On the topic of violence:
What with its main holy book being centered around a religious war and
pretty much every purana exploring violence and justifying it:
Prasurama, the serial killing avatar, Narashimha—the atheist eating god,
chaitanya ready to crack the skulls of alcoholic brothers
(Jagai/madhai), is it any wonder
Never mind the pastimes of krishna riddled with violence and inciting violence whenever possible. Talk about an avatar that didn't know how to use his peaceful words to solve issues...
Never mind its unstoppable problem with rape, women abuse and religious
intolerance of anyone that does not worship 4 headed, four armed, monkey
and elephant gods or the humble cow...
You would think a country that was walked on by the lord in all his many
incarnations and is "flooded" with the chanting of the "holy name" would
have a lot less social ills. You know, since mantras are so powerful...
But alas, the power of the lord somehow can't infiltrate human
ignorance. It can't cure Butlers phobias, tin foil addiction and lust
The lord in all his glory sure as shit did ISKCON no favors. Gaudiya
math is pretty much unheard of... In less than 100 years,
Bhaktisiddhnatas "glorious" movement is barely recognizable as anything
he had hoped to create. Bhakta dating sites, Instagram gurus and fancy
temples in paradise open to the yoga/hindu shmindu seeker of baloney.
Meanwhile, Butler, Gabbard, SIF and all these other organizations have
done little to nothing for social welfare, spiritual seekers and
philosophical consideration. They have filled the world with
mythological storybooks they try to peddle as unadulterated absolute
truth. How is that different from any other religious faith? Is there
any offering of theirs that is really unique?
Think about it. To the average Gaudya, their naive conception of what
"goloka" is, is just as simplistic as the Christian heaven. Everyone
just feels good, is eternaly young and all the animals live in peace.
Like all other faiths, he who makes the biggest show of their spiritual
life is awarded the most accolades and attention.
Like Tusta et al, there is always a faction of followers touted as important and pure. Assess what qualities make them such and money and followers is close behind...
Sit in a hare krishna class or event. Ask yourself after you leave if the interactions and things that you heard and rituals that you witnessed had any real profound effect on you or left you with more questions than answers and a general sense of confusion about your life. I barter it's the latter and that's what they hope too, because the only solution to the conundrum is to show up again next week. And that is exactly how cults work. They don't offer any meaningful construct or system but rather the system is in the very Act of continuing to do the very things that leave people mindless and more confused.
When I went to my first Beach kirtans in Malibu as a child it was really the first time that I had witnessed such an intense paranoia, fear and confusion at the arrival of Chris Butler with his awkward wife. Don't mistake a sense of oddness for happiness and bliss. That is the same type of logic that a drug addict uses when they are high on some kind of psychedelic or other drug that confuses their state of mind but yet they experience enough Bliss and happiness associated with it that they just keep coming back even though it makes no sense to do so whatsoever.
Consider for a second, if you believe in god, why would such a completely existential incredible Force give a rats ass about temples being built in their name and souls all of a sudden realizing that they're stuck in some kind of illusory Network and they need to get out? What would be the purpose of this. If it is beyond reason and purpose and it is simply some kind of cosmic love. Consider this as well. Is not love a human construct? Anything that one knows about the concept requires a human brain. It requires the complexity of language to describe it. Did ancient humans love in the same way that people love during the Renaissance and medieval times or the Victorian era or the enlightenment or even modern day love? Of course not. It's a highly subjective construct that evolves with time and is a completely human fiction. Regardless of its pleasantry and seeming necessity. Is love needed for any process that you can conceive of in the universe? It certainly not needed for birth. People have senseless and affectionless sex all the time. Certainly on a molecular level there is nothing that we can observe that has the definition of what we consider to be love. The all-loving being makes it pretty much impossible to love. Creating a world that cock blocks your attempt at every turn from knowing "him", it's a miracle anyone even believes in god any more. That's the real miracle. Millions of years of evolution and humans have not figured out who god is, where he is, and what good is he for? Rapes, storms, earthquakes and murders? His "holy name" sure as shit has not changed the ebb and flow at all. And we all know the definition of insanity... chant on your beads till you become blue in the face.
Devotees like to claim that the love they preach about is of a transcendental type. Whatever that means. And of course, one can never verify or really know what that kind of love is or how it is shown. In fact, it can be argued that so-called Western transcendentalism made its way into India right about the time that bhaktivinode takur and his son were writing and preaching. It was definitely a catchphrase that took deep root in the devotee community. As I've stated before cults operate on a series of linguistic terms that are only used within the cult. Same thing with a preoccupation with pastoral romanticism. One can find its roots in all sorts of Village religions throughout India in the Middle East all the way into China and Mongolia. Never mind the growing pastoral romanticism present in medieval Christianity and many other faiths.
Prior to the composition of the srimad bhagavatam there was really no Radha and Krishna cult in India. So, at some point this sect arose as a poetic fascination that took hold in the political and public consciousness. No real veda mentions krishna, hardly vishnu, let alone their supremacy. At least not the main core for Vedas that so-called dharmic sastra's adhere to and make Allegiance and claims as being a part of. Never mind the bogus text that were written by more contemporary gaudia vaishnavacharya's with bold claims that the ideology belongs to the veda. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are propaganda and promotional pamphlets at best in comparison to early upanishadic texts.
Do you see any contemporary gaudiya guru trying to give purports and interpretations on the vedas? Of course not. Because it would be impossible and arduous to tie it to their scriptures in any way whatsoever. Trying to connect the dots of the Rig veda to the Bhagavatam is a giant mental leap. all the characters and their roles have changed and any semblance of the original is a mighty mighty long leap with the most crooked lines and haphazard dots connecting it.
Again, I do not think that it's at all problematic for the people of India to practice their native faiths (questionable what good it's done them if any, ever). After all it's their cultural roots and much of the history of the country is so grandfathered in and baked in with these gods and goddesses and stories that it's not really worth the work to convince them otherwise. I can't say what load of good it has done them from a historical perspective. I have yet to meet anyone who has any kind of impressive enlightened qualities. All that aside, anyone who is culturally appropriating Hinduism as a western person is just playing an eclectic and exotic game with their ego. At best they are modern-day pagans who still believe in the rain being the domain of some God and enjoy stretching and calling it "yoga".
Brahman is what most Hindus believe to be the highest Devine force. They feel it is all-pervading and the one truth like Tao and Yin yang. Because this is largely intangible, humans make God's so it becomes more relatable conceptually. But at it's core, this is what most Indian philosophical spiritual systems promote. This is at the heart fo what makes eastern faiths so appealing. They do not try to force some naive idea of some specific way that god looks or what god does or where we are going after we die. It is about a universal acceptance that all that is, is god. And that we respect that and try to feel that. Not that we run around some plant, chant x amount of rounds and follow some tin foil guru. Not that god is blue had a hot girlfriend and likes cattle. When people speak of sanatana dharma or the universal appeal of these eastern faiths it is hinged on brahman and the universal appeal of that. Not on it's plethora of gods and demons and stories. This is a more recent occurrence in history as people became more verbose and language and writing evolved. People made up stories and wrote poems.
Read the stories. But be realistic. They are parables to teach lessons not much unlike the mechanism of any fairy tale. It's there to encapsulate a moral and ethical consideration. To highlight paradoxes and to offer insight. It's not that snow white and her seven dwarves are real. Any more than Shrek.
Run along now!