Balancing Faiths...Please help

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Cloudminerva, May 9, 2004.

  1. Cloudminerva

    Cloudminerva Member

    Hi. I feel a union with all faiths. In my eyes, all faiths tie to the same religion and one God. How can I tie Indian philosophies to my Christian beliefs successfully? Is is true that in chanting the ancient mantras I can apply anything of myself to these chants or any aspcet of myself that I wish to better rather than the pictures of the deites? I recognize the pictures as beautiful art and awesome representations of God but they confuse me in giving praise and chanting. I think that I can do better without pictoral aids. I feel this is the right thing for me, but any opinions and stories are welcomed for sharing. I would love to hear about your experiences and ideas.

    Peace and Love,
  2. spinelli

    spinelli Member

    Yep, I too feel the one source to all faiths and hence have the same view as u.
    It can be so hard always having to do ur own mental justifictions and analyzations to find the answer to religious theories so its fits with this view. Sometimes I wish that I was a small minded catholic(for example) so than the xplanantions were spoon fed to me, and I could still reach God. But for some reason Im meant to connect with God's Light force, with what could seem as the hard way, but actually so simple.

    Anyway Ben, all I can advise from my own experience, that u probably already think, is to trust what u feel. Pictorial aids may be preventing u from what ur actually capable of acheiving, by ur own devices,
    Also If ur praising(chanting) the deites, ur doing so to God, they are God energy. Mix, match thats what I say, whatever gets your soul going. U know what feels right. U know truth.
    Oh and incorporating christian beliefs, I know its fine when ur dealing with compassion, love etc, but aint it the pits when u have to deal with "my way or the highway" mindset,
  3. Cloudminerva

    Cloudminerva Member

    It's realy a bummer dealing with that mindset. Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your opinion. I do feel the same as you on these levels.

  4. Scholar_Warrior

    Scholar_Warrior Be Love Now

    understand that all that exists is consisting of vibrations.

    religions are descriptions of systems of interpretations.

    the wheel has a hub, and it has many spokes.

    the wheel is vibration. religion is your sense-interptretation of the wheel (spoke), and is usually borrowed (learned) from those who educated you - mum & dad, etc. the truth is the hub.

    the truth is the same no matter how you describe it.

    (life is a puzzle with no definite shape, but definite laws)
  5. gnrm23

    gnrm23 Senior Member

    check out the book _christian yoga_ by j-m dechanet...
  6. sassure

    sassure Member

    An organized religion has two pieces: the fundamental belief, and the elaboration. Religions look so different because over time they have been adorned with a multitude of elaborations. Get to the bottom of what is really believed, and you'll see far fewer differences.

    You have a God force, and you have a human who has God-like qualities because he/she has been chosen as the spokesperson for this God force. Do names really matter? Do images really matter? Look at the core, at the essence.
  7. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    i'll just throw one more into the pot to check out: Baha'u'llah

    who actualy explicitly conferms your suspicions that all revealed religeons really are from the same god and have the same things to teach us. i won't call any of their revealers infallable the way he seems to imply they all were, that's one of the very few points on which i differ with my understanding of his teachings, but that's just me, and my own limited and imperfect understanding at that.
    i also question that anything in its right mind would ever have the slightest desire to be worshipped, but not that the nontangable exists nor that it has unimaginably tremendous love for us, whatever else its nature and origen, upon which it may be pointless to speculate
  8. ChiefCowpie

    ChiefCowpie hugs and bugs

    [​IMG] Sri Ramakrishna

    (1836 - 1886)

    Sri Ramakrishna, well-known as the `Paramahamsa', is the brightest star that rose on the spiritual firmament of the India of the nineteenth century. Born of pious parents in the little village of Kamarpukur in a remote part of Bengal (b.18th February 1836) he spent his early life there itself. Ever since he shifted to Calcutta in 1852 to assist his elder brother, until his Mahasamadhi on the 16th August 1886, it was a long life of total dedication to God. Starting his life as an unknown temple priest - which vocation was not considered as a very honorable one - he rose to be a world teacher of religion and spirituality, by dint of intense sadhanas culminating in a uniquely comprehensive spiritual experience. From simple image worship right up to the highest flights of Advaita philosophy, the whole gamut of Indian spiritual life was traversed by him. Not being satisfied with it, he experimented with alien religions like Christianity and Islam and found, to his amazement, that they too lead to the same superconscious mystic state. Being thus armed with the direct experience of Truth through the known paths of various cults and religions, he proclaimed the great message of his life: the essential unity of all religions and the consequent need for harmony among the votaries of various religions. He specially prepared a band of disciples under the leadership of Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) to give a practical shape to his teachings and spread them far and wide for the benefit of humanity. The Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission are the direct offshoots of this. Through Sri Sarada Devi, his consort, he has exhibited to the world the possibility of raising conjugal life to the highest spiritual level and the nature of universal motherhood.


    • As long as I live, so long do I learn.

      Do yourself what you wish others to do.

      Men are quick to praise and quick to blame; so, pay no heed to what others speak of you.

      Bow your head where others are bowing. Veneration never goes unrewarded.

      Remain always strong and steadfast in your own faith, but eschew all bigotry and intolerance.
      His steps falter not, who has taken refuge in Him.

    Back to Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Page
    Back to The Ramakrishna Movement Page
  9. gnrm23

    gnrm23 Senior Member

    _the way of the pilgrim_ is the story of a russian seeker who discovers the "philokilalia" (eastern orthodox "prayer of the heart")...

    some other books to check out, maybe:
    aldous huxley's _the perennial philosophy_
    thomas merton's _mystics and zen masters_
    dom aelred graham's _zen catholicism_
    steven gaskin's _this season's people_

    & a couple links that might be of interest:
  10. dawn_sky

    dawn_sky Senior Member

    What about the religions that have nothing to do with faith?

    Are you aware that certain branches of Hinduism, aka Indian philosophies, are athiestic, though others are polytheistic or pantheistic? The Vedas are the sacred scriptures of Hinduism and are claimed to be eternal. In religious debates, one school of Hindus were challenged by the question of how the Vedas could be eternal if there is a god who created them. If they are created, they are not eternal. Therefore, this particular sect determined that there could be no omnipotent god because the Vedas are supreme. I don't recall which school took this position, I would have to dig through a semester worth of class notes to find it, which I see no reason to do unless you care to know.

    What about Buddhism? The Buddha is an enlightened man and venerable teacher, but he is no god. Faith does not factor into Buddhism in general, though it may be an element in some sects.

    In many indigenous religions, faith is insignificant. It doesn't matter whether you believe, all that matters is that you participate in rituals and perform the appropriate sacrifices. People often do not question whether someone is participating because s/he believes, or because of social pressures or the opportunity for a social event, or because of some individual non-supernatural benefit s/he may gain from participating.

    I don't have any suggestions of how to relate this to a Christian perspective, as I am not Christian. However, I am a religious studies major, so definitions of religion are a regular topic of debate. Since you seem to be pondering what exactly religion is, as you make generalizations in looking at the similarities, it is important to expand beyond a focus on faith.
  11. Jozak

    Jozak Member

    My mom is Native American (I know, I have distinct family tree but PM me if you want the details!) and is Catholic. However, she also uses a lot of Celtic prayers, and subsitutes Christ and Mary in for the pagan gods and goddesses, it's really neat. You can see where the mysticism comes from, her being Native American and all. Anyway, she also burns candles while she prays, lights incense/sage, and has Tarot cards as well. She is Christian as anyone, but she uses all these things to glorify Christ. It's so cool, she's in a yahoo group called "The Cross and the Cauldren"

    If you ever go to a Catholic Mass, you can see a lot of pagan influences that are/were present in Early Christianity. Easter/Christmas were pagan holidays incorporated, the priests wear certain colors during seasons, candles, incesne, and it ties PERFECTLY With Jesus's teachings. It all comes down to how you act and what you do, and your intentions. I am not trying to convert you by any means, but you should check out a Catholic mass, I think you'd find it really interesting, especially if you had someone like yours truly explaining things to you :)

    Spinelli thinks Catholics are, "Spoon fed"--shows how much she knows.
  12. gdkumar

    gdkumar Member

    "Hi. I feel a union with all faiths. In my eyes, all faiths tie to the same religion and one God. How can I tie Indian philosophies to my Christian beliefs successfully? ".......Cloudminerva.

    Dear Cloudminerva,

    Thank you for coming out in the open with your opinion. You are absolutely right that all faiths tie to the same religion and one God.

    You take the Indian teaching of how to reach Him but the means should suit you and be comfortable for you. From your post it is clear that you are chanting as per one of the Indian ways and means, but what are you chanting? If it is a Mantra(In sanskrit or some other language) you are likely to feel uncomfortable with it, very naturally.

    You may chant any name that you love, you may chant name of Lord Jesus,like "Oh,Jesus,I bow to your lotus feet". You will attain,surely, the same results. Please do not try to do two things at one time....concentrating on picture or deity and concentrating on chanting. Please do not make the mistake of changing your religion. Take only the teachings and advices of all religions and try to reach Him.

    Sri Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa attained same God through other faiths as well. He showed it by His own life that you need to have love for Him and once you have that it does not matter what religion you belong to.

    With lots of love and prayers.................Kumar.
  13. Cloudminerva

    Cloudminerva Member

    Thanks to all of you!

  14. NightOwl1331

    NightOwl1331 Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    I too, am a follower of Sri Ramakrishna. I was raised Christian and am now Hindu. An interesting thing about Hinduism is that the basic beliefs and philosophies can cover all religions. A friend of mine who is a Hindu living in India told me that it is a common belief there that Jesus was an incarntion of Vishnu. And that's how they fit Christianity into their system of beliefs. You should surely read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He speaks of the unity of all religions and specifically talks about Christians. I recommend the book to any seeker.
  15. gdkumar

    gdkumar Member

    Dear NightOwl1331,

    Thank you for the beautiful post. It is amazing to know about your devotion towards Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Yes, I also believe that all seekers should read The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The book is available at any Ramakrishna Mission office. This one book is good enough to dispel all doubts from a seeker's mind.This book elevates most of the seekers to the transcendental world in a very short period of time.

    With love.......Kumar.
  16. NightOwl1331

    NightOwl1331 Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Yes, I agree completely. The teachings of Sri Ramakrishna combined with my own profound experiences have dispelled all doubt from my mind. Jai Kali Ma. :)
  17. Chodpa

    Chodpa -=Chop_Chop=-

    It seems that most people believe in forming their own religions based on their own beliefs. This is fine if you want to merely search out and experience your own truths. But at some point faith does enter into the various ontological, epistemological, and ethical aspects of your religion. For instance, even a hedonist has the ontology of the flesh, and the ethics of keeping the body and mind fit so as to further enjoyment. This becomes ethics, and it has its methods, such as excercising which is epistemology.

    So no matter what your faith, as some point you will need to listen to the experts so as to make quicker progress in your chosen direction.

    And then there's the matter of just accepting something and applying oneself to it, so as to satisfy the questing mind.

    I like to use the analogy of marriage. Sure, many can say that all women or men are the same except for superficial differences. And so one should not marry. Or they should marry anyone. However, such certainly isn't the case. Personality differences especially are as obvious as physical differences, and there will be a chemistry and synergy between two people that wont exist between two others. The same goes for religion. In either case, marriage or religion, one will need to marry their path to develop deeper insight. There's just not enough time in life to always keep striking the superficial over and over.

    Religions have many flavors. One might say that they are all there to help mankind outlive its destructive tendencies. This is true, just as how marriage also is for perpetuation of the species. But there's more, and one needs to decide at some point if one religion is the most specific for their needs. Then apply their mind and soul to it.

    There should be no peer pressure in the decision. Only love. One should choose the religion that they love, just as their partner, and then stick with them. Because religions, just like people, all have flaws and shortcomings. Maturity tells one to emphasize the positive and useful and eschew the negative and circumstancial.
  18. NightOwl1331

    NightOwl1331 Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter


    Thank you for that beautiful post! The marriage analogy is a good one. I am always saying that there are many paths up the mountain, but they all lead to the same summit. And everyone must find their own path; the path that fits with them. :)
  19. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    Dear Ben,

    Hari Om!

    Your observation of the oneness of all religions is wise and astute. The analogy our friend gave of many paths on a mountain leading to the very same summit is quite beautiful and astute. Also note, although the paths all seem different, they all lead upwards.

    Similarly, though the teachings of christianity and hinduism may superficially seem different, they lead in the same direction. Each can be interpreted in the light of the other with absolutely no problem, if understood correctly. The differences, paradoxes are all resolved at a higher level, just as all paths on the mountain finally resolve themselves at the summit.

    Ill give you a few examples.

    Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.' I John 4:4

    This is quite clearly similar to the repeated insistence of all the scriptures that one must turn the attention inwards and therein find the source of all strength.

    It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 18:25)

    nakarmana naprajayadhanena, tyagenaeke amritatvamanashuhu. - Mahanarananopanishad

    meaning - not by rituals, progeny or wealth can immortality be gained (amrita means both immortality and nectar, so this can also read alternately, with nectar symbolising true happiness) only by renunciation can this be attained.

    It is clear that Jesus was saying the same thing, that one must renounce all posessions, all sense of ownership and pride in order to achieve the highest state.

    “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25

    This is a clear statement that immortality, pure existence, sat chit ananda, is achieved through devotion to the lord. This is nothing but the bhakti yoga.

    In this way, if you try to understand that truths of all religions by seeing the common meaning to them, then your doubts will be laid to rest.

    All that remains is to pick the path that is best for you, to walk that path, fearlessly, fir in the faith that no matter how throny the way be, no matter what dips it may take, it will eventually only lead you to te peak, the highest, where all paths meet.

    See you there.

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