Tag Archives: freedom

SOPA: I will black out this site tomorrow from about 07:30 to 20:00 GMT

I have decided to blank out this site tomorrow as part of the protest against SOPA and PIPA. If you want to do the same and use WordPress, I have given details on how to do this on my technical blog.

Why am I doing this on a religious blog? The reason is that the SOPA and PIPA rules will allow anyone to get an American court order to take down a site for copyright violation, even if that violation is in a comment left by someone else. This means they can remove any .com or .org or other non-national address from the internet, leaving people in the rest of the world with no recourse unless they can afford to go to America and appeal the decision. They can also force search engines not to list sites, and service based in the US like WordPress to remove sites. Since contesting this wll cost money, it is quite likely that most actions will be unopposed.

In the past religious groups have used copyright law for monetary gain, to keep secrets, suppress splinter groups,  and most worryingly to avoid criticism and debate.  With SOPA in force if someone didn’t like a comment on a blog they could apply for the site removal. Very possibly the first a blogger would know about it is when the blog disappeared. If the blogger did get any notice it could well be a message saying “Turn up in a court in New York, Honolulu, or Anchorage if you want to object”.

I will blank this site out tomorrow before I go to work and enable it again at 20:00 gmt. I would urge other bloggers to do the same or at least put a notice up.

Edit: As others pointed out WordPress provided its own blanking option. Since I had already posted the times at which I would block and unblock my website I decided to use my own. 

The Guru and the path of freedom; a contradiction?

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

I had a very interesting comment from littleindian that made me think. A lot of littleindian‘s comments are thought provoking. Littleindian was questioning whether my seeking approval from Satguru Bodhinatha to change my vow of vegetarianism to allow eggs was sacrificing individual thought.

This leads to a more general question. Hinduism has always allowed  freedom of thought. Hinduism acknowledges that there are many ways and paths. In his book “Am I a Hindu“, Ed Viswanatham expresses this very clearly:

Within Hinduism you can argue on any subject. You can even make statements like “There is no Krishna or Rama” and still be a Hindu … In Hinduism one will seldom come across a statement starting ‘Thou shalt not.’  … you will find it to be filled with all kind of ideas.

Yet Hinduism also has the concept of the Guru, the spiritual preceptor , the God realised master who will lead his (or sometimes her) followers to God. The Guru is the ultimate authority. How can we reconcile this with the freedom of ideas? Continue reading