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This is what the article refers to: some excerpts of a German study in TM-EX newsletter, fall 1990. I can't find the complete text of the study on the net (as yet). But the article refers only to this newsletter. I'm curious about the 'design' of the original study and its actual conclusions..

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Germany

 

W. GERMAN STUDY:

 

The Various Implications Arising From the Practice of Transcendental

Meditation

 

On May 29, 1989 the West German High court ruled the study valid.

 

Excerpts:

 

4.3.3 TM has a detrimental effect on the decision making process.

There is loss of self-determination and a turning toward the TM authorities

for guidance, i.e. in the case of important decisions. Also, the variables,

facial expression, bodily posture, voice and handwriting point to

the fact that the total personality is gravely altered under the influence

of TM.

 

4.5.4 Whereas before the TM phase performance at school was well above

average, and those investigated were most happy with their school

or job situation, a considerable worsening in these areas occurred

as a result of the practice of transcendental meditation. 56% had

decreased concentration abilities during the TM phase, only 16% reported

an improvement. 61% found it more difficult to manage the workload,

as against 13% who reported an increased capacity. TM had a negative

influence on the professional careers of 58% of meditators. Altogether

28 meditators (42%) gave up their studies or professional career in

order to work full time for the TM movement or to be able to go on

long courses. They did this on the basis of promises made them by

the movement. An analysis of the taped interviews and the stenographer's

scripts only serve to strengthen the suspicion that the TM organization

aims at cheap labor, which in the case of those people who became

unfit to work in the course of time, can be sent away again without

any real difficulty.

 

4.6.6 In 76% of cases psychological disorders and illnesses occurred,

9% of meditators had had therapeutic treatment before the TM phase,

43% had psychiatric treatment or had to have medical treatment during

the TM phase. The psychological disorders most prevalent were tiredness

(63%), ``states of anxiety'' (52%), depression (45%), nervousness

(39%), and regression (39%). 26% had a nervous breakdown and 20% expressed

serious suicidal tendencies. Psychological illness already present

before the TM phase worsened considerably. TM can cause mental illness

or at the very least prepare the way for the onset of mental illness.

A lack of opportunity for the treatment of meditation experiences

and/or altered perception of reality create suitable conditions for

a pathogenic appearance. Added to this is the heightened delicacy

and increasing helplessness in the personality of the meditator, which

can develop into a complete depersonalization.

 

5.6.4 The suspicion grows that the meditation offered by TM, caused,

in the meditators' cases which we have investigated, a far reaching

alteration in the view of reality, which damages or causes further

damage to social relationships, the drive to achieve (motivation)

is considerably lessened, to the degree that practical work (i.e.

in a job) becomes intolerable to the meditator, in addition to all

conditions brought about by the intense practice of the meditation,

it gives rise to physical and mental damage.

 

Government Ministry of Youth, Family and Health, Germany, 1980. ~

 

-----

Germany

 

JUDGMENT OF GERMAN COURT

 

The ruling of the highest federal administrative tribunal, the

Bundesverwaltungsgericht on May 24, 1989 in Case number 7 C 2.87 is:

 

1) The Federal Government is competent and allowed to care about cults.

2) The Federal Government is allowed to warn of TM.

3) The Federal Government is allowed to designate TM a "Youth Religion"

as well as a "Psychogroup".

4) The Federal Government is allowed to say that TM is taught by teachers

who are not qualified [to deal with the TM problems].

5) The Federal Government is allowed to say, TM can cause psychic

defects or destruction of personality.

 

Copies of the German Study are available from TM-EX and the Cult Awareness

Network. ~

 

http://minet.org/TM-EX/Fall-90

 

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A couple of questions come to mind

 

1. Who paid for the study and what kinds of controls were used?

 

2. Were people recruited for the study at random in order to try Transcendental Meditation?

 

If the participants were just people who self-refer then they are likely people who believe that TM is desirable to learn - but TM is marketed to people being willing to pay thousands of dollars to learn 'special' techniques which the proponents of TM claim may give them 'special' powers (like the ability to fly). Please copy and paste this into a browser --> youtube.com/watch?v=NHwhGUo90jw

 

Such people should not be considered a random sample of typical people and so their results would not represent what one would expect from the average person who just wants to learn 'standard' meditation and hatha yoga at a local studio (perhaps for some of the scientifically demonstrated benefits referenced in Smiley's post).

 

Therefore

 

1. They must recruit disinterested parties and pay them for their time.

 

2. The study should be peer-reviewed by social scientists, a preponderance of whom should agree that the stated conclusions of the study can be reasonably inferred from the data gathered during the study.

 

If both of the above hurdles are cleared then we must accept the results of this one study and then ask ourselves if said results should outweigh the "large body of research" gathered "over a period of 25 years" which is referenced by the United States Government's Office of Alternative Medicine (nccam.nih.gov) especially since TM and the claims made by its proponents are atypical.

 

After all, would yoga and meditation have become as popular as they are in the West if they wrecked such havoc upon the vast majority of people who practiced them?

 

 

This is what the article refers to: some excerpts of a German study in TM-EX newsletter, fall 1990. I can't find the complete text of the study on the net (as yet). But the article refers only to this newsletter. I'm curious about the 'design' of the original study and its actual conclusions..

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Here is a little of my attempt. I look forward to critique.

 

From "behind-the-tm-facade.org"

From a review of the literature on meditation and depersonalization, and interviews conducted with six meditators, this study concludes that: 1) meditation can cause depersonalization and derealization; 2) the meanings in the mind of the meditator regarding the experience of depersonalization will determine to a great extent whether anxiety is present as part of that experience; 3) there need not be any significant anxiety or impairment in social or occupational functioning as a result of depersonalization; 4) a depersonalized state can become an apparently permanent mode of functioning; 5) patients with depersonalization disorder may be treated through a process of symbolic healing -- that is, changing the meanings associated with depersonalization in the mind of the patient, thereby reducing anxiety and functional impairment; 6) panic/anxiety may be caused by depersonalization if catastrophic interpretations of depersonalization are present.

 

 

While TM is a relatively new form of Hindu based practice, it draws its inspiration from age old practices. I don’t intend to address the pros or cons of TM in particular, but to address the merits and otherwise of the purpose behind TM and other Eastern based philosophies. This, I believe, is to become aware of one's self, one's surroundings, and one's relation between one's self and one's surroundings.

 

For the sake of simplicity I will assume that Buddhism (which began in India) draws much of its foundation from Hindu values. India has long held the Vedanta Sutra as an axiom in its philosophical discussions. The first sutra (or statement) within the Vedanta Sutra is "athato brahma jijnasa", which translates to a necessity to inquire and know Brahman. Brahman is defined as the Self; both the local Self and the Conglomerate Accumulative Self (Para Brahman). If there were an axiom within the Vedanta Sutra, it would be this sutra.

The questioning into the nature of the self (introspection) is considered the differential of the "human" species and the "animal" species. This boils down to action based on function rather than form; in other words, spirituality.

The person who has undergone such introspection may arrive at an initial stage of awareness where there is a disassociation with one’s perceived reality. One may view their body as being separate from their self. Self-identity, or ego, can become undefined since it may no longer be defined solely on a physical basis. Obviously, this undefined stage can be disconcerting for a practitioner and confusion or panic may set in. The purpose behind Eastern philosophies is not to stop at this elimination of an ego which is solely based on physical definitions. It is to gain a broader perspective which includes an associative ego and its relation with the personal ego.

The qualities of the self, shared by both Buddhism and Hinduism, are that the self is inherently undying, conscious, and blissful, or sat, chit, and ananda. While this seems particular to Eastern philosophy, one can find corresponding ideas in Abrahamic philosophies as well. The idea of heaven is a blissful place of eternity where one is conscious. There is no consideration of a heaven in which one is non-existent or depressed.

In Buddhism, the greatest need of mankind is the cessation of suffering. The “Four Noble Truths” are axiomatic to Buddhism. These are:

<o:p> </o:p>

1. Life means suffering

2. The origin of suffering is attachment

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable

4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering

The first Noble Truth is a variable truth. The meaning behind it is that one who does not concern themselves with the basis of suffering will suffer. This suggestion of questioning the nature of things, the basis, is akin to the Vedanta Sutra’s suggestion of “athato brahma jijnasa”.

<o:p>

</o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

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Spiritual practice can, will and must lead to less inclination to indulge in worldly activities and 'normal relationships'. It may be considered damaging from the wordly point of view.

 

It (any spiritual practice) definitely is designed to destroy ones personality. It is meant to efface the lower personality and replace it with the divine one. If anyone engages in such practices expecting no such change, that is unrealistic.

 

If one has a job which involves violence and or untruth, one may become unfit or unwilling to do such a job. One may become unwilling to associate with such people who do not talk about God or divine things and drag one to the lower states of being.

 

It is totally unsurprising that the German government warns against this- modern economy is built on encouraging : Kama, Lobha, Moha etc- so any act that destroys these would be detrimental to the economy that is founded on the shadripu.

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There is a problem in countering these arguments. TM was/is being marketed as a non-religious practice and one which is supposed to help you in the material world. That is their USP. Their marketing strategy has been copied by many of the Indian Godmen/Women who market Meditation as helping in the material world. If you see the TM site. There is hardly anything spiritual about it.

 

Meditation as Stress Buster. That is how I got initiated into TM 35 years back. It is taught as part of stress management courses. For reducing High blood pressure. Holistic healing.

 

Most of the meditation sites have stated very clearly that their practice has nothing to do with Hinduism. Most of the Yoga sites also do this. Denial of connection with Hinduism. They go out of the way to emphasize this. You will be surprised to know that there is no meditation called Hindu Meditation. See the Open Directory Project

 

http://www.dmoz.org/Health/Alternative/Meditation/

 

This is under health.

 

And here we are trying to defend these people.

 

BTW smiley you may get some ammunition here. Christian Meditation

 

http://www.wccm.org/home.asp?pagestyle=home

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Would it be presumptuous to assume that meditation groups (especially of "yogis" of India) have its roots in Eastern sadhanas? It would not be inaccurate to say that meditation is part of Eastern philosophy, as well.

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Yoga is one of the six philosophies of Hinduism. Lord Krishna talks about yoga in the Gita. Meditation (Dhyana) is a part of the religious practices of all Hindus. Meditation is part of Buddhism also. The word Zen comes from Chan or Dhyana.

 

That is why in spite of all the packaging that the meditation and yoga sites do, these are identified with Hinduism and Buddhism. The allegation is that Hinduism is being propagated under the guise of Yoga and Meditation. Basically this is not true. These techniques are being commercially exploited.

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That is a good point, happily dmoz.org also lists meditation under religion and spirituality besides just under health;

http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Meditation/ so maybe there is still hope.

 

It seems a shame that Hinduism is so reviled that people feel a need to disassociate meditation from it

whereas 'Christian Meditation' is considered very marketable.

 

 

There is a problem in countering these arguments. TM was/is being marketed as a non-religious practice and one which is supposed to help you in the material world. That is their USP. Their marketing strategy has been copied by many of the Indian Godmen/Women who market Meditation as helping in the material world. If you see the TM site. There is hardly anything spiritual about it.

 

Meditation as Stress Buster. That is how I got initiated into TM 35 years back. It is taught as part of stress management courses. For reducing High blood pressure. Holistic healing.

 

Most of the meditation sites have stated very clearly that their practice has nothing to do with Hinduism. Most of the Yoga sites also do this. Denial of connection with Hinduism. They go out of the way to emphasize this. You will be surprised to know that there is no meditation called Hindu Meditation. See the Open Directory Project

 

http://www.dmoz.org/Health/Alternative/Meditation/

 

This is under health.

 

And here we are trying to defend these people.

 

BTW smiley you may get some ammunition here. Christian Meditation

 

http://www.wccm.org/home.asp?pagestyle=home

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Spiritual practice can, will and must lead to less inclination to indulge in worldly activities and 'normal relationships'. It may be considered damaging from the wordly point of view. ...

 

I guess 'depersonalization' is a natural (logical) consequence of religious awareness. Any level of realization that God is ultimately in control of everything (including ones own life), necessarily involves some degree of depersonalization or loss of ego or sense of self. This must be a common experience in every religion.

 

In this view, most people are depersonalized to some degree, depending on their current level of religious awareness. Thus, an extremely depersonalized state (in which a complete detachment from the self is consciously experienced as if one is 'living in a dream', observing ones own actions without having any personal control), ultimately must be a valid perception of reality. And although the loss of sense of self might be frightening and/or render the individual dysfunctional in communal terms, it doesn't have anything to do with demons. It is simply a True conscious experience..

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I have revised my essay's draft in order to de-emphasize TM and substantiate yoga as being integral to Eastern philosophical practices. Also I tried to emphasize that de-personalization has positive potential and that in and of it self it is not necessarily a bad thing. Please look it through and give your suggestions. It is for building on and my hope is that it serves as a foundation. I drew from the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta Sutra and the Fourfold Noble Truths of Buddhism. I invite others to build on it and look forward to critiquing.

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From "behind-the-tm-facade.org"

While TM is a relatively new form of Hindu based practice, it draws its inspiration from the age old practices Dhyana Yoga, or meditation. I don’t intend to address the pros or cons of TM in particular being that TM and most other meditative practices try to exclude themselves from Hinduism, but to address the merits and otherwise of the purpose behind meditation and other Eastern based philosophies. Dhyana Yoga is one of the six foundational schools or structures of Hindu philosophy; these being, Sankhya, Yoga (Dhyana), Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. All of these schools are structured to encourage an awareness of one's self, one's surroundings, and one's relation between one's self and one's surroundings.

 

For the sake of simplicity I will include that Buddhism (which began in India) draws much of its foundation from Hindu values. Dhyana, after all, is the root of Zen. India has long held the Vedanta Sutra as an axiom in its philosophical discussions. The first sutra (or statement) within the Vedanta Sutra is "athato brahma jijnasa", which translates to a necessity to inquire and know Brahman. Brahman is defined as the Self; both the local Self and the Conglomerate Accumulative Self (Para Brahman). If there were an axiom within the Vedanta Sutra, it would be this sutra.

The questioning into the nature of the self (introspection) is considered the differential of the "human" species and the "animal" species. This boils down to action based on function rather than form; in other words, spirituality. It is this questioning which encourages a thoughtful approach to intended actions and strives to remove action from a purely reflexive response.

The person who has undergone such introspection may arrive at an initial stage of awareness where there is a disassociation with one’s perceived reality. One may view their body as being separate from their self. Self-identity, or ego, can become undefined since it may no longer be defined solely on a physical basis. Obviously, this undefined stage can be disconcerting for a practitioner and confusion or panic may set in. The purpose behind Eastern philosophies is not to stop at this elimination of an ego which is solely based on physical definitions. It is to gain a broader perspective which includes an associative ego and its relation with the personal ego.

 

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

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The qualities of the self, shared by both Buddhism and Hinduism, are that the self is inherently undying, conscious, and blissful, or sat, chit, and ananda. While this seems particular to Eastern philosophy, one can find corresponding ideas in Abrahamic philosophies as well. The idea of heaven is a blissful place of eternity where one is conscious. There is no consideration of a heaven in which one is non-existent or depressed.

In Buddhism, the greatest need of mankind is the cessation of suffering. The “Four Noble Truths” are axiomatic to Buddhism. These are:

1. Life means suffering

2. The origin of suffering is attachment

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable

4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering

The first Noble Truth is a variable truth. The meaning behind it is that one who does not concern themselves with the basis of suffering will suffer. This suggestion of questioning the nature of things, the basis, is akin to the Vedanta Sutra’s suggestion of “athato brahma jijnasa”.

It is common knowledge that the process of elimination is a particularly helpful exercise in discovering what something is. The objective process of elimination, when applied to the nature of suffering and attachment leads one to nirvana (more literally without a jungle of entanglement).

Attachment, when misdirected, is the root cause of many pains. In the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 verses 62 and 63, attachment is shown to be the root of sadness, anger, jealousy, envy, and bewilderment. If this is disagreeable, I encourage the reader to analyze this for themselves. It remains true, that misdirected attachment causes the aforementioned undesirable traits. Examples can be a childhood crush not reciprocated, the cherished object lost or stolen, or a lover having lost their beloved. All these incorporate attachment in their existential fabric.

Is detachment bad? It depends. Yes, it can serve to distance one from the apparent needs of others. However, I ask you, “is it the man who is detached from their own desires who is more likely to hurt others, or the man who is detached from others’ desires?” A person who is detached from their socially taught and acquired desires, such as brand-name clothes, fast cars, members of the opposite sex as objects of enjoyment etc… will likely be a more valued communal asset. Selfish motivations will be unheard of. It is detachment which needs to be defined. The accusation that meditation leads to detachment may or may not be a negative accusation. Greed can also cause detachment.

Eastern Philosophies such as Hinduism and Buddhism urge the practitioner to perform introspection in order, not to encourage greed, but, to encourage selflessness and compassion; to see the nature of desire and be objective about it. It is virtually unheard of for a sincere practitioner of Eastern philosophy to hate based on physical characteristics. The Bhagavad Gita 5.18 goes so far as to validate one who sees, with equality, animals and humans of all different categories.

 

 

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The whole idea of lumping Buddhism and Hinduism into some homogeneous group betrays the ignorance of the person who does so.

 

Buddhism is about spiritual suicide.

There really is no such thing as Hinduism.

 

Your can't lump Shankarites and Vaishnavites into one broad spectrum called Hinduism.

They are polar opposites.

 

So, trying to talk philosophy with a braying Jackass is useless.

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I have revised my essay's draft in order to de-emphasize TM and substantiate yoga as being integral to Eastern philosophical practices. Also I tried to emphasize that de-personalization has positive potential and that in and of it self it is not necessarily a bad thing. Please look it through and give your suggestions. It is for building on and my hope is that it serves as a foundation. I drew from the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta Sutra and the Fourfold Noble Truths of Buddhism. I invite others to build on it and look forward to critiquing.

 

Narasingh, the original article equates meditation with 'mesmerism' (hypnotism)

which is one of the early misunderstandings of Western writers; it might help to

touch upon the differences. This is also an important juxtaposition for SDA's

since their church prophetess spoke out strongly against hypnosis in the 1800's.

 

Also I would like to encourage you to post your essay to a blog

so that it is easier for people like me to link to it (and for search

engines to find it). This can be done anonymously and without

any cost at all by registering at www.blogger.com

Also, Blogger (which is owned by Google) will not place ads on your site.

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Narasingh, Your essay is good, not that I am qualified to judge. I think it is a good idea of Smileys to post it in a blog. You could have moderated coments. If any of our members wants to add something he can post as a comment.

 

Please ensure that the comments are moderated to prevent vandalism.

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The person who has undergone such introspection may arrive at an initial stage of awareness where there is a disassociation with one’s perceived reality. One may view their body as being separate from their self. Self-identity, or ego, can become undefined since it may no longer be defined solely on a physical basis. Obviously, this undefined stage can be disconcerting for a practitioner and confusion or panic may set in. The purpose behind Eastern philosophies is not to stop at this elimination of an ego which is solely based on physical definitions. It is to gain a broader perspective which includes an associative ego and its relation with the personal ego.

 

This point would seem to beg for the desirability of a more experienced person to serve as a mentor while the aspirant goes through the meditative process. Otherwise a person, when faced with the disconcerting perceptions that you've described might simply run to a mental health professional who would happily oblige them with a diagnosis. I am not arguing that this is true for everyone as there are always some hearty souls who can 'walk the razors edge' alone; but most might benefit from some kind of advisory.

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The whole idea of lumping Buddhism and Hinduism into some homogeneous group betrays the ignorance of the person who does so. ...

 

Buddhism and Hinduism are two closely related religions that are in some ways parallel and in other ways divergent in theory and practice. ... (from wikipedia)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_Hinduism

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/buddhism_and_its_vedic_connections.htm

http://vedabase.net/sb/1/3/24/en

http://www.harekrsna.com/philosophy/gss/sadhu/religions/zen.htm

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Buddhism and Hinduism are two closely related religions that are in some ways parallel and in other ways divergent in theory and practice. ... (from wikipedia)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_Hinduism

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/buddhism_and_its_vedic_connections.htm

http://vedabase.net/sb/1/3/24/en

http://www.harekrsna.com/philosophy/gss/sadhu/religions/zen.htm

 

Buddhism and Mayavada are very similar, so that is why I object to Vaishnavism and Advaitism being lumped into one group called "Hindu".

 

So, it is the lumping of Buddhism together with Vaishnavism under the desgination "Hinduism" that is objectionable.

 

The fact is, Vaishnavism is not Hinduism according to Srila Prabhupada:

 

 

You may call the Vedas Hindu, but "Hindu" is a foreign name. We are not Hindus. Our real identification is varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama denotes the followers of the Vedas, those who accept the human society in eight divisions of varṇa and āśrama.

 

Introduction to Sri Isopanisad

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The fact is, Vaishnavism is not Hinduism according to Srila Prabhupada

 

Sonic Yogi,

The fact is that ISKCON cannot claim to speak for all Vaishnava.

And I dont know that you speak for ISCKON either. You seem to understand neither Vaishnavism or Hinduism, Vedas or Varnashrama it seems- when you speak about 'polar opposites' . Speak for yourself as an individual.

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According to some Vaishnavite schools Bagavan Buddha is an Avatar of Vishnu.

 

I think it is worthwhile reading what Bagavan Buddha said about Brahmanas in Dhamma Pada which is a collection of Buddha's sayings.

 

 

He's called a brahman

for having banished his evil,

a contemplative

for living in consonance,

one gone forth

for having forsaken

his own impurities.

 

One should not strike a brahman,

nor should the brahman

let loose with his anger.

Shame on a brahman's killer.

More shame on the brahman

whose anger's let loose.

 

You can read the entire text here.

 

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.26.than.html

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Just a quick reply to Sonic Yogi, and if he persists in polarizing this thread then I believe we should consider flagging his posts for removal.

 

Sonic Yogi, while I have immense appreciation for Prabhupada, I also understand that Gaudiya Acharyas such as Baladeva Vidyabhusana did take the time to establish that Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy was, in fact, a bona-fide path within the Hindu umbrella. They sought to gain acceptance into the community, not to exclude themselves.

 

Jayadeva Goswami, much appreciated by Mahaprabhu, took the time to praise Buddha with his Dasavatara Stotra. To this day, Vaishnavas sing the praises of Buddha.

 

Vyasadev (whom we honor each Vyasa-Puja) wrote the Vedanta Sutra along with a multitude of other scriptures, as well as the Bhagavatam.

 

Shankaracharya is heralded in Gaudiya Vaishnava communities as being Mahadev.

 

Gaudiya Vaishnavas also practice Yoga, so they are "lumped" into the accused group as well. Regardless of what Srila Prabhupada wanted the Western world to call what was then and is to this day referred to as Hinduism, it is still contemporarily called Hinduism. With all this to consider, how do you feel justified in a simple contradiction? Also, I suspect you have not even read the opening post on this thread, because you are clearly not sensitive to the issue at hand. Why post if you haven't seen why I wrote the short essay to begin with?

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