Tantra - reincarnated thread

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Pathless, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Vajradhara Namaskar,

    In objective science data are gathered with the help of our senses and certain conclusions are drawn from the measurements we have taken.
    In subjective or introspective science however the mind or individual consciousness (I-feeling) is the laboratory and we use it to explore and change or liberate the mind itself. By cleansing the chakras and expressing samskaras our minds are elevated to more subtle levels untill a stage is reached when we can go beyond the gunas alltogether.

    There is a certain lifestyle you can follow with certain practices that will further this process. This lifestyle is called Dharma. The techniques have been developed over thousands of years by yogis and tantrics and have been proven to work. The proof is in the many who have attained emancipation in this way.

    Therefore it is a science and not a religion or beliefsystem. The side-effects such as all kinds of powers (not to be used) show us that it is not some kind of imaginative thing but that matter is controlled by (and indeed is made from) Consciousness. The link between matter and consciousness is found in the Microvita, but that's another subject-matter.

    In the Tantric teachings of Ananda Marga only the Maha-kaulas are recognized as Taraka Brahma. I have explained what a Maha-kaula should be able of doing.

    I know the Buddhist perspective from a friend who is a member of the Western Buddhist Order of Dennis Lingwood (Sangharakshita). The perspective is indeed somewhat different but this may have little influence on spiritual progress, it's our actions that matter, not our understanding of metaphysics.

    Andrew/Avinash
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Andrew,

    thank you for the post.

    hmm... science is objective... if we're talking subjective experiences, we aren't talking about science.. at least from the western view of this topic. science is concerned with material phenomena and really doesn't even attempt to address the immaterial in any direct fashion. sure, there are atheists that will do so, however, science, as a linga franca, does not.

    the interested reader is directed to this site for more information on the scientifc method:
    http://www.carleton.ca/~tpatters/teaching/climatechange/sciencemethod.html


    what is a guna?

    interesting. in our view, Dharma isn't a lifestyle.. it simply is. and we respond to it however we are capable.

    it's been argued that science is, itself, a belief system... and fairly convincingly i might add... though i happen to disagree with that view.. it's still a powerful view. the link between matter and consciousness has been discovered in the west as well... are you familiar with Quantum Mechanics?


    it may have little or it may have a lot... i suspect that it depends on the individual being. to a certain extent you are correct... however, it's not really our actions either... at least in the Buddhist view. rather, it's our intentions that ultimately determine if our action is skillful or not. in my Buddhist tradition, however, a firm grasp of the metaphyiscs is emphasized.. especially from the point of view of the Madyamika philosophical school.. which my tradition adheres to. thus, i cannot completely agree with your assessment that understanding of metaphysics has little influence on our spiritual practice.
     
  3. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vajradhara,

    Thank you for your post.

    I did mention that Tantra is a subjective or introspective science dealing with the mind. The present western viewpoint of science is of course different. Ananda Marga is a blending of western and eastern ways of thinking.

    In the creation every entity is made up of three gunas, sattva (I am), rajas (I do) and tamas (I have done). The entities are created from pure consciousness and go through a cycle of creation (Brahma Cakra) where they are first crudified (balance goes in the direction of tamas) and when they reach the point of primitive life, the balance starts moving back towards sattva. Therefore in spiritual practices, mystics will try to move in the direction of sattva (sentience) and finally go beyond the gunas to pure consciousness (without gunas = Nirguna).

    In some religions they speak of Hindu Dharma or Buddhist Dharma etc. In Ananda Marga, Dharma is seen as the natural (desired) way for a human being (Manava Dharma = human dharma) to move or behave. A human being who doesn't follow their dharma is seen to be not really behaving as a human being should do (they move backwards towars crudification).

    Quantum Mechanics and things like the Relativity Theory were things that fascinated me in the years before I ran into this tantra-yoga path (they still do). Microvita are not yet a part of western thought, although some knowledge of the crudest microvita (viruses) is already there.

    Intentions always precede our actions. Thoughts (including intentions) are indeed also a kind of action which may beget a reaction. In mysticism it is advised to surrender the I-feeling before any intention/action so it may not beget any reaction. In Ananda Marga they use a special mantra before each action to facilitate this surrender.

    Andrew/Avinash
     
  4. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Pathless,

    I think it would go too far to argue in detail why I think the above philosophy (the "mouthful) is a good one. As your nickname implies you are pathless like so many New Age people in western society. I'm glad we have that freedom in modern society but I myself need discipline, a proper system and guidance in my life. Because I've always disliked dogma, superstition and ritualism and therefore religion, this is a system where I feel I've found my place, although I never actively searched for this path, it just came along "by chance" (although I don't believe in chance or accident).

    Andrew
     
  5. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Yes, you may perhaps be right. However this would then not only apply to the term Taraka Brahma but also to e.g. the philosophy of Non-dualistic Dualistic Non-dualism which is also nowhere described in the Gita. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti has argued why the life and teachings of Krishna fits best with this philosophy and not with other types of philosophy (if you're interested I could mention them all).

    My question would rather be, why had not Krishna affirmed that Lord Shiva was a similar type of teacher to Himself, since both were Taraka Brahma? Why did only Anandamurti do this for both these Gurus? All I can think of is that the Mahabharata was not written down immediately (though not too long) after Krishna lived and that not all the things He would have taught his tantric disciples would have ended up in the Mahabharata epos.

    Besides this, tantric teachings were kept very secret in those days and philosphy didn't play a very large role yet in tantric teachings. That the concept of Taraka Brahma is not mentioned in Hindu scriptures is not surprising but perhaps it is mentioned somewhere in certain earlier tantric teachings.

    Many (most?) Hindus believe in avatars and believe that figures/gods like Vishnu, Hanuman, Rama and Saraswati really lived. In Ananda Marga there are no incarnations such as avatars and many stories and their "gods" are seen as mythical stories meant for education. You would presumably have less problems with this, since Buddhism doesn't believe in such things either.

    It would be nonsensical to remain on one path when you are of the opinion that another path is actually better for you. Actually unlike in many religions (I won't mention any), in Ananda Marga there is a recognition that all people who follow dharma are on the same path of bliss. In the literature you can find explanations of the teachings of Buddha and other mystic paths such as e.g. Sufism are seen to be genuine paths of spirituality.

    The only things that are criticized are things like dogma, superstition and ritualism, the same things which are rejected in modern western society.

    There are other paths like e.g. that of Satya Sai Baba who maintain that all religions are equal. In Ananda Marga the whole concept of religion is rejected (just like in New Age). It is a new ideology, so you cannot blame it for having new ideas that set it apart from religion.

    Andrew
     
  6. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    To my mind, this is all just too pat. It very well may be true, but we'll never know because, as you've pointed out, there are no records that concur with the philosophy of Ananda Marga as laid down by Anandamurti. So, it could be true, but who is to say, when there is no evidence to verify it? And doesn't truth need to be objectively verifiable? When it comes down to the wire, Margis will say that it is true because Baba said so and they trust him as their spiritual teacher. Which is okay if that is what one wants, but to me it seems too wrapped up and concise.

    Ananda Marga philosophy is a very good package that makes sense when isolated, but when held up to the light of recorded history, the package appears riddled with holes. For example, when Ananda Margiis talk about tantra, it is always in the way that Anandamurti explained it--as a lost science that has been revised and updated for modern man by Anandamurti. As you have written elsewhere, other Hindu and Buddhist tantras, of which there are apparently quite a variety, are viewed by Ananda Marga as corrupted remants of the original tantra given by Shiva. Yet, again, there is no historical record of this tantra, or to my knowledge, of Shiva, who is said by Anandamurti to have lived 7000 years ago, which I believe would be before any written record. This just seems too convenient.

    Yet in Ananda Marga it is expected that each devotee practice meditation twice daily, along with yoga asanas. One is to observe yama and niyama at all times, and the list expands as one gets more lessons and roots him or herself deeper in the practice.

    Even more to the point, when Anandamurti states in the "Supreme Command," that "Every Ananda Margii will have to perform sadhana twice a day invariably--verily is this the command of the Lord," I think people would be hard-pressed to say that such a statment does not come across as dogmatic. Just so there is no confusion, here is a dictionary.com definition of dogma.

    Replace the word "church" with "organization" and it will apply to Ananda Marga. The Supreme Command goes on, as you know; to my mind the dogmatism continues, although I will not quote it right now.

    I am of the opinion that Ananda Marga is a religion, as much as Margis would like for people to believe otherwise.
     
  7. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Yes, if you distrust your teacher or any other teacher, you will be inclined to distrust anything he or she says. Are the "truths" given by Lord Krishna " objectively verifiable? The evidence lies in the effectiveness of the practices prescribed. If you don't trust them, then look for something better.

    This is by no means a unique approach. There are many reform movements who in one way or another say that their founder has come with a "revised and updated" approach of an older science or path. Are you going to blame all these movements for coming with their own new perspective? Again, if you dislike a perspective then find one which you like better.:rolleyes:

    I have not written anything of the sort. Tantra is a very old science, so it is not surprising that older teachings would have evolved into newer and more varied forms as they met with other paths. In the thousands of years that nothing was written down (no script and great secrecy) many of the oldest teachings would naturally have gradually been lost. I have not used the word 'corrupted'. In fact the cross-fertilization of different branches of tantra is supposed to have been beneficial for the science as a whole.:)

    I'm not asking you to believe or trust what Shrii Shrii Anandamurti says. I'm merely presenting the philosophy that I myself find the most convincing. If archaeological data would be found that could show Lord Shiva lived much earlier or much later than 7000 years ago, I would be glad to accept that.

    This kind of discipline is by no means unique to Ananda Marga but can be found in many mystical paths. Without any effort little can be gained.

    A dogma is an idea which is not allowed to be questioned but has to be accepted blindly. If a guru says you should practice meditation at least twice a day and he then guarantees you will get results ("those who perform sadhana twice a day regularly, the thought of Parama Purusha will certainly arise in their minds at the time of death, their liberation is a sure guarantee") then you can trust him or not. Again, if you don't trust a teacher, then look for something else.

    You obviously hold a different view of what religion signifies. In the view I hold, paths like Buddhism, Ananda Marga and other mystical paths do not come under religion because they will never say that spiritual progress is impossible in other organisations (or without any organisation for that matter) and they will rejects dogmatic ideas, superstitions and other irrational aspects of religion. They also reject the idea that scriptures come directly from God and cannot be extended or questioned.

    Andrew
     
  8. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    As I've said before, the account of the history of tantra given by Anandamurti seems suspect to me. Sure, you can say I "distrust [my] teacher," but I would expect my teacher to be able to point to some evidence for an event that they are claiming to have occured. I don't put blind faith in my teachers, whether they are teaching spirituality or 1+1.

    When you mention the "truths" of Krishna, I assume you are talking about the spiritual truth of the Gita. To my mind, spiritual truths are a different kind of truth than historical truth. They are subjective, verified through personal experience rather than documentation. Although I may meditate and have a profound sense of unity with all things, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to meditate and be presented with a record of Shiva's tantra in 7000 BCE.

    You may ask, "Why does such a detail bother you?" It bothers me because, when accepted--and we seem to have come to agreement that, as of yet, there is no reason, outside of what Anandamurti has said, to accept it--it puts Anandamurti in a position of authority. His message is, effectively, that he holds the same position of Shiva and Krishna, who are to be looked upon as saviours of humanity. This implication of authority is one of the things that causes me to view Anandamurti's Ananda Marga as dogmatic.

    In my opinion, this is no less true in Ananda Marga. If I seriously doubt that one needs to perform (Annda Marga) sadhana twice a day regularly and stop doing so, then I have effectively made myself not a Margii anymore. In order to truly be a Margii, one does have to accept certain things. If you question them, no one will kick you out--you are right about that--but Margiis will attempt to persuade you back to the accepted principles. Surely you are not going to tell me that a person who has come to the conclusion that they don't need to do Ananda Marga sadhana twice a day is going to be accepted as a Margii? The dogmas may be more subtle, but they are still dogmas.

    My bad. Perhaps I read some meaning into your original post in this thread that is not there. It seemed to me to talk about the diversification of tantra as a mistake, and to speak of a need for unifying the different branches into one. On second glance and with what you have written here, I'm willing to accept that I minunderstood what you intended, and that I read your post with a perception distorted by my own pre-concieved notions.

    Okay. :) See, that would shake my faith in Anandamurti. Suddenly he would lose some ground in the authority department. Really, the crux of the matter for me is, a written record of Shiva's discourses on Tantra from 7000 BCE is never going to be found, because there are not written records of anything from 7000 BCE!

    Furthermore, as far as I know, the most we know about Krishna is what is written in the Bhagavad Gita. That book says some very beautiful things, but it does not talk about Tantra.

    So, for me, it is a matter of what does Anandamurti ask us to believe about him? When he talks about Taraka Brahma, is he talking about a concept that can be found in records or even in mythology? Or is it something new, a philosophical concept created by Anandamurti? If it is the former, I'd like to be pointed to that; if it is the latter, then it becomes a very powerful tool for a person who wants to exercise moral and spiritual authority.

    Yes, I would agree that we hold different views on religion.
     
  9. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Dear Pathless,

    I don't agree with your way of thinking. Where did you read that these personalities were "saviours of humanity"? If you don't see Shiva, Krishna or indeed Anandamurti in this way, then so what? Everyone is free to think what they like.

    Such things as e.g. saying that Krishna came to change the destiny of humanity would become a dogma only if you were forced to accept them without the freedom to investigate or (dis)prove them. As this is not the case, they are not dogmas at all and consequently the devotees of Anandamurti cannot be accused of having "blind faith" (no faith is needed to practise tantra-yoga).
    A dogma is e.g. that the Bible is God's word because it was inspired by the Holy Ghost and if you don't accept that, you cannot be saved from hellfire.

    The more I read your words, the more I feel you have a distorted idea about what it means to be "in" Ananda Marga or "out" of it. Every living being in this universe is striving for happiness and is already on the "ananda marga".

    And you also seem to have a distorted view of what a dogma is.
    I have never heard anyone discuss whether or not someone was "in" or "out" of Ananda Marga nor did I hear any gossip about how well one or the other person was into their practices. Spiritual progress has nothing to do with being in or out of any organisation.

    You sound somewhat like a distrustful person. Do you have a problem with organisations or group processes?

    Perhaps you would be willing to give me a glimpse of your own spiritual practices and/or philosophy of life?:)

    Andrew
     
  10. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Hi Andreas,

    Before this discussion gets too heated and one or both of us loses our cool (I don't like being angry ;) ), let me say that the reason I am debating you on these points regarding Ananda Marga originates from my own dissatisfaction on the spiritual path (not just Ananda Marga, but spiritual path in general). I once invested a lot of time, energy, and emotion into Ananda Marga and it has been difficult for me to realize that perhaps Ananda Marga, as an organization, was not the healthiest place for me to be. I discovered that there are some serious problems within the organization, and I decided that I don't want to be part of that. So, I am not motivated by the urge to create mischief or to antagonize; really, I am just trying to work some things out for myself. Writing my thoughts down, especially in debate, helps me do that. So, thank you for being here. :) As you say in Ananda Marga, Namaskar. :)

    With that introduction, I will address a later part of your post first, then double-back and reply to some of the other points.

    When I talk about being or not being a Margii, I am talking more about being active in the organization Ananda Marga, not about whether human beings are naturally striving for happiness and therefore on a generalized "path of bliss." Just as it is true that there are people who are active in the Democratic Party and people who are not active in the Democratic Party (for whatever reason), it is true that there are people who are involved with the organization Ananda Marga and people who are not.

    I'd prefer not to think of myself as distrustful. Many people that know me may tell you that I am too trusting. I have said in the Baha'i/Ananda Marga thread that I do have a problem with organized religion, and I won't change my tune here. As far as if I have a problem with organizations in general, I'm not so sure; maybe I do.

    Those were my words for what I've experienced of the reverence that Margiis and Anandamurti himself have for Krishna and Shiva. You have said in the Baha'i/Ananda Marga thread (emphasis mine):

    This sounds like the role of a savior.

    Well, I suppose I look at it differently (as you are well aware by now :) ). I am currently uncomfortable doing Ananda Marga sadhana because I am having trouble believing in Anandamurti. Now, according to you, I should have no trouble at all practicing Ananda Marga tantra-yoga even though I don't have faith in the guru. Yet, how can I do guru puja (offering and surrender to the guru) if I don't have faith? How can I sing kiirtan? Are these things part of Ananda Marga's tantra-yoga practice or are they not?

    You will probably not be surprised to hear that I do not have much of a system of spiritual practice these days. I do meditate every now and then, but mostly right now I just try to be present in the moment and enjoy life. I aim at experiencing interconnectedness, but I don't have specific techniques that I employ.

    As far as a philosophy of life, I guess I'd like to say that I'm not wise enough to have one. :) But, if pressed, I could tell you that right now I am reading about Vedanta. This is something that I am gravitating towards; it is what you described as "non-dualism." Put in Buddhist terms, it would be the idea that Samsara is Nirvana and Nirvana is Samsara; we just have to somehow recognize and experience such a state. Everything is and always has been perfect; it cannot be otherwise... but in our ignorance we fail to recognize it, and percieve all sorts of trouble for ourselves.
     
  11. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Hi and Namaskar,

    Thank you for explaining more about your experiences and present feelings. On my side there are no ill feelings.

    I was never closely involved with the actual organization AMPS (Ananda Marga Paracaraka Samgha) nor have I been considered as an active margi by the margis I know. When I was studying at university I attended retreats and dharma cakras (collective meditation functions) for a number of years. Yet I always remained somewhat of an outsider.

    How you relate to a guru is a very personal matter (whether it be Jesus or Anandamurti). It took me perhaps ten to fifteen years to make my love for God become somewhat more linked to that physically small man I met several times in India and in Europe. In the first few years I resisted even looking at any photographs. This is perhaps not the right place to tell you of my experiences meeting with Anandamurti in person.

    Over the years I have met many people who have had shorter or longer experiences with this path and have chosen another path (Jesus, Buddha, Mr.Moon, etc.) or decided they didn't like any kind of spiritual organization. I also know people who still see themselves as margis but have stopped doing any sadhana. The number of people who took initiation into the practices must far outnumber those that are still practising and even the number of people who still do sadhana but never see another margi must be greater than that of the more involved margis.

    I have never completely stopped practising although it took a long time for it to become a part of who I am. After all, the culture of Ananda Marga is quite different from the mainstream western culture I was brought up in.

    Besides my personal encounters with Anandamurti, it was the philosophy which has continued to fascinate me over the years and of course my encounters with some of the monks, nuns and margis who work selflessly and hard in childrens homes, on eco-farm projects and many different types of other projects all over the world (I did some travelling).

    Andrew/Avinash
     
  12. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Namaskar Andrew,

    Thanks for the reply. Most of my experience with Ananda Marga was through events, like dharma cakra, at a "master unit." Also, I have been to a few retreats, and LFTs and monks would sometimes come to my town. ALthough I'd of course heard that many Margis had dropped out of the organization over the years due to various problems, I've not met many people who have taken the philosophy and practiced on their own, as you seem to be saying that you have done. I find the idea that such people are out there, quietly practicing while choosing not to be involved with AMPS, refreshing.

    No joke! :D (Me too)

    Yes, many of the monks and nuns are truly amazing people, radiating warmth and love.
     
  13. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Re: Tantra

    People tend to gravitate toward more memorable imagery. :)

    To my knowledge, Tantric Budhism has only one sect that deals with Maithuna as a spiritual method. It's known as the Kaula sect.

    It seems some of the basic ideas are pre-Vedic.
     

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