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Vikram Ramsundar

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Everything posted by Vikram Ramsundar

  1. Speak for yourself and yourself only. The roots of ISKCON are deeply entrenched in an entity which has come to be known as Hinduism, whatever the origin of the word may be. And as I and others have stressed repeatedly above, your pet term Sanatana-dharma is way, way more recent even. Regarding the Matha, you're quite ill-placed to put forward any argument on its behalf, having spent half your existence abusing and running it down. When even Vrindavana dasa Thakura, the manifest Vedavyasa of Gaura-lila, employed "Hindu" in his description of Indian metaphysical thought, who in the world is Vigraha or for that matter Sarva-gattah to say otherwise? It is revoltingly asinine. Furthermore, the orthodox Gaudiya Parivaras have no qualms referring to themselves as Hindu. In the end, this discussion in a practical way is tantamount to a couple of deranged Jehovah's Witness converts deriding traditional Christians for adhering to mainstream beliefs and utilising mainstream nomenclature.
  2. I thank you for your wishes, and apologise if you found my remarks distasteful. Being the hothead that I am, I sometimes fly off the handle when I ought to actually evince more equanimity. I am situated on no platform from which to order you of course. And please accept my own best wishes for your spiritual pursuit, whether that be Catholicism, Vaishnavism or a blend of the two. Point taken, and an excellent piece of advice. Haribol!
  3. One more sensible and educated piece from you, Kulapavanaji. Indeed. Those who ignore this fact should first do their homework, then pretend to be in a position to teach others. Sanatana-dharma as an appellation dates to the nineteenth century, and is many centuries younger than Hinduism. Neither of these terms are found in the classical Sanskrit literature. As for the other branches of Hindusim such as Saivism and Advaita Vedanta, which some here have the guts to refer to as hodge-podge or mishmash of beliefs, they date, like Vaishnavism, to remote antiquity, and are as "Vedic" as one can get.
  4. Well, I could ask you the same question. This forum is about Hinduism, with an acknowledged predominantly Vaishnava leaning. There is no purpose, at the end of the day, for talks on Christ or Christianity to take place here. But I won't do so, being open-minded and democratic enough to let others indulge in what pleases them. Whatever I am, I do not need your permission or approval in order to post here or anywhere else. Just keep your suggestions to yourself - I have little time for them.
  5. I wasn't speaking for you. Reread my post. I emphasised the fact that I do not care one way or the other for those who want to be Krishna devotees whilst remaining embedded in what they were before getting acquainted to Gaudiya Vaishnavism. I was simply putting forward an opinion. I have better things to do than waste my time on Jesus. He is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. Sorry. I think that that charge applies to you more than to me. Prabhupada unambiguously let on many a time what he really thought of the Semitic/Abrahamic faiths. He never put Christ's teachings on a par with the Vedic canon. It is pure demagoguery to insist that he did. Anyways, I won't squander my scarce resources arguing about this. You wanna have the final say, please be my guest.
  6. Going through the posts on this specific thread has been somewhat bizarre for me, and that is not in the least surprising, given that I am an interloper looking in a place where I simply don't belong here. Unlike most/all participants in this debate, I was born Hindu, and therefore carry around no hang-ups from any prior background or faith. Personally, I have no feelings, either of a positive or negative nature, about Christ. He may or may not be a divine messenger. It just doesn't impact on my personal quest for knowledge and truth. I still term myself an agnostic, for all my "academic" knowledge of generic Hindu and Gaudiya Vaishnava history and tradition. That I am irresistibly drawn to the Vedic/Puranic deities and Chaitanya Vaishnavism in particular is indubitable, however. Sure, I respect those who feel the necessity to include Jesus in their world views, even whilst surrendering their very beings at the feet of their gurus. At the same time, I certainly sympathise with those who see no good sense in clinging on to vestigial ropes or straws left over from another life literally. As for Theist's words in relation to what Prabhupada stated on Jesus Christ, I think that everybody is aware of the fact that preaching doesn't have to be totally, factually siddhantic at all times. There are many, many instances in which Bhaktivedanta Swami uttered things to which he himself quite clearly did not assign much importance, but that he felt were in order perhaps to encourage his mostly Western audience in their devotional practices. The reason behind and purpose of this generosity seems more than obvious, in light of his astoundingly successful career as a preceptor in Europe, America and Australia.
  7. I was harbouring the conception of a Piscean Christ, i.e. thought he was actually born around March. Did you mean to say three months BEFORE his birthday?
  8. That's your genuinely humble self speaking, Kulapavanaji. I wish for the same grace and mercy which Sri Guru has so copiously showered upon you.
  9. Indeed, Malatiji, I found the existence of this maha-purusha sufficiently extraordinary and mystically compelling to warrant posting a thread on his memorial website here. It is a really divine realm one enters into, exploring Madrasi Baba's person and absorbing his sublime instructions. I was of the opinion that too few people had heard about him outside of traditional Gaudiya circles, hence this post. 108 Shri Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja Ki Jaya!
  10. Kulapavana and Beggar Prabhus, My prostrate obeisances to both of you! It is gratifying indeed to have senior as well as emotionally and intellectually mature devotees like yourselves on these forums. I especially appreciate the non-sectarian and inclusivist spin that you two try as far as possible to give to your messages. As the eager-to-learn "youthful" 34-year-old that I am, I honestly experience immense intellectual pleasure perusing your comments. Your servant, VR
  11. Come on, Mahaksadasaji I cannot believe that you keep going on about this nonsense so unabashedly. Bring me one reptilian Prison Warden or purvey definitive evidence of some illuminati from whichever part of the globe of your choosing and I'll shut up for good. And please do not recount to me that the Nagas had a hand in Benazir Bhutto's assassination.
  12. I can see your point but whether one insists upon gradations of devotional rapture or resorts to exclusivist claims in customary Abrahamic fashion, there is a similitude in terms of attachment to one's selected path, and this is primarily a question of psychology. The gist of my postulate revolves around this idea.
  13. Haribol Bhaktisiddhartha Prabhu, The problem is that every religious group in the world makes this very same claim. Some of the staunchest Vaishnavas in the world are those of the Sri sampradaya. They would never concur with this assertion of Gaudiya superiority. Orthodox Sankarites would also swear that Advaita Vedanta is the perfection of Indian spirituality. Similarly, most Muslim people are emphatic that Islam only is the true religion. To me, this is indicative of the fact that human beings are conditioned by their karmic inheritance to more easily fit into a particular frame of mind and belief system. You and I are bound by the laws of nature to to Bengali Vaishnavism, and this principle applies to each individual. Ultimately, truth claims are fundamentally subjective, and as you said, there is really no time to fight over things like this.
  14. Well, that is to be expected, since Ganguli published his work between 1883 and 1896. Definitely, if you want the best available English version of the epic, go for this particular translation. Nothing else quite compares to it. But it'll take you a heck of a time to cruise through 5,000 odd pages. Still, it'd be worth the labour, in my opinion.
  15. http://www.madrasibaba.org/ This beautiful website is a tribute to the wondrous pastimes and shiksha of Shri Krishnadas Babaji Maharaja, a maha-bhagavata of the Narottama Parivara, one of the unbroken traditional Gaudiya-vaishnava spiritual disciplic lineages of initiating and instructing Gurus in manjari-bhava- raganuga-bhakti-yoga, passing through Shrila Narottama Dasa Thakur Mahashaya. 108 Shri Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja was also known as ‘Madrasi Baba’, though a native of Kerala. After his spiritual initiation by 108 Shri Sakhicharan Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Baba took up residence in 1962 at the sacred village of Radhakund (Uttar Pradesh) where in 1998, he passed away in a small rented room in the Shri RadhaRaman temple. During this entire period he dedicated his time to worship Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in the way (just as well exoteric than esoteric) of manjari-bhava-raganuga-bhakti-yoga, as shown by Lord Shriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu, the mediaeval ‘avatara’ (divine descent) of Shri Krishna, the original personality of Godhead. Jay Shri Radhe !
  16. My avatar is the late Radha-Govinda dasa Babaji Maharaja of Radha-kunda, a traditional Gaudiya Vaishnava sadhu. From what I know, he was the first to state that Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was specially empowered by Nityananda Prabhu to preach widely and extensively. Later, Prabhupada's Godbrothers B. V. Yayavara Maharaja and B. R. Sridhara Maharaja also made near-identical pronouncements.
  17. Haribol Kulapavana Prabhu, Your posts exactly echo my own sentiments on the issue under discussion here. As for most people outside India, my initial introduction to Gaudiya Vaishnavism occurred as a result of the preaching activities of ISKCON, and the writings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Being basically fair-minded and essentially ecumenical in my approach to religion and spirituality, overtime I felt increasingly asphyxiated by the narrow-mindedness, sectarianism, fundamentalism and outright demagoguery that is so prevalent within that organisation, even whilst being an external patron of it. This led me to enquire about the Matha and later traditional Bengali Vaishnavism, and both have appealed to me as being infinitely superior options to ISKCON. That doesn't signify that all is peachy over there either. Bigotry unfortunately does tend to rear its ugly head every now and then everywhere, and I oppose such unreasonable stances wherever and whenever I encounter them, whether within ISKCON, the Gaudiya Matha or the traditional branches. Of course, there are many times more zealots, fanatics and bigots alike in ISKCON than in both the GM and Parivaras put together. What people do not seem to comprehend is that homogeneity has NEVER been the norm in this sampradaya. Anyone who takes a quick dekko at the Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, Shyamananda or any other orthodox lineages can easily confirm this for themselves. The practices and sadhana observed at Radha-kunda are different from what holds sway in rural Bangladesh, Bihar or Orissa. To me, this indicates the richness and amazing diversity that Chaitanya Vaishnavism represents and is capable of encompassing. This can only be a strength, not a fault. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had his reasons for acting the way he did. To a person who takes the time to ponder over his preaching carefully, however, this cannot and should not entail an indiscriminate, unreflective, blanket rejection of the tradition for the rest of eternity. Gaudiya Matha comes from that very root, and to deny that source the validity and respectability that it rightfully merits would mean nothing less than positing a similar branding of illegitimacy with regard to its offshoots. I also to your view about the many wonderful Vaishnavas outside of the Sarasvata family. Sri Ananta dasa Babaji Maharaja, the mahanta of Radha-kunda and current occupier of the gaddi of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, is one such rasika devotee. I equally have tremendous admiration for Westerners such as Madhavananda das and Advaita das, who are doing so much to bring forth and present traditional raganuga-bhakti to the entire world. In similar vein, I recognise and bow down to the highly advanced and learned representatives of the Sarasvata parampara (B. V. Narayana Maharaja, B. B. Tirtha Maharaja, B. K. Santa Maharaja, B. V. Sadhu Maharaja and B. V. Tripurari Maharaja to name a few). Likewise, B. A. Paramadvaiti Maharaja is deserving of a special mention because of his extremely commendable efforts to unite the Vishnu-worshippers of this planet, not only Gaudiyas but Sri Vaishnavas, Nimbarkis and others as well. Your servant, Vikram Ramsundar
  18. Right on. It is evident that a number of Sarasvata Vaishnavas label those not in the line of Prabhupada Srila Sarasvati Thakura as "sahajiyas" without beginning to understand what that loaded word really means. I find it hopelessly pathetic that people can be so ignorant of a tradition which they profess to follow. Whether ISKCON and Gaudiya Matha devotees like it or not, they belong to an unorthodox branch of the Gaudiya tree which explains why they are so markedly at variance with the older, more traditional Parivaras. A truly balanced and nuanced view of Chaitanya Vaishnavism cannot be had unless one is broad-minded enough to study all those different streams of the movement of Mahaprabhu. As for the notorious Sahajiyas, they are of another world altogether, in many respects alien to both traditionalists and Sarasvatas.
  19. My purpose is not to defend Murali, he is big enough to speak for himself. However, you seem to be the only one to surmise the above from his words. It is plainly evident to most who have been here long enough that my above-named pal (with whom I have had quite a few virulent exchanges by the way) is not here to proselytize anyone nor sell his guru or param-guru. Arguably, he quotes your own guru, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, just as much if not more than he does either Sridhara Maharaja or Govinda Maharaja. Perhaps your obvious revulsion at him even mentioning his line preceptors is a reflection of your own prejudice, fanaticism or small-mindedness (take your pick) in action, i.e. an insane, pathological inability to regard anybody other than your own teacher as being worth the title.
  20. The Big Bang theory in its original form has been more or less discounted by cosmologists. However, the basic model of it does survive, albeit in a radically modified structure, and has been subsumed within the larger, now more fashionable string or superstring formula. I also think that the musings of William James Sydis on the nature and origin of the universe are quite compelling. The gist of his writings centre around his posited axiom that there is no traceable genesis for the cosmos as we know it. In other words, it has always been and shall forever continue to be. Unconventional but searching nevertheless!
  21. In the passages under discussion, Prabhupada doesn't seem to be referring to the differences you guys are stressing above. His tone was unambiguous - women have got brains half the size of those of men and are usually dumb, unreliable and untrustworthy. Likewise, if a sexual union results in a baby girl, that means that the woman was more dominant that the father, whereas the opposite holds true in the case of a male child. THIS is the garbage that anyone in his right mind would and should not swallow. Or is it that your knowledge of eugenics and behavioural genetics chimes with the foregoing?
  22. So, as you can deduce from the above postings, Mahakji, I don't blindly trust modern scholastic paradigms just for the sake of them. Neither do I pretend that they have explained away all the dynamics at play in nature nor understood all of its workings. We undoubtedly have a long, long way ahead before we can evolve into the superhuman, inter-galactical species that some visionaries have in mind for humanity. Our technology is still at an embryonic stage to all intents and purposes, but I, for one, can only commend and admire those who keep slogging away relentlessly in order to reach greater heights and assist homo sapiens sapiens grow as a species. You were mentioning that astronauts haven't been to the moon again after 1969, when in your own estimation, space flights to our planet's satellite should've become commonplace by now. I won't delve in your words at much depth, but will confine myself to making a few simple remarks: are you privy to NASA's highly confidential space programme, how can you be cognizant of their priorities and targets? Perhaps, moon travel was just not a sufficiently feasible pursuit. For all I know (not a lot, I confess), attempting to bend our spatio-temporal plenum is what has occupied space scientists most in recent years, as a vital step in paving the way for rapid, convenient commuting to the stars one of these days, without the need to contend with the limitations posed by the speed of light and the cosmic distances involved. Rather than mock with derision and glee a technical glitch which blows up a shuttle taking the lives of several hard-working, dedicated top brass professionals, we should consider the incident for what it is, a tragedy, with the loss of many human lives and billions of dollars of your nation's taxpayers' money up in smoke. Until proven wrong beyond reasonable doubt, I shall persist in my opinion that yes, we did go to the moon, as we sent an unmanned probe to Mars only a few years ago, and there is no sinister confederacy of some of the world's governments and Lucifer's henchmen to control our lives to whatever end that may be. Cheers Prabhu
  23. You're correct with regards to the irrelevance of the heliocentrism versus geocentrism debate. It is as a matter of fact more a question of perspective and purpose in connection with one's objectives more than anything else, as you accurately stated. Just to elaborate on this point, I am hereby reproducing a few paragraphs from a previous post by myself on a related topic. Haribol
  24. Thanks a lot, Theist. Yours is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most reasonable and balanced voices on these forums. And the above piece of advice is immensely appreciated by me. I shall try to focus on those esoteric components of shastra that enunciate the theology that has captivated you and so many others so powerfully.
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