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Re: superstitions

In article <38ho73$ahh@ucunix.san.uc.edu>, Jaldhar Vyas <jvyas@ritz.mordor.com> writes:
|> On Sun, 23 Oct 1994, H. Krishna Susarla wrote:
|> > You are of course, referring to the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas. 
|> > Remember that these texts are primarily for people at lower levels of
|> > spiritual realization 
|> It is interesting that you are using an argument popularised by Vivekananda!
|> Certainly no orthodox teacher would ever make such a nastika suggestion.

Bhagavad Gita 2.45 : "The 4 Vedas are primarily concerned with fruitive
material activities. Try to transcend those." Real spiritual life
begins above the karma-kanda and is transcendental.

|> > than those who study the Gita and Upanishads.
|> The upanishads are part of the Veda.  The Gita is part of the Mahabharata 
|> which was written by Veda Vyas as the essence of the Vedas.

The Upanishads contatin the Vedas without the ritualistic, fruitive
baggage, so to speak. The Gita contains the precise meaning of all
Upanishads (this is also accepted by Sankara). So, naturally the
Upanishads & Gita (&also Puranas dedicated to Lord Vishnu) are
for those who are already transcending fruitive material

|> Whether you find something offensive or not is irrelevant.  The shastras 
|> declare that Bhakti is recommended for the people of the Kali yuga 
|> because they are ignorant and weak.

The Bhagavad Gita also says that it is only the intelligent
person who comes to realize that Krishna is the cause of
all causes. The Bhagavata states that the intelligent person
in Kali Yuga is the one who practices sankirtan
(undoubtedly part of bhakti).

Yes, people in Kali Yuga are less intelligent than in
previous ages. However, the intelligent people in Kali
Yuga practice bhakti; the ignorant ones try some other

|> > Nothing can be further from the truth! All of the great
|> > devotees of Krishna were bhaktas, not impersonalists. 
|> Which proves nothing.  It is possible to attain moksha without Krshna who 
|> is only one of the saguna forms of Brahman.

It is possible to gain liberation without Krishna. However
one can also fall down from the liberated position in the
brahmajyoti. One cannot keep a liberation position without
service to Lord Vishnu or Krishna.

Krishna is not just 1 saguna form of Brahman. He is the source
of the brahmajyoti (BG 14:27). He is the source of everything
(BG 11.37,10.8,etc.), and the worshippable deity of all the
brahmanas ("namo brahmana-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca") and even
of the demigods (In BG 11.52, he says that his 2 handed form is
aspired to be seen even by the demigods; throughout the Gita
he is called deva-deva)

In BG 10:12-13, Krishna is referred to as ``param brahma'', the
supreme absolute truth. Sometimes the soul \& all living entities
are thought of as ``brahma,'' but only Krishna is ``param brahma''

|> >If we are to interpret
|> > the scriptures literally, then we have to believe that God is personal. 
|> >This
|> > is a conclusion that is easily evident from reading Srimad Bhagavatam or
|> > Bhagavad Gita.
|> Or from the Vedas, or the Vedangas, or the Upavedas,  or the Mahabharata or 
|> the Ramayana or the Puranas or the Dharmashastras.  I do not deny that 
|> God can be personal.  The trouble is that while some shastras proclaim 
|> that Vishnu is supreme, others proclaim the glories of Shiva or Devi or 
|> Ganesh.  If the Personal aspect of God is all their is, some of the 
|> shastras contradict each other.  The Bhagavat is only one of 18 puranas.  
|> The Gita is only one small part of the Mahabharata.  One has to look at 
|> the whole picture rather than small pieces.

The Bhagavat is the greatest purana. This is the decision of
Veda Vyas himself, for he was not satisfied with his previous writings,
so Narada commanded him to write Bhagavatam.

Other deities are accepted as supreme only in the karma-kanda.

|> > In the Gita, Krishna very clearly tells Arjuna "Worship Me, Be completely
|> > absorbed in Me, and then you will reach my abode." (paraphrase, I don't have
|> > my Gita with me, but I can look up the exact verse later if you want) He 
|> > doesn't tell Arjuna that devotion will get him to merge into impersonal 
|> > Brahman. 
|> > 
|> That's because devotion won't get him to merge with the impersonal 
|> Brahman.  Only Jnana can do that.

Refer to atmarama verse. Jnana is not complete unless it turns
to Bhakti. I even heard a Sankara-type sannyasi saying that on
a taped commentary on Sankara's "Bhaja Govindam".

|> > Furthermore, the great sages like Narada Muni are all devotees engaged in
|> > transcendental loving service, or bhakti. Am I to believe that great
|> > personalities like Narada Muni are less intellectual or less learned in the
|> > shashtras? Come on. The conclusion that bhakti is the best is reached by
|> > all of the devotees, intelligent or otherwise. 
|> I did not suggest that all Bhaktas were ignorant and week.  I said Bhakti 
|> is neccessary for those who are ignorant and week.  For those who are not 
|> it is optional.

In Kali Yuga it is the only accepted process. In other ages people
live long enough to see their other processes eventually turn
to bhakti. In Kali Yuga we have to take the fast way out.

|> >Even Lord Krishna, the
|> > Supreme God confirms this in the Gita. Why would you want any other opinion
|> > than God's opinion?
|> > 
|> In Gita 12:4, he says that the path of those who are not bhaktas is 
|> much harder than bhakti.  He doesn't say it is impossible.

He also says that he personally comes to deliver his devotee from
the cycle of birth and death in 12.6 and 12.7. There is no such
guarantee of results in any other process.

Narada Bhakti-Sutra explicitly says that seekers of liberation
should only try the process of Bhakti.

|> > The Pandavas became renounced (maybe this makes them official
|> > sannyasins, i don't know) only because their only desire was to go to Krishna.
|> > It is confirmed in the Bhagavatam that they do indeed, go to Krishna's abode.
|> > The Bhagavatam does not say that they went to an impersonal God. So the
|> > impersonalist theory is not supported by Srimad Bhagavatam.
|> >   
|> > 
|> The mere fact that they went to Krishnas abode does not prove there is 
|> nothing beyond Krshnas abode.  Bhakti is good becaus it encourages people to 
|> persue Moksha.  But it is not the cause of Moksha.  Only jnana is.

There is nothing beyond Goloka Vrindavan, Krishna's eternal abode.
Refer, for example to the Brahma-Samhita. We have already discussed the
verse where Krishna says that he created the impersonal brahmajyoti.

|> > No, look back at the point I made about the word nirguna, which means 
|> > "without estimation of qualities" (having all unlimited qualities). 
|> Nirguna means nothing of the sort.  Look in any Sanskrt dictionary.

Without material qualities. Doesn't mean without qualities. Only
has transcendental qualities (something the impersonalists don't
believe in).

|> > Again, you have failed to understand the importance of my argument. Yes,
|> > vegetarian food can be eaten for sense enjoyment. This is why it should be
|> > offered first to Lord Krishna, thus making it prasadam. Despite the fact
|> > that eating prasadam is sense-enjoyment, no sin is incurred because the
|> > process of offering purifies the food (assuming you prepared it properly and
|> > offered only foods which Krishna will accept).
|> > 
|> And again you fail to understand my argument that this only applies to 
|> Vaishnavas and other people whose customs are vegetarian.  For Bengalis 
|> who offer their food to Durga before eating it, there is no sin either.

For those who follow the recommended process for meat-eating, there is
no great sin. They can only eat meat once a month on a new moon night
far from any village with an appropriate sacrifice and chanting of
mantras, such as "In your next life you will get a chance to kill me"
and others. They can also only eat certain animals. If they just cook
up some chicken and put it on the Durga altar before dinner, they are
not following proper ritual practice, so they are eating lumps of

|> > 
|> > According to Swami Prabhupada, meat eaters are supposed to offer their food
|> > to Kali. 
|> > This supposed to be a regulatory practice for people who are too
|> > ignorant to give up meat. 
|> Then he doesn't know what he is talking about.  There is no requirement 
|> that meat-eaters offer their food to Kali.  It just so happens that 
|> certain (not all) Kali Bhaktas eat meat.

There is no requirement, but it is just lumps of sin in food form
without appropriate Vedic ritual, an offering to Kali or some
other demigod who has offerings of meat. (In other words, nothing can
require you to be sinless or to practice the Vedas).

|> > Krishna would never accept such an offering. And
|> > the conclusion of the Gita is that Krishna is the Supreme God. 
|> > 
|> And the conclusion of the Chandi Patha of the Markandeya Purana (also 
|> written by Veda Vyas.) is that Durga Mata is the supreme God.

The conclusion of the Bhagavatam is that the Bhagavatam is the supreme
Purana, and that speaks of nothing other than Lord Krishna in his
various forms.

|> > Nowhere in the Vedic literature does it
|> > say that meat-eating is sinful for one ethnic group and not another. 
|> Look at the Bhakshabhakshya Prakarana of the Yajnavalkya Smrti.  It 
|> doesn't condemn meat-eating for Grhasthas.  The Mitakshara on this 
|> Prakarana says exactly what I said.  Whether it is forbidden or not 
|> depends on caste and region.

The Manu-Samhita, the code of law actually used, explicitly forbids
meat-eating outside of the ritualistic process. Anyone who fattens
up the animal, slaughters the animal, cooks the animal, pays for
the corpse, or eats it, partakes of the sin.

|> > Most people in this age are irreligious, and thus
|> > if you see meat-eating, it should be understood that this is part of the
|> > aformentioned moral degeneration. 
|> But the Bengalis in question eat meat after offering it to Durga.  This 
|> is not irreligiousity unless you consider the worship of Durga to be 
|> irreligious.  Do you?

Since they don't follow the proper process for offering to Durga,
they are being irreligious. Worship of Durga is by definition religious,
but it is not the best worship (refer to BG 9:23, 9:25, etc.)

|> -- Jaldhar

-- Vijay

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