...SRK, ... human beings can practically follow the path of emancipation", "the practicalization of His message is seen in ... Sri Sarada Devi", such statements are dogmatic, beyond argument, based on personal faith. Therefore when the organization flaunts such views, it can fall back on them to justify its public guru-deification, which is the main issue - SRK already being the yuga-avatar, there is no fault in making him the central deity for public worship. No. RKM is not dogmatic in general. But this issue, where Vedanta is mixed with an avatara theory to make the guru into the public-God of the organization, has to be seen carefully, and such statements indicate an underlying foundation - not for the nondogmatic universalist-Vedanta side but in terms of the other. No. While I am not particular about fighting with gaudiyas (who I may agree are far too dogmatic to reason with), I regard RKM as the best prototype for neo-hindu organizations basing themselves on a universalist Vedanta philosophy. They are the "first" in this category, and arguably, the supreme/leaders in quality as well. Most of their monks are no doubt superlative. Hence being so, and since I am somewhat familiar with them, I am directing my 'attack' on this issue on them. The others like of Satya Sai Baba, Sri Sri Ravi shankar, and so on, are in my opinion 'less-in-stature' compared to RKMission; they are coming later and seem to be following RKM in many a regard. But simply because I focus on RKM, it does not mean I am wanting to show this as a singular fault of RKM. I don't think it is different, except the historical times when his name was propagated were likely different. I am more aware of the present times - "the world is much smaller" and people far-more deliberate as far as running global organizations. When the Gaudiyas did their guru-deification, we can also perhaps point to their sectarianism/dogmatism etc and that itself is a measure-stick for their dismissal from consideration. Neo-hinduism, as in universalist Vedanta, has a good knowledge of history to not repeat such faults blatantly, also present a very-nondogmatic picture of themselves - hence I am calling into question their desire to follow the same path as the gaudiyas as opposed to Vedanta-Orders before (on this specific issue). Possibly the Bengal-connection may have played into the origins; but today this is becoming a 'universal' Hindu-organization phenomena. (Don't think I am only saying this. I have read RKM monk writing the very same thing regarding the abuse of 'avataara-theory' by Hindu organizations.) (I am not identifying Gaudiyas with ISKCON, BTW). As for greatness of SRK vs Mahaprabhu, that is not this topic - I said the focus for me is on their organizations....
  6. I am not saying they are valid as avataaras. We don't know the exact process of how the names of Rama, Krishna, etc spread (until more recent times); likely there was backing from kings etc but "surely" is not knowledge. In particular, the Sangha aspect, I think, has historical evidence only starting with Buddha. Our process had occurred in a different era, and any reference to the personalities including their avatarahood has to be based on faith in Hindu smrithis. In the recent cases of Chaitanya, this means faith in Krishnadas and with Sri Ramakrishna, faith in Bhairavi Brahmani as well as suggestions of the saint himself. It does not matter that I agree or not with Chaitanya being an avataar; it will amount to faith in testimony. My focus is entirely about the appropriateness for their organizations to propagate this aspect; and the impact of this trend on Hinduism. Before Chaitanya (notably), this faith aspect in the Guru's avatarahood (and him/her being the organization's object of worship) was not pushed by any of the known 'Vedanta-sanghas' in this specific manner. Now we are finding a wide variety of sanghas seeking to do so. I already said that I do not support this aspect, independent of which organization is doing so, and that this should be a private aspect within the organization. The problem is: when one does it, why not everyone else? If the Gaudiyas do so, why not RKM, SaiBaba, and so on? I am not particular about defending the Gaudiyas; but I focus on the latter group which is more recent in origin and in which the process is much more in development and application stage. I am not questioning their calibre as monastic organizations nor their adherence to Vedanta (cancel my suggestions to that effect; that is a secondary issue here). It is because the RKM is strong that I want them to ask "Is this direction necessary?" Must they combine their Vedanta with an avataara theory, that justifies propagating their guru as central deity? Can they not follow the precedent of the earlier Vedanta-sanghas - why are they working hard to create this guru-centralizing character in the devotional context of their sampradaya - that is fast becoming a central aspect in 'every' sprouting Hindu organization preaching universalist-vedanta? It is a double game that is difficult to assail for the flawed side always is brushed aside by pointing to the other. By the way, here is what a monk of the Order told me sometime back: I feel this devotional perspective of one's guru should be within the organization, belonging to the followers. The RKM which is basing itself on Vedanta should not be using this type of assertive Bhakthi-conclusions about its guru to deify him to the general public. This was not done by the matha of Shankara (Ramanuja, etc) whose scriptural analysis the RKM is also standing on. It is a feature that is characteristic of abrahamic faiths and gives the organization that makes such assertions of its guru the same type of fanatical appearance. The last sentence in that quote shows the universalist-message coming along with the highly sectarian viewpoint before it - this is the genuine "check and balance" of neo-Hinduism: a fool-proof package. (In later communication, he also told me sincerely that " Sri Ramakrishna, like any other great world teacher like Sankara or Buddha has given advice according to the need, temperament etc" But this does not negate the problem in consideration.) As for these neo-organizations identifying themselves as Hindu, perhaps in India that is the case. Outside this is a questionable side; usually the only commital term that comes in view is Vedanta. One has to infer that they are not against Hindu-identity. I am aware of a Hindu telling a monk that she told a Christian that RKM (or at least his center) is not a "Hindu" organization and the monk keeping silent. There are always (practicality, universality) arguments to justify everything; but in practical terms, such things make a big difference. (Anyway this is a secondary issue; I did not want to make it the focus of my primary contention about guru-deification.)
  7. I don’t know. If we place faith in the puranas, then we know of Vishnu’s avatars for example. Personally, I am not supporting any attempt at propagating guru-personalities as deities, avatars, etc. by any Hindu organization (including the earlier ones that are usually better in this regard). It should be entirely within the sampradaya, and never part of its attempt at reaching the general public. Personalities of the puranas are a different matter – they entered the Indian psyche in an earlier era, without the backing of sanghas, missions, organizations, etc. This distinction should not be muddled with “What is your definition of avatar?” since the process of determining such is entirely subjective or faith-based on others doing it. When modern Hindu organizations do this with their gurus, they run into the dangers, similar to Christianity. It depends on the checks and balances. I pointed out how the traditions of Shankaracharya, Madhva, Ramanuja, etc. did this. The personality is presented as upholder o f the Vedic dharma, rightly interpreting the Upanishads – which they do with systematic commentaries and not “my guru knows it all himself” (raghu points this out). Moreover they are not presented as the central objects of worship – this is another critical point. Only those who actually follow that sampradaya are confronted with the potential need of regarding the guru as avatar. Organizations like of Swaminarayan, Chaitanya and Sri Ramakrishna propagate their guru as avatar to the general public. This is the critical moving-away from previously held standards. (I wish this is not the case, but that does not matter). Now we have to ask, to what extent are there still checks and balances? From my own perspective, I feel a bit secure with Swaminarayan since they strongly identify themselves as a Hindu and Indian organization – that is not compromised in some universalist lingo. The Gaudiya Vaishnavas, as I understand, are thorough as far as being a Vedantic tradition – so the tradition can strictly speaking be evaluated against others on the basis of what they say of SCRIPTURES. (Of course, I get scared by the attempts at some corners to separate themselves from Hinduism; but let that be). Moreover, I already mentioned that saying “my guru is incarnation of the personal God Krishna” is a very strong link with Hinduism (again leaving out the "some corners"). With Ramakrishna Math, I feel these checks and balances are not there. My article was an attempt at focusing on how these organizations are running into dangers.
  8. Right. This kind of extrapolation to suit "my pet-theory of incarnation" has become the nuisance of modern Hindu organizations. It seems " 'everyone says the same-thing Vedanta' + a tinge of non-commital puranic flavour that can suggest all things to all people - except with my guru as central deity" is a defining feature of neo-hinduism. I made the couple of points I wanted to. I hope there are others also reading this than the couple who are arguing against. I want people of these organizations to look into this aspect more carefully.
  9. I believe for 1 and 2, they are regarded by their followers as incarnation of Krishna, the same of the Bhagavatham, and not an abstract "God". Besides, all examples you have pointed out are relatively recent, from the time of Muslim rule onwards; hence they may represent Hinduism's attempt at incorporating the newer influence of abrahamic faiths with what was earlier. And this trend is having its problem of going overboard - that is the neo-hinduism that acts like tradition and yet is pushing the alien dimensions. Some like Swami Narayan organization are very clear about their Hindu identity inspite of showing their guru as central deity - others like Ramakrishna Math, etc. are quite clear (especially in US etc) that they are "Vedantins" (representing all relgions) and their guru is incarnation of God even as Jesus, etc. This is exactly the type of subtle difference that neo-Hinduism is playing on. It needs to be understood because it tends to be abused. As for Shankaracharya etc (from before Muslim, Christian rule of India), he is regarded within the smartha tradition as Shiva's incarnation; Ramanuja of Adi-Sesha; Madhva of Bhima - the link is uniformly back to our prior deities, etc in the Puranas. But are they presented by their organizations as the central deity of worship? They have themselves made it clear that they represent the Vedas and that the object of worship of their organization is "Narayana", "Ishvara", etc - again with the central deity being from the puranas. The disciple is free to regard the guru as incarnation of a deity; but this is a private aspect within the tradition - they are not trying to "make" the next public Purana around their guru making him/her the central object of worship. That trend is neo.
  10. I had written this essay some months back, relevant to this discussion. It tries to make a connection between neo-Hinduism and the tendency to propagate the Guru as God - i.e. incarnation or prophet making. (There may be exceptions even prior to colonial times; but the tendency today is definitely more and more imitations of abrahamic faiths.) Prophetizing trend in modern Hinduism <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:" /><o:p></o:p> I would like to raise a controversial topic in our religion. No, not the caste system, rather it is the modern trend to incarnation/prophet-making by the disciples of great saints. What about Rama, Krishna – you say? Well, can you find me proof that an organized attempt to propagate their names followed from their time onward? How about we consider instead Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad – the real trend setters of prophet-centric religions? The difference may be fancied as subtle, but it is a big one if we care for the ways of pre-colonial Hinduism – think on it yourself. <o:p></o:p> The concept of incarnation, specifically Lord Vishnu taking birth on Earth to establish Dharma, is accepted by Smartas and Vaisnavas on scriptural basis; see Bhagavad Gita 4.5-9. From the puranas, we learn of particular incarnations like Rama and Krishna. However Hinduism has (in general) no tradition of massive organizations of disciples seeking to promote their human-gurus as incarnations of God. In recent times, this concept whose roots are in Puranic lore has become liberated. Buddha, Jesus, Sri Ramakrishna and many of our times are all incarnations of God to the liberal minded Hindu, with the usage of “God” ensuring that the incarnation is not personality-subordinate to a Hindu deity. The basis of determination is no longer the scripture but rather a subjective conclusion that such great men (say) were ‘perfect from birth’ and that their influence on humanity verifies their status. <o:p></o:p> Now if we properly discern, we will find that the incarnation-making tradition in post-colonial Hinduism is parallel to the prophet-centric religions. A prophet-centric religion revolves around a great saint. The message of the saint may be universally applicable, but the organization that preaches on his behalf deliberately propagates his name, not merely as a representative of an eternal message but almost as its owner/originator. Moreover, the pathetic thrust is to make universal the devotional-context of the organization, obviously directed towards or through its prophet. That is, the organization, due to inherent insecurity and greed for foreign markets, is in the business of proselytizing; in abrahamic cults, this is blatant, in modern Hinduism, more subtle but none-the-less the same. <o:p></o:p> The Ramakrishna Math and organizations today of Hindu gurus who stand independent of established sampradaya have all derived inspiration from the prophet models of non-Hindu faiths. The influence is evident in the manner of expression: literary propaganda that stresses the guru’s specialty, constructions of guru-deifying temples that seem alienated from Hinduism, and most critically, directing the devotional context of the organization solely to or through the guru. This effectively allows the organization to stand independent of Hindu culture, except in a superficial sense that is equally applicable to non-Hindu faiths. The service of the poor and the garnering of human resources for this purpose may also find easier execution through the prophet-model; these may be the underlying nobler intentions. However I feel these must be incorporated without promoting our gurus as incarnations of God – this is a trap which our religion has historically avoided.<o:p></o:p> Now let us consider guru-worship within our religion more carefully. At the philosophical level, every Smarta will say “Adi Shankara says this, says that…” and every Sri Vaishnava will say “Sri Ramanuja says this, says that…” Are they not prophetized? Well, admittedly the establishment of Guru-centralized sampradayas came at a later stage in our religion, but thankfully the gurus themselves made it clear that they represented only the scripture/Vedic tradition and not themselves. The disciple is of course free to worship the guru as one with, or even incarnation of a deity, but the devotional context that the sampradaya speaks for is directed to Ishvara – and very importantly, seen as Shiva, Vishnu, etc., and not as the guru (no ‘only savior’, ‘last prophet’ either). That a sampradaya’s devotional objective stands independent of its human-guru is a defining feature of traditional Hinduism.<o:p></o:p> In this regard, a quote of Sri Ramakrishna is worth referring to. He said to a devotee who referred to the saint as God: “I look on myself as a devotee of Krishna, not as Krishna Himself. You may think as you like. You may look on your guru as God.” The same Sri Ramakrishna also gave more eclectic interpretations for the word “incarnation”; definitely they have their place, but in our world unfortunately any room to over-interpret can be a disaster. What may be spoken to particular devotees in particular contexts can be projected by overzealous followers as universal truth - as Christianity has done with Christ. It is the responsibility of modern Hindu organizations to stop pandering to and utilizing the ways of Abrahamic religions. Propagate your gurus as great saints who exemplified the Sanatana Dharma; build them temples if you must, but know that a “Universal temple of [My Guru who is your God]” is neither universal nor Hinduism: it is “radical” hypocrisy and ultimately hurting us all.<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p>
  11. Hindus are still and very much struggling with open wounds, from a history of conquests by outsiders, their country divided and culture uprooted. That people want to label it as "hateful" is irrelevant, unless they are willing to pay us by the billions on account of the past crimes. I wonder if the native americans, if one goes to their reservations, can ever come to terms with their ruthless history of the past 500 years. "Do everything, then preach "democracy", "equality" and "peace", [oh yes] 'freedom of religion' " might work for Duruyodanas. But those who bear the scars of history will always have one eye on the Kurukshetra. They may not respond as such but that awareness must grow and not drown in mindless secularism. Who can speak for the Hindus displaced from Bangladesh even today? Of course, they will carry "hate", in memory of injustice that the world will soon look askance at. It is not the same as "hate the infidel or idolator" jargon, and it does not matter that the world propagandas it as no different. Please, that they don't forget, the history of Kashmir and Bangladesh and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Indonesia and Thailand and Malaysia ... and India.
  12. ... just a mass media strategy. In fact he was very kind to his wife. Such a family man with such morals and love for his people; how could he do he endorse such acts? It is just Western media propaganda. Oh yes, he was aryan, committed to being aryan: and a true aryan is honourable -- such a true aryan could never have done such things. What he really wanted was to unify Europe and the world for a better future. One thing is probable: Habibji can trace back to a Hindu ancestor, and is now blindly searching to support/play the "confuse the history" by creating new "myths of Islam". I liked your other Islamoscope website-post (http://islamoscope.wordpress.com/) on Hindus getting displaced; strikes a better balance with present stories before it becomes his-story that can be confused ... "The Muslims never did a thing committed as they were to Brotherhood.. the Hindus just left due to their own hatred". [i suppose we can also add that Bush's media and the common people of Iraq will have different stories to tell. If we are to judge two hundred years later with little resources, Bush really looks good as a representative of democracy trying sincerely to cleanse Iraq and the world ... just look at how sophisticated and sincere his officers look and speak on TV about wishing only the welfare of the people...]
  13. When I read this story first last week, it at once made me feel the importance of not wasting the time and opportunity that I have and to work harder. Many are struggling with basic necessities, many are unconscious of a spiritual path, and some though conscious of it are removed so suddenly it seems. Who knows when my turn comes? To have so much and waste it away in useless pursuits of the flesh and mind. At least, I am going to make a better attempt, be more aware and made some changes already. I feel this is the best way to keep the memory and its meaning alive in one's own life.
  14. I believe the answer is YES. I read this from a book on Hinduism by Stephen Huyler. I think the emphasis should be more on "non-Hindu" than "non-Indian", although that distinction is perhaps not fully imbibed in those temples. Those not in tune with the Hindu culture may potentially see things wrongly or in a partial manner. A place becomes holy due to the constant presence of holy people and God-minded thoughts. The temple shrine is similar, meant for those who are seeking to commune with the Divine through that particular Aspect. It maintains the spiritual sanctity of the place. Some of these major temples therefore take utmost precaution. (Of course, it is not a perfect solution but is a precaution.) As for temple priests earning more than in US, their numbers as also the temples we are accounting for are very very small. Of course, one expects that the priests of such temples feel a greater responsibility for living as they are supposed to. But that does not represent most. For most priests who may be running after foreigners, I would guess poverty drives the corruption and decadence.
  15. Hinduism is not Advaita Vedanta ... as the Upanishads are not Shankara's commentaries on them.
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