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Your religious persuasion (or there lack of)
1) Christianity (all forms, Catholicism, Christian Protestants, Christian Orthodox)
50%
 50%  [ 35 ]
2) Atheism
20%
 20%  [ 14 ]
3) Agnostic (Don't Know)
14%
 14%  [ 10 ]
4) Theist with no organized religion
8%
 8%  [ 6 ]
5) Other
5%
 5%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 69

Author Message
don muntean





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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edmund Onward James wrote:
Some have called me a pagan.


Hey Edmund! Why is that? What do you call yourself? :-)
don muntean





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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

don muntean wrote:
As part of any faith pursuit, everyone needs a 'space' where they can focus their spiritual practices - here is my 'restored' space, it's pretty much complete and I do like it!

A good space for devotional meditations & Bhakti-Yoga...just in time to celebrate 'Diwali' 'The Festival of Lights' on October 26th!









As cheesy as it looks I sure hope no one looks down on my faith and this expression of it... I should note that the camera flash totally ruins the colored lighting effects i have going on. My camera doesn't have an ISO low enough to capture a clear picture in that low of light.


Here is another macro picture of one of the items seen on the shelf - this is a close up of a five inch statue - [it's the one to the right of the Vishnu] it has great detail for a small sculpture. Of course this is Krishna as a boy:



For anyone wondering about all this stuff I'm posting - well it's not a new thing in my life - actually I have been on this path since 1988 - a very long time!

There was a 'lapse' period of four years - where my faith was being 'tested' and doubts arose due to the loss of my rights - something that took me to another path - one which I have tremendous respect for but - it wasn't my path. I was ...slowly fading away - until late last year when a series of events brought me full circle.

I love the Vedic path and it is who I am and who I have been since I was 21 years old. I really wish that people could find the love of God - where ever than can find it...there is a real connection out there for everyone.

My connection was made in an interesting manner. In 1986 i got a few boxes of books from my step dad - they were his dads books. They were books about philosophy, religion, and metaphysics - so in amongst the books was one book called "Bhagavad Gita As It Is".

It was a big thick book with ancient Sanskrit writing and with translations and text by text commentary. The book also had lots of really cool pictures that I was immediately attracted to.

So anyway I did read all the books - except that one. I would look at the pictures and read the picture descriptions and later on I read read bits and pieces - but I would look at the pictures all the time.

So later in 1987-88 I began to read more and more of the book and found that many of the concepts in the book were things that I already believed in - such as karma. [in fact karma is a Sanskrit word!]

Later in 1988 after some years of my life being stressed - following a terrible time in my life in 1982-83 - I began to think about God.

I had pretty much by that time dismissed any notions of God - I was a new age seeker and believed in a hodgepodge of ideas - which didn't offer any cohesive message and process for realization.

So in any case I began to wonder if this blue guy was in fact God. So I challenged Him to 'prove' it to me...

Here we are 23 years later and - He still has my attention!


Last edited by don muntean on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:22 am; edited 7 times in total
don muntean





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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some pertinent quotes:

"I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.

One who worships the Deity [statue] of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramatma [supersoul], is situated in every living entity's heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.

One who offers Me respect but is envious of the bodies of others and is therefore a separatist never attains peace of mind, because of his inimical behavior towards other living entities.

My dear Mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple." [SB 3.29.21-24]

So at times we have been accused by people with no understanding/respect of being 'idol' worshipers yet - from the ancient vedic perspective 'idolatry' only becomes a factor - as noted above.

Srila Prabupada stated:

"Real love and devotion is accepted by the Lord. Many valuable foodstuffs may be presented to a person, but if the person is not hungry, all such offerings are useless for him. Similarly, we may offer many valuable items to the Deity, but if we have no real sense of devotion and no real sense of the Lord's presence everywhere, then we are lacking in devotional service; in such a state of ignorance, we cannot offer anything acceptable to the Lord."

Actually this is true of any one and 'any' worship - if we worship God but disregard the fact that He is in the heart of all living beings and - if in that mentality we worship God but neglect others - then it's only imitation - a show! How often do we encounter 'religious' people and they are self-righteous? If we 'really' love God - we will show that love - to others.


Last edited by don muntean on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:21 am; edited 1 time in total
don muntean





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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Today is Diwali - the ancient "Festival of Lights" - it is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil - the celebration of the incarnation of Lord Rama - God as the Ideal King.

May everyone here and their families and friends and so on be Blessed!! I would also like to extend Diwali Blessings to our federal government - they deserve it greatly!


Last edited by don muntean on Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
don muntean





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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Link
Toronto Centre





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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No religion of any kind for me.

Went to a United church as young kid but the moment I could say No to going I did exactly that and never looked back.
Sitting there all those Sundays never made sense, the sermon never made sense, the idea of a god never made sense.

So I stopped. Never looked back.
don muntean





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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought to share a couple of other great contemplative and contemporary sounding songs they are very nice. The first is called "It's only an Illusion" and the other is called "Siren Song":


Link



Link
don muntean





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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toronto Centre wrote:
No religion of any kind for me.

Went to a United church as young kid but the moment I could say No to going I did exactly that and never looked back.
Sitting there all those Sundays never made sense, the sermon never made sense, the idea of a god never made sense.

So I stopped. Never looked back.


Sadly that has been the experience of many people, some people don't have a taste for religion or things they perceive as religious in nature - they see it as a throwback of a backwards time in history. There was never a 'connection' made with Him.

Actually God is not about religion in the strictest sense. Religion is a means to an end not an end in itself.

Such thinkers also point to the many disparities in those who follow religious traditions as a kind of incoherence and inconsistency...as an excuse to dismiss all of it out of hand.

Naturally there are even lots of people of faith - for whom 'God' is the farthest thought from their minds - they have perverted 'religion' into some kind of social/political system.

We have to come to understand that our pursuit of God is something bigger than 'religion' that it's a deeply personal experience. If one so wishes they can experience that God is factual - but that takes sincerity and enthusiasm.

Why does the idea of God make no sense to you? You should explore the concept of His 'unlimited nature' a little more closely and you might change your mind...

It has been said:

“Philosophy without religion is dry mental speculation. And religion without philosophy is sentimentality or fanaticism.”
Toronto Centre





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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Actually God is not about religion in the strictest sense. Religion is a means to an end not an end in itself.

One would have to believe in god first , and I do not.
Quote:

We have to come to understand that our pursuit of God is something bigger than 'religion' that it's a deeply personal experience. If one so wishes they can experience that God is factual - but that takes sincerity and enthusiasm.

Your 'we' should be 'I' or "those who have'.
It takes faith , and I have none of that for any religion, any icon nor deity.
Quote:

Why does the idea of God make no sense to you? You should explore the concept of His 'unlimited nature' a little more closely and you might change your mind...


12 billions years , an almost unlimited number of stars counting above trillions, the vastness of the cosmos.
don muntean





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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First photo:



Just redid this photograph - as the other is too blue - the lighting for this one is much more like it is in person, Hey Vishnu!





This is a snapshot of my Gaura Nitai statues i just did. Very awesome!


Last edited by don muntean on Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
don muntean





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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more picture to share, this statue is seen in the other picture in behind the Gaura Nitai, this is an important Avatar of God - Narasimha:



This brief description of the ancient story of Lord Narasimha as described in the Bhagavata Purana:

There was once a great demon who was overwhelmed with rage: his brother Hiranyaksa had just been killed by the incarnation of Vishnu known as Lord Varaha. Thus he became very determined to become the emperor of the entire universe. In order to increase his power, he performed very powerful austerities. This penance was so severe that it disturbed the demigods. In fact, the demigods requested Lord Brahma to stop him. The chief of the demigods, Lord Brahma, therefore descended to pacify him by granting him a wish.

"Please grant that I not be killed by any created living being," commanded Hiranyakasipu, "that I not die inside or outside any residence, during the daytime or night, nor on the ground or in the sky; that I not be killed by any being created by you, nor by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal indeed that I not meet death from any entity, either living or non-living; that I have no competitor; that I have sole lordship over all living entities and presiding deities, and that I acquire all mystic powers."

After Brahma had granted him all these requests, Hiranyakasipu very swiftly conquered all the planets in the universe, took up residence in the lavish palace of King Indra, and forced the demigods to bow down to his feet. He even stole the sacrificial oblations meant for the demigods. Intoxicated physically by wine and mentally by power, Hiranyakasipu ruled the universe very severely.

During this time his queen, Kayadhu, returned to the palace of her husband and bore him a son, Prahlada. He was a reservoir of all transcendental qualities because he was a pure devotee of Lord Visnu. Determined to understand the Absolute Truth, he had full control over his senses and mind. He was kind to all living creatures and the best friend of everyone. Toward respectable persons he behaved just like a menial servant, to the poor he was like a father, and to his equals he was always like a sympathetic brother. Always very humble, he considered his teachers and spiritual masters to be as good as the Lord Himself. Indeed, he was completely free of any pride that might have arisen from his good education, riches, beauty, and aristocratic birth.

Hiranyakasipu wanted to raise his son to be a powerful demon, but Prahlada only wanted to learn about devotional service to Lord Visnu. After Prahlada attended school for some time, Hiranyakasipu took him on his lap and affectionately inquired, "My dear son, please tell me about your favorite subject in school."

Fearlessly, Prahlada said, "Hearing (sravanam) and chanting (kirtanam) about the holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord; remembering (smaranam) them; serving the lotus feet of the Lord (pada-sevanam); offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia (arcanam); offering prayers to the Lord (vandanam); becoming His servant (dasyam); considering the Lord one’s best friend (sakhyam); and surrendering to Him (atma-nivedanam, in other words, serving Him with body, mind and words); these nine processes are known as pure devotional service, and I consider anyone who has dedicated his life to service of Lord Visnu through these nine methods to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."

Blinded by anger, Hiranyakasipu threw Prahlada from his lap onto the ground. "Servants! Take him away and kill him at once!" he screamed. However, Prahlada just sat silently and meditated on the Personality of Godhead, and the demons’ weapons had no effect on him. Seeing this Hiranyakasipu became fearful and contrived various ways to kill his son. His servants threw Prahlada beneath an elephant’s feet; they cast him into the midst of huge, fearful snakes; they cursed him with destructive spells; they hurled him from a hilltop; they gave him poison; they starved him; they exposed him to severe cold, winds, fire and water; they threw heavy stones to crush him. Hiranyakasipu even sent his sister Holika to burn him, but instead she herself was burned. But throughout these trials Prahlada was simply absorbed in thoughts of Lord Visnu, and thus he remained unharmed. Hiranyakasipu became very anxious about what to do next.

"You say there is a being superior to me," said Hiranyakasipu, "but where is He? If He is present everywhere, then why is He not present in this pillar you see before you? Do you think He is in this pillar?" "Yes," Prahlada answered, "He is there."

Hiranyakasipu's rage flared more and more. "Because you are speaking so much nonsense, I shall now sever your head from your body. Now let me see your most worshipable God come to protect you. I want to see it." Cursing him again and again, Hiranyakasipu took up his sword, got up from his royal throne, and with great anger struck his fist against the column.

Then from within the very pillar that he had singled out came a wonderful half-man, half-lion form never before seen. The Lord’s form was extremely fearsome because of His angry eyes, which resembled molten gold; His shining mane, which expanded the dimensions of His fearful face; His deadly teeth; and His razor-sharp tongue. Lord Nrsimha then proceeded to battle with the wasp-like Hiranyakasipu.

Finally at twilight, Lord Nrsimha captured Hiranyakasipu and placed him in His lap on the doorway of the assembly hall. As He began ripping the demon to pieces with His many, many hands, Lord Nrsimha’s mouth and mane became sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at....Lord Nrsimha uprooted Hiranyakasipu’s heart and finally threw him aside and destroyed an army of Hiranyakasipu’s faithful followers.

By His transcendental cleverness, Lord Nrsimhadeva was able to kill Hiranyakasipu without contradicting any of Lord Brahma’s benedictions. The execution took place neither inside nor outside, but in the doorway; neither on land nor in sky, but on the Lord’s lap; neither during the day nor during the night, but at twilight; neither by man, beast, or demigod nor by any created being, but by the Personality of Godhead; and not by any weapon, but by the Lord's own lotus hand, relieving the whole universe of Hiranyakasipu’s demonic activities.

The Bhagavata Purana further narrates: even after killing Hiranyakashipu, none of the present demigods are able to calm Narasimha's fury, not even Shiva. So all the gods and goddesses call his consort, Lakshmi, but she is also unable to do so. Then, at the request of Brahma, Prahlada is presented to Narasimha, and finally he is calmed by the prayers of his devotee. Before parting, Narasimha rewards the wise Prahlada by crowning him as the king.

Having been protected by the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja offered many prayers in a voice that faltered with love:

"My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, please, therefore, allow Your angry feature to diminish, now that my evil father Hiranyakasipu has been killed . . . [The saintly persons] will always remember Your auspicious and fearsome incarnation, for it frees them from fear. In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles."

A note about this incarnation of God - we ought not think that this narration is glorifying violence [like some sick Hollywood movie] - in fact it is the opposite! Of course, one must understand the 'extreme' Hitler-like nature of Hiranyakashipu - the offending individual, who thus found his demise and then we can see the noted display of 'anger' in God within context.

While God can manifest [indulge] His anger - we cannot, yes some of God's incarnations are very merciful and - some are not.


Last edited by don muntean on Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:13 am; edited 8 times in total
don muntean





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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toronto Centre wrote:

12 billions years , an almost unlimited number of stars counting above trillions, the vastness of the cosmos.


Hey I thought of this picture/description when reading your comment:



The First Purusha is the Karanodakashayee Vishnu. From the skinholes of Him innumerable universes have sprung up.

In each and everyone of them the Purusha enters as the Garbhodakashayee Vishnu.

He is lying in a half portion of the universe full with water of His body. And from the navel of Garbhodakashayee Vishnu has sprung up the stem of the lotus flower the birth place of Brahma who is the father of all living beings and the master of all the demigod engineers engaged in the matter of perfect design and working of the universal order.

Within the stem of the lotus there are fourteen divisions of planetary system and the earthly planets are situated in the middle.

Upwards there are other better planetary systems and the topmost system is called Brahmaloka or the Satyaloka. Downwards the earthly planetary system there are seven downwards planetary systems domiciled by the Ashuras and similar other most materialistic living beings.

From this Garbhodakashayee Vishnu there is expansion of the Kshirodakashayee Vishnu who is the collective Paramatma of all living beings. He is called Hari and from Him all incarnations within the universe are expanded.

Therefore, the conclusion is that the Purusha Avatar is manifested in three features namely first the Karanodakashayee who creates aggregate material ingredients in the Mahat Tattawa, second the Garbhodakashayee Who enters in each and every Universe and third the Kshirodakashayee Vishnu Who is the Paramatma of every material object organic or inorganic.

One who knows these Plenary features of the Personality of Godhead knows also Him (Godhead) properly and thus the knower becomes freed from the material conditions of birth, death, old age and diseases as it is confirmed in the Bhagwat Geeta. In this sloka the subject matter of Mahavishnu is summarized.

The Mahavishnu lies down in some part of the spiritual sky by His own free will and thus He does lie on the ocean of Karana from where He glances over His material nature and the Mahat Tatwa is at once created.

Thus electrified by the power of the Lord the material nature creates at once innumerable universes just like in due course a tree is decorated with innumerable grown up fruits all at a time...." [SB 1.3.2, purport]
mrsocko





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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toronto Centre, I went to an Anglican church as a kid and it made little sense to me either.It was all rituals and kneeling. Seems the longer a church exists the further from God they become.

Any churches in your area reach out to the poor or marginalized?
Toronto Centre





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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrsocko wrote:
Toronto Centre, I went to an Anglican church as a kid and it made little sense to me either.It was all rituals and kneeling. Seems the longer a church exists the further from God they become.

Any churches in your area reach out to the poor or marginalized?


I imagine they do , I would not really know since I am so far removed from any religion.

I hope they do! There is a reason they get tax breaks.
don muntean





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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:






Photo update...This is how they really look in person - without the bright flash of the camera to wash out the lighting!


Last edited by don muntean on Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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