I am no longer Hindu


#81

This is a total misrepresentation of what I believe. My position is that [I]samprajnata samadhi[/I], in which the mind has become one-pointed but some mental activity remains, is the more useful and practical, and relevant form of yoga, and that total cessation only applies at the very highest levels, which is completely irrelevant to most practitioners.


#82

You have a persecution complex. I don’t present Vedanta as anything. I almost never talk it. What I have said is that all of the Vedanta rationalizations against Samkhya and other philosophies are rooted in the belief in Brahman as the source of the world, which belief is derived from scripture and nothing else. This is a well documented, established fact. You can argue until the cows come home and it will not change this fact.

Since I have exposed this fact you have blown it way out of proportion and generalized it to all of Vedanta, but I have not said those things.


#83

[QUOTE=Asuri;72749]The fact is that the Samkhya thinkers opposed the belief in Brahman as the source of the world, which is the central belief of Vedanta. I think that classifies Samkhya as non-hindu, because hindus accept Vedanta.

The following is a quote from Vijnana Bhiksu’s introduction to the Samkhya Pravachana Sutram.

He then goes on to quote from the Padma Purana which names the "Tamasa Sastras’, including Vaisesika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Purva-Mimamsa, Charvaka, and Buddhism. It is a fact that Sankara also argued against many of these. So it is not my imagination to say that not only Samkhya, but Buddhism and others were suppressed. I cannot, however, justify a view that this was the result of an invading culture that dominated a pre-existing culture.[/QUOTE]

These were insertions into the padma purana by later sectarian Vaishnavas. This section of the padma purana also disparages the Mayavada of Shankaracharya and vairous sects of Shaivism like pashupata and kapalikas, so it can’t be said that this was against non-Hindu sects. In the prime of the “debate culture” in medieval times, it was common for various sect to start maligning each other, even by making alterations in scriptures. There are also alterations in scriptures which call Madhvacharya a demon.


#84

Swami Vivekananda was a modern Indian. He got a standard English university education and was very interested in religion and the question of god. He tried many different groups, including the Brahmo Samaj, before he found Swami Ramakrishna. It is from Ramakrishna he learned Vedanta and every other Hindu philosophy. He was dubbed ‘Vivekananda’ because he was exceptionally well learned in Hinduism. His knowledge of Hinduism is par excellence, and this is easy to see for anybody who reads his complete works(available online) He is widely considered the most important Hindu and Indian of the 20th century, alongside Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo.

Yes, they they did take a modern approach to Hinduism and bought reforms, that is called being progressive and keeping up with the challenges of modern times. If you see reforms as something wrong, then you clearly are a very regressive Hindu.

And by the way your interpretation of Hinduism is also influenced by modernist thinkers - Hindu nationalism was influenced by German and Italian fascism. The early Hindu nationalists even undertook trips to meet Hitler to seek inspiration in how to forumulate their nationalist Hinduism.

You create an unnecessary division between vedas and puranas. The Chandogya Upanishad, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and the Atharvaveda all mention the Itihasa and Purana as the fifth veda. Shankaracharya also had great respect for the puranas and tantras. Also, I am not a follower of merely “puranic” Hinduism as you call it. I have been initiated into the vedic tradition since I was eight years old. You are basically an outsider to this tradition of the vedas.

The mention of the Puranas does not mean the Puranas that you are reading today. It is a well known fact that the Puranas have been edited continuously up until the modern age, so whatever you see in the Puranas today is not the same as the puranas that existed in the times the Chandogya and Brihadarankaya.

I am certainly an outsider to your nationalist brand of Hinduism - geographical Hinduism. I am not a born Indian national and nor am I born Hindu. However, I am not outsider to the original Santana dharama - universal Hiinduism - based on the eternal laws and principles and the actual true form of Hinduism. There is no geographical exclusion in this Hinduism, rather all of humanity is embraced as one family: vasudeva kutumbukum. In the Gita Krishna talks about manava dharma, not Indian dharma. Dharma applies to all. It is not an exclusively Indian thing.

Your problem is you fail to see the wider humanity and that is why I think you fail as a Hindu, because the Vedic Risis did not have this narrow-minded, nationalistic and myopic vision of the world that you do.


#85

An irony we will note here is just how fundamentally at odds Sarva’s nationalist geographical brand of Hinduism is to the original Hinduism of the Vedas:

O citizens of the world
Live in harmony and concord
Be organized and co-operative
Speak with one voice
And make your resolutions with one mind
As our ancient saints and seers
Leader and preceptors
Have performed their duties righteously
Similarly, may you not falter to exercise
your duties
(Rig 10.191.2)

Another irony is more than 5000 years ago the sages of India were globalists and humanists - and Sarva living in a 21st century globalized world is a nationalist. Pitiful.

I am so glad I did not fall into the nationalist trap that many young Hindus are falling into today. Hindu nationalism is a big joke - and it is a joke on the Vedic sages of India.


#86

What is really ironic here is that I find you not capable of self criticism at all. Not only that, you’ve taken this false impression of me that you’ve created, and now you’re using it to bash Sarva. You need to practice what you preach. Calm your mind allow yourself to see things as they really are, free of your negative emotions. Practice truthfulness and non-harming.


#87

The history of geographical Hinduism is only 100 years old:

Wiki:

Savarkar was one of the first in the twentieth century to attempt a definitive description of the term ‘Hindu’ in terms of what he called Hindutva meaning Hinduness.[46] The coinage of the term ‘Hindutva’ was an attempt by Savarkar who was an atheist and a rationalist, to de-link it from any religious connotations that had become attached to it. He defined the word Hindu as: “He who considers India as both his Fatherland and Holyland”. He thus defined Hindutva (“Hindu-ness”) or Hindu as different from Hinduism.[46] This definition kept the Abrahamic religions (Christianity and Islam) outside its ambit and considered only native religious denominations as Hindu.[47]
This distinction was emphasized on the basis of territorial loyalty rather than on the religious practices. In this book that was written in the backdrop of the Khilafat Movement and the subsequent Malabar Rebellion, Savarkar wrote “Their (Muslims’ and Christians’) holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and Godmen, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their names and their outlook smack of foreign origin. Their love is divided”.[46]
Savarkar, also defined the concept of Hindu Rashtra (translated as “Hindu polity”).[48] The concept of Hindu Polity called for the protection of Hindu people and their culture and emphasized that political and economic systems should be based on native thought rather than on the concepts borrowed from the West.


There were two kinds of nationalism that emerged in India in the modern age: Geographical Hinduism by the nationalists who were strongly inspired by Western fascism and Spiritual Hinduism, by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Gandhi who wanted to build an Indian nation based on the spirituality of Hinduism, but at the same time did not limit this only to India, but spread it across the world. They want to spiritualize the whole world - true to the vision of the Vedic sages, “Make the whole world Aryan”


#88

They want to spiritualize the whole world - true to the vision of the Vedic sages, “Make the whole world Aryan”

And they succeeded to a massive extent. Today, we are living in a world where karma, reincarnation, yoga, meditation, enlightenment are household words. Words like asana, pranayama, yama and niyamas, samadhi, siddhis, patanjali, Vedanta are known by millions of non-Indians across the world.

Today, this Hinduism has percolated into every major department of academia - physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, social sciences, business management. There is not a single area Hinduism has not impacted indirectly or directly.

The result is we are moving into a whole new age - a Vedic age - a spiritual world - a global village of humans where the most important values are spiritual development, protecting the ecosystems, human rights, civil rights, animal rights, womens rights and scientific and technological development.

How truly selfish, narrow minded and idiotic are these nationalist Hindus who are pissed off that it is not called “Hinduism” that the modern nation state of India is not given any special privilege or status. No, it is not called Hinduism, because even the Vedic sages did not call it Hinduism. There is no reason to give the modern nation of India any special privilege or status, because Indians are doing f*ck all to bring about this Vedic spiritual age, all of the research is coming from the West. The true followers of Santana dharama today are Western people. This is why I met more and more Western people who are interested in spirituality, whereas Indian people are interested in outdated traditions and outdated customs, oh and capitalism.


#89

Aurobindo sums it up the best:

“But what is the Hindu religion ? What is this religion which we call Sanatan, eternal ? It is the Hindu religion only because the Hindu nation has kept it, because in this Peninsula it grew up in the seclusion of the sea and the Himalayas, because in this sacred and ancient land it was given as a charge to the Aryan race to preserve through the ages.
But it is not circumscribed by the confines of a single country, it does not belong peculiarly and for ever to a bounded part of the world. That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion, because it is the universal religion which embraces all others. If a religion is not universal, it cannot be eternal. A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose. This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy.”


#90

If one no longer wishes to be a Hindu, this is fine, but why not move on?


#91

I have moved on :smiley:


#92


#93

Surya Deva,

I am obviously a newbie, not just here, but to Vedic history/culture/terminology/ philosophy/ theology, and your knowledge of Vedic scripture is VAST and I have very much appreciated reading your posts. Seriously, I going to cut and paste all of this into a text doc for later reading.

Thank you.

Also, I understand your original dilemma; I practiced Soto Zen for several years and at one point I started going to a Sangha with a reputable teacher. However, I started noticing how very neurotic everyone still seemed to be, despite thousands of hour of practice.

For example, I noticed how greedily even the senior members rushed to get into line for interviews with the roshi. I thought to myself “Is this what I’m working towards?”. This is just a small example of the disillusionment that I imagine you felt in India. (I have since left Zen for totally different reasons– another post altogether–but I still read Zen texts regularly.)

All that said, a few thoughts about your trip to India; I’ve never had the good luck to go there yet, but I know from other people the poverty is intense. These people have to fight for very existence. A rich Westerner coming to look for a guru must be like a golden opportunity. All the Vedic knowledge in the world won’t change that contrast… that clash of worlds.

Secondly, have you thought perhaps you were cosmically INTENDED to have these series of negative experiences? If that’s true, then of course, that would be for you to figure out why.

Finally, even if you are 100% correct and Hinduism has devolved into a largely nationalistic/opportunistic/spiritually devolved practice, then that’s what it is. That’s what it MUST be, right now. Much of your criticisms for Hinduism made me think of the criticisms I have for ALL religious institutions, which is a shame, because I would be more than happy join a (almost any) religious community if I thought they were on the right path.

But that’s like asking for the perfect mate in marriage– it doesn’t exist. “They”, “out there” aren’t the problem– one’s own thinking is the true source of the rupture.

Whether one believes the universe is dualistic, or non-dualistic is ultimately just a detail.

All forms of Hinduism– indeed all religions– are flawed. So the question is ultimately a personal one; Do you accept Hinduism with all it’s contradictions and insanity, or would you rather do the Krishnamurti thing and go solo(?) Either path is absolutely valid. But I think it’s important to ask yourself WHY you chose this, or that path.


#94

[QUOTE=ejlorge;72842]
I am obviously a newbie, not just here, but to Vedic history/culture/terminology/ philosophy/ theology, and your knowledge of Vedic scripture is VAST and I have very much appreciated reading your posts. Seriously, I going to cut and paste all of this into a text doc for later reading.

Thank you.

[/QUOTE]

Don’t do that, since you are a newbie, maybe you do not see all the distortions Surya Deva has made in his posts. It is better for you to read a few books, instead of filling your head with the nonsense he has posted.


#95

Namaste Ejlorge,

I think your disillusionment with Zen is similar to my disillusionment with Hinduism, perhaps similar to Krishnamurti’s disillusionment with Theosophy. In fact you will find all genuine spiritual seekers in the past have been disillusioned with the organized religions that existed in their times - Buddha, Socrates, Jesus Christ to name a few. That is because spirituality is something very different from religion. Spirituality is about you and your personal development; Religion is about society, ritual and mythology.

Now Hinduism is a religion that is not really a religion as much as it is spirituality. As you may have seen in my earlier posts the notion of a religion of Hinduism is a modern idea that was created and consolidated by the British. The notion of Hinduism as a geographical thing is an even more recent idea created by Hindu nationalist thinkers in the early 20th century.

To really understand what Hinduism is one must interrogate its history and philosophy and one will find that Hinduism is no religion at all, it is a more a set of general principles, an attitude and a mindset which characterize what we today would call spiritual seekers. Hinduism is something which was founded by spiritual seekers, as opposed to a single prophet or spiritual leader or some religious authority. The oldest texts of Hinduism the Vedas is a collection of poems, writings, personal discoveries of hundreds of different spiritual seekers(risis and sages) The compilation that we know as the Vedas, was the result of these hundreds of different spiritual seekers from across the region of India coming together in assembled and democratically discussing spirituality, sharing their insights, observations, and personal discoveries and finally bringing them together to form what we call the Vedas.

The Vedas contain as we saw in my earlier posts in this thread just general principles and attitudes about spirituality: Some of the main themes are

  1. Knowledge: To know the universe. To grow in wisdom. To penetrate deep into nature to reveal its wonders. To know oneself. To constantly sharpen one intellect, to discern the truth. To meditate, to contemplate, to ponder.

Enhance thy discrimnative power of intellect
And instill the spirit of invincible valour
in thy body
(Yajur 4.11)

He who knows the first vital string
binding all things formed in shape, colour and words
Knows only the physical form of the universe, and knows
very little
But he who goes deeper and perceives the string, the thin
web binding the universe with cords of unity
Knows the ultimate reality
(Atharva 10.8.3)

  1. Ecology: To consider nature, and all her eco-systems to be sacred. To protect the ecosystems and not exploit them.

There are literally thousands of hymns revering nature in the Vedas. Everything about nature is considered sacred; animals, trees and plants, the sun, wind, air, thunder and lightening, sky, dawn. Nature is treated with very deep reverence. The early Vedic religion strongly worshiped nature.

  1. Community: To unite as humanity. To work for the benefit of all. To be charitable. Equality.

O man, work with vigour and vitality
Drive away the demons of poverty and disease.
May your honest earnings support the people,
Engaged in benevolent deeds
For the welfare of society
(Atharva 6.81.1)

Those who give charity
And look after the welfare of others
Are ever happy
(Sama 285)

May you, o man!
Realise the virtues of self-reliance
And self-sacrifice
(Sama 358)

  1. Personal development: To overcome ones base nature by transmutation or purification of one into a noble human being.

Cast of anger from your hearts
Like an arrow from the bow,
So that you may again be friends
And live together in harmony
(Atharva 4.36.2)

Let not the wicked impulses defile our
character; let them die a natural death
(Rig 1.38.6)

Destroy the voracious instinct of greed
For verily, it is a wolf!
(Rig 6.51.4)

Cultivate the strength of will power
To conquer the passionate urges of
the sense organs
(Rig 5.31.3)

In modern language we would call this vision of the Vedic sages scientific, spiritual, humanitarian, egalitarian, progressive, ecological and ethical. That is because the attitudes and mindset of the modern scientific age is very much aligned with the spirit of the Vedas(hence why the Vedic culture and philosophy has become so relevant today) So just by identifying as a modern scientific person we bring ourselves inline with the original Hinduism - the eternal religion or way that the first spiritual seekers on this planet discovered.

The foundation that the Vedic risis had laid down in India sprung forth the glorious Indian civilization that history testifies to: Great philosophers, grammarians, scientists, politicians, social activists, poets, writers. Indian civilization was glorious from 5000BCE to 1AD - but we can also chart a decline from the period of 2000BCE to 1AD. We see this in archaeological surveys that the Indus valley civilization declined suddenly and strongly in 2000BCE to 1000BCE. It is during this period we see the rise of a lot of reformist groups in India like the Jains, the Buddhists and the yogis. By the time of the Gupta empire and the ushering in of the Puranic age we see total degradation, degeneration into superstition, rituals, mythology and massive fragmentation. Not long after this, is India falling prey to invasions from outsiders.

The Puranas are total garbage and nonsense and are representative of the decline of the Indian civilisation. Hindus who swear by them are also garbage and nonsense. The Puranas are full of fairy tales, superstitious rituals, and dogmas like the scripture of any religion. Unfortunately, Hinduism of today is more Puranic than it is Vedic. That is why Hindus are such a degenerate people today and such low self-esteem. These are a people who have fallen very badly.

This is why there is no need for you to be a part of this religion called Hinduism today. It is a lost cause and rather than enlightening you, it will stupefy you. However, the spirituality of Hinduism has spread across the world and transformed our modern society. What we call ‘global spirituality’ today is Vedic Hinduism. It is because of spiritual Hindus like Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Yogananda, Ramana Maharishi, Paapaji that this global spirituality has formed today. So therefore identify yourself with the real Hinduism of the Vedic sages by becoming a part of the global spirituality today. The scientists, philosophers, psychologists and social activists today are the real Hindus, not the Indians worshiping Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Durga, Hanuman, Ganesha.


#96

Surya Deva is completely ignorant of the vedas and puranas, he has studied neither in Sanskrit and has only read reformist literature and English translations.

The Puranas are total garbage and nonsense and are representative of the decline of the Indian civilisation. Hindus who swear by them are also garbage and nonsense. The Puranas are full of fairy tales, superstitious rituals, and dogmas like the scripture of any religion. Unfortunately, Hinduism of today is more Puranic than it is Vedic. That is why Hindus are such a degenerate people today and such low self-esteem. These are a people who have fallen very badly.

Anyone who has studied the vedas and puranas knows that Surya Deva is severely misrepresenting the scriptures here and simply parroting reformists like Dayananda. Obviously, Surya Deva has never read the vedic accounts of Ashvamedha Yajna in the vedas where the queen copulates with the sacrified horse. To downplay the puranas in favour of a romanticised account of a vedic age can only work on the ignorant who have studied veda nor purana.


#97

Yes, the Vedanta road– Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Yogananda, Ramana Maharishi– is the one I have been leaning down. Especially Vivekananda, since this school seems like a good balance between Hatha Yoga/Vedas, Physical/Spiritual.

I still have a certain respect for the Bhakti tradition of devotion (to Rama, Krishna, Hanuman etc), but it isn’t for me. (Actually, if I were to choose the path of undying devotion to God, it would be in Shikism, which I find to be very enlightened.)

However, my situation for now is that I live in France (wife is French) and I’m cut off from any Yogic communities – English speaking or otherwise. So I’m on my own… which could be a good thing…who knows.


#98

More on Vivekanda’s initiation into monkhood. He was not a vedantin, he abusively called himself the representive of the oldest order of monkhood established by Shankaracharya at the parlement of religions in the USA. In fact, he was never intiated into any sampradaya.

.[I]… subtle things were happening, knitting the brothers together. It all
found expression one night before a huge Dhuni (sacred fire) in the
compound … Meditation lasted a long time. When a break was made
Narendra began to tell the story of Jesus, beginning with the mystery of
his birth through his death and resurrection. Through his eloquence,
the brother-disciples could catch something of the apostolic fervour
that had impelled Paul to spread the Christian gospel far and wide in
the face of adversities. Narendra charged them to become Christs
themselves, and so aid in the redemption of the world; to realize God
and to deny themselves as Jesus had done. Standing there before the
sacred fire, their faces lit up by the flames, the crackling of the wood
the sole disturbing sound, they took the vows of renunciation before
God and one another. The very air was vibrant with their ecstatic
fervour. Strangely, the monks discovered afterwards that all this had
happened on Christmas-eve! (His Eastern and Western Disciples 2000,
Vol. I.: 196).29[/I]

On this forum Surya Deva is also abusively calling himself a representive of the Jnana marga of Vedanta while he has no association with this path whatsoever.


#99

If one does a basic search for scriptures of Hinduism one will discover that in Hinduism there is a system of classification on authoritativeness of scripture. This classification broadly defined all texts found in Hinduism under two categories: Sruti( divine revelation) and Smriti(human authored) The only texts in the category of Sruti are the Vedas. All other texts go in the category of Smriti.

The Puranas are scriptures authored by common people. They contain made up stories, myths, legends, secetarian dogmas and are directed at the masses. They are divided into the sects they belong to: Vaishnavism, Shiavism, Shaktism. One can see the childish rivalries between the Puranas of various sects as they denigrate the gods of other sects e.g. The Vaishnavist Puranas portray Shiva as inferior to Vishnu. The Puranas also contain a lot of superstition and unscientific rubbish, enough to rival the Bible or the Quran. The Puranas are basically religion of the common people. The common people needs gods and goddesses, heavens and hells, reward and punishment, legends and myths to give their life some meaning.

Learned Hindus do not give the Puranas anymore importance than say fairytales. Swami Vivekananda saw them as fairy tales. Swami Dayananda Saraswati saw them as rubbish or garbage that we need to dispose of.


#100

[QUOTE=Sarvamaṅgalamaṅgalā;72850]

Anyone who has studied the vedas and puranas knows that Surya Deva is severely misrepresenting the scriptures here and simply parroting reformists like Dayananda…[/QUOTE]

I really don’t believe it’s a question of Either/Or, but of ones own psychological needs. Neither Reformation-ism, nor Traditionalism are correct in and of themselves. I respect the stripped-down, bare bones version of any tradition as much as I respect the mythology and ritual that give a tradition its’ richness.

That would be a bit like saying; “Who was a better composer, Wagner or Stravinsky?” …Do I have to choose?