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Pradip Gangopadhyay
10:24 PM on 05/02/2011
This is my reply to outkast30's question "What is "karmic baggage" but past sin(?)".

Yes, you can say that karmic baggage is past sin provided you define sin carefully. In Hindu tradition sin is not an offence against God but an offence against one self. The implication is that when one sins, one has made an error and thus it is possible to rectify one's error. God does not enter the picture.

As far as I know sin in Christianity is an offence against God and it is not possible for a person to get rid of this baggage of sin. This is the reason why God the Father made a blood sacrifice by sacrificng his son Jesus Christ in a business transaction. No human effort can get rid of the baggage of sin in Christianity.

Outkast30 has asked another question, " Would you agree that those who fail to seek moksha are doomed to repeat the cycle, in effect eternal damnation (?)". The answer to this question is as follows: If a Hindu fails to seek mokhsha then it is his personal choice. He can at any moment seek mokhsha and escape the cycle of samsar. God does not enter the picture.

A Christian on the other hand can never get rid of his sins since sin is an offence against God. Thus an eternally damned Christian can not raise himself through his own effort.
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05:24 PM on 05/02/2011
What is "karmic baggage" but past sin. What does sin mean to you? For Christians sin entails a whole host of activities both intentional and unintentional put another way acts done in ignorance or not. You say "Christian salvation is a solution to the problem of Eternal Damnation caused by Original Sin". I would argue that salvation is a solution to our guilt and shame from our sin and our separation from God/the divine . Eternal damnation is simply the result of not seeking our salvation., our liberation from our past sin. Hindus too are seeking salvation/liberation from the karmic cycle/past sin. Would you agree that those who fail to seek moksha are doomed to repeat the cycle, in effect eternal damnation. Hindus too need liberation. If liberation is necessary the logical inference is that they are in bondage. Hindus must struggle to acheive liberation. If they are not in need of being saved /liberated then why would they have to struggle for liberation just like Christians do. My goal is not to equate the too religions. I realize there are many important differences and emphases but in this respect your claim to not being in need of salvation/liberation from pasts sins doesn't hold water to me and your air of religious superiority to your visitors doesn't seem very nice. . You only achieve what you dislike the most about your uninvited guests. An unneccesary air of superiority based on your religion. Its most unbecoming.
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Rajiv Malhotra
06:37 PM on 05/02/2011
I see difference as natural and something to be celebrated, not a problem to be solved. We do celebrate other cultural diversity and diversity in nature, so why not also celebrate humanity's various worldviews and paths? Hence, pointing out differences is important so that we learn about each other more authentically.

Where has the past 25 years of interfaith dialog taken us? In don't think hiding the real issues under the rug has produced anything useful.

Regarding my visitors, let me say this: most of my neighbors in this liberal left of center community don't welcome them in and many are outright rude to them. Even these young visitors have remarked at this. I am always courteous and want to listen, but also tell my side with clarity. This is dialog in the true sense.

And don't forget that they are the ones who initiate this encounter. What else would you want me to do - sign up for the Baptism?
07:34 PM on 05/02/2011
Rajiv, you haven't answered the valid question posed by outkast30: Isn't Karmic baggage past sin, and isn't Moksha needed to break the cycle?
Here's my take on that: Karmic baggage arises not just out of sin, but also out of good deeds. Good deeds result in more births to enjoy the fruits of the good deed. Sinful deeds result in births to suffer the pain of the sins. There are a few different paths to escape this cycle (attain Moksha) - Nirvana (enlightenment), Saranagati (surrender to God) and simply not accumulating any more good/bad karma.
07:38 PM on 05/02/2011
To continue the comment: Karmic baggage is therefore not necessarily sin. And hence, not everyone needs to work towards Moksha/liberation, you could do only good deeds all life and be reborn to enjoy the fruits of good karma.
08:35 AM on 05/03/2011
Outkast,

You say " what is karmic baggage but past sin". "Would you agree that those who fail to seek moksha are doomed to repeat the cycle, in effect eternal damnation.

This is incorrect for many a reasons:
Karma or being reborn is not negative (being damned) as you make it out to be. It is a neutral concept.

Second birth or rebirth comprises both happiness and suffering. Tell me how can happiness, joy, wellness constitute being termed eternally damned. When eternal damnation is a completely negative, miserable concept implying hell, burning fire eternal suffering.

I hope you realize the folly of equating karma or rebirth with damnation.

You say " If they are not in need of being saved /liberated then why would they have to struggle for liberation just like Christians do. "

Again not true. Only a miniscule number of Hindus are into spiritual pursuits and seek salvation/liberation. Most Hindus .. their goal is as laid out in out shastras ... pursuing Artha, Kama and Dharma. Sri Krishna has quite clearly laid it to Arjuna that his job in to do his
duty. Period...No talk of sin or eternal damnation.

You say "An unneccesary air of superiority based on your religion. Its most
unbecoming."

Actually it is Christians who believe their religion is the true one, their god, the only one and it is their sacred duty to force this on non believers. Now tell me who holds the superior position.
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Rajiv Malhotra
03:15 PM on 05/02/2011
In response to HS_Vacova's question, "what is Dharma’s applicatio­n in context of Caste?" my answer is as follows:

1) Dharma is a vast subject and my series of blogs will deal with specific aspects of it. Given the limits of word length I intend to address a specific issue per blog and not more. This blog is not about caste so this specific question is simply irrelevant.

2) In the context of original sin/salvation, those constructs are not applicable to dharma. This point has no bearing on caste.

3) Karma and reincarnation applies to everyone without exception, making one's choices in past lives as factors for one's present circumstances. This principle applies equally to all jatis and varnas.

4) To understand and debate "caste" as such, including whether it is Hindu per se, whether it is the same or different than jati, whether it equally applies to Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, Mr. HS_Vacova should go to those blogs and discussions that are specifically dealing with that - there are numerous such sites. Maybe one of my blogs in the future will address this specifically, at which time it will be fine to debate it. But for now I have plans to blog specifically on what I see as metaphysical differences between Abrahamic and dharmic traditions.
04:12 PM on 05/02/2011
Rajiv,


If you see original sin is inherently linked to genesis of mankind in Abrahamic faiths and I think what was missing was genesis of mankind according to Hinduism in the article which what I was pointing to. Since you are talking about original sin which is considered the reason for existence of humans by the Christians don’t you think it is also appropriate to bring into comparison the genesis of mankind in Hinduism also order to understand the reason for existence of humans?

Ultimately, your argument is a comparison of ideology of genesis of mankind according to Christianity and its difference in Hinduism. A comparison of the two would surely bring out a better discussion.
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Rajiv Malhotra
05:04 PM on 05/02/2011
There is no "first creation" or "genesis" in dharma. before this universe there was another and before that yet another. There has been a series of universes with NO absolute beginning.

The equivalent of sin in dharma is wrongful actions known as karma, which get accumulated from one life to the next. This applies equally to everyone.

Even Osama bin Laden as per karma theory is NOT in eternal Hell as there is no such thing. He will pay for his bad karma in future lives, maybe he will need many lives to clear that massive debt. But its finite and not infinite

Note that its ok to ask such a question and be given an answer as i just did. What is not ok is to harangue the author and intimidate discussants by going off track with a vengeance. In the end you must be big enough to leave it as a disagreement and stop when nothing meaningful is being added to the discourse. There is no point in going on and on pressuring the same point as though you demand a final resolution in your favor. Thats dogma and fanaticism. Each author and discussant reserves the right to write on topics he chooses and frame the scope of his writing as he desires. Your right is to disagree, and even walk away. But you cannot DEMAND,
02:20 PM on 05/02/2011
Great article. The concept of original sin always troubles me and when I (am forced to) attend a church service I cringe each time the pastor calls everyone sinners.
God is in our hearts and salvation is up to each individual. What I find strange in Catholicism is confession and absolution. So the so-called sinners can keep sinning and get absolution and go back and sin again.
And as you said very aptly, the gift of grace for them 'does not come as a result strictly of merit, spiritual practice, prayer or asceticism'.
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Rajiv Malhotra
01:51 PM on 05/02/2011
THE ABUSIVE COMMENTS BY HS_VACHOVA:

Many persons have written to me about the abusive comments by HS Vachova, who hounds me in all my blogs regardless of the topic. he wants to repeat over and over again his one point about caste in Hinduism. When his comments are let through and someone responds, he ignores the response and re-posts the same thing again. He is attempting to hijack healthy discussion on a given topic by adopting this very heavy bombardment style. This has reached a fanatical dimension.

I with to thank those who have provided educational and useful insights on the issue of original sin and salvation in Christianity and the lack of these constructs in dharma - this is the topic here and not caste. If you look at my previous blogs, HS Vachova is always there saying the same thing, disregarding the topic of the blog. This thwarts the author's attempts to bring new issues and ideas, and to generate honest discussions.
This comment has been removed due to violations of our [Guidelines]
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soma77
Author, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator
02:13 PM on 05/01/2011
It is love that blots out sin and knows no fear so there is nothing else a man/woman can do that is as beneficial as loving everything and everyone. Dharma is needed in the Christian faith and I feel we Christians can learn and progress spiritually from the concept of Dharma more than the concept of sin. http://thinkunity.com
DoesItMatter
empty micro bio
12:45 PM on 05/02/2011
Blind love will hurt humans. It is love for our cause, values, religions, country, near and dear ones, politicians, industry etc that cause so much trouble. The only thing that will not cause problem is when we have trpti - being Content. And only Saints and Rishis, who can cut their ties to the affairs of the World can even remotely cause not problems.

We are destined to be part of the problem and solution. It is not Love but Dharma that will sustain life on this planet.
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soma77
Author, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator
08:55 PM on 05/02/2011
Dharma and love are just lanterns in the darkness of night. They are a hidden elixir of life that gives sweetness so don't play better and best. They radiate bliss. I know Dharma means law, but it is not to be thrown at people. Mix it with love and enjoy.
12:54 PM on 05/01/2011
I thought this was a discussed and dead subject 100 years ago when Swami Vivekanand and even his Guru experienced first hand and proved that the concept of original sin is more of a barrier than tool in spiritual development. He proclaimed it is sin to call your brother human a sinner. But alas, the west likes to keep on chewing. That is fine but the problem is they are coming in all cities, villages and our living rooms wanting to pray for our sins!!!
How long does the Dharmic world need to wait till discussions are held with sound reasoning and experience? When will the world begin to see with a borrowed eye? When can we begin to make the earth a planet of Truth and Light? May we get the patience of our Vedic seers.
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Rajiv Malhotra
02:24 PM on 05/01/2011
It is a mistake to imagine that just because a sage said this 100 years ago, therefore it is a dead subject. Thats like saying all ignorance is now removed just because some wise person said something profound many centuries ago.

Assuming that the problem is solved because Vivekananda explained something in the 1890s comes natural to the escapist mindset always looking for a way to ignore, do nothing, clinging to the 'feel good' addiction. Thats not living in the kurukshetra of life. Its not what dharma calls for.
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Elijah A Alexander Jr
Elijah NatureBoy
12:06 PM on 05/01/2011
Rajiv,
I've studied both the Bible and Bhagavad Gita and completely disagree with you concerning what the Bible teaches with jivanmukta being one exception. I make that exception only because my vision suggests our Christianity's salvation require us to aid man on earth to reach where we are before we are able to move on to another plane or layer as I call it, so the exception is in my vision there's no choice as in Hindu, it's a requirement.

The Bible does not teach original sin, that's church doctrine. What's written suggest salvation is liberation from "hell" or civilization's control through desire. The Bible provided Enoch, Moses, Elijah and Jesus as liberated or saved but church doctrine ignore all except Jesus.

My vision is existence is like an onion with earth the center ball surrounded by layer after layer. After each life force has incarnated as every attribute of every life type on earth, creating and balancing both positive and negative karma, and complete the metamorphosis [new birth] we go to the layer next to this earth and assist earth bound man in making the transition. After aiding man for one complete cycle on earth we prepare ascend to the next layer, done after passing through something akin to the metamorphosis.

My finding are most religions are saying about the same thing, only the traditions and language are different.
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TexasTreader
Right of John Wayne
06:59 PM on 05/01/2011
The Bible DOES teach original sin. We can discuss the implications but the fact speaks for itself.

From Romans 5: 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
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Salty too
God bless America
07:16 PM on 05/01/2011
Very good responce.
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Elijah A Alexander Jr
Elijah NatureBoy
08:43 AM on 05/02/2011
TT,
Those words are a part of the leavening put in the three measures of meal (Matthew 13:33 & Luke 13:21) since Paul was the main source of leavening in Christianity. Therefore, that's only "church doctrine" and not in the teachings of Jesus the anointed. Once the church became the organization it has that became a main church doctrine ignoring Jesus' teachings. Therefore, I stand by my words, it's church doctrine.
08:04 PM on 05/01/2011
You mention "the Bible does not does not teach original sin, that's church doctrine"

This is what is called highly misleading and mischevious. Because the church is considered the very body of Christ.

I would also like you to prove your "finding that are most religions are saying about the same thing" If this is true why do the mainstream Christian denominations indulge in conversions. Is your view a lone view or represents that of mainstream church. That is important because the mainstream church thinking and operation influences people, chiristians, non christians all over the world.
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Elijah A Alexander Jr
Elijah NatureBoy
08:55 AM on 05/02/2011
Venkatraja,
You may call my words what you want to but until one has understood the teachings ascribed to Jesus they are not qualified to teach biblical interpretations. I have live and proven most of the teachings of Jesus the anointed, except John 14:12, and that has taught me his meanings. Look at Matthew 13:33 & Luke 13:21, since the organizational church preaches Paul's teachings over those of Jesus he is the primary source of leavening in Christianity, therefore it's church doctrine.

If you are sure of your beliefs it is impossible for anyone to prove you anything to the contrary, you have to have doubts before anyone can show another "the way" to truth. If you want to look into my mind, put "Elijah NatureBoy" in Google and hit search, read to your heart's content or you completely reject what I have to say, you will question your beliefs or totally reject me.
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Allan Richter
12:00 PM on 05/01/2011
“In Jewish and Christian traditions, death is the consequence of sin. …For most people, the full realization of this salvation can come only after death.” (Rajiv Malhatra)

I am not Christian. I do know that it is diverse in both individual belief as well as various “theological” views.

I respectively suggest that you make no comment or evaluation concerning Israel’s Torah as a “straw man”. Israel’s theosophic tradition, (Kaballah), as well as its philosophy are distinctive. Israel’s Kaballah acts as a switching station between eastern mysticism, the Biblical tradition and philosophy. It is divided into three branches, Theosophy, meditation and practical. Jew’s refer to this aspect of Torah as the 4th level of understanding or the “hidden”.

Kabbalah was once “esoteric”. It was an oral tradition study of which was restricted to those already educated in normative Torah, observant, married, and at least 40 years old (for valid reason). Today Kabbalah is being universally encouraged.

Based on my exposure to American Hindu as well as comparative study, Jew and Hindu have a close affinity. Practice however is very different. Jews are obligated to Torah’s normative tradition. Jew and Christian also have a close affinity but also have major areas of difference. The concept of ‘hell’ ‘salvation” and “original sin” are prime examples.

Non Jews who study Israel's Kaballah have no obligation to observe Jewish normative tradition. They do have an obligation to create just societies, fundamental goodness and compassion.
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Pradip Gangopadhyay
09:39 AM on 05/01/2011
It seems from these comments that some people are professional sinners. They want passionately to be classified as sinners. I suspect that the concept of original sin caters to this part of the market.
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Rajiv Malhotra
11:43 AM on 05/01/2011
Well said. I want to tease out critical differences that are non-negotiable in Christianity. The resistence to my work comes from two kinds of persons:

1) Liberal Christians who find such dogmas as the Nicene Creed to be embarassing and pretend that these are obsolete or not mainstream and that they define only a fringe of fundamentalists.

2) Indian pseudo-secularists and postmodernists, as well as confused gurus, who cite all sorts of reasons why there are no differences at all.

This is why my work on differences (which will come out as a large book in September) is based on undeniable principles like Nicene Creed. This causes discomfort among both the camps mentioned above.

The "true Christians" come out to make my case by proudly acclaiming their dogma as the only truth, exclusive, and the whole bit. I thank them profusely for their candor which is sharp contrast to the wily liberals who keep shifting, slipping away and try to not get pinned down.
03:21 PM on 05/01/2011
Actually there is also the group of non-liberal conservative Christians who know only too well that dogmas such as Nicene Creed are inseparable and fundamental to Christianity. Yet, they willfully obfuscate this using all sorts of textual gymnastics when confronted by educated and informed arguments. Because according to them: "Bible-thumping not a useful way to share the Gospel in a setting like this". Left unsaid, it is useful in a different setting.
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tim_Morton/the-hindu-good-news-you-a_b_854904_86415926.html]

Make no mistake, in a different setting, say when on a soul harvesting mission in some location where the population is uneducated or unaware of their shenanigans, these same people will discard their obfuscation and revert back to Bible-thumping ("you are sinners", "ONLY Jesus can save you", etc.) from their soul harvesting field-book.
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sandalwood
songs of the shamans...
08:32 AM on 05/01/2011
The MEETING of EAST and WEST
Excerpt from 'Philosophies of India', by Heinrich Zimmer
Editor, Joseph Campbell ~ Princeton Bollingen Series XXVI, 1951

"We of the Occident are about to arrive at a crossroads that was reached by the thinkers of India some seven hundred years before Christ. This is the real reason why we become both vexed and stimulated, uneasy yet interested, when confronted with the concepts and images of Oriental wisdom. This crossing is one to which the people of all civilizations come in the typical course of the development of their capacity and requirement for religious experience, and India’s teachings force us to realize what its problems are. But we cannot take over the Indian solutions. We must enter the new period our own way and solve its questions for ourselves..."

Rest at: http://www.deepyoga.ca/dial_up/pages/meeting_of_east_and_west.html
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chw777
God and country
06:38 AM on 05/01/2011
Romans 5:19
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's disobedience shall many by made righteous.

"No man comes to the Father except through me"
Jesus Christ

So Jesus was a liar?
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sandalwood
songs of the shamans...
08:00 AM on 05/01/2011
Words can be interpreted differently... can be taken literally, or be mined for their various significances. In my view, there is a way to see the words as speaking truth, as well as a way to turn them into an object to pummel others. The latter of course is 'missing the mark.'
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Pradip Gangopadhyay
09:37 AM on 05/01/2011
It is not necessary to think that Jesus lied. If you take this claim made apparently by Jesus literally then there is the possibility that Jesus was deluded. Of course these words can be interpreted differently as sandalwood has stated.
05:04 AM on 05/01/2011
Beautifully presented (As always?). loved your writing.
researcher
researcher
04:59 AM on 05/01/2011
this is a well stated analysis of original sin.

a better term than original sin is original innocence but the human ego will not let that be. guilt and culpability meaning blameworthy is a treasure to the human ego.

no salvation is needed we have done nothing wrong but let ignorance control an aspect of our lives. the culprit is always ignorance when selfishness has entered our lives. when a mistake is made admit to our ignorance and attempt to not let ignorance take control again.

the interesting aspect of the ego is it would rather be called a sinner and even evil then admit to any ignorance. those that talk of personal responsibility are the most guilt ridden of all.

in religious terms who among us were created with perfect awareness. ie not one.

unawareness is the stuff of life and the journey of the soul is from unawareness to awareness without our limited awareness there is only infinite awareness, ie oneness.