December 16 (New Thread)
Important video: My debate/panel with Hindu American youth on identi
This is an important video to watch. I am glad the lady representing Brahma Kumaris preached the standard "sameness" ....
"... 1.) The concepts of Brahmakumari are the core of "vyashti sadhana". Sadhana done for personal spiritual upliftment.
2.) Mr. Malhotra's form of sadhana currently is "samashti sadhana". Sadhana done for society at large.
3.) One cannot do samashti sadhana if one is weak in vyashti sadhana. ...
Even Mr. Malhotra explains to the BK lady that what she is talking about is general vyashti sadhana (who am I, peace etc) but the need of the hour is to fight adharma through samashti sadhana. Hindus are ignorant about their own identity thus are confused about the term sadhana itself. Do NOT be egoistic but be firm."
"I have no problem with such organizations that pursue self-realization of the individual through strictly the inner journey, what I call adhyatma-vidya. In fact I have great respect for the true sannyasi.
But then why do many of them send representatives to speak at a panel on youth identity? Why do such gurus and their followers go to educate students and householders in a manner that is inappropriate for those stages of life. Why are they confused in their own minds about the difference between dharma for different varnas and different ashramas. They live (or claim to live) as sannyasins (stage of life) and brahmins (varna). But 99% of those they teach are not in this category. So its medicine meant for themselves as individuals which they are distributing to the general public.
I ask many of them embarrassing questions like: Why are you raising funds for your organization, working so hard to expand more centers and get more followers, etc. if your pursuit is for your own self realization?
My point is that there is massive hypocrisy. What is lived is not what is being taught in most cases. The teaching is like an iPod reciting mechanically the words that create some lofty impression. The harm caused is that this confuses the general public who revere such guru movements as their supreme authority. Notice how confused the students start out in the panel. Their parents and most lay Hindus are likewise. Where did this come from, and who is accountable for this?
The buck stops at the doorstep of the gurus. They need to be re-educated for modern times."
"One cannot be both a Dharma guru and a moksha guru. They are incompatible. One requires complete renunciation and the other renunciation of selfishness only. This is probably why Sanyasis were separated from Grahastas. Sanayasis are not meant to talk/advise about life they have not experienced. As Prof Kundan in Florida discussion mentioned, we need to develop a dharmic ego/identity (integration of ego/soul) before striving for Moksha or go straight to mountains and not interfere with dharma process. I have two gurus. A 'Mokha Guru' (self- realized?) who initiated me with a 'Moksha mantra" which I chant only during my meditation. I have a dhrama guru or a mentor. I chant 'Dharma mantra' such as 'love, courage,patience etc...' most of the free time to create a stable ego and motivate me in dharma. .."
"In my limited experience, I have found that jivanmuktas do not ask one to give up one's dharma in life. In fact they make one stronger to deal with life. It is wrong to think that moksha and dharma are at loggerheads. Nobody is going to attain any moksha by giving up his/her commitments and responsibilities in life. The sadhus do renounce married life among other things. But I have seen them delve into the problems of householders and guide them in their worldly destinies. As Rajivji pointed out very eloquently in one of his videos (the one with the Brahmakumari), most of us are not going to attain moksha in the near future and it is our duty to protect Hindu dharma so that it exists to help us in our future lives!.."
Ashay has a detailed post that Rajiv notes as important and responds to:
"This debate is interesting because it gets at the core of what is called neo-Hinduism. I am also alluding here to the recent post where Rajiv mentioned that the attacks on BD by Rambachan and so on, parallel the attacks on Vivekananda. I approach this issue with mixed feelings for while I do support Rajiv's cause, I think Vivekananda as the architect of neo-Hinduism is atleast
partially responsible for the confusion caused by the 'guru movements'. Let me explain how.
1. I think the BK lady articulated what has now become the grand narrative of modern Hinduism. Its origin lies in the so-called Schopenhauerian ethic which has influenced many Vedantic scholars, including Vivekananda. In the 'Philosophy
of the Upanisads', Deussen, one of Schopenhauer's disciples, remarks along these lines: "The Bible teaches that we must love our neighbour. But why should we? Because, the Upanisads say, your neighbour is your own self."...
2. This has now become also the position of Vedanta. The Christian critique of Vedanta is that it is too selfish in that one strives for one's own self-realization and does not care about the world. Intellectuals such as Vivekananda used the Schopenhauerian ethic to address this problem. To be Brahman means to realize that everything including oneself is Brahman and thus to serve the world as Brahman. From the former realization proceeds the latter action. What the BK lady said and what thakare_parvata has elaborated is the same thing. This has unfortunately become the modern self-understanding of Hinduism....
3. Based on my reading of Vivekananda's speeches, I think that he not only endorsed but was probably one of the authors of this narrative. Furthermore, he (or his followers) have wrongly claimed this view to be that of Sankara which I
have attempted to differentiate below. I do realize that many people on this forum have the utmost reverence for Vivekananda and so I would like to clarify that my intention is neither to give offence nor to show disrespect. Neither is
my distinction between Vivekananda and Sankara's ideas based on the same reason as Rambachan's who takes issue with Vivekananda's privileging of mystical experience over scriptural authority...
4. I completely agree with and appreciate Rajiv's efforts to formulate a distinctive laukika Hindu identity instead of this warm and fuzzy spiritualism that dominates Hindu thought today. In this endeavour it would be useful to understand how Sankara's views differ from Vivekananda's. In the Adhyasa-bhashya, Sankara has distinguished between pramana-prameya-vyavahara which is the pre-reflective fight-or-flight kind of responses common to all living creatures including humans, and a reflective, identity-based sastriya-vyavahara which is specific to humans...
5. Of course, Sankara was categorical that jnana is superior to karma and moksa is realized only through jnana. Sastriya-vyavahara, based as it is on worldly identities, is also a form of avidya but that does not mean, as Arjuna found out
in the Gita, that everyone is eligible for jnana. Every living being automatically undertakes the path of karma but only a privileged few can tread the path of jnana. Sankara explains in the Gita-bhasya that the pravrtti-dharma assigned to varnas and asramas is relatively inferior and meant for worldly and
heavenly prosperity only, but when it is selflessly performed, it leads to sattva-shuddhi. This sattva-shuddhi makes one eligible for nivrtti dharma, i.e., the path of jnana leading to moksa. This serial ordering of pravrtti and nivrtti
is relevant even today, only the pravrtti-dharma that addressed varna and asrama identities in the traditional world needs reinterpretation and readjustment to address a Hindu identity for the modern world. I regard the BD as part of the sastric efforts to construct an identity relevant for our times.
6. On the other hand, Vivekananda, and many other modern Hindu intellectuals including the BK lady, see nivritti as the basis for an ethical pravrtti. This is following the Christian model where God's will is seen as the basis of worldly ethics. All that the modern Hindus did was to replace God's will with
nivrtti and claimed, following Deussen and such-like, that it is a more appropriate basis for morality and therefore superior to Western religions. But this has only Christianized us and made us more susceptible to digestion. In Sankara's model this order is reversed. Pravrtti has its basis in the sastras and not in nivrtti. In our case that means we must first have a sastric, i.e., a worldly understanding of a Hindu identity that is reflective and scholarly, and selflessly profess this meaning in everyday life. This way we attain sattva-shuddhi and then, and only then, do we become eligible to make the idealistic claim that Hindu identity is only another form of ignorance and move
beyond it to realize ourselves as the soul or whatever else.
7. Just as colonialism encouraged certain interpretations of varna/jati, so did it encourage an understanding of religion as selfless service to humanity based on a non-denominational, divine self-realization, and a corresponding disregard towards the intellectual interpretation of tradition. Vivekananda was as much a victim of this shift for he dismissed, as did Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the argumentative aspect of Vedanta as 'intellectual gymnastics'. Such thinking has
caused great harm to the tradition and has produced the current crop of anti-intellectual gurus and matas. But there is nothing hypocritical about them performing the activities Rajiv mentions. When you take their model of religion into consideration, as explained above, it makes perfect sense. So my answer to Rajiv's question regaring the current confusion among Hindus, 'where did this come from, and who is accountable for this?' would be not the gurus but this
anti-intellectual paradigm that they follow....
First I agree with Ashay that SV co-founded modern Hinduism, which its critics call neo-Hinduism. This had many good and bad things in it. Sameness was one of its curses that we live with today. This was due to SV and others having difference anxiety from below. But it also did many good things - unifying various diverse schools, modernizing it in line with new science and other developments, which is not anything wrong and our tradition calls for this evolution. ...NOTE; BD unifies dharmas without also including Abrahamic religions in the same fold. This is where the pioneers failed last time around. In unifying Hinduism the arguments became too generic and could not differentiate other religions. If you get this point, you will appreciate why the BD project is so challenging to do and why BD can make a big difference if it is understood: HOW TO SHOW UNITY OF DHARMA IN A MANNER SUCH THAT IT SHOWS DIFFERENCE WITH ABRAHAMIC FAITHS. But there is a SECOND truth that I am concerned about. Rambachan is a member of a school of social constructivism that is basically undermining Hinduism in total. Not Rambachan himself is not rejecting Hinduism in total, but those who use the arguments and base established by this school end up claiming that:
Hinduism = Hindu Nationalism = Fascism = Exploitation of minorities, dalits, etc. I am in the middle of writing a short book arguing against this school that was started by western Indologists and now is very popular amongst many Indians. These two truths correspond to two camps and we must fight both.
"By serial ordering, what you are saying is that good dharmic living leads to antah-karan-suddhi. This in turn facilitates jnana. You contrasted this to neo-Hindu idea of jnana leading to selfless service and see that as undermining tradition. You called it Schopenhauerian ethic, suggesting that such ethical thought was alien to Indians.
... welcome others who have something concrete to offer during the next 30 days to contact me offline. In particular I need those well versed in Vedanta literature by Shankara as well as his critics..."