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Bhakti-yoga is the dharma (sacred duty) of pure devotion and surrender to God as understood in Hinduism. It may involve the use of images depicting a favored deity, believed to be a manifestation of a unified Godhead. Some Hindus say this is the highest path in yoga, while others maintain that jnana-yoga is supreme.
The Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavata Purana and Puranas are important scriptures which expound the philosophy of Bhakti. Hindu movements in which bhakti is the main practice are called bhakti movements—the major schools are Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism.
- Bhagavad-Gita (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna: Glossary (adamcmadison.wordpress.com)
- Karma Yogi: Hindu-In-Action (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- Various Vaishnava Schools and Srivaishnavism (thtsiteseminars.wordpress.com)
- What is bhakti (thehindu.com)
- Benefits of Yoga for New Moms – Exercising (everydayfamily.com)
- How to Survive the Kali Yuga (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- The Right Motivation? ~ Vrindavan Rao (elephantjournal.com)
- King Kulasekhara & The Alwars and Nayanmars (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- Everyday Bhagavad-Gita. ~ Vrindavan Rao (elephantjournal.com)
The Bhagavad-Gita [Sanskrit: The song of the Lord] is a central scripture holy to Hindus that belongs to book VI of the epic Mahabharata. Believed by many scholars to be a more recent insert within the Mahabharata, the Gita synthesizes different, previously existing forms of yoga.
The main plot line revolves around Krishna urging Arjuna to fulfil the dharma (sacred duty) appropriate to his warrior caste (kshatrya). Taken literally, in the Gita this means Arjuna must slay kith and kin in the battlefield.
Krishna outlines additional dharmas appropriate for other castes, but Arjuna’s sacred task is to kill. Krishna further instructs Arjuna that his relatives will not really perish because the soul (atman) is eternal.
A gentler, psychological interpretation of the Gita sees the ‘killing’ in terms of the destruction of bad karma accumulated over past lives. These attributes manifest as outward aspects of the personality in the present life, not unlike that which Carl Jung terms the persona. Thus the ‘killing’ could be seen as the elimination or, perhaps, redirection of superficial and negative personality components that obscure awareness of the immortal soul (atman)
Because God’s grace is said to be central in overcoming negative past karma, some scholars believe that the Gita was written as late as 2nd-century CE, influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the precise date, Arjuna’s dharma seems to lie somewhere between Old Testament ideas concerning the problem of social justice (“an eye for an eye”) and the New Testament emphasis on spiritual salvation (“turn the other cheek”).
While some Christians may argue that the Gita’s message is clearly inferior to the New Testament’s prescription to love one’s enemies, this claim is complicated by the additional teaching of the so-called “Just War,” a teaching which is explicit or, perhaps, implicit to many Christian belief systems.
Having said that, it seems that a valid distinction may be made between what Jesus of the New Testament says we ought to do vs. what will happen.
Jesus of the New Testament says his followers ought not to be violent, nor to even think violently, even though conflict and war will inevitably break out among some members of the population. By way of contrast, the Krishna of the Gita essentially says killing is okay in certain circumstances. And this is something that Christ never advocates in the New Testament.
- Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in Hindi (full) (manishkamat.wordpress.com)
- #Review# : Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : Jnaneshwari: Bhavartha – Dipika Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Everyday Bhagavad-Gita. ~ Vrindavan Rao (elephantjournal.com)
- Bhagavad Gita Post #1 – The background (pflead73.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : The Bhagavad Gita or The Message of the Master (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Mahabharata for a Yogi (artoflivingsblog.com)
- Rahul invokes the Gita, Buddha at CII meet (news.in.msn.com)
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7 – Knowledge of Ultimate Truth (Gyan Vigyaan Yoga) (bhuwanchand.wordpress.com)
- Ahimsa: The Way of Nonviolence (thelastteahouse.wordpress.com)
George Berkeley (1685-1753) was the Anglican Dean of Derry (1724), bishop of Cloyne (1734) and an important philosopher belonging to the school of idealism. Born in Ireland, Berkeley moved to Oxford in 1752 and became one of the so-called British empiricists.
Berkeley believed that the material world exists as an idea created in our minds, ultimately by God. In his New theory of Vision (1709), he argued that our sense of distance isn’t directly perceived but inferred from the repeated association of visual and tactile cues. All of existence, itself, is a group of interacting minds, connecting with archetypes, which themselves derive from God.
He uttered the famous line, perhaps adapted from Shakespeare,
To be is to be perceived or a perceiver.
This means that existence is either a mind or stimuli in a mind.
One way that Berkeley tried to support his view was to note that the idea of heat – what the philosopher John Locke called a “secondary quality” – is somewhat relative. If one of our hands is cold and the other hot, and we place them into warm water, the one hand feels hot and the other cold. Anyone can do this little experiment and see that it’s true. However, Berkeley added that Locke’s so-called “primary qualities” (e.g. shape, quantity) were also dependent on a perceiving mind. Berkeley, in fact, challenged the entire distinction between primary and secondary qualities, as elaborated upon at Wikipedia:
Berkeley maintains that the ideas created by sensations are all that people can know for sure. As a result, what is perceived as real consists only of ideas in the mind. The crux of his argument is that once an object is stripped of all its secondary qualities, it becomes very problematic to assign any acceptable meaning to the idea that there is some object. Not that we can’t picture to ourselves (in our minds) that some object exists apart from any perceiver—we clearly think we can do this—but rather, can we give any content to this idea in any particular case?¹
A slightly different take on the belief that the material world doesn’t exist independent of the mind has been popularized in many books reporting recent discoveries in sub-atomic physics, such as Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters and Fritzoff Capra’s The Turning Point.
- Influential Figures in My Life: Locke, Berkeley and Hume (jonathanhockey.wordpress.com)
- A View From Here (o50328b.wordpress.com)
- Behaviorism (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Mess of Me at the Moment (brittavalentin.wordpress.com)
- Part 9: Beyond Atheism – A History of Western Philosophy (coppellpianoshop.wordpress.com)
- Matter and Mind (middlepane.com)
- Rewrite Your Life (barbarasreality.wordpress.com)
The Bauls are the wandering devotional minstrels of West Bengal, India. They belong to a longstanding bardic tradition that poetically glorifies God while rebuking worldly hypocrisy. Many practice left hand tantra. And living off alms, they are the peace, love and freedom “hippies” of West Bengal.
Today their timeless songs may be heard on trains and at public fairs called melas. The Bauls’ poetry had a tremendous influence on the Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, the outstanding Bengali figure who founded the open air, asram-style Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan.
But perhaps most important about the Bauls, they manage to accept people from both Islam (Sufism) and Hinduism (Vaishnavas) in a country where the tension between these two religious groups is usually so thick you could cut with a knife.
- Review: Two books on Bauls (enfolding.org)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (vancouverdesi.com)
- Where a poet’s vision lives on (ndtv.com)
- Mamata Banerjee paints with artists (vancouverdesi.com)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (indiavision.com)
A Baptist is a member of a Protestant Christian Church or denomination with roots in England and Wales from the beginning of the 17th century. In the late 19th century, Baptists quickly became an important part of the American Christian landscape.
Today’s Baptist Church is a global phenomenon, the Baptist World Alliance having been established in 1905.
Baptists generally reject infant baptism, believing that sacred scripture points to the necessity of consciously choosing to embrace Christian belief. So for Baptists, a newborn who cannot choose is not ready to accept Baptism.
However, not all Baptists agree on every theological issue as, say, Catholics seem to when professing their common faith in the Mass. In fact, Baptists belief varies considerably. And this divergence of belief isn’t just a private matter, kept under wraps for fear of repercussions or to preserve the Church’s unity. Rather, it’s public. ¹
Not surprisingly, Baptist congregations tend to be run independently. And they’re quite active in organizing missions, schools and youth camps.
- Where Have All the Choirs Gone? (Part I) (jasonklanier.com)
- Westboro Baptist Church -Hell Bound! ***messymandella*** (messymandella.com)
- Comedian Interviews Westboro Baptist Church… and Wins (patheos.com)
- Baptists: Believer’s Baptism (nonthaburichristianfellowship.wordpress.com)
- Missouri Baptist Relief Needs College Student Volunteers (prweb.com)
- Infant Baptism and the Reformation (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
- Comedian Pranks Westboro Baptist (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- 54 – Feb. 23 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST (james1948.wordpress.com)
- Tebow cancels talk at controversial Dallas church (bostonherald.com)
Also known as Baldur or Baldr in Norse mythology, Balder was a noble, gentle and yet powerful god. Much loved by all, he was son of Odin and Frigg.
Reminiscent of Achilles, Balder was invulnerable to harm, except by the mistletoe. He was mistakenly killed by the blind god Hodur, who’d been duped by the trickster Loki into piercing him with a dart crafted from mistletoe.
The roots of the his name are somewhat unclear. Wikipedia has a good discussion here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldr#Name.
- Norway returned to worship pagan gods like Odin and Balder (ivarfjeld.com)
- When did gods become immortal, infallable and immaterial? (richarddawkins.net)
- Odin The All Father (theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com)
- Ásatrú (ayearandadaywicca.wordpress.com)
- Odin Part 1 (theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com)
- ‘Loki’s Wolves’ is coming in May (eyeblinkfiction.wordpress.com)
Bahai is a relatively recent world religion. Adherents of Bahai claim that God is progressively revealed through a sequence of teachers, including Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, and its Persian founder, Baha’u'llah (1860′s).
The religion is monotheistic, emphasizing monogamous family life, obedience to government authority, personal honesty and cleanliness. Bahai schools and media programs are flourishing.
Baha’u'llah originally went by the name Mirza Hoseyn, a Shi’ite Muslim. Hoseyn aligned himself with the Bab, head of the Babis, a Muslim sect claiming to have privileged knowledge about ultimate truth. The Bab was executed for treason by the Iranian government and Hoseyn was then exiled by orthodox Sunni Muslims.
Hoseyn went to Constantinople (Istanbul). There, in 1867, he declared himself to be the Imam Madhi (“rightly guided leader”), as foretold by the Bab.
Violence ensued and he was banished to Acre, where he developed the contemporary doctrine of Ba’hai: Universal brotherhood and the unity of all religions. Pilgrims from Iran and the USA journeyed to Acre to learn about his teachings.
- Ever Read a Book That Made You Re-think? (pukirahe.wordpress.com)
- Hanging Out With Buddha or Jesus? (pukirahe.wordpress.com)
- What Book Should I Read? (pukirahe.wordpress.com)
- OSU’s Bahá’í Campus Association (osu.uloop.com)
- First Thing You Do on Waking Up? (joyfulwayfarer.wordpress.com)
- Viewpoint: Baha’i Peace Park continues to grow in Muskegon as a place of meditation for all (mlive.com)
- Bahá’í student expelled from Iranian university ‘on grounds of religion’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Cruelty: Intolerance victims (wvgazette.com)
- Nava Na’imi, a Baha’i citizen from Esfahan arrested (zendanianesiasi.wordpress.com)
- Baha’i faithful in area hope Iranian persecution ends (vcstar.com)
In the ancient Egyptian religion of the New Kingdom the ba represents, generally speaking, the individual characteristics of a person, roughly analogous to the personality.
The ba was often understood in terms of the effect it had on others, not entirely unlike the New Age idea of the ‘past life review’ (where the recently departed soul allegedly sees how its good and bad actions in life impacted others).
In the vision of the afterlife described in the Pyramid Texts, the ba is said to return to the mummified body at night, essentially going to Osiris (as the god of the dead). Then it returns to the land of the living during the daytime, free to roam as a spiritual presence.¹
S. G. F. Brandon says that the ba originally connoted spiritual power.²
Depictions of the ba might be present in Old Kingdom funerary statues, although scholars debate this point. More commonly the ba is said to be represented in the New Kingdom as a bird with a human head.³
Related Posts » Ka
¹ Donald B. Redford ed., The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, 2003.
² S. G. F. Brandon ed., A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, New York: Scribner, 1970.
³ Redford, 2003.
- Kemetic Round Table : Ritual Purity (warboar.wordpress.com)
- Extremely interesting investigation on Reincarnation (tsemtulku.com)
- Welcome To Egypt…. (roxcell.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Mysteries – Re: The Dendera Light, Demystified and Explained (disclose.tv)
- Review: The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia: By Archibald H. Sayce (mbplee.wordpress.com)
- Aswan: A city of charm (dailynewsegypt.com)
- Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt (socyberty.com)
Cybele was a Mother Goddess with local manifestations in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. Some scholars believe that she originated in Anatolia around 6000 BCE. She appears in literature and sculpture from about the 5th century BCE onward. She presides over the gods, humans and beasts.
The lion was her sacred symbol. In statues, reliefs and coins she’s often depicted seated on a throne with a lion on either side.
Sir William Smith in his Smaller Classical Dictionary says
The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances. In Rome the Galli were her priests.¹
In Rome she was introduced as an official state religious figure and hence closely regulated and officiated by upper class priests.
Today, some people are drawn to her cult and, perhaps, numinous power – or what they believe is her numinous power. So her worship continues in the 21st century among New Age and neoPagan religious groups.²
¹ Sir William Smith, Smaller Classical Dictionary [revised by E. H. Blakeny and JohnWarrington], New York: Dutton, 1958.
Cupid ((Latin Cupido, “desire”) comes under many guises. As the Roman god of Love, he’s the son of Venus.
The 2nd century Latin writer Apuleus portrays him in The Golden Ass as the lover of Psyche. But the timeless tale of Cupid and Pscyhe goes back at least to the 4th century BCE, where its depicted in Greek art.
Depth psychologists have much to say about the relationship between Cupid and Psyche. In Jungian archetypal psychology Psyche is taken as the cold, somewhat icy soul in need of a “shattering” or “melting” from the warm, sensitive Cupid. Cupid, on the other hand, risks utter destruction unless Psyche’s gaze is tempered with love.
In the language of symbols, the successful union of Cupid and Psyche represents a fruitful togetherness, not unlike the Yin and the Yang, love and knowledge or affection and wisdom.
In art Cupid is usually depicted naked. He’s often winged with bow and arrow, wearing a boyish or cherub-like countenance.
In folklore, Cupid, like the Indian kama, afflicts human beings with a proverbial “dart to the heart.” His marks invariably fall in love or become filled with desire for another person. His chief mythic parallel is the Greek god Eros.
- Cupid and Psyche in Clay (janestreetclayworks.com)
- Cute carbon Cupid is this year’s tiniest valentine (mnn.com)
- Flower Delivery Express Provides Cupid The Right Arrow On Valentine’s Day (prnewswire.com)
- Love Symbols of the Regency (regencyredingote.wordpress.com)
- February 2013 Writing Contest Finalists (mistressofthedarkpath.wordpress.com)
- Digital Cupid Reveals Your True Valentine (adrants.com)
- Photos: Cupid’s Undie Run (photos.denverpost.com)
- Cupid’s Corner at Longview (longviewcurrent.org)
- Cupids Undie Run (fox2now.com)