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Bhag Gita As It Is from non ISKCON
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 23, 2017 02:54AM

Quote

--Three Star review

[www.amazon.com]

0 out of 5 starsScholarly, well-presented, but very biased
(name removed for privacy - Corboy) June 21, 2009
.
As has been said before, most of the 5-star reviews of this version of the Gita are from Hare Krsna devotees. Make no mistake: this IS a well-translated, scholarly edition with an exhaustive commentary. But it's also very biased and for all its expansiveness, it is posited upon a very narrow viewpoint.

I admire A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami for producing this commentary. It should be marketed, however, as a Gita in the light of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Both the title ("As it Is") and the Swami's introduction mislead the reader. In the intro, the Swami assures the reader that he is providing the reader with a Gita commentary that is free of bias, true to the "original" meaning, and unlike other authors, he is not trying to push his own philosophy. But he's doing exactly that. Anyone who interprets ANYTHING does so from how they perceive it. This book is written by a man brought up in the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition - a philosophy built upon a very literal view of the scriptures and bhakti as the truest way to realize God...devotion through ecstatic love.

There's nothing wrong with this. But it's wrong to market this work as "the best" or "unbiased." So any potential readers would do well to keep in mind what they are buying.




Two Star reviews on Amazon of Prabhupada's ISKCON Bhagavad Gita As It Is

[www.amazon.com]

Quote

2.0 out of 5 starsFrom an atheist
ByJESon December 24, 2011


I began reading this book - I am still in the process - with the desire to understand Hinduism better. The purports, while helpful in some cases, I am finding to be incredibly obnoxious. Not only from an atheist's point of view, but from any person of differing opinion, the repeated sentences of "those too ignorant to understand," or "less intelligent," are starting to really taint this book. If I had wanted to understand how condescending this guy was, I could've figured it out some other way besides reading this book. It's a shame, because he is trying to convey the essence of Hinduism and the Krishna consciousness movement, and through his actions, making me wonder if this condescension is not an isolated occurrence...
2 comments| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?

Dr. Duck5 years ago
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JES- No, it's not an isolated occurrence - you've pretty much nailed it. People don't know or understand just how obnoxious this little creep really was. From his general stupidity and ignorance of the very science he tore down, to his chauvinistic attitude towards women and support of Hitler, this man was neither special or ethical. And it doesn't take an Atheist to recognise this.
.
Raghuram Krishnaswamy5 years ago
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Try Winthorp Sargent's Bhagavad Gita. Its a very superior text
Leave a repl



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/23/2017 03:13AM by corboy.

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Re: Bhag Gita As It Is from non ISKCON
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 23, 2017 03:24AM

For more comments from former ISKCON devotees, go to Amazon and
read the reviews of the book, Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness and the Hare Krishnas.

[www.amazon.com]

The book is well worth reading. Early in the book, there is a telling episode
in which a low ranking devotee, totally ignored by Prabhupada, finally gets the old
coot's praise and attention.

Prabhupada was in his robes, surrounded by devotees in his robes, striding through
an airport to catch a plane flight to India.

A huge number of gawkers gathered.

On the spot, this lowly disciple was inspired to by spontaneously passing out baskets for a collection. He then brought that basket, knelt down before
Prabhupada and held up that basket full of loot.

Prabhupada praised this.

As the author put it, this disciple, ignored for so long by Prabhupada, had in that moment, learned a lesson he would never forget.

Bringing in money was the sure way to get the gurus attention.

Prabhupada was peddling a lie. He should have been teaching bhakti devotion
not to Krishhna, but to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

Loot.

Mammon.
.

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Re: Hare Krishna Cult Recruiting in Haight Ashbury San Francisco
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 23, 2017 09:21AM

Excerpted from Agehananda Bharati's survey of mysticism entitled 'The Light at the Center: Pretext and Context of Modern Mysticism 1976

'(footnote on page 236) 'Sri Caitanya (1485-1533) was a Bengali Brahmin, and the foremost devotional reformer of the late Bengali Middle Ages. His influence, although localized in Bengal and Orissa generated a powerful millennial type movement which peaked in the 17th Century all over Northern India and declined thereafter. There is no doubt that Swami AC Bhaktvedanta (Prabhupada) 'the Lord's Food) silver bullion broker of Calcutta turned saint, founder of the Hare Krishna movement in the western world, created a genuine duplication of the Caitanya movement in an expatriate setting.'

(Bharati wrote this before the Swami died and ISKCON became corrupted by power struggles among his successors)

( Note: Bharati does not say so, but one wonders whether the period in which Caitanya's movement peaked would correspond to the worst period of Moghul persecution of Hindus. Aurangzeb was an Islamic bigot who created a social wasteland by persecuting his Hindu subjects and driving his best Hindu supporters from court. Aurengzeb's long reign ended early in the 18th century--which correponds to the peak period of Caitanya's movement in India)

Bharati's observations on Prabhupada's theology.

'(page 186 of Light at the Center published in 1976)

'It is much more difficult to find a troupe of 'Hare Krishna' singing and dancing devotees in the streets of Calcutta (Note: Bharati wrote this in the early to mid 1970s) than in the US...Except for Bengalis abroad, Hindus have hardly heard about 'Hare Krishna' singing in India(Corboy italics) only now do they witness in the West what some saint, unknown to them, created a few centuries ago in rural northeastern India.

'Krishna Consciousness' in the mind and in the words of Swami Bhaktivedanta and his roughly 4,000 followers (1976) in North America is a term referring to an interpreted mystical state.

Since the Vaishnava does not want to "merge" (that is does not want to merge with the Deity but remain separate while ecstatically adoring the Deity--Corboy note, not Bharati's) being different from KRSNA in playful eternity, a zero experience (Bharati's term for merger of human consciousness with the Absolute) occurring to the Vaishnava is interpreted about as negatively as a Christian orthodox mystic's experience.

Bharati writes:

I asked Swami Bhaktivedanta about this--and he got quite irritated, rejecting monistic Vedanta in the same irate style in which Vaishnavas have been rejecting it as heresy for 800 years.' (Unquote)

In other words, one adores God while remaining separate from God, vs the monistic Vedantin's goal of merging with God.

One guru said it is the difference between tasting sugar (conscious adoration)
vs becoming sugar (merger with the Absolute)

Further Reading For Non Devotee History Lovers

An intricate theology undergirds the Gaudiya Vasihnavas and, by extension ISKCON.

The term "rasa" is important in Gaudiaya Vaishnava theology.

Quote


Encyclopedia Britannica

rasa, ( Sanskrit: “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” literally “sap” or “juice”) Indian concept of aesthetic flavour, an essential element of any work of visual, literary, or performing art that can only be suggested, not described.

"Rasa" was first discussed by early Hindu philosophers interested in
understanding and describing self transcendence and its role in performing
drama and in writing poetry. Later, discussions of rasa shifted to
how persons witnessing drama, ritual and hearing poetry experience self transcendence. Later, 'rasa' was applied to discussions of worship and adoration.

A summary of how rasa theory was developed and later utilized by Vaishnava bhakti theologians.

Narasinha Mehta of Gujarat: A Legacy of Bhakti in Songs and Stories

[books.google.com]; "gaudiya vaishnava"&f=false

Rasa Theology/Gerald Carney in Vaishnavism page 297

[books.google.com]
Excerpts from "An Intellectual History of Rasa, in A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics

[books.google.com]

[books.google.com]

[books.google.com]

The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word 'rasa' is 'taste'

In medieval India, theories of rhetoric and aesthetics using the term 'rasa' developed in the context of discussions by Hindu philosophers who developed theories of rhetoric and aesthetics in relation to drama, and then poetry.

[books.google.com]

Chaitanyas disciples utilized this literature when developing texts to define
and stabilize Gaudiya Vaishnava theology -- and identity.

When a charismatic leader such as Chaitanya dies, his or her sect may scatter
and be lost to history unless ways are found to stablize and "routinize" the leader's charisma so that a way can be found to preserve its message and make it attractive and teachable to future generations.

Written texts, a terminology, a core of stories and a dogma must be created.

To do this, material from the surrounding culture must be studied, discussed, selected and modified.

The Gaudiya Vaishnavas did this using rasa theory, existing texts from Sanskrit literture, interpreted in such a way as to validate their doctrine, along with composition of songs, music, distinctive badges of identity and rituals.
.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2017 06:50AM by corboy.

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Why For Devotees Only Adoration is the Acceptable Response
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 24, 2017 12:18AM

To to the devotee, only utter adoration is the acceptable response.

The devotee is in a world where there are no limitations, no history, eternal time for the devotee believes in and has surrendered to a person who is a Person beyond time, beyond history, beyond good beyond evil, beyond catagories, beyond morality.

There's no outside to this. None. Not for the devotee.

Evidence as we outsiders value it and evaluate it? Irrelevant, delusional.

History? Ditto. What an insult.

Sudhir Kakar, an Indian Hindu psychiatrist, sympathetically described followers ('Satsangis') of Charan Singh, a guru and leader of the Radhasaomi Beas sect. (Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, 1982 pp 125 -126)

Dr. Kakar's observations appear to describe devotees of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.

After describing features of Radhasoami doctrine, practice and the complex sectarian rivalries within Radhasaomi, Kakar wrote:

"It is important to note here that for the Satangis (of whatever persuasion) as indeed members of all mystical (groups), a historical account of the group's origin that does not read like the unfolding of a divine plan and biographical sketches of their gurus that are not exercises in hagiography are essentially false.

"(Disciples) feel that historical accounts are misleading since they reduce the eternal temporal and limit what is universal to the confines of a particular geographical region.

"The spiritual base and mystical regimen of the Radhasoami faith (or ISKCON - Corboy), they claim, are not the products of individuals or of historical movements, nor can they be explained by recourse to any psychological or sociological constructs. To its adherants, the Radhasoami faith is the real teaching of every saint at all times of history. Christ and Buddha, Krishna and Kabir, the Sufi saints and the Sikh gurus, have all talked of and taught exactly the same journey on the road to self transformation. When the original core of major religious writing is uncovered,
the misunderstandings introduced due to later interpolations are removed and the missing links restored, then the mystical kernal of all religions, the Satsangis say, stands revealed as being identical with the teachings of Santmat.

(Corboy note: change the nouns and you will see that Prabhupada and his devotees make the identical claim for their sect and would consider the Radhasoamis to be deluded if not evil.

"...The attempt at universalization and eternalization and hence at achieving permanance of the sect's theory and practice is also extended to the personage of its gurus. Instead of being individuals with distinctive names and personal histories, the gurus become "the embodiment of the Supreme Spirit"
and in a sense flow into each other."

(Corboy note: which is why devotees feel vitalized by reading this kind of literature, and non devotees usually feel puzzled or downright bored.)

It is possible to look at a group from two perspectives: in -group and out-group.

[www.google.com]

A non cultic group encourages or at least permits its members to regard
it from both an insider and outsider perspective.

For example, you can be an avid fan of Star Trek, yet at the same time be able to see yourself as non Trekkies see you,even laugh at an joke that satirizes Star Trek.

As a Trekkie, you can accept the existence of outsider perspectives on Star Trek. You do not mind if people do not share your liking for Star Trek.

Not ISKON. For the ISKCON devotee, the only acceptable, sane perspective
is that of the insider, the devotee. Period.

This is why anyone who respects Prabhupada's scholarship (as the Amazon 3 Star reviewer did) yet points out that Prabhupada's stance was sectarian and therefore limited, incurred wrath from Prabhupada devotees.

For the devotee. Mere respect for Prahbupada's scholarship is not enough. Mere respect is short of adoration and is therefore, to the Prabhupada devotee, an insult.

Why? Because, to the devotee Prabhupada exists
beyond history and therefore has no biases and no limitations!

Whatever the name of the sect, its devotees regard only the hagiographic, devotional stance as accurate. This corresponds to what anthropologists term
the in-group, emic perspective.

To the devotee, the out-group, 'etic' perspective is at best inaccurate, at worst, is regarded as deluded, demonic, evil.

Anyone who insists on viewing the sect in terms of history, social categories, is automatically an outsider -- a potential convert or an enemy.

It may be considered permissible, even necessary to lie to the outsider, either to convert that outsider to an insider/devotee -- or keep the outsider at a safe distance and conceal the group's actual sources of social power -- and often its wealth, weapons and any crime records)

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