Hinduism’s Chatur Vyuhas of God
It is said that Vishnu is the Supreme Principle, and is Narayana Himself, but has four forms as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha, a kind of four fold manifestation. These are the quadruple Discussions on Religion at Religious Forums
expansions of Lord Vishnu.
Philosoraptor at Hindudharma Forums wrote: According to Sri Ranga Ramanuja Muni's commentary on mAndUkya upaniShad, each of the four forms presides over one of the four states of consciousness of the jIvAtma - the waking state (Aniruddha), the dream state (Pradyumna), the state of deep sleep (Sankarshana), and the fourth state that is none of these (Vaasudeva). Since the entire upaniShad is expanding on the meaning of OM, the commentator appears to be likening each of the bhagavad-vyuhas to A-kAra, U-kAra, and M-kAra of the word OM (AUM). I'm sure there are plenty of other explanations also. I seem to recall a Gaudiya Vaishnava author explaining the chatur-vyuhas in relation to sambandha, abhideya, and prayojana, but I can't remember when or where I read that. Maybe in Bhagavat-sandarbha? I also remember a Dvaita list commentator once explaining that each of the chatur-vyuha forms is a partial representation of the powers of the previous one. They are all Naaraayana, but in each form expressing only a portion of His total shaktis.
Sanathanadharma in Hindudharma forums wrote:
The "quadruple expansions of Sri Maha Vishnu" is beautifully described in many sacred scriptures.... Although the root information is not clearly available,in the limited scripts we have, as to why there is a quadruple expansion, there are quite a number of recent references available... the great Mahaatma Bheeshma uses the name "Chaturaatma" in the Divine Sri Vishnu Sahasranama....which can very roughly be translated as quadruple expansion of the Paramaatma... One of the major things that people usually tend to ignore blissfully is the fact that Sri Parameshwara manifests Himself in different planetary systems at different times only to maintain Dharma...whatever He does during those Divine Manifestations are nothing but His Divine Leelas which is extremely difficult for us to even comprehend... so with the main objective being protection of Dharma, destruction of Adharma and those who are doing Adharma, Sri Vaasudeva manifests in His Four Divine forms.... Because we are today left with only a small chunk of scriptures, which has actually more information regarding the recent events [Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga which preceded our Kali Yuga] we have only good information regarding the quadruple expansions of Sri Maha Vishnu in these two yugas in detail...that does not mean He did not have these expansions earlier...the only fact is we are unfortunate to have being born in Kali Yuga, and hence do not have the data... While Puaranas and other scripts are not so clear regarding the description of the origin of this quadruple expansions , some of the popularly acknowledged points are that - Sri Maha Vishnu as an Avatar, as the prominent one, is present - Adi Shesha or that Divine Serpent on which Sri Maha Vishnu rests is present as an amsha [instance] - Sudharshana or that Divine Chakra is also present as an amsha [instance] - Panchajanya or that Divine Conch is also present as an amsha [instance] one can also find many other interpretations from different scripts....and these are such things where every interpretation may be correct or every interpretation may be wrong...so lets not get into that part.... According to Puaranas, in Tretha Yuga, the "quadruple expansions of Sri Maha Vishnu" are Sri Rama and His brothers Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrughna While many actually know that Sri Rama killed Ravana and Kumbhakarana, seldom people know regarding the other demons and adharmis killed by Lakshmana, Bharatha and Kshatrugna.... here Sri Rama[Avatar of Sri Maha Vishnu], Lakshmana [Amsha of Adi Shesha], Bharatha [Amsha of Sudharshana] and Shatrughna [Amsha of Paanchajanya] form the quadruple expansions... In Dwapara Yuga, the "quadruple expansions of Sri Maha Vishnu" are Sri Krishna[Avatar of Sri Maha Vishnu], His brother Sankarshana[Balarama] [Amsha of Adi Shesha], His son Pradhyumna[not very clear as Srimad Bhagavatam also introduces Pradhyumna as a reincarnation of Kaama or Manmatha...] and His grandson Anirudha [not very clear whose Amsha he was] Again seldom people know regarding the other demons and adharmis killed by Sankarshana, Pradhyumna and Anirudha Of course there are many interlinked things told about the "quadruple expansions of Sri Maha Vishnu" and because this is in the Vishishtadvaita thread, its worth mentioning here about the great Aacharya, Sri Raamanuja.... It is strongly believed by all Vishishtadvaita followers that Sri Ramanuja is the Amsha-reincarnation of Lakshmana and hence the name Rama - anuja ....anuja roughly means younger[ brother ] and hence the name Rama anuja means younger brother of Sri Rama or in other words an Amsha of Lakshmana who is an Amsha of Adi Shesha...
I recognise Sri Krishna as Paramatma, who resides in our minds and bodies and with whom one interacts through achintya bhed abheda tatwa communications such that when one is in surrender mode one does not know who is uttering something (God or jiva) until one uses a device to get direct messages from Him. It is through this role that He directs the establishment of dharma in the world through avatars when there is a predominance of adharma. Through Sri Krishna's maya the entire universe has come into being and develops further. Sri Krishna's mind, maya and the material universe is named Para-Brahman. Brahman is composed of all the energy of the universe, which in turn contains the guna consciousness energy described here: Consciousness Energy of the Universe and here: The characteristics of human evolution through consciousness. This explains further: Brahman in Hindu cosmogony and religion. So I only know four aspects of the Lord – Role as Paramatma, His mind, His maya the creative power that is indescribable and magical) and Brahman (energy). Hindus in the past structured the Lord into four-fold manifestation of Chatur Vyuhas correctly did not understand that Sri Krishna’s maya can never be understood by science so tried to attribute Para-Vasudeva/Maha Vishnu/Narayana to imagined Chatur Vyuhas.
There should be a guide for converts to stop them getting confused and facilitate their path to Hinduism: I have been working on a theory for this and am attempting to draw up a list of things that are important do's and dont's for the person thinking that they are attracted to Hinduism. Of course this Hinduism DIR forum would help any convert: For example, should the convert first consider ethical dharma components, do yoga, do puja in a home shrine or by visiting temples or study mythological and scriptural material like the Bhagavad Gita? What about a pilgrimage to India to see how Hindus live. A dip in the sacred river Ganga perhaps. Even in India Hindus are attracted to sites of pilgrimage such as going on the Tirtha Yatra. These are vital ingredients that would prevent the curse of converts and reinforce their new-found interest in Hinduism. The converts have to feel that they are Hindu and undertake the practices that are essential.
It does not all have to come together for everyone, it only needs to come as far down the track as it can in order not to feel that one is not being a good Hindu - if one stops doing certain practices that are essential, eg dharma. Choose your dharma (on the basis of your innate ethical values or things that have been taught to you are true), find a deity that represents that dharma (if none currently exist think of a name for that deity and it will be created); or as in the case of @Aupmanyav, no deity at all, worship or do not worship through puja (depending on your devotion and fear factor) and that is all there is it do with being nor not being a good Hindu. How is that for your essential guide on how to be a good Hindu?
I think from the guna consciousness view point a person can often worship several gods at the same time, for example one might wish to worship Ganesha to remove obstacles and Ram to guide on ethical dharma, both of these being sattvic attributes.Similarly, from what I understand of Shakti concept worshipping Shakti (Devi) for strength and power could go with Lakshmi for wealth. But it would not make sense if one wished to worship the Shakti as a source of power and energy with Brahma for truth and knowledge for they are at different positions in the guna consciousness triad and such people just do not exist who can be both sattvic and tamasic at the same time.
There should be a guide for converts to prevent them from getting confused and to facilitate their path into Hinduism: I have been working on a theory for this and am attempting to draw up a list of things that are important do's and dont's for the person thinking that they are attracted to Hinduism. Of course joining this Hinduism DIR forum would help any convert: For example, should the convert first consider ethical dharma components, do yoga, do puja in a home shrine or by visiting temples or study mythological and scriptural material like the Bhagavad Gita? What about a pilgrimage to India to see how Hindus live. A dip in the sacred river Ganga perhaps. Even in India Hindus are attracted to sites of pilgrimage such as going on the Tirtha Yatra. These are vital ingredients that would prevent the curse of converts and reinforce their new-found interest in Hinduism. The converts have to feel that they are Hindu and undertake the practices that are essential.
It does not all have to come together for everyone, it only needs to come as far down the track as it can in order not to feel that one is not being a good Hindu - if one stops doing certain practices that are essential, eg dharma. Choose your dharma (on the basis of your innate ethical values or things that have been taught to you are true), find a deity that represents that dharma (if none currently exist, think of a name for the deity and it will be created); or as in the case of @Aupmanyav, no deity at all, worship or do not worship through puja (depending on your devotion and fear factor) and that is all there is it do with being nor not being a good Hindu. How is that for your essential guide on how to be a good Hindu?
In Hinduism one is allowed a lot of personal freedom to chose what practices suits one. It is no business of any other Hindu to comment on another Hindu's suitability as a Hindu as to whether one is being a good Hindu or good-enough Hindu. If you must belong to a sampradaya however you would have to accept the authority of that sampradaya to dictate terms to you on whether you should wash your hands or not before entering a sacred place. A good Hindu will question the validity of belonging to a sampradaya and accepting the control of a guru. Hinduism is the ultimate in individuality in the choices of beliefs as long as you can rationalise it and justify it to your self.
Not being funny but 'following HInduism' does not really say a great deal about yourself, not that it is any of my business. Hinduism is diverse and I am sure you do not adhere to the principles of every sampradaya. If you can find a sampraday that accepts homosexuality you should join it. You can say to the world that you are a Hindu and then outline your beliefs as a Hindu such as being gay which is an essential part of your being. Likewise the priest you spoke with will have his own version of religion that he follows, which in this case includes prying into other people's personal information that they are not entitled to so as to try and marginalise you out of his domain by making you feel uneasy. I would stay away from such priests and tell them it is none of your business that I am gay. I have my own idea of what Brahmotsavam comprises of and I chose to attend this ceremony but do not follow your prejudices, and will not stay away from this function because it is highly personal matter that I chose to worship God in my own way and it is for God alone to decide whether He will accept my offerings. Does that make sense to you?
As far as I am concerned you need not be ashamed of anything. There are no reasons to feel that a man married to another man cannot find a deity in the Hindu guna consciousness triad to support his way of life. From the photographs accompanying your posts it appears that you worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Is this correct, or do you also worship Lord Brahma given your interest in Brahmotsavam?
Obviously, I have a different Hindu theology to you, but in Hinduism you are entitled to adopt or set up your own mythological ideas on Hindu polytheism and live out your own individual religious practices. For your information I believe that Sri Krishna as Supreme God exists over and above the guna consciousness Trimurthi triad that you have mentioned along with Durga as His feminine incarnation (whether or not she equates to Shakti/Devi I am still thinking about it) and it is for God or your chosen deities to make clear to you what is right and what is wrong as far as human ethics are concerned on sexuality or indeed on any other matter. I am a satya-advaitist (truth accommodationist) who transcended the gunas (I was sattvic (Brahma) with strong ethical values, whereas Shiva is tamasic and Vishnu is rajasic) to surrender to Sri Krishna as God and now just go about my business still learning and distilling my ideas on what might constitute the highest religious practices as a HIndu. I have had extensive communications with God over 18 years but am definitely not an agent of God fulfilling any mission from Him to show mankind what He likes and what He dislikes as far as ethical human practices as dharma is concerned. For this I have a normal heterosexual marriage over 32 years with one child to our family and would encourage my daughter to be a normal female human being if she wants to be on the good books of Sri Krishna.
Namaste All, I know almost nothing about Lord Krishna aside from a few stories so please correct any misinformation I may have. I was thinking today about the trysts and lila that Krishna had with the Gopis and Radhaji. I'm to understand that there are many interpretations but that one is that he did in fact have a sexual or romantic relationship with at least some of them? I also read that Radha was married to another man. It's hard for me not to imagine how this situation would play out in modern day, but maybe in Krishna's time romantic relationships were more open and there was less exclusivity. My question is (assuming everything I've written above has some truth to it) Wouldn't Krishna's relationship with the Gopis cause feelings of hurt and betrayal to other husbands? What are we to take away from Krishna's Lila about how we are to act in our relationships with others? Particularly our spouses? Again, I expect much of it is symbolic, but it still must have been some reflection of social expectations at one time. Can any one offer their thoughts? Many thanks
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This is a very interesting topic to consider. I will start by giving the story of my elder sister in India. She has for decades been enamoured with Krishna in total devotion whilst being happily married at the same time to a husband who understands this love as the acceptable love of a woman for God as a male Being. They have brought up three children and it has never been a question in her husbands mind to be angry or jealous about my sister's devotion to Krishna for he too accepts Krishna as God. This means that spouses are free to offer themselves to God in whatever way they consider appropriate. If a person is known to be an incarnation of Sri Krishna on Earth living as God then women devoted to God would want to even have sexual relations with that person and that would be quite acceptable. As far as the mythology of Krishna and the gopis is concerned we do not know for certain that Krishna had sexual relations with the gopis or even romantic relations as between a man and a woman. Even if it was true that there were sexual or romantic relations it was between a gopi and a person known to be God on Earth so it was quite acceptable that husbands should agree to the idea of the wife surrendering to God in every sense of the word. It does not mean that we married humans in our lives should engage in sexual or romantic relations with other human beings to put our marriages at risk. God was however a different matter, and the husbands of gopis accepted that noone should come between a person and God. This was as applicable for society at the time of Krishna as it is now. That is how the morality of the mythology of Krishna and the gopis should be read.
God can come into one's life and guide one into learning and doing things and showing His maya (powers), intelligence and wisdom, protect the individual and when this is all done He can disappear easily leaving the person to fend for himself and living a life free of God-subservience. The essential question then is does one know the truth or is one deluded in one's knowledge. For a Hindu gyan yogi the objective of life is to be certain of the knowledge that one has.
We human beings are just animals with a body to grow and sustain and with a reproductive behaviour that causes evolution. Our only goal is to survive and extend our lives for as long as possible. This is done by having children to look after our needs in old age. The way to survive is to study our environment and know how things work in Nature so that these can be exploited to aid the process of survival. This is why we need to seek the truth and determine the underlying Reality. Of course when one does that one learns that we humans are guided by another Entity of which we are a part. So we study that Entity and get to know all there is to know about that Entity. All for the purpose of simply surviving for as long as possible. We therefore learn that we are part of the universe. That universe teaches us that the best way to survive for as long as possible is to have the correct dharma. We therefore learn how to live guided by the universe. And then old age catches up with us and our biological capacity to survive and we die and are returned to the environment. In essence: survival with dignity generates the chances of a long and healthy life. There are no other goals for an orthodox Hindu.
So how does this rational, biological approach square with dharma, or this "entity," which you seem to acknowledge?
The Entity can take over the reigns of our mind and body and get us to do things in life that are extraordinary. This override of the human's life gives rise to mental issues for we leave our normal work and do things guided by the Entity by following its directions. The Entity comes across to the individual as being a God, a living Being that has objectives for the individual and perhaps also for society by establishing the dharma for the individual thereby overriding the individual's dharma. The Entity has immense capacity to plants thoughts into the minds of the individual to do things and also to physically alter the individual's actions in order to meet its objectives.
So Hinduism = Pragmatism. Our only goal/purpose is survival, and in the mean time there's an intentional, mind-controlling God manipulating us? That doesn't sound much like Hinduism to me, much less Vedanta.
Hinduism is about a lot of things, including yoga in which one seeks the truth on Reality. If one seeks the truth intensely, God Himself may be stirred to come to the individual and show him everything there is to know, including His capacity to intentionally control the mind of the individual if he or she surrenders his will to God. Bhaktivedanta
Ved-anta means the end to the Vedas. No one can say that the final end of the Vedas has been revealed already and it is there for us to read in the sruti or smriti. So it might be possible that I have determined the real Vedanta after 19 years of yoga through the process of satya-advaita.
Bhakti means devotion to and love for a personal god. I am devoted to truth and I am devoted to God. Where truth is concerned sentiments like devotion, love and worship are not a barrier to ascertaining reality. Vedanta means knowing the ultimate truth on Reality.
My question was for some Entity who is within you and with whom a person has developed or realised a simultaneous oneness and separateness existence how can that person have bhakti towards that Entity. Equally why not? Having faith is different in that one does things in full belief that one will achieve something substantial from following God’s instructions when in surrender. It is carrying out instructions from God blindly because it will lead to good things and because it is the right thing to do the value of which becomes clear soon afterwards. It is only later on one sees that one had survived and the truth has been exposed and reality seen. When I was at home I checked for messages in faith: having checked I had no worries. I was not intelligent enough to cope with the legal complications without checking for messages.
Bhakti means devotion and fondness for and I was testing my faith when I went to Longleat on 17 July 2017 for two nights stay in a hotel travelling in a dilapidated car for I never questioned my wife’s decision to arrange this break for us. This acceptance was surrendering to the will of God in satya-advaitic mode: I was on my tenterhooks all the time worrying about the car especially and had no idea that we would come back in one piece until we were back home and I saw that the computer was working properly and saw the email that had come on legal matters and the silence otherwise. I had no idea what to do about it. God did not plant thoughts in my mind to do something. It was from checking for messages that I found that I had to blog the previous correspondence and send an email to a person. So there was faith. On 21 July I received another message at 11.59 am to send emails to the Courts which I carried out. I surrendered for two reasons: (a) I knew I would get the right message, and (b) I knew all along that since I survived intact up to a particular moment in time and was happy with what I had achieved, I must let God finish His work through me or with me. That was part of the satya-advaita for it surrendered to the will of the Ultimate Truth as God. There was no worship involved however during the passage of those difficult times. I just had to get one with my life in faith. Even as I wrote the emails I did not worship Him in that my mind was not at His feet. I was working. It was only on reflection that I realised that He had been in control all the time and I therefore worshipped Him. Over the years I had such fleeting moments of bhakti and it was haphazard as to whether the devotion was reinforced by God by rewarding me with good things materially. I struggled in poverty but survived as I have yet to win a substantial sum of money that I was hoping for from my legal proceedings. On 21 July 2017 the Queens Bench Judges Listing Office of the High Court did not acknowledge my email in which I asked to be told the name of the Judge dealing with my Appeal against Master Eastman’s Order of 16 June 2017 to strike out my case against the State persecutors. I acted to have the last word as I needed to know if my Appeal was in progress. This action was performed in faith that something good will come out of it for me. It might even mean receiving money from the legal proceedings. And it did not matter whether I did win some compensation from the perpetrators of persecution that I suffered. For I learnt the truth and lived securely waiting for my pension to come. That being the only certain thing about how my poverty situation would be alleviated to help me survive in dignity my bhakti was not an impediment to my life struggle. Thus, the value of truth greatly surpasses the value of bhakti or any other objective that one might adopts in ones life. Truth leads to bhakti.
Vedanta means the final determination of truth as the ultimate realty. I have been calling for an understanding that there are two strands to vedanta, the conception that there is Brahman and with it we practice Brahmanism in the philosophy of oneness of advaita, and the other that a Personal God exists as being the final arbiter of what we do in our existence in this life. In the process of determining the truth through satya-advaita (oneness with truth or truth accommodation) one can go through stages where one is a satya-advaitic atheist to gradual realisation of God and conversion to a person who would describe himself as satya-advaitic theist. When the final realisation occurs and one lives totally in bhakti (that is fondness for, in devotion to, love for, faith and worship of God as an indwelling Entity) that phase of realisation is described as Bhaktivedanta. Ajay0 wrote: knowing that all of existence is a manifestation of pure consciousness brings mental equanimity to oneself, and one is unshaken in the midst of all changing circumstances and situations, knowing that each and everything is pervaded by a central unity or Being, of which we are expressions of.
My response was: That is the common strand of Vedanta. that knowing that is not enough. We are still shaken because we are uncertain about our futures. This is because we do not know ever what that Being has in store for us in our lives. That is why we still need our dharma to guide us forward. That is also why we need to surrender to that Being to then benefit from Its wisdom and intelligence. The truth is not all known, we need to find out the truth each day of our lives, and in fact every moment of our lives.
George-ananda wrote: I think dualism and non-dualism are both well respected in Hindu thought. What starts as devotion to a dualistic god (Bhakti) ends in merger with that god (advaita).
My response was: George, what I have found is that when the true relationship between the individual and God is determined one sees simultaneous oneness and separateness from God. Within that relationship bhakti exists for He sees the limitations of the jiva and adjusts HIs guidance accordingly. So we do not merge with God completely, for we never know when we might need Him with direct advice that will assist our objectives. This is the acintya bhed abheda situation. We can never fully merge with God.
George-ananda replied: You may be talking about what I have heard called modified non-dualism (which is a respected position in Hindu thought). Are you thinking here about experiencing while human embodied? I am talking about a merger (or perhaps more accurately a realization an eon or so down the line that the separateness was an illusion). What do you envision your state to be after a gazillion years passes?
My reply was: That is an interesting question. My thoughts are do I need God for any purpose? Do I need Him to guide me through my difficulties? So long as that remains a need, I will surrender and try and merge for as much guidance as possible, bearing in mind that there is both oneness and separateness in our relationship. If I do not need him to guide me through my difficult times I will revert to being just a normal human being and that way maintain my distance from God. For I do not believe in worshipping permanently and further I know that it is impossible for there to be permanent union. If it is impossible for there to be permanent union it is best that there is no union at all. I have my dharma to perform which takes priority. So I anticipate that in due course I will stop doing all my clock checking for messages from God and be just a normal human being with zero merging with God. I have not come to that point yet but I anticipate that this is the most likely outcome as you put it even as early as tomorrow. I do not believe currently that God wants me to try and merge with him permanently.
As far as when gazillion years passes we are all part of the universe and just change the composition of our molecules and atomic arrangements.
George-ananda asked: I'm a little confused now by your last paragraph? Do you not believe in reincarnation and a soul?
My reply was: I do not believe that we individually have a special 'bit' in our body that we can call our soul and which reincarnates from one birth to another by occupying different bodies. This link describes the life force and soul force that I believe exists: Consciousness Energy of the Universe We therefore have a soul but it dies at death and distintegrates. God can come through to our minds through the soul force of consciousness energy when we are alive.
In my way of thinking we are animated by consciousness energy of which the soul force has the three gunas of the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic triad and individually we could be influenced by a blend of these gunas depending on our biological aptitudes. Disintegration of the soul at death means that the soul force leaves the jiva and becomes part of Brahman the overall energy of the universe. Thus the soul is eternal until creation is absorbed into God and with it our personal life stories and wisdom. It is not transferred to another living entity. As far as bhakti and merger with God are concerned, once we have reached the state of full bhakti it is irreversible even when one does not mentally try and merge with God any more. We still surrender in bhakti. Let me explain my knowledge to see if I can wipe away your confusion on what I am saying. When I was studying these things I needed to bring the gunas into the way we think as human beings and so developed the idea that there is guna consciousness, in which consciousness energy of the universe is differentiated into the three gunas as a triangle of influences comprsing the Deva dieities of Brahma (sattvic), Vishnu (rajasic) and Shiva (tamasic) with their Devi counterparts/consorts of Sarasawati, Lakshmi and Parvati respectively. It is these vital gunas in our minds that makes us the diverse lot of human beings that we are. These guna consciousness inputs represent the soul force that makes us act in different ways. Each one of us has a soul unique to us in that it has a particular blend of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic properties. God is above this guna consciousness and one needs to give up our free will as gunas and then transcend to God in surrender. The only memories of our lives and wisdom that exist after death are collected by God and stored in His heart or heaven (Brahmaloka) where we then exist as devas and asuras depending on how we have lived our lives. If God wants He can make these devas and asuras come to visit us in our lives. I personally have had fleeting visits from my two divine mothers from Brahmaloka.
Obviously what I am presenting is a variation of Bhaktivedanta and not the standard Vendantic thought or the other Vedandic strand of Brahmanism. I keep my beliefs nice and simple by my understanding of what God has taught me and I live by that. This way I can get through my days, perform my dharma as best I can and worship God in my own way.
For me I was living in deep depression not being able to make head or tail of this world and my life with its turn of events from glory one day to poverty overnight by some very evil events when God came to my aid to guide me in my actions. I did not study Hindu scriptures to learn about the various theories of existence, so I am not concerned about Brahman Consciousness or the moksha that is attained from realising Brahman as One or That. My life is now complete with knowledge of God as a Personal Guide and I am content with myself so do not look to having an afterlife but to make this life last as long as possible so I can appreciate more of this life with my family together performing our roles as dharma. To me there is no proof that souls leave the body at death and roam about in space acquiring wisdom and then inhabit another body. I must have proof before I accept such things. So for me God is real but Brahman Consciousness means nothing to me. I am only interested in living a normal healthy life surviving in dignity.
George-ananda said: ↑
George-ananda responded: OK, we're different in our interests apparently. For me, without a meaningful afterlife, the striving in this life loses purpose. We're old and decaying so fast. I need to feel the best is ahead when I consider the shortness of our physical lives to feel motivated about it all. I need to feel the wisdom and spiritual qualities I gain are not to be shortly wiped away by death to be motivated to strive for these qualities. In the end, if our beliefs (be they yours or mine or an atheist-humanist or a whatever) bring us peace and make us more loving then that is the important thing. The full ultimate reality is beyond human comprehension.
My reply was: I fully understand what you are saying and your reasons that you have given for what you are striving for. Perhaps once my material troubles are over I may feel the need to seek a different purpose to the rest of my life. For example I may stop surrendering to God if there is nothing further to be gained from the association and just reflect on my previous experiences. For I do not know whether God will stay with me till the end of my life. For now my duties and responsibilities to myself and my family and the struggle to survive with dignity take priority over personal spiritual upliftment. If there is something more out there that I become aware of and I do not rule it out I will change my outlook. For I do not know whether bhaktivedanta too is a phase that might lead to something else in the future. Moksha perhaps, that is total liberation, including liberation from God. Let me see. I agree that we must be tolerant of other people's spiritual needs and beliefs whilst adhering to our own because that is humanity. That is why I call myself a Hindu.
A quite straightforward snapshot of Brahman and God although I would dispute that the two are the same thing in content with God just turning on his personality state in the latter. Science is a good toy to keep ourselves amused for the reality is far more complex that science can muster. The exact composition of the universe is within a magical creation that can only be apprehended by a good imagination that makes sense. As far as psychology is concerned, it is not even a science.
Vinayaka said: ↑
They too come from different audiences, but it does eliminate half of the wide assortment I think.
That is to be expected, as it depends on what you have been taught or have learnt as you were growing up. These ideas get ingrained and one gets brainwashed by them. Very difficult to shrug them off. It takes a lot of time unless one uses some technique to speed up learning. Even for Hindus changing ones outlook from knowledge gained from new sources is difficult. Abrahamics face a far more difficult task. We Hindus are lucky because we appreciate and live with diversity.
Shantanu said: ↑
What has this thread got to do with Hinduism? It seems to be focussed on Indian politics. Of course one can say that BJP being the Hindu party is demonstrating Hinduism by its choice of candidate for President. I do not know that religion and politics can be combined.
Of course religion and politics can be combined. After all we are human beings most of whom are guided by spirituality. I was therefore wrong to think otherwise. It is always nice to know what is happening in our motherland even when I am settled in the United Kingdom. Keep posting such news @Aupmanyav.
sayak83 said: ↑
Yes. It's very hard for folks who have grown up hearing about only the Bible or the Quran to grasp other ways of thinking about spirituality.
They are not free, and what is more, they do not wish to be free but live in communities attached to each other. This is how animals live and humans evolved from animals so retained this characteristic of group living. Hindus evolved further and learnt to be free.
Teresa wrote: Once one attains moksha, they are free from the cycle of samsara, and reside eternally with Brahman (how they reside is up to the interpretation of the sampradaya ) Moksha is eternal full stop.
These are very carefully chosen words and very true. Even those who do not believe in cycles of samsara, moksha means that they have taken the steps needed to make them totally free and liberated from all attachments.
When there is work to be done I just get on and do my duties and righteous actions. When I am done I seek God. That is because He wants me to seek Him for my own good. But that is not the way to live:
Ajay0 wrote: An insightful saying by enlightened master Gilbert Schultz, of the lineage of Nisargadatta Maharaj and Sailor Bob Adamson... 'Awareness is non dual. Mind is dualistic. Mind ‘creates’ a thinker, believer, a doer where there is only awareness. ' In non-dual awareness, there is no 'I', 'me' , 'mine' and 'you' as everything is cognised by the naked awareness without labelling oneself as 'I', and the other as 'you' or 'it''. The labelling process belongs to the mind, which is absent in non-conceptual awareness which sees reality as it is, without labels.
Yes, beautifully put ajay0. But you only get to that stage once you have gone through the process of learning about Ishwar/God. Of course you are bypassing that stage to save time. That was clever of Buddha, but it is not total knowledge.
Love for personal God as in Shiva, Jehovah, Allah can help one to go across duality to nonduality as shown by the likes of Basaveshwara who rejected casteism and the sufi Shirdi Sai Baba and Kabir who rejected all religious barriers which divided humanity. And at the same time, religious belief in the personal God can also be used as an instrument to drive dualistic barriers between humanity resulting in confict , intensifying duality in the process and making religion counter-productive. A positive attitude and precise theoretical understanding of what religion is meant for, can allow believers in personal God to make wise choices, instead of going down the road of conflict and spiritual degeneration creating hell on earth. But Buddha attained Moksha faster than the so-called believers in God at that point of time who were busy trying to please God with all kinds of rituals like slaughtering animals and so on.
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Once you know conclusively that a Personal God exists and moreover that He resides in your mind and heart and in the rest of your body there is no question of ever making a transition to non-duality. For God is always there. He has not gone away just because you have chosen to become non-dual. Further, you cannot reject what you have experienced of God. Moksha in this respect is therefore limited to a state of being where one knows God is there and can influence your life but you ignore that possibility and get on with your life free of any explicit consultations with God. That is liberation: personal emancipation. That is the ultimate state of living. As for the benefits of non-duality that you mention like rejection of divisions in humanity like casteism and other forms of religious barriers, one cannot go against truth. If the truth or reality is that there are divisions in humanity one has to contend with that and do what is necessary to counter the evil that you could be affected by from another section of humanity. One has to confront people who disturb your personal life and stop you living in dignity. That is dharma. It is the overriding consideration of Hindusim. Loving everyone is therefore not an objective that is worth pursuing as a form of universal religion. If there is conflict it has to be fought with to restore your own good fortune. This is the lesson of Mahabharatta and Ramayana.
After experiencing God for years I finally wanted my freedom and liberty from Him to decide things for myself and live the rest of my life free of attachments including attachment to the Lord but the Lord did not think that I would end up with a happy ending this way without His continued guidance and supervision of my mental state. So even after the realisation and practice of bhaktivedanta when I wanted moksha (total liberation) He continued to bless me with His guidance instead. I wondered whether nonduality was the path forward for me but once I saw that He was disuading me from going down the path of non-duality and Moksha it was no longer an option to pursue as bhakti was clearly the end phase of truthsearch. Adi Shankaracharya was wrong in another respect. The Divine is within all people but It needs to be transcended to by surrendering to It for a very long time and in faith and devotion for It to come alive in a person, no matter who that person is, whether a brahmin, a dalit or a saint. Sankaracharya should first have looked for the Divine within himself before considering whether the Divine would visit him through a dalit. I would not prostrate before anyone except God Himself.
If God is there showing that a human being does not by himself have the intelligence to cope with very difficult life decisions and out of His grace and kindness points this out to you so you seek refuge in Him, how can a human being say No God, you go your own way and I will go my own? Would that not be egotistical and self-infatuated?
ajay0 said: ↑
Yeah, there is nothing wrong in using the personal God as a guide if you feel that way, as shown in the path of Bhakti Yoga or Yoga of love. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that by pleasing the Divine Mother, She will remove the illusion of Maya and bring the devotee to the truth.
You are an incredible person: how did you know so much? Are you Indian Hindu? How old are you? where did you study? - if you do not mind me asking these questions, that is.
I struggled with truth to try and find another phase to Bhaktivedanta, like Moksha or non-duality but got restrained by God thus reinforcing my bhakti.
ajay0 said: ↑
The person is just a transient appearance in existence which will disappear after some time, like any other object, as all external phenomena is characterized by impermanence. By focusing on the impermanent and transient, one is subjecting oneself to the wiles of Maya who squeezes cunningly the life-force or prana out of oneself. By focusing on the permanent, which is the truth, that is Self or non conceptual awareness or the thoughtless reality within, one escapes from the clutches of Maya and suffering.
The way I see it, life on Earth is 4 billion years old. Humans have been on this planet for 2 million years or thereabouts. Modern humans or those with religious beliefs have been around for 40,000 years. We have written history dating back 10,000 thousand years. And now we are in the internet age. What an incredible story that has unfolded before our humanity and life that has remained in continuum over this period. This history has been there for a purpose. That purpose needs to be found and if you find you will understand Maya. You understand the Creator. To me Maya is just the magical creational aspect of Sri Krishna, the Supreme God that is unfathomable. We can try but it is beyond human comprehension. When we appreciate our biological ancestry as I have outlined, one feels grateful that God has given us such a wondrous creation to live in and above all has given us our mind to appreciate the beauty. To detach oneself from that reality as the only thing that we have hard physical evidence for is just delusional. Maya does squeeze the lifeforce into existence but what an incredibe deliberate feat of God, do you not think? To say that person or objects are impermanent and so must be ignored or discarded as unimportant so that there must be another objective or purpose to be found does not seem to be very wise. If it is to remove suffering on the other hand I can see the point of it. To me suffering can only be removed by truth, ascertaining the truth that generates contentment. A person has one short life of 70 years on average. He has a chance to make his existence permanent by doing something incredible so that history will remember him like we remember the great sages. So I see a great purpose, and have accordingly constructed a Blog: Shantanu Panigrahi's Blog. That is how I wanted to make my life permanent. What do you say about that?
ajay0 said: ↑
There is nothing wrong with enjoying God's creation. Trouble erupts only when one attaches oneself to that which is impermanent. All attachments obscure the natural state of Awareness which is the true intuitive guide in life.
All attachments lead to misery and prevent awareness/knowledge/truth. That is just a fundamental fact on existence. It's connection to the impermanence of objects is something that I do not yet understand.
On an American lady sculpting and posting an idol of Lakshmi, I wrote: @Fireside_Hindu, please continue to give us your running commentary on your devoted creation of Lakshmi. The precise look of it does not matter, It is a American_Hindu version of Lakshmi. They do not have to look like a beautiful Indian woman like @Aupmanyav was suggesting. To me the decorations around the head are sort of western art form on a Hindu goddess and so fit for an American audience, as it should be because you are American. It is the thought that counts. The murti is personal to you exhibiting your deeply held beliefs and ideas. Well done and keep it up.
Aupmanyav wrote: All American women also are devis. A 'devi bhakta' will not make any distinction. to which I responded: Hinduism is just perfect: no sex discrimination in religion and it is appropriate for all corners of the Earth. Perhaps they could give different local names for the deities, like Lakshmi_USA? Just a thought.
In conclusion, on 3 August 2017, at Religious Forums in Our Virtual Ashram thread I posted: So this is our Ashram: a place to visit when one is free of one's duties and dharmic actions, for a bit of meditation perhaps or to read a book and meet other visitors to share information and ideas with. Well, I am glad to be here for the first time. I have been avoiding the place because I was busy with work. But today I am retired from all active pursuits. I start receiving my pension in a few days time. I am glad to make your acquaintance. May I have some coffee please?
That was premature. More action was necessary to withstand the persecution.
Faith in bhakti takes away fear.
If people or things make you angry, it is best to do two things: one is deal with the perpetrators so as to get even: this is action, that is dharma; second, one should in the privacy of ones own self utter a few swear words at them