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mountainman
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« on: July 02, 2009, 09:03:30 AM »

hello, I am new to this forum. 
 
About ten years ago, I was very interested in a type of meditation taught and promoted initially in this country by an eastern "master" by the name of sant Kirpal, a sikh by birth but teaching a type of yoga set apart from that religion and open to western people wishing to be "initiated" into it's mysteries.  He came to this country in the mid sixties I believe and before his death passed on his "master" status to a beloved disciple Ajaib, who became the subsequent master.  Since his passing , a new "master" has emerged, I believe about seven or so years ago.  At the time I was under the tutelage of one of these initiates, a very loving and artistic man for who I worked in a local ceramic shop.  When the time came, I went to the ashram to have an audience with the new master and was put into a line for an interview.  I was extremely anxious and felt in a bit over my head the whole time. (I should mention briefly that I had a parallel interest in rastafarianism and out of that grew an interest in Orthodoxy, encouraged by the recent conversion of two of my closest boyhood friends)  When it came time for the interview I found myself ushered into a small room where the master sat with a number of his disciples gathered around.  To my confusion and bewilderment I found that somehow I had gotten into the wrong line and was in a private darshan reserved only for initiates.  This darshan consisted of a line of disciples who filed past the master, each looking into his eyes until he indicated that they move on.  When it was my turn I stood in front of him,looked into his eyes, feeling nothing but an odd wonderment at how impersonal this encounter seemed.  He indicated with his eyes that I should move on and I did, walking out of there and away from the ashram, never looking back...

six months later I was baptised into the orthodox church, but I have some lingering questions about this former path that I have never gotten satisfactory answers to.

First of all, this meditation is characterized by the recitation of the five names of God, only known by those who have been initited.  the recitation of these five names is supposed to bring about naam, something like grace, which is indicative of the presence of God and is characterized by a light and a sound.  I guess my question is simple:  as Orthodox christians are we bound to understand this experience as purely demonic in nature, an imitation of the true presence of God, or is there something of value and of the truth in this experience?

Also:  I do believe that these masters, although on the surface of things seemingly so characterized and indeed defined by the spiritual gullibilty of their followers (especially in America), are gentle and loving men who as far as I know never openly abused the power inherent in their position and are greatly beloved by their disciples both in this country and abroad(as well as many in India).  Sant Kirpal in particular was also greatly respected for his humanitarian efforts both in his lifelong profession as a doctor and in his "extra curicular activities".  Sant Ajaib, by contrast was an unlearned punjab peasant who spent years alone in meditation in a cave before becoming the new master.  So there was much to be commended in their lives, and yet since I have been orthodox, I have come to understand just how much is missing...

any thoughts?

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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2009, 09:19:17 AM »

hello, I am new to this forum.
Hello and welcome to the forum!  Smiley
 

 I guess my question is simple:  as Orthodox christians are we bound to understand this experience as purely demonic in nature, an imitation of the true presence of God, or is there something of value and of the truth in this experience?
Great question!  You'll probably get varied answers to this question, but I would speak to your priest about your question.  Here's a book that I think might answer some, if not all, of your concerns.

The Gurus, The Young Man, and Elder Paisios
http://www.amazon.com/Gurus-Young-Man-Elder-Paisios/dp/1887904166

and yet since I have been orthodox, I have come to understand just how much is missing...
It seems you probably already know the answer to your questions. 

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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2009, 09:27:18 AM »

Wow, welcome to the forum, mountainman!

No, Orthodox Christians are not bound to understand things only as purely heavenly or purely demonic. There is a good deal that is merely human, as well. In addition, we believe that Christ Immanuel is within all of us, so even when people are acting according to the will of demons, they still retain the capacity to receive grace. Therefore, we cannot say that anything is purely demonic, for within everyone is the capacity to do the will of God.

Yours is an interesting story. I hope you will share more with us from your unique perspective.
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mountainman
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 10:34:48 AM »

thank you for your rsponses.

I understand very well what you are saying ytterblumanalyst, and i agree.  I believe the tendancy, especially the U.S., is either to polarize or generalize.  Even those who subscribe to a relativistic view of life often oppose this view against those who hold a "fundamentalist" view.  We must be able to talk about the seriousness and complexity of our faith as it exists in the world with other religions without falling into a relativistic trap.  Unfortunately(or perhaps fortunately), this is a difficult line to walk and many people find it much easier and safer to characterize other religion or spiritual path as entirely influenced by the deciever.

Perhaps the yardstick for understanding what is good is to seek for that which is truly human, and by this I mean the true humanity of the Son of God.  In my understanding of the path taught by these masters, there is an emphasis put on individual meditation and less put on the action or common work of the community.  What is lacking perhaps is the notion of true relationship with the creator-- instead there is an emphasis on a uniting or merging with a God who never reveals himself as a person.  One of the more disturbing things my former boss, an initiate, once said to me was "We all die alone".

Also, I was always intrigued by the experience of uncreated light and sound-- yes the master does characterize this light as "uncreated"--but also the "uncreated" sound.  Is there any parallel to this experience of sound in the christianity?

God Bless.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 10:36:54 AM by mountainman » Logged
mountainman
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 11:01:36 AM »

also, thanks for the book recommendation, GabrieltheCelt, it is much appreciated.

God Bless.
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 11:31:12 AM »

Quote from: mountainman
Perhaps the yardstick for understanding what is good is to seek for that which is truly human, and by this I mean the true humanity of the Son of God.
Quite so. I think this is an important point.

Quote from: mountainman
Also, I was always intrigued by the experience of uncreated light and sound-- yes the master does characterize this light as "uncreated"--but also the "uncreated" sound.  Is there any parallel to this experience of sound in the christianity?
As far as I know, this concept is only evident in Eckankar.  Perhaps others have heard of something like this in Christianity.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 11:31:34 AM by ytterbiumanalyst » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 01:10:27 PM »

In my understanding of the path taught by these masters, there is an emphasis put on individual meditation and less put on the action or common work of the community.  What is lacking perhaps is the notion of true relationship with the creator-- instead there is an emphasis on a uniting or merging with a God who never reveals himself as a person.  One of the more disturbing things my former boss, an initiate, once said to me was "We all die alone".
The Bhakti lineages (Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta, e.g.) emphasize God as Person.

Quote
Also, I was always intrigued by the experience of uncreated light and sound-- yes the master does characterize this light as "uncreated"--but also the "uncreated" sound.  Is there any parallel to this experience of sound in the christianity?
If God's Energies are uncreated, then I would suspect that "uncreated sound" may be a Divine Energy.


« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 01:12:29 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 01:26:21 PM »

how are the teachings of these lineages to be compared with the christian teaching of God as a person?
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2009, 01:58:07 PM »

how are the teachings of these lineages to be compared with the christian teaching of God as a person?

It differs. Indian traditions are diverse. There's the Madhva tradition, which makes a strong distinction between God and creation. According to this tradition, there are three categories of reality: Vishnu (God); souls; and matter-energy. Vishnu is the only independent reality, and both the souls and matter-energy are dependent upon Vishnu. Vishnu and the souls and matter-energy are different, and this difference is real, not illusion.

Madhva differs from Christian teaching in a few ways, one of which is that for Madhva, the souls and matter-energy are both (1) totally dependent upon Vishnu for their very existence, and (2) eternal and non-created; whereas Christianity argues that souls and matter-energy are non-eternal and created.
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In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2009, 07:45:16 PM »

whereas Christianity argues that souls and matter-energy are non-eternal and created.
Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that souls are eternal; the soul doesn't disappear after death, it either experiences hell or heaven.  After the Day of Judgment, it will experience these states eternally. 
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2009, 04:37:40 PM »

whereas Christianity argues that souls and matter-energy are non-eternal and created.
Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that souls are eternal; the soul doesn't disappear after death, it either experiences hell or heaven.  After the Day of Judgment, it will experience these states eternally. 


By "non-eternal", I mean that souls had an origin in time, even if after that time they may exist forever.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2009, 10:19:59 AM »

whereas Christianity argues that souls and matter-energy are non-eternal and created.
Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that souls are eternal; the soul doesn't disappear after death, it either experiences hell or heaven.  After the Day of Judgment, it will experience these states eternally. 


By "non-eternal", I mean that souls had an origin in time, even if after that time they may exist forever.
The term "eternal" comes from the Latin "ex" meaning "without, from" and "terminus" meaning "end." So, properly, "eternal" merely means "without end." In that case, humans are very much eternal beings.
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2009, 10:52:33 AM »

whereas Christianity argues that souls and matter-energy are non-eternal and created.
Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that souls are eternal; the soul doesn't disappear after death, it either experiences hell or heaven.  After the Day of Judgment, it will experience these states eternally. 


By "non-eternal", I mean that souls had an origin in time, even if after that time they may exist forever.
The term "eternal" comes from the Latin "ex" meaning "without, from" and "terminus" meaning "end." So, properly, "eternal" merely means "without end." In that case, humans are very much eternal beings.

According to the OED, "eternity" may stretch into both past and future:

Quote
1. a. Infinite in past and future duration; without beginning or end; that always has existed and always will exist: esp. of the Divine Being.

The etymology of "eternal" traces to the Latin "aevum":

Quote
[a. OF. eterne, ad. L. ætern-us, for æviternus, f. ævum age.]
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2009, 08:48:44 AM »

The etymology of "eternal" traces to the Latin "aevum":

Quote
[a. OF. eterne, ad. L. ætern-us, for æviternus, f. ævum age.]
I wish I had access to an OED. Anyway, I believe we have now cleared up the trouble and can get back to the actual discussion.
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