Why don’t you follow the Celtic religion?

Picture of neo-druids in their robes at Stonehenge

Neo-druids at Stonehenge

Lalitaditua, asked me in a comment “why don’t I follow the Celtic religion?” It is clear from his comments and his blog articles that he does not like Westerners following  Sanatana Dharma, which he sees as “turning their backs on their own religion and culture”. At the time I gave the quick response that I am on the path of Shiva, and know that this is the path I am meant to be on. I will expand on this a little more, because in a way I feel that I am following the tradition of my ancestors.

The Swastika Stone on Ilkley Moor

As I wrote previously, there are sites in England that I feel are sacred, places that were venerated by our ancestors. At these places I can feel the Shakti, the holy power. I feel a connection with the line of people who worshiped there for many thousands of years. The short time that they have been left, since the Christianisation of England feels like the blink of an eye. This alignment of Hinduism with the pre-Christian religions worldwide is recognised by David Frawley, who writes in “How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma“:

While I am not specifically doing Celtic practices I have added a Celtic slant on my Hindu practices. One can see Shiva in the Celtic God  Cernunos, who is the Lord of the Animals, Pashupati.

Why then do I follow Hinduism rather than the Celtic religion, Wicca, or one of the other neo-Pagan traditions? Apart from the spiritual feeling that I am already on the right path, I feel that Hinduism is at least as close to the original religions of Britain as any of the neo-Pagan traditions. These traditions have all been rewritten from folk tales and writing by Romans. To a large extent this means inventing the philosophy. This is problematic, as it is not clear which are mainstream practices and which are left-hand paths. Many neo-Pagans don’t know what to make of archaeological evidence of Human sacrifice, either ignoring it or saying it is incompatible with modern times.

Different groups have different ideas of what the original beliefs were, the Neo Druids emphasise harmony and nature, taking 18th century idealisations of the Celts as their base, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans concentrating on more recent archaeological evidence. Some groups are openly influenced by Hinduism, and look for Hindu equivalents of the Celtic Gods.

Now, there is evidence that in ancient times India was seen as a religions centre over large parts of the world. The Irish-Celtic story of Eithne tells of a queen (or goddess in some versions) who does not eat and only drinks milk from a cow from “India, which is the land of righteousness“. The linked version of the story has a Christian ending, with Eithne converting to Christianity, but this is almost certainly a later addition.

Given that the Hindu-like tradition once covered Europe, I think it that it is easier to take Hinduism with its complete and rich philosophy rather than to try to rebuild a tradition from archaeological evidence. The end result could well be closer in spirit to the practice of the Celts than that of the Neo Druids.

So, in a real sense I could answer “Why don’t you follow the Celtic religion?” by saying “I am, as closely as is possible today”.

Aum Shivaya


Images from Wikipedia and are free for reuse under the Creative Commons license.

80 responses to “Why don’t you follow the Celtic religion?

  1. Yes, Lalitaditua appears to hate westerners, period. As a white American Hindu, I feel I’m following a long line of white, American thinkers and writers like Emerson and Thoreau, who were deeply influenced by Hindu philosophy. Lalitaditual may not like it, but races and religions are not always so neatly divided.

    On the other hand, it may be that what evloves here in the “west” is a uniquely “western” Hinduism, where our religious lode-star isn’t necessarily in India, and where our sacred language is our own, and our gurus are not necessarily from the subcontinent.

    • Religion in the West – and really in general – is transcendental to race, ethnicity, nationality, or location.

      Sanskrit is said in some traditions to have a unique potency – this being the reason why the scriptures are always written and spoken in Sanskrit even while hundreds of local Indian languages and dialects evolved – but this does not really have to impact the “Indian-ness” (or lack thereof) of the Vedic tradition. Sanskrit may have originated in India but it’s no more of a modern language there than Latin is in the West. It may as well be a foreign language to many, a purely “sacred language” that belongs to no one – or in another sense, everyone.

      Location is a bit more of a grey area – certain spots in India are particularly revered because they are said to be the location of various pastimes of the Lord or His associates, or else have strong ties and associations with great devotees, personalities, and saints – and that aspect cannot be so easily neglected. But as for India being the “center” of the faith – if believers are everywhere, that may not be as much of the case.

      But as for Gurus who are not necessarily for the subcontinent – of course that is, and certainly must be, there! There are sincere seekers and followers of all nationalities; why should there not also be leaders? It is only natural and only right for that to happen. The real qualification ignores such material designations, which are only temporary anyway – it only entails the purity and devotion, and spiritual potency, of the leader himself.

      N.B. “Hindu” is an erroneous term indicating (a mispronunciation of) the Sindhu River, the relative location of Indian Hindus as observed by the British – better to use “Vedic” as it’s far more accurate :)

      • All languages have power, Sruti. I understand that Sanskrit is said to have healing vibratory powers. But so did my native language when I was a child and my mother crooned to me to soothe me. So does the poetry of Walt Whitman. I have read comments from Indian Hindus who use Sanskrit and the ability to pronounce it correctly as yet another barrier to Hinduism – we whites can’t pronounce it, we’d have an accent, so we would mess up the chants and render them useless or worse, harmful, so we better stick to our “inferior cults” (Sorry, but that one really sticks in my craw…)

        For reasons of my own, I will not join the traditional “white Hindu” groups like SRF, ISKON and the others. It pains me that these are the only ways for white people to call themselves HIndu. What if you don’t agree with these schools of thought? What if you just want ot be a Hindu, go to the temple, have your moment before God and then go home? Why can I not be allowed this? Why should I have to join a group that’s just for us white HIndus, learn to be a more orthodox Hindu than the average Indian and still get kicked out of temples? What’s that all for?

        Yes, there’s real pain behind these words. Real shock and dismay and sadness that what I always thought was true turned out not to be. When I start to see Indian HIndus actively standing up to protect the rights of minority “converts”, then I’ll know progress is being made and there will be hope for white Hindus, .

        • cs1990,
          Have you actually had a bad experience going to a temple? Though I have had people write negative things on the web about Western Hindus I have never had a bad experience in temples in the West and have always been made welcome.
          Tandava

          • Have you really been kicked out of a temple? I can’t imagine that.

            • Yes, Donna, two important Siva temples in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. The priests were quite vigorous in denying my entry, telling me to my face that I am NOT Hindu, and therefore must wait OVER THERE but I MUST NOT come in.

              It felt like a slap in the face. I was with my all-Indian husband’s family, they all got to go in, and I had to sit outside and wait. It was humiliating. I was newly married, on a second trip to India, and was astounded that I was ineligible to be Hindu because I am a westerner. Nothing anyone has said has made me feel less badly about it.

              As a result, I now turn down invitations to go to temples in India, I refuse to sign a pledge of belief, in triplicate, to go to Tirupati, because my skin color makes me suspect so I won’t go there anymore, either.

              I would have been ejected from other temples in South India as well, were it not for some intervention on the part of some well-connected in-laws. This is why I will not enter temples in India again, because I prefer to avoid the humiliation. I also prefer to follow a different religion now, too, because I readily admit that I am not spiritually evolved enough to stick with a religion where I am not allowed to enter the house of worship to pray.

              I would never have tried to embrace Hinduism if I hadn’t married into it. I don’t know what to do now, really. I am not fish or fowl. I am not allowed to belong, but my husband does not support me in finding a different religion. It isn’t fair to him, but it sure isn’t fair to me, either.

          • I have gone to a temple locally, here in the US, with my husband. I have always felt comfortable there, but that was why the incidents in India were so shocking. I was unprepared for what happened to me.

            I have no one at our local temple to talk to about this, and my husband and his family, have nothing to say about it, either.

            Honestly, this hurts. These were real experiences, and I would much rather not have had them. But they did happen, and they shattered my notions of belonging and conversion. Somehow the fault always comes back to me, but I was dressed in a traditional Kanchipuram sari, wedding chain, toe rings, bindhi, barefoot, and no camera anywhere near me. I just thought I would go into the temples to pray with my husband and his aunties and cousins. I did not want to be treated like visiting royalty (a rather nasty comment someone else made when I described my experiences). I wasn’t looking for this to happen. But it did.

            Like I said to Donna, I am simply not evolved enough spiritually to have prayed happily outside the temple, unmoved by what happened.

            • Oh Dear , They Might have sensed that you are a DJ worshiper :). I am from Tamil Nadu. There is NO Shiva temple which rejects Other Religion People. There are restrictions in Vishnava temples but not in Shiva temples. Recently I had been to Kapaleeshavar Temple in Mylapore. Inside that temple (in front of Dhakshina murti) Northside one White guy was sitting and Chanting Rudram. (Bad Guy) , My wife started comparing that guy with me..(see .. he is a foreigner , he is chanting Rudram . You don’t know anything. boozing .. etc.) first of all you christian Know , How different sect of Hindus behave , before posting it ….

            • You can’t stop westerners converting to Hinduism with your False Propaganda – you bloody Christians. Your Christianity will die with your DJ soon. I really don’t know what to call you……

        • White Hindus (and non-Indians of all other colours, as well) are quite welcome even at most “Indian Hindu” temples worldwide as long as they are respectful and sincere. I’ve known of many. The only exception is in the select few temples in India (e.g., Jagannath Puri temple which has even rejected Non-Resident Indians and blocked their temple entry, what to speak of Western devotees, despite numerous protests from ISKCON and many others) which restrict entry to Westerners out of fear.

          And for the record, I *am* an Indian who actively stands up for the rights of minority “converts” :-) I’m NOT the only one!

        • //All languages have power, Sruti. I understand that Sanskrit is said to have healing vibratory powers. But so did my native language when I was a child and my mother crooned to me to soothe me. // This is to say .. Sanskrit Mantras don’t have any power as such. being a christian .in your mother language , you can feel that power . so do not convert/believe in Sanskrit.. Continue to Be a christian and believe in DJ. you will be cured. Am I correct ?

    • I am following cs1990 ,Thanks man for showing the path just like DJ. I am a Dalit woman from India who got married to an American. I was a Hindu before Marriage , After Marriage I believed in Jesus and felt happy that i Don’t belong to any caste any more. Thank you Jesus for saving me. I was so happy to have come to america. That coming Sunday I went to Church with my Husband in Kansas for a Mass. ….. The White brother standing in front of the gate stopped me and showed me another gate to enter. When I asked him why is it so.?He told me ,I am a Black and i can’t be with white. I told him i Believe in Jesus , still he said yes that is why are asked to enter through the other gate. otherwise i would have said get lost. I am shattered. I believed Jesus and converted to Christianity and i thought would be treated equal , but it is not so .. Racism still exists in Christianity . Now my Brain dead bigoted Christian Husband doesn’t agree me to go back to Hinduism at the same time I can’t Believe DJ anymore . I don’t know what to do .. Please help me…

      Dear cs1990 . Please help me..

  2. Excellent post, Tandava, and one that really hits home for me.

    I spent some years attempting to practice Celtic Reconstructionism. I desperately wanted to live the — for lack of a better word — dharma of my Gaelic ancestors. And it was the quest for the roots of Gaelic religion that led me to study and quickly fall in love with Hinduism. I came to the same conclusion that you have, that Hinduism is the closest one can really come to pre-Christian Celtic religion.

    I speculate that Iron Age Celtic religion was much like what Western scholars term “the Vedic religion,” that is Sanatana Dharma as it was practiced when the early Vedas were written down. In India, religion took a dramatic change during the Axial age, but the Celts never experienced this. The result was a rather easy adoption of Christianity in Celtic countries. I believe that, had the Celts produced religious reformers like the Upanishadic sages, the Buddha, and Adi Shankaracharya, Celtic religion would have survived as Hinduism has done.

    • Interesting personal history!

      Yes, that aspect – the presence of reformers as well as dedicated traditionalists to continue the tradition – is one part of the lack of survival of the faith; but another is the missionaric aspect – the missionaries came much later to India, when the faith was much more grounded and could not entirely go away.

  3. I’m of the opinion that if spirituality is something that gives your life meaning, then your religious practice should be something that amplifies and complements that meaning. If Sanatana Dharma is that thing? Fantastic. Forcing yourself into religious practices that have no meaning to you is pretty counterproductive. I tried pagan/Celtic religion when I was a teenager and stopped, mostly because none of what I was doing felt any more spiritual to me than not following any practice. Sanatana Dharma is a thing that makes my beliefs concrete in a way nothing else has before.

  4. Art, AlsoHindu,
    Thank you for your interesting comments. It is interesting that I expect that your view of Celtic religions is probably different to mine. In Britain many followers are Welsh-speaking Welsh and Gaelic speaking Scotts. Though it was originally the religion of the whole of the UK (and further afield) it is tied up with the regional identity of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall – the parts of Britain that maintained their original identity through Saxon times.

    Its funny but I really did not think of my links to the ancient people of this country until after I became a Hindu. In this way it really is universal dharma.
    Om

  5. For the negative comments, all the pain and suffering from the past brings forth such comments.

    Nice job about reconnecting with some thing which will bring you peace.

    However, Sanatan Dharma will not last long as I see it, as Exclusive religions still plays a covert war in the shadows.

    We will be reborn again, even if every thing is taken from us.
    We will find our way back even if we are destroyed :)
    We will be reborn again to protect this world, once again!

    We the people of Sanatan Dharma!

    • Sanatana Dharma is just that – “Sanatana”, eternal. It cannot be entirely destroyed or corrupted; and if it does, as Sri Krishna promises in the Gita, the Lord Himself will eventually intervene and restore justice and peace to the world. Exclusivists are there but they cannot change everything; they only really take away those who are uninformed or weak in faith. The real danger comes from within.

      “We will be reborn again, even if every thing is taken from us.
      We will find our way back even if we are destroyed :)
      We will be reborn again to protect this world, once again!”
      Yes — that is the Lord’s special mercy, for all of us :)

  6. @தாண்டவன்(Thandav), You people ignore that ignorant soul . can anybody come in between you and god? .. NO. you don’t have to respond to that guy. ( Even I used to think like that before. These white people captured Bharath , mocked Hinduism and maligned our scriptures ,then why the f. they want to follow Hinduism now… .THEY DON’T DESERVE HINDUISM. They are fit to follow inferior cults only.) … But after realizing what is what …. Now I, no longer have that hatred….

    This Too Shall Pass…..

    OM Nama Shivaya.

    • S,
      Thank you for this comment. I feel touched by it because I know that for what our British ancestors did in India (and many other places) we don’t deserve Hinduism. I think somehow the passive resistance led by Gandhi allowed us to see our brutal ways, and I hope that you can look to the way we left India more than the way we took and controlled it earlier.
      Aum Shivaya

      • That is so wrong!! Come on, Tandava, you’re a Hindu yourself who rejected your Christian past on the “Adam and Eve” Original Sin concept – why should you (and the rest of your countrymen) be punished for the sin of your ancestors? :)

        S, no one is “fit to follow inferior cults only” – EVERYONE has made various mistakes in the past, but the effects of those mistakes were always temporary and we ALL deserve the chance for rectification, purification, and positive change. It is certainly a mark of great improvement and a cause for happiness that sincere British (and others) seekers like Tandava, ISKCON devotees, and others have attempted sincerely to rectify for the past and even improve on it. And the fact is quite frankly often in many cases these non-Indian “converts” can be far more sincere and devoted than born Hindus. What’s to be said about the alleged “deserving” quality of them, then??

        • I agree with Sruti. I don’t think it’s at all fair to take the blame for actions that we ourselves did not do. Why should you, personally, living here and now in 2011, take the burden of blame for actions that were done generations before your time? You didn’t do this. So you don’t deserve to be shunned by Hinduism

          And why should I, when I am white, but not British? I’m being judged as guilty and my ancestors never once colonized India. And I’m not going to accept someone saying that becsue my people didn’t stop the British, or once in a while used a product that was imported from colonial Inidia that I am guilty by association. What is this? “I’m white, so I’m guilty”?

          I’ve had some close, personal experiences with Indian Hindu families, perhaps closer than many other westerners. On the whole, it has been marvelous. But I can say, with great honesty and from actual, personal observations, that there are Indians, full blooded, born and raised and never left India Hindus who do not “deserve’ Hinduism, by their words and actions. So I will never accept this condmenation from anyone.

          And the line about us white folk being deserving of inferior cults only is probably one of the most racist statement I have ever read. Only S and his or her god know for sure what is in S’s heart. But even if S claims that S no longer thinks this way, I bet a lot of people do. And this is why white Hindus will keep getting kicked out of temples and no one will stand up to do anything about it, Better to “take back yoga” than take on a clearly unpopular cause.

          Where is the celebrated tolerance of Hinduism when it comes to accepting HInidus of other races? It is no wonder that white people who are disenchanted with Christianity or Judaism flock to Buddhism instead of Hinudism, where there are established western Buddhist communities and western Buddhist teachers. Asian Buddhists don’t like it, either, but it’s too late – there are too many of us now to reverse that tide.

          • cs1990,
            I think that because ‘S’ has moved on from thinking that Westerners deserve lower cults and is prepared to say that it was wrong thinking is a real sign of spiritual growth. We should not disparage people for what they used to believe and have moved on from. By being open about it others can learn too.
            Aum

  7. No body in this world is original with their ‘religious’ tags. Strictly speaking, we
    all are converts. Pause a minute before u react!

    No one is born with any religious tags. Most of the times, we adopt a tag because of our parental birth and upbringing. But is that our originality? Not the least. Hence we were converted into a belief after our birth. Therefore we all are converts.

    “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” is the age old vedic saying, meaning “Truth is one but the different wisemen speak it differently” to suit their target audience to understand it. This brings us to a pertinent question of
    the each individual. We all have our separate identity and its separate reality, yet so common in ‘spiritual’ terms but only to realise it.

    This brings us to another pertinent question of vedic truth, “Who Am I”? This particular truth of us all makes us as a ‘separate’ individual to understand as to “Who Am I”? This is the “TRuth” of all of us. The profound vedic deep seated reality. This is beyond the field of modern day scientists or cosmologists.

    Explore your own identity and find out for yourself.

    God bless

  8. well said sudrania, ditto that.
    Born hindus are not custodians or owners of hinduism, just as no one owns sky or air.

  9. Today on Twitter I was asked [by an Indian Christian]if the actions of ISKON missionaries were same as Christian Missionaries who boast about spreading the Gospel to 1,500 villagers,as a response to my question if such massive evangelisation was happening as they could not ‘sell’ the Gospel to westerners anymore![As though it is comparable;but that is besides the point]
    I mention this to inform you & other white Hindus,that Hindu agitation against Mass Evangelising/proselytisation,is always countered by Indian Christians with the conversions happening in the West.I feel[this is my conjecture] that Indian Hindus asking you,as westerners ,to not convert to Hinduism,comes from this mindset.Also bear in mind,that when I was growing up,I grew up on stories of how the Shankaracharyas, of all Maths/Mutts,used to tell their Western followers not to give up their traditions/religions for even Hinduism.They did so in the frame of- “I/we wouldn’t like it if one of our own gave up their faith” -reference.It is not hatred .That much I can understand from what I read of Lalitaditya [which is the name of an Illustrious king who ruled Kashmir].I am not excusing it ;but only helping[or trying to] you to understand the situation.[like knowng what hit you ;-)] hope it helps.

    • Thank you Sita,
      What I can say is that there is a great difference between conversion to Hinduism, where all the emphasis is making sure that this is the right path. I wrote about ethical conversion previously.

      The Nandinatha Sampradaya takes this very seriously, Gurudeva writes:

      Why should someone be ripped away from his born and raised religion to another and “better one” like a piece of merchandise snatched from the supermarket shelf, sold, redistributed and wholesaled to a foreign market? In India today the problems of forced or deceitful conversions are so prevalent that the government is trying to pass a law to prohibit such tactics, like the laws that already exist in Nepal. We hope such legislation is passed, not only in India but wherever similar problems exist.

      Ethics must be established among all the religionists of the world. They must nurture an appreciation for each other, not merely a tolerance. Religious leaders, above all, must remain fair, despite their enthusiasm. We are not marketing a product. We are not competing for customers. The values and tenets we are offering must go into knowledgeable and willing hands. They cannot be forced upon the weak or foisted upon the unwary.

      Aum Shivaya

    • The missionaric activity is rather different both in mood and approach – and the method itself is also quite different – between ISKCON and Christians or Muslims. That is largely rooted in what are the specific motivations for each, and also what the shastric references (in the case of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in general, and more specifically ISKCON) actually state about the reasons and predictions regarding “conversion” of non-Hindus.
      Additionally Gaudiya Vaishnavism is not at all desirous of boasting in numbers – Srila Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON, famously said that if He could bring just one soul “back to Godhead” His life was successful. Sincerity – and sincere personal desire, which can only come when conversion is done in pure genuine interest, and not deception, threat, or force – is what is required of an ISKCON convert – or really, of any convert.

  10. @ Tandava and others: Celtic religion and religious culture definitely has a Vedic feel, if not the same roots. Though there does seem to be influence from Avestian practices and possible influence from primal indigenous religions. But the “Core” of Celtic religion (from what we know) could very well have been “Vedic” as we know they practised votive offerings to the rivers, offered fire sacrifices and we know that the Druid spent 20 years learning all of the holy scriptures through oral transmission and on Indian Scholar pointed out that it seems the amount of verses attested to the Druids as being the same in number as the Vedas. Then add in Varnic like castes and cosmology there is a good argument there.

    Unfortunately, there is simply so solid proof, only conjecture written by the Greeks and Romans (who were politically motivated to show them as barbarians) and the medieval and highly Christianised writings. What little archaeological religious material culture that is found does support a Vedic/Avestian like culture. As for Human sacrifice, this is still conjecture, Ludlowman is but one possible sacrifice, but as it seems to lack votive offerings that the Celts were known for, it could have been a far left cultic practice, punishment, or even vendetta. Giving the fact that every culture has at one point or another practised human sacrifice it can not be ruled out, just highly unlikely.

    @ Sita: Oh I understand with this concern and view on conversion in India. While the Iskcon activities are comparable they are not the same. I was not offered money, education nor healthcare to come to Dharma. I also think the actions of Iskcon are detrimental to the honest practise of many non-iskcon western Hindus. Because we are western and following Dharma it saddens me to think that the actions of one over zealous group is making our path to God more difficult in a political social sense.

    As for the pluralism is Hinduism and the stance of Smarta and other Gurus that beat “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” into the hearts and minds of everyone and tell westerners to stay their religion because it’s just a different way to the same truth are clouded and miss lead. I firmly hold that as with any and everything on this earth is dictated by Guna, this includes religion. This concept did not click in my head until a man who I respect very much said in passing “Sattvik” faith. Dharma is Sattvik, and I feel “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” implies “Sattvik is the truth and there are many ways to this sattvik truth” remeber back then you could walk for a year and everyone you met followed a Dharmic path, beit Sanatana Dharma, Bhuddism, Jainism etc.

    When the Abrahamic faiths showed first with Sword and then with economic blackmail, “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” was extended to include them. Which was, is and always will be a mistake, Tamasic, is Tamasic no matter how you twist it. Pluralism beyond Sattvik Dharma will be the death of Hinduism.

    • @ Sita: That view of conversion is definitely there amongst Indians – that we should take great care not to mimic the vicious actions of overzealous Christian and Muslim missionaries. But there is another – more problematic – view that is anti-preaching, and on a deeper level anti-conversion, on the basis or fear that the new Western Hindus are some how “corrupting” the faith, not practicing it perfectly and/or bringing in their old bad habits or Western/New-Age ways and confusing it with Sanatana Dharma, the pure eternal religion. This view is extremely problematic – it’s the source of such horrid controversies as the banning of Westerners from some famous and important temples and holy places, like the Jagannath temple of Puri (where even some Non-Resident Indians are known to have been banned!) – and it’s quite unfair to those non-Indians who voluntarily, by genuine interest and free choice, wish to “convert” and change their faith to a Hindu one.

      Of course it’s important – especially for more “missionaric” sects like Gaudiya Vaishnavism (of which ISKCON is a part) – to caution against wrongful conversion techniques, or over-zealousy; but in doing so one must also be careful to have the open mind to permit and even welcome those sincere seekers who would like to join them as well.

      @ Kodanda: What activities do you perceive in ISKCON are “detrimental” to honest practice of any faith?

      I am a born and raised Indian Hindu living abroad who has attended the local ISKCON temple for some time. Every (non-Indian) “convert” I’ve encountered was not forced into the faith, or seduced by typical “missionary” tactics – they all genuinely loved the principles of faith, through an understanding of its philosophy, and voluntarily joined on their own accord, usually after reading Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As It Is or another book of philosophy given by a devotee. It is this book distribution – and secondarily, public and university presentations on the philosophy – that has “won over” most ISKCON devotees, not by force or dishonest seduction. When they came on their own accord, by their own choice, after introduction to the philosophy, then is it not to their benefit that they have the freedom of choice to join and be welcomed?

      ISKCON devotees have often co-participated with other Hindus, and also outsiders, in all sorts of activities – various Hindu festivals, a parade in New York and a major city fair in Michigan being only a few of many recent examples in the USA – wherein, in addition to participating, they held their book distribution tables, served prasadam (spiritual food), and set up philosophy presentations – the mainstays of ISKCON preaching – but in a manner in which, in all cases, they were not at all perceived as dominating or threatening to those of other faiths or Hindu sects. Most who passed by did not have an inclination to join, but were still welcomed by the devotees, learned quite a lot, and appreciated these outreach and education efforts. A few did – on their own accord – take stronger interest, and they were encouraged – but not forced – to ask questions, and given materials to further their journey – if they so chose. When such was motivated entirely by free choice, and by personal desire of the new devotees, then certainly there’s no cause for accusing such activities of being “detrimental”.

      There may have been overzealous individuals in any sect who have acted differently but they do not – and should not – be used to represent the whole organization.

  11. //“Sattvik is the truth and there are many ways to this sattvik truth” remeber back then you could walk for a year and everyone you met followed a Dharmic path, beit Sanatana Dharma, Bhuddism, Jainism etc.
    When the Abrahamic faiths showed first with Sword and then with economic blackmail, “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” was extended to include them. Which was, is and always will be a mistake, Tamasic, is Tamasic no matter how you twist it. Pluralism beyond Sattvik Dharma will be the death of Hinduism.//
    Well said Kodanda

    • Kodanda,
      I am trying to reconcile this, which makes complete sense, with my guru’s teaching that we should respect all faiths. I have come to the conclusion that faiths and beliefs are like people. We know that at the heart of everyone is the pure paramatman, but in many people this clouded by the vasanas. In the lowest murderous criminals it is completely hidden from sight. In others, the saints and gurus it shines forth with brilliance. Though we know that all have the pure soul at heart, and are to be respected as manifestations of God we are counciled to keep satsang, good company.

      I think we can see religions in the same way. All may have a spark of truth in them at some level, and some people they could represent the right path. But just as we should be wary of the tamastic individuals, we should also be wary of the tamastic religions. When religions use force, threats, deceit, and bribery to convert then they are not satsang – we should resist them as we should resist bad company. At the same time we should understand that like young souls these religions of the kali yaga are part of the natural cycle, and we should understand and respect that for some people they could be the right path.

      I once had an online discussion with a Christian who saw everything as “being against” something. He was against Hinduism because it was different to Christianity. He said that I must necessarily be against Christianity becuase I was a Hindu. I told him that I wasn’t against it, I had just found a path that was better for me. He said “every choice for something is a choice against something else”. This explained his mentality. I have met people who really cannot be 100% for something without being against everything else. If they holiday in Tunisia and you tell them you went to Florida then they will have to give a list of reasons why Tunisia is better. If they drive a Ford and see that you have a GM they will go on about the better value, performance and all sorts of reasons why a Ford is the right and only sensible choice. They really can’t say “I’m driving a Ford but I can see that a GM is a good choice too, because to do so would make them feel uneasy that they had made the right choice. They would not enjoy the Ford if they worried about was a GM better in some ways”. I think that the tamastic religions are there in this age for people like this. They could not give 100% devotion to Shiva if they thought that someone else giving 100% devotion to Rama was another satvic choice. They can only give 100% if they convince themselves that theirs is the only true way. Perhaps this way of giving 100% devotion is a step for them towards a more satvic religion in a later life.
      Aum Shivaya Namaha

      • @Tandava – The method of reconciling the two is simple :)

        “Honor Bhakti wherever and however and among whomever it manifests itself. Wish it well, while remaining chaste to your own tradition…”
        - His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami Krishnapada

        Do not criticize the sincere efforts of others, but do recognize the Absolute Truth that exists, to the best of your ability. Encourage their sincerity – as God will certainly reward it, and one day they will indeed come to Him if they continue to be sincere. But do not consider, or give them the false impression that you consider, their beliefs to be on an equal level and their practices to give an equivalent result to those which your tradition will give.

  12. @ Kodanda, about Celtic Religion/way:very informative.The same lack of concrete evidence, holds true for hinduism.Thats why we have so many theories of Buddhism copied from Hinduism,Aryan Invasion,Aryan Migration,Sanskrit followed Tamil / viceversa.How does one ex[ect any concrete evidence after a civilisation has been wiped out except for its building remains is beyond me!
    @ about Sattvik nature of religions.What you say is true.But you must understand that when the mATTADHIPATHIS SPOKE,THEY HAD ONLY A CONJECTURE;THEY DIDN’T KNOW [sorry for accidental caplock] about what is actually said in the Bible /Koran;I am sure they would not know/have known, about the non-satvik passages of either of these books.I didn’t until internet access!I am sure they’d be horrified that such passages are there in the books at all.For them ‘religion’ or Dharma is something used to elevate our thoughts & behaviour & thus life. Also they would be thinking that it is the gunas in the person who practices religion that affect the way they practice it,which is also true to a large extent.Otherwise how does one explain the non-sattvik activities of the followers of the Satvik traditions.It is there in Srilanka [Buddhist] & India[[Hindu/Jain].The main things for them is acceptance for which they didn’t need their disciples conversion.For the Gurus,it wasn’t about numbers ,but about making a difference for the betterment. What you said “When the Abrahamic faiths showed first with Sword and then with economic blackmail, “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” was extended to include them. Which was, is and always will be a mistake, Tamasic, is Tamasic no matter how you twist it. Pluralism beyond Sattvik Dharma will be the death of Hinduism” holds true ,especially now-adays. Please read Mrs.Hilda Raja’s blog http://hildaraja.wordpress.com/category/religion/ to understand more about conversions ,especially ,in India.[you do have a pretty good insight already] but She writes as a conscientious Christian who puts India first.Not Phiosophical,but political/social.She was my Professor in College for M.A[S.W.] Sorry Tandava, for the long posts.but am very grateful to both you & Kodanda for helping me understand myself, & whats happening in my country,better!

  13. I read this article at this site that seems relevent to the Topic of Tandava’s post.It is very interesting.http://www.salagram.net/VWH-World.html
    Regardless of how accurate the information there is,some of the articles have a creative perspective to common stories.I had heard from my mother in tamil ,long back, a part of this article,by Sri Chandrasekharendra saraswathi,Our family’s Guru, from which I came across another perspective of the Adam/Eve Story. So wanted to share it with all of you.
    Tandava ,I hope you don’t mind /mistake me.
    This is Excerpted from the above site:
    “You must be familiar with the story of Adam and Eve which belongs to the Hebrew tradition. It occurs in the Genesis of the Old Testament and speaks of the tree of knowledge and God’s commandment that its fruit shall not be eaten. Adam at first did not eat it but Eve did. After that Adam too ate the forbidden fruit.
    Here an Upanisadic concept has taken the form of a biblical story. But because of the change in the time and place the original idea has become distorted-or even obliterated.
    The Upanisadic story speaks of two birds perched on the branch of a pippala tree. One eats the fruit of tree while the order merely watches its companion without eating. The pippala tree stands for the body. The first bird represents a being that regards himself as the jivatman or individual self and the fruit it eats signifies sensual pleasure. In the same body (symbolized by the tree) the second bird is to be understood as the Paramatman. He is the support of all beings but he does not know sensual pleasure. Since he does not eat the fruit he naturally does not have the same experience as the jivatman (the first). The Upanisad speaks with poetic beauty of the two birds. He who eats the fruit is the individual self, jiva, and he who does not eat is the Supreme Reality, the one who knows himself to be the Atman.
    It is this jiva that has come to be called Eve in the Hebrew religious tradition. “Ji” changes to “i” according to a rule of grammar and “ja” to “ya”. We have the example of “Yamuna” becoming “Jamuna” or of “Yogindra” being changed to “Joginder “. In the biblical story “jiva” is “Eve” and “Atma” (or “Atman”) is “Adam”. “Pippala” has in the same way changed to “apple”. The Tree of Knowledge is our “bodhi-vrksa”. “Bodha” means “knowledge”. It is well known that the Budhha attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree. But the pipal (pippala) was known as the bodhi tree even before his time.
    The Upanisadic ideas transplanted into a distant land underwent a change after the lapse of centuries. Thus we see in the biblical story that the Atman (Adam) that can never be subject to sensual pleasure also eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. While our bodhi tree stands for enlightenment, the enlightenment that banishes all sensual pleasure, the biblical tree affords worldly pleasure. These differences notwithstanding there is sufficient evidence here that, once upon a time, Vedic religion was prevalent in the land of the Hebrews.”

  14. Thank you Sita,
    The interpretation of Adam and Eve is very interesting. It seems to me that this is closer to the Jewish interpretation than the Christian one. The Jews see the eating of the fruit as a conscious decision by people to move from the simplicity of eden, where they are innocent of mal intent to the modern human condition of understanding and having to deal with good, evil, desires and urges.

    The Christian interpretation never made sense to me – that this original sin of Eve stained humans for ever, so that even a perfect saint or enlightened one deserves to burn in hell.

    As always your posts are most thought provoking
    Aum

  15. I learned too.WE were discussing the Vedic &cCeltic similarities& the Shankaracharya[I was referring to the then Head of Kanchi Math],& I then came across some of his teachings that was translated into English.I was saying that maybe They didn’t know about what is there in the Books of other religions,& here is a reference He had made to the Hebrew/Biblical story that also has an Upanishadic counterpart & also teaching us how to interpret it & also Telling us that we are all connected.It is incredible!It is as though it was meant to be!I’m feeling Blessed& humbled ,Tandava!All thanks to you & Kothanda.
    My Parents used to attend his discourses whenever he used to come to our City for Chaturmasyam.He was a Great Guru who was a Seer ,too.A True Rishi.

  16. ISKON leader Prabhupada was murdered by agents planted into the organization by the “Exclusive Religion” that felt threatened by the existence of of this organization.

    The people who killed him took over the organization and it became an instrument to flame the original teachings of Krishna.

    Now it is nothing more than a front for those agents who remain hidden in the organization.

    If any one of you do a little research online you can easily find the videos of the poisoning of “Prabhupada” on youtube.
    [Tandava: inline video changed to link] http://goo.gl/mwz1C

    There are many other people talking about the same thing.

    • Abhi,
      I don’t like unproven serious allegations presented as fact. There have been no charges brought against anyone for poisoning Prabhupada. This is speculation. I think it is also speculation to say that it has been hijacked by Christians or anyone else.

      I think we can agree that ISKCON treats conversion differently to almost all traditional Hindu groups, actively seeking converts even from other branches of Sanatana Dharma. My feeling is that this is because it took on a large number of Western converts and failed to impart all of the Eastern values and attitudes, they still act very much like the followers of Abrahamic religions. We have had ISKCON groups visit our temple in Bradford and they are almost completely non-Indian and though friendly somehow seem separated from the other Hindus.

      One thing I have not seen any evidence of is an intent to flame the original teachings of Krishna, from what I have seen they are genuinely devoted.

      Aum Shivaya
      Tandava

      • http://www.harekrsna.org/pada/documents/death-lawsuit.htm

        Indian justice system is still based on the British system that was left behind, and many cases go on for years 50 years continuance. Justice is never delivered to the just.

        I have only present only 1% of the complete information i have about this problem. It is huge – connected to different tangents.

        ISKON version of Bhagwad Gita is different from the original which was after Prabhupada’s death.

        I bought a recent version of Gita from ISKON in India, and found many differences when i compared to the original.

        You are correct – most of them only wore the clothes, shaved their heads and wore the mark of Vishnu but it was only an external change. Many were not able to understand the intricate details of his teachings.

        In the same time period “Samael Aun Weor” started the Gnostic Christianity which propagated Christ consciousness and he seemed to have died the same year as Prabhupada – My point is – he used to be a Vatican Jesuit.

        I have a question, are we supposed to only talk about “nice” stuff or also face what happened in the past?

        I suffered a loss, and i wanted answers to why it happened.
        This is the reason i seek answers, so why am i being put down here?

        • The ISKCON version is NOT different from Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript – that has in fact been well proven. The original manuscripts The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) has now published a website with clear explanations, complete with correction-by-correction details, as well as PDF scans of the original documents to clear all such nonsensical doubts: http://bbtedit.com

          There are those – in every faith – who merely show external devotion but have no real faith or internal purity; but the strength of genuine devotion of the majority of ISKCON devotees is clearly there and visible – just walk into any ISKCON temple and see for yourself.

          There is no “why” – the myth of conspiracy has long been propagated, when it is in fact a fallacy. Zero real evidence has ever been presented or substantiated in the courts.

          • This site was made only 2 years ago. I am talking about a recent version of Bhagwad gita i bought from a book fair from ISKON members, and i did see a few differences in the text.

            Prabhupada is gone now, and what ever happens today is not under his control.

            nonsensical doubts ? So you have done extensive research on this issue?

            You have compared the original with the version that is available in the market today?

            Do not try this tactic with me.

            • Yes, in fact, I have, both with the first edition Gita and with the ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPTS which, having known the staff of the Bhaktivedanta Archives who preserve all of Srila Prabhupada’s original documents and audio/visual clips, I’ve actually seen from. Have you?

              Before you continue any negative responses, it’s best that you go and see what you’re actually attacking.

              I’m not trying any “tactic” – I’m bringing to light the truthful facts.

              The information of the site was NOT from two years ago – they contain the original scans from the ’60s and ’70s hand-written (and typeset) by Srila Prabhupada Himself, complete with his own hand-writing annotations. The abridged MacMillan edition by Srila Prabhupada’s own admission (see the preface at the beginning of any copy of the full Bhagavad Gita, unabridged) was heavily shortened; the first full edition included much more but still less than was present in the transcripts. Additions have consequently been made. There were also lots of grammatical errors and English style usage errors that have been fixed. All of those are clearly documented, detailed, and explained.

              There are numerous points in the lectures and talks – search through them yourself, in audio form from http://prabhupadavani.org and/or through transcripts in VedaBase – where Srila Prabhupada Himself complained of various errors in the first edition. These have also been corrected.

              His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami – who took charge of the entire editorial process – has given a clear correction-by-correction explanation with annotations for each correction made, specifically targeting and explaining every single change, and comparing with the original transcript (the PDF scans for which are provided) to clear all doubts. Check them out yourself,

              And please stop derailing the original discussion thread topic.

            • Abhi, regarding the false allegations of poisoning, perhaps this publication entitled “Poison Antidote”, complied by His Holiness Danavir Goswami – replete with documented evidence from audio transcripts, analysis from leading expert medical doctors and scientists, interviews/discussions with those in- and out-side the movement who were actually with Srila Prabhupada, AND a confession by the “poison CD” creator Jagannatha Dasa that the whole scandal was a hoax – may be of interest. Hari Aum.

              http://rvc.edu/rvc_publications/Poison_Antidote.pdf

      • The “Indian-ness” of ISKCON temples varies widely, often depending on the actual Indian population of the congregation. But the general perception is that Srila Prabhupada generally kept a variant of Indian (specifically Bengali/Gaudiya) tradition, and that standard is required, but beyond that no “Indianization” or “Hinduization” is required. In fact many ISKCON devotees fear instances of perceived “Hinduization” (specifically in terms of introduction of new “Indian Hindu” practices that were not introduced or practiced by Srila Prabhupada Himself)

        I wouldn’t call their behaviour “Abrahamic” – the style of conversion is quite different, and also the mood (it’s well known that all souls are at different levels of advancement – none of that “follow me only or Jesus will condemn you to hell” nonsense!) – but in one sense it’s perceived as “Abrahamic” because the mechanism of conversion actually exists and is positively encouraged, unlike in most other Hindu sects.

        ISKCON incidentally isn’t the only group within the tradition that accepts (or even wants) foreign converts – others in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition have as well – although ISKCON is no doubt the largest and most successful. The reason is that the tradition itself explains that in the scriptures there are predictions of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that the whole world (including the West) would worship Krishna. As a devotee of Krishna would be in a far more elevated position, likely to far more quickly end one’s material tribulation, it’s encouraged that devotees are to facilitate that prediction – the conversion is thus shastric.

        Outside of Hinduism – particularly those who are not fully in line with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings – there is much more resistance as many Hindus are either not aware of or don’t accept shastric statements to such an effect; their anti-conversion sentiment is rather more heavily based on a reaction, either to fear of “contamination” of perceived purity of their tradition, or to opposition of the vicious conversion mindsets of Christian and Muslim missionaries.

        • @Sruti,
          Regarding your comment “The “Indian-ness” of ISKCON temples varies widely, often depending on the actual Indian population of the congregation”.

          That may well be the case, the very Western group that visited our Mandir were from Glasgow, where there are several other Hindu Mandirs. Their visit was a lot of fun, they brought prashada, put on plays and played music. They did, however, have much more of a feel of being a separate group than some other visitors, like Swaminarayan and Venkateswara. Having said that, at the inauguration of our temple we had representatives of many groups including ISKCON, and these were from Bhaktivedanta Manor, were a mix of people of Western and Indian origin and didn’t seem so separate.
          Aum

          • Some temple are like that – being more Western than others. Some temples here – and increasingly, those in mostly Indian-populated areas, established by Indians – have almost entirely Indian congregations! It really varies based on geographic location.

            • But some ISKCON devotees even pride themselves on being a separate group, not one with “Hinduism” – as Srila Prabhupada Himself did, even – wanting to preserve the distinct elements of their branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect intact; many devotees are fearful of, and strongly wish to prevent, assimilation into the greater mass of “Hinduism” – as that could mean the loss of prioritization of distinct, and for them important, features of the faith (Krishna-worship as primary, the Achintya-Bheda-Abheda concept, etc.) that are not so prominent, or not even there, in other Hindu sects; that would also make other Hindus lose motivation to join them. In fact there is a fear of “Hinduization” amongst some members – in that they are afraid of the sect losing its distinct character.

  17. It is best to face reality rather than living in the bliss of ignorance.

    Source link: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread675092/pg1

    I found videos for everyone to see. Sorry for the bad quality of the older ones.

    Video 1: [Tandava: inline video changed to link] http://goo.gl/nbb0i

    I hope this brings new light to what had happened to some one who originally had good intentions but faced a tragic end.

    Video 2: [Tandava: inline video changed to link] http://goo.gl/hpgAt

    • False propaganda derived from obviously doctored audio and video is NOT suitable evidence.

      Srila Prabhupada’s “end” certainly was tragic – but because there was so much suffering from disease, which caused the NATURAL demise of the body of a truly wonderful, devoted, and dedicated soul.

  18. Abhi-ji

    I am not sure I follow the significance of your post with the topic at hand.

  19. Wonderful! I just found your blog and you say many things that I can resonate with and that I have thought for years. I went from a Hindu path to Celtic wicca for a time and now am back with my beloved Hindu path. I am so glad to be back! This is really the place for me to be and always has been. I can’t wait forever for all the scholars to agree about what European paganism consists of before I make that my religious path. Sanatana Dharma to me is the Mother of spiritual paths, just as Sanskrit is the Mother of languages. Why not go right to the source? Jai Maa!

  20. If you read Sita’s comments she talks about ISKON missionaries and why their acts have become similar to other missionary religions. Because people were planted into ISKON and it has been hijacked by the Missionary Religion, so that it can be used for their ideologies.

    The same Politically motivated “Exclusive Religion” forces that assimilated the Celts, Druids and other “Pagan” religions.

    Rituals, Pagans, superstition, witch, wizard ,magic, occult, cult and many other similar words that have originated from one language…Latin, which points at one main region.

    The answer is clear, there are much deeper sinister forces involved.

    If you see the Definition of Yoga in any online English dictionary –

    It will be associated with the word – “Yoke” – which did NOT originate from Sanskrit. If you check its origin it will go back again to Latin – meaning? subjugation.

    The level of manipulation goes so much deeper.

    But then History is clear proof, i hope i am clear now?

    • Erm… first of all, even the most reputed dictionaries properly credit the SANSKRIT as being the origin of the word “Yoga” – and the evidence for it, including its use and inclusion the very Sanskrit Hindu scriptures that are far more ancient than even the Latin language, is quite abundant.

      The one dictionary reference even indicating Latin (Merriam-Webster) clearly states that it’s “AKIN to Latin”, not DERIVED from Latin (there is a HUGE difference – and Latin came later); and specifically indicates that the Latin word referred to was “jungere” which has nothing to do with subjugation – as indicated by the dictionary entry, it means “to join”

      • Do you even understand what i wrote?

        Check the definition of Yoga in any dictionary, they translated it as “Yoke” which originates from Latin meaning “Subjugation”

        Clearly you need to read again what i wrote.

        • I did read what you wrote, but sorry, it’s wrong. Check Merriam-Webster, which I believe is the dictionary you’re using.

          The original Latin firstly is NOT “yoke” – it is “jugare” and does NOT mean “subjugation”, rather it means “to join” – this is clearly indicated.

          The “subjugation” meaning of yoke is a LATER construct – not only indicated by the ordering of the dictionary definitions (note that the definition “worked together” appears BEFORE any mention of sujugation) but by the original Latin itself – the FIRST meaning of the Latin word “jugare” from which “yoke” was derived means “to join”

  21. I was in love with a christian girl before, when the time of the big question of marriage came the differences between the systems came into play.

    Which way do we get married?

    Which God do we pray to, etc?

    She did not want to pray to another god, and she did not want a marriage other than the Christian style. I remember what she said, if we are going around the fire then we are praying to the fire.. etc etc

    I suppose a western perspective towards an ancient science which involves the play of the 5 elements cannot be understood by those who never understood the forces of nature to begin with.

    Fire being the most pure of all elements which can never be corrupted is the key that people of Sanatan Dharma of India have used to use the flow of nature without going against it.

    —————————————————————————————————————-

    I started studying the differences between different religions and the reverse polarities that were revealed were painful.

    What i discovered was…how do i put it into words… suffering?

    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Let me show you greater level of deception with pictographic evidence:

    The Vatican Square:

    A Mayan Site:

    Shiva Lingum:

    Do you see the truth?

    The Vatican was once called “Anand Vatica” which was taken over by the Romans and subverted into the core of their political order.

    ————————————————————————————————

    If you wish to see the depth of true deception look at the site below with pictographic evidence:

    http://www.stephen-knapp.com/was_the_taj_mahal_a_vedic_temple.htm

    • @Abhi what are you trying to imply here? It doesn’t make sense and frankly is entirely irrelevant to the topic thread.

      • Clearly archeology is not your strong point, you have been unable to see the relevance of the designs i have presented here.

        • I’ve studied archeology quite a lot, actually. My question is what relevance does this speculation have to any other part of the discussion?

          • And @Abhi, here’s another thought for you:

            Ever heard of cultural diffusion? That’s what happens when cultures intersect – each takes the appealing or convenient part of the other culture. It’s only natural to occur, has happened and is happening worldwide. That can – but certainly does NOT need to – be the result of subjugation.

      • Sruti,
        I assume that this is in response to the original blog post, not the thread, and is following up on vedic principles being behind religions all over Europe.

        Personally I find the idea that the Taj Mahal was a vedic temple pretty far fetched, I think it is much more likely that some of the architects included familiar components. If you follow the argument given you could end up concluding that the Knights Templar reached Massachusetts or that my local theatre used to be a Mosque!

        • Yes.

          One could really conclude anything with the right combination of “evidence” and a stretch of imagination ;-)

  22. Abhi, the “Prabhupada poisoning myth” is, from start to finish, a lie. That the heavily agendaed proponents of this wild assertion have produced youtube videos in support of it does not make it any more credible than similar videos propagating the Mayan calendar theory about the world ending on January 1, 2012. Srila Prabhupada left his body due to natural causes, and not as a result of any such nefarious plot as you/they propose. Conspiracy theories similar to the one you’ve presented here have uniformly accompanied the death of every important world religious leader, without exception, as power-lusting “waiters in the wings” have historically sought to call into question their respective founders’ clearcut instructions regarding succession, and induce a state of chaos in the organization that would place the proprietorial station “up for grabs”- hence validating their ludicrous claims.

    i encourage you to move your own credibility up a notch, or so, by desisting from the further public advocacy of such “wowser” hypotheses as this, and employing your Krishna-given talents and energies in a way that is ultimately more useful- both to society at large, and also to yourself.

    your servant, in the Love that is Krishna,

    bhuvana-mohan dasa.

  23. Pingback: Should we respect all religions? | Western Hindu

  24. Tandava, wow,quite a lot of the discussion seems to have gone way from the topic. Sorry for contributing to the chaos. The reason I asked you the question of the conversion equivalence between missionaries in India 7 Iskon in the west were ,as a person in the west You’ll be familiar with it ,While I in India am familiar only with the Evangelical side of the equation.forgive me.

    • Sita,
      I concur with Kodanda, ISKCON don’t try the sort of deceptive tricks that I have heard that Evangelicals use in India. One other thing is that there are very few ISKCON missionaries, and usually they set up a stall somewhere and just wait for people to come to them.

      For every time I have seen an ISKCON stall or outreach project I have received over 100 leaflets from the local Anglican church (one a week), had two visits by Mormons to the door, had four or five leaflets from the Catholic church (Invitations to the Christmas and Easter service usually), met three or four jehova’s Witnesses, and been given twenty or thirty leaflets that say “Islam is the only way”. The last might not be typical for the UK, I live in a city with a 20% Muslim population. I have also probably passed various stalls for other beliefs and religions, and had a hundred or so leaflets in magazines asking for money for missionary efforts abroad, usually from American organisations.

      … And then every couple of years I will see an ISKCON stall at a craft or community fair somewhere. I probably would have passed them by without a thought before becoming a Hindu.

  25. No Sita, Iskcon in the west does not incorporate the methods and tactics as used by the missionaries in India. Isckon to me is more akin to Jehovah’s witnesses or Morman’s in their approach. I personally have a hard time taking them serious, this is just me. I do not doubt their devotion to God, but their zeal and at times, in your face approach can be quite annoying. They try to get you to buy their books with the zeal of a used car salesman who hasn’t met their quota for the month.

    • They aren’t all like that. There are some truly blessed and skilled preachers in the movement who have opened countless minds and hearts with a more comfortable approach. Then there are those who, well, try… maybe a little too hard? Lol.

  26. “skilled preachers”

    Rest my case.

  27. Regardless of how different Iskon missionnaries are to their counterparts of other faith,at least in India Christians especially,try to draw an equivalence to explain/justify their own’s actions,which though sad,causes Anger & Conflict .This is the current reality in India.Of course its a big relief to know that practices aren’t same &cannot be equated.Puts me in a better position to debate in future!

    • Sita,
      Why not just tell them that you don’t agree with Iskon’s actively seeking converts, then ask them whether they would like to be judged on Christian groups that they disagree with.

    • Sita-ji

      When it comes to Iskcon’s methods of “conversion” there is no “equivalence to explain/justify their own’s actions”. At all, Iskcon does not with hold help until someone converts, they do not pay people to convert, they do not give people placebo’s in the Name of the Christian Job and when that does not work give medicine in Krishna’s name that does work. While they are quite annoying they are not malicious nor deceptive in their conversion.

  28. Regarding Sanskrit, it is the oldest surviving Indo-European languages, and it behoves all Europeans, not just neo-Hindus to study Sanskrit to get in touch with their heritage.

    Regarding chanting, if Tibetan and Chinese buddhist monks can chant Sanskrit mantras fluently, I dont see, why not, with a bit of tutoring, that white European neo-Hindus cant also chant Sanskrit mantras with the right accent.

    After all, Sanskrit or a very closely related language was your root language.

    And by blood, Sanskrit speaking Indian groups are Haplogroup R1A, which is ancestral to Russians and East European R1A, with the split being post-ice-age of about 10000 years ago.

    Ram Swarup, the hindu author, welcomed white Europeans to re-discover their heritage and in the ideal world, they would go back to their Celtic religion. However, the xtian interlude has destroyed most traces of their pre-xtian heritage and Hinduism is the closest living relative to their extinct religion and is a close substitute

    I am not against white Europeans becoming Hindus, provided that it is authentic Hinduism and not some de-rooted version.

    In the bronze age, in Anatolia, a Hindu kingdom with Sanskrit language, the Mittani was existed until about 1300 BC.

    Hindu idols have been dug up along the Volga in Russia dating to 700 AD.

    I have never seen any Indian Hindu in any temple act unwelcome to a white Hindu.

    Many Indians consider british rule to be Xtian colonialism and not white colonialism. After all, the greeks of Alexander were absorbed.

  29. I just happened to stumble on to this blog via some other link. I would like to respond to @thandava regarding his comment:

    ***Personally I find the idea that the Taj Mahal was a vedic temple pretty far fetched, I think it is much more likely that some of the architects included familiar components****

    Have you gone through the other additional links also given at the end like;

    1. “The Question of the Taj Mahal” (Itihas Patrika, vol 5, pp. 98-111, 1985) by P. S. Bhat and A. L. Athavale
    2. “An Architect Looks at the Taj Mahal Legend” by Marvin Mills
    3. The True Story of the Taj Mahal. This article by P. N. Oak
    4. The Letter of Aurangzeb .
    5.The Badshahnama
    6. Taj Mahal — Time to Tell the Truth, an analysis by Dr. V. S. Godbole
    7 The Distorted History of the Taj Mahal, by Dr. Dr Radhasyam Brahmachari.
    8. http://veda.wikidot.com/taj-mahal

    I hope after pondering over all these material you will awaken.

    Pranam

    Kumar Iyer

  30. Yes, there are temples in India , like GURUVAYOOR in kerala, my native place where entry s restrictd to hindus.
    You have to show certificates of conversion or some sort of evidence there to enter it. Sadly we faild to change it, even after a INDIAN singer who also believes n hinduism bt christian by birth, wasn’t allowd to enter it.
    But there are many temples which allow entry like SABARIMALA in India, where largest Pilgrimage occures after Mecca.
    Have you gone their Chris ?
    Its superb. On top of hill.

  31. As an Asatruar, I originally looked to Hinduism for spiritual insight. Now, I am in the process of conversion. Shaivanism and Shaktism are the sects I am most interested in.

  32. Celtic and Hindu religion has so much in common because both have an Indo-European origin. The people who invaded and settled in northern India are the same people who invaded and settled in Europe during Indo-European migration. So their cultures and relgion both originate from the same place. The difference is both also combined the religions of the people already there, as you see neolithic and older pre-Indo European customs and religion in things like Celtic or Germanic religion. As you also see southern indian influence in Hinduism obviously . And also groups like wiccans are not truly Celtic. They lack almost any similarity to ancient Celtic religion.

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