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NOTE: the screen name X_Hindu is fictitious. Real screen names have not been used.
SITARAM: This chat room is kind of wild!
X_Hindu: Hi, !! How are you tonight?
SITARAM: Very well, thanks! I'm in Brooklyn, male, age 49.
SITARAM: I attend Bhuvaneshwar Mandir, a Guyanese Hindu Temple.
X_Hindu: I am 24/m, in Michigan.
SITARAM: We will be celebrating Divali (Deepauli) a week from Monday.
SITARAM: I rented all 28 videos of Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan (Hindi with English subtitles) and watched them ALL!
SITARAM: I also rented 30 of the 60 episodes of Mahabharat, also Hindi with English subtitles
X_Hindu: Thats great!! Do u have a friends circle ?Where did u say u basically are from ?
SITARAM: I was born in New York City... I live in Brooklyn.
SITARAM: I suppose I have more friends on line than in Brooklyn. Folks are busy with their lives, jobs, etc.
X_Hindu: Do you have an Indian background?
SITARAM: Actually, I am 100% Dutch and British ancestry, and raised with no religion. I studied Buddhism for 2 years (Korean). Now I have been attending for 5 years at Bhuvaneshwar Mandir.
SITARAM: I like the message of Tulsidas' Ramacharitmanassa.
X_Hindu: You really are into religion arent you?
SITARAM: Also, I like the message of the Bhagadvad Gita!
SITARAM: Yes, the study of Religions has been a big part of my life since I was 17 or 18. I read the Qur'an in English translation at age 19.
SITARAM: I studied Old/New Testament and learned ancient Greek in college.
X_Hindu: My word! You really seem to be into Hinduism! Have you read any other scriptures? Are you a theology student?
SITARAM: After college, I learned modern Greek and Russian.
SITARAM: And I spent 6 months in Russian Orthodox Christian monastery in upstate NY.
X_Hindu: Are you a priest at the temple?
SITARAM: Then I spent 13 months as a novice in a Greek monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts.
SITARAM: Well, for a year, they asked me to be a sort of Pujari at Mandir. But I am really not trained. It was very very simple: Arati and simple offerings.
X_Hindu: How do you find your religious experience as a Hindu vis-a-vis other religions that you have studied and practiced?
SITARAM: It was because we had received a gift of special Murtis of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, which were permanently installed (blessed), so they had to be served daily.
SITARAM: After I had been attending Mandir one year, and had become vegetarian (to serve Murtis). I had an incredible dream in which I saw Bhaghawan (God).
SITARAM: and He (She, It ?) said several things to me!
X_Hindu: Like... ?
SITARAM: That was a very powerful experience!
SITARAM: I will tell you the dream...
Just as when you stand at seashore...
and you can see to the horizon...
the curvature of the earth...
In the dream, I could see to the horizon... and I saw a little, triangular cloud on horizon...
and in dream, I instantly knew it was Bhagawan... (which means He who posseses every wealth, every opulence)
It spoke to me, saying....
"I am coming to see you"
The voice was the same intensity and clarity... whether the cloud was far away or
OM, which is Hindu, ... The Wheel of The Dharma, which is Buddhist, and Yin Yang, which is Taoist... (but no Christian symbol appeared in my hand)
In dream, I knew that it was a good thing, gift, and a sign that one
day I would achieve God-Realization. So I looked at the Cloud, and said,...
"Although I am in every religion, I am beyond all religions...
I am beyond all dualities... of Good / Evil, of Love / Hate, of Pleasure/Pain....
.... your anger, your bitterness,
SITARAM: it has changed my life,..... but I am not a Ghandi, not a
Mother Theresa,... not a Ramakrishna....
.... each of those was, in their own way, on a much higher plane
X_Hindu: I am an atheist...
SITARAM: but, perhaps, I am exactly what I should be, at this point in time...
SITARAM: ah, thats hard work,.... and no holidays either , and no one to help you.... ;-)
X_Hindu: Whats that supposed to mean ?
SITARAM: i do not think we have a great deal of choice in what we are, at any given time....
SITARAM: its partly a joke.... no religious holidays for athiests,... like Christmas, or Divali
SITARAM: and there is no one to help you as an athiest, in the sense of no "Holy Spirit",.... no Lord Krishna...etc
SITARAM: so, if you had a dream with a cloud,.... it would be smog from Los Angeles....
X_Hindu: I can help myself , always have, always will
SITARAM: i am partly joking, good-naturedly, and partly being serious
SITARAM: i think each of us must be what we are at a given point in time
X_Hindu: u can say that again ..
SITARAM: there is a purpose , a reason, a place for athiests also ... and for Christians, and Muslims,.. and Jews,... and Jains, and Sikhs... etc etc
X_Hindu: yes, to bring a semblance of reason and sanity to world overwhelmed by religious bigots!!!
SITARAM: there was a purpose for Ravanna and Hiranyakashipu....
and it is shown that they achieved Moksha (Liberation)... as well... in Hindu scriptures,...
God is shown as being so holy,...
that even His enemies are sanctified
for it is not possible to become strongly preoccupied with Divinity,
either through love or through hate, without being transformed oneself,
and Divinized or Deified I think that this is one nice message of Sanatan Dharma...
if you will allow that term...
SITARAM: in the Svetasvatar Upanisad (white horse).....God speaks,
"I am the source of every sacred scripture.... I am the source of every Religious Creed" ...
since God may be thought of as beyond Being and Non-being...
since being and non-existense have their source in God....
then perhaps God is even the source of Atheism... as well as Every Religious Creed....
Once a member of the Bramho Samaj approached Ramakrishna asking ..
"Is God with Form, (Saguna), or Formless (Nirguna)?" So, Ramakrishna answered,....
"He is both with Form, and Formless,... and transcends all Form and Formlessness... "
that which has no Name, His is Every Name, His Name is Ram, His name is Allah,....
Vaiheguru ki ji Khalsa, Vaiheguru ki ji Fateh
V = Vishnu
He = Hari
G = Govinda
R = Ram
SITARAM: ... that sort of thing....
SITARAM: I once had a talk with a very religious Sikh....
(and, of course, there are many Sikhs who are not very religious)...
and he explained that when someone ascends above a certain plane of spirituality,
creed, different religions disappear,... and one is in the Cloud...in the Divinity....
SITARAM: Ghandi was quoted once as saying...
"The matter of my own religious faith is a deeply personal and private matter, between myself and my Creator"
X_Hindu: I would love to hear more from you but I really gotto go now...
SITARAM: ultimately, we each stand alone,... at night, when we try to fall asleep, we are alone...
SITARAM: bye... thanks for nice chat
X_Hindu: We ought to meet some other time again...forward to Page 2