RMF Summary: Week of January 23 - 29, 2012

January 26
Invading the Sacred
Ganesh shares: Outlook India had published this article on "Invading the Sacred" in their Jun29, 2007 edition.
This is an article by Sri Rajiv Malhotra titled "Was the US Senate Attack on Hinduism an isolated Instance?"

January 26

What would a 'modern person' look like after 'Dharmic Universalism'
JCP shares:

"...You have skillfully positioned "Dharm" to represent Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism & Sikhism, the latter three of which have already acquired the status of "minorities" in the Indian polity, if not in the Indian Constitution, which has no reference to the term "minority". That leaves only Hinduism in the word "Dharm" for all practical political & social purposes. The rubric of "dharmic traditions" now seems to be more appropriate & sufficiently nebulous for the purpose of including all the above four paths emerging out of Hinduism as well as to take away the pointing arrow from Hinduism, for the purposes of debates in inter-faith dialogues. Your concluding remark that Gandhi's example is the only hope for a meaningful turn around in the global context, is most apt & projects a ray of hope for the future. This is however, easier said than done. The strategy of how Gandhi's example can be followed as a way for a worldwide spiritual, intellectual & social movement, perhaps needs to be worked upon. With your vision, you could help in shaping the outlines of such a movement, drawing upon right-minded people from all over the world.

Our mission is "Dharmic Universalism" is what you had averred in one of your mails. I have just put some thoughts together to picture what an individual would be doing in such a world as follows:-
(i) Each person would intellectually believe in "being different", according to ones own world view of choice, inclining towards one of these - Western or Chinese or Islamic or Dharmic Universalism.
(ii) Emotionally, each person would be devoted to ones own passions &compassion, within ethically & socially acceptable restraints in conformity with ones own world view.
(iii) Action-wise, each person would work for ones own (& perhaps, ones family's) physical, mental & spiritual capacity development to full potential, in conformity with ones own world view, to enable creative thinking, giving rise to sustainable action leading to sustainable regenerative development.
(iv) At the foot-slogging level, each person would choose a path believing in "being different" according to ones own inclinations, capacities & capabilities & respecting the path chosen by every other person."

Nalini responds:
"... i would still hesitate to club the practised faiths all together, for their substance and essence in an organized frame soon degenerate into a fossilized mass that does not evolve along with human thought and experience. Can I continue to belong to an evolving Humanism unfettered by the prescriptions of any one dictum or dogma. At least I can continue to be my own kind of a Hindu, while you can be yours. i would still cherish my childish experience of Jesus the savior, in my catholic schooling, as i cherish the love trust and comraderie of the Sunni family in the border lands of Iran. The Babaji
of my Sikh Grand Mother, and the Arya Samajic traditions of my parental home. Not to forget the aggressive Atheism of my Husband and the gentle persuasion ....

Western Universalism reigned for a while linked as it was to Greek thought and supported by a positivist methodology. Eastern experience has been intuitive and inner directed, whereas the western was sensory, empirical and outward. The
Dualism plays itself out to coalesce into one unity, in every sphere. Let us patiently wait for that to happen."

Rajiv comment: I see JCP performing an important role in the churning process (the motif on the cover of BD of the churning of the ocean of creativity). Nalini appreciates her own churning sparked by the churning of many persons she names above. By the same token, I dont think we need to be afraid to churn further ourselves. We are endowed with the capacity to do so, unlike in history centric systems where only history can give us access to the truth.

While at the surface level, all the above named systems are ok to practice simultaneously within oneself, upon further churning by her, my prediction is that Nalini will appreciate that there are indeed contradictions amongst them, and that its better at some stage to deal with these. That is the stage at which the process starts where BD begins - appreciating the need to understand differences rather than avoiding them in the name of harmony."

Hitanshu suggests:
"The only solution I see in order to prevent digestion is to inculcate in Hinduism a conversion right. That is to say if some westerner wants to perform yoga then the yoga teacher asks them to denounce christ as a false god just the
missionaries do when the convert tribal hindus. This could be done by making the christian break christ statue or step on pictures of christ. But then, we wont be much different from them, right. On the other hand we should not forget that only poison can cure poison."

Rajiv comment: I disagree. This crude approach will backfire with the majority and will appeal only to an extreme on the margins. It will cause people to reject dharma and put it in the same image as Islam in many circles.

Instead, I propose the following steps:

1) Teach in yoga class the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (and then Kapil's Samkhya foundation for advanced students), in which karma is emphasized. And karma is solidly linked with reincarnation.

2) Once karma-reincarnation are established as inseparable from yoga, the next step is to use chapter 2 of BD to contrast history centrism with adhyatma vidya.

3) Once history centrism is rejected, Nicene Creed gets thrown out the window.

I believe that many if not most Judeo-Christians who go to yoga (if taught properly) would be willing to come this far, which is quite a lot. I have tested it on many westerners in yoga over the years and even funded the teaching of Patanjali at such classes.

Its our gurus who gave it away without even trying this approach. Once the Nicene Creed and Jesus's historicity and exclusivity are removed (explained as blockages to advancement in yoga) THEN the student will undergo a cognitive shift with respect to Judeo-Christian affiliation."

January 28
Dharmic traditions: Vietnamese celebrate New Year at Hindu temple
Venkat shares: 
Vietnamese celebrate New Year at Hindu temple
Saibal Dasgupta, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.49PM IST

BEIJING: A flood of Vietnamese are flooding a Hindu temple in Ho Chi Minh City during the 7-day Tet festival that began last Friday, according to Indian residents of the city and local Vietnamese.

More than 50,000 people, almost all Buddhists, prayed at the Mariammam Temple through the day and the entire night during the Vietnamese New Year on Sunday. The flow continued through Tuesday with several thousand local people visiting each day.

"The local Vietnamese believe that worshiping at this temple during the New Year festival will bring good luck," Atul Kumar, a businessmen who has been in HCMC since the 1980s told TNN.

A visitor from India reported that people were observing both Hindu and Buddhist rituals to please the gods at the temple..."

January 28
Heisenberg/Schrodinger and Hindu/Buddhist complementarities....
Hemachandra shares: As I was reading BD, I was doing some background reading (esp regarding Heisenberg's cnxn with Vedanta) and I came across this interesting post: ...

January 29
Oprah may have read Being Different!
Perhaps celebrity US TV personality Oprah Winfrey read the BD chapter 4 on Chaos! (IThough it's more likely these words below are her own :). Either way, it's...

January 29
Why Krishna Historicity and Black color is critically pushed and pro
bvk shares: Please take your valuable 35 minutes to watch the  interesting video to watch  and contemplate on the questions below:   Many of Rajiv Malhotra's fears seem to be turning out to be ground reality faster than expected. ` Breaking India, Being Different'  are an outcome  of  tolerating  `Invading the Sacred', not just by icons, personalities but  also by LANGUAGE of the SACRED, called  `SAMSKRUTHAM'.

`Break Down in India' is much more serious issue that needs to be urgently addressed, in a much more serious way compared to `Invitation to Paryaya' deliberations....  
2.      Please  Watch carefully how the language of the video  speaking :    Krishna as (Supposed) Father of Jesus ; Holy Ghost is Paramatma'  could trigger more serious ` Ideas appealing'  to current ` Anglicized  Hindu communities ` interpreting Gita in the light of `Biblical model'..."

Krishna: History or Myth (with Portuguese subtitles) from Saraswati Films on Vimeo.

Srinivas responds:
"I think there are a lot of incorrect conclusions derived from the video here.

I agree that referring to Krishna, as the father of Jesus, while fine if argued metaphorically is at the same time, very dangerous according to what BD says. But the question to ask here is if those ISKON devotees were right, "according to Hindu dharma", in conceptualizing Jesus as the son of Krishna, the God? I think the answer lies in a concept called Ista devata and Swa-Dharma, both explained in detailed in BD as central ideas.

Dharma operates at 3 levels. One, Sanatana dharma being eternal truths from the Vedas and Upanishads. Two, Kala dharma or the one that changes wrt time like the smrithi. Third, Swa-dharma where you have the choice of choosing your Ishta devata. While Sanatana, Kala and Swa dharma could each be different, to be spiritually successful, each should support the other. I.E. Swa dharma should support Kala dharma and Kala dharma should support Sanatana dharma. Meaning Swa dharma needs to be sacrificed for the greater good of Kala dharma and similarly Kala dharma should align itself to Sanatana dharma.

The problem comes when someone's Swa dharma is imposed as Kala dharma or Sanatana dharma of others as is happening in the many examples sited in BD. Swa dharma is also something very personal between a Sadhaka and his Guru. This results in many dangers when shared with the public who are not aligned with this thought process. The sadhaka should also make a difference between one's Swa dharma and the right of everyone else to have their own Swa dharma, different from oneself. One has to be very careful about what aspects of one's behavior can be elevated to Kala dharma. And only apaurusheya can be elevated to Sanatana dharma.

Just because BD critiques history aspect of religions does not mean dharma traditions should not research into whether Mahabharata or Ramayana took place or not. I dont see a greater time and need for such research to happen in dharmic traditions. It is high time we encourage and support such work. None of this means dharma traditions become "history centric". The main thesis of BD is that in abrahamic religions, if history is taken away, does their belief and spirituality still have any meaning? I.E. if there was no original sin and if Jesus was not a historical figure would you still believe in Jesus' teaching? This is not ever the case in dharma or anywhere in this video...."


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