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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How To Use Japa Mala Beads

Japa Mala beads are the Hindu rosary. I say that so those not familiar with them can get a basic idea of what they are and what they are used for. The Hindu mala beads were certainly in existence long before Christianity was a thing, so there is some evidence that Christianity may have gotten the idea for the rosary from Hinduism. Many cultures do have prayer beads, ways of counting repetitions of mantras or prayers, and they probably all began with Hindu malas. "The use of beads in prayer … [Read more...]

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You can’t just study: the three paths to God

Someone made a comment last week (and I can't remember now where it was, whether here or Facebook) that western Hindus are all about philosophy and not bhakti, which is devotion practices.He has a point. Leaving aside ISKCON which is full of westerners practicing bhakti, many of us follow Advaita and the emphasis is on learning, reading, studying, intellectually understanding.In Hinduism it is said that there are three different channels of spiritual growth and each person (or each … [Read more...]

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