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Curious: Hello! How are you?
sitaram: Very well. I see you are just as curious as ever.
Curious: Are you busy? Am Interrupting anything?
Sitaram: Not at all, glad to hear from you.
Curious: This is the first time I have been on in a few days, Wasn't feeling well over weekend.
Sitaram: Everyone seems to be sick. Its that time of year. I'm waiting patiently for my own "affliction" to arrive.
Curious: I didn't get a chance to go get my books, have plans to take the kids to
the bookstore tonight, I am really excited to get started! Hopefully you will stay healthy
and not get sick. I am still really really tired. Seems like I cant get enough sleep!
Sitaram: Would you be interested in a copy (via e mail) of a chat I am having with someone regarding the differences between Christianity and Hinduism?
Curious: I didn't know that you could do that! But absolutely, if you dont mind. I never knew that there was someone else like me that has a real interest in religions!
Sitaram: Im glad you are interested in different religions. Here comes your e mail now.
Curious: Thank you Sitaram.
Sitaram: You might enjoy a paperback by huston Smith entitled something like "Religions of the World" it is very readable and informative. Also, look over anything you find by ninian Smart, also a scholar of comparative world religions.
Curious: Thanks Sitaram. It is so nice to see someone who is so knowledgeable.
Sitaram: Thanks for the complement. Of course there are many in the world who are far far more knowledgeable than I. I am currently reading a five volume paperback series by jaroslav pelikan (Sterling Professor. of History at yale) on The Christian Tradition: The History and Development of Doctrine. It is superb, and he is masterful. He lives in Hamden CT, next to the town where I grew up, next to New haven. He is in the white pages. I called his home yesterday to have the honor of hearing his voice, but his wife answered.
Curious: There will always be someone smarter, richer, more beautiful, etc., ....but you have been a joy to talk to. It is nice to have someone who can actually teach me things and help me find where to look, instead of the usual "on line men" who are looking for much more than an intelligent conversation, and for that I thank you! What would you have said to him had he answered?!
Sitaram: ... and suggested that I write him a letter. Hey! The worst anyone can do is hang up. If I had the dalai Lama's number, or the Pope's, I probably couldn't resist dialing those either. I would have thanked Jaroslav for writing the volumes, and told him what they meant to me, that I wanted to hear his voice once before I die, and that I had four questions to ask him. The simplest of the four was "Have you read the History of Heresy by david christie-Murray, " which is my other favorite book in that category....
Curious: lol!!! you have a point there, I would love to just have a few hours with any great spiritual leader ...just to hear their ideas....i would also love to just sit and talk to maya angelou!!
Sitaram: the second simplest question,... but potentially sensitive... "What is your own denomination of church"
Sitaram: The Third question, perhaps not sensitive at all is... "How have you personally been changed by your research and writing of this subject"....
David Christie-Murray worked on History of Heresy for 20 years. and switched from Anglican priest to Quaker
Curious: he converted to quaker?
Sitaram: the fourth, and perhaps most sensitive question.... "and I would first swear to him that I would never quote him.... ".... " Are there any conclusions that you draw from your studies about the truth or correctness of doctrine which, for reasons of political correctness, you cannot publish publicly"
Sitaram: Yes,... David Christie-Murray started out as an Anglican Priest,... but after 20 years of researching and writing "The History of Heresy"... he converted to the Quaker Society of Friends...
Curious: your question #4 is a great question, one that I have always wondered about .....there is so much information being withheld because of political reasons...
Curious: we should just have a society that would make "honesty" as being"politically correct"
Sitaram: well, I simply mean that Jaroslav Pelikan may perhaps have stumbled on cogent arguments which recommends one creed over another... but might refrain from publishing such an "opinion"... well, for any number of valid reasons... ranging from compassion towards the members of other creeds..
Sitaram: .... to consideration for the Yale university.. with which he is associated...
Sitaram: David Christie-Murray hints , mentions, in the History of Heresy that something happened in the Anglican Church in its early history which might well have destroyed its claim to Apostolic succession.... but he doesn't elaborate... I wish he would
Curious: that would make for some real intense reading I bet....it would have to have been something enormous
SITARAM: King solomon, reputed to be the wisest of men ever wrote,... "The reading of many books is a weariness to the flesh
Sitaram: So many books, so little time
Sitaram: In some sense, perhaps all of human learning is but "a tinkling of bells and a sounding of brass cymbals"
Curious: thats the way I feel....i have always been an avid reader... since childhood.....I used to get in trouble for reading all the time at home and not going out and playing with the other kids..lol .... or "the tale of a mad man.... full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing" and what do you seek from your study and inquiry...??? What is your ultimate goal or desire??
Sitaram: socrates once said "Philo-sophy is the Love of Wisdom.... but God does not Love Wisdom, for He already possesses it, or IS it,... We only Love what we do not possess.
Sitaram: So for there to be Love,... desire.... There must be SEPARATION this makes wisdom , not a place, but a journey.
Sitaram: I want to look for a book from my shelf... and read you something from it... please wait ,.. if you can ...
Curious: What does your screen name mean? I dont mean to change the subject, but I was just curious...."my" ultimate goal is to bring total love to each and every life I touch, make people love each other for who they are and not what they do or how they do it...total acceptance ...harmony between all, I dont feel love is a possession, it is much deeper than just that
Curious: I can wait....
Sitaram: Aha, I found it... it wasn't easy....
Sitaram: I wont tell you who the author is,... you probably never heard the name anyway.... I will just quote a passage...
(from Meher Baba): Consciously or unconsciously, every living creature seeks one thing. In the lower forms of life and in less advanced human beings, the quest is unconscious; in advanced human beings, it is conscious.
The object of the quest is called by many names; happiness, peace, freedom, truth, love perfection, self-realization, God-Realization, union with God.
Essentially, it is a search for all of these, but in a SPECIAL WAY. Everyone has moments of happiness, glimpses of truth,fleeting experiences of union with God what they want is to make them PERMANENT. They want to establish an ABIDING reality in the midst of constant change.
This is a natural desire, based fundamentally on a memory - dim or clear as the evolution of the individual soul may be low or high - a memory of the souls essential unity with God.
For every living thing is a partial manifestation of God, conditioned only by its lack of knowledge of its own true nature.
The whole of evolution, in fact, is an evolution from unconscious divinity to conscious divinity,in which God Himself, essentially eternal and unchangeable, assume an infinite variety of forms, enjoys an infinite variety of experiences, and transcends an infinite variety of self-imposed limitations.
Evolution from the standpoint of the Creator is a divine sport (lila), in which the Unconditioned tests the infinitude of His absolute knowledge, power, and bliss in the midst of all conditions. But evolution from the standpoint of the CREATURE, with its limited knowledge limited power, limited capacity for enjoying bliss, is an epic of alternating rest and struggle, joy and sorrow, love and hate --- until in the perfected person, God balances the pairs of opposites, and duality is transcended.
Then creature and Creator recognize themselves as ONE; changelessness is established in the midst of change; eternity is experienced in the midst of time. God knows Himself as God, unchangeable in essence, infinite in manifestation, ever experiencing the supreme bliss of Self-realization in continually fresh awareness of Himself by Himself.
This Realization must and does take place only in the midst of life; for it is only in the midst of life that limitation can be experienced and transcended, and that subsequent freedom from limitation can be enjoyed. (this union of the created and Creator is an Avatar or Incarnation).
=== end of passage
Sitaram: What do you think? Did you like that?
Curious: I think it is very "deep". I like it and agree with some of it, although I do not totally agree with all of it. But that is what makes us each individuals with individual beliefs...but overall I really liked it...
Sitaram: good, im glad...
Curious: who wrote it?
Curious: and what does your name "Sitaram mean?
Sitaram: I will tell you...
Sitaram: Ram, is an Incarnation of vishnu,... one of the Persons of the Hindu Trinity, Brahman Vishnu Shiva , Creator Preserver Destroyer
Sitaram: He is the "hero" of the scripture called ramayan... "the journey of Ram" ..sita is his wife... but in Hinduism, she is equally an Incarnation... God is never without both Male and Female manifestations. The Ramayan was the favorite book of Gandhi
Sitaram: Surely you have heard the expression "Dont worry, be happy."
Sitaram: Well, as you perhaps know that expression comes from a song which was popular a few years ago
Curious: I would never have figured that name out.....one of my favorite sayings!! why worry about all the little things..they really dont matter....
Sitaram: the song came about because,... for a period of 10 or 15 years,... a sign had been hung on a bridge in California.... which was a quote from the same author who wrote the long passage which I just typed for you ... but "Dont Worry , Be happy " is just the last part of the quotation ... the complete quotation is "Do your best. Dont worry. Be happy." The story of the sign on the bridge, and the song... comes from ekanath easwaren's three volume translation of the gita, with commentary.
Curious: I didn't know that....that is interesting
Sitaram: The name of the author is Meher Baba. He was a holy man from india, who was active in the 1950's
Curious: I have never heard that name before.....he is hindu?
Sitaram: He was considered by his followers to be one of these Avatars,... a union of creature and Creator. Well, I suppose, if you asked him,... it would be sort of like asking God,... "what is your religion"
Sitaram: I will tell you a funny story which relates to this ...I visited a Reform synagogue,... and joined a Torah study group .. now , you must understand that the Reform Jews disapprove of the lubavitchers, and the late menachem schneerson,.. who claimed to be moshiach, or Messiah ...
but this one lady at the table raised her hand, and said to the Rabbi ..." Rabbi, if the late Menachem Schneerson walked through that door this minute,... Id become a lubavitcher in a heartbeat ..Then, she added,... If the late Pope pius walked through the door, id become roman catholic
..So.... If we had a chance to talk to God, and ask Him,... "which of the religions on earth is Your religion" ... well if he named any one of them... we would be just like that lady,... and convert in a heartbeat ...but if you could ask God right now,.... what is your religion, are You Hindu... what do you think He might say???
Sitaram: let me answer your question in a different way....
Curious: I think he would say that there is no name for his religion..it is in your heart.....that is a cute story! my sister in law converted to judaism.....i dont know what caused her to do that, she was never a religious person before that....just happened out of the blue...
Sitaram: EXACTLY... very GOOD!
Sitaram: just the other day, I was reading the Epistle of St. james.... there is once verse , one sentence , which is very intriguing. He writes .... "Religion is simply this, to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, and to keep yourself unspotted from the world."
If that suddenly became the sole criterion and definition of Christianity, how many Christians do you think there would be??? Perhaps Mother theresa,... in fact.... most definitely Mother Theresa. ...
Curious: Not a whole lot....I think people should be more inclined to have faith and beliefs instead of just trying to force their religion on others... like in the chat room the other night, some man came on damning everyone that want a Christian
Sitaram: Yes , I know, and yet Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged
Curious: and I also think that the christians are so judgmental when in fact, the bible says, judge not lest ye be judged......
Sitaram: It is very interesting that the Good Samaritan of the parable... was a heretic to the Jews of the Temple of Solomon where jesus worshiped
Curious: Oops....same wavelength!!!! ha ha
Sitaram: In fact Jesus was Jewish, wasn't he..
Sitaram: But the samaratans only accept as sacred the Torah, the first five books of old testament, and do not consider jerusalem or Temple of Solomon holy, but only Mount sinai where moses received the Law
Curious: Well once again it was a true pleasure talking to you, I have to go pick up my kids from school....jesus was a jew because he was born in Jerusalem...not all jews practice the Jewish religion..
Sitaram: and yet, the Samaritan was "justified" by his work of love.... not by the correctness , or incorrectness of his doctrinal beliefs
Sitaram: Bye! Looking forward to talking again...
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