The Misunderstanding of Me

"I alone am Brahma" -Ribhu Gita"No one comes to the Father but through Me" -Jesus, the Bible"Controlling the mind and fixing it on Me, sit in meditation with Me as your only goal." -Krishna, Bhagavad GitaIf you believe that the speakers of these sentences were speaking of "Me" as their own individual current embodiment then you'd become an exclusivist, believing that there's only  image of God that will get you to your goal (heaven, moksha, etc.) But considering that different people … [Read more...]


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White Hindu Conversations Part Six

Someone on Facebook in a Hindu group posts a chart of Hinduism and for modern philosophies it includes only Advaita. A man comments that he's a born Hindu and doesn't see himself represented. I note that the chart seems to be missing quite a few sects, branches, and philosophies.His response? Hindu is group of sects and sect are not rigid like abrahamic religions So I'm agreeing with him that he doesn't seem to be represented but his response is to make enormous assumptions about me and my … [Read more...]


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Philosophical Differences

Last week Brad and I had the pleasure of visiting an ISKCON center and enjoying some bhajans, chanting, and Gita discussion. It was a wonderful atmosphere and very uplifting to be among fellow spiritual seekers.It's not often, I find, that as a Hindu I'm presented with a fundamental philosophical difference between branches. Usually you can just go to any Hindu function, event, or location and know what to expect. There's a great deal of similarity of practice among various Hindu … [Read more...]


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Bhakti Is The Foundation

Advaita Vedanta has a reputation for being very cerebral. It's a path of study, thinking, debating, talking, and learning. In very general terms it seems that if you want the path of study, you become an Advaitan. If you want the path of devotion you become a Vaishnava. If you want action you become a Shivite. If you want mysticism you become a Shakti. But as I've said before, there is a balance of all these different elements and it's a very rare person who can be fully one and not any of the … [Read more...]


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Shiva, my old friend

A little while ago a commenter here on the blog summed me up. They said I was an Advaitan with Shivite leanings. I thought about that and wondered if that is what I am. There's no doubt that I'm an Advaita Vedantist. That is my branch of Hinduism for sure. And there is also no doubt that Lord Shiva is the focus of my practice.You may remember my stories about the Nataraja statue that I discovered when I was 18 and about to leave for college. I had grown up with a lot of Indian philosophy … [Read more...]


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I Am Not a Statistic

I'm just me. A single human being trying to make sense of the world that I find myself in.I can't speak for other Hindus or even other Advaitans. I have my understanding that makes sense to me, but all I can know is my own heart.There are times when I feel like groups want to claim me for their side, want me to espouse their philosophy, want to add me to their ledger book. But I'm not just a non-Indian Hindu. I'm one person who lives a Hindu life to the best of her ability.Even as I … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi is a very well known Indian guru of the Advaita Vedanata philosophy. He died in 1950 but his quotes and books of his teachings continue to influence people today. (His birth name was Venkataraman Iyer and he is also sometimes called Ramanasramam).BackgroundIt is said that he became self-realized/enlightened by self-reflection (incited by ruminating on his father's death) and did not seek to go out and teach. Rather, students slowly began to flock to him because of his … [Read more...]


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Meet a Sage: Adi Shankara

Shankara is an enormously important figure in Hinduism, most particularly my branch of Advaita Vedanta. He was a brilliant philosopher from a young age and wrote amazing commentaries on all the Hindu scriptures in the 8th century CE.He re-energized the branch of Hinduism known as Advaita or Smartha. He believed that the ultimate reality was one of complete unity.During his young life, he traveled by foot over all of India discussing and spreading his ideas, attempting to unify Hinduism. … [Read more...]


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What is Our Duty in Injustice?

The comments on this post got way out of hand and seriously off topic! But it brought up an interesting question for me.  What should our response, as Hindus, be when we hear of injustices in the world?I have to preface this by saying that I have a very hard time trusting any report I hear through the media. There is no news source that doesn't have a bias and it is impossible to share information without putting some kind of slant on it. I grew up in the Internet age: I'm very cynical about … [Read more...]


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