BK: Dangerous or peace-loving?

The ‘wanting’ to belong somewhere, like in a cult, is just a feeling of inadequacy you have in yourself. Because without that particular organisation that you belong to, you cannot survive, you cannot live peacefully. This only means that you have become dependent on something that is slowly taking over your mind, body and soul. When this has happened, there is no way out. Or the only way out is too far ahead, that you have to struggle immensely to bring out your feathers and fly away as far as you can from the cult organisation you once belonged to.

This link tells the truth about this particular cult organisation I have come across. Not only did I learn about this through this website, I have had personal experiences too. I have a few friends who are currently in this cult, one or two of them are in it for many years. I don’t know what they go through during their “sessions” or whatever they call it. I don’t know whether they are exposed to the teachings I have learned of them through their organisation’s website. But their behaviour is typical of a fully indoctrinated BK.

It seems like the people stuck in this doomsday cult, believing that the world is going to end and that only their God can save them, are pretty stupid. If their ‘god’ is really the God, then that God is all-powerful. If so, then the God who can bring down a cataclysmic event that destroys the entire Earth, would also be able to save the billions of people. If the God is almighty as they claim, then the God would not be choosy and judgemental enough to say that only a few chosen ones will survive and the rest will perish. This simple thinking itself shows how idiotic their teachings are. Finally, claiming that the Earth is only 5000 years old, is beyond stupidity. Science has already proven that the Earth and this Universe is much much older. In fact, there are fossils dating a few billion years old!!

Many of their beliefs take the form of practices in Hinduism, but it is definitely NOT Hinduism!! This is because the Hindu Dharma would never tell you to be celibate even after marriage and it would never tell you to see and treat your spouse as a sibling!! Hindu Dharma would not force you to be strictly vegetarians. The ‘Raja Yoga’ they teach, is definitely not the Raja Yoga given by Patanjali. If it was, then the BK has no right to claim it as its own version! Therefore, adorning a garb of ‘Hinduism’ or some form of Eastern influence through the use of its borrowed lingo, the BK is showing itself as being not far from Hinduism. Because of this, many Indians think that they are following a spiritual path within the confines of Hindu Dharma, being completely satisfied with their chosen life path, but they are being grossly misled!!

Another interesting point to note is that every cult focuses on charity. They teach charity, showing compassion to the needy, helping the poor, building hospitals, collecting donations, etc. This is their bait that they throw at people. Some cults modernise themselves and appear to be teaching ‘stress-management’ and ‘how to live happily’… All these are simple baits to lure you into the cult and marry you off to their ‘god’.

All I say is people, please come out of it! Be it any cult you are in, be it any leader you are following, just put aside some time and reflect on why you are in the cult. Think about whether first of all, is it a cult? Does it have all the signs of a cult? Talk to people who have left the cult organisation for some reason or other. Learn why they decided to leave. If you think the cult you are in, be it BK, AOL or Nityananda’s DhyanaPeetam, is genuine, then why would so many people leave and say bad things about it? Please think through if you have certain inadequacies in life, and if they are met, would you be willing to leave the cult? Think about whether you would be able to live without being part of the cult. If you can, then it means that they haven’t controlled your mind. It means that you are free to leave anytime you want, so you are not bound to it. If they are making you feel guilty, then remember that they are already controlling you!

Free Will? Destiny?

The idea of destiny working to bring you to a particular place at a particular time is really amazing. Although at first thought it seems like impossible, one’s experience itself teaches one that there is such a thing as fate/destiny/something that is pre-determined. It is beautiful and yet scary too. 

From the moment we are born, the environment we grow up in determines our circle of free will. This circle of free will is as big as the amount of knowledge we acquire about the different choices in life. If lets say in all the colours we only know about yellow, red, blue and green, then our choice is limited to only these four colours. Whereas the more colours we know the more choices we have. Therefore, there is always a limit to the circle of free will we have. Most of the time our circle of free will is pre-determined by the limitations in the environment we grow up in. Therefore, free will is really a misnomer!

Such being the case, our choices in life are really pre-determined. It “seems” as though we are making a choice out of our free will, but our choices itself are limited in a certain way. Many things we do in our lives, our likes and dislikes, our temperament, our natural tendencies have all been pre-determined. Nothing can really happen with our own choice. We cannot even determine when we will fall asleep. All we can do is ready the bed and lie on it. Sleep will come but we cannot control when and how it comes. Such is our life. Life is nothing but realizing this grand truth, that things are not always in our hands or in our control! 

This idea, which at first seemed very romantic and beautiful, now seems to be daunting. It makes us think that we cannot change our future at all. Though our choices are limited and pre-determined, we still have that “free will” with which we can still make a choice between what is good and bad or right and wrong! But many times we are pushed to make a choice that is agreeable to all, but not in alignment with our innate temperament or nature. For example, a woman whose talent and interest lies in dancing has to “choose” to forego her dream in completing a degree in fine arts in order to attain a degree in engineering. A degree in engineering will “secure” her future compared to a degree in fine arts which will not yield financially. Now where is the choice in that? Seems like something pre-determined right?

Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says in Chapter 2, Verse 47: You have the right to perform your actions but not to the results of your actions. How very true! This verse does not tell you that you should not expect any results at all. It only tells you that the results cannot be influenced by you. This is just like sleeping. You can only make your bed and lie on it. The result (i.e. sleeping) is not in your control. You cannot say that 10 seconds from the moment you lie on your bed you will fall asleep with certainty. The result is not in our hands. But the action is. 

Doing service is my duty

This is what happens when you neglect your swadharma (your required duty as per your role in life) and do rituals like Maha Rudra Yaagam.

Someone once asked this question in my Hinduism Teacher Training class. Why offer so many valuable things and food in the sacrificial fire of a yajna (a sacrifice ritual), when many in the world around us are suffering without food or water? 
The answer is this. One of your prime duties is to do daana (meaning service to others). You have to do it everyday. This can be anything from helping a old lady in the street to donating millions of dollars to an orphanage; volunteer work to organizing benefits, etc. If you do it everyday, you will be guilt-free. When you are guilt-free, you can peacefully conduct a sacrificial ritual or yajna. Only a guilty mind will ask the above question. Moreover, rituals you do only once in a while. Whereas, service is to be done everyday. So one can be assured of a guilt-free life if service/charity is done everyday…

Enthiran – Robots have feelings?

A few weeks back I had gone out with my parents to watch Enthiran. The movie was, of course, really wonderful, fantastic and excellent in all aspects! At first the concept that a humanoid has feelings boggled me. I simply couldn’t come to accept it but since it was just a movie, I didn’t really care about it.
Although now, thinking about it makes me realize that it is possible. For this, I started thinking of how do feelings arise. How do feelings come about? A machine only has knowledge stored in its memory. It has a “brain” that consists of intellect, memory and the questioning capability (meaning it is able to learn from experience). What is this brain made of? It is nothing but wires, connections and electrical impulses flowing through the machine that makes it move and so on.
Now looking at the human brain, it also has memory, intellect, the questioning/learning capability AND one more thing: ego. This ego is the notion of “I”-ness. A robot may not have the awareness of “I”, meaning itself. But we humans have this self-awareness. We look at things and objects around us and are able to say, “this watch is mine” or “this is my hair”. But a robot does not do this. The robot does not have ego.
However, somehow this ego is born in this robot called Chitti when it starts to recognize something or someone as belonging to him. Chitti starts to identify certain things as belonging to him and therefore, desires start arising in him. 
When the notion of “I” is born, desires arise. It is very natural for all of us. And once desires arise, emotions take place too. When you acquire a desired object, you are happy. When someone else gets it instead of you, you are jealous. When someone or something is an obstacle between you and the desired object you are angry. When you lose the desired object, you are sad. So now we can see clearly, that when desires arise in us, so do the emotions. 
Since our brain is also nothing but neurons (in place of wires) with connections and electrical impulses (just like the robot’s “brain”), it is also possible for humanoids to have emotions and the notion of “I”.
One wonderful movie that portrays whatever has been discussed in this post is “I Robot”. It is a wonderful movie and I personally like it more than Enthiran.

Tapping on the Unknown Factor

It has been so long since I’ve made a post in this blog. Therefore, I would like to start today, especially when it is such an auspicious day like Deepavali. There are many stories behind Deepavali. The general theme of them all, however, is the inevitable victory of good over evil. This assumes that there are two opposing poles called good and evil. This is a wrong assumption because evil is just the absence of goodness. So in essence, there is only goodness, but when it is absent in someone or something, we call it evil. 
There is a wonderful short story I came across from one of my friend’s email. It says: 
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil (Adharmic) –  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good (Dharmic)-  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” 
Therefore, victory of good over evil simply means the victory of Dharma over Adharma. By deeply analysing the above story for just today, just for a few minutes, let us all try to recognise the “evil” in us, and let us try to uproot it. Let us make a promise to ourselves today that by the next Deepavali I would try to conquer one of my “evil” qualities. Be it anger, jealousy, false pride or laziness. Anything. Let us make this promise quietly to ourselves and change ourselves for better. If there is no “evil” in you, then let us try to cultivate one of the good values like truth, generosity, compassion or humility. 
The one who protects Dharma, that Dharma will protect him. The equation works like this. When you protect Dharma, meaning when you do Dharmic actions, you earn merits or punya. More punya can counter the sins or paapa you gathered so far. So during dire times, the punya that you have earned by doing Dharmic actions will save you. This is what it means by “dharmo rakshati rakshata”.
Such being the value of Deepavali festival, I hope you now realize that you can actually wish anyone a Happy Deepavali, be it someone of another race, religion or nationality. This is because the value of this festival applies to everyone. And as we celebrate the festival today with our family in any way possible, just remember Ishwara who is the reason behind all your happiness. Pray to Him, get His blessings and live Happily! 🙂

Must Read Book – Demolishing Christianity

A wonderful critique of Christianity written by a learned Hindu, Chattampi Swamigal:
After reading this critique, so filled with logic and excellent reasoning, Christianity no longer seems like a sane religion to me. It is filled with such illogical concepts, that every paragraph of this book made me laugh out loud!
Hindus are said to be very tolerant and respectful towards other faiths. We don’t attack them at all. However, when they attack Hinduism we also don’t defend ourselves. Such losers we are! 
A real and sincere Hindu will always defend his/her Sanatana Dharma. On of our primary duties is to speak the truth. When the truth is being attacked and falsified by other faiths, it is our duty to defend that truth and speak the truth always. That is what Chattampi Swamikal did in this book of Kristumata Chedanam (literally means “Demolishing Christianity”). A sincere Hindu knows that Sanatana Dharma always existed even before the Vedas were revealed to humankind. Just like how gravity always existed, even before its discovery by Isaac Newton.
Be equipped with knowledge! Don’t remain ignorant! 

A Church Bans Yoga!

Here’s the news article that is of the title of this post.
This news is ridiculous, but the fact is that people of the Christian faith, especially those in the position of maintaining the order of the Church, are very afraid that their religion will be taken over, stampeded upon or thrashed down by another rival religion. Why are they so afraid, if what they have in their religion is solid? How can there be any room for confusion, by just doing some simple spiritual exercise like Yoga?

An excerpt from Angels & Demons

An excerpt from Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons:

As Langdon moved toward the first recess, he passed the tomb of one of Italy’s Catholic kings. The sarcophagus, like many in Rome, was askew with the wall, positioned awkwardly. A group of visitors seemed confused by this. Langdon did not stop to explain. Formal Christian tombs were often misaligned with the architecture so they could lie facing east. It was an ancient superstition that Langdon’s Symbology 212 class had discussed just last month.
“That’s totally incongruous!” a female student in the front had blurted when Langdon explained the reason for east-facing tombs. “Why would Christians want their tombs to face the rising sun? We’re talking about Christianity… not sun worship!”
Langdon smiles, pacing before the blackboard, chewing an apple. “Mr Hitzrot!” he shouted.
A young man dozing in back sat up with a start. “What! Me?”
Langdon pointed to a Renaissance art poster on the wall. “Who is that man kneeling before God?”
“Um… some saint?”
“Brilliant. And how do you know he’s a saint?”
“He’s got a halo?”
“Excellent, and does that golden halo remind you of anything?”
Hitzrot broke into a smile. “Yeah! Those Egyptian things we studied last term. Those… um… sun disks!
“Thank you, Hitzrot. Go back to sleep.” Langdon turned back to the class. “Halos, like much of Christian symbology, were borrowed from the ancient Egyptian religion of sun workship. Christianity is filled with examples of sun worship.”
“Excuse me?” the girl in the front said. “I go to Church all the time, and I don’t see much sun worshipping going on!”
“Really? What do you celebrate on December twenty-fifth?”
“Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ.”
“And yet according to the Bible, Christ was born in March, so what are we doing celebrating in late December?”
Langdon smiles. “December twenty-fifth, my friends, is the ancient pagan holiday of sol invictus – Unconquered Sun – coinciding with the winter solstice. Its that wonderful time of year when the sun returns, and the days start getting longer.”
Langdon took another bite of apple.
“Conquering religions,” he continued, “often adopt existing holidays to make conversion less shocking. It’s called transmutation. It helpes people acclimatize to the new faith. Worshipers keep the same holy dates, pray in the same sacred locations, use a similar symbology… and they simply substitute a different god.”
Now the girl in the front looked furious. “You’re implying Christianity is just some kind of… repackaged sun worship!
“Not at all. Christianity did not borrow only from the sun worship. The ritual of Christian canonization is taken from the ancient ‘god-making’ rite of Euhemerus. The practice of ‘god-eating’ – that is, Holy Communion – was borrowed from the Aztecs. Even the concept of Christ dying for our sins is arguably not exclusively Christian; the self-sacrifice of a young man to absolve the sins of his people appears in the earliest tradition of the Quetzalcoatl.”
The girl glared. “So, is anything in Christianity original?”
“Very little in any organized faith is truly original. Religions are not born from scratch. They grow from one another. Modern religion is a collage… an assimilated historical record of man’s quest to understand the divine.
“Um… hold on,” Hitzrot ventures, sounding awake now. “I know something Christina that’s original. How about our image of God? Christian art never portrays God as the hawk sun god, or as an Aztec, or as anything weird. It always shows God as an old man with a white beard. So our image of God is original, right?
Langdon smiled. “When the early Christian converts abandoned their former deities – pagan gods, Roman gods, GReek, sun, Mithraic, whatever – they asked the church what their new Christian God looked like. Wisely, the church chose the most feared, powerful… and familiar face in all of recorded history.”
Hitzrot looked skeptical. “An old man with a white, flowing beard?”
Langdon pointed to a heirarchy of ancient gods on the wall. At the top sat an old man with a white, flowing beard. “Does Zeus look familiar?”
The class ended right on cue.
I love this excerpt. I don’t know how much of it is true. But still, it proves two things for me.
(1) Christianity is man-made and therefore, the post of “God” has been imposed upon. It has been transmuted to suit the converts’ requirements and acceptance of Christianity and nothing else.
(2) Christianity too gives some form of importance to image of God and so on. It is not only the Hindus who worship images. So they have no right to point fingers.
Imagine how opposite Hinduism is. I am clearly being biased here, or so you might think. However, any logical person would arrive at the conclusion that Hinduism, unlike Christianity, had never changed its fundamental precepts to suit the needs of the converts. It has been sincere through and through. Unlike Christianity, Islam or Judaism, God in Hinduism has never been seen as being separated from the Universe that was created by God. Indeed, everything is God, the Universe is God, the energy that holds everything together is indeed God. Hinduism is simply brilliant.
I am fascinated with Hinduism because it made me see the world as it is, with the things we superimpose upon it.

Fake Swamis and Cults

This is a random podcast, made in Tamil, but I thought this fit well in this heading of Clearing The Clouds, so I am posting it here, instead of under the Random section that I am yet to create. This podcast discusses about fake swamis and cults, deriving the topic from a recent Neeya Naana episode on a similar topic. 

Download link is here (Right Click and Save Target As).
This is the link if you wish to watch the Neeya Naana episode:
The two links mentioned in the podcast are these:
1st link: www.dhyanapeetam.org/web/default.aspx
2nd link: www.shrikavalemath.org.in/default.htm

Music is from Madharasapattinam movie. 

I hope you like this podcast, and please provide your comments and suggestions. Thanks!

Teacher or The Teaching?

This is all I want to tell to all those people there still trapped in the ‘Nithy’ trap…

When you are on the path of seeking the Truth, because you have become fed up of your life, then you will be desperate enough to follow someone and anyone to attain your goal. But in that journey, you get so attached to the “teacher” and not his/her “teaching”! That is the mistake people make…
All these new age cults, if you notice, they are very teacher-centered. Examples include Isha, Shri Shri Ravishankar, whoever else, you name it! I agree that these people are doing good, doing charity, teaching meditation… But would you only learn all these meditation, yoga and stuff if all these come from a person wearing ocher robes?? Is that ocher robe really important??
Observe other groups that also have Swamis. Look at Chinmaya Mission and Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. They are never teacher-oriented. They don’t even advertise their charity projects. In fact, you wouldn’t even have heard of Swami Chinmayananda or Swami Dayananda Saraswati until you come across them here in this blog. These people don’t advertise themselves in magazines, give discourses on youtube, etc. They teach Vedanta, and other Hinduism disciplines like Yoga, Ayurveda, Sanskrit, etc. And they charge minimal for that too…. Not to the extent of US$6000 for a 21-day programme!!
Believe in God, not people who claim themselves to be God. A truly realized person will never even openly tell that he is God. Because it is for him to understand, not for the others. Pls come out of the dark, people! Pls lets think by ourselves…